New Leaf Airline

Canada has a new budget airline. New Leaf is a privately held company, headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba using aircraft operated by Flair Airlines, which has been operating since 2003 with a fleet of Boeing 737-400.

NewLeaf cannot guarantee that food served on board will free from peanuts, peanut by-products. They do NOT have vegan or gluten free snack options. They are a discount carrier with limited options or on-board services. If you do travel and need assistance, then they can be reached at their Special Needs Department in Winnipeg at (204) 888-HELP (4357)

Children
Ages between 12 and 18 are allowed to travel by themselves without a parent or guardian

Ages between 8 and 11 can travel as an unaccompanied minor mandatory fee of $110 for this service, which includes a drink and a snack. It is not a service available to children with disabilities or children who could otherwise NOT successfully travel without a parent. Because an unaccompanied minor service must be booked by calling the Customer Service Department, there is an additional booking fee of $15, totaling $125.00 per unaccompanied child.

FREE
Personal Bag (under seat) – Items such as ID, travel documents, jewelry, keys, medication and mobile communications devices and must fit into the size device at the check in and departure counters which measure 16cm x 33cm x 43cm (6 in x 13 in x 17 in) 10kg (22 lb)

Children under age two at the time of departure are considered to be infants and may travel on a parents lap for free.

FEE

CARRY ON BAG FEE
MUST be placed in the overhead storage as the  personal item must be placed below the seat in front of you. You can check up to 3 (three) bags maximum IN ADDITION TO your carry on baggage. The size limits are: 23 cm x 40 cm x 55 cm (9 in x 15.5 in x 21.5 in)  and 10 kg (22 lb) per bag. There is a large price difference between checking the carry on bag option online and advising the counter attendant that you have a carry on bag when you check in.

WEBSITE BOOKING  $25 FEE + 13%tax
AIRPORT CHECK-IN $35 FEE + 13%tax
AT THE GATE             $80 FEE + 13%tax

SEAT SELECTION FEE
If no seat is selected in advance, a seat will be assigned at check-in

Selecting a seat in front half of the aircraft:    Rows 1 – 11
FEE $15 on WEBSITE SELF CHECK IN + 13%tax
FEE $20 at AIRPORT CHECK-IN + 13%tax

Selecting a seat in rear half of the aircraft:    Rows 14 – 26
FEE $10 on WEBSITE SELF CHECK IN + 13%tax
FEE $15 at AIRPORT CHECK-IN + 13%tax

Selecting An EXIT ROW seat:                      Rows 12 & 13
FEE $25 on WEBSITE SELF CHECK IN + 13%tax
FEE $30 at AIRPORT CHECK-IN + 13%tax

PRIORITY BOARDING FEE
FEE $10 on WEBSITE SELF CHECK IN + 13%tax
FEE $15 at AIRPORT CHECK-IN + 13%tax

BOARDING PASS FEE
FEE $10 when boarding pass is printed at AIRPORT CHECK-IN + 13%tax

PETS FEE
Up to four (total for each aircraft) small pets that are not considered dangerous and are secured in a suitable pet carrier can be housed in the cabin
FEE $75 + 13%tax

FLIGHT CHANGES FEE
Add TravelFLEX FEE of $20 (plus applicable GST/HST) per person per segment and must be paid at the time of your initial booking on their website, which will incur no additional fee. If you phone the call centre there will be an additional FEE of $15 + 13%tax, for booking through the Call Centre.

The flex fee can be used ONCE to change flight date, destination or Travellers name, or any 1 or 2 of the total, at the same time. The new flight date must be within 90 days of the original booking flight date. Fare price differences are in addition to the change fee.

FEE of $75 + 13%tax for each separate time you make a change to the reservation up to three hours of the flight departure.

FEE of $100 + 13%tax if you make a change at the airport check-in counter up until 45 minutes prior to flight departure.

 

NEW LEAF SERVICES 7 CANADIAN CITIES

Abbotsford International Airport (YXX)
30440 Liberator Ave, Abbotsford, BC V2T 6H5 / (604) 855-1001

Kelowna International Airport (YLW)
5533 Airport Way, Kelowna, BC V1V 1S1 / (250) 765-5125

Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport (YXE)
2625 Airport Dr, Saskatoon, SK S7L 7L1 / (306) 975-8900

Regina International Airport (YQR)
5201 Regina Ave, Regina, SK S4W 1B3 / (306) 761-7555

Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson  International Airport (YWG)
2000 Wellington Ave, Winnipeg, MB R3H 1C2 / (204) 987-9402

John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport (YHM)
9300 Airport W, Mount Hope, ON L0R 1W0 / (905) 679-1999

Halifax International Airport (YHZ)
1 Bell Blvd, Enfield, NS B2T 1K2 / (902) 873-4422

COMPARE PRICING
If you are going to compare pricing for the routes that New Leaf is going to fly, make sure that you add in the price of baggage plus their taxes, to the published fare as with Air Canada and West Jet, it is included inside the price structure.

