If you are a traveler, and I am, then this is not good for you.

Mitch McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao who is our new Secretary of Transportation, doesn’t want you to know the ancillary fees you are being charged on your airline ticket. She wants to take power and choice away from the consumer, and give all the powerr to her big business cronies. But more on that in the article below.

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Apparently Trump also wants to cut the TSA budget by 11% to help pay for his stupid wall. The TSA. Seriously.

The TSA are our first line of defense helping our flights to stay safe. They are already understaffed and underfunded, which caused horrendous delays last summer. It could be argued that a stronger TSA would have prevented 9/11, the single biggest act of terrorism in our country. I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would even consider weakening rather than strengthening the TSA. If you have perspective on this please enlighten me in the comments section below!

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I found this article, written by Tim Winship, while clicking around on SmarterTravel.com.

Trump Administration Blocks Travel-Consumer Protections

Airline pricing transparency: Who’s for it, and who’s against it?

Obviously, consumers are pro-transparency. Without it, travel buyers don’t know the full price, the real price, of an airline ticket until they’ve worked their way through the entire booking process, when all the ancillary fees (for bags, seat selection, and so on) are finally folded into the advertised price.

Without transparency, the advertised price amounts to bait-and-switch.

Against transparency — at least government-mandated transparency, which is the only reliable form of transparency — are the airlines, both individually and via the trade organization that represents their interests, Airlines for America. They argue that forcing full disclosure is unnecessarily intrusive and expensive. It’s their version of the same argument that Big Business predictably raises against consumer protections: There’s no need for the government to impose rules; the invisible hand of the marketplace will ensure that consumers’ best interests are accommodated.

Mediating between the two is the federal government, which is charged with overseeing the best interests of both travelers and travel suppliers. Which brings us to the Department of Transportation’s supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking to the Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees rule.

The proposal would have required full disclosure of all ancillary fees, early in the booking process, by both airlines and travel distributors like Expedia and Travelocity. The proposed rule had been subject to comments from the public and the travel industry, with the overwhelming opinion favoring pricing transparency.

And it was clear that, based on the evidence and feedback, the DOT was leaning toward imposing rules that would require transparency:

For the average consumer looking for the total cost of travel, he or she must frequently review a complex chart to determine his or her baggage fees particularly for interline itineraries and guess what an assigned seat fee might cost. We disagree with airlines and airline associations that these facts do not reflect consumer harm as we believe the additional time spent searching to find the total cost of travel and the additional funds spent on air transportation that might have been avoided if the consumer had been able to determine the true cost of travel up front are the harms suffered by consumers when basic ancillary service fees are not adequately disclosed.

Nevertheless, last week, the new DOT secretary, Elaine Chao, prematurely suspended further public comment, to “allow the President’s appointees the opportunity to review and consider this action.” That’s none-too-subtle code for “No further action.”

Naturally, Airlines for America, speaking for the industry at large, was thrilled with the move:

We applaud Secretary Chao’s leadership today and look forward to an era of smarter regulation that protects consumers from unfair practices, but does not step in when action is not warranted. Today’s action is a common sense measure reinforcing that the airline industry is capable of making the decisions that best serve our customers, our employees and the communities we serve.

Travel consumers, on the other hand, should be disheartened that their voices were overruled by the interests of a few corporations and their well compensated lobbyists. That will be business, Big Business, as usual, at least for the next four years.


Affordable Travel Insurance

travel beauty silk pillowcase

Keeping my frizzy hair smooth in San Gimignano, Tuscany

 

Right now I am super busy putting this summer’s Glam Italia Tours together.

I’m already thinking about what to pack, as I will be away for 6 weeks this time, and I always want to travel lighter. It’s not easy!

