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Flights across North Europe cancelled, U.S. cancel Europe flights

April 15, 2010

Many flights across Europe were cancelled as a spreading cloud of volcanic ash headed south from Iceland and closed many airspaces. Flights have also been disrupted in Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Russia and Finland. Finnair said air traffic had been shut down in northern parts of Finland, while air traffic has been suspended in northern Sweden.

A spokesman for Arlanda airport in Stockholm said all transatlantic flights there were taking a longer route south to avoid the ash.
Cohenhagen airport is reporting severe disruptions. The Danish part of North Sea air space is closed, Danish air traffic controller Navair said, with further sectors of air space expected to be closed throughout the day as the ash cloud moves across the country. Ryanair said it would try to operate some flights out of southern Ireland today. The national carrier, Aer Lingus, canceled at least 40 flights in or out of Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Belfast. A spokesman for Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport said about 40 inbound and outbound flights had been canceled, mainly from Britain, Scandinavia and Russia.

The United Kingdom’s airspace was closed about noon Thursday (7 a.m. ET) and will be closed until at least 7 a.m. (2 a.m. ET) Friday, air traffic authorities said.

Some of the links or news articles that may be important:
Google News on Iceland Volcano
– CNN: U.S. airlines cancel Europe flights
– Daily Mail UK: Icelandic volcano ash cloud cuts UK off and leaves thousands of passengers stranded
– Times Online: Volcanic ash cloud grounds flights over Britain
– CNN: Explainer: Why ash cloud endangers aircraft
– National Post: Airplane versus the volcano: why ash and planes don’t mix
– The Star: Volcano eruptions in Iceland could last for years
– New York Times: Volcanic Ash Shuts Down Air Traffic in North Europe

China opens Mt. Everest to international mountaineers

April 15, 2010

Mt. Everest

Mt. Everest

With over 5000 mountaineers from different countries gathered in Tibet to climb Mt Everest and two other top peaks, China is all set to turn the “roof of the world” into a major tourist attraction.

Mountaineers from China, the US, France, Russia, Spain and some other countries have gathered in Tibet since early this month to climb Mt Qomolangma (Tibetan name for Mt Everest), Zhuoaoyou and Xixiabangma.

Mt Zhuoaoyou and Xixiabangma are the sixth and 14th highest peaks in the world respectively. The mountaineers will not start climbing before completing their base camp construction and adapting training, while Zhang’s association has sent 60 professionals to help guarantee their safety. Also, a professional team has been set up to respond in alpine rescue, garbage removal and to repair the north slope climbing route of Mt Qomolangma.

Reports: PTI

World’s best subways

April 12, 2010

Metros are high capacity, high frequency, urban electric transport railway systems. Also known as the subway, underground, and tube, they are distinguished by being separated from all other types of traffic, pedestrians included. When it comes to energy consumption and space occupancy, metros are among the most efficient means of transportation. In 2006, 155 million people traveled by metro every single day.

MetroRail 2010, held at the end of March, was the 6th annual conference bringing together worldwide leaders of the public transportation industry. The Metros are awards given at the event to recognize the top metro companies.

Huffington Post has compiled information on the 2010 Metro Awards winners, and highlighted some other notable metros.

Read more at: 9 Of The World’s Best Subways

Excerpt: Huffington Post

India opens Himalayan peaks to foreigners

April 9, 2010

himalayaForeigners will be allowed to climb nearly 100 high-altitude Himalayan peaks for the first time on the Indian side of Kashmir. The move by the Indian government to allow foreign climbers follows a significant decline in violence by insurgent groups in the region since India and Pakistan started a peace process in 2004, said a state tourism official.

Before the start of the insurgency by separatists in 1989, hundreds of thousands of tourists flocked to the region—known as the Switzerland of the east—to enjoy the glacier-fed streams flowing through the forests and grasslands or lounge on houseboats floating on Srinagar’s Dal Lake.

Continue reading

Spirit Airlines now charge for carry-on baggages in addition to check-in

April 6, 2010

All flights booked starting today and on for flights after August 1, passengers on Spirit Airlines (baggage policy) must also pay for a carry-on above a personal item. This is a new fee and to take on any bag aside from personal items like purse or briefcase, you’ll be payingÖ

  • $20 online if you’re a Spirit club member,
  • $30 online for non-members and
  • $45 at the airport.
Spirit Airlines Carry-on Baggage Fees

Spirit Airlines Carry-on Baggage Fees

In addition to this new fee, the checked rates have gone up to $15 online for members on domestic/$20 on international, $25 online for non-members on domestic/$30 on international and $45 for anyone checking their first bag at the airport. Additional fees apply for additional bags.

