Monday, June 30, 2008
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Here's a travel tip for the summer season: You may want to stay home.
Soaring jet fuel will cost the industry an extra $24 billion, and passengers will be feeling the pain as airlines impose a wave of extra costs to meet their bills. The red ink is also flowing due to an aging fleet, far-flung and unprofitable flight schedules, and low-cost competitors.
Consider shrinking your height (so you won't be charged extra for more legroom). Don't carry any luggage, surfboards or golf bags (all of them, even the first bag, will likely cost extra). Prices will continue climbing while travel options shrink. Bankruptcy looms for operations that can't tap into cash reserves, borrow against jets or slash employee rolls. The difference this time is oil prices. Filling a 20-gallon tank with $4 per gallon gas for a family trip is one thing. But consider the thousands of gallons of jet fuel needed for a cross-country flight. Airline travel definitely isn't going away. Officials are confident that air travel will rebound.
Tumi is in the midst of a makeover.
With over 50 retail stores around the world, Tumi is one of the leading brands in the luggage industry known for its muted all-black style and zipper-to-zipper lifetime warranty.
Enter David Chu, the executive creative director of Tumi, who has embarked on an ambitious brand expansion and revamp that looks to change everything we think and do with our Tumi.
The results of
"A new retail concept has been introduced," says
After watching luggage brands such as Coach and Louis Vuitton explode in popularity under the creative direction of designers like Marc Jacobs, an obvious parallel, perhaps even a formula, emerges: "Louis Vuitton evolved from a travel company to one of lifestyle and fashion accessory. When traveling abroad he stresses that people should "pack well, with products that work well and look elegant. How you travel is a reflection of your personality."
For extended trips, it's the Townhouse Langham Wheeled Duffel.
The quandary: how to pack seven outfits in one carry-on bag for a weeklong summer vacation.
Not with a slew of new products made to streamline your packing and help avoid those pesky checked-bag charges.
1. Examine your luggage.
Weighing in at just 7 pounds 6 ounces, this rolling luggage — shaped asymmetrically, more like a big backpack on wheels — is a soft option and squeezes easily into small spaces.
2. Plan your wardrobe wisely.
"Be mindful, and pack with a purpose," said Kelly Vrtis, travel specialist for the Container Store. Choose neutral bottoms and brightly colored tops when planning your wardrobe."
Vrtis suggests choosing shoes in the same color family and wearing your heavier shoes on the plane. If working out or lots of walking will be on the vacation agenda, wear the athletic shoes on the plane and pack the strappy sandals and flip-flops.
Michele Marini Pittenger, president of the Travel Goods Association, suggests writing down a wardrobe list before you pack.
3. Pack strategically.
Pack toiletries on top of and around them, then add the clothing last. 4. Include some space-savers.
Coming to the rescue of space-strapped fliers, Eagle Creek's line of packing solutions includes cubes, tubes and bags designed to simplify the packing process. Popular items include the Pack-It, a compact case for stacked shirts. A card insert that shows step-by-step folding techniques doubles as a packing board, and the Pack-It's compact shape — like an envelope that unfolds at all corners — reduces wrinkles.
"The Pack-It makes it a lot easier to pack and easier to go through security because you can take each item out quickly," Vrtis said.
Witco, the South India based premium retail chain of stores for luggage and travel accessories, has repositioned itself from ‘The Luggage Expert’ to ‘Travel in Style’. Witco has charted out an aggressive plan to become a national player and open 50 stores across the country in the next 2-3 years with an estimated investment of Rs 40 crore.
Witco has recently launched its third store in Bangalore. The retail chain claims to enjoy 60 per cent market share in Chennai and has a strong presence with 12 multi-brand outlets in South India.
Elaborating on the company’s expansion plans, VP Harris, Managing Director, Witco India, said, “With the growing Indian economy and an increased propensity to spend, preference of an urban traveller has become more luxurious and sophisticated. The scene in luggage retail industry has become greener, which ensures substantial yield to our investment.”
Harris added, “Innovation has been the key in shaping the global luggage industry into a lifestyle segment. Demand for high quality luggage and accessories has been stimulated with the introduction of wheeled and lightweight products, casual luggage lines, the emerging need for lifestyle products such as backpacks, sports bags and computer cases.”
