Chicago Sun-Times
With Lori Rackl

August 2008 Archives

Win an Arctic Adventure

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Want to see the Arctic before it melts?

The Museum of Science and Industry is giving away a trip for two on the National Geographic Expedition - Land of the Polar Bears adventure. For a shot at winning, you have to correctly answer 25 trivia questions about the museum. That'll get a chance at winning the grand prize trip.

The trip sounds pretty sweet, btw. It's an 11-day excursion that includes roundtrip airfare to Oslo, Norway, where you'll travel by plane to Svalbard. From there, you and your guest will embark on the expedition ship National Geographic Explorer.

Oh yeah, one more thing: If you win, can I come?

AP is reporting that budget airline Southwest has published its schedule and fares for early next year -- a move that could spur rivals to lower their fares for the period, according to one industry expert.

Southwest usually doesn't release its fares or schedules beyond six months or so, while many airlines take reservations nearly a year in advance.

Southwest recently issued schedules and prices for Jan. 9 to March 6. The new schedule has forced other major airlines to roll back fares they'd been charging to match the Dallas-based carrier's lower prices on many routes, an official with Bestfares.com told AP. He added that the old rule of booking farther in advance to save money doesn't always hold true.

Other airlines will probably charge higher fares for travel after March of next year, he added.

A colleague of mine recently passed along an interesting tidbit from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

It's about an online survey that revealed the frustration airline passengers sometimes feel when seated next to an "active" child or crying baby. More than 80 percent of respondents said airlines should reserve a section of the plane for parents with babies and smaller children.

The survey -- at airfarewatchdog.com -- also asked whether "clinically obese" passengers should have to buy an extra seat. 82 percent said yep.

Do we all need to be a little more forgiving when flying today's not so friendly skies, or are these reasonable requests from a flying public that's fed up?

What do you think?

Best festivals: Fess up

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Today's Travel story is about Augusta, Mo.'s, Swingin' in the Vines fall festival -- a down-to-earth, fun little fest just outside of St. Louis.

Have you stumbled upon a festival that you like? What is it, and what makes it so great?

Lemme know....

Following a visitor evacuation put into place before the arrival of tropical storm Fay, Florida Keys officials on Monday projected tourists could return to the island chain Wednesday.

Fay's impact appears to have been pretty minor, causing no significant structural damage. Power is supposed to be restored to most customers imminently. Most Keys hotels and attractions are expected to begin reopening today and should be fully operational tomorrow.

"We asked visitors to leave the Keys to ensure their safety," said Monroe County Mayor Mario De Gennaro, who chairs the region's tourist development council. "We hated to inconvenience those visitors that had plans to be here, but their well being is our top priority."

The center of Fay crossed over Key West Monday around 3 pm with sustained winds up to 40 mph.

More details on the Florida Keys are available here.

Starting Saturday, TSA will allow passengers to leave their laptop computers in bas that meet new "checkpoint friendly" standards.

Bags that provide a clear, unobstructed view of the laptop are considered "checkpoint friendly." Here's the rest of the criteria for the proper bag:

-- must have a designated laptop-only section
-- the laptop only section must completely unfold to lay flat on the X-ray belt
-- no metal snaps, zippers or buckles inside, underneath or on top of the laptop-only section
-- no pockets on the inside or outside of the laptop only section
-- nothing packed in the laptop-only section other than the computer itself.

Click here for images of what bags are allowed and what bags aren't.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from August 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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