Harry Potter theme park package deal

February 19, 2010

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a theme park set to open this spring at Universal Orlando Resort, announced its first vacation packages for travel starting May 28.

The four-night package starts at:

  • $285 for adults
  • $130 for children 3 to 9
  • $829 for a family of four (two adults and two children)

The package includes:

  • Rate valid for bookings now – 4/30/10 and travel 5/28/10 – 12/31/10.
  • Moderately priced accommodations at a Universal Partner Hotel, like the Quality Inn International
  • Early admission to the Harry Potter theme park
  • A three-day park ticket that allows entry to one Universal theme park each day and breakfast at the Three Broomsticks
  • The fictional pub where Harry and his friends indulge in glasses of butterbeer.
  • More upscale hotels, like the Hard Rock Hotel, are available for a higher price.

Available through Dec. 31. To book, visit or call (877) 801-9720.

Machu Picchu to reopen on April 1st

February 18, 2010

Machu Picchu

Peru’s government said that the ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu will reopen on April 1, more than two months after rain stranded hundreds of tourists at the popular spot.

Heavy rain in January unleashed mudslides that cut off roads and blocked a rail line between Machu Picchu and the nearby city of Cusco.

Passenger hand swabbing – a new security check at Airports

February 17, 2010

The Transportation Security Administration soon will begin randomly swabbing passengers’ hands at checkpoints and airport gates to test them for traces of explosives. Air travelers may have their hands swabbed more often as part of a stepped-up effort to screen passengers for explosives, an Obama administration official said Wednesday.

Previously, screeners swabbed some carry-on luggage and other objects as they searched for the needle in the security haystack — components of terrorist bombs in an endless stream of luggage. But after the Christmas Day attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit, Michigan, the TSA began a program of swabbing passengers’ hands, which could be contaminated by explosive materials, experts say.

Airports were told Wednesday that more passengers should be randomly screened for explosives before, during and after they go through metal detectors, the official said. The screening could include swabbing travelers’ hands or their carry-on luggage to check for traces of explosives.

[Sources: CNN & LATimes]

American to charge $8 for pillow & blanket

February 8, 2010

It’s time to pack your own pillow & blanket if you are going to travel on American Airlines, because if you want one, it’s going to cost you.

The airline will charge $8 for a pillow and blanket in coach class for domestic trips and some international flights longer than two hours, beginning May 1. The international flights are to and from Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, the Caribbean and Central America.

The airline will sell a blue fleece blanket with an inflatable neck pillow in a clear zippered pouch, and will throw in coupon for $10 off a $30 purchase at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

JetBlue and US Airways charge $7 for a blanket-and-pillow set, with US Airways adding eye shades and earplugs.

We wonder if airlines will ever increase the allowed baggage weight to carry all these extra stuff. Send in your comments with what you think.

Read more: American Airlines Blankets Will Cost 8 DOLLARS

Hong Kong airport installs PS3 ‘game poles’

January 25, 2010

Airport Authority Hong Kong has installed several PS3 Game Poles at various locations in the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) for free public access.

Implemented in partnership with Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong, the developer of Playstation 3, the PS3 Game Poles comprise a total of 14 units of PlayStation 3.

Hong Kong Airport installs PS3 Game Poles

Hong Kong Airport installs PS3 Game Poles (copyrights: The Moodie Report)

Stationed at various spots, including areas near the boarding gates at Terminal 1 and the Coach Station at Terminal 2, these PS3 Game Poles, allowing travellers to enjoy themselves while waiting for flights, feature the latest PS3 games including the highlights of the Asia Game Show x Online Game Show 2009 (AGS x OGS 2009), such as ‘Final Fantasy XIII, ‘James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game’, ‘Uncharted 2: Among Thieves’, and ‘Assassin’s Creed 2’.

[Original Post: Hong Kong Airport ups entertainment value with PS3 Game Poles]

New airline consumer protection site from U.S. government

January 19, 2010

Was your baggage mishandled? Were you denied a refund that you should have received? Flight delays? We are not sure if anyone is listening to your worries or complaints, but the US Department of Transportation (DOT) has launched a new website to help consumers compare and complain about airline service.

