Not my laptop! Airline passengers hit the device doldrums

Not my laptop! Airline passengers hit the device doldrums

By Barbara Ortutay

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK _ As the indignities of modern air travel go, the latest ban on laptops and tablets on some international flights falls somewhere between having to take off your ratty shoes at the security checkpoint and having your baby food and milk tested for bomb residue.

It’s yet another inconvenience in the name of security for weary travellers, especially those from or passing through the 10 mostly Middle Eastern and North African countries covered by new U.S. and British policies. While it’s not quite as disruptive as an outright ban on smartphones much less a travel ban based on nationality the laptop limitation loomed large for some people as they prepared to travel.

“Why are only Middle Eastern airlines subject to this ban?” asked Kelsey Norman, a doctoral student who plans to fly home Friday to Los Angeles from Beirut and expects to have to check her laptop, a Kindle tablet and her DSLR camera. “Overall this policy is inconvenient, discriminatory, and continues to hurt America’s rapidly deteriorating reputation globally.”

BAN LOGIC

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security rules forbid laptop computers, tablets, Kindles, some gaming devices, cameras and other electronics larger than a smartphone in carry-on baggage. The U.S. government cited unspecified threats as the reason for the ban. The U.K. government instituted a similar ban; neither government’s restrictions affect U.S.-based airlines.

On the positive side, items people can still carry into the airline cabin include smartphones, overstuffed duffel bags, winter coats, tiny bottles of hand lotion, Tupperware containers full of tuna salad, earplugs, nose hair trimmers, and babies. For now, at least tomorrow could bring a new unspecified threat and with it a new ban.

LOST PRODUCTIVITY

Other travellers, especially of the dutiful business variety, worried that laptops in checked bags could be stolen, damaged or compromised and that in the meantime, they wouldn’t be able to get any work done. Some tried rerouting flights to avoid the affected airports, but this is not easy.

Banu Akdenizli, a native of Turkey, said having to fly 17 hours without her laptop will cost her precious time to work and prepare for a conference.

“It might seem trivial to a lot of people, but what you get from these parts of the world are usually business travellers,” said Akdenizli, an associate professor of communications at the Doha, Qatar, campus of Northwestern University. “It’s not just about watching movies, but also being able to get some work done.”

Of course, others may well revel in the prospect of a few hours of laptop-free time, stretched out in their luxurious middle coach seats instead of hunched over Excel spreadsheets. It wasn’t so long ago that such this was the norm for air travellers.

And there still are a few ways to make do without those laptops, tablets and portable DVD players. Sort of.

AWKWARD WORKAROUNDS

If you’re someone who insists on working, it’s possible to take import documents into Google Docs and thumb away on your smartphone’s keyboard, at least so long as you remember to save them to your phone before you take off. But features can be limited with some apps; Microsoft’s Office app, for instance, only lets you open one document at a time.

Such apps are OK for simple proofreading and minor editing, but probably won’t do if you’re working on your novel. Among other things, the text is tiny when fitting a full page on a phone’s screen, though there’s a button to temporarily reformat text for the smaller display.

Catching up on email or cleaning out your inbox could be another way to pass time without your laptop, especially if you shell out for in-flight Wi-Fi.

If you can resist the urge to work, you can download shows from Netflix or Amazon onto your phone for offline viewing _ though again, you have to remember to do this before your flight. And you might want to stick with comedies or TV shows rather than epics designed for big screens.

AT LEAST IT’S NOT PHONES

For most of us, laptops and other gadgets play mere supporting roles compared to our extra limb, our one and only _ the smartphone. We go to sleep with it and look at it the first thing in the morning. Had the ban included smartphones, passengers might now be agitating for the return of zeppelin travel.

Last fall, Samsung asked users of its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 to “power down and stop using the device” when getting on a plane. (The phone was later banned, and then recalled.) People followed the directions but found clever workarounds, such as borrowing non-Note 7 phones from friends.

But at least then people could see Note 7s bursting into flames on YouTube, leading to the natural conclusion that this would be bad on a jetliner. Here, the threat is much harder to envision, travellers say.

