Position:St. John's island tops beach destinations, Orlando ranks first in cities, Air Berlin's Stansted operation to be joined by Manchester and Southampton

St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands was recently selected as one of America's cleanest beach destinations. The list, which appears in the June 2004 issue of Organic Style, noted St. John's Trunk Bay, Hawksnest Bay and Leinster Bay as being among the top eight beach destinations in the United States, singled out for their pristine shores and fresh clean air.

In a survey conducted by Travel + Leisure magazine and America Online's Travel Channel, Orlando was ranked first in five of seven categories, including Best Cities for Family Attractions, Cities with Ideal Hotels and Resorts for Families, Best Cities for Restaurants for All Ages, Best Cities for State-of-the-Art Playgrounds and Parks, and Top Cities for Up-to-the-Minute Fun for Teens. The online survey asked nearly 500,000 AOL members what they thought about family travel to 25 American cities.

Air Berlin's Stansted operation is to be joined by Manchester and Southampton as UK departure points on 1 November. Manchester will again be daily services Berlin-Tegel (in competition with BA) and Dusseldorf (which also has Lufthansa on the route) plus a four times a weekly route to Paderborn. Southampton to Paderborn will be served three times weekly. The successful Stansted operation continues Berlin-Tegel, Dusseldorf, Hanover, Munster-Osnabruck, Nuremberg, Paderborn and Palma de Mallorca. www.airberlin.com

Air France has confirmed that it will stick to its summer flight schedule even though it cannot use Charles de Gaulle Terminal 2E, part of which collapsed last month at Paris's largest airport. However there will changes of schedules for some long-haul flights, including Boston, Miami, Toronto and Rio de Janeiro. The idea of moving some flights to Orly seems to have been dropped after heavy local lobbying. Whilst in many ways better located than CDG Orly is only supported from the UK with London City operations and does not have the interline connections of Roissy. www.airfrance.com

Air New Zealand unveiled plans to transform the long-haul flying experience for both its economy and its premium customers. From mid- 2005, Air New Zealand will offer its long-haul customers new cabin interiors, seats, in-flight entertainment system and food and beverage service. ANZ's fleet of Boeing 747s will be refitted at a cost of around $100 million, beginning in the middle of next year and work on the last aircraft should be completed by early 2006. Eight new Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft, which will start arriving in September 2005, will have the same interiors and product.

AirTran Airways announced on June 29 2004 enhancements to its existing frequent traveler rewards program, A+ Rewards. The enhancements come amidst the reduction of benefits on other airlines and offer members the unique opportunity to gain a free(a) ticket to anywhere in the world, whether the airline flies there or not. "AirTran Airways is known throughout the industry not just for low fares, but exemplary customer service and the most-friendly Crew Members in the business," said Bob Fornaro, president and chief operating officer. "We chose to enhance our rewards program to expand upon the existing benefits to passengers, and reward our most loyal customers. We, in large part, owe our success to their business, and this is our thank you."

Alaska Airlines celebrated on June 29 2004 the grand opening of its state-of-the-art passenger concourse designed to expedite passengers through Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. The new Concourse C features a layout, unique in the industry, for the airline's two-step check-in process. The layout virtually eliminates the conventional check-in counter. It is designed so that Alaska Airlines' passengers can move swiftly to security and on to their gate to board their flights. All of Concourse C's nine gates will be operated exclusively by Alaska Airlines. "I am extremely proud of our staff for designing this process themselves," said Vice President, Customer Services Ed White. "Passengers will discover they can move through this system much faster providing them with much more control over their airport experience. This is the wave of the future for moving people through an airport." The two-step process begins either at home, where the passenger checks- in on line and prints out the boarding pass, or does the same at the airport using an Instant Travel Machine (ITM). In the second step, the passenger takes the boarding pass to the nearby bag check location where the agent scans in the boarding pass, the luggage tags are printed and attached to the passenger's luggage. The passenger then heads off to security.

On July 1, passengers traveling on American Airlines International Flagship Service in First or Business Class on most routes will experience a new SpAA In Flight amenity comfort kit featuring Temple Spa aromatherapy products. Inspired by the Mediterranean culture, the SPA- TO-GO products are luxury, spa-based skin and body treatments for travelers on the go. "Given their busy and sometimes hectic schedules, many of our customers don't have time to visit a spa," said Dan...

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