Recently, United Air Lines decided members of the first tier of its frequent flyer program—called Premier—would only be able to check one bag free instead of two as before. The airline also decreed that instead of being able to book a coach seat with extra legroom when making a reservation, Premier members could only receive one of those seats if there were any available at check in. Keep in mind that to achieve Premier status, most passengers have to fly 25,000 miles in a year—about equivalent to circumnavigating the globe—so they could take advantage of those perks the next year. And some of those folks may have taken less convenient—or more expensive—flights or even unnecessary flights we call “mileage runs” in order to hit that 25,000 mile threshold. Chicago attorney Joe Siprut says this isn’t fair, and he joins Rudy to discuss the class action suit he’s filed to ask United to either pay Premier passengers for the loss of those perks or reverse the new rules.
The show’s “Mr. Hotel,” Michael Matthews, discusses four possible ways of paying less than retail for a nice hotel room. And after checking out various options, he comes up with his best suggestion. Meanwhile, Wall Street Journal “Middle Seat” columnist Scott McCartney says it’s not just United that is devaluing perks offered its lowest level of “elite” frequent flyers. He explains why there’s not much “status” in first-tier status at most large airlines now. And Orbitz.com senior travel editor, Jeanenne Tornatore, describes where to find late-summer travel deals. (Hint: Think really hot places such as New Orleans, Orlando, Vegas, and Arizona.) Plus, Rudy has the latest travel news and his own deals of the week, including a luxe Colorado resort that invites you to come for a ski vacation and receive the same number of room nights for free next summer.
Rudy opens the show by checking in with an organizer of one of America’s more unusual festivals. Kendell Montavy is with the Jaycees in Orlean, MO, and he describes the annual Testicle Festival put on by the Jaycees and local members of the Future Farmers of America. It’s a celebration of the glory of . . . deep-fried turkey testicles. And how do you immerse yourself in another culture when you’re visiting a place for a short time? Travel journalist Frank Bures has some helpful suggestions. Then, New York City is proposing to add 2,000 more taxis to its streets. Mathematical economist and environmental activist Charles Komanoff say while adding those cabs will cut one minute of waiting time for someone trying to hail a cab during rush hour, it’ll slow down traffic severely and cost half a billion dollars in lost productivity.
And perhaps you heard the report that New York’s JFK airport and Los Angeles’ LAX are the two most dangerous airports when it comes to spreading any eventual pandemic. Ruben Juanes is an associate professor at MIT, earth scientist, and author of the paper that made the news. He chats with Rudy about how his study reached its conclusions. [See Rudy's fan page on Facebook for a link to that report--"Rudy Maxa TV Show" is how the page can be found on Facebook.] And, as usual, Rudy wraps up the first hour with some of his deals of the week.
Rudy’s news segment opens the show as usual, (which unexpected country just banned smoking in public places?), and Conde Nast Traveler’s consumer news director, Wendy Perrin, offers helpful consumer advice on one of the hottest segments of travel these days: river cruising. See the August issue of Conde Nast Traveler for a special section on the subject. And the show’s favorite cranky traveler, Joe Brancatelli of the terrific travel web site JoeSentMe.com, delivers a eulogy for the Blackberry, once the business traveler’s best friend. (Joe talked to the show via his Blackberry that he fears will soon give way to an iPhone or Android phone.)
Then, as the first week of the summer Olympics in London draw to a close, Rudy checks in with “our man in London,” Vic Garvey. Garvey, a former NBC-TV executive, handled the logistics of covering a dozen Olympics for the television network, and he’s currently a consultant to Fortune 500 companies. He reports the empty hotel rooms and available tickets he described on the show the previous week are pretty much gone, and London is rocking ’round the clock. Rudy closes the show with some of the best travel bargains around this week.
How has the Arab Spring in Egypt impacted the country’s rich archeological treasures? Dr. Aidan Dodson from the archeology and anthropology department at the University of Bristol in England says the news isn’t good. Due to a decline in security, looting is endangering one of the main reasons tourists visit Egypt. Travel writer Doug Lansky discusses the way some destinations and resorts hype themselves in brochures and websites. And from London, former NBC-TV executive and veteran Olympic-hand Vic Garvey, reports on the scene and says, yes, there are still affordable hotels rooms and tickets to some events available. Plus, travel deals and the latest in travel news.
San Francisco is a city rich in cafes, and author Joe Wolff describes several of the most inviting ones in his new book, Cafe Life: San Francisco. With great photos by Roger Paperno, the book is a must for coffee lovers visiting the city. What does, “Flight attendants, doors to arrival and crosscheck” mean when you hear that on the public address system of an plane as the crew taxis to a terminal? Commercial pilot and AskThePilot.com author Patrick Smith explains how to “speak airline.” And are you minding proper etiquette at pools and beaches this summer? TripAdvisor.com travel expert Lesley Carlin lists the things that bother most people about other people while sunning. Plus: Rudy’s up-to-the-minute travel news and deals.