Johnny Jet's Travel Blog

Travel blog featuring best travel sites, travel deals, travel guides, effective travel tips, daily stories with up-to-date travel information, travel pictures, travel webcams. For more, visit my travel portal, www.johnnyjet.com.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

“Georgie Jet” has just arrived in New Zealand

My sister “Georgie Jet” has just arrived in New Zealand for their winter festival. If you want to see daily pictures and stories log on to her new blog: http://www.georgiejet.blogspot.com/.
The picture above was taken the other day at JFK -- I was coming in from Erie, PA with my family and she was leaving for NZ!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: BedBugRegistry.com

BedBugRegistry.com
In this week’s Hong Kong story, I mention a massage parlour where my friend Natalie received a very unwelcome souvenir – bedbug bites. If you are concerned that your hotel might have them, you can log on to bedbugregistry.com to see if anyone has reported an incident. On the flip side, it’s a forum where you can do the right thing and alert fellow travelers to stay away from a particular property. Keep in mind that this site has limited users so another website to check or cross-reference is TripAdvisor.com.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: EuropeanHostels.com

EuropeanHostels.com
Are you sick and tired of paying Europe’s high hotel prices? Are you the kind of traveler who doesn’t spend a lot of time in your hotel room, stopping in only late at night after a long day of sightseeing, just to wash up and lay your head down? If so, then EuropeanHostels.com might be a good resource for you. With the current exchange rates, hostels represent a valuable and often overlooked option for Americans traveling to Europe. This site is not only a directory of youth hostels but includes 38 European city guides, written by site editors. You can sort the options by price, highest rating, distance to city center and find editor’s picks using Google Maps. FYI: Although hostels are often referred to as youth hostels, there is no age limit.

Monday, June 23, 2008

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: TrafficGauge.com

TrafficGauge.com
One of my favorite traffic monitors is TrafficGauge.com. Not only can you view it online but you can also get a handheld device (similar in size to an iPhone), which provides live updates so you don’t have to listen to the radio DJ run through traffic updates at warp speed. When TrafficGuage.com first started out, they offered traffic conditions for just Los Angeles and Orange County. Fast forward to today and they now offer reports for all of the following cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Louisville, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, OC/Inland Empire, Phoenix, Portland, Raleigh/Durham, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Fernando, San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle. Why waste time sitting in traffic when you can take an alternate route?

Friday, June 20, 2008

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: FlatSeats.com

FlatSeats.com
I received a reader email yesterday, asking what I thought of Cathay Pacific’s business class service. Unfortunately, I’ve never been up front on Cathay, just in the back. Here’s my review. My best advice is to check out FlatSeats.com for their independent seat reviews. It’s similar to TripAdvisor and they offer up passenger reviews for more than 550 airlines.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Continental Airlines and United Airlines Team Up

United and Continental today announced a framework agreement to cooperate extensively, linking their networks and services worldwide to the benefit of customers, and creating revenue opportunities and cost savings and other efficiencies. In addition, Continental plans to join United in the Star Alliance, the most comprehensive airline alliance in the world.

Monday, June 16, 2008

THE QANTAS A380 - NOW ON SALE for $380 from Los Angeles to Sydney and Melbourne

THE QANTAS A380 - NOW ON SALE
380 Round-Trip Economy Seats at $380 from Los Angeles to Sydney and Melbourne

LOS ANGELES - June 16, 2008- Seats on Qantas' new flagship, the Airbus A380, went on sale today, ahead of the airline's first A380 flight between Los Angeles and Melbourne on October 20, 2008.

Qantas Senior Executive Vice President, The Americas and Pacific, Mr. Wally R. Mariani, said the A380 would operate on selected flights from Los Angeles to Melbourne and Sydney, and would be progressively introduced on selected flights from Sydney to Singapore and London from early 2009.


"The first Qantas A380 will operate two round-trip services each week between Los Angeles and Australia - one to Melbourne, starting on October 20 and one to Sydney, starting on October 24, 2008," Mr. Mariani said. "As the commencement of A380 services represents such an important milestone in the history of Qantas' international operations, including here at our Los Angeles launch gateway, we are offering a limited number of very special A380 fares," he added.


