The fact that airline travel can be incredibly unpleasant at times isn’t news to anyone. Part of the frustrations we experience (in my opinion) is due to the fact that the American public has become increasingly rude and selfish, but another part of that equation is directly related to the fact that airline employees are poorly staffed, managed and compensated. This post is regarding problems that sometimes emerge due to the latter; the fault of the airlines.
Last month the Huffington Post had an interesting article about what the U.S. Government is doing about airline complaints. The author of the article, Christopher Elliott writes, “For years, the Transportation Department relied on big fines to deter violations of federal law by airlines. Under the current leadership, however, the emphasis seems to be shifting to advocacy for individuals.”
What I take away from this article is that you need to be your own advocate if an airline has not honored their commitment or may have violated airline travel rules and the US DOT can be a valuable resource for you. If you have a legitimate complaint about an airline violating rules / regulations the article encourages you to reach out to the DOT online at transportation.gov/airconsumer or by phone at (202) 366-2220.
In an earlier post from today, I wrote about the importance of getting away to help you cope with a New England winter. Even though Sergio and I only just returned from Brazil this past weekend we have started our countdown for our pending visit to San Juan, Puerto Rico at the end of this month.
We first visited Puerto Rico about 5 years ago to escape the winter for a few days. We ended up staying at the La Concha Hotel (a Renaissance hotel property by the Marriott) and have returned to it several times because we enjoy it so much. On January 28th we will check-in again. Should you happen to be in San Juan at this time let me know and perhaps we can meet for a cocktail one evening.
Puerto Rico is a great place to visit during Boston’s Winter. Jet Blue has daily non-stop flights from Boston. We have also visited El Conquistador Resort and The W Resort on Vieques. If you are contemplating a visit somewhere warm and you have travel questions feel free to reach out to me.
View of Belo Horizonte, Brazil looking Northwest
By the time this post goes live Sergio and I should be settled in São Paulo, Brazil after spending the previous 10 days visiting with Sergio’s family in his hometown of Belo Horizonte. The metro area population of Belo Horizonte is 5M+ making it comparable in population to Dallas but much more densely populated.
I’ve been coming to Belo Horizonte to visit family for years now but the incredible hills and indistinguishable skyline comprised of mid-rises make it impossible for me to get my bearings except for when I can take in vistas like the one shown above from the posh Mangabeiras neighborhood.
Bar Imperial – Savassi Neighborhood
Belo has more than its share of little bars where people congregate to drink and talk outside since the weather is pleasant most of the year. When we go out, we tend to eat and drink in Savassi. Thanks to a very friendly exchange rate, eating and drinking in Brazil right now is very affordable for Americans and Europeans, which also means that we had more than our fair share of Midnight snacks.
Midnight snacks in Belo Horizonte’s trendy Savassi neighborhood
One of my favorite places to meet is Cafe com Letras. The food is surprisingly good and it is a popular destination for gay and lesbians to congregate – located just blocks from other gay friendly destinations like Bar Imperial, 2015 (soon to be changing its name to 2016 in March) and Josephine’s.
St. Francisco de Assis chapel in Pampulha
In addition to a nightlife that lasts until the sunrise, there are plenty of places of interest including Pampulha – a residential neighborhood defined by its man-made lake and the modern architecture designed by Brazil’s most celebrated architect Oscar Niemeyer. For those of you who feel less inspired by architecture there are plenty of other sights to take in as you leisurely stroll along the man- made lake walking / jogging / bike path on a Saturday or Sunday morning.
The Men of Pampulha
As this post is publishing Sergio and I will be at the airport boarding our flight to Miami where we will then connect to fly to Brazil to spend the Christmas holiday with his family before going on to Sao Paulo where we will spend New Years Eve to ring in 2016. We would like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year.
According to AAA nearly 50 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles from home this weekend to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family. Sergio and I will have already left Boston and driven up to northern New England. Our early start was intentional to avoid the expected traffic that comes with the holiday. Whatever you are doing or however you may be spending the Thanksgiving holiday I hope your travels are smooth.
I would like to invite you to take the 20th annual LGBT travel survey hosted by Community Marketing & Insights Inc. The survey is used to help open doors and minds around the world and to help make the travel industry more LGBT-welcoming. Responses are kept completely confidential and will never be used for any direct marketing or solicitation purposes.
If you complete the survey by Tuesday, December 1, 2015 you can choose to be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of twenty US $50 cash prizes.
For more information about Community Marketing & Insights Inc link here.
This past weekend I stumbled upon this photo of me (age 22), while Sergio and I were doing some housecleaning. I had all but forgotten this photo of me posing by the Leaning Tower of Pisa, holding my tattered copy of Let’s Go Europe, but once I got over the shock of the difference in my hairline, it made me smile.
Backpacking through Europe after college was only possible because of the generous gift my parents gave me and it changed my life. While I had learned a lot at college, this trip taught me more about myself and others than I learned in college and it awoke in me a desire to travel and see the world. I am still afflicted some 25 years later and have been fortunate to be able to visit twenty countries. I’m not nearly done seeing the world and this photo serves as a reminder that it is time to think about booking another trip abroad.