Travel News May 2005.

Position:Online bookings

Online agents tout expansion to keep investors' interest. Despite a 20% jump in online bookings, Internet travel agencies must work hard to keep the attention of investors, the New York Times reports. Travelocity, Orbitz and Expedia are emphasizing corporate sales and expanding internationally. Meanwhile, costs are rising and the market is becoming more mature, analysts say. May 31, 2005

In-flight Internet options proliferate for international travelers. More international carriers are introducing or expanding in-flight Internet access for passengers, Airguide reports. Scandinavian Airlines System cited high demand as the reason it expanded in-flight connectivity access to all seats on many of its routes. May 26, 2005

Small Seattle ad firm lands DMX Inflight. Aeromedia Network has won a contract to provide ad content for DMX Inflight, an in-flight entertainment provider. The contract could mean wide exposure for Aeromedia because DMX has relationships with almost every major airline. Aeromedia now provides advertising content for Alaska Airlines. May 25, 2005

Internet travel firm aimed at groups plans to double in size. An online site for group travel is growing and will double its size in the next year, the Denver Rocky Mountain News reports. Groople is based in Denver and plans to open an international office in Paris. The company caters to groups needing at least five hotel rooms. May 25, 2005

U.S. airlines expect 200 million passengers this summer. The Air Transport Association is expecting approximately 200 million passengers to travel on our country's airlines this summer. Throughout the summer -- Memorial Day through Labor Day -- the airlines are expecting to carry 4.1% more passengers than they carried during the same period in 2004. May 25, 2005

More travelers with time to kill head to the gym. Some travelers are hitting the gym during layovers, the Associated Press reports. It has become easier to find fitness centers in or near airports. Some gyms are a short taxi ride away, and others are located inside airports or in hotels linked to airports. May 24, 2005

Air fares, hotel rates climb ahead of busy summer travel season. Anticipating a strong demand for summer travel, airlines and hotels have lifted their prices, the Dallas Morning News reports. Tom Parsons of said air fares are now more than $100 higher than they were a year ago. A PricewaterhouseCoopers study indicates hotel rates have jumped 4.5%. May 24, 2005

Airlines make first-class more child-friendly as demand grows. Airlines are responding as more families choose to fly their children in the first-class cabin, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some carriers are offering new services, such as Nintendo video games, a child-friendly menu, and "sky nannies," who entertain the children with toys and puzzles. Airlines are also trying to balance the needs of children who fly first-class with those of business travelers. May 20, 2005

Standard XML messaging gains momentum in travel industry. Many travel companies are switching to a standard XML messaging specification from proprietary XML interfaces, Information Week reports. The new XML specifications offer better connectivity and online packaging. It also cuts distribution costs. May 11, 2005

Space tourism attracts interest of wealthy, may boost economy. Thousands of wealthy people are interested in spending $200,000 to tour space, Florida Today reports. If it takes off, the space tourism industry could add millions to the economy and create thousands of NASA jobs. The Florida Space Authority has commissioned a study on building a private space port and attracting companies interested in catering to space tourists. May 10, 2005

When making summer plans, travelers mull driving, flying. Travelers are finding it difficult to decide whether to drive or fly to their summer vacations, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Many families are finding it cheaper to fly because high gas prices make it expensive to drive long distances. Also, major and discount airlines are offering cheap airfares to certain parts of the country. May 9, 2005

Web booking takes off with more travelers. PhoCusWright predicts more money will be spent this year in the U.S. booking leisure and unmanaged business travel online than offline. The online travel industry is expected to rake in $66 billion this year. Experts and consumers cite the ease and convenience of travel sites, which are available 24 hours a day; however, travel agents say they believe vacationers will continue to turn to them to arrange cruises, tours and other more complicated itineraries. May 9, 2005

Travelers troll Internet sites for erroneous fares. Many consumers check airlines sites specifically looking for "mistake fares," USA TODAY reports. Recent accidental online deals include a $51 roundtrip ticket from Los Angeles to Fiji. Some Web sites include disclaimers giving the right to refuse to honor a fare that a reasonable person would recognize as a mistake. Often these online deals are caused by human error. May 6, 2005

More research needed before tighter emission rules are enacted. Europe and North American officials are moving toward stricter emissions standards for commercial airlines, according to an editorial in Air Transport World. Tougher rules could harm the industry, which is already suffering from staggering fuel prices. Airport air emissions are an under-researched subject, and more work should be done to understand the airlines' role and responsibility. May 6, 2005

Sleeping on an aircraft is always the subject of debate. Now when on a flight, passengers can avoid the bad movie, or talking to fellow passengers and instead get some much needed rest. John Stallcup the US-based (it could only happen in America) co-author of "How to Sleep on Airplanes" the best selling sleep travel handbook, has introduced a...

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