All Is Not Lost - Sometimes It's Found

Following the lead of United, Northwest, Delta and US Airways, Continental Airlines began a policy requiring passengers to pay a $25 fee to check a second bag. Any moment now, we'll have to declare this to be the industry-wide standard. Some folks will grumble while they pay that extra fee, but most of us will just end up carrying more stuff onto the plane.

That means, of course, overhead bin space will become even more crammed. Inevitably, weary travelers leave more stuff behind at airports. “We get more than 200 items a day turned in here — everything from cell phones, laptops, and prescription glasses to wallets full of cash and oxygen tanks,” said the man at the Phoenix airport. Some of the stuff folks leave behind is replaceable.

Stories like that are familiar to Priscilla Andrews, who heads up the lost-and-found department at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Her team once enlisted the help of a funeral home to track down the owner of a container of ashes left on the counter at a rental car agency.

The Lost-and-Found Departments of America’s major airports do their best to reunite you with your valuables.

Higher Prices Change The Business Travel Paradigm

Higher airfare, new luggage fees, fuller flights and what seems like more cancellations all add up to a litany of added stress.

"It's really tough right now because overall it's very expensive," said a well-known business executive, noting that 45% of her business' expense now goes toward travel, up from 32% a year ago. She isn't the only business executive feeling the pinch of higher prices and trying to adjust her employees behavior accordingly.

In the past three reporting months, businesses increased their air travel spending by 12% from a year ago while the number of tickets purchased decreased by 1%, according to a cross sample of more than 80 clients with Ovation Corporate Travel, an independently owned travel management company. The trends make a lot of sense considering that recent airfare increases have come hand-in-hand with an overall economic downturn.
Michael Steiner, Ovation's executive vice president, said "We're seeing our clients' policies tightening around certain criteria such as approvals for trips, class of service, etcetera."

USE THE WEB AS YOUR TRAVEL ASSISTANT

Do you think that only movie stars and basketball heroes have personal assistants to make their travel life easy? Not necessarily. A growing number of websites can make travel just as easy for you. You know, those last-minute details requiring decisions when you have no time left to ponder. Outsourcing these "virtual errands" to a personal assistant makes it easy to indulge in the luxuries of carefree travel. And it's surprisingly affordable to deligate these duties.

There are many sites, but we like this one: www.AskSunday.com, Give it a try and enjoy!

TSA's 3-1-1 For Carry-Ons Rules

3-1-1 for Carry-Ons main graphic

Make Your Trip Better Using 3-1-1

3-1-1 for carry-ons = 3 ounce bottle or less (by volume) ; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin.
One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. 3 oz. container size is a security measure.

Consolidate bottles into one bag and X-ray separately to speed screening.

Be prepared.
Each time TSA searches a carry-on it slows down the line. Practicing
3-1-1 will ensure a faster and easier checkpoint experience.

3-1-1 is for short trips. If in doubt, put your liquids in checked luggage.

Declare larger liquids.
Medications, baby formula and food, breast milk, and juice are allowed
in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces and are not required to
be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the
checkpoint.

Do You Need Travel Insurance?

For years, it was the great unmentionable in the travel transaction: insurance. Travel agents were afraid to bring up the subject of travel insurance for fear of losing the overall deal. It was considered a negative.

Not anymore. Whether it's your trip, your possessions, your luggage, or your health, travel insurance — and most important, the right kind of travel insurance — has become an essential item to pack for smart travelers. And if you don't buy travel insurance — or the right kind — more than your trip could be ruined.

According to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, about 30 percent of Americans purchase travel insurance, an increase from 10 percent before 9/11. The top three reasons are: peace of mind, protection against the unexpected and concern over losing the financial investment in a trip. Some 70 percent of cruisers buy travel insurance.