Posted by: brittanyborseth | February 22, 2011

The Simple, Most Remote Place in the World..

Located in the southern Atlantic Ocean, the single most remote inhabited place in the world — Tristan de Cunha. The group of four islands (overall area of 80 square miles) — Tristan Da Cunha, Inaccessible Island, Nightingale Island and Gough Island. The island’s population is just 275, and no new residents are allowed to settle on the island. There are only 7 surnames within the islands, and healthcare is free — including only one resident doctor. The volcanic islands are very difficult to access with very rough seas and remote location. Tristan was first discovered in 1506 by the Portuguese sailor Tristão da Cunha. Due to the islands difficult access, Tristão was unable to land. Potatoes were once used as the country’s unofficial currency due to the remoteness food was most valuable. The island Inaccessible, is the last being home to the flightless rail — an almost extinct bird. The island is very simple and mysterious, but remote and beautiful.

Have you ever heard of Tristan de Cunha or traveled to or around this amazing island?

Posted by: brittanyborseth | January 26, 2011

Oprah Down Under

Oprah Winfrey surprises her ultimate viewers with a trip to Australia. The once in a lifetime adventure was intended to boost Australian travel by having many people from around the world’s idol as the spokesperson, Oprah. She announced the news to the viewers on her show, then took off for their luxurious vacation. After returning, there was a 4 part show on their down under adventures. The episodes followed Oprah and her guests throughout their trip, so the rest of the world could see how breathtaking Australia really is. Oprah visits some of the well known places throughout the country of Australia with her guests. She also visits families in Australia who have invited her to come on over when she is in Australia, has a grill out on the beach, sets a record breaking Sydney Harbor Bridge climb, speaks with the Irwin family and much more. The 4 part series TV show gained publicity and attracted many to the beautiful country of Australia.

Uluru

In the middle of the Northern Territory, Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) stands as an important spiritual focal point of Australia’s Aboriginal culture. The natural sandstone formation is more than 1,000 feet high and nearly six miles around. Some of the viewers were brought into the Uluru’s Mutitjulu Waterhole, a sacred place that’s said to have healing powers. They watched the beautiful sunset, and as darkness fell watched a group of Anangu women dance and tell stories of their ancestral heritage.

The Great Barrier Reef

One of the seven natural wonders of the world, in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland is the Great Barrier Reef. This is one of the most breath taking places in the world known for its 35,000 km’s of magnificent coastline where both tropical and temperate marine life make scuba diving a life changing experience. The Great Barrier Reef, is the largest living structure on the planet — and can even be seen from space.

Tourism boot

Many from all over the world are now putting Australia on their list of 2011 New Years resolutions after getting a true tour of how amazing this country is. Seeing Australia on TV is one thing, but Oprah took it to the next level by really taking the time to explain some of these beautiful sites, creating an interactive map online with very specific details and pictures of Australia (http://www.oprah.com/packages/oprahs-ultimate-australian-adventure.html) and simply making it easier to quickly find information about this spectacular place.


What others are saying

Nick Baker, spokesperson for Tourism Australia (TA) says there has been a massive spike in people wanting to travel to Australia. Baker added that the Oprah specials have helped boost Australia’s newly launched tourism campaign, using the slogan, “Nothing Like Australia‘.

The Sydney Herald are enthusing that the publicity generated is “the biggest tourism coup for Australia since the Sydney 2000 Olympics.”

Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said Winfrey’s visit will help sell Australia’s tourism experiences to the rest of the world.

“The Oprah endorsement is very valuable,” said Christopher Brown, managing director of the Tourism and Transport Forum. “Her viewers trust her implicitly and products she recommends do very well, almost without exception.”

If you have been to Australia, post your comments and experiences. For more information on Oprah’s trip to Australia, visit http://www.oprah.com/showinfo/Oprahs-Ultimate-Australian-Adventure.

Posted by: brittanyborseth | December 2, 2010

Ultimate Destinations You MUST Visit

When you imagine a vacation somewhere warm with a beautiful beach to relax for a few days — does Mexico first come to mind? Many Americans travel to Mexico for a get-away, but don’t think to explore other parts of the world. There are two destinations you may have never researched or thought of before, but I’m going to give you more information to try something new on your next vacation. Both can be just as inexpensive as Mexico, but offer much morel. These destinations have unique features with the beautiful beaches to make anyone wanna start packing.

