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Jet, Kingfisher hike air fares, Air India to follow soon

June 18, 2009

Air travellers in India will have to shell out more for their tickets from Wednesday with Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines and their no-frill subsidiaries hiking fuel surcharge by Rs 400 each on all domestic sectors and Air India indicating it will soon follow suit. The rise in fuel surcharge came in the wake of a 33 per cent increase in the prices of air turbine fuel (ATF) over the past three months, the airlines said.

For Jet Airways, the hike would take the total fuel surcharge on a ticket below a distance of 750 kms to Rs 2,450 and beyond that to Rs 3,400. For its no-frill subsidiaries Jet Airways Konnect and JetLite, it would be Rs 2,150 and Rs 3,100 respectively.

A Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson said the hike would apply uniformly for flights across all distances and all classes of travel, including subsidiary Kingfisher Red. The increase has been made effective by all these carriers for bookings from Wednesday.

An Air India spokesperson said “We are also seriously contemplating an upward revision in fuel surcharge in view of the continuous increase in ATF prices” and a decision was expected in a couple of days. Air India currently levies fuel surcharge of Rs 1,950 and Rs 2,700 on air tickets up to and beyond 750 kms respectively.

Officials of no-frill carriers IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir were mulling their options saying they were yet to take a decision. These carriers currently charge Rs 2,000 as surcharge.

The increase in fuel surcharge comes following an over 12 per cent rise in ATF prices by state-run oil firms on June 15 and over 33 per cent since March this year. The international crude oil prices have firmed to a seven month high of USD 72 per barrel on hopes of demand revival in the US.

Luton Airport to charge £1 to drop-off passengers

June 18, 2009

London’s Luton Airport (IATA: LTN) will begin charging drivers £1 to drop-off passengers from July 1. Drivers will pay at barriers at the exit of the zone. They will have to stay with their vehicles while inside the drop-off zone and will have to leave it within ten minutes. Luton already charges £1 for the use of luggage trolleys and the same amount for clear plastic bags in which to take liquids through security.

Travellers can also pay £3 to use a “priority lane” to get through security more quickly. The airport said that drivers who did not wish to use the drop-off zone could leave passengers at the mid-term car park from where a free shuttle bus leaves every ten minutes for the two-minute journey to get to the terminal.

Abertis, the airport operator, also runs Cardiff and Belfast airports, prompting concerns that similar fees could spread to other airports across the UK.

Birmingham airport already charges drivers £1 for 15 minutes at its drop-off area near the terminal.

London Luton Airport (previously called Luton International Airport) is an international airport located 1.5 NM (2.8 km; 1.7 mi) east of the town centre in the Borough of Luton in Bedfordshire, England and is 30.5 NM (56.5 km; 35.1 mi) north of Central London. The airport is 2 mi (3.2 km) from Junction 10a of the M1 motorway. It is the fourth largest airport serving the London area after Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, and is one of London’s five international airports along with London City Airport.

Read more here.

[Source: The Times Online]

New travel site offers a cut of the cash

June 18, 2009

A new travel site launches today,, which hopes to provide user-generated travel advice with a twist. The brainchild of founder Simon Nixon, the guide will encourage users to share their tips with the community by offering them a cut of clickthrough revenue – the commissions received on flight, holiday and hotel bookings that originate from the site – and display revenue from advertising.

Simonseeks enters a crowded user-generated content (UGC) market – dominated by longstanding forerunners Tripadvisor and Virtual Tourist – with lofty ambitions, aiming to establish itself as one of the top 10 travel websites in the UK within its first year.

Nixon, who founded 10 years ago and is reported to have made over £100m when the company was floated in 2007, hopes to create a cottage industry of travel writers. “I am confident that within a year of launch, we will see professional simonseekers who have been able to give up their day job and earn an income from their travel writing.”

In preparation for today’s launch, the site has been pre-populated with more than 1,000 reviews written by an assortment of established travel writers and celebrities, including Sir Cliff Richards’ guide to the Algarve and Barbados, and Raymond Blanc’s guide to the South of France.

[Source: The Guardian]

Save on summer travel

June 17, 2009

Summer is almost here, so before you load the kids into the car to escape town, there are few money-saving tips you might want to consider.

When traveling internationally:

  • Visit destinations where the U.S. dollar is closest in value to the local currency.
  • Look for all inclusive packages, such as resorts or cruises and pay upfront in U.S. dollars.
  • Ask your travel agent about locations that may be less costly as they are in their ‘off season’.

