Despite Sea Of Controversy, Paula Deen Cruises Will Sail On

Paula Deen Cruise – Alice Travel Inc, Facebook

As Paula Deen’s history of using racial slurs has come to light, the celebrity chef has been dropped by the Food Network, Caesars Entertainment, Smithfield, Walmart and Target. But despite a sea of controversy, it looks like two cruises boasting her name will set sail.

ABC News writes New Jersey-based Alice Travel has put together two Deen-themed cruises for 2014, one in January on the Celebrity Reflection and a second in July on the Royal Caribbean. Cruises with Deen have been organized for the past four years, and plans for 2014 were already underway before the controversy erupted – but if anything, the recent turn of events has made them even more popular.

“People are calling and saying they want to support her, even people who have never been on a cruise before. They’re saying they definitely want to go,” Phyllis Loverdi, vice president of Alice Travel, tells the news outlet.

On the Paula Deen Cruise Facebook page, a notice says the company expects both of the 500-capacity cruises will sell out. It’s a win-win for the cruise lines, too; they have no direction association with Deen since the cruises are marketed and sold exclusively through Alice Travel.

JetBlue Helps Man Pull Off Proposal At 10,000 Feet (VIDEO)

JetBlue helped a man pull off a sky high proposal when the company let him take over the plane’s in-flight entertainment system to showcase a video montage of the couple’s five years together before he wedged himself between airline seats to get down on one knee.

“I’ve been with Taryn for five years and she’s the love of my life, so I had to do something that was super special,” Adam Leisle, 28, told GoodMorningAmerica.com. “I had heard of people proposing on flights, but it was always over the PA system, and they didn’t really have a plan to it.”

According to ABC News, it took months of back-and-forth organization between Leisle and JetBlue to try and figure out how to get the video to play on the company’s internal channel without being broadcast on every other flight in the air. But in the end, everything went off flawlessly, except, perhaps, for the fact that it’s a little hard to hear his proposal over the sound of the flight. But still, kudos to JetBlue for going above and beyond on this one – they even handed out cake pops to everyone on board the plane, and then greeted the newly engaged couple when they exited the plane with a congratulatory cake and a champagne toast.

Man With Tourette’s Barred From Plane After Repeating ‘Bomb’

Uttering the word “bomb,” especially at an airport, is definitely cause for concern in this day and age. But in the case of a 19-year-old man who got kicked off a JetBlue flight for saying the word over and over again, he had an excuse: Tourette syndrome.

According to the Associated Press, Michael Doyle of Rockville, Md. was set to go to San Juan, Puerto Rico, through Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National Airport. Doyle made it past security while repeating “bomb” – and even had paperwork to document his illness, a neurological disorder that can cause uncontrolled speech – but after being seated on the plane a JetBlue pilot asked him to leave due to “security concerns.”

Doyle told ABC News he had the Boston Bombings on his mind and tried to tell himself not to say the word. “When you try to suppress Tourette’s, it comes out even worse,” he explained, adding he repeated the word approximately 100 times. So what do you think? Were his enunciations cause for concern, or can we as air travelers never be too careful? Doyle, by the way, was offered a free round-trip ticket on another JetBlue flight, but there is no guarantee he will be allowed to fly at a later date.

[via USA Today]

[Photo credit: Flickr user ​Willamor Media]

Delta Employees Reunite Boy With Treasured Shirt

When a 7-year-old lost the thing he treasures most in the world, Delta employees went above and beyond – even searching in the trash – to get it back to him.

ABC News in Fargo, North Dakota, broke the story of Cole Holzer and his treasured T-shirt. The shirt wasn’t just an expensive gift or a favorite thing for the young boy to wear, but actually an article of clothing his father had been wearing when he tragically passed away following a freak accident while he was putting up Christmas lights.