#1 destination: Located in Central America lies Panama — which may be your next vacation haven. Why Panama you ask?

Not far from home

Panama is one of the world’s most visitor-friendly countries, top vacation and retirement spots for many reasons. Panama uses US dollars as its currency, so there are no exchange rates or hassles prior to travel and after coming home. The road rules in Panama mimic those of Americans, so you don’t have to pray for your life getting to the hotel in a cab. Out of the United States there are many direct flight options that only take a couple of hours to arrive into PTY airport (Panama). There hasn’t been a single hurricane in Panama as it remains the only Central American nation to avoid being struck. Avoiding natural disasters make any trip more enjoyable and safe.BEACHES

There are miles of unspoiled beaches throughout Panama, such as Coronado. Ecological tours are offered to explore the rainforest — located only 15 minutes from the city. Catch the ocean to ocean trans-Ithsmus train ride along the way to enjoy the views of the Panama Canal and lush rainforest. The Panama Canal rainforests are some of the most accessible nature-rich rainforests in the world, including an incredible 105 species of mammals, 525 species of birds and 124 species of reptiles and amphibians. There are endless precious wildlife to see throughout 50,000 acres of rainforest. For a high-speed adrenaline ride, discover Panama’s rainforest from up above in a zipline canopy tour. Take a 15 minute plane ride from the city to picturesque aqua waters, such as the Pearl Islands or Bocas del Toro where the TV show ‘Survivor’ was filmed.

Outdoor enthusiasts

Panama offers off-the-beaten-path destinations with 14 national parks and boundless mountains. Tourism includes thrilling mountain views, white-water rafting and more. Boquete is Panama’s premier mountain destination, located at the center is the magnificent Volcan Baru — overlooking an inactive volcano. While in Boquete, take a coffee farm tour from the world’s best coffee producers in the world. Try an extreme sport throughout the stunning country of Panama — rock climbing. Routes are offered for beginners to the most advanced climbers looking for a new venture.

#2 destination: Located in Southeast Asia by Thailand lies Phi Phi Islands — which include the most breath-taking beaches in the world. The islands offer the ultimate tropical getaway into paradise.

Rock formations

Phi Phi Islands include stunning rock formations among strange limestone configurations, which create mysterious caves and luminous waterfalls. The 1 million year-old limestone rock formations (islands) rise from the emerald-green sea. The islands have bizarre landscapes that are a true sight to behold. Wang Long is a site well-known for its underwater cave systems and is only recommended for experienced divers. The caves tunnel into the rock face in two places and open out into a larger cave.

Classic beaches

The vivid turquoise waters of the Phi Phi Islands have numerous colorful marine life that attract visitors to enjoy its lovely shores. Koh Phi Phi Leh beach has been made famous by the film ‘The Beach’ with Leonardo Di Caprio, and is considered one of the most naturally beautiful islands in the world. Loh Samah Bay beach is very popular offering some of the best snorkeling and leading scuba diving in the world. The water is flat and calm offering peaceful and natural waters that preserve an abundance of coral and marine life, including leopard sharks, turtles and moray eels.

Hair-raising

Thailand offers animal shows, which include adrenaline pumping acts. The snake show involves snake handlers performing stunts with venomous snakes, and towards the end the handler even kisses a king cobra on its head. The crocodile show consists of people sticking their heads between large crocodile’s jaws. Visit Ko Phi Phi Don island, but be careful as the island is known for the aggressive monkeys. Check out the biggest transvestite cabaret show in Asia — Simon Cabaret. This costume extravagant show is held in a luxurious and intimate theatre, which is the ultimate experience. There is always something over-the-top going on throughout the islands — Fireshows are also popular. Beware the rules of the bars after checking out these extreme activities. There is a bar fine to cover the bars ‘loss’ when taking a girl out of the bar, you’ll need to negotiate the fine with the bar.

What are you waiting for? Check out these unique, beautiful destinations. Please comment below if you have visited either place.

