Monthly Archives: December 2018

31Dec 2018

Travel Pet Peeves And Problems – Forbes

POPEYES® launches “EMOTIONAL SUPPORT CHICKEN” campaign, December 18, 2018. The company says, “Our emotional support chicken is permitted to fly without any restrictions.”POPEYES CHICKEN

As the year comes to an end, it’s time to air some pet peeves about travelers and the travel industry, from menacing drones to endless fees to skinflint guests to “emotional support chicken.”  My New Year’s resolution is to say only nice things. I promise.

Jerks flying drones near the airport. We don’t have enough delays already? Even if the Gatwick drones were figments of multiple imaginations (authorities say there were 93 credible sightings), 140,000 people had flights canceled, holiday trips ruined or found themselves stranded, delayed or otherwise inconvenienced. Aircraft-drone collisions have already occurred; will 2019 bring the first fatality?

Hotel resort fees. Resort fees appear to have been invented by hotel operators to create a pot of money they don’t have to share with online travel agencies, franchisers or anyone else. Resort fees typically include hotel Wi-Fi, access to the gym, pool (although you’ll still pay in the winter when the pool is closed) local phone calls (does anyone still call from a room phone?) and other dubious “goodies.” The fee can range up to $40 a night, and never appear on the booking cost of the hotel. But when you check out, your $100-a-night room is now $135.

Resort fees may have been pioneered in Las Vegas, but they’ve spread to Orlando, San Francisco, Anaheim (Disneyland-adjacent), and New York where 85 hotels reportedly charge resort fees.

In January, I’m reporting from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, attended by 150,000 people. Accommodations are tight and I’m staying at the motor lodge at Circus Circus, on the low end of the MGM Resorts totem pole. Nonetheless, “a minimum mandatory hotel-imposed fee of at least $32.00 (plus applicable tax) per room, per day, will be charged and collected by the hotel at check-in or check-out.” Resort fees never seem to include parking; valet parking is $16 at Circus Circus.

An editorial stock photo of the Circus Circus hotel and casino in Las Vegas, NV.Getty

Non-tippers. Too often, I can play blackjack at a jammed table in Las Vegas for two hours and be the only person to tip the dealers. At the table or in a restaurant, waitresses usually do better as they are perceived to have the power to ignore customers. As Tom Waits sings, “She hates you and your friends, and you can’t get served without her.”

Yes, Europe is different and gratuities is included. But it isn’t in the USA, and dude, if you’ve got enough money to sit at a table or a bar stool, you’ve got enough to tip the waitress or bartender. I struggle with using the hotel bellman (that’s what roller bags are for) but if I have enough luggage to need one, I tip. And always leave a few bucks for the chambermaid—they’re not cleaning your toilet for fun.

Fees vs. Fares. You’ve chosen a destination and priced it out on Kayak, Expedia, Google Flights or your favorite search engine or app. The base fare is X. But you want a seat assignment? To sit with your kids? Extra legroom? A place to store your bags? Food or a glass of water? Ka-ching!

“Michael O’Leary has remarked throughout his tenure as CEO of Ryanair that fares could someday be zero; consumer air travel cost would be limited to a la carte fees and other ancillary revenue,” noted travel writer Chris McGinnis. Fees (“ancillary revenue”) are already a huge part of airline income. Spirit, for example, makes 46.6% of its annual income from them.

Chief Executive of Ryanair Michael O’Leary displays a new smartphone app after a press conference in London, March 26, 2014.  (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) Photocredit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

While O’Leary is blunter than most, low-cost airlines like Ryanair, Spirit, Frontier and Norwegian are actually more honest about the fee-and-upgrade “process” than legacy carriers. With Norwegian, for example, a LowFare one-way from Los Angeles to London on January 24, 2019 is $215.90.  The fare includes “1 carry-on bag (10 kg) and is non-refundable but can be changed for a fee.” For another $90, Norwegian will throw in up to two meals, a checked bag (20 kg) and a seat reservation.

Other airlines prefer old-fashioned upselling. Delta calls it a win when 50% of passengers upgrade to a higher coach class ticket rather than deal with Basic Economy and its fees.

