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Mail Call September 2018

Sep 1, 2018

September is here! The Global Traveler team is hard at work to bring you some amazing fall content. Moving forward into the final stretch of 2018, an important side note: We extended our GT Tested Reader Survey voting into September this year. If you have not already done so, make sure to cast your votes for your favorites in each category. Fall is the perfect time to curl up by the fire with your copy of Global Traveler.

Speaking of fall, what are some of your favorite autumn memories?

Email us: [email protected]

In our July 2018 issue, Kaitlind Eydelloth discussed summer vacation memories, inspiring the question: When you think back on your childhood and your favorite trips, what destinations were most memorable to you?

Big family beach vacations were always the best childhood vacations. We would rent a big house for a week or two and the whole family would come down and spend a few days. It was like a rotating party house with the whole family every summer.

In our Aug. 1 eFlyer USA newsletter, we discussed the slimy seaweed hitting Florida and invading some of the state’s most popular and touristed beaches. A few readers wrote in with a firsthand account.

We left Naples due to red tide and algae causing a lot of dead fish and turtles and respiratory problems for humans. Check out the Naples Daily News articles beginning July 31 and continuing into August. Sure wish it was the good seaweed.

The coastal seaweed is ruining my summer swimming. The lifeguard towers fly purple flags due to sea lice. Your article states the seaweed assists in the breeding of shrimp and fish but doesn’t mention the sea lice. When will this mess subside!?
MARILYN BIANCO, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

In our Aug. 8 eFlyer USA newsletter, we discussed Southwest Airlines moving away from peanuts, as the snack has been officially removed from the airline menu for the first time in the history of the airline. This inspired a few readers to write in with a comment.

I am sad to see Southwest lose its iconic identity standard. Yet one more demonstration of the entire nation bowing to the perceived needs of a minuscule part of the population. As stated, less than 1 percent of the population is truly “allergic” to peanuts. Most who claim this allergy have never actually been tested for this condition. My grandson is highly allergic to peanuts. He has been tested, and it is his No. 1 allergy. While his allergy is strong, he has to actually eat the peanuts to have a reaction, as is the case with most people. His parents carry an EpiPen in case he does actually bite into a peanut butter sandwich or consume peanuts.

He is also extremely allergic to dog and cat hair and has a significant reaction when he comes in contact with it. Does that mean airlines will not allow emotional support animals to board if he is on the plane? How do they choose which passenger gets to stay on board in this situation?

The bottom line is all these accommodations for the smallest portion of our population [are] out of control, and the solution is really easy. Can’t be in the same place as a peanut? Don’t go to that place. Can’t fly without your emotional support animal? Don’t fly. It’s time to stop making the entire nation pay for the perceived or real issues of a small portion of our inhabitants.
VICKI SHARP, via email

Yes, I am sad about Southwest no longer serving peanuts on flights.
CHERISE MOORE, Santa Clarita, California

In our May 2018 issue, publisher and CEO Francis X. Gallagher wrote about using the Marriott App for check-in and his room key during an event at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. The app seemed “cumbersome” and inefficient, inspiring a couple of readers to write in.

I read Global Traveler magazine every now and then when I am traveling and see the magazine at an airline lounge. I finally read the May 2018 issue and, sorry to say, I wasn’t pleased with the tone of the publisher’s letter.

To begin, I would like to address the issue you highlighted, and I agree with the other readers — the Hilton Digital Key goes a long way in ensuring a smooth, human-less interaction during the entire stay, including accessing the elevators, lounges and other public areas at a hotel. For a gregarious soul like myself, however, I would rather go up to the front desk, especially to secure an upgrade, as the digital key wouldn’t guarantee that. But in cases of long lines, it does come in handy. While SPG’s is a close equivalent, I agree Marriott’s will take some work to become as seamless (I’m not sure if they now use the same technology as SPG; I used SPG’s before the merger).

What disappointed me was the tone of the letter. It sounded more like a hotel review rather than a CEO’s letter. If you wanted to bring up this issue, maybe you could have mentioned it briefly and then directed readers to a hotel review page for more details. I am no Marriott fan, have been a Hilton loyalist for a long time, but the entire letter was about the malfunctioning of the digital key — I am not sure it was befitting a CEO’s letter. I hope you will take the feedback constructively.
NAMEESH ARORA, via email

I finally just got around to reading your always fascinating Letter from the Publisher (and entire issue) from May and wanted to both compliment you on your diplomacy in writing about your experience with Marriott’s app and keyless entry as well as add a few thoughts of my own.

My status with Marriott is Lifetime Platinum, which probably indicates I’m not a millennial, either! But like you, I embrace technology when it is done correctly. Unfortunately, I’m not seeing much of that with Marriott, for whom I have the highest regard, both with its app and even its website of late.

As an example, a few days ago I wanted to check my Rewards (I go back to when it was called Honored Guest and soon will learn a third program name) account for a free night certificate deposited as part of the Chase-issued credit card, not to make reservations but to look at the expiration date and place it on my calendar. Simple, right? No, not anymore.

I’m pretty good around websites and the internet and have taught others while being responsible for the upkeep and use of several people’s devices. Clearly, I’m not IT, but a site like Marriott.com shouldn’t be designed only for people with degrees from MIT.

It took ages, clicking everywhere and often needing to re-enter my username and password, before I finally found what I was seeking.

Along the same lines, the remodeled rooms themselves are disappointing. No drawers at all. I realize millennials might travel with less baggage, but profiling aside, where are guests supposed to empty their suitcases? Are we to leave them on the floor, since there aren’t luggage racks unless you request one? The small closet door serves also as the bathroom door. Clever, but it means if you are traveling with someone, when you close the bathroom door the closet is open. Worse, if that other person is in the closet, opening the door could easily result in a jammed finger or hand. This is a major lawsuit in the making.

I’ve heard through several managers in various properties that others are complaining, which, along with your documented points about the app and keyless entry, leads me to wonder what is going on. Has Marriott bitten off too much with the Starwood merger? Is it trying to be too hip and not your father’s Marriott?

Thanks for reading and again, great publication. I read every page, every article, every word and always come away far better for it.
JIM SEIFERT, via email

In our June 25 This Month in Aviation with Harriet Baskas newsletter, Baskas discussed airlines, new routes and airports, with two individual articles both mentioning Delta Air Lines: One depicts new routes and the rise in North American airline satisfaction among passengers, and the other details Delta’s animal policy. A couple of readers wrote in with a comment.

Delta’s still missing the boat by not buying the Boeing 777-300ELR or the Boeing 787-9. Unfortunately, it has chosen Airbus aircraft for its long-haul fleet. I advise people to avoid Delta on the routes where they fly the Airbus equipment overseas.
MICHAEL GREEN, via email

We don’t have pit bulls, but we do travel with our emotional service animal toy poodles. Delta needs to get a grip and use some common sense. We don’t have anything against pit bulls. It is all in how they are brought up, just like most dogs.
T. COUCH, via email


FX Excursions

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


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