Review Category : Business

3 can’t-miss tips for cheap summer flights

ipopba/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Can’t seem to find a reasonably-priced summer flight? ABC News’ travel editor gave her top three tips to “Good Morning America.”

1. July 9 is the day to avoid this summer, according to CheapAir.com, an American online travel agency. The site analyzed hundreds of thousands of airfares and found the Sunday after July 4 will cost $100 more than the average fight this summer at about $480. In general, Sundays are a day to avoid flights as they’re popular with both leisure and business travelers. July is the most expensive month to travel behind the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays.

2. If price is more important than anything else, June 6 is your day. Tuesdays are almost always the cheapest day to fly, no matter the season. Can’t make June 6 work? The second half of August is also a good bet after many schools are back in session.

3. Good news for summer travelers: Airfare is trending slightly cheaper this summer than last, about $20 per ticket. That said, expect fares to go up as the summer gets closer. Average summer airfare is about $380, so keep that price point in mind when shopping. If you’re in that range, you’re getting a fair price.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

ICAO calls for cockpit cameras in all newly-designed planes by 2023

iStock/Thinkstock(MONTREAL) — The aviation-safety arm of the United Nations has called for all newly-designed planes to have video cameras in the cockpit, according to a letter obtained by ABC News. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) sent the letter to national aviation regulators.

Supporters of the cockpit cameras say video footage would enable investigators to see what pilots were dealing with – and how they responded – in the case of a crash. However, many pilots oppose the move, citing privacy concerns.

As a compromise, the ICAO’s proposal suggests the installation of cameras pointed directly at the flight instruments, with video records that could be deleted after successful flights.

The proposal would apply only to aircraft both certified and built after 2023 – meaning that any currently-flying plane models (like the A320 or 737) will not be mandated to include cameras, even if specific planes are built after that date.

The ICAO does not have the authority to require countries or companies to follow their recommendations, but the industry often opts to do so of its own accord. The regulators who received the letter have until April 20 to respond, with debate over the proposal likely to take even longer.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Pennsylvania restaurant offers discount for families who have phone-free meals

iStock/Thinkstock(STROUDSBURG, Pa.) — What would it take to get you to put down your phone during a meal?

Sarah’s Corner Café in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, is offering a deal for people who want to enjoy a meal, and each other, unplugged.

They’ve set up so-called “family recharging stations” at tables where you drop your phone into a basket.

“They let the server know and the server will bring over a basket with old fashioned Hangman and Tic Tac Toe and pencils because those games are interactive instead of coloring, which is solitary,” owner Barry Lynch told ABC News of how the restaurant’s phone-free meals discount works.

If families make it through the meal without looking at their phones, they’re rewarded 10 percent off their bill.

“A lot of people are starting to do it and it’s taken on a life of its own,” said Lynch. “I get huge feedback. Massive feedback.”

The idea for the “family recharging time” came to Lynch after observing many of his customers.

“There’s one particular family I knew used to come in on Sunday for breakfast after church. I knew the dad and the mom and two kids and we’d always say ‘hi,’” he recalled. “Every time I went over, one or two of the kids and sometimes the parents would be on the phone. I also knew the dad would commute to New York for work every day, which takes a lot of time. I asked him about that and he said, ‘Yeah, I still do it. It’s so nice to be together and these breakfasts are rare.’ And when he said that, I thought, ‘Oh wow. Something is going on here. I need to do something.’”

Lynch is thrilled by the positive response his phone-free meals have gotten and hopes they continue to enrich his customers’ family time.

“I just thought it was such a shame not to have more time together just to talk,” he said. “Look at my eyes. I’m here with you. How was your day?”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

OK Foods recalls chicken products over possible metal contamination

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — OK Foods Inc. is recalling about 933,272 pounds of its breaded chicken products over fears that they may have been contaminated with metal and other materials, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

The recall was initiated after five consumer complaints were issued over metal objects found in the chicken producer’s “ready-to-eat” chicken products, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said Thursday.

“After an internal investigation, the firm identified the affected product and determined that the objects in all the complaints came from metal conveyor belting,” a USDA statement said of the Oklahoma City establishment.

The statement added, “There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products” and that the products “should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.”

The recall affects products dated from Dec. 19, 2016, to March 7, 2017.

The company did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Is gourmet popcorn worth the price tag?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Popcorn sales are skyrocketing, with Americans eating three billion gallons a year. And now, there are new gourmet flavors ranging from the simple to exotic.

But as the variety goes up so does the price tag. In fact, some premade brands cost eight times what you would pay if you made it yourself at home.

So do you have to spend a lot to get a great bag of popcorn? ABC News got to the bottom of it. You can watch the full investigation below:

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Tax Tip: Getting deductions for higher learning

iStock/ThinkstockEducation is a good investment but it isn’t cheap. Thankfully, there are ways you can cash in on your kids’ higher learning when you file your taxes.

“The American Opportunity Tax Credit is available for the first four years of college, dependent on the income reported on the tax return, but you could get as much as a $2,500 tax credit,” says accountant Janice Hayman.

And the tax breaks aren’t just for kids.

“Let’s say you’re going for your Masters or you’re continuing a degree, but you’ve already done your first four-year degree. This would fall under the Lifelong Learning Credit,” Hayman notes.

Whether you’re eligible for the full credit or not is also dependent on your income, she adds.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

President Trump climbs into an 18-wheeler and pretends to be a trucker

Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Donald Trump, trucker-in-chief?

That’s the role the president briefly assumed Thursday when he climbed into the drivers seat of a Mack 18-wheeler parked on the South Lawn of the White House.

