Daily Archives: August 12, 2009

Las Vegas Abounds With Hotel Deals And Bargains

The bottom has dropped out of hotel rates in Las Vegas as the number of visitors continues to plummet and gambling revenue falls even more steeply.

The Las Vegas Sun recently reported that the number of visitors in June 2009 was 6.8 percent lower than in June 2009, occupancy rates were down 7.2 percentage points, convention attendance was down 18.9 percent and throughout the county, gambling revenue dropped 14.7 percent.

Hotels are discounting an average of 25.5 percent, the Sun reported, but I like to pay less than average. Here are some of the discounts I’ve seen:

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Whale Was Already Dead When Hit By Cruise Ship

A fin whale impaled on the prow of the Sapphire Princess had been dead for five to seven days before the cruise ship hit it, the Vancouver Province reports.

The whale was pinned to the ship when it docked in Vancouver last month.

A juvenile fin whale was found dead last week on the bow of a cargo ship in the Port of Tacoma. Biologists believe that whale was killed by a collision with a ship, although possibly not the one it was found on, the News Tribune of Tacoma reported.

In January, Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas arrived at Puerto Montt, Chile, with a whale’s decomposed carcass caught in the prow. Biologists later said the whale was dead when the ship hit it.

Outrage Grows Over Tarmac Delays

Another blogger has weighed in on the outrageous case of the ExpressJet flight that sat on the ground overnight at the Rochester, Minn., airport because nobody could be bothered to get 47 passengers off the cramped regional jet. And that blogger is Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

This case is shaping up to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. I believe we will end up with an air passenger rights law out of this one, and it’s about damned time. As Arthur Frommer recently blogged, it’s time to tell the airlines “that passengers have the right to get the hell off the plane.”

It might happen, once in a while, that somebody gets trapped in an elevator or a train or a bus. That’s what we call an accident. But in the airline industry, it’s no accident. It’s a recurring symptom of a systemic problem that the airlines are unable or unwilling to solve on their own.

Not all airlines are equally at fault. Check out this chart from USA Today, which shows the frequency of tarmac delays of at least three hours, by airline. And keep it in mind next time you book a flight.