Part of the travel equation, and especially the international travel equation, is keeping your beauty game on point. You want to pack fewer things than you use at home but you want to look and feel fabulous. I try to scale back my hair products and tools, but at the same time I have to put extra effort into keeping my hair smooth and frizz free while I’m away.  I also try to get more mileage out of each blow out so that I’m not wasting perfectly good travel time doing battle with a hairdryer.

I was talking about this with my hairdresser, who just got back from Europe and totally gets the dilemma. She added another salient point – you want to land with good hair, not smushed up, flat, or jacked up hair.

She gave me the best idea ever – travel with a silk pillowcase.

 

When you sleep on a cotton pillowcase it leeches moisture out of your hair, making it more susceptible to frizzy-ness and shortening the life of your blowout, as well as giving you the un-sexy version of bedhead.

Cotton pillowcases also leave creases on your face and are thought to contribute to the aging process. Your hair stays smoother when you sleep on silk, your blowout lasts longer, you don’t wake up with crinkles in your skin, and every night you spend sleeping on silk is a night that your complexion will love you.

When you are taking a long-haul, international flight slip your nasty airplane pillow with it’s scratchy cover and dubious cleanliness, inside your silk pillowcase, and arrive looking refreshed and lovely.

I found this one on Amazon: Pure Silk Pillowcase, 100% Mulberry Silk, OEKO-TEX Certified, Prevents Sleep Wrinkles, Protects Hair (Queen (20 by 30 inch), White)

This one also look good: 100% Silk Pillowcase for Hair Zippered Luxury 25 Momme Mulberry Silk Charmeuse Silk on Both Sides of Cover -Gift Wrapped- (Queen, Natural Undyed White)

While I was looking on Amazon I also found this silk and copper infused eye mask. Copper has been shown to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Here is the Amazon link: A Silk Sleep Mask for Women -Get a facial while you sleep. Pure Luxury. Mulberry Silk and Copper Ion Technology Eye Mask. Great Sleeping at Home, Travel. Cut Light and Sound when You Buy Today!

Every day Smarter Travel sends me emails with all kinds of great travel info.

This one was in my inbox today, and the timing could not be better because not only am I booking all my flights for my 2017 Glam Tours right now, but my travelers are booking their flights too! One of them just got an amazing deal on Turkish Airlines, and she is going to be super excited to see her airline on this list.

The way I see it we get to choose who we fly, and with so many airlines scaling back right now and making your cramped travel experience worse, why not put your hard earned dollars with an airline who wants to make you feel special?

The following article was written by Christine Sarkis

10 Surprisingly Free Airline Perks

EVA airlines Hello Kitty

Surprise! We lost your luggage. Surprise! Your tray table is broken. While it seems like most airline surprises end in disappointment, a few bold airlines are delighting passengers every day with pleasing perks to make flying just a little better. Some—like traditional sweets on Turkish Airlines and lounge access on Porter Airlines—are available regardless of where you sit in the plane. Others—aromatherapy on ANA, for instance, or Birchbox goodie bags on JetBlue—are reserved for passengers in premium seats.

Turkish Airlines: Candlelit Meals and Turkish Delights

Turkish Airlines: Candlelit Meals and Turkish Delights

Intercontinental flights bring sweet treats to all passengers on Turkish Airlines. Traditional sweet, sticky Turkish delight candies are part of the in-flight experience. For business-class passengers, the small indulgences continue with candlelit meals and Turkish coffee. Electric candles glow within tiny luminarias that cast a soft, romantic light on meals provided by the airline’s “flying chefs.”

EVA Airways: Hello Kitty Everything

EVA Airways: Hello Kitty Everything

EVA has taken the go-big-or-go-home advice to heart with its Hello Kitty Jets. These six jets offer an all-in Hello Kitty experience that starts at check-in with Hello Kitty boarding passes and continues throughout the flight with themed music, headrest covers, paper cups, utensils, soap, meals, and ice cream. Flight attendants even wear Hello Kitty aprons. And while these flights are popular with families, the appeal goes beyond kids. According to Mr. K.W. Nieh at EVA, people of all ages book the Hello Kitty Jet flights. Want to see more pictures? So did we, so we compiled more of our favorite images into this photo tour.

