I had heard that high altitudes can dull the taste buds; airline kitchens make sure to add extra bursts of flavor to compensate. But what will they do about this discovery? A study by the University of Manchester says that white noise in the background can make food taste less appetizing and airline noise is the perfect combination to produce poor flavor.
That explains a lot.
Last week I had the chance to soar over Orlando as part of the MAUIVA sightseeing flight. “Sightseeing from the clouds” is a great marketing line, but my favorite part is how personal the experience is. In a way you get to see what it’s like to be a pilot. You are at an airport with no security at all – head to the hanger and then step onto a plane with the pilot. Put the headset one, hear the air traffic controllers and other pilots calling each other in the lingo I don’t understand.
When you are up in the air over the parks and celebrity houses you get the pilots full attention (except for his focus on actually flying the plane). You can ask him what is that? What are they building there? And he points out Harry Potter or the tree of life.
I actually flew the plane which was pretty crazy – I think I stared so hard at the controls to ensure “the line was between this number and that number” that I didn’t even look out the windshield the entire time I was flying the plane.
The landing is my favorite – soooo smooth. And the runway is so close you feel like you can reach out and touch it as you are landing. I can definitely recommend that you check out MAUIVA for your next trip to Orlando.
The Department of Transportation is thoroughly making over the rules airlines must comply with when it comes to safety and passenger comfort. They’ve already limited the amount of time an airplane can spend in the tarmac before penalties start to accrue, now they’re focusing on undisclosed fees and overbooking that leads to involuntary bumping of passengers.
Currently, airlines must compensate passengers for involuntary bumping. You’ll receive at least $400 if the airline can arrange substitute transportation that will get you to your destination within one to two hours of your original scheduled arrival for domestic flights, or one to four hours for international flights. That rises to $800 if they miss that deadline.
The new regulations would up the penalties to $650 and $1300 respectively and then ties those amounts to inflation. “This administration believes consumers are entitled to strong and effective protections when they fly,” stated Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
In theory this will provide an incentive for airlines to reduce the practice of overbooking and to schedule their flights to allow more time for possible delays.
Other rules and regulations suggested by the DOT include:
- Smaller airports and international air carriers would be required to adopt contingency plans for long tarmac delays.
- Airlines must provide passengers more information on delays, this includes international airlines.
- Establish of minimum standards for carriers’ customer service plans and extend the customer service plan requirements to cover foreign carriers.
- Carriers will be required to list taxes and fees in advertising and prevents “opt-out” add-ons (an oxymoron if there ever was one) such as trip insurance.
- Airlines will now have to reveal extra fees like baggage and seat reservation fees where they publish their airfares.
- One of my favorites, allow passengers a 24-hour grace period during which they can change their mind about an airline ticket purchase.
- Post-purchase price increases would be prohibited.
- Communication with passengers regarding flight status changes, such as cancellations and delays, would have to be more frequent and displayed at the boarding gate area, on website, and on telephone help lines.
What do you think? Will these proposed changes actually have an affect on your travel comfort?
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