Boarding Pass

By David Tykol
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Dear Globetrotter:
Welcome to the 369th issue of your monthly overseas travel magazine.

“Chicken or fish? Menthol or regular?”

A German entrepreneur, Alexander Schoppmann, is planning to start up Smintair (Smoker’s International Airways) early next year, with daily service between Düsseldorf (his hometown) and Tokyo.

Düsseldorf has the third-largest population of Japanese in Europe, more than 15,000, after London and Paris. In Japan, 49% of men and 14% of women smoke. One quarter of Germans do. So Schoppmann is confident there are plenty of people who would take the flights and prefer not to go through nicotine withdrawal for 12 hours each time. Most European carriers are not required to ban smoking but have done so voluntarily.

Two Boeing 747s, which normally carry about 415 people, will be configured to carry 138 business and first-class seats. Prices are expected to pace those charged by Lufthansa: ex., for Frankfurt-Tokyo nonstop, about Ä4,300 (near $5,500) business class and Ä6,450 ($8,260) first class. Visit http://smintair.com.

The travel supplies catalog company Magellan’s (800/962-4943, www.magellans.com) released a few travel tips recently.

• Nearly every cell phone has a built-in clock, and most automatically reset to the local time zone simply by turning them off and on.

Chances are that there is also a built-in alarm clock — not only an alternative to the alarm clock or wake-up call in your hotel room but handy for reminding you, as you’re wandering around, not to miss your train.

• If your cell phone has a built-in camera, you can use it to remember where you parked your car in the airport lot by taking a quick photo of its location and surroundings. And snapping a picture of your hotel door will ensure your remembering your room number; most hotel keys are no longer imprinted with this information.

During a personalized tour of Central America, an ITN reader and her husband were dropped off at the Managua airport only to find that their plane had left two hours earlier and there were no other flights that day.

They called the tour company’s emergency number but only reached a message machine; it was a Sunday. The airline TACA helped them reschedule their flight to Bogota for the next day and provided a hotel and meals. Then the couple found they also had no number to call in Bogota to let anyone know when to expect them. When they reached Bogota, they took a taxi to the hotel and found the staff very helpful, but they had missed a tour to the Gold Museum.

The couple accepted part of the blame for missing the flight; they were going by the times printed on their initial itinerary and hadn’t inspected their vouchers, which showed amended departure times.

They wrote to ITN to advise readers of the following: always ask your tour company in advance for a contact number at your destination, and be sure it will be answered 24 hours a day, including on weekends and holidays, in case of an emergency.

After Carolyn Russo of Tucson, Arizona, applied for a Capital One credit card, she and her husband wrote to the company to learn the “multiplier” used in the formula to redeem frequent-flyer miles. (For example, if an airline ticket costs $500 and the multiplier is 90, you would redeem 500 x 90 = 45,000 of your frequent-flyer miles for the ticket.)

The Russos ultimately received a reply from Capital One stating that the multiplier could be learned at any time by calling the 800-number, but the company was “unable to provide information regarding this program via written correspondence.”

In other words, the number could change at any moment.

Carolyn ended up canceling her card after comparing Capital One’s frequent-flyer program to other companies’ programs and learning that “the difference in air miles needed for travel is substantial.”

Beth DeAtley of Piedmont, California, wrote, “The September issue of ITN has to be the best yet. Thanks for bringing us some different travel information, such as kayaking in France (by an 80-year-old — how marvelous!) and the meerkats of Africa (I’ve been there and didn’t even know about them).”

Beth made the following all-over-the-map requests: “I would like to hear about some high-end trips — the pros and cons of the $50,000 around-the-world trip, for instance. Also more-in depth information on travel in West Africa; how people select where they will go in India, and articles on other more off-the-beaten-path locations. Thanks for a great magazine.”

I like to think that ITN is a more personal forum for travelers than other magazines. Sometimes we get proof of that.

Cynthia Thompson of Hanover, New Hampshire, wrote to ITN, “Years ago, when I wrote about the UNESCO World Heritage Site Pompeii (Nov. ’98, pg. 111), where I had spent two weeks on an Earthwatch project, I included my e-mail address in case anyone had questions. Shortly thereafter, Andrea Lajoie of Menlo Park, California, contacted me. She and her husband were planning to take their granddaughters to Italy and she wanted information about the Pompeii hotel I’d stayed in.

“Andrea and I continued to correspond, and for the past eight years we have shared major events, both happy and sad, in each other’s lives. While we had exchanged itineraries so we could follow each other’s travels, we had never met in person until Aug. 31, 2006, when she and her husband, Ken, came to New Hampshire for a wedding and made a special trip to visit me in Hanover.

“It was so good to meet Andrea and Ken in person. We had a wonderful time getting to know each other, and Andrea and I will surely be corresponding for many years to come! Thank you, ITN!”

Roger Hans of Grand Rapids, Michigan, wrote, “ITN is the only travel magazine that I read ‘cover to cover.’ I have found that all of the departments have some very worthwhile information for travelers, and they speak to real problems and real successes. Even the paid advertisements speak to specific needs. For example, we like to travel with companies that offer small-group travel and somewhat ‘soft’ adventure styles. ITN’s ads help in identifying those companies. Keep up the good work.”

Many travel companies that advertise in ITN you will find nowhere else. In fact, more overseas-travel companies advertise in each issue of ITN than advertise in ALL of the other Sunday newspaper travel sections and consumer travel magazines combined. Believe it! — David Tykol, Editor

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

Dear Globetrotter:
Welcome to the 369th issue of your monthly overseas travel magazine.