I checked the pricing on 2 routes which New Leaf will service, against what is available with air Canada and West Jet. The posted price includes travel with 1 personal bag, 1 checked bag and 1 carry on bag and calling a reservation agent, then printing your boarding pass at the airport.

The dates chosen were based on New Leaf flight schedule. No Seat selection or priority boarding were chosen. The prices change with the major airlines on a daily basis, so my comparison is only good for the time I looked at it and is not to be used as anything other than a snapshot of what there prices could be.

 

Toronto (yyz) or Hamilton (yhm) to Halifax (yhz)

New Leaf (Hamilton/Halifax)  $442.48

Air Canada (Toronto/Halifax)  $467.47

West Jet     (Toronto/Halifax)   $245.14

 

Toronto (yyz) or Hamilton (yhm) to Winnipeg (ywg)

New Leaf (Hamilton/Winnipeg)   $374.55

Air Canada (Toronto/ Winnipeg)  $382.24

West Jet     (Toronto/ Winnipeg)   $194.90

 

Buyer Beware
Ultimately, as a consumer purchasing Air Fare, if you want to get the most value for your money it is up to you, to do the research. When an Airline carrier breaks down their fees into components, it is easy to miscalculate your needs and then overpay for the service when faced with check in before your departure and you have no choice but to accept the prices you are given, or risk losing your seat on the plane.

The New Leaf  BUDGET airline which offers minimal services and if you are travelling between destinations and simply need transportation and are not concerned with bringing anything besides a purse or a briefcase,  their prices will be competitive. Once you factor in the need for luggage or a carry on of some sort, then the fees climb enough to ensure the need to compare the flight against other airlines, so you can see which one makes the financial sense to use.

The other Canadian airlines will do the math on what New Leaf is offering and the hope is that competition will drive pricing lower, to the consumer. The problem with Capitalism is that if their model is successful and their fee structure generates more revenue than anticipated, you can see other airlines choosing to follow their lead as well. Or the big players could drop rates and force the new guy out of business, like they’ve done to all the other regional airlines in the past.

Travel Agents do not have access to book flights using this airline, as their business model is to deal directly with the public. If there are any questions about the carrier, a Travel Agent can not assist you with it for this reason. If you want to check published Airline Fares, then during business hours, you can visit my Website to see the current pricing.

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American Airline passenger of size policy

When people book airline tickets online and without the assistance of a Travel Agent or Airline personnel, then they have to accept that they may miss pertinent information which might have been relayed by a professional who has more experience than they do, in regards to traveling.

There was a recent news article posted in November 2015, about a Passenger of Size, flying with American Airlines, who was upset about being asked to remove himself from his seat because he was taking up space in the adjoining seat, which prevented that passenger from sitting comfortably.

He was upset and felt violated and wanted compensation from the airlines. Yet American Airlines, as well as every other airline, have their policies on Special Assistance clearly printed and available on their consumer web sites, which provide guidance as well as the procedures in place to procure additional spacing for people of size.

AA Customers that need extra space

For the safety and comfort of all customers, if a customer’s body extends more than 1 inch beyond the outermost edge of the armrest and a seat belt extension is needed, another seat is required. We encourage customers to address all seating needs when booking.

As the man obviously did not read the company policy about clients who require extra space, the entire situation on the plane could have been avoided by having the Agent performing the check in for the guest, explain to the man what his options were, before he boarded to prevent his embarrassment and let him make the financial choice to pay for the seating he required for the flight.

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Moon Palace Jamaica Grande

You will depart Montego Bay Airport in an Air conditioned Motor Coach and drive 90 minutes East along the main coastal highway, past many other resorts and amazing scenery, to reach Ocho Rios. I highly recommend utilizing the Mo’Bay Arrival and Departure Lounge and Services as you are personally met and escorted past all line ups and into an air conditioned lounge with where snacks and beverages are included.

