Winter chill descends on travel bargains — Bah, humbug. Thanks to robust demand, higher fuel prices and reduced capacity on many airline routes, the traditional volley of post-holiday travel bargains hasn’t been as intense this year as last. (USA Today)

Without cash, budget airline faces closing — Independence Air, a low-fare airline that filed for bankruptcy protection last month, may stop flying Jan. 7 unless it gets new financing from an investor or buyer, the company said yesterday in a notice to union workers. (Bloomberg News)

FAA proposes rules for space tourism — Thinking of spending that next vacation on the moon or Mars or circling the Earth? Before liftoff, there’s a list of things the would-be “space flight participant” should know. More than 120 pages of proposed rules, released by the government Thursday, regulate the future of space tourism. (AP)

Overseas, trains and the market for them accelerate — Most Americans have had little first-hand experience with high-speed trains, and headaches on Amtrak’s Acela service have stalled high-speed train development here. But countries including Italy and Spain are investing in huge high-speed railway development. (The New York Times)

Rail travel in U.K. rises to highest level since 1958 — Rail travel will reach its highest level for almost 50 years in 2005 with travelers clocking up some 1.07 billion journeys, according to the Association of Train Operating Companies. (The Guardian)

Southwest rising, but Pittsburgh air travel off — While Southwest Airlines continued to increase its share of flights out of Pittsburgh International Airport in November, overall traffic continues to decline. Traffic in November 2005 was down 4.3 percent compared to November 2004 according to statistics released by the Allegheny County Airport Authority. (Pittsburgh Business Times)

‘Narnia’ tours light the way — The Disney blockbuster “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is sparking related tours in England, Northern Ireland and New Zealand, where several key locations of the fantasy flick were filmed. (USA Today)

Air freight growth slowing sharply; passenger numbers grow — International air freight growth looks set to have slowed sharply in 2005 after a massive surge last year, the airline industry body IATA reported on Thursday. The IATA also said that in January-November 2005, passenger traffic on international routes grew by 7.7 percent over the same period last year. (Reuters)

Where stars are Spotted — This Spotted Pig restaurant in the West Village attracts stars because it delivers food without fanfare. (USA Today)

Rowdy passenger dumped on island — A rowdy air passenger was cast away on a remote Atlantic island after abusing crew and other travelers aboard a holiday flight from the UK to the Spanish Canary Islands. (CNN)

Southwest’s a success in Philly — Low-cost king Southwest Airlines entered Philadelphia a year and a half ago with just over a dozen flights. But it swiftly has become the city’s second-largest carrier, driving down airfares, ratcheting up the pressure on US Airways and helping boost the airport’s passenger traffic by 30 percent since its arrival. (Rocky Mountain News)

This is a new recording: Souped-up wake-up calls — Like offering over-the-top services such as bath butlers or unexpected minibar items such as condoms, the customized wake-up call is just another way hotels are seeking to distinguish themselves. (USA Today)


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