Save money on hotels:

  • Ask your travel agent about upgrading your hotel reservation to a room with two king size beds instead of getting two hotel rooms when traveling in groups or with kids.
  • Ask your travel agent to find hotels where kids stay for free or cheaper when traveling with kids.
  • Ask your travel agent to find a hotel room with a kitchenette so you can take care of a few meals yourself instead of eating out for every meal.
  • Your travel agent can suggest properties that might offer complimentary breakfast or heavy hors d’oeuvres in the afternoon.

When traveling by car:

  • Pack the car as light as possible – the more weight, the harder the car works and the more gas you use.
  • When renting a car for a large group of people, renting one SUV saves on gas mileage vs. renting two smaller cars.
  • Make sure tire pressure is accurate so that gas is spent efficiently.
  • Use only the grade level of gas that your car owners manual calls for, nothing more.
  • Use cruise control to run the engine efficiently and save on gas.

Save at home while you are away:

  • Turn the air conditioning off or down.
  • Put your lights on timers.
  • Unplug large appliances like TV’s and computers.
  • Turn off automatic sprinklers.

Other Tips:

  • Buy travel insurance: it may cost more upfront, but has the potential to save you thousands.
  • Fly in and out of airports that may be farther outside of the city to get cheaper flights then take public transportation into the city.
  • If a family member has a business trip, consider adding your vacation onto the end of the trip so there is one less plane ticket to pay for.
  • Consider a volunteer vacation–the volunteer portion of your travel may be a tax write-off.

Photo of the day: Fort Aguada, Goa

June 16, 2009
Fort Aguada, Goa

Fort Aguada, Goa

The beaches of Candolim and Sinquerim (below Fort Aguada) are popular with charter and upmarket tourists. The pace is a little less frenetic than at Calangute and Baga up the coast. Independent travellers are rare here, most of the hotels being favoured by package-tour operations. The beach at Fort Aguada is notable for its rocky and attractive headland, while Candolim has the rusting hulk of a grounded tanker, the River Princess – it’s not a very pretty princess. Some of the best-value beach accommodation in Goa lines
the quiet back lanes of both villages.

Guarding the mouth of the Mandovi River, Fort Aguada was constructed by the Portuguese in 1612. It’s worth visiting the moated ruins on the hilltop for the views, which are particularly good from the old lighthouse.
Nearby is the new lighthouse (adult/child Rs 5/3; 4-5.30pm). It’s a pleasant 2km ride along a hilly, sealed road to the fort, or you can walk via a steep, uphill path past Marbella Guest House. Beneath the fort, facing the Mandovi, is the Aguada Jail. Most of the inmates here (including some tourists on compulsory, extended stays) are in on drug charges. Needless to say, it’s not really much of tourist destination.

There are various boat cruises on offer. The best value are John’s Boat Tours (Tel: +91 832 2497450), further up behind Candolim Beach. The half-day dolphin trip (Rs 795, with a no-dolphin, no-pay guarantee) includes lunch and beers on the boat; the popular full-day ‘Crocodile Dundee’ river trip (Rs 995) includes lunch at a spice plantation and free drinks. It also offers an overnight backwater trip on a Kerala-style houseboat (Rs 4000 full board), and a variety of nonwatery trips. The Taj Holiday Village organizes para-gliding and rents jet-skis and windsurfing equipment.

Emergency phone numbers for vacation travel

June 15, 2009

With summer here, you are probably about to pack your bags, the car and the family for your vacation. And, one other item you need to prepare is your cell phone. You should have the numbers in your directory you may need in case of emergency. Here’s an quick reminder of those important contacts that you may be forgetting.

One of the first numbers to program in your cell phone is your credit card hotline. If you have a stolen or lost card, you need to report it immediately. Next, emergencies on the road. After calling for help, you need to contact your insurance company. Depending on the circumstances, your insurance card may not be readily available. Unless your insurance has other arrangements, select a towing company and put in that number. It can save time if you may be stranded.

Before you find yourself locked out of your car or home, do some research and put in the number of a reliable locksmith. Next up – health insurance. The number is probably on the back of your card; and can be an easy, quick way to call if the number is already programmed. Speaking of health, your doctor’s number should be in your directory. This will come in handy when out of town and you need information.

Do you travel a lot? Go ahead and program the number of your travel agent or airline that you use. Need a business number and don’t want to call 411 and pay? Try, 1-800-GOOG-411 and get the number free. Again, for business only.

