Sunday, October 5, 2008
The Road to Vancouver
When the Summer Olympics in Beijing ended, CoGo began hearing immediately from readers interested in securing tickets to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. As it happens, the ticket request phase began Friday, according to CoSport, the only company sanctioned by the U.S. Olympic Committee to sell tickets to Americans. During the first phase, which continues through Nov. 7, prospective ticket buyers may submit online requests for events. (Packages are also available.) There are, however, no guarantees.
Between mid-November and mid-December, tickets will be allocated, and ticket hopefuls will be notified by e-mail whether they have been successful. (Note: There are several categories of seats for sale, but seat assignments are not expected to be made until next summer.)
CoGo was curious about the cost of some of the marquee events. Based on current exchange rates, you can expect to pay $174 to $1,049 for the Opening Ceremonies at BC Place stadium and anywhere from $93 to $140 to witness the finals of men's or women's downhill skiing. Hockey tickets will range from $47 during preliminary rounds to $727 for the gold medal game. And tickets for the finals in men's and women's figure skating will range from $140 to $422.
October is the unofficial month of corn mazes. There are lots of them locally, including Cows-N-Corn ( http://www.cows-n-corn.com) in Midland and the Corn Maze (http://www.circleofseeds.com/index_cornmaze.html) in The Plains. Both cut their mazes through 10-foot-tall stalks that get families outdoors for a labyrinthine walk, teach kids about nature and provide country farm fun.
To get lost farther from home, consider the corn maze at Richardson Farm in Spring Grove, Ill., near the Wisconsin border ( http://www.richardsonfarm.com). The world's largest corn maze is a 28-acre behemoth, with more than 11 miles of trails. In the Southeast, the corn maze at Boone Hall Plantation ( http://www.boonehallplantation.com), outside Charleston, S.C., claims to be one of the country's most complex puzzles. Out west, in Wellsville, Utah, the American West Heritage Center ( http://www.awhc.org) combines three mazes in one. And in Massachusetts, the eight-acre Davis' Mega Maze ( http://www.davisfarmland.com) in Sterling is New England's oldest corn maze.
But that's just scratching the surface. Corn mazes have been scribed through fields in every state in the nation except Alaska and Hawaii. Web sites such as http://www.cornmazedir.com provide detailed information on more than 600 corn mazes in the United States and Canada. Almost all of them, from California to Cape Cod, are open through October.RANKING THE AIRLINES
Last week, Forbes.com published the results of a study it conducted to determine which U.S. airlines are the most reliable and, perhaps more important, the most unreliable. Ten major airlines were judged based on five years' worth of statistics in such categories as on-time arrival percentages, cancellations, complaints and mishandled baggage. Forbes also took into account customer satisfaction ratings by J.D. Power and Associates, as well as data on the various airlines' financial health.
The hands-down winner? Southwest.
The discount carrier ranked highest in on-time arrival (more than 80 percent of the time, compared with the industry-wide average of 76.8 percent) and lowest in flight cancellations (.065 percent) and complaints (.18 out of 100,000 customers). Continental ranked second, while JetBlue, AirTran and Delta rounded out the top five. Tying for last place were United and US Airways.
Info: http://www.forbes.com.TRAVEL TICKER
Perk alert: On Friday, grab a free pillow from the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. The union will distribute 2,500 in-flight pillows to bring attention to the plight of passengers and employees amid airline cutbacks. Look for the pillow dispensers near American Airlines ticketing desks at Los Angeles International, New York's LaGuardia, Dallas/Fort Worth and Miami. . . . JetBlue's much-hyped Terminal 5 at JFK airport opens Oct. 22, three weeks later than planned, because vendors need extra time to set up shop. More than 50 retailers and eateries will inhabit the $800 million facility, including the brasserie La Vie and the fashionably hip Muji. Info: JetBlue, 800-538-2583, http://www.jetblue.com.BARGAIN OF THE WEEK
Aer Lingus has sale fares on nonstop service between Washington Dulles and Dublin. Round-trip fare is $567, including taxes; fare on other airlines starts at $662 for connecting flights. Lowest fares apply to Monday-Thursday travel Nov. 1-Feb. 28; blackout dates are Dec. 18-25. Book by Oct. 15 at http://www.aerlingus.com, or pay $32 more by calling 800-474-7424.
Reporting: Scott Vogel, Charlie Leocha, Christina Talcott, Ben Chapman
Help feed CoGo. Send travel news, road reports and juicy tattles to: firstname.lastname@example.org. By fax: 202-912-3609. By mail: CoGo, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.