A few manage anyway. Nick Lieber, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen living in Jerusalem, plans an April trip to Chicago that will take him through Amman, Jordan, and therefore subject him to the ban. He said stowing his laptop in his checked luggage won’t be too inconvenient because he doesn’t anticipate having work on the flight.

But he worries about laptop lithium-ion batteries which have been blamed for past aircraft fires stored in the plane’s cargo hold. “I’m a nervous flyer already,” Lieber said.

Teens tricky to travel with, but tips can help

Teens tricky to travel with, but tips can help

Excerpted article was written By Lisa Iannucci | TravelPulse

Source: The Columbus Dispatch

Let’s face it. Teens aren’t the easiest people to please. They want to be treated like adults and do their own thing — especially on vacation — but they aren’t quite adults yet.
Oh, and they also get bored easily, too.

“When you travel as a family and include your teens, you are helping them grow into well-rounded, valuable adults,” said Nina Fogelman, director of Ancient Summit Travel in Wellington, Florida. “I have heard it said, and totally agree, that passports should be the next diplomas. Shaping a teen’s mind by exposure to other cultures is one of the best things you can do for them.”

However, planning a vacation with teens comes with its unique set of challenges, so how do you make your trip a good one for them? Here are some recommendations:

Go all-inclusive

“Stay at an all-inclusive resort with a great teen club and activities,” said Margie Lenau, travel consultant with Wonderland Family Vacations in Walker, Michigan. “Teens love food, games and a place to hang out without adults where they can eat as much as they want, whenever they want to.”

For example, Lenau says, families with teens should check out Beaches Resorts in the Caribbean, which offer the Scratch DJ Academy. “Teens can learn to be a DJ and compete in a DJ face-off, or even perform at a party while they are there,” she said.

Involve them

“Try to involve them in the whole planning process,” said Denise Lorentzen with Dreams Travel in Hughson, California.

“Ask them what they would like to do. They will protest if they feel you chose all the activities, locations, etc. and they feel they don’t have a say,” she said.

Greg Antonelle, managing director of MickeyTravels, based in Long Valley, New Jersey, agrees.

“Survey the teen children to confirm their interest in the destination you are visiting,” he said. “Ask them for things they’d like to do and make them feel their desires are important. Have them provide input on restaurants, too. … If you have buy-in from the teens, it will ensure a great family vacation.”

Set expectations

“Is there free Wi-Fi at the resort?” asks Tracy K. Drechsler of Your Dream Travel Concierge in Oakdale, New York. “How many hours a day is acceptable for them to be on their devices or away from the family?

“Personally, when I travel with my teen and tween, phones go in the safe, and we bring a different color highlighter for each child, so we can select activities they want to do daily when on cruises and all-inclusive resorts. Meals and evening are family time. Knowing this before the trip begins makes for less arguing while away.”

Connected is OK

“If you have a teen (who’s) active on social media or talking/texting with friends, choose a resort with free Wi-Fi or purchase your cruise line’s social media package for them,” said Deborah Corwin of Dream Vacations in Lowell, Arkansas.

“The ability to Instagram selfies of all the cool stuff they are seeing and doing will help them to enjoy the time with family even more.”

Edited by ILSTV.

Spring Break Health and Safety Tips

Spring Break Health and Safety Tips

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC twenty four seven. Saving Lives, Protecting People

Make this year’s spring break memorable by having fun and helping yourself, your friends, and others stay safe and healthy.

Limit alcohol.

If drinking alcohol is part of your break, remember that it can impair your judgment and actions. Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill someone every 31 minutes and nonfatally injure someone every two minutes. Don’t drink and drive. There are plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives.

Be active.

You’ve probably been sitting most of the year working at the computer, studying, or in class. During the break, take the opportunity to start a fitness program. Do a variety of fun activities like walking, dancing, playing volleyball, swimming, and more. It doesn’t need to be hard to be beneficial. Avoid injury by starting any new activity slowly. Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Include activities that raise your breathing and heart rates and that strengthen your muscles.

