News and Deals: October 5, 2012 – Pet Deaths In Airplanes Continue, Pressuring Airlines To Change Policy, Air New Zealand Launches Global Search for The Great Walker, $20M of stolen syrup found in Canada and After a lull, more US-Cuba trips get the green light

West Coast Drive New Zealand

Pet Deaths In Airplanes Continue, Pressuring Airlines To Change Policy
Huffington Post

Horror stories about pets flying in the cargo hold tend to travel quickly. Jack the cat made news last year when he escaped his crate and spent 61 days lost in JFK airport, and model Maggie Rizer’s September blog post about her golden retriever’s death during a United Airlines flight still has pet owners buzzing.

Jack escaped when an American Airlines clerk stacked his kennel on another kennel and it fell, opening on impact. The cat had to be euthanized because of malnourishment and dehydration, which made him prone to severe infection and organ dysfunction. On her “Bea Makes Three” blog, Rizer says she followed detailed instructions outlined in United’s PetSafe program. Her dogs, Bea and Albert, traveled in carefully labeled crates that included water bowls filled with ice for their cross-country flight to San Francisco. But, according to Rizer, a necropsy report revealed that Bea died of heatstroke.

“Please, don’t trust that an airline will truly care and provide safety to your beloved pet,” Rizer wrote. “At some point in the two hours that Bea was in the care of United Airlines before she died, someone made a mistake and because of that, our loving, happy sweet Bea is no longer in our lives.”

Both incidents serve as sobering reminders that flying pets in the cargo hold can be a risky proposition — even when owners take proper precautions. Fortunately, the Department of Transportation is considering a rule change that would give pet owners more detailed information about an airlines’ track record.

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Air New Zealand Launches Global Search for The Great Walker
The Herald

A global search is underway to find four adventurers to take on the challenge of a lifetime by completing all of New Zealand’s nine famous Great Walks in just nine weeks. The winners will embark on an unforgettable journey to experience New Zealand’s striking landscape – beech forests, tussock grasslands, alpine tops, green rivers, and stunning coastal views and more.

Air New Zealand’s search for The Great Walker is being run in association with New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) and will see four global winners take on New Zealand’s premier DOC tracks; Abel Tasman Coast, Heaphy, Kepler, Lake Waikaremoana, Milford, Rakiura, Routeburn, Tongariro and Whanganui Journey.

The Great Walks span 550km (340 miles) of spectacular New Zealand terrain from alpine peaks to glacial valleys, native bush, rainforests and golden beaches.

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$20M of stolen syrup found in Canada
UPI.com

Some $20 million worth of maple syrup stolen from a Quebec warehouse was tracked to a New Brunswick exporter, Quebec provincial police said.

Investigators said as many as 16,000, 45-gallon barrels of syrup were traced to a warehouse in Kedgwick, New Brunswick, The (Montreal) Gazette reported.

Quebec provincial officers and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police executed a search warrant Sept. 26 on the New Brunswick facility, but delayed releasing details until Wednesday, CTV News said.

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After a lull, more US-Cuba trips get the green light
San Jose Mercury News

American travel to Cuba, which has surged and dwindled through decades of political ups and downs, may soon be surging again.

The key, veteran tour operators say, is the end of an apparent logjam in the handling of travel licenses by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). That office is responsible for issuing and renewing the licenses that educational tour operators must have before they can sell Cuba tours to Americans.

The Treasury Department explicitly excludes trips that are “primarily tourist-oriented.” Tour operators that fail to meet guidelines face civil penalties of up to $65,000 per violation.

Less than two years ago, President Obama set off a mini-boom in Cuban travel by relaxing restrictions on “people-to-people” educational trips aimed at promoting “meaningful interaction between travelers and individuals in Cuba.”

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

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