Emirates: Toys for Kids

Emirates: Toys for Kids

Kids will find plenty of entertaining company aboard Emirates flights. The airline’s “Fly with Me Monsters” collection includes blanket buddies wrapped in soft fleece blankets, seat-belt critters (worn on the seat belt to make buckling up more fun), and magnetic sketching toys. Kids can choose one of four monster characters—Jimbob, Tezz, Camus, and Wagga—each with its own interests (including one who loves to take selfies).

Singapore Airlines: 3-D Games and Learning Apps

Singapore Airlines: 3-D Games and Learning Apps

On select flights, Singapore Airlines offers entertainment that you can almost reach out and touch. Its range of video games includes 3-D and multiplayer games such as ThinkTanks. Passengers can also brush up on language skills with a Berlitz Word Traveler language-learning tool, learn about local customs with the b-Wise CultureQuest app, or listen to business-book digests using Soundview Executive Book Summaries.

ANA: Aromatherapy Cards

ANA: Aromatherapy Cards

Deep breathing is one of the keys to a comfortable flight. And on ANA, each inhalation comes with a little something extra for business- and first-class passengers. The airline offers two aromatherapy cards that passengers can sniff or simply tuck into a pocket for a more subtle scent. The “Relax” card’s lavender blend is used for sleep support, while the “Refresh” card helps to shake off end-of-flight grogginess and get you ready for your destination.

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Porter Airlines: Lounges for Everyone

Porter Airlines: Lounges for Everyone

Lounge access for every passenger: That’s what sets Canada’s Porter Airlines apart. With free newspapers, Wi-Fi, and complimentary Starbucks coffee, Tazo teas, juices, sodas, and snacks, the airline makes waiting for a flight very nearly pleasant. Lounges in Toronto, Ottawa, and Newark feature comfortable seating, work spaces, charging areas, and did we mention free snacks?

Virgin Atlantic: In-Flight Bars

Virgin Atlantic: In-Flight Bars

Fighting DVT has never looked so good. Upper-class passengers on Virgin Atlantic flights can stretch their legs at the onboard bar while sipping cocktails at 35,000 feet. The bar, which is separate from the cabin, can accommodate up to eight passengers at a time. Rotating signature drinks share the menu with Lanson Black Label Champagne, Aberfeldy 12-year-old single-malt whisky, and a range of other options.

JetBlue: Birchbox for Mint

JetBlue: Birchbox for Mint

Mint, JetBlue’s new premium class, offers more than just lie-flat seats and full-bottle wine service. It has partnered with Birchbox for its amenities kits. Men’s and women’s kits are filled with travel-friendly items that change regularly. The current lineup includes Benefit Cosmetics mascara, Ernest Supplies Cooling Shave Cream, and The Laundress Wash & Stain Bar. Each kit also comes with a sweet treat as a parting gift.

Qantas: Preordered Meals

Qantas: Preordered Meals

Ordering ahead: It’s the perfect way to make sure the flight attendant doesn’t run out of your preferred meal just before reaching you. On many international flights, Qantas offers premium-economy and business-class passengers the option to browse a menu and order items seven days to 12 hours in advance of flights, using its Q-Eat system.

Hawaiian Airlines: Island Specialties

Hawaiian Airlines: Island Specialties

Vacation starts just after takeoff on Hawaiian Airlines flights. The airline’s focus on Hawaiian foods extends to its complementary offerings. On North America-to-Hawaii flights departing before 10 a.m., passengers are offered free mai tais. There’s also POG (passion fruit-orange-guava juice), Koloa Breeze rum punch, AlohaMacs chocolate, and guava cookies. More Hawaiian specialties (toffee-coated macadamia nuts, local popcorn, and coconut cookies) are available for purchase.

airline perks

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