Archive for March, 2007

Thanks to Google, you can now send a text message to 466453 (‘Google’ on most devices) containing an airline name or abbreviation and a flight number to track a flight’s status. If you don’t know the flight number or require additional information, just text the airline name abbreviation and you’ll receive the carrier’s reservations phone number. The service is free, apart from your normal text messaging charges. Currently it only covers flights departing or arriving in the US.

Google has a fantastic mobile service called Google Mobile that provides a plethora of information via text message, including weather, currency conversion, movie times, translations and driving directions. Well worth your time to check it out. Even if you don’t have the capability to send text messages (or don’t know how to in my case – and I’m PROUD of it) you can still go to the Google Mobile web site, do the equivalent of a text message from the web site, and get the information you need.

Kevin Martin, I’ve never met you but I LOVE you! USA Today reports that Mr. Martin, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, will recommend not lifting the FCC’s current ban on inflight cell phone use due to “concerns about interference with cell phone calls on the ground and a ‘lack of interest’ by both wireless providers and the general public.” And thank you general public! It’s so rare that I agree with you!

Remember the days when you could sit at the airport waiting for a flight and not have to be constantly surrounded by people yacking away on their cell phones? Flying is bad enough as it is. I think I would have to kill myself if I had to listen to cell phone conversations the entire flight also.

Apparently several wireless providers say they may still try to proceed with offering wireless internet connections for airline passengers. And I’m all for that.

Earlier I wrote about the new passport regulations (which are constantly changing). Because of those new regulations, more people are applying for passports, and processing times on passport applications have gone from 4 to 6 weeks to 10 weeks or longer. Even if you pay for expedited passport processing there is a 4 week turnaround. You can go to to get information about applying for a passport and to check the status of your passport application. provides information about the new passport regulations under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which covers travel from the U.S. to the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico and Canada.

Bottom line: if you’re anticipating travel out of the U.S. in the near future and you don’t yet have a passport, take the time to get one now!

From the Amtrak web site:

“Amtrak is pleased to offer the Campus Visit Discount. This discount allows high school juniors and seniors visiting a college campus to take one parent or guardian along as a free companion.

“Amtrak is making this great discount offer in conjunction with our partner, Collegia. Just click on the ‘Apply Now’ link at the right to go to Collegia’s Campus Visit page. There, complete a brief form and you’ll be given an Amtrak Promotion Code. Then, return to to continue booking.”

Here’s the link to get the discount: