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Daily Travel Dish

December 5, 2003 

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The Pittsburgh area is expecting 4-8 inches of snow - what a drag it is having to shovel! If you're flying into or out of the Northeast it might be a good idea to check for weather delays before heading off to the airport.

As I reported two weeks ago, New York City was out to torpedo a plan by the Republican National Convention to charter the Norwegian Dawn during the party's 2004 convention in that city. Well, they've succeeded at their battleship plan - hit and sunk. Delegates will now be staying at the city's hotels instead.

You've got timeshare! Yes, AOL chairman Steve Case is getting into the timeshare business. Case has invested $10 million into a company that is touting luxury "vacation clubs." Price of admission is a $295,000 initiation fee with subsequent annual dues ranging from $12,000 to $18,000, depending on the number of guaranteed reservations guests want in a calendar year. I wonder if the club comes with complementary AOL access.

Starting next week, AnitaVacation is going to do something different. We're taking you on a "virtual cruise" aboard Oceania Cruises' Regatta. For ten days, I'll be posting daily reports from the ship along with answering your questions on our bulletin boards. Ports-of-call include: Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Antigua, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Nevis, and St. Barts. So, stay tuned for Monday's newsletter with all the details.

December 4, 2003 

Miss the dish? I have received tons of emails regarding the missing dish reports. I apologize for not dishing for the past three days, but yours truly is dealing with a minor illness. Thankfully, today is a better day. Now, on with the dish.

Many of you may or may not know what's going on with my fellow colleague and very good friend Chris Elliott. He was unceremoniously dropped from USA over ombudsman columns that were critical of my former employer, US Airways. I have a unique perspective on all this being a journalist and eleven-year employee of the aforementioned airline: Chris was right to write what he did. The only problem for Chris was US Airways gave him a lot to write about in recent months. If you read Chris' columns you'll see that in one column the airline didn't cooperate to help him solve a consumer issue problem regarding missing luggage. He did his journalistic duty and noted the airline's lack of cooperation in the column. Apparently, US Airways' didn't like that and contacted USA Today. As a journalist that writes an ombudsman column, the most important thing a travel company can do is work with us to help resolve the issue at hand. I'll go on record stating that most every travel company I call regarding these issues has been very helpful. Nevertheless, there are a few travel companies that are frustrating to work with, and it is the journalist's duty to note the lack of cooperation in the column. Should telling the truth cost a journalist their job? I don't think so.

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