My parting shot

I’m taking a break from blogging and there will be no issue of Elliott’s E-Mail on Dec. 27, because if I try to post something, my family has threatened to shackle me to the Christmas tree and crank up “Alvin & The Chipmunks – A Very Merry Chipmunk” on the stereo.

They aren’t kidding.

I’ll be back on Jan. 3. In the meantime, I leave you with some final thoughts for 2006 …

Aren’t you glad it’s over? Honestly, why couldn’t we do that whole Dallas thing and pretend that 2006 was just a dream, a very bad dream. Any way you look at it, 2006 sorta sucked. Travel certainly didn’t get any better, for the most part. And don’t even get me started on politics.

There are a few highlights … As a traveler, one of the best moments of 2006 had to have been JetBlue’s recent announcement that it would add more legroom to its one-class cabin. That’s just one more compelling reason to fly on this innovative low-cost carrier. On a personal note, we welcomed our daughter Erysse Margaret Elliott to the family in November.

… and things we’d rather forget. The late flurry of proposed airline mergers were bad news for airline passengers. Cruise lines contended with a series of scary norovirus outbreaks and man-overboard problems. The car rental industry had chipped windshield trouble, which could be evidence of much more serious problems. Of course, yours truly missed the mark a time or two, most notably on a story about stand-up seats that unintentionally misstated the timing of the program and the seating capacity of the Airbus A380. (Then again, that assumes there will be an A380. Something tells me that my good friends over at Airbus would probably like to forget this year happened, too.)

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Word of the year: survival. As I look back on 2006, that’s really what it came down to on so many levels. Travelers survived soaring hotel prices, ticket prices, crowded terminals and increasingly difficult flying conditions. The travel industry weathered high fuel costs and extremely challenging business conditions. And although many of my critics finally thought my number was up in 2006, I pulled through, too. Sorry to disappoint you, fellas.

It’ll be better in ’07! The great philosopher Howard Jones once said, “Things can only get better.” Never has that been more true than now. I have a good feeling about 2007, for travelers and for a travel industry that is beginning to discover that theirs is a customer service business. I’m going to have several major announcements at the beginning of the year about exciting projects and new opportunities to help you, the traveler.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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