Boarding Pass

By David Tykol
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Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 362nd issue of your overseas travel magazine. That’s over 30 years of publishing monthly — since 1976.

Just a “heads up” here — the drought of the last few years in East Africa had, at press time, affected hydroelectric production not only in Uganda but in Tanzania. Money for infrastructure projects as well as essential services was being diverted to the importation of thermal power plants and diesel subsidies. Low lake water levels were making it difficult for cargo ferries to reach jetties, as well.

If you’re visiting soon, be prepared in some cases for Plan B.

In the September ’05 issue I mentioned that Congress had ruled that, until Nov. 19, 2005, if a U.S. carrier went bankrupt, other carriers operating the same route had to transport ticket holders on a standby basis (fees and other restrictions applied).

That law has been extended through November 2006.

An ITN subscriber learned a lesson the hard way.

She booked a river cruise in Europe in October ’04 and had the tour company make her air arrangements from New York to Vienna, with return from Amsterdam to New York. She upgraded her flights to business class.

Due to certain limitations, her schedule following the cruise had her leaving the ship at 5 a.m. to catch a 7 a.m. Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt — a leg which was not business class — then continuing on Lufthansa the rest of the way home in business class.

She accepted these arrangements until, aboard ship, she spoke with other passengers who had been on the same Austrian Airlines flight from New York’s JFK Airport as she. She discovered that not only would they be flying home to New York nonstop from Amsterdam aboard KLM, they would be debarking later in the day.

Admittedly, the other passengers were flying tourist class, but where she would be in transit for almost 12 hours, her fellow passengers would be in transit about eight hours.

Our subscriber says that when she originally made her reservations, she told the company rep that her reason for taking this particular cruise was she wanted the shortest flying time back to the States. She said that if the agent had told her that this would not be the case or that they could not guarantee her a nonstop flight from Amsterdam to New York, she could have made other arrangements.

ITN sent a copy of her letter to the tour company. In their reply, a representative wrote, “The reason for the difference in air routing lies with the difference in seating classes on the flights. (The customer) had purchased a round-trip, business-class upgrade for her trip. Austrian, Lufthansa and Northwest are members of Star Alliance and honor business-class upgrades for each other’s passengers. KLM is not a member of Star Alliance, so it was not possible to provide a round-trip, business-class upgrade that included the KLM Amsterdam-to-JFK flight. Therefore, (the customer) was booked business class aboard Lufthansa from Frankfurt to JFK. The cruise passengers who departed on Austrian Airlines and returned on KLM flew coach class in both directions.

“In addition, business-class upgrades only apply to the transatlantic flights, which is the reason why (the customer) flew coach class during the Amsterdam-to-Frankfurt flight.”

It appears the company rep who booked the customer’s flights, and complied with her request to upgrade to business class, thought it was more important to the customer to be in business class on the return than to have a shorter, nonstop flight but be in coach class.

The lesson? If you would prefer a shorter flight in economy class to a longer flight or series of flights in business class, be sure to make this clear to whoever is booking your flights, because they can easily make the wrong assumption.

In this issue of ITN you’ll find Jay Brunhouse’s annual European “railpass roundup.” Our expert on rail travel each year plows through all the new railpass offerings, then points out what’s new and what the best deals are.

This year’s chart includes a bigger-than-usual set of footnotes. Don’t be put off by this. Not only is it helpful, it’s a feature you won’t find so clearly laid out in any other publication. Take advantage of it.

Cynthia J. Neuman of Sacramento, California, wrote in, “I am a seasoned traveler and, in fact, have trod the seven continents. I decided long ago that my desire to see the world outweighed the possibility that eventually I might die in a plane crash. However, I had not been able to shake my apprehensiveness about flying until I read the ‘Ask Steve’ column, titled ‘Statistically Safest,’ in the January 2006 issue.

“I took my latest trip in January of this year, flying from Sacramento to San Juan for a cruise and then returning, and for the first time since I started flying 41 years ago I was able to sit back and enjoy the flights (even despite the turbulence). Steve’s statistics put the risks in proper perspective.

