The U.S. House has passed legislation that would extend by one year the October deadline for Visa Waiver Program countries to include biometric identifiers on passports. The bill was introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; a similar bill is now pending in the Senate. The Travel Industry Association of America (TIA), which has been working vigilantly for the delay, applauded the House's action, saying certain tourism trading partners are not ready to produce the passports. TIA President and CEO William Norman said on Monday, "Today's House vote shows that Chairman Sensenbrenner and the Administration are sensitive to travel industry concerns. We appreciate their actions." The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) also lauded the deadline. NBTA successfully lobbied that keeping in place the original October 2004 deadline requirement would hurt thousands of American businesses that depend on international travel and would be harmful to the American travel and tourism industry. The Association is now poised to tackle a similar measure before the Senate.
Aloha Airlines is increasing the number of passenger seats on its 10 Boeing 737-200 inter-island aircraft by replacing 12 first class seats with 21 coach seats. The airline expects to complete the conversion program by mid-July. This modification affects only the carrier?s flights within Hawaii; it retains first class seating and service on all its transpacific and West Coast flights provided on its long-range Boeing 737-700 fleet. In tandem with the seating switch, the carrier says it is boosting its inter-island schedule by 28 percent for the summer season, beginning June 10. As for inter-island first-class bookings, Aloha has stopped accepting such bookings for travel after June 30 and says passengers who?ve paid for first-class inter-island seats for travel after June 30 will be entitled to refunds. www.alohaairlines.com
American Airlines is adding flights to 50 cities this week in preparation for a busy summer season. AA also just began serving three new routes from Los Angeles to San Salvador, between Chicago and Sacramento, and between San Francisco and Maui. On July 3 2004, it will add seasonal weekend service from New York LaGuardia and Dallas/Fort Worth to Nassau. Most of the markets are seeing the addition of one or two new flights per week. But cities such as Cancun; San Pedro Sula, Honduras; Kingston, Jamaica; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; and Honolulu will see five or six new flights a week.
American Airlines has implemented a new low-fare structure in the Dallas/Fort Worth-Los Angeles market. Its new one-way, walkup coach fare to all five Los Angeles-area airports is $199, with fares going as low as $99 when purchased with a 14-day advance. There are no Saturday stay requirements. The fare is good to Los Angeles International, John Wayne Airport, Ontario, Long Beach and Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. American said the lowest fares would be hard to find during the summer on Fridays through Sundays, so customers should book early. "Travelers can use American's Web site, AA.com, to search for the best bargains at the desired departure times," said Dan Garton, executive VP of marketing.
American Airlines will begin offering nonstop flights from Miami to St. Kitts this November. It will initially operate three times a week, starting Nov. 3 2004, which will be expanded to five times per week on Feb. 2. Also in November, American is inaugurating service from Miami to St. Lucia. It is putting Boeing 737s on the St. Kitts route with 16 first class and 126 economy seats.
American Airlines cut fares on June 10 2004 between Dallas/Fort Worth and the greater Los Angeles area. American's one-way, walk-up coach fare on nonstop flights between Dallas/Fort Worth and five Los Angeles-area airports will be priced from $199, with other...