Car rental firm aims to ‘Block that cell phone!’
PERSNICKETY, N.J. — BeeVis Car Rental is phasing
in a new fleet of rental cars
with a space-age shielding
in the body and roof-liner
that blocks cell phone communications. Tests have shown that with the
shielding in place, motorists must
get out of the car to send or receive
wireless phone calls or download e-mail to hand-held devices.
TW ILLUS TRA TION BY THOMAS R. LECHLEI TER
Although the company said it expects to
lose some business from patrons who like to
stay in touch while on the road, it expects a
70% reduction in the cost of insurance and
repairs caused by inattentive cell phone users.
According to BeeVis, that would more than
compensate for the lost
BeeVis said its fleet is
more subject to dings
and damage than its sister
brand, Budge, because it serves more business
travelers who are forever fussing with wireless
phones, Palm Pilots, BlackBerries, laptops and
It is said that the high number of latte-stained seats in the fleet was a prime reason
why BeeVis recently placed orders with several
manufacturers for cars with mocha-mauve
seat cushions and carpeting. Also, it is said to
be something of an underground joke in the
industry that the BeeVis fleet is so banged up
that it has become the biggest supplier of used
vehicles to Rent-a-Wreck.
BeeVis bristles at the joke and has often
denied that any of its cars have been sold or
transferred to Rent-a-Wreck. Attempts to
reach BeeVis officials
for elaboration were unsuccessful. Perhaps they
were on the road.
At the company’s par-
ent, BeeVis Budge Group, plans are afoot for
an intercorporate referral system that would
enable Budge to intercept defecting BeeVis customers who are turned off by the cell
phone shielding. Budge is said to be thinking
along the lines of a slogan like “Phone Home,”
with window decals and other ancillary materials testifying that its cars are “cell phone-friendly.”
Other car companies are watching the situ-
ation with interest. A spokesman at National,
also heavily into corporate business, said the
shielding technology is interesting but might
be better if offered on an optional basis.
He declined to comment on the proportion of cars in the National fleet with mocha-mauve upholstery.
BeeVis, meanwhile, is rolling out a campaign this week in conjunction with AT&T
that gives away $20 phone cards with every
two-day or longer rental plus a coupon good
for 50% off a six-pack of Deer Park water in
half-liter bottles in the hope and expectation
that drivers would stay the hell away from
Starbucks — unless, of course, they’re just
for your clients
t elp clients understand that
ccasionally, no matter how
arefully their flight arrange-ents have been made,
hey could be involuntarily
bumped from a flight.
“The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a report that
finds that airline passengers are
getting bumped off flights more
frequently than at any time since
2000,” said E. Christopher Murray, an attorney with Reisman
Peirez and Reisman, a Garden
City, N.Y., firm. According to the
DOT, 16,300 passengers were involuntarily bumped in the April-June quarter of 2006, a 33% jump
over the same period in 2005.
f ake sure clients know
heir rights, should they be
umped. “The worsening
roblem with bumping re-lects the intensifying push
by airlines to fill a greater percentage of seats,” Murray said. “With
increased travel demand, continuing financial problems and record-high fuel prices, airlines have no
choice; they need to maximize
ticket revenue while holding down
This fictional news report was based on interviews and events that did not occur. The author has chosen to remain nameless, but you can
contact him at email@example.com.
Riding the rails, and other Canadian pursuits
Trish Chandler, a certified vacation consultant at MacNair Travel &
Cruises/American Express in Alexandria, Va., is an industry veteran of
more than 25 years who has been named by Travel & Leisure magazine as
a Top Travel Super-Agent five years in a row. A specialist in cruising, Ha- Day 3
waii, Canada, Alaska and Britain, Chandler shares a portion of a Scenic Travelers are transferred from their hotel to the Rocky Mountaineer to be-
Wonders Rocky Mountain Rail tour in Canada: gin a two-day rail trip. The journey passes through seven mountain ranges,
Day 1and passengers can enjoy the scenery
and wildlife of western Canada.
Travelers arrive in Vancouver and PERFECT ITINERARY The first night, the group stops for
check in to the Four Seasons Hotel an overnight at Kamloops, British
Vancouver, where they can relax in Columbia.
the spa, fitness center or indoor-out-door, heated swimming pool. Day 4
Travelers can explore the harbor Passengers reboard the train for
city, the third-largest in Canada, and the continuation of their rail journey,
walk to Robson Street or the Gas- which takes them over rugged terrain,
town/Sinclair Centre, both less than including Rogers Pass and the Conti-
10 minutes away by foot, for shop- nental Divide, to Banff, Alberta.
ping. Along the way, travelers can wit-The group also can take in one of ness the engineering feat known as
Vancouver’s many festivals or special the Spiral Tunnels, which were carved
events, which go on year-round. through the steep mountains.
Dinner is at the Blue Water Cafe.
Day 2 Day 5
Passengers spend their last night
The group spends the morning in Canada at the Fairmont Banff
participating in a half-day, guided Springs Hotel, where they can enjoy
paddle adventure and a salmon bar- the scenery, play golf and book a spa
becue on the beach in a beautiful treatment. In winter, the hotel also
mountain inlet. The Rocky Mountaineer takes tour members over offers winter sports, including skiing.
The rest of the day, travel- some rugged Canadian terrain. Dinner is at one of the hotel’s 12
ers are free to shop, sightsee or Day 4 eateries.
explore the city by bicycle.
Dinner is at the Bishop’s Restaurant on the West Side.
wncourage clients to de-and a written statement
escribing their rights and
ow the carrier determines
ho is denied boarding.
Passengers who are involuntarily
denied boarding may not realize
they must be immediately compensated by the airlines and that
the compensation will depend on
the ticket price and length of delay,
Murray said. In addition, clients
have the right to keep their original
ticket for later travel or to request a
oxplain that if the airline ar-anges alternate transpor-ation that gets clients to
heir destination between
ne and two hours after the
original arrival schedule, the airline
must pay an amount equal to the
one-way fare, with a $200 maximum, Murray said. In addition, if
the airline arranges alternate transportation that gets clients to the
destination more than two hours
later or does not make any arrangements, the compensation doubles
to 200% of the fare, up to $400.
c e aware of exceptions. Clints must meet the airline’s
eadline for purchasing the
icket — the time frame
an vary but is usually 30
minutes prior to flight — and if a
carrier replaces the scheduled aircraft with a smaller plane, no compensation need be paid.