Here are some articles and links from around the travel world that came across my desk this week. If you have any questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments, post them on our Facebook page or send them my way on Twitter.


Travel scams to watch out for this summer

Travelers are often easy targets for thieves and con artists. You can easily let your guard down when you visit a foreign country, but Just The Flight put together this infographic to make sure you don’t become another statistic. Take a minute to go over the common scams that target tourists and which country they occur in.

Family Asked To Leave Southwest Flight After Tweet

Can a tweet get you kicked off of a plane? It just happened to this Minneapolis family. After a disagreement with the gate agent, Duff Watson took to Twitter to complain about how he was being treated by the Southwest employee. After boarding, they were asked to leave the plane and not allowed back on until the father deleted the tweet. The airline has since apologized for the incident.

America’s airlines are the world’s most profitable and least comfortable

If you travel frequently on both domestic and international flights, this should be of no surprise to you. U.S. based airlines are squeezing the most out of their passengers with baggage fees and seat upgrades, but are far behind the other world’s commercial airlines in terms of comfort. In the rankings of the Top 10 Airline Seats, no American airline appeared in any of the categories (Economy, Premium Economy, or Business Class).

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Reporter stopped by TSA agent who didn’t know District of Columbia is in US

Right at my home airport MCO, a resident of the District of Columbia (the seat of our national government) was asked for his passport. Why? The TSA agent did not recognize his Washington D.C. license, and was unaware that it was a place. It’s not the first time the TSA has run in to this problem, but some light is being shed on the subject because it happened to a reporter. The TSA has since confirmed that yes, D.C. driver’s licenses are valid forms of ID.

Fake TSA screener probes passnegers at SFO

In a bizarre situation, a drunk 53 year old San Francisco man allegedly posed as a TSA agent and directed two women to private booths to be pat down. Authorities quickly discovered the ruse and arrested the man, who was on his way to board a flight to Hong Kong.

Consumers, airlines oppose TSA fee hike

In an effort to pay down the deficit, Congress has approved an increase in TSA fee hikes that will bring in billions over the next few years, but both consumers and airlines are not happy about the changes. Those who oppose the increase, which goes into effect next month, say that the government is treating them like a bottomless piggy bank.

Boeing Preps the 787-9 Dreamliner for Farnborough

The Farnborough Air Show is going on this week in England. In a sneak peek of what is to come, Boeing released this video of a Dreamliner being put through it’s paces.

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Here are several contests that offer travel winnings. Good luck!

Win a Year of Travel with Coca-Cola

How would you like to win free airfare for a year? Coca-Cola, Cinemark, and Southwest have teamed up to give you the chance to win 24 round-trip tickets to anywhere Southwest Airlines flies. The tickets expire on December 31st, 2015, but I can think of enough places to visit between now and then.

Contest ends July 24

Show us your #AirportHugs for a chance to win! wants to see your airport hug photos. Take a photo of you and your loved ones saying hello or goodbye and share them on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #AirportHugs. One lucky photo will be chosen and the winner will receive a new iPad Mini. Make sure to tag CheapFlights on Twitter & Instagram.

Contest ends July 21

5-Star International Flights from Miami

Qatar Airways has started flying international routes out of MIA, and to celebrate Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | 2 Comments

Here are some articles and links from around the travel world that came across my desk this week. If you have any questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments, post them on our Facebook page or send them my way on Twitter.

Airbus: Pilots don’t really need windows


Airbus has filed patents for a radical new cockpit design that does not include windows – and it doesn’t even need to be at the front of the plane, either. Instead, pilots in the future may use giant video screens to control the aircraft, making the plane more aerodynamic, lighter, and able to hold more passengers. This technology is still decades away from being implemented in commercial flights, but it’s always fun to get a sneak peak in to what the future may hold.

NYC’s First Five-Star Hotel in Decade Seen at One57 Tower

Hyatt Hotels is bringing luxury to New York when it’s 5-star Park Hyatt property opens soon. Rooms will start at $795 a night (and cost an average of $1.8 million to build) and will come with floor to ceiling windows and wood floors. The hotel will take up 25 floors of the One57 building in Midtown.

New Guide To Passenger Rights Aims To Help Air Travelers Navigate The Skies

If you’ve ever been seriously delayed, unintentionally bumped, or had your flight cancelled, do you know what your rights are? The Department of Transportation has mandated that airlines fairly compensate disrupted passengers, but every airline still has their own rules. Our friends at Airfare Watchdog go over what you should do if you find yourself in this situation, and then they put together a summary of all of their airline’s policies available on their website.

Southwest goes international, charts expansion

Southwest Airlines took a big step recently when their first international flight took off from Baltimore headed for Aruba. Initially, the airlines is offering three international routes, but plan for 50 by next year. This is great news if your a fan of the airline’s customer service, and the competition for other airlines big and small could help lower prices for flights in these new markets.

