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John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Flying Is Not Fun—but These Fail-Safe Tips Can Help

September 26, 2016 2:09 am


Flying is not fun.

That’s the consensus from a recent Consumer Reports survey assessing air travelers’ attitudes toward flying—in fact, zero of the airlines evaluated in the survey came close to receiving affirmative feedback across the board.

“It’s hard to imagine that there was a time when flying was fun, even glamorous, but today’s flyers face a labyrinth of fees and lackluster services,” said Mandy Walker, Consumer Reports’ Money Content Development senior editor, in a statement on the survey.

Survey feedback on coach/economy for American, Delta and United—the largest airlines in the U.S.—came in poor for factors such as cabin cleanliness, in-flight entertainment and refreshments.

Booking sites were not well-received among survey respondents, either. CheapOair.com, which touts inexpensive airfares, had the highest average fares and not one lowest fare when compared to the five other sites investigated by Consumer Reports.

“We recommend doing multiple searches over multiple days to increase your chances of finding the lowest fare—you will notice that persistence pays off in the quest for the best price on travel booking sites,” Walker said.

There’s a silver lining in the clouds: survey respondents gave Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest and Virgin America decent marks for coach/economy, citing ease of check-in and staff service.

Fliers should take these findings into account on their next excursion, according to Consumer Reports. Make the cabin a bit more comfortable with a blanket or sweater and noise-cancelling headphones, and keep a disinfectant on hand to reduce exposure to germs. Consider travel insurance, too, to protect your expense and possessions.

For more from the survey, visit ConsumerReports.org.

Source: Consumer Reports
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Study: Is Relocation the Solution for Houses Impacted by Climate Change?

September 26, 2016 2:09 am


Climate change threatens to reshape the residential development landscape—so much so that policymakers are exploring the possibility of relocating residences out of vulnerable areas.

Recent research out of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the Regional Plan Association presents an option for residents in flood-prone areas, who will experience more impactful weather events as climate change progresses. That option, a managed retreat buyout program, detailed in “Buy-In for Buyouts: The Case for Managed Retreat from Flood Zones,” could “allow residents to forge new beginnings on safer ground and helps create public amenities by acquiring homes in the flood-prone areas and restoring the land to natural floodplain functions.”

Buyout programs are not novel. They are often overseen by the local municipality, though usually funded by federal grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In most buyout scenarios, the municipality acquires properties from homeowners and converts them to “a less risky use, usually open space or parkland.”

The buyout solution proposed by the researchers aims to keep homeowners with federally subsidized flood insurance out of flood-prone areas—these subsidies will be phased out in the near-term, leading to spikes in premiums for some, the researchers point out. The benefits, they state, are manifold.

“Restricted land use coupled with new amenities can increase property values and, in turn, increase local revenue,” the researchers state. “If local governments plan properly, homeowners can relocate within the municipality and thereby maintain, and even enhance, the tax rolls.”

Asking homeowners or even entire neighborhoods to uproot is “is laden with social and political difficulties,” the researchers add, which is why many municipalities have dismissed managed retreat. The unavoidable impacts of climate change, however, beg otherwise. The researchers conclude a buyout program is one of the most prudent solutions.

Source: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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