Trumpeter Severinsen headlines Reno arts festival (AP)

April 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel News

RENO, Nev. – Trumpeter Doc Severinsen is among the headliners for Reno’s month-long arts festival this July.

Artown organizers announced the lineup Thursday for the 16th annual festival featuring more than 400 performances and other daily events from June 30 to July 31 — most of them free.

Severinsen became famous as the band leader of Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show.” His new band, the San Miguel Five, will play a mix of gypsy jazz, Latin and American ballads at the Hawkins Amphitheater on July 17.

Other highlights include a Fourth of July concert with Pink Martini and the March-Fourth Marching Band. The Stephen Petronio Company performs a dance concert on July 30.

Artown officials also announced they have booked world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma for a concert in Reno next year on April 26.

Article source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/aptrne/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/20110429/ap_tr_ge/us_travel_brief_reno_artown

Texas bill would make invasive pat-downs a felony (AP)

April 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel News

FORT WORTH, Texas – A former Miss USA’s tearful claim that she was groped during a pat-down at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport could be a criminal matter under a bill gaining momentum in the Texas Legislature.

The proposed Texas law, aimed at people conducting security checkpoints at airports and public buildings, would make it a felony to intentionally touch someone’s private areas — even on top of clothing — unless the officer or agent has probable cause to believe the person is carrying something illegal.

State Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, who sponsored the bill, said Friday that the invasive pat-down searches at airports nationwide are a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches. Last fall the Transportation Security Administration implemented a new pat-down procedure that includes a security worker running a hand up the inside of passengers’ legs and along the cheek of the buttocks, as well as making direct contact with the groin area.

“We’re taking away people’s dignity and freedom,” said Simpson, whose bill was approved in committee and is now awaiting debate by the full House. Simpson has 70 co-authors on the bill, which is more than 90 percent of the votes needed to pass it. The bill then would go to the Texas Senate for consideration.

Simpson insists that his law would pass muster, even though federal law requires all airline passengers to undergo a screening, which sometimes involves a pat-down. If the bill becomes Texas law, the only way a TSA agent can avoid fear of prosecution is if a traveler gives written consent to the pat-down search after being fully informed of the procedures, Simpson said.

The TSA does not comment on pending legislation, said Nicholas Kimball, an agency spokesman.

“We wish we lived in a world where security procedures weren’t necessary, but that simply isn’t the case,” Kimball said. “We know that terrorists continue trying to manipulate societal norms to evade detection and the measures in place are the best tools currently available to mitigate risk. As we explore ways to improve our approach and become more risk-based and intelligence-driven, we welcome travelers’ feedback and appreciate their understanding.”

Susie Castillo, who was crowned Miss USA in 2003 representing Massachusetts, said she was “molested” during a security pat-down at DFW Airport on April 21. In a video she taped minutes afterward, a tearful Castillo said she had opted against walking through the body scanner, and then a female TSA agent touched her crotch four times during the pat-down.

Castillo said this pat-down was different than those at other airports during her frequent travels. Castillo, now an actress, did not say she felt that she was being singled out.

“I’m hoping that other people that feel violated as an American will make these complaints and … maybe something will change in the future,” Castillo said in the video. “Hopefully they will hear me loud and clear.”

TSA spokesman Luis Casanova said the screener was questioned and did the pat-down correctly, but apologized for any discomfort to Castillo.

According to the TSA, 898 people who underwent or witnessed a pat-down complained to the agency from November through March, and 252 million travelers were screened during that period. The TSA says less than 3 percent of travelers undergo pat-downs, including those who opt out of a body scanner or when it detects a problem and those who require an additional screening when a metal detector goes off.

Since the new anti-terrorism screening measures took effect last year, the American Civil Liberties Union has reported receiving more than 1,000 complaints. Those travelers claim that TSA agents have patted their genitals, run fingers through their hair or along their bras or waistbands.

In Alaska, 59 of the 60 lawmakers have asked a U.S. Senate committee to hold hearings in that state on what they call the “often invasive procedures” used by the TSA, and they’re researching what they can do on a state level.

“You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your dignity when you travel, and air travel is such an important part of travel in Alaska,” said Mark Gnadt, press secretary for House Democrats in the Alaska Legislature.

At least two federal lawsuits have been filed over the pat-downs.

____

Associated Press writer Chris Tomlinson in Austin contributed to this report.

Article source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/aptrne/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/20110430/ap_tr_ge/us_travel_brief_airport_pat_downs_texas

Royal wedding: Kate and William, why not honeymoon way out West?

April 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

With the royal wedding over, there’s much conjecture about where the honeymooners will go. Check out “Where are William and Kate headed?” at the Ministry of Gossip.

I’m thinking the West offers a nice mix of stunning scenery and offbeat options. Here are my picks for fitting honeymoon stops for the royal couple — easily duplicated by mere commoners:

Go faux: A bit of Britain in the Arizona desert? That’s the promise of London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. The couple could reprise their royal procession in tank tops and flip-flops as they march across the bridge, which spanned the River Thames from 1831 until four decades ago, when it was whisked off to its desert digs. Bonus option: London Bridge Ghost Tour for $20 per couple or $15 per person at 8:30 nightly starting May 13.