Plan a successful trip.

If you are going on a trip, be prepared. Are vaccinations required? Are there special food, destination, or other things you need to consider ahead of time? If you are taking medications, do you have enough for the trip? Know what’s happening en route or at your travel destination.

Protect yourself.

Love is all around, and so are sexually transmitted diseases. The only 100% sure way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy is by not having sex. If you choose to have sex, using latex condoms and having a monogamous, uninfected partner may help lower your risk.

Women are more likely to be victims of sexual violence than men. Women who experience both sexual and physical abuse are significantly more likely to have sexually transmitted diseases. Take precautions and avoid situations or persons that may place you at risk for harm.

Watch your step.

There may be temptations on your break that involve different or high-risk activity. Think twice before putting yourself at risk for injury. Be sure to use appropriate safety gear before venturing out, such as seat belts, life vests, or knee pads. Remember that unintentional injuries kill more Americans in their first three decades of life than any other cause of death. In fact, injuries (both unintentional and those caused by acts of violence) are among the top ten killers for Americans of all ages.

Protect your eyes.

If you wear contact lenses, practice healthy wear and care tips, even when you’re on vacation. Carry a spare pair of glasses and contact lens supplies with you so you can take out your contacts safely when you need to. Remove contacts before swimming, as exposing contact lenses to water can lead to painful, sometimes blinding eye infections. Always take your contacts out before bed, even if you’re up late or traveling. Sleeping in contact lenses has been linked to serious eye infections.

Know the ropes.

When swimming and boating, know what’s expected and what you can do to prevent injury or death for yourself and others. Know how to swim. Wear your life jacket while boating. Avoid alcoholic beverages while boating. Complete a boating education course. Participate in the vessel safety check program.

Protect yourself from the sun.

After a cold winter, it’s tempting to stay in the hot sun all day. Although getting a little sun can have some benefits, excessive and unprotected sun exposure can result in premature aging, changes in skin texture, and skin cancer. Always wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15. For eye protection, wear wraparound sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV ray protection.

Eat healthy.

Having fun takes energy and fuel. Be sure to eat a variety of foods, including plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grain products. Also include low-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish, and legumes. Drink lots of water and go easy on the salt, sugar, alcohol, and saturated fat. Good nutrition should be part of an overall healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity, not smoking, and stress management.

Be smoke-free.

Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Just 20 minutes after smoking that last cigarette, your body begins a series of positive changes that continue for years. Quitting is one of the best things you can do for yourself and others.

Friday St. Patrick’s Day Means More Time To Get Away

Friday St. Patrick’s Day Means More Time To Get Away

You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy St Patrick’s Day, and you don’t need to book a flight to Ireland either. There are plenty of North American cities within easy reach that celebrate St. Paddy’s Day, and, with March 17 falling on a Friday (and during March Break week for many Canadians), there’s no better time to go for the green. Whether you like a non-stop pub crawl, parades with floats, marching bands and step dancing, or wacky local customs – like the greening of fountains and rivers –this year’s Friday St. Patrick’s Day gives you a great opportunity to get in the fun of a destination celebration. To help you get your plans off the ground, the travel experts at Cheapflights.ca, the champions of simple travel search, have compared the fares and found 17 Affordable Last-Minute St. Patrick’s Day Getaways for Canadians with a line-up of green-clad fun from Montreal to Miami and Victoria to Halifax.

