Category Archives: Tips

Five things you can do to be safer in hotels

 

 

The disturbing news about an armed heist at a well-known, high-end Paris hotel is surprising in and of itself, but especially because of the hotel’s location at the prestigious Place Vendome – also the location of the French Ministry of Justice, and because hotel guests were around and subjected to the dramatic break-in

In case you haven’t heard the news,  two days armed thieves were after some $6 million in jewels on display at the hotel boutiques. They reportedly smashed window displays and got away with some stratospherically expensive jewels.

One report said the thieves entered the hotel from a service entrance, due to some construction going on. but then went through the hotel’s Hemingway Bar. One of my friend’s sisters-in-law was actually having a drink there when it happened. She reported  that the bartender acted quickly and told everyone to get down when gun shots broke out.

Can you imagine the brazen attack? it is almost out of a movie – (To Catch a Thief?) entering one of the city’s best hotels, during hours when people were still enjoying the bar, and stealing millions of dollars of watches, gems, etc. (Some of which have been recovered at this point, along with some arrests having been made.)

After the unbelievably heinous shooting in Vegas, (and even terror incidents before that) hotel security became the subject of  intense scrutiny. The recent incident in Paris makes us all wonder again- how safe are we when we travel if even one of the nicest, luxurious hotels in a seemingly protected area faces such crime?

This reminded me of an interview I did a while back with  the Vice President of Redpoint Resolutions – a company that offers high end individual travel safety services.

Here are some suggestions he had, mixed with some I have heard before on the road, on how to stay safe in hotels. It doesn’t hurt to hear them again.

  1. Be cautious when booking at big American hotel chains when abroad   – they can be targets. That doesn’t mean don’t do it – cautious is the key world. Call and ask about the hotel’s security – is the entrance well lit? Are there security guards and cameras?
  2. Book a room far from the lobby or public spaces, especially if you are woman traveling alone. Don’t say your room number aloud at check-in, and never open your hotel room door to anyone who isn’t supposed to be there.
  3. On that same note, keep your hotel room door open at all times when room service or a bell boy comes.  If you have to, wait at the door with it open until he is done with the services. It may sound silly, but I was sort of cornered by a bell boy who wanted to come in and show me how to use the air conditioning in my room.
  4. When dining or enjoying the public spaces of a hotel, always know where the exits are. Pick a seat facing the door to see who comes in.
  5. Don’t take your eyes off your bags when giving them to the bell boy to load in a cab upon departure. Watch them get loaded. A friend of mine’s bags were actually stolen this way. She didn’t check the back of the cab when she got in , and her bags were not there.

I hope this helps, and makes you think twice about your safety while traveling, my travel tribe!

 

How NOT to get bumped from a flight

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I have been processing that disturbing video of the United Airlines passenger getting dragged off the plane, and like most, can’t believe the way that situation was handled. Yes, it is within the airline’s legal rights to remove passengers, but c’mon , there could have been more humane ways to deal with the situation…especially because they were kicking that passenger off to make room for their own employees!

Everyone has a price they will take to voluntarily get bumped –  why not just offer two round trip tickets anywhere in the US – or world – next time? Sign me up! It is now costing the airline much, much more.

That being said.. Overbooking, while rearing it’s ugly head in this isolated incident, actually makes airfares lower by enhancing the airlines’ revenues ensuring flights are booked. In 2016, airlines posted an involuntary bumping rate of 62 per 1 million fliers, according to the Bureau of Transportation.

So as we head into summer – one of the busiest travel seasons -what can you as a consumer do to protect yourself from being bumped?

According to the  Department of Transportation , “it is the airline’s responsibility to determine its own fair boarding priorities,” but for the most part, these tips reflect those priorities:

  • Check in to your flight as early as possible – print that boarding pass 24 hours in advance.. or if not possible because you are camping in the wilderness, LOL, download to your mobile as soon as you can!!! The last to arrive, the first in line to get bumped.
  • If you are loyal to one airline and have elite status, you are lower on the list to get bumped.
  • Same goes with the kind of seat you buy – the cheaper the seat, the more likely you are easily bumped.
  • If you are bumped voluntarily or non-voluntarily on a domestic flight – know this: You  are entitled to 200% of the one-way fare in compensation (but no more than $675) in cash if their delay is between one and two hours, according to a federal regulation. If the delay is more than two hours, customers are entitled to 400% of a one-way fare (but no more than $1,350) in cash. Be firm, and negotiate what you want. Check the contract of carriage on your airline.
  • Consider the airlines – according to Crankyflier.com, JetBlue doesn’t oversell flights.

While involuntary bumping could happen to any of us, consider these tips and it can be less likely. Safe travels everyone!

 

 

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