On arrival into Ocho Rios, on the left hand side ,is the bay. At the furthest point is the entire Moon Palace Jamaica Grande property. Access is through the fenced and gated property, which gives you immediate access to the middle of the town, local shopping and straw markets. One of the highlights of this prime location is that it is only a 4 minute drive away the main Tourist attractions of Dunn River Falls and Mystic Mountain, home of the Jamaican Bobsled ride.

The lovely, protected and shallow beach has a security guard at the property line, preventing anyone but Guests of the hotel from walking to the point, which holds the Palace Dive shop, water excursion area and the Dolphinarium, home of 3 resident Dolphins and a Nurse Shark.

The Cruise Port is located directly opposite the Resort on the other side of the Bay and offers exciting views when ships call at the Ochi port and along with the Mountain, provide an excellent wind break to beach users. It is the perfect location to enjoy your Salt Fish and Ackee a the buffet where an entire station is devoted to traditional Jamaican foods.

Once inside, guests are treated to a choice of refreshing welcome cocktails and a damp, cold scented face towel to refresh themselves as their luggage is removed and processed for room delivery, before they complete their check in, inside at the very large front desk with 10 guest service stations. The resort gift shop is located directly across from it. There are 3 elevators, each with a 9 person capacity for the 14 floor South tower.

Once in your room, you will notice that the décor is modern, neutral and minimalist with a very large widow covering the expanse of an entire wall, affording you views of the ocean, the bay, the resort, the pools and the town of Ocho Rios itself. There is a small seating area for dinners or working and waiting on the table will be a welcome platter of fruit and wine.

There will be either a King sized bed or two double beds in your room and with the Family suites, there will be a connecting door between them to accommodate a total of 6 family members. The beds themselves are absolutely noteworthy because the comfort is completely unparalleled. Not only will you get good nights sleep, it will be hard to get out of bed, even knowing the beautiful surroundings which await you.

The closet is equipped with a laptop sized safe, a steamer for clothes, 2 housecoats and pairs of slippers to utilize during your stay. The bathroom has a massive stand up marble shower and all the bathroom amenities, like lotion, shampoo and conditioner are CHI products, including the blow dryer and flat iron. This saves valuable weight while considering what to pack for your vacation as all these high end luxury products will be waiting in your room.

jmpg amenities

The large 42 inch wall mounted TV is wired for internet and as a smart TV has the Room Service menu located under the “Palace” tab on screen. Of course your stay at the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande, comes with unlimited access to the free WIFI throughout the resort which has perfect reception no matter the location. You also have unlimited calling to Canada and the USA by dialing *92, the area code and phone number.

jmpg dresser tv area

The resort is a perfect mid size with a large variety of enclaves to tuck away into, which will provide areas for quiet reading, busy pool activities, music or sporting areas. There is a place for everyone at Palace to find contentment in the lifestyle which suits them best. The rooms with the higher numbers, located on the left as you depart 1 of the 3 elevators, have the best Ocean views. To the right side, the rooms face towards the Bay and over the town itself. As a result, the rooms at the front are much quieter at night time, as the building buffers the nightlife from the active Reggae nightclubs in Ocho Rios.

The resort has a natural and romantic ambiance but is also extremely child friendly; all of the children’s indoor daycare areas, outdoor playgrounds and water park features are located in front of the new building, just being finished and which will open in January 2016. This building is also closest to the water sports beach area and the beach volleyball court.

The area for teenagers, is located just down from the child’s area and can also be reached by paths in full sun or complete shade. There are multiple activities such as 2 ping pong tables, non motorized water sports, a flow rider and a teen lounge which has music, video arcade games and pizza. There is so much for them to do, it will be impossible for them to get bored with it.

The resort grounds are beautiful; from little bridges and river pools, the cement stamped cobble stone provides accessibility for people with limited mobility as well as for strollers.

The luxury pampering you expect from Palace Resorts in Mexico, is continued in Jamaica with their incredible AWE-SPA, which is the largest in the Caribbean with 34 treatment rooms. Not only does it house a salon for hair and nails, but a complete hydro therapy pool room, saunas, cold rooms and heated stone loungers.

This is an amazing location to explore the Ocho Rios area while surrounding yourself with luxury and pampering. The food throughout the resort is exceptional and the quality of service is exemplary. With the added bonus of a resort credit of $1500, this makes the all inclusive feature at the Jamaica Moon Palace Grande, the best value for your vacation dollar that is available in Jamaica. The best part is, you can actually book your vacation through TravelonywithJodi and I can make sure you get to experience the Moon Palace  Jamaica Grande resort this winter.

