It’s a Christmas whiteout


It’s a Christmas whiteout — As the countdown to Christmas ticks away, the roads, rails and sky are expected to be flooded with the largest number of travelers ever recorded. While state police have launched extra patrols to keep busy roads safe, airports including Logan International are trying to deal with cancellations caused by blizzards in the Midwest and South.

Getting out of town for holidays — Over the river and through the woods, maybe, but not to grandmother’s house: The family Christmas is changing its venue, and its traditions. . In an ocean-crossing trend, families are meeting up anywhere but home, celebrating the holidays in exotic locales or with new rituals as end-of-year festivities go global. Take the case of Chantal Massé. She and her husband, Pierre, have spent every Christmas with relatives at home in Granville, France, a picturesque town along the broad beaches of the Normandy coast. Not this year.

Attendant charged with sabotage — Travelers might expect flight delays because of bad weather or occasional mechanical problems, but who would think a flight attendant would sabotage planes? On Thursday, federal prosecutors charged a Chaska man who works for Pinnacle Airlines, which operates as Northwest Airlink, with damaging the safety and emergency equipment on 14 flights, including some in and out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Many of the flights were delayed or canceled. The felony charge against Steven R. Hirtzinger, 23, came after an internal investigation by Pinnacle, which has its headquarters in Memphis.

US Airways agents give $137 million present — US Airways’ 5,600 customer service and reservation agents approved $137 million in annual wage and benefit concessions Thursday as the airline works to reach new labor agreements with its five major unions ahead of a bankruptcy judge’s ruling that could terminate contracts not renegotiated. Even with the concessions, the fate of about 800 Green Tree-based reservation agents won’t be known until early next month, when the airline is expected to announce where it will consolidate its reservation operations.

Hey, this jet can’t make a U-turn — An aborted U-turn by an American Airlines pilot sent a Dallas-bound jet sliding into a muddy field at Richmond International Airport yesterday, creating delays and cancellations for at least 100 other flights. No one was injured in the low-speed accident at 8:20 a.m. as American Eagle Flight 1239 was taxiing before takeoff at the north end of a main runway. The problem occurred as the twin-engine MD-80 aircraft began turning toward the airport’s second main runway. As it pivoted, the pilot “misjudged the radius of his aircraft and got stuck in the mud,” said Arlene Salac, regional spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Oops! Alaska Air revises earnings on mileage error — Alaska Airlines Inc. revised third-quarter net income lower by 7.9 percent because of a clerical error in accounting for a frequent-flier program. The revised third-quarter net income is $61 million, down from $66.2 million reported previously, the carrier said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The error reduced third-quarter net income for the parent company, Seattle-based Alaska Air Group, to $74 million from $79.2 million. Alaska Airlines mistakenly recorded revenue from partners in its frequent-flier program who offer bonus miles as an incentive to use their products, said Caroline Boren, an Alaska Air spokeswoman.