I get it—consumers don’t want to pay higher fares. So airlines essentially “bait and switch” them, offering low fares, then charging for everything that’s been unbundled.

Airline Boarding Policies Earlier this year, I was waiting to board an American flight. Around me were women with young children in strollers, people in military uniforms, and other apparent candidates for early boarding. Instead, the gate agents called for the Ruby, Platinum and Sapphires “elites”, and dozens of people scurried past clutching giant carry-ons. “I never knew there were so many kinds of gemstones,” someone next to me observed.

In 2019, Delta will “simplify” the process by basically boarding everyone by the price paid. Gemstones (officially Delta One Diamond Medallion Members) board first, followed by First Class, Comfort, Sky Priority, Main Cabin 1, Main Cabin 2, Main Cabin 3, and at the back of the bus, Basic Economy.

Passengers stand in line waiting to board a flight to Las Vegas at New York John F. Kennedy Airport the day before Thanksgiving, November 21, 2018.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Photocredit: Getty ImagesGetty

Defining Emotional Support Animals. A final “pet peeve” involves the battle over emotional support animals (ESA). In 2018, most airlines limited ESA animals to dogs and cats, and also insisted on a doctor’s note documenting the need for the animal. Airlines suspected some animal owners were using the ESA designation to avoid paying for pets in the cabin, interfering with the airline’s ability to collect fees (on United, $125 per pet each way).

To others, getting an ESA vest and certificate seemed a less-than-rigorous process. Some owners tried to include a whole menagerie of creatures, from the emotional support marmoset wrongly accused of getting loose on a Frontier flight to Las Vegas, to the now-departed ESA peacock denied boarding by United. Airlines cracked down, saying no snakes, or pigs, monkeys, hamsters, ferrets or roosters on the plane.

Speaking of roosters, Popeye’s Chicken launched a campaign in December allowing travelers flying through Philadelphia the chance to buy fried “Emotional Support Chicken” in a matching carrier. “We appreciate how comforting emotional support animals are and wanted to create our own version,” said Hope Diaz, Popeye’s Chief Marketing Officer. “The good news is that our emotional support chicken is permitted to fly without any restrictions – one less worry for busy travelers!”

To some, this mocked travelers who depend on their support animals, while recalling Karl Marx’s maxim that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. Predictably, PETA weighed in with outrage. But Popeye’s got what they wanted; controversy, publicity, and a shot at everyone’s favorite target, the airlines.

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File) Photocredit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

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31Dec 2018

3 ways a new credit card can boost your side job – The Detroit News

These days, many of us wear different hats to earn income on the side. You might clock out of one job and into the next as a ride-hailing driver, Airbnb host, Etsy shop owner or pet sitter.

Such “gig economy” work can make for a stressful tax season that eats up your time (and billable hours) and costs you potential deductions. A separate credit card for business purposes can help simplify things and maximize your income.

Here’s how a regular rewards credit card or a rewards-earning business credit card can offer value to your side hustle.

1. Simplify the paper trail

Using a separate credit card for your side business can save hours over sorting personal from business expenses, and prevent you from missing valuable deductions. Everything you need to track is on one spending report. You’ll still need receipts, but your expenses can easily be found and backed up.

Harry Campbell, founder of The Rideshare Guy site and author of “The Rideshare Guide,” got a business credit card when he left his day job and formed a limited liability company. Previously, as an aerospace engineer with a side gig, he tracked business expenses with receipts and forwarded emails.

“I think it was definitely more work,” he says. “Most of the time, it’s kind of easy to forget to do some of that stuff.” Campbell now blogs full time and is a ride-hailing driver on the side.

Whether you get a business credit card or a regular credit card for business purposes depends on your goals and expenses.

“If you actually want to do what you’re doing for the next two to three years, and you want to grow, then at some point you’re going to need business credit ,” says Miguel Alexander Centeno, partner at Shared Economy Tax.

Some business credit cards take your personal credit score into consideration, so you’ll likely need a good credit score for either option. Whichever you choose, if there’s an annual fee, make sure the perks and rewards offset it.