“Chicken or fish? Menthol or regular?”

A German entrepreneur, Alexander Schoppmann, is planning to start up Smintair (Smoker’s International Airways) early next year, with daily service between Düsseldorf (his hometown) and Tokyo.

Düsseldorf has the third-largest population of Japanese in Europe, more than 15,000, after London and Paris. In Japan, 49% of men and 14% of women smoke. One quarter of Germans do. So Schoppmann is confident there are plenty of people who would take the flights and prefer not to go through nicotine withdrawal for 12 hours each time. Most European carriers are not required to ban smoking but have done so voluntarily.

Two Boeing 747s, which normally carry about 415 people, will be configured to carry 138 business and first-class seats. Prices are expected to pace those charged by Lufthansa: ex., for Frankfurt-Tokyo nonstop, about Ä4,300 (near $5,500) business class and Ä6,450 ($8,260) first class. Visit http://smintair.com.

The travel supplies catalog company Magellan’s (800/962-4943, www.magellans.com) released a few travel tips recently.

• Nearly every cell phone has a built-in clock, and most automatically reset to the local time zone simply by turning them off and on.

Chances are that there is also a built-in alarm clock — not only an alternative to the alarm clock or wake-up call in your hotel room but handy for reminding you, as you’re wandering around, not to miss your train.

• If your cell phone has a built-in camera, you can use it to remember where you parked your car in the airport lot by taking a quick photo of its location and surroundings. And snapping a picture of your hotel door will ensure your remembering your room number; most hotel keys are no longer imprinted with this information.

During a personalized tour of Central America, an ITN reader and her husband were dropped off at the Managua airport only to find that their plane had left two hours earlier and there were no other flights that day.

They called the tour company’s emergency number but only reached a message machine; it was a Sunday. The airline TACA helped them reschedule their flight to Bogota for the next day and provided a hotel and meals. Then the couple found they also had no number to call in Bogota to let anyone know when to expect them. When they reached Bogota, they took a taxi to the hotel and found the staff very helpful, but they had missed a tour to the Gold Museum.

The couple accepted part of the blame for missing the flight; they were going by the times printed on their initial itinerary and hadn’t inspected their vouchers, which showed amended departure times.

They wrote to ITN to advise readers of the following: always ask your tour company in advance for a contact number at your destination, and be sure it will be answered 24 hours a day, including on weekends and holidays, in case of an emergency.

After Carolyn Russo of Tucson, Arizona, applied for a Capital One credit card, she and her husband wrote to the company to learn the “multiplier” used in the formula to redeem frequent-flyer miles. (For example, if an airline ticket costs $500 and the multiplier is 90, you would redeem 500 x 90 = 45,000 of your frequent-flyer miles for the ticket.)

The Russos ultimately received a reply from Capital One stating that the multiplier could be learned at any time by calling the 800-number, but the company was “unable to provide information regarding this program via written correspondence.”

In other words, the number could change at any moment.

Carolyn ended up canceling her card after comparing Capital One’s frequent-flyer program to other companies’ programs and learning that “the difference in air miles needed for travel is substantial.”

Beth DeAtley of Piedmont, California, wrote, “The September issue of ITN has to be the best yet. Thanks for bringing us some different travel information, such as kayaking in France (by an 80-year-old — how marvelous!) and the meerkats of Africa (I’ve been there and didn’t even know about them).”

Beth made the following all-over-the-map requests: “I would like to hear about some high-end trips — the pros and cons of the $50,000 around-the-world trip, for instance. Also more-in depth information on travel in West Africa; how people select where they will go in India, and articles on other more off-the-beaten-path locations. Thanks for a great magazine.”

I like to think that ITN is a more personal forum for travelers than other magazines. Sometimes we get proof of that.

Cynthia Thompson of Hanover, New Hampshire, wrote to ITN, “Years ago, when I wrote about the UNESCO World Heritage Site Pompeii (Nov. ’98, pg. 111), where I had spent two weeks on an Earthwatch project, I included my e-mail address in case anyone had questions. Shortly thereafter, Andrea Lajoie of Menlo Park, California, contacted me. She and her husband were planning to take their granddaughters to Italy and she wanted information about the Pompeii hotel I’d stayed in.

“Andrea and I continued to correspond, and for the past eight years we have shared major events, both happy and sad, in each other’s lives. While we had exchanged itineraries so we could follow each other’s travels, we had never met in person until Aug. 31, 2006, when she and her husband, Ken, came to New Hampshire for a wedding and made a special trip to visit me in Hanover.

“It was so good to meet Andrea and Ken in person. We had a wonderful time getting to know each other, and Andrea and I will surely be corresponding for many years to come! Thank you, ITN!”

Roger Hans of Grand Rapids, Michigan, wrote, “ITN is the only travel magazine that I read ‘cover to cover.’ I have found that all of the departments have some very worthwhile information for travelers, and they speak to real problems and real successes. Even the paid advertisements speak to specific needs. For example, we like to travel with companies that offer small-group travel and somewhat ‘soft’ adventure styles. ITN’s ads help in identifying those companies. Keep up the good work.”

Many travel companies that advertise in ITN you will find nowhere else. In fact, more overseas-travel companies advertise in each issue of ITN than advertise in ALL of the other Sunday newspaper travel sections and consumer travel magazines combined. Believe it! — David Tykol, Editor