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January 2012
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March 2012

Video: No female TSA agents means no flight for Denver woman - KDVR

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DENVER -- A Denver woman claims she couldn’t board a flight from Wyoming to Denver because of her gender. Jennifer Winning makes the flight from the small airport of Rock Springs, WY to Denver often, but on January 29th it was different.

“They wouldn`t let me get on the plane because I`m female,” Winning said.

She said she checked in and arrived at security about 35 minutes before the scheduled departure of her United flight.


TSA is blaming Delta. This is a very small airport. They just saw here at the check-in desk. And they closed the flight without her?  Other press coverage says Winning went outside and waited for her plane to land, thinking it would land and she would go inside.  It landed, she went inside, and TSA is saying the flight was closed by Delta.  Winning says she had a lengthly converstation with TSA agent who told her if she was a man he would screen her.  She watched her fellow passengers board the plane.  TB

Is Thin Cruise Ship Toilet Paper Making Passengers Sick?

Sick Woman with Toilet Paper

For years I've commented on the incredibly thin, see through, toilet paper found on cruise ships, wondering if this thin and apparently very porous tissue is making passengers sick.

This weekend three cruise ships returned to US ports with sick passengers.  While in the Falkands officials refused to let a sick ship dock.   The primary suspect is a Norovirus outbreak on these cruise ships has caused the illness of hundreds of passengers and crew.  This virus is transmitted by fecal contaminated food or water, person-to-person contact, or contaminated surfaces.  It brings me back to my file cabinet where I know I have some cruise ship toilet paper filed away.  But still, after an exhaustive search, the file from my last cruise is still missing.....  You must be asking why would the TRAVEL BLOGGER bring home toilet paper from a cruise?  Because I'm a firm believer that the thin toilet paper used on many, if not all, cruise ships today may be making people sick. 

Think about it.  Passengers have a bathroom hygiene routine that may be perfectly fine when using high quality toilet tissue found at your local supermarket.  But that same habitual pattern may not be enough to overcome the thin single-ply biodegradable toilet paper used on cruise ships.  Most cruise ships have sophisticated liquid waste handling systems and the toilet paper they use is specifically designed to dissolve quickly and not inhibit the treatment process.  Cruise lines take the processing of all cruise ship waste products very seriously.  And a variety of regulations, worldwide, national, and local are in place.

Another potential source of fecal contamination is the very aggressive flushing systems in cruise ship toilets.  Many ship toilets use a vacuum suction to remove the waste from the toilet bowl.  During this process I suspect that some small microscopic droplets of waste water from the bowl are sent into the air.  (I read that this has already been investigated in residential bathrooms.) This may be one of the reasons why many of the cruise ship toilets I've seen have signs that ask you to close the lid before flushing.  Some even place the flush button in a way that requires you to close the lid before flushing.  But I wonder if even with the lid closed some very small droplets are sent airborne.  The passenger may open the toilet during or immediately after the flush cycle to check to see it everything was removed.  Releasing droplets that then fall on surfaces in the small bathroom space.  These surfaces that are often warm and moist, conditions that would be prime for growth of the Norovirus.

Both these causes are complete speculation on my part.  I have no evidence that these two issues are what are making passengers sick.  I have to believe that cruise lines have studied these issues and their effects on passenger health.

I'll see if I can't track down more details from the Cruise Industry and keep you informed.  Drop me a note if you have any info and I will pass it along here.  -TravelBlogger

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American Airlines aims to cut 13,000 jobs

American Airlines LogoDALLAS -- The parent of American Airlines wants to eliminate about 13,000 jobs -- 15 percent of its workforce -- as the nation's third-biggest airline remakes itself under bankruptcy protection.

The company proposes to end its traditional pension plans, a move strongly opposed by the airline's unions and the U.S. pension-insurance agency, and to stop paying for retiree health benefits.

AMR Corp. said Wednesday that it must cut labor costs by 20 percent. It will soon begin negotiations with its three major unions, but the president of the flight attendants' union quickly rejected the company's ideas as unacceptably harsh.


(It may be time to use some of my 103,618 American Airlines AAdvantage miles.... TB)

Tripadvisor banned from claiming its reviews are real - UK Telegraph


Tripadvisor UK Logo
(This is for the United Kingdom Tripadvisor site only.  This is a major problem with online reviews shown on travel sites, and other sites that use consumer submitted reviews. TB)

Tripadvisor, the travel review website, has been banned from claiming that all of its hotel and restaurant reviews are real.

It follows complaints that some unscrupulous hoteliers have posted fake comments on the site to boost their own business or sabotage others. Following a four month investigation, the Advertising Standards Authority found that it was possible for “non-genuine content” to appear on Tripadvisor, which is designed to allow holidaymakers to share tips and opinions on places they have visited.

The advertising watchdog said that because reviews can be posted on the site without any form of verification, Tripadvisor must no longer claim that all of its reviews are honest, or even from real people.