PRICELINE’S COMPETITION

Eric E. Haas: ‘You mentioned recently using Priceline. I hope you didn’t book your flight through them. Because you can ALWAYS get a better deal with lesser restrictions from Hotwire.com. Here’s how it works: Like Priceline, you can’t choose time of day or airline — you must have that flexibility in your travel schedule. Priceline requires you to ‘guess’ what the lowest fair will be and commit to it in advance. If you guess too low, you are locked out from guessing again until one week later. If you guess too high, you pay too much. Hotwire just plain tells you the lowest price up front. And you don’t have to commit in advance. Once they tell you the price, you have 30 minutes to accept it. I’ve used hotwire several times. Most recently to fly from Grand Rapids, MI to Washington DC round trip for $103.’

☞ Or just visit Southwest – and then, if you have a favorite airline that flies to one of the cities Southwest serves, check to see whether they might not be matching these incredible fares. Also: Jet Blue. I haven’t used Priceline for airline tickets, only hotels. American takes such good care of me, I try to fly them whenever I can, using miles when the fare is too steep. But here’s a little twist on the part about having to wait a week to make another Priceline bid. First, if you haven’t tried it lately, you’ll see Priceline has added a neat little feature that shows you graphically your chances of having your bid accepted – I just bid $250 for a quick round-trip to Paris next week (no Saturday stay), and it gave me a 7% chance of being accepted – but showed that at $355 I had a 50% chance and at $455 I had an 80% chance. So if I had proceeded at $250, I would likely have been rejected. But the way not to have to wait a week to make another try is to alter something. Leave a day later or come back a day later, for example. Or even – if I read the fine print correctly – tell them, when you make your first request, that you will NOT accept a prop-jet . . . but then tell them that you WILL accept a prop-jet if you need to make a second request. I can’t imagine any carrier flies props to Paris these days, or on any other long flight, so it won’t have a material effect on your trip (of course, if you can’t stand the idea of flying short distances on a prop, that’s a different story) . . . but will meet the requirement for altering your request. Instead of waiting 7 days, you’ll be able to raise your bid just moments after having had your first one rejected.

GOD BLESS AMERICA

David wrote ‘The ending ‘salutation’ to the US Air Academy letter Friday – ‘God Bless America’ – is the part of this that bothers me the most. Whose God? The Christian one? The Jewish one? The Muslim one?’

To which you replied:

Bill Jones: ‘David, you may very well want to ‘leave God out of it.’ Fair enough. Feel free to leave Him out of your personal analysis of the situation. But, let’s respect Dr. Kern’s right to invoke His blessings if Dr. Kern chooses to do so. Freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religious points-of-view in public discussions.’

☞ Not to speak for David, but my guess is that he would say he very much defends Dr. Kern’s right to express his views . . . but that he, David, has every right to be troubled by them.

Arthur Kimes: ‘Dave is in luck. All three religions he mentioned share the SAME God. There may be strong disagreements on who is and isn’t a PROPHET but it’s the same God.’

Tom Bolger: ‘It’s the SAME God. At a rudimentary level, all three religions believe in the Old Testament. They branch off at ‘the Second Coming of God.’ The Christians believe that the second coming was Jesus Christ (who was a Jew). The Muslims believe it was Mohammed. The Jews are still waiting.’

☞ We are a very patient people.

 

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