Daily Archives: July 15, 2009

TripAdvisor Reviews Under Attack

TripAdvisor has been posting advisories about attempts to manipulate reviews for hotels on its site, the Associated Press reports.

I’ve been following the dispute between Arthur Frommer, who I worship, and TripAdvisor, a site that I find quite useful. Frommer says the site is too easily manipulated by fake reviews and travelers should rely on evaluations from guidebooks and journalists. TripAdvisor, which is owned by Expedia, says it is actively rooting out fake reviews.

For my part, I use the site with the understanding that some reviewers are not writing in good faith. If there are only a few reviews, I don’t give them much weight, but if there are a hundred or more, I pay attention. I look for ratings in the middle, two to four stars instead of one or four, because there is usually little to learn from rave reviews or a complete trashing. The reviews in between are more nuanced, and tend to describe the good points and the bad.

Of course, I use guidebooks, too.

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Blogger Reports TSA Agent Pulled Down Her Top

My niece Seton sent me a link to this rather horrifying blog entry by a young woman who says her tube top was pulled down by a female TSA agent in the Bozeman, Mont., airport, exposing her breasts to passengers and several male agents nearby. It seems pretty clear that it was an accident, but a careless and truly inexcusable one.

Some comments on her blog entry suggested that she should not have been wearing a tube top to fly. Nonsense. She can wear what she wants, even a strapless top. Besides, she had a hooded sweatshirt over it.

For years, my husband and I had a protocol when traveling with our daughter — one of us would pass through security ahead of her and the other behind her so that one of us would always be on the same side with her. There were just too many stories about young women being singled out for attention, especially before the TSA replaced private guards.

The kid is 24 now, travels alone all the time and knows how to take care of herself. But if someone did that to her, whether it was an accident or not, they would still face the unholy wrath of this Mom.

Plane Crash In Iran Kills 168

It’s turning into a grim summer for commercial aviation, with another 168 killed this morning in the crash of a Caspian Airlines Tupolev TU-154 in Iran, CNN reports.

This crash follows the June 1 crash of an Air France A330 into the Indian Ocean that killed 228 people and the June 30 crash of a Yemenia Airways Airbus 310 near the Comoros Islands, also into the Indian Ocean, that killed 152.

The New York Times points out that:

Iran has been plagued by plane crashes in recent years, a record that aviation experts have attributed to the country’s aging and outdated planes, many of them secondhand aircraft leased from Russia.