Witco (India) Pvt Ltd was founded in 1951 by the late MPC Mohamed with a vision to be the country’s leading retailer in travel requisites in the premium segment. Witco has established itself as a multi-brand retail chain with expertise in travel luggage needs and accessories. It has 11 outlets in South India – Chennai and Bangalore.CAROLA LONG writes:
Lumpen rucksacks, gym bags and boring black nylon cases offer further proof that the golden age of travel is about as "over" as a pair of kitten heels. However, while cheap functionality might still prevail when it comes to luggage, among style- conscious travellers there is a growing interest in finding cases and accessories that combine efficiency with aesthetics.
The chic globetrotter's primary strategy in fusing fashion and function is to switch to hand luggage. Jon Crossick, the retail director of 51 Degrees North – the travel concession at Harrods – says that carry-on sales "have gone through the roof... our top-selling pieces are all carry-on, and people tend to choose the biggest case they can." He attributes the escalation to the relaxation of the hand-baggage rules – British Airways now allows a case and a handbag, though some other airlines still limit passengers to just one case – fears about lost belongings, and the fact that some budget airlines have introduced charges for checked-in luggage.
Chic trolleys include Anya Hindmarch's grey croc-print and YSL's black Edition 24, while Orla Kiely's car-print leather case for Tripp is a more quirky retro style.
Good, affordable fabric trolleys include Puma's sleek Urban Mobility case, and Bric's turquoise version. Crossick has noticed two distinct trends in terms of look: lightweight cases in polycarbonate, and more retro shapes and materials. At Prada, there have been "brisk sales" in leather suitcases, a revival of traditional structured cases and a trend for matching luggage sets. For example, Globetrotter Orient sells really well."
Victoria Abbott is fashion adviser at John Lewis, where the personal shopping service offers packing and holiday-wardrobe advice.
Folding Ray-Bans or Persol sunglasses, and folding Pretty Ballerinas pumps also save space.
* How to pack
Place a suit jacket, button-side up, at the base of the case, place other items on top, then fold the top of the jacket over the other clothes again, like a sandwich, folding the arms back over the jacket. T-shirts etc should be tightly rolled not folded, and shoes always go against the hard back of the case. A trolley or trunk-style case is best for keeping clothes neat. * Beauty essentials
John Lewis does clear plastic make-up bags that meet EU travel regulations for liquids, and miniature products.
Forbes has put together its list of the 20 top time-draining airports based on categories such as late-aircraft-related delays, cancellations, weather-related delays and the percentage of on-time arrivals and departures.
McCarran International, in Las Vegas, Nev., ranked 18th, but I really didn't have any problems flying from there yesterday. Almost any airport in the New York Tri-State Area, however, is an entirely different matter, as echoed in Forbes' list. . .
The top 10 most time-draining airports in the U.S. are as follows:
10) Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn. — Minneapolis St. Paul International
9) Atlanta, Ga. — Hartsfield-Jackson
8) Philadelphia, Pa. — Philadelphia International
7) Boston, Mass. — Logan International
6) San Francisco, Calif. — San Francisco International
5) Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas — Dallas/Ft. Worth International
4) New York, N.Y. — La Guardia
3) New York, N.Y. — Kennedy International
2) Newark, N.J. — Newark Liberty International
1) Chicago, Ill. — O'Hare
Trains, Not Planes
The time it takes to get to your destination may be longer, but Ecogeek (via Consumerist) has determined nine benefits to traveling on trains in lieu of planes. Here is a particularly good one:
5) No NAGGING: It's a frikkin pleasure not having someone bug me about my seatback and tray tables and whether my electronic device is approved for that particular segment of the trip. And no seatbelts at all! Whether or not that's technically safe, it's certainly more comfortable.
And one that is especially close to IMT's heart:
9) You handle your baggage. If you lose your bags on a train, it's your fault. There's no waiting at the baggage claim and no worrying about how the baggage handlers (or TSA) will treat your bags.
As Portfolio.com discussed last fall, the government says that airlines are "mishandling" checked bags at a record clip. That's bad enough when they throw in the service for free. But along with their luggage-handling inefficiency comes a barrage of niggling new rules and fees.
