USA Today Travel | The centerpiece of Disney California Adventure Park's five-year, $1.1 billion tune-up is off to the races with thumbs-up reviews—but would-be visitors to the Anaheim park's new 12-acre theme land can expect a traffic jam of fellow admirers over the next few weeks.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the next two weekends are likely to be particularly crowded when up to a million annual passholders join regular park visitors at Cars Land before a summer blackout for the passes begins, and says Disney California Adventure could be forced to shut its gates and direct fans to its neighboring big sister, Disneyland.
Disneyland had to turn away visitors for several hours when crowds overwhelmed the park during a recent 24-hour Leap Day event, the paper notes. (Photo credit: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)
USA Today Travel | Tuesday's strong 7.4 earthquake in the southern Mexico state of Guerrero, about midway between the beach resort of Acapulco and the colonial town of Oaxaca, is more bad news for a tourism industry already on the defensive from the country's protracted drug war.
Initial reports say the quake, centered some 12 miles underground, was felt strongly in Oaxaca and swayed buildings in Mexico City, sending frightened workers and residents into the streets. There were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries, but telephone service was down
in Mexico City and throughout the area where the quake was felt. In Huajuapan, Guerrero, near the epicenter, hotel manager Marco Antonio Estrada reported shaken-up guests but no major damage.
USA Today Travel | The head of Costa Cruises' parent company says he's confident the brand can make a comeback in the wake of the Costa Concordia accident, and he has no plans to scale it back or change its name.
"It is damaged. It will take some time (to rebound), but we'd be crazy to abandon such a powerful brand," Carnival Corp. Chairman and CEO Micky Arison tells USA TODAY in one of his first interviews since the Jan. 13 accident.
The vote of confidence in Costa comes after Carnival Corp. on Friday revealed for the first time just how dramatically bookings have fallen at the line in the weeks since the accident. In a conference call to discuss quarterly earnings, Carnival Corp. COO Howard Frank told Wall Street analysts that Costa bookings plunged 80% to 90% as compared to a year earlier in the four weeks after the event, and bookings remain down 40% to 50% in recent weeks.
USA Today Travel | Boeing has inspected five 787 Dreamliners for a flaw in the fuselage that the company recently discovered, the new head of the 787 program said Monday. Reuters reported that the company remains on schedule to build 10 planes per month by the end of next year.
The company is inspecting the first 55 787s built before it discovered the problem and will make any necessary repairs, Larry Loftis said before a groundbreaking ceremony for a new delivery center, according to Reuters.
The 787 is a more fuel-efficient plane. So far airlines have ordered about 870 of them, Reuters reported. But the plane is about three years behind its original schedule.
USA Today | Every vacationer boarding a cruise ship will receive a safety briefing before the vessel sets sail under a new industry-wide policy announced today.
In a joint statement, the U.S.-based Cruise Lines International Association, Europe-based European Cruise Council and UK-based Passenger Shipping Association said the new policy would apply across the board to their members, which include every major cruise line in the world.
The announcement comes in the wake of an industry-wide safety review following last month's Costa Concordia disaster off the coast of Italy, which resulted in at least 17 deaths. Fifteen passengers remain missing.
USA Today | Travelers are treating in-flight Wi-Fi like a bag of peanuts: They'll take it, if it's free.
Airlines are spending millions of dollars to equip planes with Wi-Fi capability. But only a small percentage of travelers have used the service since it was introduced in 2008, numbers from providers and analysts indicate.
"It is certainly something everyone recognizes as a value, both to the airlines and the passengers," says Michael Planey, an industry analyst at H&M Planey Consultants. "The question is at what point do airlines or service providers make money or stem losses?"
Airlines and in-flight Wi-Fi providers won't disclose how much the service is used.
Starting today, the welcome screens on 1.2 million hotel television sets in Marriott, Hilton, Sheraton, Holiday Inn and other hotels in the USA will show a short public service announcement from DHS. The 15-second spot encourages viewers to be vigilant and call law enforcement if they witness something suspicious during their travels. (…)
The PSA, which will be interspersed with other messages on the welcome screen, will be the same in all 5,400 hotels that LodgeNet serves. It ends by telling viewers to contact "local authorities."
USA Today | Forget calling the front desk. If you're a guest at an Affinia hotel, the staff will try to figure out what you need just by looking at you.
Starting this month, the boutique chain is bumping up personal service in its five hotels in New York City and one each in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Everyone from housekeeping to management will be tailoring his interaction with guests based on body language.
A body language expert trained employees over the summer on what cues to look for. A guest who makes eye contact while walking down the hall, for instance, may be open to conversation. A corporate trekker constantly tugging on an ear is probably stressed and may be interested in a yoga kit — or perhaps a therapeutic pillow from the hotel's pillow menu.
Photo credit: iStock
USA Today | President Obama is asking passengers to pay a few dollars more in taxes for an airline ticket — which already is about 20% taxes and fees. And the travel industry is in an uproar about it.
Big airlines say people would buy fewer tickets if Congress approves the president's proposal to help cut the deficit and pay for the nation's aviation system.
Regional airlines, which carry more than half of domestic fliers each day, say it could force them to pull out of small cities.
Small-city airports worry about that.
And some travelers and consumer groups say it's just unfair to ask passengers to pay more on top of the taxes and fees that government and airports already charge.
USA Today | New York City's Lady Liberty is celebrating her 125th birthday on Oct. 28 with a day of music, special tours and programs—followed by a year-long makeover.
The National Park Service announced this week that the $27.25 million renovation project, limited to the monument itself, will make the interior safer and more accessible by adding stairways and upgrading existing facilities.
Liberty Island will remain open and the 22-story statue—built in the 1880s and a gift from France—will be mostly unobstructed from view. (Photo credit: Andie Diemer)