Tune Hotels – Amenity Unbundling Gone Too Far? Pay For AC & Towels?

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The website of Tune Hotels may look similar to that of AirAsia’s and this is not a coincidence. The man behind this limited service hotel concept is Mr. Fernandes, the founder and CEO of AirAsia. The goal of this hotel group is to offer “5-star sleeping experience at 1-star price”.

tune-hotels

This maybe true price wise IF you exclude all the “amenities” that are unbundled from the headline price. Air conditioning, TV, Wifi, toiletries, and even towels are not included in the price.

Fabulous Bathroom Toiletries At Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs just sent out an email about their category change next month. Award nights at this property are getting pricey moving from 12K per night to 20K. Also, they are currently in litigation with Starwood for faking occupancy reports in order to get higher reimbursements from Starwood for award nights consumed at their property. They will be likely (forced) to leave SPG once these issue have been solved.

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Despite all these changes and problems, this is the hotel that has had the weirdest mix of bathroom toiletries that I have ever seen. The above photo is from the showerless bathroom and the photo below is from the shower.

Do You Like (And Sometime Take With You) Hotel Toiletries?

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It is always nice to be surprised about the toiletries that some of the hotels have decided to use in their guest rooms. I know that some may think that this is truly trivial, but I am always delighted to have some quality stuff over generic Sysco crap.

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Just this past week, I checked into a Crowne Plaza Deira hotel in Dubai (former Renaissance) and couldn’t believe my eyes. They had Molton Brown products in their club rooms. Then, I remembered that the Crowne Plaza in Abu Dhabi also has this same arrangement.

New Ritz-Carlton Amenity – Vodka In A Water Bottle?

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This is one of those stories that is hard to believe. I have had quite a few funny experiences over the years at hotels (and handful of unpleasant ones), but I have never had vodka in a brand branded water bottle like my friend just did. I have come across some minibar items that are still inside the minibar, but which have been consumed i.e Pringles chips (empty tube).

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Friend of mine was staying at a west coast Ritz-Carlton property for business and had decided to make some decaf coffee using the in-room little coffee maker. After pouring part of the small Ritz-Carlton branded water bottles to the coffeemaker and having a sip of the rest, he realized that it was vodka and not water.

Emirates On Board Wireless Data Review

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Emirates has a wireless data and phone connectivity on its entire A380 fleet. The airline is expanding this to other aircrafts’ as well.

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The service that Emirates and quite a few mainly Middle Eastern airlines use is from company called On Air (www.onair.aero), based in Switzerland, that was founded by Airbus and SITA.

Disabling Annoying Roomkey.com Pop Ups & Unders

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RoomKey is a hotel booking service backed and, at least partially, owned by Choice, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott and Wyndham. The idea behind the service is to try get consumers to book more directly with the hotels own websites over OTA’s like Expedia and Booking.com.

room-key

You don’t see adverts for RoomKey anywhere, but if you access any of these hotel websites, you are likely going to see a pop ups and pop unders for the website. I don’t mind seeing it once, but especially with Marriott’s website it keeps opening RoomKey pop unders every time I am trying to make a booking or search for the price.

Why All Inclusive Fare Advertising is Required in Asia: Case Cebu Pacific

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As more and more airlines have majority of the air fare masked as fuel surcharge (you can read why airlines love fuel surcharges here), advertising of base fares has become meaningless. Brazil has banned fuel surcharges, United States and European Union require all advertised/quoted airfares to include ALL the charges.

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Cebu Pacific is starting to fly from Manila to Dubai on October 7, 2013, in all economy configured Airbus A330-300 aircraft with 400 seats (almost the absolute maximum). To celebrate the launch, the airline is advertising 888 PHP fares on the route.

Wired Piece About Airport Arrest For Refusing Nude-O-Scope

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This Wired piece about suing the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) & TSA (Transport Security Administration) among others, is a good read.

Wired Airport Arrest
Wired Airport Arrest

This suit is about Mr. Tobey refusing the Nude-O-Scope and dressing down for the pat down. The airport police had arrested Mr. Tobey for disorderly conduct, but the charges were dropped by the county prosecutor two weeks later. Then, Mr. Tobey sued the government.

FoundersCard’s Travel Benefits Worth The $295 Fee?

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Quite a few of my friends (myself as well) have received email invitations (last time from Trip It) to join the FoundersCard at $200 discount. The fee for joining would be $295 instead of the $495 that they have on the website.

founderscard

I tried to use Google to find some objective pieces written about this product but couldn’t find any. There were some, but they were mostly from FoundersCard members soliciting new members to sign up using their links.

Chris Elliott on “Stealing From An Airline” – Too Low Fares?

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Just came across Mr. Elliott’s latest essee about airline issues. Friend of mine had commented about this latest Huffington Post piece and posted a link to it on his Facebook. I have been contemplating about writing some of Mr. Elliott’s previous pieces because he often takes a contrarian view.

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This time, however, I couldn’t disagree with him more. You can read his article on Huffington Post here.

More Boeing 787 Problems – All Planes Grounded

After the incident yesterday with the smoke on the ANA 787’s cockpit, the US authorities have decided to ground the 787 planes operated by United Airlines. European, Indian and Japanese authorities have all done the same decision. LAN has voluntarily grounded its three 787 planes.

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It is interesting to see how long this grounding is going to last and if it will have an effect on future deliveries of 787 “Dreamliner” planes.

How Many Transfers Have Your Bag Made?

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Just went through some photos that I had taken over the years and came across this US Airways luggage tag for a return from Tampa to Ontario way back in 2009.

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Apparently, the system that US Airways used was not able to produce a luggage that that had five connecting flight and they had to do a manual tag.

Hotel Room Shortage in Yangon Myanmar

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Myanmar is going through very fast growth due to country opening up and many countries like US withdrawing the trade sanctions. The downside is that everybody seems to be flocking to the country simultaneously and the tourism infrastructure cannot keep up.

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I was just reading this Myanmar special that I picked up from my hotel in Bangkok. There is truly a shortage of hotel rooms in Yangon and nothing is going to happen in short notice. It is going to get only worse because there are going to be more international events scheduled for the city in 2013.

Are You Airline Amenity Kit & Pajama Hoarder?

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Back in the summer & early fall of 2012, I left couple (or actually three) of shopping bags full of airline amenity kits and pajamas to couple of hotels in Bangkok. I still remembered the hotels, but wasn’t sure what I had actually left behind. If I travel around in Asia, I often leave things behind in Bangkok, as hotels there are used to store bags for months at a time.

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As I was going to leave Bangkok Friday, I decided to pick up the bags, although I had long lost the storage tickets. While I was carrying the bags, I was thinking whether it makes any sense to actually take these from the flights as the novelty wears off very fast. I don’t wear pajamas and the amenity kits are rarely that good. My friends don’t normally don’t mind taking them though.

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