Registered travel programs include shorter check-in, concierge — A new program for business travelers is being piloted in select airports around the country, and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is on the short list of future locations. For an $80 annual fee, customers can get preferred treatment that includes shorter waiting lines, concierge service, and bypassing pat-downs and other security measures. (Business Journal)
Car Rentals: Understanding the difference — When going through the process of renting a vehicle, one step in the process involves the selection of a rental based upon the class of vehicle. What do all those terms mean anyway? Have you ever wondered what the difference is between an intermediate car and a full size vehicle? Then this article is a great place to start when looking to uncover the answer. (CarJunky.com)
Australia race riots have no effect on tourism — Tourism Australia says travel warnings advising tourists not to visit Sydney beaches have had no noticeable effect on the industry. The Cronulla riots have prompted Britain, Canada and Indonesia to issue the advisories, which warn of the possibility of racist violence. (ABC)
Midwest Airlines incident caused by faulty wheel bearing — The sparks seen during Tuesday’s emergency landing of a Midwest Airlines Boeing 717 at Boston’s Logan International Airport have been traced to a faulty wheel bearing, according to the FAA. (Aero-News.net)
Car rental companies add online perks — Alamo and Budget are firing the latest salvos in a resurgent rental car industry, announcing new moves to lure customers. Alamo is allowing all customers to check in online and pick up cars without stopping at the rental counter, a perk normally reserved for loyalty club members. Budget is offering a $2 refund for each rental day to companies that rent five or more times each year. (Burlington Free Press)
Upscale shopping at airports — Travelers are finding more shopping options, thanks to a flurry of recently opened high-end shops in U.S. airports. A growing number of stateside airports now boast fashionable retailers such as Coach, Gucci and Montblanc, and glitzy jewelers including Cartier and Bulgari.
Sometimes, those airline vouchers are like a lump of coal — If you get bumped off your flight, help might — or might not — be at hand. As always, the devil is in the details. If the past is any guide, some fliers won’t make it because blizzards or other emergencies grounded their jet-fueled sleighs or because overbooking bumped them from their flights. Many of these strandees will garner goodies for their troubles: airline vouchers for free seats, hotels, meals and more. But you’d better watch out for the fine print. (LA Times)
It’s harder to change your plans these days — The 24-hour grace period is becoming the exception, especially if you book online. Instead, some airlines are requiring customers to purchase a ticket first and giving them 24 hours to cancel and get a refund of the ticket price, a policy also followed by the big three online agencies, Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia. (NYT)
How a fugitive got work in airport security — For four years Ashwin Sharma was an illegal resident, a fugitive. But that did not stop the 27-year-old Indian from making a mockery of Australia’s frontline security at Sydney Airport. What is troubling is that it was not difficult, and if Sharma could do it so can a criminal, a narcotics trafficker, a thief. Or a terrorist. All Sharma had to do was outlay $1200 to get a false NSW Security Industry licence. It was, Sharma boasted, too easy. (Sydney Morning Herald)
One for the Road: Ski Snowboard Europe — I was reading Tripso’s 11 Perfect Gifts For Travelers and agreed with author Charles Leocha’s suggestion that niche guidebooks which focus on particular interests of travelers are indeed super gift ideas. Of course, Leocha used this gift idea list as an opportunity to recommend his own niche travel guides: Ski Snowboard Europe is a step-by-step guide to planning a winter adventure in the Alps in Austria, Italy, Switzerland or France as well as some resorts in Norway, Spain and Andorra. (Gadling)
Euthanasia attorney Felos readying for Death Cruise — While most Americans are observing the holidays and readying for New Year’s celebrations, Florida euthanasia advocate attorney George Felos of Dunedin is no doubt packing for his death cruise. Now that Felos has been successful in securing the death of disabled Terri Schiavo by legalized homicide, Felos is taking his right-to-die crusade from the Pinellas County courtroom of George Greer to the Caribbean.
(North Country Gazette)
Hooters Air suspends service to Las Vegas — Hooters Air has suspended service from the Gary/Chicago International Airport to Las Vegas until March. Airport administrator Paul Karas said Hooters President Mark Peterson told him that the airline planned to end the Las Vegas service temporarily because of seasonal issues, but that the airline intends to restart the service in March. On the airline’s Web site, the first flight in March is scheduled for March 10. Meanwhile, Hooters Air officials would not comment on this issue. Several phone messages during the past two weeks were not been returned.