WestJet

WestJet offers hands-free Clapper technology

Here’s an interesting idea:

Today WestJet announced that it is introducing Clapper technology on board its aircraft that will allow guests to operate amenities such as lights and live seatback television, simply by clapping their hands.

“Made popular on television in the mid-1980s, Clapper technology is making an in-flight comeback thanks to the addition of a newly patented transmitter. Guests wearing the transmitting device while seated can clap once to activate the reading light in the console above their head, clap twice to change the channel on their live seatback television, or clap three times to illuminate the flight attendant call button. Transmitters are available to purchase online for $19.95, and the devices come in a variety of colors.”

Unfortunately, this technology is not yet available because it’s just an April Fools joke. But WestJet is offering a real 10% discount code on flights booked today for travel through June 29, 2010.  Use promo code APR02 and the coupon code UYQGDGN.

Tidbits for travelers: airfare refunds, prizes, free stuff and special deals

Here’s a quick round-up of recession specials for air travelers and other tidbits you might find useful:

American Airlines has kicked off a Milestones contest: One first-place winner will receive 275,000 AAdvantage miles; 10 second-place winners will each get 1,000 AAdvantage miles.   To enter: register and post an interesting tidbit about a cool place somewhere in the world.  Winners will be announced on or around May 15, 2009. Details here.

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Jet Blue Airways has announced a promotion offering to refund (most of) the price of your ticket if you lose your job between the time you pay for your ticket and the time you’re scheduled to take your trip.  Here’s a link to the offer and the restrictions.

Canada’s WestJet is celebrating the fact that U.S. President Barack Obama is visiting Canada by offering a little one day discount sale. Use the code “Obama” to book a ticket today (Feb 19th) and get $50 off.  Details here.

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And travelers passing through New York’s LaGuardia Airport will now find organic foods, healthy treats, fruit, vegetables, deli items, sandwiches, salads and other items at Angelina’s Metro Market, pre-security in the Central Terminal. Angelina’s Panini Bar, a satellite of the Metro Market, will open post-security at the B Gates,  later this month.

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See anything fun, new, interesting or strange while you’re stuck at the airport?  Let me know and we’ll add it to the blog.

One person – two seats – in two rows?

One of my recent Well Mannered Traveler columns on MSNBC.com discussed the “tush test” Canadian airlines are asking travelers to undergo in order to take advantage of that country’s One Person/One Fare  laws.

So Gregg at FlightsfromHell sent along a  link to a story about a woman forced to purchase two airplane seats “for other people’s comfort.”

Unfortunately, the two seats the airline assigned her were not next to each other.

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Canadian airlines cram to obey obesity ruling

(Illustration for my column by MSNBC’s Duane Hoffman)

“You’ve dawdled this whole year. Now stop all that bellyaching and get on with it.”

That’s pretty much the message Canada’s Supreme Court gave to the country’s major airlines at the end of November. Now, after spending a year trying to weasel out of it with repeated court appeals, Canadian airlines are scrambling to figure out how to meet the January 10th, 2009 deadline for complying with “One-Person-One-Fare” policy mandated by the Canadian Transportation Agency, or CTA.

Its groundbreaking legislation that some hope – and others fear – may spread to the United States and elsewhere. So pay attention.

Under the new rules, which will apply only to domestic flights, Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz and WestJet cannot charge more than one fare to persons with disabilities who cannot fly without the help of an attendant.

Few people will take issue with that.

What some folks are taking issue with, however, is the part of the ruling that also promises a complimentary second seat to passengers who are “determined to be functionally disabled by obesity.”

Find out what that means – and what several experts think it should mean – in my Well Mannered Traveler column posted today on MSNBC.com.

Pillows for purchase on WestJet

Joining JetBlue in the “pillows for purchase” movement, Canada’s WestJet just announced that starting Monday, Dec 1, it too would be begin selling pillow and blanket kits to passengers on all flights.

The kits will cost CN $7 (about US $5.65) and include a travel pillow, fleece blanket, carry bag, and a $5 coupon that can be used on-line towards the purchase of a CleanBrands product.

Not interested in buying a kit with “brand new, allergen-free, breathable and washable” items that “can be used over and over again?” The airline promises that, for now, its current stock of blankets, which are certainly used over and over – and over – again – will still be available on all WestJet flights for use at no charge.

WestJet, by the way, is one of the Canadian airlines that got news last week that it has until January to figure out how to comply with the Canadian Transportation Agency’s ruling that people who are “functionally disabled by obesity” deserve to have two seats for one fare.
WestJet, Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz argued that complying with the “One person -one fare” rule would cost too much.

Canada’s Supreme Court didn’t buy the argument.