Near Miss At Barcelona-El Prat

In a display of both miscommunication and excellent piloting skills, one 767 coming in for a landing in Barcelona was forced to pull a go-around when another 767 crossed the runway moments before approach. Thankfully, a tragedy was avoided.

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Here’s an item for the Hilton Garden Inn in Veracruz, Mexico hotel’s “Amenities” page that will have you wishing you were in Veracruz right now:

Staying with us on a Tuesday night?
Then don comfortable clothes and join us on the beach for a 7pm yoga and relaxation session.
We’ll go for 90 minutes or more so you can really relax after a long day or work or play.
Enjoy our colorful mats,
Listening to the crashing waves
And feeling the warm gulf breezes.
Stretch your body,
Learn relaxation techniques.
Don’t worry that you may not know what to do.
We’re all friends here.
And yes, we speak Spanish and English.
Best of all, the session is free!

Hotel Yoga

Why I’m writing this instead of sitting cross-legged on one of the colorful mats is simply because I was unaware of this wonderful hotel offering until another guest mentioned it to me afterwards; not by any hotel write-up about it. Now that I know, on my next visit to this hotel I’m certain my photos will be taken from the left-most mat in the front row as my hair blows in the warm winds and I soak in the sound of the waves.

If you’d like to be cross-legged on one of these mats yourself, check out Hilton Garden Inn, Veracruz, Mexico.

Posted by Carol Margolis | One Comment

Here are several contests that offer travel winnings. Good luck!

Countdown to South America

Has the World Cup inspired you to start planning a trip to Brazil? LATAM Airlines Group wants to help by sending you and a friend to Rio. One winner we receive roundtrip coach airfare from either Miami or New York.

Contest ends July 12

Travel Channel’s Luxurious Trip to Los Angeles

Relax in the Golden State with Travel Channel’s Luxurious Trip to Los Angeles giveaway. The grand prize includes a trip for two including roundtrip airfare, 7 days/6 nights at a Hilton Garden Inn (split between Hollywood and Marina Del Ray), $1,000 giftcard for shopping and eating in Beverly Hills, walking tour through the Los Angeles Farmers Market, a VIP experience at Universal Studios and more.

Contest ends June 30

The Ultimate California Foodie Vacation

If you’d like to experience California with a different twist, think about entering Food & Wine’s Ultimate California Foodie Vacation sweepstakes. One winner we receive a 7 day trip for 2 to San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and San Diego. Dinner’s in some of the cities finest restaurants are included, as well as airfare, car rental, hotel accommodations and more.

Contest ends June 30

Wild Dunes Getaway Giveaway

Win a family vacation to South Carolina. One lucky winner will receive 3 nights and 2 bedroom accommodations at Charleston’s Wild Dunes Resort, $1,500 towards airfare, a Capers Island Wildlife Exploration Tour and a horse-drawn carriage ride through downtown.

Contest ends July 13

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Here are several contests that offer travel winnings. Good luck!


Norwegians Uncover Hawaii

How would you like to hit the Hawaiian Islands in style with 3 of your friends? Norwegian Cruises is sending one lucky winner and 3 guests on the Pride of America for a 7-day cruise around the islands. Prize also includes 4 roundtrip tickets on Hawaiian Airlines.

Contest ends June 30

Hipmunk Sweet Dreams Giveaway

Do you have some nights that you have to book, but just haven’t gotten around to it? Do you want to splurge on a fancy hotel, but want someone else to pay for it? Hipmunk is giving away $2,000 to one lucky winner to spend on any hotel that you book through their site, giving you the chance to rest easy in any room for free.

Contest ends June 20

Family Getaway to Florida’s Space Coast

Readers from the Northeast may want to enter this one: Boston Herald wants to send your family down to Florida’s Space Coast. A grand prize of roundtrip airfare (from Boston), 4 nights at the beachside Hilton, and admission to the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex is up for grabs. Being a Central Floridian, I have to say that this prize will be a lot of fun.

Contest ends June 26

Your Arnicare Adventure Sweepstakes

One sweepstakes that is offering your choice of two prizes. This sweepstakes does have weekly winners, but the grand prize includes either a trip to the Grand Canyon or a Caribbean Cruise. The Grand Canyon trip is for 5 days/4 nights, and includes airfare and hotel for 4, guided tours, a rental car and more. The Caribbean Cruise is a trip for two that includes airfare, a 6 day/5 night trip about a Carnival Western Caribbean Cruise with ports of call in Cozumel and Grand Cayman.

Contest ends July 31

Posted by Carol Margolis | One Comment

Here are some articles and links from around the travel world that came across my desk this week. If you have any questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments, post them on our Facebook page or send them my way on Twitter.

CNN Celebrating 100 Years of Commercial Flight

Richard Quest and CNN celebrate 100 years of Commercial Flight with a week of articles and videos. Take a look at the history of air travel, major milestones along the way, and what the future has in store.

All By Myself

Richard Dunn spent the night at an empty McCarran International and did what anyone else would do – he made a music video for Celine Dion’s “All By Myself”. He did such a great job that Celine has invited him to be her guest next time he’s in Vegas.

