Record Memorial Day travel is predicted


Record Memorial Day travel is predicted — Even as tourism officials prepared for an uncertain summer travel season following a bruising hurricane season last summer, law enforcement and AAA officials were bracing for record numbers of travelers this Memorial Day weekend. Randy Bly, director of community relations for AAA South, said AAA is expecting a 2.2 percent increase in the number of people traveling this summer from last summer. (Sun)

Unions: Stop US Airways’ $55 million bonuses — Unions for US Airways pilots and flight attendants on Wednesday urged a bankruptcy court to deny the airline’s controversial request to spend up to $55 million to retain managers. “The (retention plan) is the wrong program providing the wrong people with the wrong benefits at the wrong time,” said the Air Line Pilots Association said in a documents filed with the court. (Tribune-Review)

Commentary from Christopher Elliott – This so-called “retention plan” is corporate greed at its worst. US Airways’ management deserves bonuses only when they have achieved profitability and restored the onerous cuts they imposed on their unions. Not a moment sooner.

New Orleans hotel in toxic mold lawsuit — A New Orleans company sold a four-story hotel on Tulane Avenue without disclosing that the building had a “toxic mold problem,” a lawsuit claims. After the sale of the Quality Inn Midtown Hotel, guests began complaining that some of the rooms smelled musty, so the new owner spent a “considerable sum of money for repairs by January 2005,” according to a petition filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans. (Times-Picayune)

Time to think about those summer airline tickets — Procrastinators beware: the summer travel booking season kicks in six months before the fact, and often enough he who hesitates gets the middle seat. So now that the snow and ice has been melted a good couple weeks, the first flowers are blooming, and the ski season is almost over, it must be time to think about travel in July. (MSNBC)

This Memorial Day, LAX goes from bad to worse — The Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport is infamous with travelers around the world. The 22-year-old building, home to 34 airlines, is the “worst terminal in the Western world,” where “customs was a nightmare” and “lines a mile long,” according to travelers who posted their experiences on an Internet bulletin board. It’s about to get much worse. (Los Angeles Times)

Brides ‘run away’ with new hotel package — Beleaguered brides in need of a break needn’t follow Jennifer Wilbanks’ example, according to the Hotel Commonwealth. Boston’s self-billed “most romantic hotel'” is offering a special Runaway Bride Escape package complete with a pair of running shoes. “We’re just having fun with the name,” said Tim Kirwan, general manager of the hotel, which relishes good gimmicks to garner attention. (Boston Herald)

Northwest wants feds to help avert strike — Northwest Airlines wants the National Mediation Board to declare that its contract talks with mechanics are at an impasse, a move that could lead to a strike or lockout after a 30-day cooling-off period. But there’s no hard deadline, it seems, for a board response to the request. It could even reject it. (Pioneer Press)

In Turkmenistan, it’s an airfare lottery — Summer plane tickets out of Turkmenistan are being sold to the highest bidder, regardless of whether they have already been booked and paid for. Turkmen citizens who wish to visit family or friends in Russia or further afield are finding it increasingly difficult to secure airline tickets — and those who do still have no guarantee of getting on a flight. The increasingly isolationist former Soviet republic offers few options for those people who can afford to travel to other countries. (IFWPR)

Song launches record label — Song, Delta Air Lines’ low-fare, high- style air service, announced today the launch of Song Records, an innovative brand venture created to celebrate great music and provide a unique platform for showcasing a diverse collection of recording artists. (Press release)

Is the Wright amendment about to become history? — An attempt to repeal a 25-year restriction on Southwest Airlines routes has triggered a Texas duel in the nation’s capital. Republican Reps. Sam Johnson of Plano and Jeb Hensarling of Dallas said in a news release they would propose immediate repeal of the Wright Amendment, which limits commercial flights from Dallas Love Field to Texas and seven nearby states. (AP)

AAA introduces gas-price service — U.S. drivers will have another tool available in their pursuit of low-priced gasoline this Memorial Day weekend when AAA members Thursday gain access via AAA club Web sites to retail prices at individual service stations. Just ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the traditional kickoff of the U.S. summer driving demand season, and with gasoline prices above $2 a gallon, AAA members will be able to research gasoline prices at individual service stations anywhere in the United States. (Reuters)

Northwest tries to shore up pensions — Unless Congress grants Northwest Airlines Corp. more time to shore up its pension plans, the airline’s difficulty in funding those plans could contribute to a bankruptcy filing, an executive said. Andrea Fischer Newman, Northwest’s senior vice president of government affairs, is stumping to obtain 25 years to fund the plans, which are $3.8 billion short. Current law requires the airline to close the gap in five years. (AP)

Correspondents: John Frenaye, Leslie Friedman, Gary Leff, Mary Staley, Sandy Unger.