Most Annoying Airline Fees
Forbes Traveler has put together a list of the top 10 most annoying airline fees:
10) Fuel Surcharge: $30-$300
9) Airport improvement: $4.50-$20+
8) Paper Ticket: $50-$70
7) Changing a Reservation: $30-$200
6) Traveling with a Child or a Pet: $10-$100 and up
5) Curbside Check-In: $2-$3+
4) Rewards Redemption: $75-$100
3) Seat Preference: $10-$20
2) Talking to Real People: $10-$25
1) Checked Baggage: $10-$100
Today there is a new generation of third-party specialty services for getting your luggage to your destination with minimal hassle. Among these: Luggage Forward, Sports Express, Luggage Concierge and the Luggage Club.
Top Rental-Car Services for Biz Travelers
The following are the top five best rental car companies for business travelers, according to About.com:
5) Enterprise Rent A Car
4) Dollar Rent A Car
3) Thrifty Car Rental
2) Alamo Rent A Car
1) Budget Rent-A-Car
Best (and Worst) Wi-Fi Hotels
Last month, Hotel Chatter released its annual rankings of the best and worst hotel Wi-Fi in the U.S. Top hotel chains for wireless broadband include Thompson Hotels and most Marriott branded hotels (which include Courtyard, Springhill Suites, Fairfield Inns, TownePlace Suites and Residence Inns), most of which offer free Wi-Fi to guests.
In addition to these, the following are the tried-and-true hotels that consistently top Hotel Chatter's Best WiFi Hotels list:
- Kimpton Hotels;
- Best Western;
- Holiday Inn;
- Omni Hotels;
- JDV Hospitality;
- AB Hotels; and
- Jeff Klein Hotels.
Among this year's list of the worst hotels for Wi-Fi are Four Seasons Hotels and many Las Vegas hotels like the Bellagio — where an ethernet hookup costs you $12.99 a day (plus $10.99 if you forgot your cable).
International business travelers are racking up an average of nearly $700 in cell-phone roaming charges per business trip, according to a study by global cellular communications provider Brightroam earlier this year.
Another study from the company, released last month, found that 68 percent of U.S. travelers report paying costly roaming fees charged by domestic carriers for cell phone use overseas.
I Flew All the Way Here for This?
Over at Seth Godin's Blog, the business author/speaker recently offered up his "new standard for meetings and conferences."
"The new rule seems to be that if you're going to spend the time and the money to see someone face to face, be in their face," Godin concludes. "Interact or stay home!"
BOSTON, May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the Department of Transportation's Air Travel Consumer Reports, more than 1.3 million bags were reported to have been "mishandled" (lost, delayed, damaged) by U.S.-based airlines between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2007. It's no surprise that with the recent increase in mishandled luggage, overage fees and airline restrictions, many families are dreading summer travel. Luggage Forward offers a solution by providing door-to-door luggage and sports equipment delivery to and from more than 200 countries or territories.
Playing Pebble Beach? For under $100, visitors can "luggage forward" their golf clubs from their door to the course within two business days. Traveling abroad? Families traveling from the U.S. to Europe may be faced with the weak dollar, but they can still enjoy Luggage Forward's extremely competitive international rates, up to 40% less than other shipping companies. Likewise, Europeans exploring America this summer can breeze through customs by shipping home the extra bag of goodies they accumulated during their stay.
"You can haul your bags to the airport, pay the extra baggage fees, then play luggage roulette with the system, or you can book with us. We'll simplify your trip and guarantee your bag arrives safely at its destination," Zeke Adkins, co-founder of Luggage Forward says. "We think the choice is simple. Once you try Luggage Forward, you may never go back."
Luggage Forward was recently selected as the exclusive luggage delivery partner of the renowned Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts, Starwood's international ensemble of fine hotels, and Exclusive Resorts, the leading vacation destination club, further affirming the company's leadership position in the emerging luggage forwarding industry.
Gift certificates are available and make great Fathers' Day or hostess gifts. Visit http://www.luggageforward.com for more information.
The cost of oil worldwide has definitely affected the cost of an airline ticket - everywhere. Many of the
Most of the airlines are also cracking down on overweight luggage. Most of the other airlines are only charging an extra $50 for luggage weighing between 51 and 70 pounds. For over 70 pounds it will cost an extra $100. Most of the rules above are for domestic travel. Most international rules regarding checked luggage have not changed: two checked bags (no charge), maximum weight is 70 pounds with no one bag weighing more than 50 pounds. I'm sure there are exceptions to these rules, check with the airline prior to your trip.
