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Bringing back 'Pan Am'

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Pan Am may be making a comeback: As the setting for a fictionalized TV show.

CNN reports that a pilot (no pun intended) has been ordered by ABC for a drama series called "Pan Am." The show is apparently based on the real-life experiences of Nancy Hult Ganis, a former Pan Am flight attendant and the executive producer of the show.

The CNN report said that "Pan Am," which takes place during the airline's 1960s heyday, is already drawing parallels to the current yardstick of midcentury culture -- that is, AMC's "Mad Men" -- but Ganis called her show "the anti-'Mad Men."

What do you think? Is the mystique of Pan Am and the glories of midcentury airline travel enough of a draw to get you to tune in?

Pyramids, Sphinx, Tahrir Square

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Egypt's newest tourism attraction? Tahrir Square.

From this article in the New York Times:

"Many tourist sites in and around Cairo are open again — from the pyramids to the Khan el-Khalili souk to the Egyptian Antiquities Museum. But these days the most sought-after photo is not one of Tutankhamen’s mask but of Tahrir (Liberation) Square, a mammoth traffic circle the world had stared at for three weeks on television. Named after Egypt’s 1919 liberation from the British, Tahrir Square is a top destination for many of the Western tourists who have begun trickling into Egypt in recent days."

Travel is making a slow but steady recovery in Egypt, tour operators are saying. Do you have plans to travel to Egypt soon? Let us know.

Rescinding a fee

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There’s nothing like a new or hidden fee to raise the ire of travelers. It’s rare, however, to see a company actually rescind a fee, let alone admit it might have been a bad idea.

But MGM Resorts had to do just that this week after a Tribune Media Services column printed in the Seattle Times reported the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas had begun charging guests $20 during the online booking process to guarantee a nonsmoking room.

That prompted a press release from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “No one should have to pay extra to avoid exposure to a harmful substance that causes lung cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses," the group said. "What will MGM charge for next? A room without asbestos? One with a sprinkler system or fire alarm? One without bed bugs?”

MGM the next day said it had “reversed a short-lived policy of charging a small fee to guarantee guests a non-smoking room reservation."

"This was a case where what seemed a positive idea as an inventory management practice, could easily be perceived as something else entirely,” company spokesman Gordon Absher said in an emailed response. “We regret having implemented this policy before recognizing the inappropriate message it might have sent to some of our customers.

Absher said that, “Like aisle and window seats on an airplane, when a flight fills up some passengers must sit in a middle seat. The same is true for a full hotel. Despite our best efforts, we are sometimes unable to provide guests with the floor, view or room style they prefer.

“Hotel guests are asked for their smoking preference, and every effort is made to oblige that request.

There are times when we simply run out of nonsmoking rooms. However, we are unaware of any hotel that can guarantee guests a nonsmoking room. (Read the small print on your confirmation.)

"This policy was a way for guests to personalize their stay, by allowing them to upgrade a reservation to guarantee a particular preference: Room style, floor, view. Nonsmoking room was included as one of the guaranteed options. Nonsmoking rooms have since been removed from that list."

Absher also noted that several guests have already complained that they can no longer book the guaranteed nonsmoking room.

-- By Jeri Clausing

Hotel design quiz

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Oceania Marina owner's suiteThe folks over at Apartment Therapy posted a Design Quiz that asks readers to match the designer to the hotel room. Since it's Fashion Week in New York, it seemed like two reasons (hotels and fashion) to mention it on Travel Jonze.

Can you match the designer's name -- Lacroix, Armani, Moschino and Ralph Lauren -- to the photo? Bonus points if you know where the hotel is located.

Extra bonus points if you can name other fashion houses lending their name, or cred, to the travel biz. (For example, Ralph Lauren just lent its prowess to the top suites on Oceania Cruises' newest ship, the Marina.)



Use a travel agent

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A report posted on, from the newspaper's Cruise Issue, is headlined "How to find cruise line deals." The first recommendation?

Use a travel agent.

The report goes on to say:

"Unlike the airlines, which have been severing ties with travel agents and online agencies in recent years, cruise lines still rely on outside travel sellers. In some cases they offer special promotions through agencies. In others, the agencies buy up blocks of rooms in advance to secure the best rates for their clients."

Another suggestion is for would-be travelers to consider "an older ship." Our first thought was that the writer would recommend something akin to the Song of Norway, but it turns out an "older ship" is much newer than that: A 5-year-old Freedom-class ship, it is pointed out, is older than the Oasis of the Seas.

What do you think of the tips? Are there others you would add?

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