“I would like to thank Steve for writing the article and thank ITN for publishing it. I hope those with a genuine fear of flying (at the phobic level) will also be able to derive comfort and benefit from it.”

Sandra Bussing of Manhattan, Kansas, wrote, “We took a wonderful Egypt and Jordan trip with Overseas Adventure Travel. Most of our companions were well traveled, and I would appreciate your sending sample copies of ITN to a number of them.

“I also have included our guide’s name and address, as she too was interested about the publication. I intend to photocopy and send to her the reader’s letter on the Coptics who manage the garbage outside Cairo (Feb. ’06, pg. 80) because I don’t think she knows about this.”

Bob Loveland of Gainesville, Georgia, wrote, “I am taking the ‘Great Decisions’ course at Brenau University sponsored by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Foreign Policy Association. In a unit on global poverty, I read to the class the excerpt from the January ’06 issue, page 121, that tells how France, Chile and Britain are planning to dedicate a portion of airline ticket taxes to fight world poverty.

“I then mentioned that ITN is the sine qua non for serious international travelers and enlisted six travelers who would like to try a sample copy.”

Much appreciated. Each will be sent a free sample copy of the next-printed issue, no strings attached.

Here’s another submission for Most Incongruous Sight Seen in My Travels, this from Marilyn Brusherd of Sugar Grove, Illinois:

“I was on a tour with a group of Latin teachers who were, like locusts, combing the gift shop at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy, for stuff for their classrooms.

“I was looking over at the main showcase and saw, among various sizes of reproductions of the Dancing Faun statue from Pompeii, a single bronze bust, about 10 inches high, of President Kennedy. This would not have been surprising in the late 1960s, but it was 1994.

“What made it even more strange was that the tour was titled ‘Myths and Masterpieces’.”

Marilyn says she has been back to the museum a couple of times since but the bust was gone.

Another “heads up.” You may receive an important letter from ITN: a special survey. If you’re one of the lucky ones, please take a moment to fill it in and return it. In advance, thank you. — David Tykol, Editor

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 362nd issue of your overseas travel magazine. That’s over 30 years of publishing monthly — since 1976.

Just a “heads up” here — the drought of the last few years in East Africa had, at press time, affected hydroelectric production not only in Uganda but in Tanzania. Money for infrastructure projects as well as essential services was being diverted to the importation of thermal power plants and diesel subsidies. Low lake water levels were making it difficult for cargo ferries to reach jetties, as well.

If you’re visiting soon, be prepared in some cases for Plan B.

In the September ’05 issue I mentioned that Congress had ruled that, until Nov. 19, 2005, if a U.S. carrier went bankrupt, other carriers operating the same route had to transport ticket holders on a standby basis (fees and other restrictions applied).

That law has been extended through November 2006.

An ITN subscriber learned a lesson the hard way.

She booked a river cruise in Europe in October ’04 and had the tour company make her air arrangements from New York to Vienna, with return from Amsterdam to New York. She upgraded her flights to business class.

Due to certain limitations, her schedule following the cruise had her leaving the ship at 5 a.m. to catch a 7 a.m. Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt — a leg which was not business class — then continuing on Lufthansa the rest of the way home in business class.

She accepted these arrangements until, aboard ship, she spoke with other passengers who had been on the same Austrian Airlines flight from New York’s JFK Airport as she. She discovered that not only would they be flying home to New York nonstop from Amsterdam aboard KLM, they would be debarking later in the day.

Admittedly, the other passengers were flying tourist class, but where she would be in transit for almost 12 hours, her fellow passengers would be in transit about eight hours.

Our subscriber says that when she originally made her reservations, she told the company rep that her reason for taking this particular cruise was she wanted the shortest flying time back to the States. She said that if the agent had told her that this would not be the case or that they could not guarantee her a nonstop flight from Amsterdam to New York, she could have made other arrangements.

