Amazon Enters the Travel and Tourism Market

Amazon has quietly entered the online travel agent space that's currently occupied by giants like Booking.com, Airbnb and Expedia, which acquired Orbitz earlier this February.

Traveling Lighter: Results

I spent, what was essentially a long weekend in Portland, and decided to make this my first trip where I ditched my rolling carry-on for a backpack. The results: I'm very, very glad I made the switch.

The Costs (and Potential Costs) of Flying to NYC During a Blizzard

On Sunday night, I got an email from United Airlines to let me know that my Tuesday evening flight to Newark had pre-emptively been canceled due to Blizzardy Storm Juno.

This Weekend, Put The “Me” In Yosemite

We stayed in what was supposed to be a small hotel but ended up being a trailer on someone's horse farm.

Traveling Lighter

And then I found the Mother Lode.

Have a Terrible Time Traveling? Good! You’re Supposed To

The New Yorker is as angry as that sedate, patrician magazine gets in this screed about the state of the travel industry, specifically airlines, and how their intent is to make us deliberately miserable:

The fees have proved a boon to the U.S. airlines, which will post a projected twenty-billion-dollar profit in 2014. To be fair, airlines are not just profiting because of fee income. Reduced competition, thanks to mergers, helps. There is also the plummet in the price of oil, which the airlines seem to have collectively agreed is no reason to reduce fares or even remove “fuel surcharges.” But for the past decade it is fees that have been the fastest-growing source of income for the main airlines, having increased by twelve hundred per cent since 2007. …

the fee model comes with systematic costs that are not immediately obvious. Here’s the thing: in order for fees to work, there needs be something worth paying to avoid. That necessitates, at some level, a strategy that can be described as “calculated misery.” Basic service, without fees, must be sufficiently degraded in order to make people want to pay to escape it. And that’s where the suffering begins.

Extortion! Sadly, even longtime holdout (and my up-to-this-point favorite airline) JetBlue is in getting in on the action. 

The Business of Sitting on Airplanes

There is an option, sometimes, like on an airline like Delta, where you can buy "trip extras" in advance. I always buy the Wi-Fi passes ahead of time because they're $16, rather than $34 if you're buying them during your flight. For $15, you can buy a "priority boarding" pass, which allows you to be one of the first passengers on the plane, giving you early access to the overhead bins and allowing you ample time to get comfortable in your seat.

Taking a Different Flight in Exchange for a Voucher

On changing your travel plans in exchange for a voucher.

The Economics of Reclining Seats During Flights

During my flight home, the passenger in front of me turned around and mumbled something, and when I said, "I'm sorry, I didn't hear you," the passenger across the aisle from her said: "She asked you if it would be okay for her to recline her seat."