Jodi jmpg Nov 2015

 

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Gay LBT Friendly Resorts in Cuba

cuba rainbow flag

Varadero is one of the Gay Friendliest places to visit in the Caribbean. There is no gay “scene” in Varadero as it is a tourist enclave which is kept extremely family friendly by the government, while in comparison, Havana does have a gay scene which is the largest in the entire Caribbean. There are excursions available to Havana from any of the resorts in Varadero, which can be booked directly from the front desk. Another option for guests who are more budget minded, is take the Viazul bus to Havana for day trips.

Varadero itself is all about the beach and sunshine, not necessarily the night life, as the majority of  evening activities take place on the resorts so guests simply don’t often feel the need to venture out to look for things to do.

Quite often you see same sex couples walking hand in hand on the beaches and on resort properties showing normal levels of Public Displays of Affection. The entire community is quite Gay friendly and there are simply not many restrictions or considerations to worry about when choosing your resorts, as all GLBT travelers have not expressed any major concern when staying at them. Many people do develop a preference to their resort destination, in accordance to their own personal style preference and budget.

Caleta is at the beginning of the Peninsula and of Varadero, so it has easy access to shops, restaurants and clubs.  The beach at this end has courser shell type sand, compared to the other end which tends to be finer. All the resort beaches in Varadero are wonderful and you can literally walk for miles.

RESORTS

The first resort I would highly recommend is the Breezes Varadero. Others which are GLBT friendly and accepting are: Royal Hicacos, Breezes Bella Costa , Tuxpan, Be Live Turquesa, Sunscape, Willemsted Curacao, Cuatro Palmas, Barlovento, Arenas Blancas. Arenas Blancas is the higher end sister property of Solymar and guests share amenities between them.

The more lively end of town is near the resorts of Cuatro Palmas, Palma Real and Solymar.

Solymar seems to have a younger and louder clientelle. If you prefer a quieter area, away from larger crowds, then traveling by coach 90 minutes to Cayo Coco might be warranted and properties to consider would be the Iberostar Mojito or the NH Laguna.

CLUBS

The most well known and popular bar for Gay friendly guests is called “CALLE 62” which is at the corner of Calle 62 and Av 1ra; just down the street you will find the “Havana Club”, which is mostly tourists with a 5 or 10 CUC cover charge. The bar hosts lesbians, gays, trans and heteros. At the end of this street is the “HAVANA CLUB” which is also gay friendly. The “Comprisita” is a great club to be found near the 4 Palmas and hosts more locals then tourists.

For pertinent information when in destination, simply ask any of the animation teams from the resorts, who are very familiar with the area and all new clubs which may have recently opened.

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Americans: Book your cruise in Canadian dollars

One of the best ways right now for an American to save money when booking a cruise vacation, is to pay for the trip in Canadian funds. The Canadian dollar has dropped dramatically and quickly over the last few months and as a result, it means an almost 20-25% discount for Americans when they ask their Travel Agent to charge them for their cruise in Canadian instead of US dollars.

You can pay for your cruise fare, taxes and gratuities. You can also prepay for On-board credits, so you don’t pay in USD while on the ship. You can go onto your cruise website and pre-book and pre-pay for your excursions as well and in many instances you can also arrange for things such as spa passes, which you can buy online and in advance of your cruise. Just remember that the exchange rate you are given depends on the day you book your trip.

A little bit of planning can go a long way to make cruising a very affordable vacation option, especially when you take advantage of cruise promotions which can include things such as 3rd, 4th and 5th guest sharing a stateroom, sailing for free, other than just paying taxes which would be combineable with promotions which include all alcoholic beverages or all dining choices at the specialty restaurants or even free wifi or shore excursion credits. It all depends on the cruise line you book with and the promotion’s they have.

Visit my Travelonly page and sign up for my Wednesday email for Travel deals and tips.

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Unexpected change of Travel Plans

Travelling often does not make a person a ‘seasoned traveler’. Oftentimes, real and valuable experience comes from running into complications which must be overcome. This helps to create a person who is unafraid of roadblocks and teaches you to easily navigate changes to plans, not just with travel, but in life. It allows you to be creative in your approach to solving issues and enables you to gain confidence that you can overcome them. You create competence with tribulations and you become an expert at knowing you can manage anything that comes your way. So, don’t be upset if and when your travel plans change, treat it like the opportunity it is. Unexpected changes to your travel plans will eventually happen and they do not have to ruin your vacation or the experience you hoped for. It is simply a way for you to grow into a more seasoned traveler who can share your epic adventure with others; remember, no great story ever shared, started with, “Everything was uneventful.”