ITN sent a copy of her letter to the tour company. In their reply, a representative wrote, “The reason for the difference in air routing lies with the difference in seating classes on the flights. (The customer) had purchased a round-trip, business-class upgrade for her trip. Austrian, Lufthansa and Northwest are members of Star Alliance and honor business-class upgrades for each other’s passengers. KLM is not a member of Star Alliance, so it was not possible to provide a round-trip, business-class upgrade that included the KLM Amsterdam-to-JFK flight. Therefore, (the customer) was booked business class aboard Lufthansa from Frankfurt to JFK. The cruise passengers who departed on Austrian Airlines and returned on KLM flew coach class in both directions.

“In addition, business-class upgrades only apply to the transatlantic flights, which is the reason why (the customer) flew coach class during the Amsterdam-to-Frankfurt flight.”

It appears the company rep who booked the customer’s flights, and complied with her request to upgrade to business class, thought it was more important to the customer to be in business class on the return than to have a shorter, nonstop flight but be in coach class.

The lesson? If you would prefer a shorter flight in economy class to a longer flight or series of flights in business class, be sure to make this clear to whoever is booking your flights, because they can easily make the wrong assumption.

In this issue of ITN you’ll find Jay Brunhouse’s annual European “railpass roundup.” Our expert on rail travel each year plows through all the new railpass offerings, then points out what’s new and what the best deals are.

This year’s chart includes a bigger-than-usual set of footnotes. Don’t be put off by this. Not only is it helpful, it’s a feature you won’t find so clearly laid out in any other publication. Take advantage of it.

Cynthia J. Neuman of Sacramento, California, wrote in, “I am a seasoned traveler and, in fact, have trod the seven continents. I decided long ago that my desire to see the world outweighed the possibility that eventually I might die in a plane crash. However, I had not been able to shake my apprehensiveness about flying until I read the ‘Ask Steve’ column, titled ‘Statistically Safest,’ in the January 2006 issue.

“I took my latest trip in January of this year, flying from Sacramento to San Juan for a cruise and then returning, and for the first time since I started flying 41 years ago I was able to sit back and enjoy the flights (even despite the turbulence). Steve’s statistics put the risks in proper perspective.

“I would like to thank Steve for writing the article and thank ITN for publishing it. I hope those with a genuine fear of flying (at the phobic level) will also be able to derive comfort and benefit from it.”

Sandra Bussing of Manhattan, Kansas, wrote, “We took a wonderful Egypt and Jordan trip with Overseas Adventure Travel. Most of our companions were well traveled, and I would appreciate your sending sample copies of ITN to a number of them.

“I also have included our guide’s name and address, as she too was interested about the publication. I intend to photocopy and send to her the reader’s letter on the Coptics who manage the garbage outside Cairo (Feb. ’06, pg. 80) because I don’t think she knows about this.”

Bob Loveland of Gainesville, Georgia, wrote, “I am taking the ‘Great Decisions’ course at Brenau University sponsored by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Foreign Policy Association. In a unit on global poverty, I read to the class the excerpt from the January ’06 issue, page 121, that tells how France, Chile and Britain are planning to dedicate a portion of airline ticket taxes to fight world poverty.

“I then mentioned that ITN is the sine qua non for serious international travelers and enlisted six travelers who would like to try a sample copy.”

Much appreciated. Each will be sent a free sample copy of the next-printed issue, no strings attached.

Here’s another submission for Most Incongruous Sight Seen in My Travels, this from Marilyn Brusherd of Sugar Grove, Illinois:

“I was on a tour with a group of Latin teachers who were, like locusts, combing the gift shop at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy, for stuff for their classrooms.

“I was looking over at the main showcase and saw, among various sizes of reproductions of the Dancing Faun statue from Pompeii, a single bronze bust, about 10 inches high, of President Kennedy. This would not have been surprising in the late 1960s, but it was 1994.

“What made it even more strange was that the tour was titled ‘Myths and Masterpieces’.”

Marilyn says she has been back to the museum a couple of times since but the bust was gone.

Another “heads up.” You may receive an important letter from ITN: a special survey. If you’re one of the lucky ones, please take a moment to fill it in and return it. In advance, thank you. — David Tykol, Editor