Mail Call October 2019

Oct 8, 2019
October 2019

In our August issue, our art director, Tracey Cullen, mentioned her love of seeking new wineries wherever she travels, including a bucket list filled with wine- tasting locales. This inspired the question: What is your favorite wine destination? Did our Food & Wine Issue give you any ideas for where you’d like to go wine tasting?

Wine tasting is becoming my new favorite reason to travel. My friends and I took an impromptu weekend trip to Napa Valley a few years ago, and we swore we would make it a regular thing. Now we try new wineries or revisit our favorites every chance we have to get together.


My wife and I go to the Finger Lakes in New York every summer to meet up with friends and explore the various wine trails. We’ve been going for 12 years.

JACKSON REED, via email

In the July 30 issue of eFlyer USA, we reported on an emotional support dog biting an Envoy Air flight attendant, causing airlines to revise animal policies, spurring readers to write in:

You need to double-check your details. Doctors never stitch wounds from dog bites — I have several friends who have been bitten, and the wound needs to heal in the open. Sorry to hear about this accident. Dog bites are extremely painful and — honestly! — where was the passenger?

DIANE HERRMANN, Irvine, California

I do not believe emotional support animals should be allowed in the cabin. They belong in a properly maintained cargo hold. Too many of these animals are merely favorite pets considered too “nice” to be put into a cage and are not well-trained — or not trained at all — as are true service animals. Many people have animal allergies or fears of cats or dogs that can be as debilitating as not being with an emotional support animal for a brief period of time.


I fly almost every week and have encountered a number of emotional support animals in my travels. I have also traveled with true service animals. You never even know a service animal is on board. They are well-trained and are truly needed for their owner to live each day.

The emotional support animals I have seen have been poorly trained or not trained at all. I have experienced a dog barking for the entire flight, and my son was on a plane where a support animal had a large bowel movement in the center aisle, fouling the air for the entire plane. These actions prove these animals are not trained for any purpose. Airlines have always allowed certain animals to fly in pet containers but with a fee. In fact, my daughter flies with her small dog in a travel crate and pays the fee.

I wonder about people allergic to animal dander. What are they supposed to do when there is an animal on the flight? No one seems to address that issue. My grandson is allergic to cat dander and dog hair; my son and his wife carry an EpiPen when they fly with him. No one should be in a position to suffer a miserable allergy attack because someone wants to bring a pet along.

If, in fact, an animal is an emotional support animal, I do not understand why it cannot travel in a crate. If it is too large for a crate, perhaps the owners should consider driving to their destination. Or the owner could purchase the entire row of seats so they can restrain the animal next to the wall.

If someone must have an emotional support animal because of the fear of flying, maybe they should talk to their doctor about a prescription for an anxiety medication. Having these animals unrestrained puts everyone at risk, and often it seems the owner simply wants to avoid the fee or bring an animal too large to fly.

It’s time the airlines and the government stood up for the rights of the majority instead of the few who just want to avoid the fees.

VICKI SHARP, via email

My first preference is to ban all animals from the airplane cabin. If that is impossible due to legislation, then more precise regulations need to be implemented to ensure legitimate service/emotional support animals are allowed, requiring verification/documentation by a physician/ psychiatrist instead of accepting the word of the passenger. Standards presently are uneven and inconsistent from airline to airline. Regulatory standards need to be established on the federal level.



In our Aug. 6 issue of eFlyer USA, we reported on InterContinental Hotels Group’s decision to end miniature toiletries as part of the brand’s sustainability efforts. A few readers wrote in with thoughts:

I think it’s fantastic InterContinental Hotels Group is going to larger bulk items for toiletries. It’s such a waste to get one use out of a tiny bottle of shampoo and then throw it away. Hooray for IHG!


Regarding InterContinental switching to bulk amenities: Do the hotel maids sanitize the “spout” of these after each customer checks out? I don’t like using something after someone touched it to clean their body due to bacteria and illnesses.

PHYLLIS DOBBS, via email

IHG’s new policy regarding the mini- toiletries is a disaster, and I will avoid IHG hotels in the future.

First of all, I collect these small souvenirs to bring home. Friends and family admire my huge collection and consider me a true globetrotter. Secondly, no hotel should tell me how to live my life. I am a responsible person in all aspects, including when I travel. I don’t need any hotel’s patronage, and I use one single towel throughout my stay (as I would at home). Finally, the hotels could give the partially used mini-bottles to charity, as some hotels used to do.

In Scandinavia, where I live, Scandic Hotels introduced soap dispensers years ago. I never stay in Scandic hotels anymore.

Professionally, I intend to agitate against IHG’s new policy.

ANDERS NIELSEN, via email.


Although English is the international language, I found through my travels around the world that language barriers can still be challenging and daunting. Over the years, I have collected countless language phrase books for many of the countries I have visited. In my experiences, their effectiveness has been hit or miss.

How have you overcome language barriers in your world travels? Email us:  [email protected]


FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Oct 14, 2019

A New Generation of Sea Life Takes Up Residence in Las Vegas

The Mirage in Las Vegas welcomed a new addition to its Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. A baby bottlenose dolphin, born Aug. 16, represents the fourth generation of dolphins living in the habitat.

TAP Air Portugal Adds 15 Flights Each Week From U.S., Canada

TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020,  a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.

Oct 13, 2019

How to Prevent Your Miles and Points from Expiring

Keeping up with expiration dates for various miles and points programs is not typically something high on anyone’s to-do list. Here are a few ways to keep track of your points across programs and get ahead of any impending expiration dates.

Oct 13, 2019

Cathay Pacific Drops Dublin–Hong Kong Route

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific is suspending its Dublin (DUB) route this November. The move means Ireland will lose all direct links to Asia, as Hainan Airlines canceled flights to Beijing (PEK) and Shenzen (SZX).

Thessaloniki: Culture, Good Food and Shopping

Thessaloniki is the second-largest city of Greece and the most important center of the area. Built near the sea, elegant and refined, the Greek “Lady of the North” is a modern, vivacious city that welcomes visitors eager to learn about its history and culture, and at the same time have fun, relax, go shopping or simply explore the cityscape by the sea.

Oct 13, 2019

United Unveils New Livery

United unveiled a unique new livery at its Newark (EWR) hub last month. A Boeing 757 aircraft features livery designed by a New Jersey artist and the design prominently focuses on imagery from both New York City and New Jersey. The artist, Corinne Antonelli, won United’s Her Art Here contest, a competition that invited women around the country to submit their livery designs.

Oct 11, 2019

New Baggage Rules for Virgin Australia

Travelers flying with Virgin Australia will soon get an extra baggage option, but there’s one catch: The owner of the extra bag must be under 23 months old.

The Island of the Knights

Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.

Oct 11, 2019

Ethiopian Airlines Adds WiFi to A350 Planes

Ethiopian Airlines helps passengers stay connected thanks to new in-flight WiFi service available across most of its Airbus A350 fleet.