Former President Obama Loves One Thing About Hampton Inn

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The Atlantic article on Boeing’s culture linked above is very interesting. I recommend everyone read.

  2. OK, I probably stay in more hotel rooms than Obama — and I’m periodically annoyed by non-intuitive lighting systems — but I don’t think I’ve spent more than 15 minutes ALL YEAR dealing with this “issue.” So perhaps he’s exaggerating. 🙂

    In reality, the biggest new issue I’m having with hotel lighting is the move toward automatic remote sensors. Like if I get out of bed at night, a night light — sometimes quite bright — will turn on. I don’t really want the lights to go on at night: I think it makes it harder to go back to sleep, and could wake up my travel companions. If a hotel wants to be cool and install automatic lights, there should be a default system with the lights de-activated, and a switch to turn them on if you want them.

    A much more troubling technology and travel problem is the new gadgetry in rental vehicles. If you’re snobby or get a nice upgrade, it can be annoying to learn a fancy car’s operating system. Several times a year now, I have to look at the car’s owner’s manual (which I hope the car rental company has kept in the glove box) to figure out some “innovative” control system. The worst trend is automatic lane and collision warning systems, which tend to get miscalibrated and start going off randomly. I’m slowly becoming an expert in deactivating such systems.

  3. Agree with @Chopsticks. Rented a Peugeot in Spain that was equipped with the system that turns off the engine at a stop light or when the car is otherwise not moving. Unfortunately, the system did not turn the car back on, and I had to manually restart it multiple times as we inched toward toll barriers on the autostrade. And I could not figure out how to disable the system, as the manual provided with the vehicle was written in Catalan.

  4. @Chopsticks. I rented a car this weekend and it kept on saying I was going to run into something in front, when nothing was there. I started ignoring it.

  5. If the TSA would put people trying to carry weapons onto an airplane on the No Fly List, I bet the number of incidents would drop substantially. Confiscation alone obviously isn’t getting the job done.

  6. @Retired Lawyer — Auto restart is huge in Europe (since gas is expensive and this saves gas), and is increasingly common on high-end vehicles in the USA. Is there a way to shut it off? I wouldn’t think so, nor would I necessarily want to (when gas is 6 bucks a gallon, I want efficiency, too). That said, it’s definitely something else that can break on a rental car. This past summer, I had an ordinary car in the UK where the engine would sometimes shut down when I took my foot off the gas, and then restart when I resumed giving it gas. It was weird, but I thought it might be a newer technology. I had no real problems until I was driving the M25 orbital around London in traffic when the car just stalled out. Thankfully, it restarted after I got it to the shoulder and put it in park. When I got the car to the airport, I asked about this and was told the car should NOT auto shut off while driving. Into the shop it went.

    @ Other Just Saying — Yup, that’s what those systems tend to do. They’re definitely error prone and, it would seem, not ready for prime time. When the car is “binging” every couple of minutes, it’s distracting and hard to ignore. You CAN turn these systems off if you can get to the owner’s manual.

  7. So was there any thought the Charlotte lady might sue the airport over what could be n unsafe condition, so they decided she needed to be charged?

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