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April 2018 - ATX Fun - Austin-San Antonio Fun, Travel & Educational Opportunities

How to Override Hotel Thermostat Limits

Some hotel rooms have thermostats that offer only a limited amount of control to the guests. For example, the temperature might be limited to the range of 71 to 84 degrees F.

This Your Mileage May Vary post has links to YouTube videos that show how to hack these thermostats so they will go beyond the normal limits. That is useful if you sleep best at, say, 65 degrees.

The site contains a warning that some of these hacks might damage the thermostat, but I deem that highly unlikely if you are just pushing the buttons.

I always carry an un-inflated mylar balloon and string, which can be used to fool occupancy sensors by “blowing in the wind.”

Enjoy the tips, and stay comfortable on your upcoming hotel stays. Promises to Re-Book Your Flights & Hotels When Prices Drop

DoNotPay LogoThe Milenomics blog has a long post on a free new service that could save travelers some real money…if it works as planned. plans to be the AutoSlash of airline and hotel bookings, checking frequently to see if prices have dropped and automatically re-booking you when they do.

DNP owners claim they can even work with Southwest Airlines, which is something that others have had no success with…Southwest’s team of lawyers quickly sue any website owner that scrapes their data.

DNP requires a large amount of private information from its clients, as explained in the Milenomics post.

I wish them the best of luck…they will need it to survive.

Free Seminar for Seniors in Austin Next Tuesday (April 10)

Commission on Seniors

Community Interest Announcement

Livability for Longevity: A Symposium Connecting People, Process and Policy for Healthy Aging in Austin
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Bass Lecture Hall, LBJ School of Public Affairs
Located on the lower level of Sid Richardson Hall (SRH)
2315 Red River St.
Austin, TX 78712-1536
Free and open to public

Southwest Airlines Companion Pass Suddenly Gets Harder to Earn!

Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines offers a Companion Pass to anyone who earns 110,000 Rapid Rewards in a calendar year (with a few restrictions). Today (April 5) they made a change, effective today, that will make this more difficult for most people.

In general, from now on you will probably need to own a business in order to get the Companion Pass.

See the details at The Points Guy.

Another Southwest Airlines Sale

Southwest Aircraft at GateThe marketing team at Southwest likes to announce sales, and they’ve done it again.

Check to see if any of your existing tickets have gone down in price, and rebook at the lower price if they have.

AirfareSpot has the details and some significant limitations.

Drones Drones Drones at Austin Forum Tonight (April 3)

Austin Forum LogoAustin Forum is a monthly gathering where an expert (often more than one) discuss a topic related to technology, medicine or society. Admission is free and open to the public.

“Drones: Changing Business, Agriculture, Security and More” is the subject of tonight’s meeting (April 3, 2018) in the downstairs room of the new Austin Public Library downtown. Craig Nehrkorn, formerly with DJI and IBM and now Drone Dynamics, is the presenter.

See the deets at

Norwegian Now Flying Austin-London Gatwick Route

NorwegianTo the probable dismay of the Big 3 legacy airlines, Norwegian has begun flying 3x per week from Austin to London Gatwick (and vice versa).

The flight days, both outbound and return, are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The posted outbound price is as low as $209.90 (April 21), and the return price is as low as $229.90 (April 24 and 26).

Norwegian is a low-cost carrier, so everything except a seat will involve a fee. But, if you follow their rules, bring your own food and water, and pack light and compact, you can save a lot.

Check Google Flights or Norwegian’s web site for schedules and costs.