Posted by: brittanyborseth | November 2, 2010

Need a Personal Travel Assistant?

Yapta has gained coverage throughout the news for the unique website launched in 2007. Your amazing personal travel assistant’ is what the name stands for and that’s exactly what they do — assist you with your travel plans. The travel website and browser add-on allows you to track flight prices as they change, then alert you when the price drops. The site also helps you in getting a refund or credit from airlines when the fares go down (you may be familiar with guaranteed low-price policies some sites offer).

Yapta Tagger

The website also has what’s called a ‘Yapta Tagger’, which is a free downloadable program that allows users to tag and track prices for flights. Users are notified by email when the price drops or reaches a set user price. They don’t stop there — this feature continues after purchasing the ticket, so users are able to take advantage of guaranteed low-price policies. If the price goes down after purchases, users are able to claim refunds or credits from airlines for the difference. This works for major airlines and for websites like Orbitz, Expedia and Travelocity.

Yapta Blog

Yapta has a special site for their blog; http://blog.yapta.com, which is very creative and refreshing. This is one of the best travel industry blogs I have come across! It has great tips and a unique approach. Their most recent blog currently gives tips and inside information for holiday travel. According to the blog, “it’s estimated that 24 million travelers will fly during the 12-day period surrounding Thanksgiving, with daily passenger volume up 3.5 percent over last year”. The site also states “prices are already trending 18% higher this year compared to last year at this time”. This is the type of information people are looking for to compare with last year in this current economy, so they are able to plan accordingly for their holiday plans. In each blog entry, there is a section called “Here’s some more travel news you can use”. There is typically three pieces of useful information related to recent news and deals in the travel industry that may otherwise be very difficult to find online.

Yapta does the work for you

Sometimes airlines and websites charge a change fee to honor the lower price found after booking. If the fare has decreased $100.00 and the change fee is also $100.00, then this policy doesn’t help the user besides wasting their time. To save time for the user, Yapta pays attention to change fees and situations like this. Other services the website offers are tracking flight prices before purchase — as prices fluctuate often. Yapta’s price drop alerts help the user know when to book flights to get the best value. The website not only assists with flight plans, but also hotel arrangements and availability. Yapta finds hotels that match the users preferences and then tracks them. Yapta’s price drop alerts help the user know when to book hotels to get the best value.

What am I trying to tell you

Yapta is a website with a great new concept for people looking to save money that enjoy traveling for business or pleasure. The main three features the website offers to its users is to track flight prices before you buy, track airline refunds, credits and vouchers after you buy and lastly to track hotel rates and availability. It’s free to sign up and become a user of the site, so why not give it a try? If you don’t have a use for Yapta.com at this time, I still highly recommend checking out their blog, http://blog.yapta.com. For more information on Yapta, check out this YouTube video with news coverage from the Today Show — and check out the website, Yapta.com.

What do you think about this website?

Posted by: brittanyborseth | October 23, 2010

What will you be for Halloween?

No ideas for a last-minute Halloween costume? What about Steven Slater this year — the JetBlue flight attendant recently popular in the news for his meltdown. Steven Slater had an argument with a passenger who’s luggage struck Slater in the head, while removing it from an overhead bin. Slater then got on the public-address system, cussed at the passenger, grabbed two beers and used an emergency exit slide to get off the JetBlue plane — ending in a shocking exit.

The costume — a blue shirt, tie and bandage for the head injury reported from the customers luggage that struck Slater in the head. The incident took place less than 3 months ago, so not everyone out on Halloween will have this costume. Make your own costume or purchase on http://www.rickyshalloween.com for $39.99. Make a memorable day this year like Slater did on JetBlue flight 1052 (and don’t forget to carry around a few beers).

The “Angry Steward”

Social Media Support

George Hobica, founder of AirFareWatchdog.com says “I’ve never seen such an outpouring of support for a flight attendant.”

Becky Larson on Facebook says “Slater is my new hero.”

The passenger says everybody fantasizes about “telling your boss to take this job and shove it.” But he’s not sure Slater thought it through all that well.

What do you think about the incident?