Capture the castle: Maybe the royal pair needs to see what passes for a castle in California, namely Hearst Castle in San Simeon. They could skip the indoor rooms (which might pale in comparison to Buckingham Palace) and take a garden tour that visits the Neptune and Roman pools, the Casa del Mar guesthouse and more. Sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean are guaranteed with the $24-per-person ticket.

Paper, not plastic: Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave has created amazing paper replicas of famous frocks, including one from a portrait of Williams’ ancestor Elizabeth I. “Pulp Fashion,” an exhibit of De Borchgrave’s work, is on display at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor through June 5.

Royal snooze: The Shag Like Royalty package at the Kensington Park Hotel (450 Post St., San Francisco) promises a room, Union Jack-decorated condoms, a “Knickers in a Twist” dictionary of British slang (as if they need it) and two sets of glasses for a suitable disguise. The package, which starts at $189 plus tax per night, is available through May 15.

Article source: http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-trb-honeymoon-west-20110429,1,3163034.story

Hawaii tourism up 9 percent in first quarter (AP)

April 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel News

HONOLULU – Visitors to Hawaii increased 9 percent in the first quarter of 2011 compared to last year despite a decline in arrivals from Japan following the earthquake and tsunami.

Japan arrivals plunged nearly 17.9 percent last month compared to March 2010, according to data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority released Thursday. Prior to the earthquake and tsunami, the number of visitors from Japan had increased nine out of the last 10 months since last May.

“As expected, Hawaii saw a decline in arrivals from Japan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11,” tourism authority president and CEO Mike McCartney said.

The tourism industry made up for that anticipated loss because of business from other markets, he said. Arrivals from the U.S. mainland and Canada increased from last year despite a drop in spring break visitors. The authority anticipated seeing the full effect of spring break in April, which is when the majority of California schools schedule their breaks.

Total visitor spending in Hawaii during the first three months of the year increased 16.9 percent to $3.2 billion compared to the same time last year. Last month’s visitor spending grew 11.8 percent from last March while arrivals increased 4.2 percent. The average daily spending by all visitors last month was $167 per person, a $5 increase from last year.

McCartney said tourism is expected to be strong in April and May because of spring break, the Easter holiday and charter flights from Japan for the country’s string of national holidays known as “Golden Week.”

The authority, he said, “will continue to monitor the Japan market as well as other global conditions, such as the rise in oil prices, which will have an effect on our state’s economic recovery.”

Article source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/aptrne/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/20110429/ap_tr_ge/us_travel_brief_hawaii_tourism

AirAsia to impose fuel surcharge on all flights (AP)

April 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel News

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Southeast Asia’s biggest budget carrier AirAsia will impose fuel surcharges on all its flights starting May 3, caving in to pressure from escalating jet fuel prices.

The move comes less than three years since AirAsia abolished fuel surcharges in November 2008. AirAsia says it was forced to reintroduce the fee after jet fuel, which is sold at a premium to crude oil, breached $140 a barrel amid instability in the Middle East.

AirAsia said Friday it hopes this will only be a temporary measure and that it will continue to ensure fares remain low despite the fuel surcharge.

The airline didn’t give further details. In 2008, it had said eliminating the fuel surcharges would cost the carrier nearly a billion ringgit ($336 million) a year.

Article source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/aptrne/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/20110429/ap_tr_ge/as_travel_brief_malaysia_airasia

AirAsia to impose fuel surcharge on all flights (AP)

April 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel News

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Southeast Asia’s biggest budget carrier AirAsia will impose fuel surcharges on all its flights starting May 3, caving in to pressure from escalating jet fuel prices.

The move comes less than three years since AirAsia abolished fuel surcharges in November 2008. AirAsia says it was forced to reintroduce the fee after jet fuel, which is sold at a premium to crude oil, breached $140 a barrel amid instability in the Middle East.

AirAsia said Friday it hopes this will only be a temporary measure and that it will continue to ensure fares remain low despite the fuel surcharge.

The airline didn’t give further details. In 2008, it had said eliminating the fuel surcharges would cost the carrier nearly a billion ringgit ($336 million) a year.

Article source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/aptrne/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/20110429/ap_tr_ge/as_travel_brief_malaysia_airasia

United, Continental pushing fares up again (AP)

April 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel News

DALLAS – United and Continental are raising airfares on many U.S. routes by up to $20 per round trip ticket. It’s the latest effort to cover spiraling fuel costs across the airline industry.

The two airlines raised prices Thursday night. Spokesman Mike Trevino says fares went up $3 each way on flights longer than 500 miles, and $10 each way for first-class tickets.

U.S. airlines have raised prices more than a half dozen times this year. Most still lost money in the first quarter due to higher fuel costs. United Continental Holdings Inc. lost $213 million. Its fuel bill rose $560 million, or 26 percent from a year ago.

