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Commercial Medical Escorts Urges Online Travelers ‘Think Before You Click’

by Lux Joseph 18. September 2014

Despite media hype pitting travel agents against the Internet, travel agents continue to embrace the Web as a valuable source of travel information and encourage their clients to take advantage of it. However, Joseph McNamara, President of Sky Cap Corp advises consumers to exercise caution before buying travel products online.

"Buying travel on the Internet is not for everyone," says McNamara. "Consumers have to know what to ask and when to ask it or they could end up wasting hundreds of dollars and countless hours on a trip that fails to meet their expectations."

As part of its continuing mission to provide useful travel information for its clients, Sky Cap Corp addresses many of the common concerns and questions consumers face when considering buying travel online.

Should consumers use the Internet to plan a trip? "Absolutely," said McNamara "But the key word here is ‘plan’. The Internet is a great source of information about destinations, hotels, attractions, local transportation and weather and more. However, the Internet often doesn’t provide the detail and depth travelers need to prepare a complete itinerary." Travelers should always consult a professional travel agency such as Sky Cap Corp before making any travel purchase. This is one of the reasons why Commercial Medical Escorts is so successful with travel arrangements for our patients.

Do consumers get the lowest airfare from a travel Web site? Not always. Most "bargains" sold on the Internet are usually for limited times and are highly restricted, forcing some travelers to change their itineraries to include a "red-eye" flight or layovers. Some sites that allow consumers to perform a search for the lowest price don’t include discounted consolidator air tickets. While other Internet sites do offer these tickets, traditional travel agencies offer the same discounts, in addition to valuable customer service and expertise.

Are tour prices cheaper online? Usually, no. Although many wholesale tour operators maintain Web sites, they don’t offer discounts there. Sky Cap Corp can help clients choose the tour that’s right for them and in most cases save the client as much money if not more.

Is the Internet a good source for hotel discounts? Although several hotel chains offer discounts on their Web sites, duplicate promotions are usually available offline. Hotel discounters have sites as well, but the best deals usually come from chain-sponsored promotions and parallel deals offered through your local travel agent. These experienced travel agents can also help clients find hotels at locations most convenient for them.

Other common consumer concerns about buying travel online include issues of security, cancellations and customer service. It is particularly important for those planning trips involving groups, young children and the disabled to seek the help of a travel agent. In addition, today’s consumers are increasingly seeking unique, customized trips that often require the assistance of a skilled travel professional.

"The bottom line is that smart travelers know their time, money and travel dreams are too important to be left floating in cyber-space," said McNamara. "And the customer satisfaction that comes with a travel agents’ hard work, expertise and quality service will never go out of style. We are there for our clients before, during and after their trip."

Take a Break to Avoid Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)

by Lux Joseph 14. September 2014

Does your job require you to be in front of a computer 8 hours a day? Or when you are at home do you spend a great deal of time watching TV or using other electronic devices with a screen? If you are using any type of digital technology for prolonged periods of time you could be subject to computer vision syndrome, or CVS. This is strain on your eyes caused by using a computer or other technological devices for long periods of time. At CME, our Medical Evacuation Coordinators job duties require them to utilize a computer throughout their shift, but CME takes measures to ensure CVS does not affect their performance at work or at home.
 
As an individual you should be aware of the effects that CVS may have on you and things that you can do to prevent it. For some people, there may not be any alternative to working on a computer for your entire shift at work. However, with some of these tips you will be able to reduce the amount of discomfort to your eyes. Some symptoms of CVS include headache, back, neck or shoulder pain; increased sensitivity to light, blurred vision, difficulty focusing, or even double vision. None of these will cause permanent damage, but these symptoms could affect your work performance or your performance at home.
 
When individuals blink, they are bathing their eyes in therapeutic tears. This will moisten and refresh the surface of the corneas. Some people are not aware that when you are looking at a computer screen or other digital devices you tend to blink less and therefore this can result in your eyes being dry and not receiving adequate amount of moisture to keep them wet and refreshed.
 
Viewing a computer screen and other electronic device screens make your eyes work harder. If you work in this type of environment, you must realize that you are putting strain on your body and vision. Other factors that you should be aware of that can cause CVS are:
 

  • Poor Lighting
  • Glare on the Screen
  • Improper Viewing Distance
  • Uncorrected vision problems
  • Poor Seating Posture
  • Any combination of these factors

 
If you think that you may have CVS, we would recommend that you go see your ophthalmologist and they will be able to accurately diagnose CVS. This is done through a comprehensive eye examination as well as an assessment of your environment and work factors that may contribute to the symptoms that you are experiencing.
 
However there are also things that you can do for yourself to help prevent CVS and to ensure you are comfortable throughout the workday. By using some of the following tips you will see a difference in how your body and eyes feel when using electronic devices.
 