Posted by: brittanyborseth | October 5, 2010

Excellent job Cebu Pacific

I came across this YouTube video today — posted September 30, 2010 by a passenger on Cebu Pacific’s flight.

New trends in marketing

I thought this video presented an remarkable marketing piece for the company. There were over 7 million views of this video in just a few days of it posting (isn’t it incredible what the internet can do!). This video is similar to the Southwest Airlines rapper flight attendant I posted in September. The video presents the airline as positive, fun and willing to try something new. The flight attendants do not dress or dance in a sexual way that this would be inappropriate for uncomfortable for passengers. It simply shows there are ways to make repetitious things fun and easier to stay focused. Many frequent flyer passengers hear the boring (but important) safety speech for traveling every week. This is a much more creative and effective way to catch the attention of passengers. I don’t know about you, but every time I fly I don’t pay attention to half of the things the flight attendants say — but this way of presenting the information enabled me to focus and remember almost everything said. It also allows the flight attendants and crew to have fun, and do something different from their everyday routine.

The Cebu Pacific representative makes it very clear to CNN, in an interview, that the airline would never jeopardize the passengers safety and that the dance was done after the standard safety advisories. According to the representative, a poll was taken that resulted in 70-80% of people thought the airline should continue this in the future. The comments were all very positive and the airline is discussing whether they will continue or provide the dance on select flights only.

What others are saying

kkkameji says “I must say, this demo is in a way much effective since most people like it or not will pay attention. Honestly, how many people actually watch the standard safety demo?”

eatingcookies says “Awesome. I am sure it got people to pay attention, which was the point. And what’s wrong with a little fun?”

J88Wolf says “This might lighten the mood of all the people who had to go through airport security and wait an hour and a half before take off.”

d181cw1 says “This was cute and creative, two thumbs up for the airline. Plus people paid attention”

Post your comments about what you thought of this approach from Cebu Pacific.

Posted by: brittanyborseth | October 4, 2010

Did you know?

I have created some of the most interesting facts that I have found about the world. They may persuade you to travel to a place you never thought of traveling before. They may teach you something you never knew before (I learned all sorts of new information!). For example, did you know that in Albania, nodding your head means “no” and shaking your head means “yes?” This may be good to know if you are going to travel to Albania. Cultures can be different from you may think in other parts of the world, and its good to familiarize yourself with facts like this beforehand (because if I was asked how my food was in an Albania restaurant — I would want to shake my head side-side not up and down).