From Los Angeles to Sydney and Melbourne, 380 Economy seats on the new A380 aircraft are on sale for just $380 round-trip per person. This is a 48-hour fare sale for purchase and ticketing on June 16-17, 2008 or until sold out. Tickets are valid for travel departing November 2 to December 8, 2008 on A380 flights only. Fares are valid to Sydney on QF 12 and returning on QF 11 (Wednesday, Friday, Sunday), and to Melbourne on QF 94 (Monday and Wednesday), returning on QF 93. Other restrictions apply.


With the introduction of a second A380 aircraft in November, Qantas will operate a total of five A380 flights per week between Los Angeles and Australia: two round-trip flights to Melbourne and three flights to Sydney.


"All four classes of the A380 will offer passengers greater levels of space and comfort, as well as state-of-the-art interiors designed by Qantas Creative Director Marc Newson," Mr. Mariani said.

The Qantas A380 will be configured with 450 seats - 14 individual First Suites, 72 in Business, 32 in Premium Economy cabin and 332 in Economy.


Qantas A380 features will include:

--completely redesigned First cabin, offering customers privacy and luxury in their own First Suite; --fully-flat next generation Skybed and separate, dedicated lounge area in Business; --the airline's Premium Economy cabin, with extra wide Recaro seats; --new ergonomically designed Recaro seats and self-service refreshment bars in Economy; and --on demand entertainment system with over 1000 entertainment options and onboard connectivity.
"The A380 will also offer significant improvements in terms of environmental performance, including reduced fuel consumption and emissions, greater efficiency and less noise," Mr. Mariani said.


Mr. Mariani said that while the A380 would provide customers with an all-new inflight experience, lead in fares would initially be the same as those currently offered on comparable Qantas B747 services, however the airline's state-of-the-art new First Suite would be priced at a premium.


For reservations or information, contact Qantas Airways at 800.227.4500.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

More Bad News For Travelers

Just when I was starting to hope that American’s competitors were going to reject their first checked bag fee ($15), United joined in and then US Air one upped them all. US Air is now going to charge for all beverages and charge frequent flier award fees. Wow! As I predicted back in March when I attended US Airways' media day – this is only the beginning. We, the consumers, are in for a bumpy ride.

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: Ctrip.com

Ctrip.com
Because we're exploring China this week, it's the perfect time to feature their version of Expedia. cTrip has China's largest airfare and hotel search engine and it works best when booking intra-China flights FYI: There are still hotel rooms available in Beijing during the Olympics. However, international flights on cTrip have to be booked over the phone so instead of wasting your time and not getting the best deal, use one of JohnnyJet.com's booking engines: We feature BookingBuddy and OneTime. Both offer the lowest deals and you can quickly compare all the big players like Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Kayak, American Airlines … all without having to enter in your city and dates multiple times! So what are you waiting for? Log on to JohnnyJet.com now!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

10 Tips for Travelers: Data Security and the Worry-Free Traveler

10 Tips for Travelers: Data Security and the Worry-Free Traveler
Don’t Let Identity Theft Ruin Your Summer Travel Plans

It seems Americans have given up on the true getaway vacation. According to a recent study by Expedia, Americans receive – and use – less vacation time than their European counterparts. And for those who do get away, many often take the office with them on the road. We simply can’t unplug. Unfortunately, data breaches and identity theft don’t take holidays either. Given that the loss of a laptop, thumb drive, or even a wallet is all too common when traveling … maybe relaxing too much isn’t such a good thing after all.

Brian Lapidus, chief operating officer for Kroll’s Fraud Solutions, admits to being a bit hyper-connected himself. As the summer travel season heats up, he offers these important tips for a safe journey – whether it’s for leisure, business or a little bit of both:

Lock it up at home. If you’ve entrusted the family dog or Aunt Zoe’s twenty-year old rubber tree to a caretaker while you’re gone, put identity-rich items away before you hand over the house key. Don’t leave out tax returns, credit card statements, utility bills and the like. It’s human nature to be trusting of others, but front-line experience confirms that a significant percentage of identity theft is perpetrated by someone known to the victim.

Lighten your laptop’s load. Remember, thieves can’t steal what you don’t have. Before you hit the road, make time to take inventory. Transfer sensitive, confidential data from your laptop to your company’s secure central server, or move it to a disk that may be stored safely until you return. Items you’ll want to remove whenever possible include personnel files with dates of birth and Social Security numbers, and customer files with identifiable bank or credit card information. Not even your online personal bill-paying programs should make the trip. If you are required to have sensitive information with you, consider purchasing an encrypted thumb drive and storing the information securely.

