Scammers Ran A Fake U.S. Embassy In Ghana For A Decade Before Being Shut Down

U.S. State Dept.

The U.S. Embassy in Ghana is a large, secured office building in the bustling West African port city of Accra, but for a decade scammers convinced some folks that their humble two-story structure — without security fencing, U.S. military guards,… or Americans of any sort — was indeed the office of the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana. [More]

No More Wearing Glasses To Look Smart In Your Passport Photo

Photographybynatalia

Some folks wear glasses so frequently that they look like a different person when they aren’t bespectacled, so it would seem to make sense that they should be wearing eyeglasses when getting their passport photos taken. Not so, says the State Department, which is reminding people that come Nov. 1, your specs are probably not welcome in new passport pics. [More]

Southwest’s “No Gotchas” Airfare Sale Comes With Its Fair Share Of Gotchas

Southwest’s “No Gotchas” Airfare Sale Comes With Its Fair Share Of Gotchas

We all know that airfare sales generally come with all sorts of strings attached — restrictions on dates, routes, and seat types are to be expected — but if you’re going to advertise a sale as having “no gotchas,” then it’s a bit disingenuous to have nearly 400 words of mouseprint conditions full of restrictions. [More]

Kimpton Confirms Credit Card Info Stolen From More Than 60 Hotels

Kimpton Confirms Credit Card Info Stolen From More Than 60 Hotels

In July, boutique hotel chain Kimpton revealed it was investigating indications that its credit card payment system had possibly been the latest to fall victim to a data breach. Now the company has confirmed the bad news, announcing that the payment terminals at dozens of Kimpton hotels, restaurants and bars were compromised for nearly six months. [More]

Hollywood Tour Buses Not Just Lying To Customers, They Could Be Putting Their Lives At Risk

Hollywood Tour Buses Not Just Lying To Customers, They Could Be Putting Their Lives At Risk

Last week we told you about the undercover report that found numerous Hollywood tour bus drivers charging top dollar to just point to random houses and pretend that celebrities live in them. But even if those vans and buses were telling the truth, a follow-up report shows that some drivers and vehicles are not fit to be on the road. [More]

NBC4

Bad Hollywood Tour Guides Charge $50 To Tell Lies, Put Homeowners At Risk For Stalkers

You’d like to think that if you’re forking over a sizable amount of cash to be shown the sites of Hollywood, your tour guide would at least have some idea what they’re talking about. Yet a new report shows that not only are some of these tour buses apparently fleecing passengers; they’re also putting innocent homeowners in the crosshairs of potentially dangerous stalkers. [More]

Homeowner Says Airbnb Guest Did $25K In Water Damage, May Have Shot Porn In Her House

Homeowner Says Airbnb Guest Did $25K In Water Damage, May Have Shot Porn In Her House

We’re not saying this is the way things should be, but it’s the way things are: If you’re going to use Airbnb or some other service to rent out your house like a hotel, you need to know there’s a chance that the people you let stay in your home while you’re away might also see it as nothing more than a hotel room they can mess up and leave behind. [More]

Kimpton Hotels Investigating Possible Credit Card Breach

Kimpton Hotels Investigating Possible Credit Card Breach

You might not be familiar with the Kimpton chain of boutique hotels, but we can guarantee that a lot of business travelers (and the folks in their companies’ accounting departments) are now keeping an eye out for odd activity on their credit cards after news of a possible payment card data breach affecting multiple Kimpton locations. [More]

If You’re Booking A Hotel Room At Prepaid Rate, Be Sure To Read The Fine Print

If You’re Booking A Hotel Room At Prepaid Rate, Be Sure To Read The Fine Print

If you’ve booked a room directly through a hotel chain’s website, you’ve more than likely seen lower-cost options for visitors who agree to prepay for at least some of their stay. Before you choose that cheaper room, make sure you know what you’re agreeing to so that you don’t end up on the hook for hundreds of dollars later if you have to make a change. [More]

Patrick

Norwegian Cruise Line No Longer Allowing Carry-On Beverages

A year after Carnival Cruise Line implemented a “no-carry on bottled beverage” rule, another prominent cruise line is following suit, albeit in a more stringent manner: Norwegian Cruise Line will no longer allow guests to bring any beverages on board either as carry-on or checked luggage. [More]

yooperann

American Airlines Stops Announcing Gate Info During Flights, Because You’re Not Listening Anyway

When was the last time you were flying and actually listened to the pilot or cabin crew member rattle off the information about arrival and transfer gates. These days, you probably have that gate info anyway because your phone, laptop, tablet, watch, garter belt, and pinky ring are all connected to the internet. Even if you didn’t have the foresight to sort out this info on your own, you’re probably not listening because you’ve got your headphones on and don’t want to be bothered. [More]

JessicaKRoach

Travelers Have Left $4.32M Behind In Airport Security Bins Since 2008

When you’re fumbling through airport security — putting your shoes and belt back on, finding your glasses again, stowing your laptop back in its bag — do you make every effort to make sure you’re not leaving anything behind in the plastic bins? Maybe you’re not doing as thorough a job as you think, because someone is leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars in loose change behind every year. [More]

(Skip Nyegard)

New Bill Aims To Limit “Ridiculous” Airline Fees For Checked Bags, Cancellations

Most airlines now charge fees for everything from checked bags to changing your itinerary, resulting in billions of dollars of revenue for carriers and annoyance for travelers. And the fees are going up, with baggages fees up 67% since 2009, and cancellation charges up by 33% for domestic flights. Newly introduced legislation aims to curb these fee hikes. [More]

Airbus Patents Adjustable Seats For People Of Every Size, In-Seat Storage That Eliminates All Legroom

Airbus Patents Adjustable Seats For People Of Every Size, In-Seat Storage That Eliminates All Legroom

Airbus — the company that patented the concept of stacking passengers on top of each other in a crowded tube flying at hundreds of miles per hour thousands of feet above the ground — has recently applied for a pair of airplane seat patents that simultaneously look to increase customer comfort while stripping away what little room remains. [More]

Hotel That Inspired “Fawlty Towers” To Be Torn Down

Hotel That Inspired “Fawlty Towers” To Be Torn Down

More than 45 years ago, the uptight manager of an English hotel inadvertently inspired Monty Python’s John Cleese to create a comedy legend. Now comes news that this landmark of sitcom history will soon be demolished. [More]

Completion Of $1.6B Orbitz, Expedia Merger Further Whittles Down Online Travel Agency Options

Completion Of $1.6B Orbitz, Expedia Merger Further Whittles Down Online Travel Agency Options

Despite the protests from the leading hotel industry group that a merger between Expedia and Orbitz would concentrate too much of the travel-booking market in one company’s hands – leading to fewer choices for consumers – the two companies have received regulatory approval and completed their $1.6 billion marriage today. [More]

Senate Report Rips Airlines For Failing To Clearly Disclose Fees

Senate Report Rips Airlines For Failing To Clearly Disclose Fees

Barring a law outlawing them — or severely limiting them — fees for everything from checked bags, to food, to in-flight entertainment, to preferred seating, to early boarding (and possibly early deplaning) are hear to stay. But a new report from staffers on the Senate Commerce Committee claims that airlines may be going too far in trying to hide some of these add-on costs. [More]

Hotel Industry Comes Out Against Merger Of Expedia & Orbitz

Hotel Industry Comes Out Against Merger Of Expedia & Orbitz

You might think of Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Travelocity, and Trivago as competitors in the online travel-booking business, but most people probably don’t know that all of these brands fall under the Expedia Inc. ownership umbrella. And so will Orbitz if the pending $1.6 billion merger of the two companies is approved. The leading hotel industry trade group says that this consolidation has gone too far. [More]