Interesting facts about countries all over the world

  • Two-thirds of Canadians live in Quebec and Ontario.
  • The kangaroo is an animal from Australia that is truly one of the most unusual animals in the world.
  • The Florida Everglades is known as the “Alligator Capital of the World”.
  • The top three most beautiful places in the world to visit are: The Grand Canyon in Arizona, The Great Barrier Reef in Australia and Florida.
  • Kosi Bay in South Africa is the most dangerous place in the world for sharks.
  • Indonesia is the country with the highest number of active volcanoes. In Uganda, 50% of the population is under 15 years of age.
  • India has a bill of rights for cows.
  • The tiny island of Sark in the Channel Islands is one of the most peaceful places in Britain-the police force is just one officer.
  • Shanghai, China is the largest city by population (13.3 million) in the world.
  • Luxembourg is the richest country of the world and has the most generous people.
  • Per Capita, South Africa has the most assaults, rapes and murders with firearms.
  • Two-thirds of the world’s kidnappings occur in Columbia.
  • Indonesia contains the most known mammal species.
  • Sick people in Switzerland stay in hospitals for 10 days on average.
  • Albania has more U.S. lottery winners than any other place in the world.
  • The 14 unhappiest countries are all in Eastern Europe.
  • Cuba has the most reported deaths caused by lightning strikes.
  • United Arab Emirates is only the country where death rate is the lowest in the world.
  • A unique festival in Karachi is the “Crocodile Festival.” A father will take his baby son and dangle it above the jaws of a crocodile.
  • A culturally diverse and multi-ethnic city, London is home to people speaking over 300 languages.
  • The most secluded places in the world are: Easter Island and Tristan da Cunha Island.
  • In England, in pubs or bars, you can have drinks but you are not allowed to get drunk.
  • Istanbul, Turkey is the only city in the world located on two continents.
  • The most haunted place in the world is Catacombs in Paris France.
  • The penalty for masturbation in Indonesia is decapitation.
  • China has more English speakers than the United States.
  • The city of Las Vegas has the most hotel rooms in the world.
  • In Japan, the number four is considered to be unlucky because the Japanese word for four sounds very similar to the word death.
  • Singapore is one of two cities in the world with a tropical rain forest.
  • Laos is the most bombed country in the world.
  • In Eastern Africa you can buy banana beer. This beer is brewed from bananas.
  • Less than one per cent of the 500 Chinese cities have clean air, respiratory disease is China’s leading cause of death.
  • Russia has the most movie theaters in the world.
  • Wearing shorts in public is generally not acceptable in most parts of the world.
  • The top 3 most popular places in the world to visit are: Italy, France and Germany.
  • In Belgium, there is a museum just for strawberries.
  • Close to 73% of girls in Bangladesh are married by age 18.
  • In Spain, it is common to pour chocolate milk or café au lait on cereal for breakfast.
  • Niagara Falls actually stopped flowing back in 1848 for about 20 hours because there was ice that was blocking the Niagara River.
  • The country with the highest consumption of candy at 29.5 pounds annually per person is Denmark.
  • The highest bridge in the world is located in the Himalayan mountains. It was built by the Indian Army, in 1982, and is about 5,600 metres above sea level.
  • In Ivrea, Italy, thousands of citizens celebrate the beginning of Lent by throwing oranges at one another.
  • In Belgium, 172,000 tons of chocolate are produced in a year.
  • Great Britain has the highest consumption of ice cream than any other European nation.
  • From all the states, Montana has the most different species of animals.
  • Finland is also known as “the land of the thousand lakes,” because of the over 188,000 lakes found in this country.
  • Hawaii is rated the favorite honeymoon place. In the United States, the most frequent month for a tornado to occur is in May.
  • People of Salt Lake City eat the most lime-flavored gelatin Jell-O in the United States.
  • The Fierce Snake or Inland Taipan of Australia has the most toxic venom of any snake. It is enough to kill over 100 people.
  • The Sydney Australia Funnelweb spider is considered the world’s most deadly spider. It is the only spider that has killed people in less than 2 hours Its fangs are powerful enough to bite through gloves and fingernails.
  • The biggest rollercoaster drop in the world in located in Jackson, New Jersey at six flags greatest adventure.
  • The largest singular waterfall in the world spanning is located in called Victoria Falls located in between Zimbabwe and Zambia Africa. It is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
  • Lake Baikal, in Siberia, is the deepest lake in the world. Pancakes are served for breakfast, lunch and dinner in Australia.
  • Japan has approximately 200 volcanoes and is home to 10% of the active volcanoes in the world.
  • Costa Rica Costa Rica is the 5th cleanest place in the world. Its economy relies heavily on ecotourism and has received an assessment of 97 out of 100 in the category of forestry, air pollution and climate change.
  • Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country.
  • In India, people are legally allowed to marry a dog!There are no cemeteries in San Francisco, CA (excluding the federal National Cemetery at Lincoln Way).
  • The Himalayas cover one-tenth of the Earth’s surface.
  • A “lost world” exists in the Indonesian jungle that is home to dozens of hitherto unknown animal and plant species.
  • The Population of the world can live within the state boundaries of Texas.
  • The Eiffel Tower has 1792 steps.
  • Iceland consumes more Coca-Cola per capita than any other nation.
  • Average number of days a German goes without washing his underwear: 7.
  • State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work: Alaska.

I hope that you learned some new pieces of information about other countries and that it helps in your travels. If you know of anymore interesting facts, please comment below.

Posted by: brittanyborseth | September 22, 2010

Nervous to make travel bookings online?

When you make a travel reservation do you get apprehensive about making the booking on your own? Would you rather call your local travel agent to make the reservation for you? If so, I have a few tips to help you become a bit more confident, so you are able to make bookings all by yourself. The most important thing you can do is be cautious, and don’t rush into making a booking. When you have a couple of hours to dedicate to making your reservation we can get started.

