Andy finds the current rage of taking pictures of your food at restaurants annoying. He says the fad slows down the kitchen and, besides, he says, it’s not your last meal, you’re going to eat again tomorrow. I know some folks like let the world know they’re eating at a great restaurant, so I have no opinion.
But I do agree with his objection to “campers,” diners (usually women, he says) who finish a meal, pay their bill, and then occupy a table forever while others wait to be seated. I’ve experienced that, and I bet you have, too. Wrong. Go to the bar and open the table to another party.
He doesn’t seem to like kale, either. He likens it to a vinyl pool cover. And he’s not nuts about mandatory gratuities. He finds the phrase a contradiction and would like to tip as he pleases without a computer adding a number to his check.
If you agree, you probably want to follow Andy here.
Thirteen years ago, a retired New York City policeman on a family cruise aboard a Royal Caribbean ship fell and hit his head while exiting the ship for a tour of Bermuda. A nurse in the ship’s medical unit examined him and suggested he rest in his cabin. A few days later, he was dead.
Turns out the victim had suffered a serious brain injury. For more than 100 years, cruise passengers have been prevented from winning medical malpractice lawsuits against cruise lines that argued passengers shouldn’t expect the same level of medical care aboard a cruise ship as on land. And, besides, ships’ medical personnel were private contractors so a cruise line had no liability.
But a federal appeals court considering the 13-year-old case of the unfortunate policeman ruled otherwise. The doctor and nurse aboard the cruise line wore Norwegian Cruise line uniforms, and promotional material from the cruise line raved about the ship’s on-board medical center.
These days, ship doctors can communicate via video with land-based specialists, so the level of care should have improved in the last 13 years. And this ruling, if upheld, could give anyone taking a cruise more peace of mind. Royal Caribbean says it’s in the vacation business, not the hospital business and is appealing the verdict.
Once, the average Chinese man or woman didn’t have the freedom to travel outside of China. But that’s changed, and they can’t seem to get enough of the world. Japan is their favorite destination despite continued antipathy between the Chinese and Japanese governments over the last world war.
The Asia/Pacific office of Travelzoo asked the Chinese their favorite destinations, and Japan came out on top; the US wasn’t far behind. It helped that Beijing and DC recently relaxed visa rules, agreeing to extend the validity of both business and tourism visas from one year to ten.
How many Chinese travelers left their homeland last year for trips? More than 100 million by last November. That’s nearly a third of the population of the US.
So watch for more Chinese signage and menus, especially in West Coast cities that host a significant number of Chinese tourists and business travelers. China’s largest travel portal sold 60% more trips to the US last year compared to 2013. That number will grow.
The daughter was in charge of the airline’s in-flight services, and as her flight left its gate at JFK airport to fly to Korea, Ms. Cho was displeased when served macadamia nuts in a bag rather than on a plate. She ordered the plane back to the gate, summoned the lead flight attendant for a tongue lashing, rapped his hand with a binder, and ordered him off the plane.
Shortly thereafter, Ms. Cho lost her job, her father apologized for her behavior, and she’s been charged with assault and interfering with the safety of a flight.
That story tapped into national resentment over family conglomerates that run some of South Korea’s biggest companies that are responsible for making South Korea an economic powerhouse. Some say those groups have become too powerful and arrogant, and Ms. Cho is the poster child for that dissatisfaction.
Will she face a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison? Probably not, but macadamia nut sales are way up in South Korea.
Recently the Wall Street Journal’s Scott McCartney, who writes the “Middle Seat” column every Thursday, crunched some numbers with FlightStats and found that the country’s airlines deserved a pretty bad report card for 2014.
There was Polar Vortex weather at the start of the year, a fire in a Chicago air control tower, and runway construction at San Francisco’s airport. That meant an unusually high number of flight delays and cancelations. Which may explain the 25% increase in passenger complaints to the Department of Transportation. Airlines waylaid 17% more bags than they did in 2013.
So who got the best grades? Alaska Airlines and Virgin America. Virgin incentivizes workers with bonuses for good numbers, Alaska uses advance satellite technology to increase flight efficiency.
At the bottom of the class: United and American Airlines. Both have big hubs in Chicago, both airlines are merging with large airlines. And both are promising a better 2015.