Article source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/aptrne/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/20110429/ap_tr_ge/us_travel_brief_airlines_fares

Kings Island’s new ride delayed by foul weather (AP)

April 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel News

MASON, Ohio – Kings Island’s new thrill ride won’t be ready when the Cincinnati area amusement park opens its season on Saturday.

Park spokesman Don Helbig tells various media organizations final testing of the WindSeeker has been held up by this month’s record rainfall and high winds.

The WindSeeker will spin riders more than 300 feet off the ground at speeds up to 30 mph.

Helbig can’t say when the ride will open. He says the park needs a string of good days to operate it repeatedly so it can be approved to go.

Kings Island’s sister park in northern Ohio, Cedar Point, also will have a new WindSeeker. Officials have said they hope to have it set for a May 13 fundraiser, one day before Cedar Point kicks off its season.

Article source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/aptrne/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/20110429/ap_tr_ge/us_travel_brief_kings_island_ride_delayed

United, Continental pushing fares up again (AP)

April 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel News

DALLAS – United and Continental are raising airfares on many U.S. routes by up to $20 per round trip ticket. It’s the latest effort to cover spiraling fuel costs across the airline industry.

The two airlines raised prices Thursday night. Spokesman Mike Trevino says fares went up $3 each way on flights longer than 500 miles, and $10 each way for first-class tickets.

U.S. airlines have raised prices more than a half dozen times this year. Most still lost money in the first quarter due to higher fuel costs. United Continental Holdings Inc. lost $213 million. Its fuel bill rose $560 million, or 26 percent from a year ago.

Article source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/aptrne/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/20110429/ap_tr_ge/us_travel_brief_airlines_fares

Flexible fliers will get the best summer deals

April 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

In the past few weeks, we’ve begun seeing sales for summer travel. While most of these deals have been available for purchase for only a few days, AirTran recently launched a sale that’s available for purchase through May 10.

AirTran’s sale, which is valid for travel through Nov. 16, offers the cheapest seats on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The next-cheapest days are Mondays and Thursdays. The sale is great for summer travel to East Coast markets, and to Midwest cities such as Milwaukee and Chicago. Sample one-way fares from D/FW include $84 to Milwaukee; $94, Atlanta; and $104, Boston. Taxes and fees are additional. This sale was quickly matched by other carriers, including American and Southwest. The advance purchase is 10 days, and blackout dates apply. Contact: 1-800-247-8726; www.air tran.com.

Pick your days

This summer, flying midweek can make a big difference in fares over flying on weekend travel dates. If you have children, when they’re out of school, they have flexible schedules and you should take advantage of that to get the best fares. For example, we checked fares from Dallas to Boston for travel in July, and if we departed and returned on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, the fare was $608 round trip. However, if we departed and returned on a Tuesday or Wednesday, the fare was as low as $249 round trip. A family of four could save $1,436 by traveling midweek, which is a lot of spending money for your trip.

Don’t buy too soon

If you’re thinking about traveling after Labor Day and before Thanksgiving, unless you will be traveling on a Tuesday or Wednesday, don’t buy your tickets now. After July 4, we expect to see better sales for fall travel on other days of the week, so unless you see a great fare, you should hold off on buying tickets.

Double the miles

The battle between Virgin America and American on flights between Dallas and California continues with a mileage offer from American. Residents of Texas and California can earn double miles on flights between Dallas and Los Angeles or San Francisco, and these doubled miles also count toward elite status. In order to qualify, you must register on www.aa.com, and qualifying travel is valid through Aug. 31. My favorite perk of elite status is that you can check two bags for free, and that perk extends to your travel companions on the same reservation.

Even if you won’t earn enough miles to reach elite status, it’s still nice to get double miles. With the bonus, you can earn 5,000 miles per person round trip on flights between Dallas and Los Angeles and 5,800 miles round trip on flights between Dallas and San Francisco. Visit www.aa.com/viewPromotionDetails.do?fN=LAXSFO_A112910.xml for details and to register.

Deals to the coast

These West Coast markets are ones to watch for bargain-hunters. We’ve seen Virgin America offer great sales on these routes with fares as low as $99 one way. They also have recently offered discount certificates with savings of 10, 20 and 30 percent. At press time, we saw Southwest hitting back on these West Coast routes by offering $99 one-way fares between Dallas and Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. The $99 one-way fares were available during peak summer travel, while American and Virgin America have been charging between $119 and $159 one way for summer dates. These fares have no posted purchase dates, so if you find them, book right away. The best way to find them is to use the low-fare calendar on Southwest’s website when booking.

You’ll want to choose flights that don’t have a change of planes, when possible, to avoid paying $20 extra in security taxes.

Further, as you compare fares, remember that Southwest lets you check two bags for free.

 

Tom Parsons is CEO of Bestfares.com.

 

Article source: http://www.dallasnews.com/travel/columnists/tom-parsons/20110429-flexible-fliers-will-get-the-best-summer-deals.ece

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