I recommend researching through Google searches, blogs and other websites you are able to find to get all the information before you travel. There are many blogs that are written from people who have experienced the destination you are interested in first hand. They will give you tips on where to go, what to do, what to avoid and more. This enables you to make decisions and have the best possible vacation. People don’t realize that there are sometimes places close to where you are planning to travel that are inexpensive, and an amazing experience to go to if you knew it existed. This brings me to tip my first tip:

#1 Do your research

If everyone going on the vacations takes a few hours of their time to do research on the area you are traveling to it can be well worth it and add to your experience. Check reviews on the airline and website you are booking on to make sure there are no red flags.  Also make sure you understand the baggage policies of the airline, so you are not paying additional fees that are unexpected.

#2 Check dates and airports other than where you originally planned to travel

If you are taking a cruise or going on a vacation based on dates and airports someone else has already programmed in your mind, then you may miss out on alternative options. I recommend being very open and flexible in you’re searching — check dates around your original schedule, and always keep the options open (‘anytime’ verses ‘morning’, leave the number of stops to what the website defaults to).

If there is an option to check surrounding cities — do it! The least expensive days of the week to travel is Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but if these days are not an option for you then check what is an option for you. If you want to travel to Cancun, Mexico just because you have heard it is a popular beach destination then you may want to check other beach destinations as they may be less expensive (again, do your research). If it means having to change your work schedule around, not taking the same flight as your friends, staying in an unfamiliar city alone for an extra day or something else that may be holding you back it doesn’t hurt to check your options.

#3 Airlines websites directly offer deals and last-minute fares

It may be worth your time checking for deals and last-minute fares as they can save you a lot of money. Many airline websites offer weekly last-minute deals that are very inexpensive if you are aware of them and know when they post. For example, some airlines post deals every Tuesday at 11:59pm and they make you aware of this, so you have a first come first serve opportunity. Websites typically have an electronic newsletter you can subscribe to so you have these details in advance to be ready for the best deals.

#4 Be cautious and check all information

When you are ready to make your booking — slow down and review. There are only a few pages of information to fill out and it is critical that what you enter is correct. You may have been searching for flights over the last week and know exactly what you want. However, websites update constantly and you may miss a minor detail that has changed since you last searched. Check over all dates, number of passengers, flight times, city pairs before selecting your itinerary. After selecting your itinerary, review all of the information again before continuing.

Now for the most important part — make sure the passengers name are correct and match their government issued id. After your booking is complete you cannot change the passenger’s name for security purposes (in rare occasions you can but it is a very difficult process that takes hours of your time). If the credit card holders name is different from the passenger’s name make sure you enter all information correctly in the appropriate box’s. If you flip this information around or make any errors it could cause the credit card to be declined, which delays your ticket from being issued (no fare or availability is guaranteed until the ticket is issued). Lastly, check the rules of the ticket. If you have to make changes, a cancellation or have an unexpected emergency do you know what the fees will be to do so? The ticket may be non-refundable, no changes allowed, have very high change fees or another restricted policy that is unexpected. Don’t assume all rules are the same because every ticket has different rules and you should be aware of what they are before booking.

#5 People make mistakes

After you have completed your booking, check your email confirmation and make sure you have received it. If there is anything incorrect, call the airline or website directly immediately. Many websites allow a 24-hour time frame, in which you can cancel with little to no penalty. If you receive the email and all of the details are correct, wait for the final ticketing confirmation and receipt. This ensures your reservation is complete and has been charged to your credit card. It is very important this is received to ensure you have a valid reservation.

After all of these steps are complete you have successfully made the reservation. You have saved money and made a thorough decision that you feel good about. Now all that is left is to make sure to confirm the reservation with the airline 72 hours prior to travel to make sure you are confirmed and there have been no changes since you originally made the booking. You will be an expert in no time if you follow these steps every time you book.

If anyone has any experiences making their first booking online alone comment and tell us about it.

Posted by: brittanyborseth | September 20, 2010

Don’t you wanna fly with the best?