As Tonya Holzer, the boy’s mother, explained: three years ago her son was inconsolable at the hospital after his father’s death, and said he wouldn’t leave until he had the Nike T-shirt in hand. So Tonya went in and retrieved the shirt, and it’s been Cole’s security blanket ever since. That is, until it was forgotten during the rush to leave the plane on a flight to California.

In the car, Cole realized the shirt was gone and became hysterical. Not knowing where to start, Tonya called Delta’s 1-800 number. By the end of the conversation, both the mother and the customer service agent were crying. From ground crew to ticket agents, Delta employees began searching for the worn T-shirt, which they called “the daddy shirt.”

Eventually, the Holzer family got a call from Delta assuring them what once was lost was now found. “Efforts made to reunite this very special shirt with Cole and his family is another fantastic example of Delta people going above and beyond for our customers,” a Delta representative told the news outlet.

Budget Holiday Travel Possible With New Way Of Thinking

holiday travel

The desire for holiday travel is here. We want to visit friends and family sometime between now and the new year. Still, to recover from economic challenges, travel-related businesses are operating differently than they may have in years past, making that desire for holiday travel more difficult to achieve. Today, there can be a lot more to consider when planning holiday travel than getting time off work, choosing convenient flights and arriving with gifts for all.

“It’s not just tight family finances making travel tough,” says a Detroit News article. “Airlines struggling to save on jet fuel and other expenses have cut the number of flights, leading to a jump in airfares. Those hitting the roads face high gas prices and rising tolls.”

In the past, filling the tank of the family car with gas, planning which route to take and where to stop along the way was about all it took to make it to our holiday destination. Today, travelers on a holiday road trip make sure to have plenty of travel funds available to keep that tank full, check with their favorite mid-way motel to see if it is still open and pack food rather than buying it along the way.

Previously, a seemingly unending number of flights to major destinations had picky travelers looking to fly at a convenient time, in seats together and on their favorite airline. Today’s reduced flight capacity has travelers settling for a flight close to what they had in mind at a price that won’t break the bank.

Still, there are steps that travelers can take to hold down costs, steps that can make the difference between being able to afford holiday travel or not.Packing- Fees for checked bags don’t seem to be going away any time soon so many travelers are re-thinking just how much clothing they really need at their destination. Throw out the old packing list and take a look at reducing what we take along down to one carry-on and a personal item that will fit under the seat.

Use those miles- For those who have been hoarding miles for a future, unknown trip, right now may be the time to dust them off and use them up. Airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals and more that might have fit into the holiday travel budget nicely in the past might not now without some work.

Leverage the Internet like never before- From meals to hotels, entertainment venues and more, information on just how much expenses along the way might be is readily available online. Planning each meal of a multi-day trip in advance alone can add up to huge savings vs. just stopping at some place that looks good. Avoiding expensive breakfast in hotels and eating less expensive lunches than dinners can be helpful too.

Utilize Public Transportation- Whenever possible take advantage of this least expensive option to get from point A to point B. Many cities with subways and/or rail transportation systems have smartphone apps to help plan and budget trips in advance too.

Weigh Options- Take the extra time and compare flying to driving or train service. A two-hour flight might not take all that much longer driving when we consider time to get to the airport, through security and to the gate as well as time getting off the plane and out of the airport. It can easily take me longer and cost more to fly from Orlando to Miami vs. just getting in the car and driving there.

Engage Everyone- Social networks have us talking to people around the world easier than ever before. Why not ask a favorite blogger, online group or business for tips on navigating their city, product or travel-related service. That’s a good way to go with planning and also while in-transit, as many travelers have found out tweeting a problem to airlines, hotels and other companies.

In the end, some big savings can be had by just thinking about travel differently.

Do I really need three pairs of jeans and six shirts for this trip?
The locals manage to use the subway system just fine, can’t I?
I have never been on an Amtrak train; is now the time to try?

Checking in with online sources can get us thinking in the right direction as we see in this ABC News video:




[Photo Credit- Flickr user jazzowl2003]