I can certainly understand airlines passing on higher costs. By the way, Southwest Airlines is not charging for checked luggage, soda or peanuts.
I realize the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative has relaxed its rules concerning everyone needing a passport by January 2008, when traveling outside the
What's the fastest way to board a plane?
A free-for-all, like Southwest Airlines? Boarding by window, middle seat or aisle, like United Airlines? Generally speaking, airline boarding procedures are as short on logic as they are long.
You don't have to be an overpaid airline analyst to know that the airline industry would prefer passengers feel good about the boarding process than for it to actually work better.
Do you really think allowing an elite passenger to board at any time is going to speed up the boarding process? Here are five secrets for boarding a plane quickly.
Fact is, the lighter your load, the faster you'll board. And the faster the passengers standing in line behind you will be able to board, too.
The savviest air travelers stand in the boarding area at least one zone before they're called. (If you store your bag in the front of the plane, you're guaranteed a spot for your luggage.) In my experience, most of the altercations between passengers and crew members involve luggage disputes during boarding (www.elliott.org/the-travel-critic/fight-or-flight/). "It was absolutely proven that carry-on luggage is the single biggest inhibitor of efficient boarding," remembers Robert Wing, a software consultant from
SINCE the Transportation Security Administration began cracking down on liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-on luggage last summer, travelers determined not to check their bags have been haunting the trial-size aisles at Wal-Mart, trolling for samples at department store cosmetics counters and hoarding tiny shampoos and lotions from hotel rooms.
Suggested retail prices are $6.99 for five shaving gel tablets and $7.99 for 25 tooth gel tablets. The company also offers a clear plastic quart-size toiletry bag with a zipper at a suggested price of $6.99; www.travelonbags.com.
Some airlines are pleading with travelers to start carrying their bags aboard again. Others have begun to charge passengers for checking more than one bag. In February, Spirit Airlines imposed a $10 fee for checking a second bag. Ms. Anderson, who carries a Ziploc bag as backup, offered to transfer her toiletries into that. In an e-mail response, Carrie Harmon, a spokeswoman, said that while the Transportation Security Administration “doesn’t endorse any specific liquid/gel products, bottles or bags,” any kind of clear bottle is O.K. as long its capacity is three ounces or less. Clear plastic bags with zipper tops are also O.K. as long as they are the designated one-quart size. Tablets and wipes don’t count as liquids or gels, so they don’t have to be in the one-quart bag. Travelers can find toiletries and packing goods designed with the new carry-on rules in mind at www.minimus.biz, which specializes in travel-size and trial-size items.
Of course, if travel regulations change, instant shave gel and other newfangled goods could become outmoded.
Then came tighter weight restrictions for checked baggage, causing logjams at airport check-in desks as vacationers promptly unzipped their suitcases, transferring shoes and other heavy items into carry-ons in an effort to lighten their checked luggage.
If I wear my business suit onboard, can I fit my snorkel into my wheelie bag? To help maximize packing space, she wore a layered outfit onboard consisting of jeans, a dress shirt, a beige linen blazer, a black belt, slip-on heels and a raincoat.
“I never pack for more than a week,” said Mr. Keoghan. Some carry-on bags are now designed with packing systems built in. This odd-looking wheelie bag, with an aluminum frame that sits outside the bag instead of inside, has a built-in seat and removable packing pouches that stack like drawers. Cost: $295.
Among the best-selling carry-on bags on eBags.com on a recent spot check: Heys Xcase 20-inch Lightweight (5 pounds, 4 ounces), eBags Mother Lode Mini 21-inch Wheeled Duffel (7 pounds, 13 ounces) and the Travelpro Crew6 22-inch Expandable Rollaboard Suiter (9 pounds, 8 ounces).
To help squish more stuff into a bag, consider compression bags offered at eBags.com or TravelSmith.com. If you really want to pare down your packing, TravelSmith.com sells $6 five-packs of disposable bikini briefs for women and $7 five-packs of briefs for men that are “lightweight and ultracompact for easy packing.”
Though some expert packers are taking another approach to the luggage rules: checking more bags. Even though Susan Foster, author of “Smart Packing for Today’s Traveler,” has the know-how to squeeze her stuff into a carry-on easily, she plans to pay the $15 to check her bag the next time she flies American.