In September, New York’s Governor George Pataki signed a law that prohibits car rental companies from using global position system technology in their vehicles as a basis to impose extra costs, fees or penalties on drivers who have legitimately hired the car. The state is the first to enact such legislature.
This means the rental company cannot use the technology to find out if a driver committed actions that violate the contract, such as speeding or crossing state lines. The companies are allowed to use GPS to recover a vehicle that is lost, misplaced or stolen and impose fees when such misfortunes occur.
Since no other state has a similar law, the bottom line for consumers is, read the fine print before signing the rental agreement. How a rental company employs the technology is written in the contract, and if they’re watching you, you’ll want to know.
Layover and manicure. JetBlue Airways now offers a new reason to get to the airport early: the Oasis Day Spa (www.nydayspa.com). The 1,000-square-foot facility, which opened last month at New York City’s JFK International Airport, Terminal 6, offers two treatment rooms and a full menu of services.
Options include 30- , 45- and 60-minute facials, and quick treatments for those with short layovers, like the Floating on Air eye freshener and the Frequent Flyer back soother. Full table massages also are on hand (in 30- , 45- and 60-minute increments). The salon menu of hair, nail and waxing services features the Make-up Make-over and the Hot Shave With a Majestic Twist. Oasis monitors boarding times for its customers, so they can relax without watching the clock.
In-room exercise. Joining the trend of offering takeaway exercise products for the harried traveler, Wyndham International has introduced an in-room workout program that is available on DVD or downloadable, to be played on the guest’s laptop.
The program, called “No Shoes? No Problem,” features a 31-minute, nonaerobic routine to increase muscle tone and muscle mass. Following a warm-up period, guests are led through several low-impact exercises like standing leg lifts, arm-toning movements and calf raises.
“No Shoes? No Problem” is available for $18 at www.womenontheirway.com and www.goldendoorboutique.com; Wyndham ByRequest members can get the program for free when they log on to www.wyndham.com. All profits benefit the chain’s Women on Their Way Foundation, which funds issues and organizations concerning women and their families.
Bypass the registration desk. Guests now can check in a lot quicker at properties in the Radisson Hotels & Resorts chain. From a week before to 6 p.m. on the day of arrival, they can check in online at www.radisson.com, indicating personal preferences such as specific room location (i.e., high or low floor, not near an elevator), high-speed Internet access and special service requests. Upon arrival, a key packet and hotel information will be ready and waiting at the desk.
Higher fees. Continental Airlines has raised several fees for its services. Beginning Jan. 1, frequent-flyer upgrades to business class will cost $350 each way for B and O discount tickets, $400 for U and V tickets, and $450 for I, L, Q, S, T, W and X tickets. Upgrades are free for H-class tickets (except for flights from Hawaii, for which upgrades are $200 each way); upgrades for K-class tickets remain $200 each way.
For paper tickets purchased through international agents, Continental now is charging 20 euros (about US$24.60) at its agents based in Portugal and Spain, and 25 euros (US$30.74) in Ireland and Italy. For those booking through Norwegian agents, the cost comes to 350 kroners (US$52.47); in the United Kingdom, the cost is 25 pounds (US$44.67).