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Travel Insider Tips - August 2012

I receive lots of information about all aspects of news for the travel industry. Each month I will share with my readers anything which I think might be of interest.

New Consumer Regulations to take Effect July 24

You may remember that the airline industry was given extra time to comply with two of the provisions that concerned baggage allowances and fees.  These were due to take effect July 24, 2012. One of the procedures requires an airline to disclose the specific fees and allowances that pertain to carry on bags and first and second checked bags. The other requirement says airlines must apply the same allowances and fees on all legs of a multi-segment ticket to and from, or within, the U.S. This includes codeshares and multi- carrier connecting itineraries. This could become quite messy.

Southwest to spend $100 million to repaint Air Tran planes for Delta

Southwest Airlines is so happy to turn its Boeing 717's cover to Delta that it is paying out some $100 million needed to repaint the 88 jets and redo their interiors Southwest projects that it will bring in more revenues by flying larger Boeing 737's than the smaller 717's more seats at about the same fuel and other operating costs.

Will Venice Ban Cruise Ships?

The Italian Government is considering a law to ban cruise ships entirely from entering the San Marco basin and Giudeccia canal.  The environment committee of Italy's parliament is at the review stage of a bill which could give the city council powers over the surrounding waters.  A ministerial decree was issued in March banning ships over 40,000 tonnes, mid size ships, from sailing too close to the Doge's Palace but it will only come into force once an alternative solution has been found.  In the meantime, the large ships are still sailing up the canal and nothing has changed.  Venice wants to ban all ships of more than 30,000 tonnes from entering the lagoon and to dock outside at Malamocco or have a custom built offshore port near the future Mose battier.   After the Concordia disaster, UNESCO appealed to the Italian authorities to ban large ships from entering. It was the arrival of the new MSC Divina, one of the largest to visit Venice and go down the Grand Canal.  The ship completely dwarfed the city.  Unfortunately, Venice depends mostly on tourism, especially cruise tourism.

AA US Air merger?

The CEO's of American Airlines and U.S.Air met recently, first time face to face, to discuss a possible merger. Unions claim that the executivers are resisting a merge during bankruptcy so they can get stock in the new company that could be worth tens of millions of dollars.

Shipboard weddings are drawing travel agent and supplier interest

Cruise lines and travel agents are increasingly taking note of the strong business potential of the shipboard wedding market.  New cruise packages for shipboard weddings are emerging to capitalize on this new trend.

Free Bullet Train Tickets from China Eastern

China Eastern Airlines has launched a new service where customers can buy a flight ticket to/from Shanghai with a Shanghai Hongqiao railway station bullet train ticket to/from Suzhou, Hangzhou, Changzhou, Ningbo or Wuxi.  The bullet train tickets are free until October 27.  Shanghai flight and bullet train customers collect their train tickets at the station by simply showing their ID or passport up to 90 minutes before the train departs.  They also have priority airport check in and access to the airports VIP lunge.

Canadians to get ePassports

Starting in 2013 Passport Canada has confirmed that from Spring of 2013, all new Canadian passports will be electronic passports.  The Canadian ePassport will have an electronic chip embedded in the back cover of the book.  The chip adds an extra layer of security to the passport and makes it more tamper-proof. The chip in the ePassport stores the same personal information that is normally seen on page 2 of the passport, except for the holder's signature. The photo- and country-specific digital security feature (or signature) that proves the passport was issued by the Government of Canada.  No additional information about passport holders or their travels will be stored on the chip. ePassport readers will be installed in Passport Canada's 24 offices for people who would like to see the informatin stored on their chip to make sure it is accurate.

Heathrow Opens Passport Lane for "low risk" passengers

Things have not got much better at Heathrow for incoming passengers, so the airport has opened up special passport lanes for low-risk tourists such as Australians, Americans and Canadians to try and cut wait times. The UK Border Force Agency has begun the new desks for visitors who dont need visas.  The target is to get 95 percent of European passengers through passport checks within 24 minutes and non Europeans in 45 minutes.

Iberia Ground Staff set Strike Days 

Iberia Airlines ground staff in Barcelona will hold six 24-hour strikes between July 27 and August 31 at El Prat Airport. Expect flight cancellations and delays. Forty percent of traffic will be affected.

WestJet Chosen as a Top 10 International Airline

WestJet announced it has been chosen by Aviation Week as a top 10 international airline. The study ranks airline carriers across the world by their annual revenues, using financial and operational data to rate publicly traded airlines in five different performance categories.  WestJet is the only Canadian airline and one of only two North American airlines to appear on this year's list.

Delta Sends out Email re Phishing Attacks

Delta has received reports from customers of fraudulent emails claiming to be from Delta Air Lines.  As such, please be advised of the following.  If you have received one of these emails Delta recommends that you change their SkyMiles account PIN immediately and monitor your account for any misuse.  These emails claim that passengers have purchased a Delta ticket, a credit card has been charged and or an invoice or receipt is attached to the email.   Dont open the attachment as it may contain potentially dnagerous viruses or harm their computer.   Delta will continue to post updates as additional information becomes available.

Maureen Jones

Maureen Jones is president of All Horizons Travel at 160 Main Street. Members of her staff are experts in business travel, cruises, and all types of leisure.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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