2. Help with business expenses

Getting started may require out-of-pocket investments. Applying for a separate credit card can snag you a sign-up bonus or a zero-percent introductory interest rate that helps defray or finance those costs, and ongoing rewards can maximize your income if they align with your spending.

For Nicole Elizabeth, content creator at the blog NElizabeth, a flat-rate business credit card made sense when she started her Etsy shop .

Elizabeth earned rewards on large, one-time investments like her cutting machine, printer and computer — essentials for making the stickers she sells on Etsy. She now earns rewards on recurring expenses such as paper, ink, toner and blog-related purchases. “I get 1.5 percent back on everything,” she says.

Her goal is to turn her side jobs – her blog, YouTube channel and Etsy shop — into a personal brand.

“Ultimately, I’d love for my business to grow and be my full-time job,” Elizabeth says.

3. Double-dip on rewards

Whether you’re on the growth track or simply earning a little extra scratch, look to your credit card — and beyond — for opportunities.

■ Ride-hailing drivers: A credit card that earns a high rewards rate on gas can add up to hundreds of dollars annually for drivers. Before he switched to an electric car, Campbell was using his business credit card to earn 2 points per $1 spent on gas. But he also maximized savings by using the Shell Fuel Rewards program and special offers from Lyft.

■ Airbnb hosts: A rewards card that earns 5 percent back on spending categories that change quarterly could offer a significant return on any number of purchases to furnish or spruce up your Airbnb property. But you can also earn additional rewards by shopping with specific retailers on online shopping portals like Ebates, or via your credit card’s bonus mall.

■ Pet sitters: A flat-rate credit card that earns 2 percent back on all purchases can offer value at the pet store, or anywhere else. But you can also sign up for a pet store’s loyalty rewards program for additional discounts.

Combining a rewards credit card with a rewards program is another way to tip yourself with cash back, airline miles or points.

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31Dec 2018

14 Days of Fortnite Challenges And Rewards – Day 12 – Fortnite Insider

The 14 Days of Fortnite Event is nearing the end as the Day 12 challenge is now live. 

The 14 Days of Fortnite is nearing the end as the challenge for Day 12 has now gone live. Every day, players can complete a challenge and earn a new reward for completing the challenge in this event. You can see the challenge for Day 12 below:

14 Days of Fortnite Day 12 Challenge
  • Destroy Snowflake decorations (12)

Update: Here’s the official reward for 14 Days of Fortnite Day 12 (via u/OhToyy)

14 Days of Fortnite Day 12 Reward
14 Days of Fortnite Day 12 Reward

Leaks suggest that the the reward players will earn for completing the challenge will be a snowflake emoticon. We will be updating this article to confirm which reward has been issued to players that complete the challenge.

Leaked 14 days of fortnite Day 12 reward
Leaked 14 days of Fortnite Day 12 reward

There will only be two more challenges left for this event and so only two more rewards to earn. You will need to make sure you complete the challenges in time to receive the rewards as these rewards can only be earned from this event.

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31Dec 2018

3 Smart Ways to Market Travel to Millennials in 2019 – Inc.

In 2018, travel and tourism was a ~$1.5 trillion industry.

By 2028, it’s projected to grow to $2.4 trillion. And a good chunk of those contributing to those trillions are Millennials–a group that has now become the largest generation of travelers. In fact, Millennials (aged ~21-38 in 2019) now represent $50 billion worth of travel consumerism in the U.S. alone.

So what are the biggest things Millennials want when it comes to travel? Valentino Danchev, founder and CEO of travel marketing firm Fidelis Marketing Group, says there are a few standout things:

1. Authenticity

Millennials prefer authentic experiences over perfectly curated, manicured ones. According to Danchev, Millennials want “boutique travel experiences that will transform them from the inside out.”

In other words, they don’t just want to hang out all day by the pool. They want transformational travel–the chance to learn, grow, and explore. They like experiencing local culture in as real a way as possible, so facilitate ways they can do that. Prioritize interactive experiences over passive ones–for example, a small, hands-on cooking class with a local person instead of a day trip to the most famous museum in town.

