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It might be Christmas Day, but social media never stops – and there’s plenty of news, stories, promos, contests and more that are going on this holiday season, so check out our roundup.
Social media is increasingly becoming the method airlines, hotels, credit cards and consumers get in touch with one another about the latest news, deals and promotions. Here’s a look at the latest interesting trending topics and more on social media from the week.
I’ll be combing through Facebook posts, Tweets, Instagram pics and more to find the most interesting things going on during any given week, but if I miss something you’d like to discuss feel free to:
-Post on my Facebook wall
-Tweet me @thepointsguy
-Instagram me @thepointsguy
Here are some of the biggest news stories and promotions that everyone has been tweeting about this week.
Airlines Make Tougher Rules For Unruly Passengers: The number of incidents of unruly passengers on planes has risen exponentially, from fewer than 500 cases in 2007 to more than 6,000 cases in 2011, and continues to rise, tweets @Skift. For example, a drunk passenger on a January flight from Iceland to New York tried to grope and choke fellow travelers until crew and passengers bound him with duct tap. Laws and rules dealing with disruptive passenger behavior were set back in 1963, and there is clearly a need for some new and updated regulations, so the International Civil Aviation Organization will meet in March 2014 to discuss changes.
Aviation Report Finds That Airline Delays Are Undercounted: @AviationTweet reports that flight delays are significantly undercounted at some of the biggest US hub airports. That in turn skews the airlines’ on-time performance statistics that are disclosed to the public according to an inspector general’s report. For example, the Philadelphia airport reported having 13,800 flight delays, and in reality, their number of late flights was actually 38,000! According to the Transportation Department, American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc. and United Continental Holdings Inc. don’t include late arrivals by regional partners that account for almost a quarter of US flights and are exempt from reporting delays.
Tips On Avoiding Lodging Disasters: We all have hotel horror stories, but the Travel Channel’s Anthony Melchiorri is here to help avoid any in the future. @LA Times Travel tweeted the Hotel Impossible host’s tips for dodging lodging disaster, such as to vet independent hotels carefully, don’t stay anywhere you have to pay for WiFi or water, and read guest-review sites if you are booking online.
The Craziest Travel Confessions: Truth or dare? Travel + Leisure magazine is bringing you some of the craziest confessions from flight attendants, front desk managers and of course, taxi drivers, tweeted @TravlAndLeisure. From a waiter who was stabbed with a fork by an impatient customer, to a masseuse who can’t rip people away from their cell phones during a massage – these tales will make you think twice before you are rude to a travel industry employee!
New App Allows You To Follow The Times Square Ball Drop: Don’t worry if you can’t make it to Times Square this holiday season, as @HuffPostTravel is introducing followers to a cool new app that allows you to experience the New Year’s Times Square ball drop from anywhere in the world. With the Times Square Ball app for iPhone and Android, people not near a television can tune in to the festivities from their smartphones, reported the Huffington Post. The app features a live six-hour webcast that will be available on New Year’s Eve, with behind-the-scenes interviews, musical performances, countdowns and the fall of the Times Square Ball.
Ring In The New Year Somewhere Different: These New Year’s Eve ideas from @CNNTravel may be a little adventurous to pull off before the end of 2013, but there’s always next year if not! Rather than busy Sydney Harbour, how about ringing in the New Year at Byron Bay in on the northern edge of New South Wales? The celebrations in Goa, India, kick off on December 27 with the three-day Sunburn music festival – headliners include Pete Tong, Markus Schultz and Afrojak, among other DJs. Or Prague lights up the skies with fireworks, and January 1 is an extra special celebration as it marks the day the Czech Republic was created after the breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1993.
What The North Pole Is Really Like At Christmas: Whether you believe in Santa Claus or not, the North Pole is definitely real, and @ABCNewsTravel is revealing what it is like there for Christmas. With the motto, “Where the spirit of Christmas lives year ’round,” the small Alaskan city of North Pole is just as magical as you’d expect. It has around 2,200 residents who enjoy the elaborate ice park in the town square that has holiday-themed sculptures and life-size slides, there is also Santa’s house where children’s letters are received, and candy cane-striped street lights lining the pretty streets.
US Airlines Made $4.7 billion In Baggage And Change Fees In The First 9 Months of 2013: U.S. Department of Transportation’s statistics show that US airlines certainly came out ahead on baggage fees in the first 3 quarters of 2013, taking home $4.7 billion, tweets @Skift. Delta has been the leading airline for the past four years beating out all other US airlines in baggage revenue. So far this year, Delta will end up with $1.3 billion from baggage charges.
American Airlines To Revamp Schedule: There are a lot of changes going on at American Airlines, and the latest announcement is a revamped schedule to “re-bank” its hubs, according to @Skift. The changes will begin in Miami in August, and it will mean that dozens of flights will all land within a narrow time period, then take off within a similarly narrow time period. American also will vary its schedule according to demand, rather than operate the same schedule throughout the month.
United Changes Unaccompanied Minor Policy: @L.A.TimesTravel tweets about United quietly changing their unaccompanied minor policy to allow them only on nonstop flights. Any tickets purchased for an unaccompanied minors ages 5-11 after December 5th, 2014 will reflect this change, they won’t be allowed to have itineraries involving connections. Also, the optional service extended to travelers 12 to 17 years old will no longer be available on itineraries that involve connections.
The Most Instagrammed Places in 2013: This year, the Siam Paragon in Bangkok – which is a shopping mall – tops the charts as the most Instagrammed place in 2013, tweets @CNNTravel. Other places that made the list are Times Square in New York, Disneyland in California, and the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas. Check out the full list here.
Best Western Hotels Offering Discount: Best Western is offering a sale on hotel rooms, reports @Frommers. The sale claims guests can save 20% on hotel rooms booked from now until February 2, 2014. The rooms can only be booked at the Best Western website to receive the discount. You can see the discount, valid on only participating hotels, when the rates come up online. You will be quoted two prices: the “Internet Only” rate (that’s the sale price, if that hotel is offering one) and the “Best Available Rate” (the normal price). Subtract one from the other, and that’s what you’re saving. Best Western Rewards members who register PRIOR to their stay and book a qualifying rate will also receive 1,000 bonus points per stay before February 2nd, 2014. Elite members get 500 more bonus points per stay.
Hotels With Beautiful Christmas Trees: It’s not just any Wednesday, it’s also Christmas! Celebrate a little by checking out some beautiful Christmas trees in hotels around the world, tweets @TheHotelegraph.
Take A Travel Quiz and Win A Trip to Morocco: Take this travel quiz to win a trip to Morocco, tweets @TelegraphTravel. The prize includes two roundtrip flights from Gatwick Airport to Marrakesh with Royal Air Maroc, private transfers, bed and breakfast accommodation in a luxury suite at the Kasbah Bab Ourika for two nights, and a guided walk with a picnic lunch. The competition closes at midnight on January 16, 2014, and a winner will be announced in the following week’s Telegraph Travel. Keep in mind this contest is only open to residents of the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
Win a Two Night Stay at the Beverly Wilshire: The Four Season Beverly Wilshire hotel is giving away a two-night package valued at $2,000 for two people, tweets @JohnnyJet. The package includes: two nights accommodation in a Signature Room, dinner for two at the BLVD Restaurant, and two one-hour custom massages at the hotel spa. Enter by signing up for the Johnny Jet newsletter, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook for additional entries. You can use the form to follow the Beverly Wilshire on Twitter and like their Facebook page for more entries—and for one last entry, you can agree to send out a preset tweet noting that you’ve entered. You have until midnight on December 31, 2013 to enter.