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Are young adults allowed to drink on a Cruise ship?

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Alcohol is readily available when you cruise and most people expect to see quite a bit of drinking happen by fellow passengers while on-board. It is not unusual to see many guests enjoying libations from first thing in the morning until late at night. While most people are drinking responsibly, remember that this is a vacation and there will be times some adults will become rowdy. There are rules in place for dealing with guests who drink to excess.

The bar staff and attendants can and will cut off guests who become overly intoxicated. In extreme cases, when guests do violate any alcohol policies, such as: over consumption, provide alcohol to minors, demonstrate irresponsible behaviour, or attempt to conceal alcoholic items at security and or luggage check points or any other time, they may be disembarked at the next port or not allowed to board the ship at all.

This means that the guest will have to make their own way back to the port of embarkation, at their own expense. Being removed from a ship for drunken behaviour is not something that would be covered as an insurable claim for reimbursement, even if you had travel insurance, and means the person would be assuming all financial responsibility for their actions. All cruise lines have clearly defines Rules of Conduct for their guests, as well as clear policies surrounding the age of Majority for the legal consumption of alcohol.

When young adult children aged 18, 19, 20 are sailing with their parents and want a clear understanding of the Drinking Policy for them when sailing,  then have your Travel Agent check the drinking policy of the cruise line you are sailing with and go to the Guest Services Desk once you are on-board with your child. This way there will be no misunderstanding as to what the regulations are, surrounding the drinking policy or the responsibility of the young adult or their parent if they choose to allow them to drink wine or beer during their vacation.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)
The minimum drinking age for all alcoholic beverages on Norwegian Cruise Line ships is 21. Guests who are 18 – 20 years of age can purchase and consume beer or wine when the ship is in international waters (3 miles out of US territorial waters). The age modification does not apply for Alaska and Hawaii sailings. The parent or legal guardian must be onboard the sailing with the young adult and present themselves at the Front Desk so they can sign the form allowing the consumption of beer and wine only. A notarized Parent Consent Form or any other document allowing for temporary guardianship for the purposes of the sailing only will not be accepted.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL)
The minimum drinking age for all alcoholic beverages on all Royal Caribbean International on sailings originating in North America is twenty-one (21). For sailings from South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand is eighteen (18). The minimum age to consume alcohol at all private destinations remains twenty-one (21) without regard to where the sailing originated. The Company retains the right, on rare occasions, to raise the minimum age of alcohol consumption on any sailing when local laws require or permit such a modification. No guest under age 18 may possess or consume alcohol at any time while onboard. No guest under age 21 may possess or consume alcohol at our private destinations.

Carnival Cruise Line (CCL)
The minimum age for the purchase and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages in the bars, lounges and gift shops is 21 years of age. In the event that Bar/Restaurant/Gift Shop Staff are in question that the guest is less than 21 years old, they shall request picture identification, prior to serving the drink or selling the bottle of liquor.   Carnival reserves the right to refuse the sale of alcoholic beverages to anyone.

MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company)
Alcoholic drinks in any form will not be sold to Minors during the cruise. Passengers under age 21 (for cruises that include a USA port) or under the age of 18 (for cruises that do not include a USA port) may not order or consume alcoholic beverages. When the itinerary includes a port located in the U.S.A the same conditions will apply for any passengers under the age 21. Passenger’s may be refused alcohol when in the reasonable opinion of the MSC staff, that the Passenger is likely to be a danger and/or nuisance to himself/herself, other passengers and/or the Vessel.

Celebrity Cruise Line
The minimum drinking age for all alcoholic beverages on Celebrity Cruises ships sailing from North America is 21. The minimum drinking age for all alcoholic beverages on Celebrity Cruises ships sailing from South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand is 18. In certain circumstances where local laws permit or require, Celebrity Cruises may modify this policy which may also require parent/guardian request/authorization. No guest under age 18 may possess or consume alcohol at any time while on-board.

Princess Cruise Line
The legal drinking age of 21 years is always observed onboard and proof of age may be required. The age restrictions are clearly posted in the bars.

Cuba Cruise
The minimum drinking age on-board is 18 years old.

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