Sarah Palin intervenes on behalf of Japan Airlines

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, fresh from her 15 minutes of election fame, is using her pull to help save some sectors of her state’s travel industry.

Specifically, Palin recently intervened on behalf of Japan Airlines, asking the US Dept. of Homeland Security to resume customs checks on winter flights from Japan to Fairbanks. Customs had said it did not have enough staff in Fairbanks to maintain a winter presence, which led DHS to deny landing rights to roughly 20 JAL flights.

Logistically, it’s a pain for US Customs and Border Protection to meet these flights; customs officers have to be flown from Anchorage to Fairbanks each time a JAL flight lands.

But these flights mean big business for Fairbanks’ economy: $4 million, according to some estimates.

After Palin intervened, DHS decided to reverse its decision.

“We recognized right away the importance,” Patricia Eckert, a trade specialist with the governor’s office, tells the Associated Press. “There is tremendous economic impact at a time of year when it’s most valued.”

Gadling Take FIVE Week of Oct. 25–Oct. 31

Wow! Here it is Halloween and October is almost over. Whew! What a month.

The pace at Gadling has continued to pick up. Perhaps you’ve noticed that Gadling blogger Karen Walerond has returned. She’s our resident camera and photographer expert, so stay tuned for tips on how you can make your camera work sing.

Also, there’s yet another series to add to our other mini-series. Aaron is gracing us with a Travel Trivia quiz each Tuesday. That Aaron is one smart guy.

Hopefully, you’ve been following Gadling’s series “Catching the Travel Bug” about our experiences when we’ve caught some illness when on the road. Also, this week there were two more “Sounds of Travel” offerings. This is the series where we’re sharing the songs that have moved us when we’ve ventured from home.

This week, who hasn’t noticed the flurry of U.S. election related news? By the next time I write next week’s Gadling TAKE FIVE roundup, we should know who our next president will be. We’ve had our own musings about the candidates and some oddball details.

Yes, that’s only four, so here’s one more from one of my favorite topics, New York City. Jeremy has once again given us a blueprint for discovering the gems we may not have heard of before. I’m so heading to Roosevelt Avenue in Queens for dip into Latin American culture the next time I am in New York.

By, the way, have a wonderful Trick or Treat or party, or whatever you’re up to. Hopefully, your fall day is as gorgeous as mine is.

Palin or Obama as a perfect traveling companion, and where do Democrats and Republicans want to vacation?

Whether or not the following statistics are true, they’re interesting to ponder. With the election fast approaching, here are findings from a phone survey that blends travel and politics. The survey conducted for Travelzoo ended on October 7, so perhaps the numbers would have shifted a bit by now.

  • Percentage of people who think Sarah Palin would be a perfect traveling companion–33%
  • Percentage who think Barack Obama would be–35%

Destination dreams of Republicans, Democrats and Independents:

Who would take a cruise to Alaska?

  • Republicans–51%
  • Democrats–37%
  • Independents –43%

Democrats would rather take a cruise to the Caribbean–51% of them said this is where they would like to head for the vacation of their dreams.

According the survey, the bickering and pandering during this election are giving Independents the idea that they would like to take a vacation elsewhere–47% of them are looking towards Spain, France, the U.K. or Germany for some R&R.

The survey conducted between September 15 and October 7 included a representative sample of 1,000 people, ages 18 and over.

Travelzoo normally doesn’t delve into politics, but is a Website to head to if you’re looking for travel deals. No matter your political leanings, you might find something to suit your tastes and budget. One thing I noticed is how easy it is to find deal information. Here’s the link for Alaskan cruises. And here’s the link for cruises to the Caribbean.

Politics, the Vegas way

Who knows what kind of publicity John McCain expected to drum up when he selected little-known Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate — but he probably wasn’t counting on anything like this.

Club Paradise in Las Vegas recently held a risque Sarah Palin lookalike contest. Contestants had to compete in a debate and strut in a swimsuit while guests voted on who looked most like the vice presidential candidate. The winner received over $10,000 in cash and prizes, including a trip for two to the January 2009 inauguration in Washington, DC. Will there be one or two Sarah Palins there in January, though?

This may be the first time that sex appeal has played such a prominent role in a major US election. But will Palin be able to draw voters to the polls the way she brings people to the stripper poles? We’ll find out in a few days. If her ticket falls to Obama/Biden, at least Palin knows she can find work in Nevada.

You can watch a video of the contest here, but it’s almost certainly not safe for work.

Last chance for your photo op with Sarah Palin in Brooklyn this weekend!

Sarah Palin has already come and gone to New York City, but you can still take a picture with her at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition if you visit by the end of this weekend.

Artist Dawn Robyn Petrlik created “Photo Op with Sarah Palin” after she saw a newspaper photograph of the vice presidential candidate posing with her daughter and a dead caribou. Now visitors to the display can suit up in a faux fur vest, grab a prop rifle, and pose with the Palins.

The piece has drawn visitors from both the left and the right. While Palin supporters happily pose with the display, many of her critics pose with their rifle pointed at her. Petrlik put a price tag of $12,500 on the piece. She says that way if it pisses someone off and they want to take it down, they can buy it from her.

“Photo Op with Sarah Palin” has been on display since September 13th, but it’s coming down this Sunday, so your opportunity for the photo op won’t last long. If you get a good shot, feel free to share it with us in the Gadling Flickr Pool.