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Promoting tourism? OK, here’s $1

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Travelers in the Northeast may vacation in Connecticut in 2010, but not because Connecticut persuaded them to give the Constitution State a try.

Connecticut won’t promote tourism in 2010 because the $4.3 million dedicated to that endeavor in 2008 was cut from the state budget for the second straight year, according to this New York Times report.

The state actually allocated $1 to tourism promotion. That may appear to be a joke but it’s not, according Randy Fiveash, Connecticut's tourism director.

The buck is a placeholder so the line item doesn’t get eliminated from the budget.

Oh, go ahead: Let the bedbugs bite

(Hotels) Permanent link

For the Days Inn hotel in Shenandoah, Iowa, the phrase "Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite" was little more than wishful thinking.

According to this report by KETV, the ABC affiliate in Omaha, Neb., the hotel’s owners are cleaning up the bedbug-infested Days Inn, but allegedly only after months of neglecting to heed customers' complaints.

"We were seeing spots of blood on the sheets, and I’m, like, where is all this coming from?” recealled a former employee, Christy Studey.

KETV reported that state inspectors said they had been receiving complaints about the hotel for months. When they saw blood spots on a pillow, along with multiple live bugs and larvae, they closed the property last Thursday.

The hotel’s current manager said the property has replaced all management and staff and is working to make the Days Inn pest-free so it can reopen.

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AA hits turbulence in the blogosphere

(Airlines) Permanent link

The airlines have been known to take a beating on Twitter, but American has really been knocked around cyberspace the last couple of days.

Twitterati have been outraged by the account of an American Airlines web designer who says he was fired for responding to a blogger’s letter criticizing AA’s website for offering a poor user experience. (Click here to read the account).

In a nutshell, the web designer responded to the criticism of American’s site by explaining that corporate red tape prevented American from producing the best website possible. The blogger published the AA designer’s anonymous response.

A displeased AA apparently tracked down the email exchange, identified the web designer and promptly fired him.

Tackling aerophobia via your iPhone

(Airlines) Permanent link

Afraid of flying? There's an app for that.

Virgin Atlantic Airways said its Flying Without Fear course is now available as an application, or app, for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch.

The Flying Without Fear app offers a personal introduction by Virgin Atlantic Chairman Richard Branson, relaxation exercises and a "fear attack button" for emergencies (users pressing this button get breathing exercises).

Virgin Atlantic developed the app with Mental Workout, a producer of mobile applications that help people resolve issues and increase mental performance.

Virgin Atlantic claims that its course has a 98% success rate and that it recently helped celebrity Whoopi Goldberg overcome her fear of flying.

Apple sells the Flying Without Fear app for $4.99.

Southwest gives mom and screaming kid the boot

(Airlines) Permanent link

Southwest has a reputation for good customer service, and some might argue that kicking a screaming child and his mother off an airplane embellishes that reputation. Some might argue the opposite.

The mom certainly wasn't pleased. According to this San Jose Mercury News report, Pamela Root’s 2-year-old son Adam was repeatedly screaming “Go! Plane! Go! and “I want Daddy!” before the plane took off from Amarillo, Texas, to San Jose, Calif.

The screaming must have been pretty bad because the plane returned to the gate, and mother and son were escorted off the jet.

Root at first said she was embarrassed, then angry. She wants Southwest to apologize and compensate her for the flight.

As soon as I read this story, I immediately thought of “Jeffrey,” the misbehaving boy on an airplane who was the subject of a funny Bill Cosby routine from his concert “Bill Cosby: Himself.”

Enjoy this 1980s comedy classic.


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