Don’t tempt fate. If you must take along your laptop or PDA-berry, treat it like a cache of cash or fine jewelry. If the room safe isn’t large enough to hold a laptop, consult hotel or cruise ship management and arrange for storage in a centralized main safe or secure holding area. Locking your laptop in your personal quarters -- no matter how smart a hiding place you contrive -- creates needless exposure and worry.

Block prying eyes with a privacy filter. Thanks to what’s called microlouver technology, laptop users can simply snap privacy filters on over their screens to block viewing from an angle. You can see what’s displayed from your primary user vantage point, but onlookers at your left or right are prevented from snooping. Office supply stores sell privacy filters, as do many general retailers; prices range from $65 to $150 depending on screen size.

Short-circuit the personal broadcast. Since 2006, U.S. passports have included RFID (radio frequency identification) chips. Some credit cards use them, too. The continuous transmission of radio waves means that your personal details are being regularly aired, as well. Invest in an RFID-blocking passport case or wallet to jam unintentional reception – and any accidental disclosure of your identity. Search ‘RFID-blocking wallet’ online and find a host of sources, including familiar sites like Amazon.com and Magellan.com, where prices are comparable to similar high-quality leather goods.

Be quiet. Cell phones have erased the boundaries between public and private space for many people. Even if you don’t intend to listen, it’s almost impossible to tune out what’s being said just a few feet away. Heighten your own awareness about what you say in public – and how loudly you say it. Whether you’re talking about a pricey souvenir you just bought or keeping tabs on a company project, your words can put you and your company at risk if a thief is within earshot.

Beware the Wi-Fi. One of Kroll’s standard tips for businesses also holds true for the average traveler. Use of wireless networks means your data is being transmitted over open airwaves, similar to a radio transmission. If not properly secured, data can easily be picked up by an uninvited party. Earlier this spring, the FBI warned about hackers cruising wireless networks for this very reason. Set your computer default to require your authority before connecting to a new network. And when it does, be sure the address matches what you typed in.

Keep that key. When you check out of a hotel where you were issued a card-key to unlock the door to your room, don’t leave the card-key behind. Hold on to it until you’re safely home and can shred or otherwise discard it safely. Some say it’s an urban myth that card-keys hold vital details like credit card numbers, while others report having tested and confirmed the presence of private data coded into the magnetic strip. Even if there’s no definitive answer, why risk it?

Use public computers at your own risk. Public computers, like those found in a hotel’s business center, can contain “keylogger” spyware, which records every keystroke including passwords and account information. Keyloggers make it possible for an identity thief to steal any information entered into the computer during your session. Conducting important company (or personal) business on a public computer also increases your vulnerability to “shoulder surfers” – individuals who look over your shoulder to observe what you are doing and, more importantly, collect the sensitive data you’re entering.

What’s in your wallet? Before you hit the road, make photocopies of the personal material in your wallet: driver’s license, credit cards, insurance cards, etc. – front and back – and store those copies in a safe place at home. Should your wallet be lost or stolen, you won’t be left wondering what was actually taken, and you’ll be able to quickly notify the appropriate agencies about what has taken place. Furthermore, someone at home can always send you the duplicate information you need to get you back to where you want to be -- home.

About Kroll
Kroll, the world's leading risk consulting company, provides a broad range of investigative, intelligence, financial, security and technology services to help clients reduce risks, solve problems and capitalize on opportunities. Kroll Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (NYSE: MMC), the global professional services firm. Kroll began providing identity theft solutions in 1999 and created its Fraud Solutions practice in 2002 in response to increasing requests from clients for counsel and services associated with the loss of sensitive personal information, and related identity protection and restoration issues facing organizations and individuals. Since then, Kroll’s Fraud Solutions clients have included Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, and government entities dealing with healthcare, financial services, insurance, consumer service, and any activity involving the collection and use of personal information. Kroll’s Fraud Solutions team presently serves over 10,000 businesses and millions of individual consumers. For more information, visit: www.krollfraudsolutions.com.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: Mobal.com