You may want to have a co-worker’s number in your phone, just in case. And, add your own home and work phone numbers, so if you lose your cell phone. Hopefully some honest person will call you and return!

Top ten numbers you might need:

1. Credit card hotline
2. Car insurance company
3. Towing company
4. Reliable locksmith
5. Health insurance company
6. Your doctor
7. Airline – If you travel a lot
8. For business number info – 1-800-GOOG-411
9. Co-worker’s number
10. Your own numbers

Here is another one for you. Microsoft recently launched a new search engine called Bing. It offers a service similar to GOOG-411 with even more features, including driving directions. To reach it, just dial 1-800-BING-411. It is a free service!

BusJunction helps you find a bus route

June 15, 2009 works something like Expedia or Orbitz in the way it helps travelers find their way in a crowded market. But unlike those two popular airfare Web sites, BusJunction doesn’t sell tickets; it steers its users to the online ticketing on the bus companies’ home pages. It’s an aggregator of data, like, not a booking site.

Continue reading

ten links for today

June 12, 2009

1. The one country you have to visit

2. Volcano Boarding

3. Giant Sandcastle Hotel

4. The Master Packing List For Compact Travellers

5. 15 Awesome Sites to See in Namibia

6. Smoke-free Hotels

7. World’s Worst Cultural Mistakes

8. Israel’s Museums

9. Tanzania Safaris: Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Lake Manyara

10. Taking the Subway in Tokyo – The Basics

MakeMyTrip offers free air tickets on booking hotels and holidays

June 12, 2009 has tied up with low-cost airline SpiceJet, offering “free unlimited SpiceJet air tickets on the booking of hotels or holidays” through the online travel agency.

The free ticket is given to every traveller on every purchase. The offer is valid on hotel room-nights booked online and holidays booked through call centre or through walk-ins in the company stores across 25 locations.


Travellers can get unlimited tickets depending on the number of hotel-room nights or the length of holidays they book.

According to MakeMyTrip, customers need to confirm their free tickets 21 days in advance of their preferred travel dates. The number of free tickets increases with pax and duration of stay. Thus, a family of four, travelling for four nights will receive 16 tickets. The customer needs to pay the taxes on the tickets.

[Source: eyefortravel]

Photo of the day: Oman

June 12, 2009


Considerations for Responsible Trekking

June 11, 2009


Trekking can place great pressure on wilderness areas and you should take special care when trekking to help preserve the ecology and beauty of the country or place. The following tips are common sense, but they are also mandated by some governments, and you, or your guide, could be fined for not observing them.


  • Carry out all your rubbish. If you’ve carried it in you can carry it out. Don’t overlook those easily forgotten items, such as silver paper, cigarette butts and plastic wrappers. Empty packaging weighs very little and should be stored in a dedicated rubbish bag. Make an effort to carry out rubbish left by others.
  • Minimize the waste you must carry out by reducing packaging and taking no more than you will need. If you can’t buy in bulk, unpack small packages and combine their contents in one container before your trek. Take reusable containers or stuff sacks.
  • Sanitary napkins, tampons and condoms should also be carried out despite the inconvenience. They burn and decompose poorly.

Human Waste Disposal

  • Contamination of water sources by human faeces can lead to the transmission of hepatitis, typhoid and intestinal parasites. It can cause severe health risks not only to members of your party, but also to local residents and wildlife. A toilet tent can or usually is set up at each camp; please use it.
  • Where there is no toilet tent, bury your waste. Dig a small hole 15cm deep and at least 100m from any watercourse. Consider carrying a lightweight trowel for this purpose. Cover the waste with soil and a rock. Use toilet paper sparingly and burn it or bury it with the waste. In snow, dig down to the soil otherwise your waste will be exposed when the snow melts.


  • Don’t use detergents or toothpaste, even if they are biodegradable, in or near watercourses. For personal washing, use biodegradable soap and a basin at least 50m away from any watercourse. Widely disperse the waste water to allow the soil to filter it fully before it finally makes it back to the watercourse.


  • At some places, hillsides and mountain slopes, especially at high altitude, are prone to erosion. It is important to stick to existing tracks and avoid short cuts that bypass a switchback. If you blaze a new trail straight down a slope it will turn into a watercourse with the next heavy rainfall and eventually cause soil loss and deep scarring.
  • If a well-used track passes through a mud patch, walk through the mud: walking around the edge of the patch will increase the size of the patch.
  • Avoid removing the plants that keep the topsoil in place.

