Plane cutlery is in vogue

At a time when dining at 37,000 feet is characterized by salty snacks, $5 turkey wraps and plastic cutlery, the flagship tableware from a fading era of air travel is turning up in places other than airplanes. Some are even turning up in fancy restaurants.

United gets urge to merge

United Airlines chief executive Glenn Tilton says it’s time for airlines to merge, and he wants United to take part in that consolidation. Tilton, speaking at an airline investor conference in New York on Thursday, did not say which airlines he expects would combine.

Finding old Florida

A steaming plate arrives at our table with bite-sized servings of alligator, catfish and frog legs. It comes with a side of cocktail sauce for dipping, in case we’re feeling adventurous. We aren’t. “Wait, wait,” we hear from the kitchen. “You have to try this.”

Senate rips security fee

Senate Republicans and Democrats united in criticism yesterday of President Bush’s proposal to increase security fees on airline tickets, saying that the costs of securing the nation’s aviation system should be paid for by government. Bush has proposed adding $3 to the existing $2.50 fee airline passengers pay for each flight.

Hertz backs off new fee

Hertz Corp. today cited backlash from corporate travel managers as it reversed a decision to levy a $2.50 charge on domestic reservations and put the fee on “indefinite hold.” According to a memo sent last week to corporate travel managers, the fee was to be enacted tomorrow.

Storm paralyzes cruise ship

A cruise liner carrying 791 passengers and crew was limping towards a Sardinian port last night after a storm knocked out its engines and forced it to call for help. French and Spanish rescue aircraft and boats went to the assistance of the vessel Grand Voyager, which was en route from Tunisia to Barcelona.

3 steps to a low fare

The airline-pricing world is still evolving. Over the past few years, the Internet has allowed travelers to easily compare prices and encouraged the growth of the low-cost airlines. Only months ago, the best airfares were found on Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz and Priceline. Not anymore.

Love is in the air

I recently flew with a senior flight attendant who told me that she joined the mile-high club 35 years ago with a total stranger on Valentine’s Day, and has been married to him ever since. She says it’s not a total coincidence that her son is also 35 and named John.

Agents: cut tsunami rates

Hotels trying to lure back tourists on the tsunamit-hit Thai resort island of Phuket have slashed their prices by about 50 percent but apparently not low enough for some foreign travel agents. A group of British travel agents is seeking additional cuts.

Cruise prices soar

Travel agent Joe Canino is noticing something happening to his customers booking cruises that he hasn’t seen in a while: sticker shock. Higher ticket prices and an insatiable demand among vacationers have the cruise lines basking in the smoothest sailing since the tough times prompted by the 2001 economic recession.