When you search online for Southwest Airlines do you find any negative feedback? Many have countless positive things to say about the prosperous airline. Southwest has consistently improved and maintained their name — superior to other airlines. The website is user-friendly, the airline has unique policies and is dedicated to their customers, employees and the planet. The fun, friendly employees and in-touch with social media approach has contributed tremendously to the airline’s image.

Customer Focus

Southwest Airlines mission statement states “dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.” The airline has consistently kept their customer’s first. In 1991, Southwest Airlines had the fewest customer complaints per 100,000 passengers of all major airlines, and continued in 1992-1996. In 2000 http://www.southwest.com became the most-visited airline site on the web. The website is very easy to navigate, so it is easy to find the information you need. The airline was rated for “Best Bang for your Buck” and “Friendliest Flight Attendants”. Southwest consistently offers some of the cheapest fares in the airline industry, and they do this by flying shorter routes for lower prices. The airline has been so successful a book was published called “The Southwest Airlines Way” by Jody Hoffer Gittell. Southwest Airlines was the only Fortune 500 airline to land in profitable territory last year — $99 million in earnings. While battling the recession, the promotion was offered “Bags fly free”, making it the largest domestic airline for the third consecutive year. The campaign, (http://www.swabiz.com/bagsflyfree) was released at the same time other airlines were starting to implement fees for baggage. Southwest Airlines offered up to two bags free of charge (what a great risk they took for their customers even in tough times).

Frequent Flyer

Southwest Airlines takes a different approach to all aspects of the company, in comparison to larger carriers — including  their frequent flyer program. The program is called Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, and is similar to other airlines rewards programs, but with Southwest you only need to fly 8 round trips in 2 years to get a free flight. The credit card also allows for a way to earn credits, which counts towards free flights. Credits are used instead of miles, which makes more sense and allows the customer to be rewarded more often.

Communities

Southwest Airlines has made tremendous efforts to keep their aircraft as quiet as possible for the communities they fly from and to. They are respectful to the community and serve to gain support and loyalty. The “green team” is a group of volunteers dedicated to furthering the airlines environmental efforts to make the community a better place to live and work.

Employees

Southwest Airlines states: “We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines”. In comparison to other airlines, Southwest knows how important it is to keep not only their customer’s satisfied but also their employee’s. This makes the airline unique in the industry, and contributes greatly to their success as having friendly staff because employees are treated well. When employees are treated well the customers are treated well.

Social Media

Southwest Airlines is very involved in the online world, which has contributed immensely to their admirable success. The airline is active in multiple sites (Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn) in addition to their own blog (www.blogsouthwest.com). Within http://www.southwest.com there is a section for ‘conversation’ and ‘trip advice’ written by customers with both positive and negative feedback. The company’s social media policy is to listen to what people are saying about Southwest, engage the positive and address the negative. The policy is simple, direct and effective. The policy effectively addressed an unsatisfied customer, Kevin Smith, who was discovered online through social media within 48 hours and contacted by the airline. The situation allowed the airline to turn a negative situation into a way for the airline to publicly show ways they planned to improve and recognize these efforts.

Sustainability

Southwest operates one of the industry’s most modern and fuel-efficient fleets. The airline has made continuous efforts, and have successfully improved fuel efficiently from 2004-2010. Chairman, President, and CEO, Gary Kelly, says “Our planet sustains us, and, if treated right, it will provide us with stability.” Southwest Airlines supports many programs to continue to improve its fuel efficiency. The airline also supports the development of alternative fuels, increasing domestic oil and gas supplies in an environmentally sensitive manner, and additional energy conservation measures. Using cost-effective and environmentally beneficial operating procedures allows the airline to reduce the amount of materials used and preserve environmental resources through reusing and recycling material.

Here’s just a few comments supporting Southwest Airlines:

Today’s (July 15, 2010) Good Morning America on ABC took a look at airline fee’s after yesterday’s hearings on the subject. Check out their chart (link above) to see where Southwest Airlines ranks: http://abcnews.go.com/images/Travel/airline_fees.pdf.