Don’t be shy about protecting the environment, either. Millennials are the most environmentally-conscious generation in recent history–a full 73 percent are willing to spend more on sustainable goods (as opposed to 66 percent of non-Millennials).

So be green, and then don’t keep it a secret. Make it part of your marketing. Fidelis’s own Grand Luxxe resorts in Mexico, for example, have received a Distinction “S” recognition for environmental sustainability from UNWTO, EarthCheck, and the Rainforest Alliance.

2. Creativity

When looking at what to highlight, don’t focus solely on your amenities. Yes, of course you want to show off your beautiful pool–but be creative in the activities you offer and show people enjoying, because those will often be equally as important to Millennials.

Danchev suggests courses or other immersive activities in fields like art, fitness, or entertainment. Think a craft beer-making workshop in Europe; a wine-and-painting night on the roof of your hotel where guests get to meet one another; a yoga class on standup paddleboards. You could also liaise with a local volunteer site to give travelers the chance to volunteer for a half- or full-day (being on a build site for Habitat for Humanity, for example). 

3. Connection

If I have a question for a company, I’d much rather ask them via their latest Instagram post than scour their site for contact info. I myself used to be the social media coordinator for a large company and know that not only can social media be an efficient way to get ahold of someone, but I’m probably going to reach someone like me, which is appealing.

According to Danchev, you must have a high-quality website if you want to compete for the trillions of travel dollars up for grabs, and you want to back it up with high-quality social media. Statistics back up his recommendation: 62 percent of Millennials are more likely to be loyal to a brand with an interactive social media presence.

If you don’t have a social media presence, consider having a chat feature on your website to field questions. You’d be surprised at how many more interactions you’ll get that way than waiting for Millennials to email or call you.

In the end, generational distinctions like Millennials and GenX are arbitrary. Remember that people are people, and people love to travel. Remember to enjoy the journey yourself, and that will come across in your marketing.

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

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31Dec 2018

3 ways credit cards can save you money in 2019 – CNBC

Credit cards don’t just help build your credit score; they also offer a range of perks. That’s why various experts recommend that you use credit instead of debit in many situations, such as when you’re making a big purchase or traveling.

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When used responsibly — so, as long as you don’t spend wildly and you avoid interest by paying off your balances — a top credit card can save the average American hundreds of dollars every year.

Here are three simple ways you can use credit cards to save money in 2019.

The simplest way that credit cards earn you money is by rewarding your spending. Many cards offer flat rates of cash back, such that you earn the same percentage back for any purchase you make. Other cards reward different categories of spending with different rates.

The Blue Cash Everyday, for instance, offers 3 percent back at grocery stores, 2 percent back at gas stations and some U.S. department stores, and 1 percent on all other purchases.

Other cards offer rewards points or miles. Typically 1 point or mile comes out to be worth a penny, so 100 points = $1. But with many cards, you’ll be able to choose between various redemption options — cash back, merchandise, travel purchases, donations — and which option you go with can affect the value of the rewards.

Experts tend to agree that, to get the most out of your points when you have so many options to choose from, you have to transfer your points to one of your issuer’s travel partners and then scavenge for a great deal on a flight or hotel stay. When you do that, points or miles can be worth as much as 7 cents apiece.

One survey found that an enticing sign-up bonus is the primary motivation for a quarter of the people who get new cards. That’s because many bonuses are substantial, and it’s usually not too difficult to qualify for them.

For example, if you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of getting the Citi ThankYou Premier card, you get 50,000 points. That’s worth $625 when redeemed on travel.

There are a couple things to keep in mind, though. For one, you usually don’t qualify for a bonus if your new card is the same brand as one that’s already in your wallet. If you apply for the ThankYou Premier card, for example, but opened or closed a Citi ThankYou Preferred or Citi Prestige card in the past two years, the bonus won’t be available.

And trying to game the system might work against you. Repeatedly applying for cards, collecting the bonus after a few months and then canceling the cards to avoid having to pay the annual fee could lower your credit score.

