A new readon Scotland
Really enjoyed "A Real Page Turner," by Kari Howard [Sept. 1]. My husband and I have been thinking about going on a distillery tour in Scotland (sounded like fun!), but that trip in literary Scotland has us rethinking it a bit.
Costly money card
The article "Abroad, a Plastic Alternative" [More for Your Money, Sept. 1] by Catharine Hamm mentioned the advantages of using the Travelex pre-loaded money card for international travel. Because we are traveling to Japan, I checked it out.
Yes, they are offering free home delivery, and, yes, the 3% foreign exchange fee that my bank (Citi) charges would be avoided. The big "however" is the rate of exchange they quote: (88.3039 Japanese yen to $1 U.S.) is more than 10% worse than the exchange rate, which is hovering around 98.5. On the basis of a 100,000 Japanese yen card, their service charge would amount to $140. Not such a bargain.
Edwin H. Jaffe
Las Vegas Strip infamy
When the massive CityCenter project in Las Vegas, consisting of condos, hotel, high-end retail mall and a casino, opened up in 2009, the last thing on the developers' mind probably was when the first building would be demolished. As it turns out, it's probably the Harmon Hotel, which a judge ruled could be demolished ["Las Vegas Hotel Gets Demolition Go-Ahead," Need to Know, Sept. 1].
Old hotels such as the Stardust, the Desert Inn, the Sands and the Dunes were imploded to make room for new hotels. The Harmon, still new, will never have the chance to be a part of history on the fabled Strip. When the Harmon does come down — it fronts Las Vegas Boulevard — thousands of people will probably see it. At last, it will probably create some business if only because of its demise.
It's about the service
After 30 years of flying round trip to Europe, I decided this year to fly round-trip nonstop from LAX to Amsterdam and return from Paris. The only option open to me was the KLM/Air France partnership.
The in-flight service on KLM and Air France was professional, courteous, patient and delivered with a smile. The quality of the food and the timeliness of the meal service were excellent. Flight attendants frequently tidied up the cabin and the restrooms.
In contrast, my experience on U.S. domestic carriers has been much different. Food quality was borderline palatable and the delivery/cleanup was at a snail's pace. And by the end of the trip, restrooms on domestic carriers were slovenly.
Two incidents say it all. One year ago, my traveling partner realized that she had left her purse with her passport on the plane as she walked toward immigration. She attempted to return to the plane, but the domestic airline personnel refused to allow her to. The purse was never returned.
In July, I walked into my home after my European flight, my phone rang and an airline employee asked whether I had been in seat 18C and whether I had left anything. I realized that I had left my tablet. She asked for my address and said it would be mailed to me, and it was. Guess what airline I will fly in the future?