DOT's airline consumer protection site

DOT's airline consumer protection site

The website, allows travelers to file complaints to the DOT, compare historical on-time and baggage mishandling records of airlines and get helpful tips about air travel. The site also contains a compendium of information on government rules and guidance on subjects such as baggage, fare advertising, refunds, overbooking, disability and flight delays.

The website, which is aimed at US citizens but contains some information about international carriers operating in the US, is also available in Spanish.

Website: Aviation Consumer Protection and Enforcement

American Airlines hikes baggage fees… again!

January 19, 2010

American Airlines announced Monday that it is raising checked baggage fees by $5, effective February 1st.
First bag to cost $25, and second one will cost $35 on flights in the U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. The fees apply to passengers on the company’s American Airlines, American Eagle and American Connection flights.

ABC News says those passengers who are exempt from checked baggage fees–business and first-class, as well as military–will remain exempt.

American Airlines last hiked its checked bag fees in July, when the price of the first bag rose $5 to $20 and the price of the second bag rose the same amount to $25.

Southwest launches 3-day sale

January 19, 2010

Southwest Airlines is offering airfares starting as low as $49 one-way. Fares are available in select markets for travel Mondays through Thursdays and Saturdays when purchased by Jan. 21, 2010, at 11:59 p.m. PST. These fares are only available on or for travel between April 7, 2010, and May 25, 2010.

Examples of fares include (see Additional Fare Rules below):
$49 one-way between Chicago Midway and Kansas City
$67 one-way between Reno/Tahoe and Los Angeles
$99 one-way between Providence and Ft. Lauderdale

Terms & Conditions
Southwest Airlines sale fares are available for purchase Jan. 19, 2010, through 11:59 p.m. PST Jan. 21, 2010, and travel must take place beginning April 7, 2010, through May 25, 2010. Fares are available only on or Fares are not available for travel on Fridays and Sundays. Fares do not include a federal excise tax of $3.70 for each flight segment. A flight segment is defined as a takeoff and a landing. Fares do not include airport-assessed passenger facility charges (PFC) of up to $9.00 and a U.S. government-imposed September 11th Security Fee of up to $5.00 one-way. Travel not available to/from Long Island, NY; Washington (Dulles), D.C.; Milwaukee, WI. Seats are limited. Fares may vary by destinations, flight, and day of week and won’t be available on some flights that operate during very busy travel times and holiday periods. Fares are available for one-way travel. When combining fares, all rules and restrictions apply. Fares are nonrefundable but if unused, may be applied toward the purchase of future travel on Southwest Airlines. Sale fares are not combinable with Senior Fares. Fares are not available through the Group Desk. Any change in the itinerary may result in an increase in fare. Standby travel requires an upgrade to the unrestricted “Anytime” fare. Fares are subject to change until ticketed. Offer applies to published, scheduled service only.

North Korea lifts restrictions on U.S. citizens

January 15, 2010

North Korea has eased travel restrictions on U.S. tourists, hoping to boost its coffers and also improve the cash-strapped country’s image.

U.S. citizens had previously only been allowed access during the spectacular mass games, held last year in August through October. Now, travelers from the United States will be allowed to visit North Korea on official guided tours any time of the year.

Pyongyang’s overture to the United States coincided with a request to discuss resuming tours with South Korea. Last year, Koryo Tours took 282 U.S. tourists to North Korea compared to about 700 to 800 non-U.S. Westerners. Less than 2,500 U.S. citizens have visited North Korea since 1953.

According to Bonner, the real game-changer is that “Americans will be allowed to join with other Western tourists in exploring the rest of the country and not just areas just across the border.”

Read more: Visit anytime! North Korea lifts restrictions on U.S. tourists

New Airport security may be causing delays

January 14, 2010

New Airport Security Causing Flight Delays

New Airport Security Causing Flight Delays says “The attempted bombing of Northwest flight 253 on Christmas Day has resulted in increased security procedures at airports around the country. Looking at the period from December 25 to January 6 this year and the previous year shows that, whether or not the new security is making us safer, it seems to be making us slower.”

Transparency: Is New Airport Security Causing Flight Delays? – Good.IS

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