Mobal.com
Are you traveling overseas this summer and don't want to pay the high roaming fees of your home carrier's cell phone plan? Many cell phone companies rip customers off and worse yet, most U.S. companies don't even have GSM tri-band phones. If you do have one, it's locked so you can't switch out the SIM card. The most cost effective way to stay in touch when abroad is with Skype (click here for more info on Skype) –- but many travelers don't want to lug their laptops or search for an Internet café. For those who want the freedom and safety of having a cell phone by their side, then Mobal is the company to use. They have the cheapest deals around. Currently, you can buy a phone that will work in over 150 countries for $49 and it comes with $20 of talk time. The phone comes with a UK SIM card so you will have a UK number that you can keep for life. TIP: Get a local SIM card for whatever country you are traveling to and switch it out. They usually cost about $20 and that will give you a local number. Even better, all incoming calls (in most countries) are absolutely free no matter where the call is coming from.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: RovAir.com

RovAir.com
Are you an Internet junkie like me? Does it irk you to sometimes have to pay outrageous broadband fees in hotels? (I paid $40 one night!) Or even worse, do you hate being in a plush airline lounge reserved for premium passengers and have to pay $9.99 for just an hour’s worth of WiFi? If you can relate then listen up. A new company called RovAir.com will alleviate all those aggravations and then some.

Although, RovAir targets the occasional business traveler, their service is good for any high-speed lover looking for Internet access wherever cell service is available. RovAir allows users to get one of those cool wireless cards from either Sprint or Verizon without having to pay the $60 monthly fee, the taxes, the activation fees, the price of the equipment and worst of all, the two-year contract. Depending on the length of the rental and the number of cards ordered (they actually get a lot of companies needing multiple cards), their prices vary from $5.95 (30-60 days) per day to $14.95 (3-6 days) per day.

It may seem extravagant but if you add up what it would cost in a hotel and airport and factor in the frustrations when your email won’t send, then it’s a bargain. A huge added bonus is that customers can use it anywhere in the U.S. (where there’s cell service available). In fact, just last week I uploaded a video to YouTube from the bus on my way to the MGM Grand in Connecticut and right now I’m on a train making the surrounding passengers jealous. It can be used in a coffee shop, at the park, at the beach, by the pool or at your yearly house rental … think freedom! Did you know that more than 50% of all vacation homes don’t have WiFi?

The service isn’t as fast as a T1 connection but if you just need to download emails, use Skype and surf the Internet, it works well 95% of the time. You can be online 24/7 and it won’t cost extra unless you go over 1GB of data on a weekly (pro-rated to daily or monthly) basis. But to reach that level you’d have to be streaming a significant amount of video (ahem, porn). The bad news is that it doesn’t work internationally and one minute it’s cruising and the next it’s slow even when you’re in the same spot. It all depends on the cell connection but you can see how many bars of service you’ve got, just like on cell phones. What makes this a no brainer is that ordering and set up is as easy as can be. It takes one minute and they ship it overnight with a return label so there’s no hassle. Happy surfing!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

JFK to Cape Town on Delta Airlines

A couple nights ago, I had dinner at the Peninsula Hotel in NYC to celebrate the kickoff of Delta's new direct flight from JFK to Cape Town, South Africa (via Dakar). It would’ve been nice to have been on yesterday’s inaugural flight but I was fortunate enough to fly to Johannesburg on SAA a few months ago. I had an incredible experience and trip!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: FerriAndPartners.com/Trends

FerriAndPartners.com/Trends
Are you like me and always looking for a new travel blog or newsletter to read? Well, thanks to Jim Ferri, who has added a blog to his PR firm website, you can now add one more item to your online travel reading. This blog discusses trends in travel and tourism and is a great source of information. Check it out!

Monday, June 02, 2008

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: FlightMapping.com

FlightMapping.com
Most savvy North American travelers realize that it’s cheaper for us to fly to countries within Europe via the U.K. than it is to buy a direct ticket to our final destination. Yes, it can be a pain but sometimes the savings can greatly outweigh the disadvantages. One way to do it easily is to fly to England or Ireland and then hop on a low-fare carrier like Ryanair or easyJet. Keep in mind that many budget carriers sometimes fly in and out of alternate airports so be sure to allow yourself plenty of time (I recommend spending a night). And, they also charge obscene amounts for heavy checked luggage. However, if you don’t mind what I’ve listed above, then websites like FlightMapping.com and WhichBudget.com can guide you in the right direction. Happy European travels!