Trump, who wore an “I Love Trucks” button on his lapel, tried his best to emulate a truck driver: He enthusiastically pumped his fists, made a series of facial expressions that lit up the Twittersphere, and excitedly tooted the big rig’s horn at least six times.

And Trump clearly didn’t run out of gas: following his spirited session of trucker role play, he met with truckers and CEOs from the American Trucking Association to discuss healthcare.

“No one knows America like truckers know America,” he said during the meeting. “You see it every day. You see every hill, and you see every valley and you see every pothole in our roads that have to be rebuilt.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Trump Hotel in DC not in violation of government lease, GSA says

Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The General Services Administration (GSA) announced on Thursday that President Donald Trump’s lease of a luxury hotel from the government in Washington, D.C. — which raised
eyebrows among some ethics watchdogs — is in good standing.

The lease of the Old Post Office property prohibits government officials from profiting from the agreement. In a letter released on Thursday, the GSA said that Trump International Hotel has not
violated the terms of that agreement.

“Based on my review of the Lease, discussions with Tenant, and documents submitted by Tenant, I have determined that Tenant is in full compliance,” GSA Contracting Officer Kevin Terry wrote.
“Accordingly, the Lease is valid and in full force and effect.”

The announcement comes as a blow to a number of ethics experts, who have contended that Trump violated the lease upon taking office. Some argued that Trump may be in violation of the Emoluments
Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits U.S. officials from profiting from foreign officials.

A suit from January accused Trump of profiting from the hotel and other international business ventures, a claim Trump said was “without merit.”

The Trump Organization said in a statement at the time that Trump had resigned from leadership positions in the organization and affiliates. Before the inauguration, Trump handed control of his
businesses over to his sons and a long-time associate through a financial trust, but that didn’t satisfy the call from some to completely divest of his interests.

According to the letter from the GSA, the reorganization of the hotel’s management and organization structure and the creation of a revocable trust have satisfied the terms of the agreement.

“During his term in office, the President will not receive any distributions from the Trust that would have been generated from the hotel,” Terry wrote in the letter.

A spokesperson for the hotel thanked the GSA “for their diligent review of this matter.”

“We are immensely proud of this property and look forward to providing our guests with an unrivaled luxury experience for years to come.”

Ahead of his inauguration, Trump announced that he would be placing his assets in a revocable trust and transferring control of his business to his two sons, Donald Jr. and Eric. His lawyer, Sherri
Dillon, also said Trump would “voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments made to his hotels to the United States Treasury.”

The hotel is located just blocks from the White House at the site of the historic Old Post Office. Trump Hotels acquired the right to lease the property for 60 years in 2013. The hotel opened in
October 2016 following a $200 million renovation.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Customer returns to Starbucks with apology note, $50 after rude treatment of barista

Courtesy of Andrew Richardson(NEW YORK) — One California Starbucks barista got a surprise on March 21 when a customer returned to apologize for her behavior from the day before.

Andrew Richardson, 20, was floored when he received a handwritten card and $50 bill from his customer named Debbie, whom he admits he didn’t even think was that rude.

“On the 20th, this woman, Debbie, came through the drive through while I was working. She was extremely pleasant, and we had some friendly conversation while her drinks were being made,” Richardson, of Bishop, California, told ABC News. “She had multiple drinks, and we didn’t have drink carriers. I informed her and she was a touch frustrated like anyone would be.”

In addition to being out of drink carriers, he also couldn’t take her trash she was hoping to throw away.

“I cannot do this because it would be a California health code violation,” he explained. “She then became a bit more frustrated, but nothing that I would perceive as rudeness. At worst, she was playfully sassy. I really didn’t think too much of it.”

Richardson carried on with his day and didn’t give it a second thought.

“It was not a big deal at all in my eyes,” he said. “Being in customer service you can experience a lot of negativity and frustration. I try and counter it with positivity and patience. This was an extremely mild interaction compared to other incidents.”

But Debbie apparently felt otherwise.

“The next day, she came back. I happened to walk by the window when she was there,” Richardson recalled. “She asked me if I was working the window yesterday. I said ‘yes.’ She then became extremely apologetic. She felt genuinely terrible about our interaction the day before. I was so heart warmed to even get a verbal apology. It doesn’t happen much.”

The two chatted for a few minutes and Richardson said her in-person “genuine apology” alone was enough to lift his spirits, without even knowing what was going to happen next.

“She then handed me the card, [and] I was even more grateful and uplifted,” he said. “I thanked her for another minute and she left.”

He hadn’t yet opened the card before Debbie drove away.

“I returned to it later, opened it, and I was completely shocked,” he said of discovering the money. “Without the money, this was one of the most beautiful and heartfelt things I have ever read. It absolutely made my day when I read it. The money was unnecessary. The card alone was the best part. I would have turned the money down had I opened it when she was there. It’s hard to take things like that.”

Richardson’s supervisor told him he could keep the money.

“She handed it to him in a personal card so of course he was able to keep it,” one of the location’s supervisors, Angie Harris, told ABC News.

“I think it was great. It’s always good to see those customer connections,” she added. “We’re really proud of him.”

“Nothing like this has ever happened, it’s unprecedented,” said the humbled barista. “This was easily one of the kindest things I’ve ever received. I’m very happy to know that there are still good, caring people in this world. I’m still smiling about it.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Jobless claims jump to 258K

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims spiked higher last week, increasing by 15,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending March 18, the number of people filing for benefits jumped from a revised level of 243,000 the previous week to 258,000.

Now at 240,000, four-week moving average also increased by 1,000 from last week’s revised average of 239,000.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →