Travel News April 2005.


Fear of terrorist threat may exceed actual scope. In an editorial in the Bangor Daily News, author Winthrop Griffith writes that the confidence of Americans may be undermined by paranoia about future terrorist attacks. He agrees that the threat is real, but notes the many false alarms and warnings about another large attack. Apr 29, 2005

International terrorist incidents triple, but U.S. won't release statistics. U.S. government figures indicate international terrorist incidents tripled last year, the Washington Post reports. Significant attacks rose to 665 in 2004, up from 175 a year earlier. The State Department has decided not to make the statistics public in its annual report on terrorism, which is scheduled to be released this week. Apr 27, 2005

Hoping to save millions, six large airlines sign up with low-cost ticket distributor. Six major airlines have signed up with a low-cost ticket reservation system, the Wall Street Journal reports. The system is run by G2 SwitchWorks and could save the companies millions each year on ticket distribution fees. G2 would charge the airlines about $3 for booking a ticket, compared with $12.50 charged by the traditional operators. Apr 27, 2005

Passport technology raises concerns among travel, privacy groups. The State Department's plan to equip new passports with chips that employ radio frequency identification, or RFID, technology has generated concern and frustration among travelers and privacy advocates. Critics say the chips could make Americans easier targets for terrorists when traveling overseas. Apr 26, 2005

Private screeners do a better job, report says: Airport screeners who work for private companies outperform government workers, according to a congressional investigation. The study found the private workers are better at detecting dangerous objects. Apr 20, 2005

Report says: Airport screeners need new technology to detect hidden weapons. New technology is needed to improve airport security because hidden weapons continue to make it past airport screeners, according to a government report. The Department of Homeland Security will release the report today, USA TODAY reports. Apr 19, 2005

Passport rule could "disrupt the honest flow of traffic". President Bush said that he had ordered Homeland Security officials to reconsider a new rule that would require U.S. citizens reentering the country from destinations such as Canada and Mexico to show passports. Bush said he was concerned the requirement could "disrupt the honest flow of traffic" across borders. Experts say the rule could discourage families from traveling to Canada, particularly for short trips to places such as Niagara Falls. Apr 18, 2005

Two studies show airport security remains at pre-Sept. 11 levels. Two government studies will show airport security has not improved since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, the Associated Press reports. The federal government took over security at 450 airports in early 2002. However, the reports found federal screeners are no better at detecting potentially dangerous items than the previous airport workers. The Transportation Security Administration declined to comment because the reports had not yet been released. Apr 18, 2005

Cigarette lighters are now totally banned since last week on US flights. Unlike guns, knives and other dangerous items that a passenger cannot carry on in his pocket but may stow in checked luggage bags, lighters are prohibited from anywhere on an aircraft. Whilst the throwaway manufacturers initially complained in a very visible manner they should in fact benefit from the prohibition although one could argue that airport waste bins full of units illegal to travel could constitute even more danger. If you must have a smoke when you get off the 'plane you can have matches in your pocket. Apr 18, 2005

Full planes expected this summer as demand soars. Travelers are expected to pack flights this summer, USA Today reports. Low fares have boosted the demand for travel. However, high fuel costs persist, and airlines are expected to continue to lose money. Apr 14, 2005

Camera used to detect galaxies may be used to detect weapons. Researchers are combining millimeter wave cameras, which are used to spot distant galaxies, with regular photography to detect concealed weapons, the Dow Jones News Wires reports. The Army could use the technology to spot hidden weapons on enemy soldiers, and it could also be used by police and airport security. The Army has funded some of the research to develop the cameras. Apr 13, 2005

Rule change expected to spark demand surge for U.S. passports. A new rule requiring U.S. citizens to show passports when returning to the country from destinations like Canada and Mexico will likely prompt millions of Americans to apply for passports. The State Department has the capacity to issue 10 million passports per year but expects demand to increase to as many as 17 million a year; to cope with the crunch, the department is opening new passport agencies and hiring more employees. Apr 12, 2005

Report by OAG, the global data company, published April 11 2005 , that budget airlines now account for 12% of all scheduled flight operations and 15% of all available seats. In other words low cost operators are providing one in eight of the world's scheduled flights. The statistics provided by OAG are impressive. Predictably, the biggest year-on-year growth is in China. Compared with April 2004, the current month will see a 12% growth in flights to and from China, and a massive 20% increase in domestic sectors. Worldwide, the growth figure is 5%.This is in spite of rising oil prices and is backed up by similar figures published by the World Travel and Tourism Council at its summit in Delhi just concluded. OAG also notes that it is tracking a staggering 160 potential start up airlines. Apr 11, 2005

Passport proposal concerns some travelers. A proposal that would require U.S. citizens returning from Canada and Mexico to flash their passports has drawn mixed reviews from travelers. Travelers must only show their driver's license when reentering the U.S. Some say getting a passport is too complicated, and others say the proposed rule would cause delays at border crossings. The guidelines are part of an effort to keep terrorists out of the U.S. and would be fully effective in 2008. Apr 8, 2005

Airlines develop information databases to market services to customers. Several large airlines are developing banks of information about their customers, InformationWeek reports. The passenger information is then used to market different services to the fliers, such as upgrades. American Airlines, for example, has been adding more information to its customer database since 2002. Information includes whether passengers have been willing to give up seats or take advantage of...

To continue reading