“If you look at Southwest Airlines, and I admire what they do, they’ve been the most successful airline in the industry.”
–Gerard Arpey, CEO, American Airlines

“Through extensive research Jody Hoffer Gittell gets to the bottom of what has sustained Southwest Airlines’ positive employee relations and high performance through good and bad times” (this is the book mentioned previously).
–Thomas A. Kochan, professor, MIT Sloan School of Management, MIT Global Airline Industry Program

In an industry with losses in the billions, Southwest Airlines has an unbroken string of 31 consecutive years of profitability. The Southwest Airlines Way examines how the company uses high-performance relationships to create enormous competitive advantage in motivation, teamwork, and coordination among employees.

On July 21, Joe Brancatelli at Portfolio.com says “Then there’s this: Southwest Airlines has mounted a massive advertising campaign to alert travelers to the fact that it continues to allow travelers to check two bags free of charge. The result: Southwest gained a full point of market share last year, an astonishing growth spurt in the usually glacial airline industry. And, of course, Southwest has been profitable for 37 consecutive years and last week declared its 136th consecutive quarterly dividend.”

Southwest Airlines has stood out against other airline’s and deserves to be recognized for their efforts. This is an incredible airline and I think you should use Southwest (if you live in one of the areas they fly).

If you have any comments/complaints about Southwest Airlines I would love to hear them. Please comment!

Posted by: brittanyborseth | September 16, 2010

Students, check this out!

Have you ever considered studying abroad as an undergraduate or graduate? What an amazing opportunity to travel to a different country, live in a new place and experience a completely different culture. There are many different cool places that you have the option to study in, but how about South Africa? South Africa is exotic and mysterious to many. South Africa is located right where you would imagine it to be, at the very bottom point of Africa. In the United States there are zoo’s with different kinds of exotic animals but Africa’s zoo’s are a different experience. Going on a safari or visiting a game reserve is similar to a zoo minus the cages and tourist scene. You get to ride in a vehicle watching exotic animals in their natural habitats (how cool is that?).

Beautiful Beaches

Throughout South Africa there are many beautiful beaches with endless options for things to do. Jeffreys Bay is known for its ‘perfect waves’ for surfers. If your more of the dangerous type, try visiting Gaansbaai Beach. South Africa is the second most dangerous place in the world for shark attacks and encounters. On Gaansabaai Beach, great whites are seen daily. You can even go cage diving for an up close experience. For biology, environmental science and geography majors check out Maputaland, which is a biodiversity hotspot. There are far-reaching wetlands, unique coastal forest ecology and several preservation’s. For a whole new adventure — visit Grotta Beach or Plettenberg Bay as whales are clearly visible just off the coast.

Wine Country

If you like wine, then you’ll be in the right place. South Africa has many beautiful wine farms, and good news for you students — the drinking age is 18 years old.

Endless Options

Throughout the country there are many things to explore such as: hiking, biking, jogging along the beach, swimming or just hanging out at the beach. The weather is very nice all year round as summer is hot and humid, while winter is warm during the day and cool at night. Students can study abroad during the summer, fall, or spring as an intern, volunteer, undergrad or grad student. Where else can you take a hot air balloon for the day overlooking the alluring country of South Africa?

If you don’t mind traveling a little ways one of the most beautiful sites in the world is not far away. Travel about 10 hours from Cape Town to Victoria Falls located in between Zambia and Zimbabwe. One of my friend’s from college, Cardy, was born and grew up in Zimbabwe and says “Victoria Falls in one of the most incredible places in the world”. It is considered to be one of the ‘Seven Natural Wonders of the World’. Many waterfalls combine to create the world’s largest sheet of falling water.

Shopping and Fashion

South Africa is a paradise for girls and guys that love to shop. There are endless shopping centers from flea markets to high-end fashion. Many of these shopping centers are waterfront with pubs and restaurants along the way to enjoy the entire day and continue into the night. I can’t think of a better place to be to enjoy your college experience, or even a semester of college, than South Africa!

South Africa student says: “This program was an incredible experience! I would recommend it to any student for a more broad challenge. My goal was to leave understanding and live like a South African — that goal was my motivation to truly get to know South African people and culture. My total immersion and removal of myself from Americans is what made the trip! I wouldn’t change anything or trade a single day.” –Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching (Port Elizabeth, South Africa)

Are there any students or graduates out there who have studied abroad? Please comment and tell us about your own personal experiences.

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