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Travel letters: Couchsurfing.com another entry to sharing economy

TravelTrips and VacationsLos Angeles International Airport

I read Catharine Hamm's article "Learning to Share" (Aug. 24) with great interest. I have been thinking a lot about our sharing economy and whether it is really just that.

I was surprised that there was so little mention of Couchsurfing.com. I have just recently dipped my foot in these waters, hosting travelers from around the country and world. Unlike Airbnb, with Couchsurfing, no money is exchanged.

I open my home to travelers and offer a place to sleep. Beyond that, I offer what I wish or am able — food, day trips, etc.

The site also offers opportunities to ride-share and meet up. It is an exercise in trust for both parties. It may not be perfect, but it opens up a new world for everyone and the potential for friendships to grow across cultures.

It has expanded my horizons and is an example of the limitless possibilities of the Internet.

Jeff Bernhardt

Valley Glen

 

Sock it to 'em

Here's a solution for the smelly-feet issue on flights ("Raising a Stink When Shoes Come Off," On the Spot, Aug 24, by Catharine Hamm), but you must plan for it.

Go to a 99-cent store, pick up one or two pairs of fun colored socks and give them politely to the offending foot owner. Tell that person it's for comfort and warmth.

It's a small version of something I just had on a British Airways flight to London: a mini-pack with socks, a toothbrush, a sleeping mask and earplugs. The woman sitting next to me took pre-emptive actions a step further (but for her benefit). She was flying with her infant and, anticipating a possible unwelcome vibe, she packed small gift bags for her fellow passengers that were filled with chocolates, earplugs, cookies and an apology-in-advance note. What a nice gesture to ward off any negative glances.

The baby smiled and slept the whole flight.

If the smelly-feet people don't take the hint, tell them, "The odor from your feet is making me gag, so would you please use the socks or put your shoes back on." Simple.

Christine Goonetilleke

Santa Ana

 

The real deal

In the Aug. 17 airfare deal of the week, the Travel section featured a $646 round-trip flight on Norwegian Air.

I recently flew on this airline, which is new to Los Angeles, and my experience wasn't good. On July 23, the airline's LAX-London flight sat on the runway for four hours, at which point the pilot told us the plane was inoperable. The airline provided no accommodation or assistance and said we were on our own when we were told to leave the airport after midnight.

The flight was rescheduled for the next day. First, it was delayed, and then it was canceled because of computer problems. Again, passengers were told they were on their own. The plane departed on July 25, 40 hours after it was originally scheduled to leave.

Norwegian has since refunded the price of the ticket, but I believe it should follow European Union rules and pay passengers as much as 600 euros (about $800) for the delays.

In my opinion, there are better ways to get to London.

Rachel Grantham

Fullerton

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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