Category Archives: Top News

Yes, Another New Design for Online Travel Review

You’ve no doubt noticed that we’ve gone to a more stripped-down, blog-like look for the OTR.  I really liked the last format, but I found a couple of issues.  First, if I wanted to post more than one thing in a day the second item was buried and no one saw it.  Secondly, I think the magazine-type layout was confusing to people.

So, we’re back roughly where we started about 6 1/2 years ago — I’ll be able to post more stories a day (probably a good thing), and it’ll be easier for you to read (also a good thing).  I could also stand to fix the header, but I’ll get to that eventually.  Comments always welcome.

Thanks, Reuters, For This Absolutely Ridiculous Article about the Death of Luxury Air Travel

Reuters published a ridiculous piece of nonsense about the death of premium air travel this morning, and I can’t wait for this thing to be picked up by lazy newspapers across the country.

You’ll be shocked to hear that the economic downturn has forced cutbacks in business travel, especially in the front cabin.

“Hi-end boutique airlines have fallen from the sky, business travelers are bargain hunting online and most folks seated in the front of the plane have paid only for the back, experts say.”

And this shocker:

Airlines are also battling the price transparency that the internet has revealed.  “A couple of clicks on, for example, shops airfares even for business class,” Yesawich explained.

Um, yes, this was an issue for airlines.  In 1998.

Then this puzzler:

Now most boutique airlines are low cost and no-frills.

Yes, the no-frills experience provided by Openskies, Virgin America, and JetBlue.  The no food, pay-for-everything model embraced by network carriers really contrasts to the no food, pay-for-everything model embraced by no-frills airlines.  Sheesh.

It then goes on to say that rich people actually still fly business and first class.  Or hire a private jet.

So, to sum up, nobody is flying in premium classes anymore except for those people who do.  Thanks!

DO NOT Make Fun of a TSA Employee’s Genitals When He Walks Through a Body Scanner

A TSA employee at Miami International Airport was arrested after he, hm, kicked the crap out of a co-worker after said co-worker joked about the size of the TSA employee’s genitals.  How did he know about the size of his genitals?  He saw him walk through a body scanner and noted that, perhaps, his genitals were below the average size of genitals generally found on men.  How the second man knew the average size of a man’s genitals is not known.

The OTR in Curacao: See You April 19th

The OTR is heading out for some R&R in Curacao for a week or so.  We’ll be back April 19th with aviation news from the southern Caribbean.  Have a great week.

Man Wins Ryanair Scratch-Off Ticket Contest; Eats Ticket in Protest

An odd one:

A Ryanair passenger flying from Krakow to East Midlands (in the UK) received a scratchcard for a contest that Ryanair was holding.  Like an instant win lottery ticket, the winner would receive 10,000 Euro.  This passenger got on board the flight, scratched off his card, and learned that he won the prize.  He called over flight attendants to alert them to his victory and, for who knows what reason, demanded that they pay him right there.  The staff explained that, of course, they do not carry 10,000 Euro with them on flights, and that he will be paid in due course.  That was not what he wanted to hear.

So, in some sort of protest, the passenger ate the winning ticket.  The ticket is now not valid, and the passenger will never get his money.  Explained a Ryanair spokesperson, “The crew tried to stop the air Gourmet Scratch Card eater by offering him one of our great tasting sandwiches, pizzas or snacks instead, but clearly he had much more expensive tastes!” Well done.

And because Ryanair does a fantastic job of generating publicity, they have announced they will donate the prize money to charity and have asked passengers to vote on which charity should be chosen.

(Thanks to reader D-Lux, who would’ve eaten the ticket only if it was cooked very, very well done)

Senator Chuck Schumer: I’m Sorry My Flight Attendant Was a “Bitch” (I Mean for Calling Her a Bitch)Senator

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) apologized yesterday for calling a US Airways flight attendant a “bitch” after she asked him to end his cellphone conversation prior to takeoff on a Shuttle flight from LaGuardia to Washington.  His seatmate, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) originally said that Schumer had been polite the entire time.  But then it turns out that calling someone a bitch is not polite, so she has backed away from that statement.

According to the NY Post (take this with a grain of salt), Schumer has a reputation for being “not nice” among flight attendants.

The OTR Is Back and In the General Vicinity of Being as Good As Ever

Yes, I’m back after a slightly more brief hiatus than I had predicted.  I’ll have new stories tomorrow…

One bit of housekeeping:  I’m going to post one story a day from now on.  If you’re reading on the website (versus on a reader or via email), that’ll be in the top section labeled Top News.  If you hate the current design and prefer the more typical bloggy, chronological list of stories, you can get that at 

See you tomorrow…it’s great to be back.

The OTR Takes a 1 Month Hiatus: It’s Not You It’s Me

After 5 1/2 years of writing this site nearly every day, I’ve decided I need a short break – just until June 1st. Or maybe a bit earlier.  Or a bit later.  But roughly then.  I think most people read this site through a feed, so you’ll find out when I’m back that way.  Or just keep checking the site every day until then.  Hitting refresh over and over.

I will still keep up the Twitter account at and I’ll continue to post airfare deals there (as well as an occasional story or two that I find interesting).

Thanks for your understanding and for sticking with the OTR since 2003.  I’ll see you in June.

JetBlue Offers $14 Seats thru April 8 – HURRY!

JetBlue has $14 fares on flights from San Francisco to JFK, San Francisco to Long Beach, and Long Beach to San Francisco (JFK-SFO is already sold out).  Book today (April 2) for flights thru April 8.  Hurry!

JetBlue 1-Day Sale from $29 (Seriously, There Are Great Deals)

JetBlue is having a 1-day sale today (March 4) to a bunch of destinations (see here for full list).  Some of the better deals:  Charlotte to Boston or JFK, $29; JFK to SFO or Long Beach, $69; JFK to St Maarten, $69.  The catch?  Only good Tuesdays/Wednesdays March 10-April 1.