$236m cruise ship deal criticized


$236m cruise ship deal criticized — On Sept. 1, under pressure to move tens of thousands of desperate Louisianans out of New Orleans, the Federal Emergency Management Agency granted one of the most controversial contracts of the Hurricane Katrina relief operation, a $236 million agreement with Carnival Cruise Lines for three ships that now bob more than half empty in the Mississippi River and Mobile Bay. (The Washington Post)

Continental says it charged fairly — Continental Airlines yesterday slammed as “inaccurate” and “not true” any suggestion it had overcharged any last-minute passengers flying out of Houston ahead of Hurricane Rita. (Boston Herald)

TSA screeners’ injury claims to be screened — Contractors will review the medical records of injured airport baggage screeners to crack down on fraud and cut an injury rate that’s among the highest in the nation. TSA employees had an injury rate last year four times as high as construction workers and seven times as high as miners. (USA Today)

Size matters for airline, whether No. 4, 5 or 6 — How large is the new US Airways that debuted Tuesday? That depends on how one defines size: traffic, capacity, revenue? (The Arizona Republic)

Hotels spend big to lure guests — As money flows in from the resurgence in travel, hotel owners are spending it on upgrades delayed during the downturn. They’re also pouring money into innovations they’re hoping will distinguish them from the competition and please finicky customers. (USA Today)

Websites offer enticements such as low-price guarantees, prepaid rates — Ever-fickle Web users have a new tactic in their quest for online deals: Use an online travel agency such as Expedia or Travelocity to comparison shop, then go directly to a hotel chain’s website to book a room. (USA Today)

Senate proposal for airline pension relief ‘irresponsible’ — The prospects for pension relief for airlines worsened on Tuesday after a committee chairman called a Senate proposal “irresponsible” and “not good public policy”. (Financial Times)

New seating procedure designed to save time, money — Passengers assigned to window seats will board all United Airlines planes first, starting Thursday. The new boarding system – nicknamed “WilMA,” for Window-Middle-Aisle – was designed to shave four to five minutes off the average boarding time and $1 million off the airline’s annual budget. (Denver Post)

Airline changes inevitable — With four of the country’s seven largest airlines in bankruptcy or reorganization, travelers could well worry that there is a fair amount of chaos in the skies. (Hartford Courant)

Supermodel rages over lost bags — Supermodel Naomi Campbell flew into a rage when an airline lost her luggage.
Fiery Naomi was in Colombia to campaign for the UN against sex slavery when 70 designer dresses and 20 pairs of shoes went missing. (The Daily Record)

Delta’s terminal leases up in the air — Delta Air Lines Inc. is widely expected to spare Boston from its deepest cutbacks in service, but Logan officials could have one potential headache: They can’t legally force the bankrupt airline to give back gates at its new $400 million Terminal A before 2010. (The Boston Globe)

Acela train hits car at crossing in Conn. — An Amtrak Acela train collided Wednesday with a car at a crossing in eastern Connecticut, causing major delays on the Northeast rail line. (AP)

Delta: Chapter 11 foray will be fast
— Delta Air Lines executives told creditors Wednesday that the airline plans to zip through its bankruptcy reorganization. (USA Today)

Elusive mouse grounds Qatari airliner for 13 hours — A mouse upset the best-laid plans of an airline and nearly 250 passengers in the Philippines, grounding a plane for 13 hours while engineers tried to smoke out the rodent. (Reuters)

Carrie Charney, John Frenaye, Charles Leocha, Marge Purnell, Valerie Schneider, Mary Staley, Stephanus Surjaputra, Richard Wong.