  • Your monitor should be positioned in front of you so that there is 20 to 40 inches from your eyes with the top of the screen at eye level
  • The letters on the screen should be easy for you to read. Adjust the contrast and brightness levels as necessary. You may wish to increase the font size or use the built in functions on the word processing application and web browser to zoom to the appropriate level
  • Keep your monitor clean and free of dust
  • Your keyboard should be directly in front of you. You do not want it too high or too low or at an angle. This can cause distress or fatigue in your eyes, wrists, and hands.
  • If you are looking at reading material, it is good to place is on a document holder beside your monitor that is at the same level, angle, and distance from your eyes as your monitor. This will reduce the amount of neck and hand movement as well as limit the number of times your eyes need to adjust
  • Remember the rule 20-20-20. Every 20 minutes you should spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. It is important that you take breaks throughout the day and focus on other tasks such as file organizing, phone calls, or another task that is not focused on the computer.
  • Throughout the day it is important for you to blink often. If your eyes are irritated, they could be dry and you could use over-the-counter artificial teardrops. Eye drops that do not contain preservatives can be used at often as desired. Eye drops that have preservatives should not be used more than four times a day.
  • Practice relaxation exercises throughout the day


 
Keep in mind that CVS can occur when you are using ANY electronic device. While you may not utilize a computer 8 hours, individuals use smartphones, tablets, and e-readers on a daily basis. It is important that you take frequent breaks when using any of these devices. Recently Apple introduced the iPhone 6 and you will recognize they increased their screen. While this may be the direction that smart phone industry is going, having a larger screen will have less strain on the user.
 
Some content courtesy of American Optometric Association.
 

Airline Dining at its Best

by Lux Joseph 5. September 2014

No matter whom you speak to from any part of the world, food is always a conversation topic and certainly something travelers enjoy most when going to places outside of their home country. A satisfying meal remains a top point of interest when selecting hotels, venues for meetings, and even when selecting their airline carrier.

United Airlines was the first carrier to open an experimental airport kitchen in Oakland, CA back in 1934.  They started a trend that was soon followed by many of the other major carriers at the time and by the 1950s, meal service was an amenity that travelers were looking forward to when traveling by air. In 1969 Air France and British Airways introduced a new distinct level of culinary expertise, but a decade later the quality of food on planes took a back seat as customers were looking for low fares. Low cost carriers continued to offer food service, but for a price in addition to the airline ticket. Food service was seen as something that was “extra” and those wishing to have it, would pay the cost as opposed to including that expense into every airline ticket.

Nonetheless, in-flight catering is not a fast food product or products you would find at your local 7-Eleven. It is a culinary masterpiece and that is exactly how the major players, Gategroup, LSG Sky Chefs, and Serair, view their product.  All those participating in airline catering look for big names in the culinary world to highlight their array of services. These companies believe that having a well-known chef design and implement an in-flight menu will bring success to the onboard experience. When I traveled from Beijing, China to Hong Kong in First Class I had the opportunity to enjoy an award winning meal on Hong Kong Airways. While they did not utilize an established celebrity chef to highlight their menu, they did offer an enjoyable meal that included Filet Mignon.

As a traveler, you should become aware of the meal selections offered on planes especially if you are traveling internationally. As more and more individuals are becoming more health conscious, the airline catering services have to meet these high demands. When traveling internationally or in domestic first class where a meal service is offered you can request a special type of meal through your travel agent. If you did not book with a travel agent you can call the airline, but we encourage you to do this at least 72 hours prior to departure, as the airline needs to put the necessary requests in place.  Some of these requests include vegetarian, vegan, kosher, gluten free, low sodium, low fat/low cholesterol/low calorie, diabetic meal, and even a bland meal.

Each airline takes a different approach to delivering a high level of food and beverage services. In 2013 Turkish Airlines received the award of Best Business Class Catering in the 2014 Skytrax World Airline Awards. They strive to deliver an authentic and elegant dining experience. Delta takes a different approach by partnering with top chefs to design their business class meals. Some of these chefs are Food Network stars and Delta believes these partnerships help providing a quality-dining program. Swiss Air takes the approach of sharing their culinary expertise by showcasing different regions of Switzerland. Every three months they bring on a different Swiss chef to focus on different local flavors throughout the country. Swiss Air has also taken it a step further by being recognized as the world’s first Allergy Friend Airlines. For British Airways they focus on the consumer’s feedback to drive their major decisions around food and beverage. They once focused on high end chocolates for the business and first class travelers, but the travelers have called for Cadbury so that is what they deliver. British Airways also partners with Twinings to design a blend of “altitude tea” for guests.

High-Flying Tastes is something airlines have to accommodate in order to meet and exceed consumer’s expectations. When consumers have the choice of different airlines, it is critical for the airlines to set themselves apart. As you fly, take the opportunity to observe the small details that each airline does to set them apart.


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