Below are details on just a few of the budget-friendly spots found with plenty of St. Patrick’s Day fun on tap, along with the average round-trip airfare for flights departing March 15-17:

  • Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. – $338 (CAD) – Whether you make Boston your sole stop for St. Paddy’s Day weekend or combine it with a side trip to nearby Providence, R.I., the main event is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston on Sunday, March 19. Weekend celebrations also include American Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys’ concert at the House of Blues on March 16 and walking Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail.
  • Kelowna, British Columbia$453 (CAD)St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect holiday to hop on Kelowna’s craft beer scene. Swig adventurous flavour profiles at Kettle River Brewing, raise a glass of IPA at BNA Brewing Co., sample German-style lagers with the city’s new kid on the block Boundary Brewing, knock back Lebowski Lager from Freddy’s Brew Pub and salute the godfather of Kelowna’s craft scene, Tree Brewing Co. at their Tree Brewing Beer Institute. Don green garb and head downtown to partake in festive parties at Carlos O’Bryan’s, O’Flannigans, Fernando’s Pub and Doc Willoughby’s Public House.
  • Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S. – $488 (CAD)Indianapolis, Ind., is so festive even the Central Canal is dyed green. But choosing just one event will be a challenge. Celebrate all things Irish in Indy starting with the fifth annual Blarney Bash at 11:00 a.m. on March 17. The massive block party features live music, tasty treats and drink vendors lining the boardwalk. Or head over to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade at 11:30 a.m. There’s a block party there, as well, with entertainment, food and a beer garden from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. More live music, Irish food and fun waits at the 20th annual Indianapolis Downtown Irish Fest beginning at noon on March 17. Cap off the celebration at the sixth annual St. Pats Bar Crawl on March 18.
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia – $498 (CAD) – To get your St. Patrick’s Day foodie fix in Halifax, join the best craic in town and indulge in Irish breakfast all day at Durty Nelly’s. On the 17th, enjoy dinner and performances by the Nova Scotia Irish Dancers and traditional music at the Festival of St. Patrick Dinner and dance the night away at the Saint Paddy’s Dance in Dartmouth. Drink for a cause at the St. Patrick’s Day Pub Party at Jenny’s Place, which supports the Northern Lights Lantern Festival.
  • Fort Myers, Florida, U.S. – $538 (CAD) – Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a laid-back beach vibe in Fort Myers, Fla. The annual downtown block party on Friday, March 17, offers music, food and drink from 4-10 p.m. Fitzgerald’s Irish Pub hosts one of the area’s most popular parties on Friday, March 17, with bagpipers, Irish dancers, corned beef and cabbage and plenty o’ beer. Prep for all this eating and drinking with Gold Coast Runners St. Patrick’s Day 5K Fun Run on Thursday, March 16. See if you can win the Who’s the Greenest contest by wearing the most green gear and dance to live Irish music post-race.

From 5K beer runs to film festivals and fancy balls, there’s no shortage of St. Patrick’s Day events that are worth the journey. To see our full list of picks for fun-filled St. Paddy’s destinations that won’t bust your travel budget, check out Cheapflights.ca’s 17 Affordable Last-Minute St. Patricks Day Getaways for Canadians at www.cheapflights.ca/news/affordable-last-minute-st-patricks-day-getaways.

About Cheapflights.ca, part of the Momondo Group
Founded in 1996, Cheapflights is a leading global flight comparison and deals publishing platform dedicated to taking the complexity out of finding the best value flights through the application of innovative, intuitive technologies: Smart search. Made simple. It is now a market leader in the UK, US, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand generating more than C$4 billion in global downstream revenue for its partners as it expands into numerous other territories. More than 120 million users visit its websites and apps each year, receiving more than two billion search results a month from across 900,000 routes. The 10 million strong opt-in subscribers to the Cheapflights newsletter receive the best deals from more than 120 travel businesses – for whom it has driven more than C$80 million in revenue this year. Together, the Cheapflights platforms generate enough bookings for its partners to fill a Boeing 747 every five minutes.

In 2011, Cheapflights became part of the privately owned online travel search and inspiration network, Momondo Group.

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SOURCE Cheapflights.ca

5 Things All Travel Insiders Do Before Boarding the Plane

5 Things All Travel Insiders Do Before Boarding the Plane

By Kelsey Clark | MYDOMAINE

Traveling can be a stressful process. Between packing, getting through security, and soaring through the skies at a casual 35,000 feet, air travel can wreak havoc on both your body and your mind. To ensure your trip goes as smoothly as possible, Travel + Leisure created a pre-boarding checklist for the intrepid traveler. Don’t board the plane until you’ve checked the following five items off of your list. 

1. Get fast-tracked. As any experienced jet-setter knows, TSA PreCheck is well-worth the $85 (for five years, no less). As Travel + Leisure points out, it will expedite you through over 130 domestic airports, saving you countless hours in the process.

2. Buy some peace of mind: Don’t let a flight delay or cancellation ruin your vacation; Berkshire Hathaway’s AirCare insurance will actually reimburse you for a flight delay of more than two hours, if you miss a connecting flight because of a delay, or if an airline loses your bag for more than 12 hours.

3. Sign up for text alerts: Flight-tracking service FlightStats will hook you up with text and email alerts for your upcoming flight. Never arrive two hours early for a delayed flight again.

4. Make sure your carry-on is really a carry-on. With expanding zipper compartments and soft fabric, you can fit almost anything into a carry-on. Unfortunately, your carry-on may not fit into the overhead bin. Double check the size limits for carry-ons and avoid the hassle of checking a bag last-minute.

5. Do your research. Frantically roaming around an airport in search of your gate is anxiety-inducing; skip the sweat with the GateGuru app. It will help you navigate airport terminals at more than 200 airports around the world.

Sunwing Travel Group recognized among Canada’s top employers by Forbes

Sunwing Travel Group recognized among Canada’s top employers by Forbes

Press Release:

The Sunwing Travel Group is pleased to have been included within Forbes’ ranking of Canada’s 300 Best Employers. Considered to be one of the world’s leading sources of reliable business news and financial information, the global media company collaborated with online statistics provider Statista to survey over 8000 Canadian employees—81% full timers—working for companies with at least 500 people to rate their willingness to recommend their own companies on a scale of 1-10. Those who took part in the survey were consulted anonymously through several online access panels.

The news was welcomed by Stephen Hunter, President and CEO of Sunwing Travel Group, who commented. “We believe investing in our employees is vital and are extremely pleased to be included in this list. The Sunwing Travel Group has grown and expanded dramatically over the years and we attribute this growth and success to the passion and dedication of our team.”

North America’s largest vertically-integrated travel business, the Sunwing Travel Group employs almost 17,000 people internationally and has been included on the PROFIT 500 list for the last 12 years consecutively. The company’s headquarters in Toronto were recently extended and refurbished. Employees benefit from free parking, a subsidized staff restaurant and coffee house, together with a lunchroom to enable them to make their own meals if they prefer.

Employees also receive an attractive benefits package which includes medical and dental, and they can opt to join an RRSP matching program.  A new user-friendly HR portal was also recently implemented to provide employees access to their payroll, benefits, and many other features anywhere and anytime. Employees can take advantage of preferential rates on a number of services from insurance to gym memberships. In particular, Sunwing is the only airline to reward employees with confirmed flight passes for travelling to and from any of Sunwing’s destinations domestically and internationally. Staff members also receive discounted rates at certain hotels and resorts, as well as selected excursions. Friends and family members of Sunwing employees also benefit from travel promotions.

To learn about career opportunities, visit www.sunwingtravelgroup.com

About Sunwing Travel Group

The largest integrated travel business in North America, Sunwing Travel Group is comprised of Sunwing Vacations, the leading leisure tour operator in Canada; Sunwing Airlines, Canada’s premier leisure airline; Signature Vacations, one of Canada’s leading tour operators for all inclusive package vacations and Vacation Express, a growing tour operator in the United States together with the Group’s own travel retail businesses SellOffVacations.com and Luxe Destination Weddings. Blue Diamond Resorts is the Sunwing Travel Group’s own hotel management company, an innovative organization that operates popular resort brands like Royalton Luxury Resorts, CHIC by Royalton, Grand Lido, Memories, and Starfish, across the Caribbean, Cuba and Mexico; while NexusTours provides destination management services to individuals, agencies, tour groups, corporate businesses and tour operators.

SOURCE Sunwing Travel Group

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