Wildlife Conservation

  • Don’t assume animals found in huts to be nonindigenous vermin and attempt to exterminate them. In wild places they are likely to be protected native animals.
  • Discourage the presence of wildlife at the camp by not leaving food scraps behind.
  • Do not disturb or feed wildlife or do anything to destroy their natural habitat.

Cultural Conservation

  • Respect the culture and traditions of local people, whether they are villagers, your camp staff or your horse drivers, especially if you’re in a foreign country.
  • If applicable, do not give sweets, money, medicines or gifts to local people, particularly children, as this encourages begging.
  • If applicable, do not buy local household items or religious artifacts from villagers.

Mexico City offers free healthcare

June 10, 2009

In the aftermath of the A/H1NI flu virus outbreak, which has claimed the lives of 106 people in the country and devastated tourism, hotel occupation is at just 27 per cent compared with more than 50 per cent during the same week last year. During the worst point of the outbreak, which has since spread throughout the world and infected thousands, hotel occupation sank as low as 9 per cent. The city government has decided to offer holidaymakers free medical insurance – whether it be to cover migraine, a broken bone or even emergency heart surgery.

To get things going again, the Mexico City government is hooking up every visitor with health insurance:

The city government announced that it would also launch a bank card for national tourists visiting Mexico City, which would give them an interest-free loan for purchases made in the capital and payable via monthly deductions from their salary. It is even working on a special coupons book to give tourists discounts ranging from between 10 per cent and 60 per cent at more than 1,000 businesses in the capital.

Read more: Mexico City offers free health cover

Airplanes in U.S. start to show up on time

June 10, 2009

Stats released by the U.S. Department of Transportation say airplanes are taking off on time more frequently than before. More flights were on time in April than in March, as well as April 2008.

The Kansas City star singles out the airlines that are most often on time, as well as those that take schedules only as humorous suggestions:

Hawaiian Airlines had the best on-time performance, while Comair — a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines Inc. — had the worst. Among legacy carriers, Northwest Airlines — operated by Atlanta-based Delta — was on time the most, and Continental Airlines Inc. posted the worst on-time performance.

Punctuality may be something to keep in mind when deciding which airline to book for your summer vacation.

More at: More U.S. flights are on time

JetBlue comes up with ‘Travel Now, Pay Later’ plan

June 8, 2009
JetBlue Bill Me Later  

JetBlue Bill Me Later

Just because the economy hasn’t rebounded doesn’t mean you can’t. Summer is one of the most popular times to travel, so set out and explore.

For budget-minded travelers, JetBlue is offering a limited time ‘Bill Me Later’ promotion so you can travel now and pay later. As an added bonus, travelers who use the new ‘bill me later’ feature will receive $20 off their booking.

Bill Me Later, the airline’s limited time offer, allows travelers to pay in full or in increments, from now until October 2009. The offer is only good until June 14 so you’ll need to act fast to capture this deal.

JetBlue Bill Me Later

JetBlue Bill Me Later

The promotion is fast, easy and secure, and you’ll get a monthly statement letting you know your balance. You can choose to pay a little each month or pay the entire bill in October. The choice is up to you – now all you have to do is book a flight.



JetBlue says:

Now for a limited time, when you book a JetBlue flight and choose to pay with Bill Me Later®, you’ll save $20 and don’t have to worry about making payments until October 2009*!

To take advantage of this offer, simply select to pay with Bill Me Later® at time of purchase, answer a few simple questions, accept the terms, and Bill Me Later® takes care of the rest!

Hurry and book now—this great offer is only available through June 14, 2009. 

  • Pay with Bill Me Later® to get the special offer. The “No Payments for 90 Days” offer is not available from all retailers who accept Bill Me Later®.
  • You may see this offer advertised as “No Payments until…” such as “No Payments until December 2009”.
  • Simply select “Yes, I’d like No Payments for 90 Days…” in order to be eligible to receive the promotional offer.
  • Make your purchase before midnight ET on June 30, 2009 to receive the promotional offer.
  • You will receive monthly statements and if you pay in full by the promotion expiration date as listed below you will not be charged finance charges. 

Booking hotels online?

June 5, 2009


The next time you’re looking at hotels online, try and

Consumer Reports readers recommend both sites for helping you figure out which hotels you’re being offered on Priceline or Hotwire.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!

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