These last two credit card perks are somewhat lesser-known, but both can save you a lot of money, as long as you’re aware of them.

Some cards offer price protection, meaning that, if you buy an item on your credit card and then its price drops within a set time frame, usually a month or two, you can get refunded the difference. But that requires you to submit a claim form.

And many will extend the warranties of major purchases for an extra year or two. As Ramit Sethi, author of “I Will Teach You to be Rich,” points out, that can be a great opportunity: “A lot of the money you’re spending on extended warranties — don’t spend it, you can save it.”

Don’t miss:

Once you hit this credit score, going higher is a ‘waste of time,’ expert says

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30Dec 2018

Jalen Hurts reaps rewards by staying at Alabama – The University of Alabama Crimson White

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.—Since Tua Tagovailoa hit DeVonta Smith to win the national championship, former starting quarterback Jalen Hurts’ future with the team was a question.

Some predicted that he would leave before the season started.

He stayed.

With the new redshirt rule, players can play in four games and maintain that year of eligibility . Other big-name players have chosen to play the four games and leave with a redshirt. People thought he would sit out the season after the fourth game.

He played.

“He’s always put the team first,” head coach Nick Saban said. “He’s gone in the game whenever we’ve asked him to go into the game. We played him as much as we could so that, if this came up, he was going to be ready. I think it worked out great, and I think this is a great example of why guys don’t need to run off and just transfer every chance they get or every time something doesn’t work out.

“Jalen is going to be a more successful person in his life because of what he went through, not winning 26 games, but what he went through this year trying to be the kind of person who had to support other people after he was a star player.”

Fans that once groaned or booed him changed their opinion, especially when he trotted out onto the field in the Iron Bowl, when Bryant-Denny Stadium reached its peak, or close to it, stadium noise.

“I got a lot of love for this university,” Hurts said. “For them showing the love that they’ve given to me, them showing the support means a lot to me, and it means a lot to my family.”

When Alabama played in the SEC Championship game in early December, it was almost déjà vu of the national championship. The backup came into the game and led the Crimson Tide to a close win.

Three-hundred twenty-seven days before Hurts led the comeback, he was replaced after throwing for just 21 yards. In the SEC Championship, he threw for 83 yards on his two drives.

“It felt so good to see that happen to him,” outside linebacker Christian Miller said. “I had talked to him during the summer and stuff… and I told him ‘Just trust it. Just trust it. You never know when you’re going to be called or what can happen.’ It’s crazy that this ended up happening. If you asked me back then, I wouldn’t have guessed this.

“For that to happen for him on this stage, not only does it mean so much for him, it means so much to all of us that with someone with his character, his resiliency, just the type of person that he is, it’s a blessing that it happened to someone like that.”

After the win, Saban said that he’s never been prouder of a player than Hurts. It’s hard to imagine the quiet 6-foot-2 quarterback not starting. Since his freshman year, he started all but one game for Alabama, winning 26 of the 28 games and leading the Crimson Tide to two national championships.

When Tagovailoa jogged to the field against Louisville, he was officially named the starting quarterback, and with his play he has cemented his name into that spot.

While most people would be mad about losing that job that he excelled at, Hurts just went to work and continued to develop.

“I think every day I wake up trying to be a better version of me,” he said.

He continued to compete for the job, but as a team leader, he wanted Tagovailoa to feel like the starter. When Alabama warms up for practice, it lines up by depth chart position. Hurts told Tagovailoa to go to the front of the line, but Tagovailoa wouldn’t go, saying it was Hurts’ spot.

“It was awesome,” quarterbacks coach Dan Enos said. “Those two guys respect one another.”

Besides his role changing on the field there were two big changes for Hurts since the overtime win against Georgia in the title game.

The first came 13 days after the win. Hurts’ signature look was his dreadlocks that he had grown out since he was 10. He nearly cut them, but he made a deal that Alabama had to win the national championship before the cut.

“I had been kind of wanting to cut it, I just needed a reason to,” Hurts said.

