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Flight Attendants Union Wants Combat Training

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USA Today | Flight attendants press for hand-to-hand combat training as anti-terror measure The Association of Flight Attendants is pushing Congress to fund combat training as part of a four-point plan that the union says would improve security inside aircraft cabins. The Los Angeles Times reports the union "hopes that lawmakers will include money to put some of their ideas into action under an upcoming funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration."

According to the Times, the attendants' four-point plan includes: "Mandatory hand-to-hand combat training for all crew members"; portable communication devices that would allow attendants to speak with pilots during emergencies; a standard maximum size for carry-on luggage "so that flight attendants can look for suspicious passengers instead of struggling with oversized bags"; and the ability to shut down in-flight Wi-Fi "during high-threat periods to prevent terrorists from communicating with collaborators on the ground."

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Photo courtesy of iStock

Airlines Will Cancel Flights to Avoid Delay Fines

NBC News - Dallas, Ft. Worth |  Passengers may soon be seeing more cancellations on airport departure boards. Several airlines, including Fort Worth-based American and Houston-based Continental, say they will cancel flights rather than risk paying stiff penalties for delaying passengers on the runway.

Continental's CEO told investors Tuesday that the airline will opt to cancel flights rather than chance being fined. Aviation consultant Denny Kelly expects other airlines to follow suit.

“I think all of them will cancel flights,” he said. “They'll do it partially because they think they are going to punish passengers, and if they punish them, someone will get this legislation removed.”

Under new federal guidelines that take effect next month, airlines can be fined up to $27,500 per passenger if a plane is stuck on the tarmac for longer than three hours.

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HomeAway Expands to South America

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Good news for those thinking about an affordable spring or summer rental. We learned this morning that HomeAway, one of the largest vacation rental companies, is expanding its offerings to include homes in South America. With its purchase of Brazil’s top rental site, AlugueTemporada.com.br, HomeAway, with more than 12,000 new properties to choose from, now has the most vacation rentals in the region—and some 453,000 additional homes spread across North America and Europe.

HomeAway appears to be on an acquisitions roll; the company also announced last week it purchased BedandBreakfast.com for an undisclosed sum.

Adrien Glover is the online deputy editor at Travel + Leisure.

Image courtesy of HomeAway

Obama to Nominate Ex-Army General to Head TSA

Washington (CNN) |  President Obama has tapped a former Army general to lead the Transportation Security Administration, sources have told CNN.

Obama plans to nominate Robert A. Harding, a retired major general with 33 years in the Army, to become the TSA administrator, sources said. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will announce the nomination Monday with Harding by her side, according to one administration official.

"The TSA administrator is the most important unfilled post in the Obama administration," one administration official said. "Mr. Harding has the experience and perspective to make a real difference in carrying out the mission of the agency."

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Look into My Sole: TSA Shoe Scanners in the Works

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I don’t know about you, but I curse Richard Reid, the goofy-looking “shoe bomber,” every time I have to go through airport security—especially this time of year, when my slip-on, slip-off shoes are deep in storage. Amid talk of high-tech body scanners and some eight years after Reid's failed attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound American Airlines flight by igniting explosives hidden in his footwear, shoe security still proves elusive.

Which brings me to an email I got today from the Transportation Security Administration (if you’re a frequent traveler and don’t subscribe to the agency’s email news list, you should). Its subject line: What Ever Happened To The Shoe Scanner Idea? What ever happened indeed.

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Major JFK Runway Closes for Repairs


The Consumerist |  Today marks the beginning of what could be an ugly four months at JFK International Airport, as the NYC-area travel hub loses its busiest runway for renovation work. This move has forced the airport to reduce the number of flights going in and out by 20% during this time.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates all three major airports in the NYC area, has reduced the total number of arrivals and departures at JFK from around 1,300 to 1,050.

The redo on Runway 13-31 isn't just a simple repaving job. The $376 million effort will widen the runway by 50 feet and add taxiways, all with the goal of reducing flight delays by around 10,500 hours each year.

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Continental Launches Mobile Boarding Passes at Heathrow

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Travel Daily News | Continental Airlines announced the expansion of its mobile boarding pass service to London’s Heathrow Airport, becoming the first carrier to offer paperless boarding passes on nonstop flights from the United Kingdom to the U.S.

The service allows customers to receive boarding passes electronically on their mobile phones or personal digital assistants (PDAs) and eliminates the need for paper boarding passes.

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Vietnam Builds Coastal Road Link to Cambodia and Thailand

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eTurbo News
|  According to Vietnamese media sources, construction will begin next month on
a 220-km long coastal road in the Mekong Delta as part of an international
 highway linking the country with Cambodia and Thailand, the project's
management board recently announced.

Running through the provinces of Ca Mau and Kien Giang, the US$440 million
road will be built in cooperation with the governments of South Korea and
Australia, as well as the Asian Development Bank with its seat in Manila,
Philippines.

Once it is completed, the road will be part of a nearly 1,000-kilometer link
known as the Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam Southern Coastal Road Economic
Corridor, starting at Bangkok and ending at Ca Mau Province's Nam Can
District.

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Paris Dispatch: Eiffel Tower News, Cool Apps, Exhibits, More...

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You can now buy tickets for the Eiffel Tower online at www.tour-eiffel.fr (English section); it’s also possible to reserve online at both the 58 and the Jules Verne. Van Cleef & Arpels took home the Best iPhone Application award at the Stratégies / Firstluxe.com 2009 Awards. “A Day in Paris”, was inspired by the brand’s site: unejourneeaparis.com. The app traces seven romantic, interactive circuits in Paris with poetic stops along the way.

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U.S. Renews Travel Alert to Mexico

Washington (CNN) |  The United States has renewed a travel alert to Mexico, citing increased violence in the country.

The alert, issued Sunday by the State Department, is in effect until August 20 and supersedes an alert issued August 20, 2009.

"Recent violent attacks have caused the U.S. Embassy to urge U.S. citizens to delay unnecessary travel to parts of Michoacan, Durango, Coahuila and Chihuahua ... and to advise U.S. citizens residing or traveling in those areas to exercise extreme caution," the alert says.

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