New features forUS Airways program
US Airways recently added two new features to its frequent-flyer program, Dividend Miles, which allow members to buy mileage to add to their accounts or to give as a gift to friends or relatives.
The Mileage Purchase Option lets members buy up to 25 percent of the miles needed for travel when making reservations. Such a purchase would be useful when members want to take an award trip but don't have quite enough miles to qualify. The mileage is sold in increments of 1,000 miles at 3 cents per mile, including tax, with a 2,000-mile -- which amounts to $60 -- minimum-purchase requirement. The number to call is (800) 428-4322.
With the Dividend Miles Gift Program, customers can buy mileage at 3 cents per mile, including tax, in increments of 1,000 miles, with a 2,000-mile minimum purchase requirement and a maximum of 10,000 miles per calendar year for any individual account.
Upon request, a gift letter or receipt will be sent to the purchaser or the recipient of the gift.
Call the Dividend Miles service center at (336) 661-8390, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Details on both programs can also be found at www.usairways.com/dividendmiles on the Web.
FAA explores idea forprescreening fliers
It's not here yet, but there may soon be a way to bypass those long lines at airport security checkpoints.
The Federal Aviation Administration is looking at a plan to prescreen passengers who agree in advance to background checks. Those passengers would be issued "smart cards" to show at the screening area. The cards would allow them to pass with minimal screening while security officers concentrated on other people.
The plan would depend on a smart technology to verify the card holder's identity such as a fingerprint or a retinal scan. The Air Transport Association, which represents the major airlines, has endorsed the smart card idea.
Until it's put into effect, however, it's wise to follow the airlines' instructions and arrive at the airport two hours before your scheduled departure.
Hawaii Value Passoffers deals to visitors
More than 1,200 businesses are participating in the Hawaii Value Pass, which was launched Nov. 1.
Every visitor 18 and older will receive a free Hawaii Value Pass card on lodging check-in. Card holders are eligible for savings statewide on hotels, dining, attractions, entertainment, inter-island travel, ground transportation, shops, and leisure and sports activities.
For example, card holders can receive a free appetizer with entree purchase, a free luau upgrade, free gifts with purchase, and a golf-dinner deal for $60 that includes green fees, golf cart and meal.
A brochure presented with the card lists available opportunities. The program, created by the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, will run through Jan. 31.
For more information about the pass or touring Hawaii: (800) 464-2924; www.gohawaii.com on the Web.
Survey: BWI is worstfor security delays
Baltimore/Washington International Airport has the nation's worst delays for passengers waiting for security screenings, according to a survey by Travelocity.com.
The unscientific survey of more than 2,800 travelers since Sept. 11 found that nearly 60 percent of those using the airport reported a delay of an hour or more.
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, by contrast, had among the shortest waits, with nearly half reporting delays of 30 minutes or less.
The other top 10 airports for delays are San Francisco, Denver, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, St. Louis, Washington-Dulles, Seattle-Tacoma and Atlanta.
The shortest waits, in order, were at Houston Intercontinental; Indianapolis; Detroit; New Orleans; Newark, N.J.; Portland, Ore.; D/FW; Chicago-Midway; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; and Tampa, Fla.
Fla. official takesservice to a new level
Miami Beach, Fla., has put a new twist on personal customer service. The city's tourism director, Michael Aller, takes calls on his cell phone from visitors at all hours. "It's a 911-kind of call," he says.
He says requests come in for every possible kind of assistance, from helping visitors who are stranded to problems with hotels' not delivering a promised service, even to visitors who might have been victims of theft or in an accident. During the day, the Miami Beach Tourist Hot Line, (305) 673-7400, is answered by a multilingual staff, but outside of business hours it goes to Aller, whether he's in town or not.
Also, travelers to Florida should visit www.flausa.com, the Web site for the nonprofit promotion agency Visit Florida. The site has 600 discounts, bargains and incentives. To tap into savings on lodging and attractions, click on $$Florida's Hot VacationDeals$$.
Park City, Utah, feelseffects of Sept. 11
COALVILLE, Utah (AP) -- Park City tourism officials say reservations for ski trips dropped off after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and they fear up to half the hotel rooms and condominiums could be empty during the Christmas holidays.
Bill Malone, director of the Park City Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Bureau, says the volume of calls to reservation centers dropped off immediately after the attacks and continues "flat to declining."
Only Deer Valley Resort has reported a slight upturn, he says.
Malone says projections of revenue from the county's transient room tax have been slashed almost in half for the fourth quarter of this year. The budget called for $480,000, but he now is predicting only $249,000.
Most of the money from the 3 percent tax on lodging is used to finance tourism advertising and promotion, so these activities are being scaled back.
Ads promoting Park City in an airline magazine have been canceled, and a program to lure tourists from Spain has been shelved.
The chamber also has scrapped a $110,000 fireworks display planned for two days before the opening of the Olympics and instead will spend the money on early-winter radio advertising in southern California.
Boston graveyard getsmuch-needed face-lift
BOSTON (AP) -- Boston's historical Granary Burying Ground, the final resting place of some of America's greatest patriots, is getting a face-lift, including the restoration of wrought iron fences, new pathways and the resetting of some headstones.
"Boston reeks of all this wonderful history and it's necessary that we preserve the history that tells people who and what Bostonians are," says Mary Hines, spokeswoman for the Boston Parks and Recreation Department.
Among those buried at the downtown graveyard are John Hancock, Samuel Adams and Robert Treat Paine, who all signed the Declaration of Independence; Paul Revere; Peter Faneuil, benefactor of the well-known downtown landmark, and James Otis, a Revolutionary War-era lawyer.
The first phase of the project has been completed. That included repairing the fences that had been installed in the 1830s. Workers used castings made from molds of the original elements.
Also, new pathways were placed to the more popular graves, and landscapers pruned the graveyard's overgrown tree branches and seeded, loamed and fertilized the lawn.
The Granary covers two acres and contains 2,345 gravestones and tombs.
The next phase of the face-lift, estimated to cost $100,000, will go toward resetting 170 headstones.