On Dec. 15, he walked across the stage in Coleman Coliseum with his bachelor’s degree in public relations. As he walked, the people in attendance stood and applauded.

“It’s a great feeling,” Hurts said. “I felt like I was about to play in a game. Damien (Harris) was in front of me. I’m telling Damien, ‘Man lets go. Let’s get it…’ It was a very exciting moment, probably one of the most I’ve ever experienced.”

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30Dec 2018

Traveling safe for New Year's Eve weekend –

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Christmas rush may be over but according to Triple A we are still in the busiest travel season.

Right now, there are a few types of travelers on the roads – the ones going about their day to day business, and then those who are either returning from their holiday destinations, or who are traveling to celebrate the new year. 

Triple A estimates that a record breaking number of people are expected to travel for the holidays this year. Some by car, others by train or bus. 

One woman told 22News, the roads have been busy since last weekend, but she's more concerned about how safe they will be this coming Monday night for New Year's Eve. 

"Everybody really needs to be careful," said Teresa Godfrey. "Drinking, or even being tired from jobs that they're working through the holiday. It's excruciating for a lot of people." 

MassDOT is reminding drivers to be safe and find a sober ride home on New Year's Eve. MassDOT is also offering free MBTA service after 8:00 p.m. on Monday evening. 

There are also taxis, and ride-sharing apps like Uber or Lyft that people can use for a sober ride. 

Triple A says the busy, year end travel period officially ends on New Year's Day. 

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30Dec 2018

Thieves are using your credit card to make purchases — even when you never lost it –

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – All it takes is a swipe, and the information from your credit card’s magnetic stripe could be on its way to the “dark net.”

Thieves plant skimming devices at gas stations and ATMs to steal your card info, but according to Delray Beach Police Detective Kimberly Mead, that is only half the battle scammers face.

Next, they need to find a card with a magnetic stripe to hold the information.

“Anything that has a magnetic stripe on the back can be turned into a credit card,” Mead told Contact 5’s crime investigator Merris Badcock. “Hotel keys, gift cards, gas station cards, anything that has a magnetic stripe.”

This includes lost, stolen and seemingly useless cards you threw away in the trash.

“They are just going to be a piece of plastic to someone, but if [scammers] have a credit card number, which they obtained through the internet or from a skimming device, they can input that information onto the magnetic stripe [using a card reader],” said Mead. “Now, that card is useful to them again.”

Recently, Mead busted a Delray Beach man for reprogramming credit cards with stolen information.

“We see this quite frequently,” Mead said.

In her most recent case, Mead says she was tipped off when “the credit card number on the receipt did not match the numbers written on the front of the card.”

Then, using the same type of card reader thieves use to re-encode magnetic stripes, Mead checked the internal data on the man’s credit cards.

“When we swiped the magnetic stripe, the number that showed up on the screen did not match the number that was embossed on the front [of the cards],” said Mead.

So what can you do?

“This kind of activity goes hand in hand with skimming,” said Mead. “Pay attention to the ATMs you’re using, the gas pumps you’re using.”

Actively monitor your charges through online and mobile banking apps, and think twice before tossing any card with a magnetic stripe.

“Cut it up or shred it,” said Mead. “Don’t just toss it in the trash.”

Anyone can purchase a credit card reader. Mead says it is not illegal to possess them, but it is illegal to use them to re-encode cards.

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29Dec 2018

14 Days of Fortnite Challenges And Rewards – Day 11 – Fortnite Insider

The eleventh day of the 14 Days of Fortnite is now live. Here is the challenge and reward for completing the challenge.

The 14 Days of Fortnite Event has been introduced to the game in the festive season and players are able to gain a new reward each day by completing the set challenge. The challenges for the event has previously been leaked, but the order of the challenges were not known. All of the rewards had also been leaked, but can only be confirmed once they have been awarded to players.

