There are often quirky deals out there which might make getting to your mountain getaway or vacation a little more fun, or cheaper, plus it's an amusing list.
Skiers and riders who use Austrian Airlines to reach their snowy-vacations now can also show their boarding passes to save money at museums, restaurants, and shopping. Visitors took advantage of what the carrier calls "the world's most valuable boarding pass" 50,000 times last winter.
Many of the places covered are in Vienna - like the Albertina Museum, Belvedere Palace, the Kunsthalle, and the Mumok. (Madame Taussauds joins the list in April.)
North Americans flying home through Kennedy International Airport in New York City can get a break at the Neu Gallery, which displays Austrian art.
The Austrian boarding pass also offers culinary discounts. Passengers can enjoy a Vienna Melange coffee free of charge at the Meinl am Graben café in Vienna.
Each boarding pass is valid for one person and for ten days after the flight date. Discounts also are available for passengers using boarding passes printed out as part of the web check-in service and for those using a mobile boarding pass on their mobile phone. Customers can find full details of how to use the boarding pass, the partner institutions, and the various offers in the latest issue of the Skylinesinflight magazine, and online. (See link below.)
Stateside, the Starwood Hotels chain, includes Four Points by Sheraton Hotels, most of which are located at or near airports. Some of these are gateways to skiing, like Boston, Chicago, Manchester, N.H., Edmonton, Kamloops, and Quebec.
Eighty-five of these properties are providing Breakfast for a Buck, now to April 30.
Four Points claims to have a "no nickel and diming" promise, which the company said, "takes the guesswork and expensive surprises out of travel. (If only the airlines would make such a promise, and stick to it.)
Breakfast for a Buck is a full American breakfast with coffee for one dollar, which you add at the time of making the reservation.
"The 'Breakfast for a Buck' package represents everything guests love about Four Points," said Brian McGuinness, senior vice president for Starwood. "By providing a tasty, hot breakfast and simplifying the transaction, we're helping guests make the most of their mornings, from productive meetings to catching up on e-mails to reading the paper."
"No nickel and diming" also includes such things as free bottled water, free Wi-Fi in public spaces, and free internet access in all guestrooms (see below).
The Novotel hotel chain this week released a list of the objects most often left behind last year in the 5451 rooms across 31 properties in Britain and, while none of them were helmets or goggles - not much skiing in the U.K. - the compilation should give snowy travelers a smile.
Mobile phone chargers and underwear top the list of most commonly left behind items, but among the more unusual items guests forgot to take with them when they checked out were a roll of carpet, sports car keys, a number of wigs and walking sticks, a baby car seat, a guitar, and collection of men's dinner suits.
The survey of Novotel hotels reveals the top ten items guests most commonly leave behind as: mobile phone chargers, underwear, false teeth and hearing aids, odd shoes and items of clothing, car keys and house keys, toiletries bags, adult toys, electric toothbrushes, laptops, and jewelry.
Melissa Micallef, marketing manager for Novotel hotels commented, "We continue to be mystified by the random collection of items left in our rooms by guests at our hotels. Our lost property departments really are treasure troves."
The report also identified the top ten items that guests take as keepsakes following their stay: towels, cushions, bathrobes, TV remote controls, light bulbs, mini bar contents, clothes hangers, bathroom display trays, coffee packets, and plastic tissue boxes. (Novotel must not use those pesky hangars you have to slot into the hole.)
Micallef said Novotel has launched a new online boutique novotelstore.com so people can purchase everything from the bed to the art on the walls.
Travelers on Amtrak's Cascades rail line between Vancouver, B.C. and Eugene, Ore., now have free access to the Internet for general web surfing and access to e-mail through AmtrakConnect.
More than 838,000 travelers rode Amtrak Cascades in 2010 setting a 16-year high for total ridership. Wi-Fi service has been the most requested amenity by Amtrak Cascades passengers and more people are traveling on the trains with their Wi-Fi enabled devices. Wi-Fi service on Amtrak Cascades trains will remain free during the introductory period, after which the policy will be reviewed based on customer demand and system performance.
Amtrak Cascades is the second train in the Amtrak fleet to install a full-train Wi-Fi network. The Amtrak high-speed Acela Express service in the Northeast launched Wi-Fi on all 20 trains in March 2010.
Amtrak Cascades operates three daily round trips between Portland and Seattle; one daily round trip between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., and between Portland and Vancouver, B.C.; and daily service between Eugene and Seattle, via Portland. Amtrak Cascades is operated by Amtrak in partnership with the Washington and Oregon Departments of Transportation.