How to get around employer’s refusal to equip iPhone for international trip
Dear Traveler: I have a company-issued iPhone. I am going on vacation to India, and I asked my boss if they could give me international phone access while I’m on the two-week trip. I offered to pay for it. But they won’t do it. So how can I make calls while traveling? — Company Man
Dear Company: Normally, travelers can either get their cell provider to turn on international cell and/or data access during the trip, or they can ask that their phone be unlocked so they can replace the regular SIM card with an international SIM card. Because your phone is owned by a recalcitrant employer, you’ll need another option.
For calls only, you can buy a cheap phone with a prepaid, reloadable international SIM card in it, such as Telestial’s $39 phone (www.telestial.com). You can even buy a SIM card especially for India to get the lowest rates.
In addition, your iPhone still may come in handy on your trip. Leave it switched to airplane mode as you travel. That turns off the cellular service (and avoids international roaming charges) but you still can activate Wi-Fi so you can use it for Skype, Facetime, Facebook, Instagram and surfing the Web.
Dear Traveler: Is Egypt safe for travelers? I hear that tour companies are going back. — King Tut
Dear Tut: They were, right up until June 10, when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the parking lot of the Karnak Temple in Luxor, one of Egypt’s most famous tourism sites. Political turmoil the last four years, plus the latest event, have caused many tour companies to stay on the sidelines.
However, Egypt is not on the State Department travel warning list, so it is your call about whether to go now.
Please keep Egypt on your “someday” bucket list; it’s a fantastic country every tourist should visit once in a lifetime. The hope is that ISIS never gains a foothold there and destroys ancient artifacts that are dear to humanity.
Dear Traveler: I recently booked a flight on Delta to Baltimore. I paid for my ticket and also used an American Express Platinum SkyMiles companion certificate for a free ticket for my partner. Due to a change of plans, he can’t come with me. How do I redeposit the companion certificate for future use? — Complex Itinerary
Dear Complex: You can’t. These certificates become void if you cancel your ticket. And here’s the really weird part in the convoluted world of airlines. Even if you just want to change the tickets, you will incur a $200 change fee for changing your paid ticket and another $200 fee for changing the free companion ticket. You can try calling Delta and throwing yourself on their mercy to see if they will make an exception, but don’t hold your breath.
This reminds me of another bone I have to pick with the airlines. These days, if you pay for a ticket using frequent flier points and need to cancel and redeposit the points in your account, you face a steep penalty. The fee is $150 on Delta and American and $200 on United. So much for your “free” ticket.