Chicago to add $4 car rental tax for garage


Chicago to add $4 car rental tax for garage — Motorists renting cars at Midway Airport would pay a $4 surcharge to finance construction of a facility that would bring eight rental car companies under one roof, under a plan to be unveiled by Mayor Daley today to increase parking and reduce roadway congestion. (Sun Times)

Commentary from Christopher Elliott — Should car rental customers subsidize the construction of a new facility? Call me naïve, but I think the car rental companies doing business at Midway should foot the bill for this building.
Hot topic on the forums: Infants in first class

Defying downturn, Virgin Atlantic expands — About 1,000 new jobs are to be created at Gatwick and Heathrow airports with the expansion of Virgin Atlantic. Chairman Sir Richard Branson announced the new jobs at the Sussex airport on Monday before the airline’s inaugural flight to Cuba and the Bahamas. (BBC)

America West, US Airways began flirting in early 2004 — America West Airlines and US Airways weren’t formally engaged until last month, but the pair began flirting well over a year ago. The long-distance courtship began in February 2004, according to new merger documents filed Tuesday with securities regulators. It was a case of opposites attracting: America West was strong on the West Coast, US Airways on the East. (Republic)

Report: Insurance policies don’t protect against terror — Travel insurance polices should offer better protection to holidaymakers against acts of terrorism, say UK insurance brokers. The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (Biba) claims there has been a 274% increase in terrorist attacks throughout the world since 2003, but the majority of policies don’t offer protection. There were 655 separate terrorist attacks last year compared to just 175 in 2003. (Daily Mail)

Fear of ghosts keep visitors away from Tsunami areas — Worries about another deadly tsunami are keeping many tourists from Phuket, the premier resort island of southern Thailand. But hordes of Asian vacationers are staying away for another reason: Fear that the ghosts of thousands of victims may be haunting the beaches and bungalows. (AP)

Gladiator star faces hotel phone rage lawsuit — Russell Crowe is facing a lawsuit from the hotel porter he injured at New York City’s Mercer Hotel during a telephone rage assault earlier this month, after settlement talks collapsed. The suit alleges the Gladiator star threw a ceramic bowl at Nestor Estrada after he had hit the clerk in the face with the telephone from his hotel room, and the prosecution will present witnesses to the attack as well as CCTV footage of Crowe’s actions. (Ireland Online)

Collapsing landing gear injures passenger — An airline passenger was taken to the hospital Tuesday after the front landing gear of an Independence Air regional jet collapsed while passengers were about to leave the plane, an airport executive said. Independence flight 1784 from Dulles Airport had arrived at Piedmont Triad International Airport shortly before noon, airport executive director Ted Johnson said. (AP)

Mechanic faces arrest in Concorde probe — An arrest warrant may soon be issued for a Continental Airlines mechanic who failed to show up for questioning about a metal strip from one of his company’s planes that allegedly brought down a Concorde near Paris in 2000, judicial sources said Tuesday. (AFP)

FBI rules out foul play in woman overboard — The Houston FBI office has ruled out foul play in the disappearance of a Simonton, Ind., woman who vanished from a cruise ship off the Caribbean coast of Mexico Friday morning. Luz Garcia, spokeswoman for the FBI in Houston, said the disappearance of the woman, who has been identified by several media outlets as 40-year-old Vonnie Ales, has been determined not to be the result of foul play or an accidental fall. (AP)

Skycaps not pleased with $2 fee — Tips for American Airlines’ skycaps may be kicked to the curb in the coming weeks. American, which has been testing a $2 charge for each bag checked at curbside, is mulling an expansion of that test to Logan International Airport. “We are evaluating whether or not to broaden the test into other cities,” spokesman Tim Smith said. “Boston would be a logical candidate.” But skycaps – who make most of their money through tips – are not pleased with the proposed change. (Herald)

Criminals pass new passport system — The names of more than 30 fugitives, including 9 murder suspects and one person on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most-wanted list, did not trigger any warnings in a test of the nation’s passport processing system, federal auditors have found. Insufficient oversight by the State Department allows criminals, illegal immigrants and suspected terrorists to fraudulently obtain a United States passport far too easily, according to a report on the test by the Government Accountability Office to be released Wednesday. (The New York Times)

Correspondents: Richard Wong, Carrie Charney, Leslie Friedman, John Frenaye, Mary Staley, Stephanus Surjaputra.