Fliers check travel sites, then buy from airline sites

A recent survey found that many travelers search for flights using online travel search engines but wind up at the airlines own site when it comes to booking. While it’s still possible to find cheaper deals on the search engines and online travel agents, passengers like the assurance that comes with booking directly with the carrier.

Airlines Pursue Chinese Leisure Travelers With New U.S.-China Flights

Traveling between the States and China is getting easier. Airlines from both countries are adding routes to more cities to meet increased Chinese travel demand. Air China has added a route between Beijing and D.C., whereas you can now fly Seattle to Hong Kong on Delta, Dallas to Shanghai or Beijing on American, and San Francisco to Chengdu on United.

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When I share my secrets to packing two weeks in a carry-on bag, the inevitable question is “How do you do that?”

With compression bags! They’re my go-to travel product for getting the most items organized and packed into my carry-on. I don’t leave home without them.

“But won’t I need a vacuum to suck out the air when I’m re-packing?” you ask? Not if you purchase compression bags designed with travel in mind – reusable, re-sealable zipper storage bags where you can roll out the air – not vacuum out the air.

Ziploc Space Bags is the brand I prefer. I have tried others and the zip locks just don’t seem to hold up as long as the Ziploc brand.

In the U.S., find these compression bags at Bed Bath & Beyond or other retailers. In the set shown, there are three 18″ x 22 1/2″ large suitcase bags, three 13 1/2″ x 19 1/2″ medium carry-on bags and two 11 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ pouch bags. I use the large bags for trousers, jackets and sweaters; the medium bags for blouses, tops and work-out clothes.

LuggageWithGripsMy most-utilized Samsonite bag has an outdoor pocket that fits one of the large bags perfectly. If the suitcase looks a little to fat for an overhead bin, it’s simple to quickly pull out the Space Bag and shove it next to the suitcase in the bin (just remember to put it back in upon arrival).

This type of compression bag is not only great for easy packing and re-packing. They’re useful for holding wet clothes, dirty clothes, liquids that may leak, shoes, scarves, and a whole slew of items you may be to keep protected or keep together.

The video embedded below shows how to squeeze all of the air out of these bags before packing them in your luggage.

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Here are several contests that offer travel winnings. Good luck!

American Airlines 24 Hours Sweepstakes

American Airlines wants you to explore where you could be in 24 hours, and 5 lucky winners will be able to embark on those trips. Each winner will receive 200,000 AA AAdvantage or US Airways Dividend miles, 7 free nights at any Hilton hotel, and a Hasselblad Stellar camera. You have to go a few pages in to this site before you can enter, but the prize seems worth the extra clicks.

Contest ends June 13

National Geographic Milk Life Sweepstakes

If your family is the outdoorsy type, you’ll want to enter this one. The grand prize winner will get a Yellowstone & Grand Teton adventure that includes meeting grizzlies, wilderness safaris, and of course – Old Faithful. Full details and an itinerary of the grand prize trip can be found here.

Contest ends June 10

Touch of Modern British Columbia Getaway

Touch of Modern wants to send you off to the luxurious Sparking Hill Resort in British Columbia. The grand prize includes 4 nights at the property, wine tasting, dinners, spa vouchers, and roundtrip airfare for you and a guest.

Contest ends June 22

Posted by Carol Margolis | No Comments

Here are several contests that offer travel winnings. Good luck!

Travel the World Through Chocolate

Vosges Haut-Chocolat, Fathom, The Kitchn, Hipmunk, Uber & Le Pavillon de la Reine have gotten together to offer this great contest. The grand prize includes $2,500 for airfare to Paris, 3 nights for two at Pavillon de la Reine, a Fathom curated itinerary, and $500 in Uber credits for getting around the city of lights. And when you get home, there is a year’s worth of Vosges Haut-Chocolat waiting for you.

Contest ends June 13

Win a Cruise to Hamburg

The Container Store is sending a lucky winner and a guest across the Atlantic. The Grand Prize includes a room about the Queen Mary 2 from New York to Hamburg, 5 nights at a Hamburg hotel, and business class tickets back to NYC.

Contest ends June 22

Peter Greenberg’s Trip to Hawaii

Peter Greenberg is giving away a free trip to Big Island. Like his page on Facebook and fill out your information to be entered to win roundtrip airfare for two from L.A., 5 days/4 nights at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, and an all day adventure.

Contest ends June 5

Win a Dream Trip to Tahiti with Paul Gauguin Cruises

Grand prize for this sweepstakes includes roundtrip airfare from LA to Tahiti for two, and a seven day all inclusive luxury cruise.

Contest ends July 15

Coppertone Meet Mia Hamm Sweepstakes

Coppertone Polarized Lenses want to send you to Las Vegas to meet soccer great Mia Hamm. The grand prize winner will receive a 4 day/3 night trip to Vegas, with hotel, roundtrip airfare, and some spending cash.

Contest ends July 17

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