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Pilots' union says AA is leaving standby passengers behind

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 16:17:03 UT

[...] spokesman Matt Miller said, the company figure cited by the union president is "significantly inflated" because it includes people who signed up for standby but weren't in the gate area when the door shut. Carey said standby passengers are left behind on about one in six flights, and he blames the airline's policy of closing the door from the gate area to the jet bridge 10 minutes before scheduled departure.



Passenger trains clip each other in NYC; no serious injuries

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 15:15:19 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Two passenger trains clipped each other during the morning rush Friday at Penn Station, jolting commuters and creating major travel disruptions but causing no serious injuries. Photos posted on social media by several passengers showed dents, scrapes and some twisted metal on the side of one train.



A round-trip flight just for the view — the Southern Lights

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 06:37:36 UT

A charter plane that left Dunedin, New Zealand, late Thursday flew close to the Antarctic Circle to give the eager passengers an up-close look at the Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights. Wong, a cancer research scientist, said he loves going camping and looking at the stars, something he found more stunning in New Zealand after moving from Australia three years ago. Griffin said he's thinking about another trip next year. Because the Boeing 767 is being decommissioned and the trip proved so popular, he said he may seek a larger jet.



Erdogan urges US, Britain to drop 'exaggerated' laptop ban

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 19:48:35 UT

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the United States and Britain on Thursday to drop what he said were "exaggerated" new aviation restrictions imposed on flights from some airports, including Istanbul. In a live television interview, Erdogan said the two countries were right to "dwell on security" but said the bans on some electronics, including laptops, on board flights from some Middle East and North African airports were excessive.



Travelers sigh as latest attack puts London on terror list

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 19:18:06 UT

Travel agents at Travel Leaders in Houston spend a lot of time talking to clients "like we are therapists," said agent Michelle Weller. A report issued Tuesday by the World Travel & Tourism Council showed that tourism dropped in destinations hit by terrorism in 2016, decreasing 4 percent in Belgium, 7 percent in France and 22 percent in Turkey. [...] WTTC said, tourism is growing in Portugal, Spain and Eastern Europe as travelers seek destinations they perceive as safer. After Wednesday's attack, WTTC CEO David Scowsill said in a statement, England and London specifically are very resilient tourism destinations. Jacoby Jones, who's studying business at a community college in Indianapolis, says news of terror attacks has become the new normal. Elizabeth Brown is planning to visit London in April, including a walking tour from Westminster, where the attack took place.



Mickey vs. the tax man: Disney, Universal fight tax bills

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 16:44:15 UT

To cut tax bills in the tens of millions of dollars, the specialists at Orlando's famous theme parks have employed methods from the creative — placing cows on undeveloped land and claiming an agricultural exemption — to the traditional — negotiating or appealing to a county board. Beyond such terse statements, officials from Disney, the development arm of Universal Orlando and SeaWorld of Florida are saying very little about an issue they hope to resolve in court. Disney also pays property taxes to a private government established by the Florida Legislature that provides the Disney parks and resorts with services including utilities, roadways and firefighters. Property values for the theme parks, resorts and other large commercial properties are set by a team of almost two dozen of the county's seasoned appraisers in what Singh calls "the most complex tax roll in the world" due to the constant growth. Last year, Disney, Universal and SeaWorld filed a dozen lawsuits against Singh's office, the tax collector and the state Department of Revenue. SeaWorld is fighting the market and assessed values of its flagship SeaWorld Adventure Park, its Aquatica water park and Discovery Cove, an animal-encounter park. An Associated Press tally of all the properties listed in the lawsuit shows that the appraiser gave them a total market value of more than $5 billion in 2015. "Similar to other property owners in Orange County, we have no choice but to take action to dispute these errors by the property appraiser," Disney's statement said.



Meijer Gardens plans new attractions, $115M in fundraising

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 14:06:13 UT

(AP) — Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in western Michigan is close to raising the $115 million needed to build a new welcome center, rooftop sculpture garden and picnic pavilion, officials said Thursday. The Grand Rapids attraction has raised $102 million as part of its capital campaign titled Welcoming the World: Other planned additions or improvements include a new learning center and sculpture garden entry plaza along with an expanded amphitheater and more parking.



Carlsbad Caverns sees uptick in visitors

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:44:50 UT

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Carlsbad Caverns is celebrating the highest number of visitor in 15 years. The national park says it saw higher-than-average visitation for the 2017 spring break season, hosting over 42,000 people in the first three weeks of March. That's a 44 percent increase in visitors compared to the same period in 2016. The park is known for its underground limestone caves. Former President Barack Obama and his family visited last summer.



National Park Service: DC cherry trees start bloom period

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 21:50:50 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Park Service says Washington's famous cherry trees are blooming again after a killing frost. Officials announced Friday that cold weather had killed half of the blossoms on Washington's famous cherry trees just as they were reaching peak bloom.



Nation's only airport-to-ski slope train a hit this season

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:33:59 UT

About 18,000 people rode the train from Denver 60 miles west through the Rockies, across the Continental Divide, and to the base of a ski resort at about 9,000 feet above sea level. About 70 percent of the riders on the revived ski train this season came from Colorado's Front Range, a similar demographic to overall visitors to the ski resort, Hurlbert said. Amtrak and Winter Park plan to increase efforts to attract out-of-state ski visitors next winter with the promise that they won't have to rent a car or book a van shuttle to get from Denver to the ski slopes, Hurlbert and Magliari said.



Fado, sardines and the Age of Exploration: A visit to Lisbon

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 18:12:35 UT

All our Portuguese-speaking waiter could say by way of explanation was "Famoso!" Gradually we learned the entourage included a legendary Brazilian singer, Fafa de Belem, along with Cuca Roseta, a popular singer who's part of fado's new generation. [...] at midnight Saturday, we hit the jam-packed bar scene at Tasca do Chico in the lively Bairro Alto neighborhood. Breakfast was simple and delicious: coffee and custard tarts called pasteis de belem, served at tiny cafe counters. Grilled sardines are a summertime specialty but sardine pate is often part of a meal's couvert, a small plate that might include olives, bread, cheese or sausage. [...] make time for the TimeOut Market, a modern food court in a historic market where dozens of vendors serve thin-sliced cured ham, Asian food, gelato and more. Hang with the hipsters at Lx Factory, an old industrial complex now filled with antiques shops, home design stores and boutiques like Rutz, where everything is made from cork, from sneakers to pocketbooks. Back in Lisbon, the National Coach Museum displays gilded, velvet-lined coaches used by royalty, some dating to the 1600s. At Jeronimos Monastery, amid the vaulted ceilings and intricate carvings, we visited the tomb of explorer Vasco da Gama, whose revolutionary ocean expedition reached India in 1498.



Beyond spring cleaning: Tapestries get 16 years of grooming

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 17:28:33 UT

In addition to removing the standard dust and dirt, the massive undertaking included work on tapestries that suffered smoke and water damage during a 2001 fire. Ten tapestries, their images woven with wool and silk yarn in rich earth tones, deep blue, green and russet, are displayed around the cathedral, with a focal point at the Chapels of the Seven Tongues, which honor immigrant populations. Rare books, period objects and computer kiosks provide context on the "cultural, dynastic, political and religious worlds of the Barberini family," organizers say.