14 Days of Fortnite – Day 11

We are nearing the end of the 14 Days of Fortnite Event as the challenge for Day 11 of the event has just been unlocked. Players will need to complete the following challenge in order to unlock the reward:

14 Days of Fortnite Day 11 Challenge
14 Days of Fortnite Day 11 Challenge
  • Thank the Bus Driver in different matches (11)

Update: The 14 days of Fortnite Day 11 reward has been confirmed as the Frozen Axe

14 Days of Fortnite Day 11 Reward Frozen Axe
14 Days of Fortnite Day 11 Reward Frozen Axe

According to leaks, players will be getting the following reward for completing the Day 11 Challenge. We will be updating this post with the message once unlocking the reward as soon as it is available:

Fortnite v7.10 leaked Frozen Axe Pickaxe. 14 Days of Fortnite Day 11 Reward
14 Days of Fortnite Day 11 Reward

The Frozen Axe is of Rare rarity and has the description, “Once crimson, now coated in permafrost”. This item complements the Frozen Legends Pack items, which is available to purchase in-store now.

There are now only three more days of the event left and so you do not have much time to complete the challenges and claim your rewards. These rewards will be limited-time cosmetics and you will not be able to complete the challenges and receive any rewards after the event has ended. You can read more about how long you have to complete the challenges here.

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29Dec 2018

10 stunning stories from the travel world – mySA

TravelSkills on SFGate is brought to you by Visa


2018 was a year full of wonderful, scary, frustrating and unusual travel stories. We’ve been stunned by fare deals to Hawaii, frightened by near misses at SFO, amazed seeing more travelers dragged off planes, and much more.

2018 was also the first full year of TravelSkills on SFGate 🙂 Our new platform and distribution have helped us inform and assist millions of travelers in California and across the country on other Hearst news sites such as the Houston Chronicle, the Seattle Post Intelligencer, the San Antonio Express news and of course, the San Francisco Chronicle. Thanks for reading! If you have not already done so, be sure to sign up for our free bi-weekly travel news email updates. 

Let’s take a look at our ten most-read posts in the last year- you can see them below, or via the slideshow at the top of this post.

1. Dramatic new video of Air Canada near miss at SFO

Air Canada flight 759 was carrying 135 passengers when it nearly crashed into 4 jets while attempting to land at SFO. This post includes a video of the incident and statements from SFO on their new safety improvements.

2. American woman dragged off SFO-bound flight from Seoul [VIDEO]

An American passenger refused to leave business class and return to her assigned economy seat, so Korean Air removed her from the flight.

3. Hawaiian Airlines abruptly cancels hundreds of flights

Delayed delivery of new A321neo aircraft caused Hawaiian Airlines to cancel hundreds of summer flights, including two new non-stop services from Oakland.

4. United pays passenger $10,000 to get off plane

Allison Preiss was unable to board her oversold United flight since she was the lowest fare passenger and got a $10,000 voucher out of it. Check out her tweets about the incident and our Q&A with her in this post.

5. California Driver’s License: A new look and procedure

Californians got new options and a new look for their ID cards in 2018. The new REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards are ideal for travelers since standard ID cards will not be accepted at airport security after October 2020.

6. Where pilots and flight attendants sleep on long flights [PHOTOS]

Take a peek at the crew rest areas on United Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, and more.

7. United’s “gate wait” situation at SFO riles flyers

TravelSkills readers were tired of waiting for a gate when landing at SFO, so we asked SFO and United Airlines about it and they gave some insight on the issue.

8. Deal! Fare war to Hawaii erupts

Roundtrip fares to Hawaii dropped to just $197 on Alaska Airlines in August. This was the lowest rate offered during the fare war with competing fares from United, Delta, and Hawaiian Airlines

9. Southwest Airlines flights to Hawaii: An update on what we know so far

Details of Southwest’s new Hawaii service including info on routes, aircraft, and on-board food.

10. Routes: Alaska, United drop Bay Area routes; AA, Delta to Europe; China routes ending, more

Alaska and United trimmed down their Bay Area routes in August while other airlines started planning their 2019 transatlantic schedules.

What were the most important or interesting travel stories to you in the last year? How did we help inform or assist you in getting a great travel deal, a comfortable seat or fast passage through the airport? Let us know in the comments! Thanks and happy New Year!

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