Sunday, September 28, 2008
UPRIGHT AND LOCKED
American Airlines' new in-flight Internet service, Gogo, may be a hit with users, but not necessarily with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. At a meeting this month, union leaders told airline management it was worried about passengers trolling the Internet for porn while in flight, according to union spokesman David Roscow. "Passengers have expressed a lot of concern that wireless Internet access could be used to visit inappropriate sites," he said, adding that attendants already occasionally catch laptop users viewing porn stored on their hard drives.
The airline acknowledges the potential for abuse exists, but spokeswoman September Wade said so far no one has reported any Internet porn sightings in the air. "Most people use common sense and common courtesy," she said. American, she added, is researching technology that could filter out adult content.
As of now, wireless Internet is available on 15 American aircraft flying three long-haul routes from New York's JFK airport, but the airline will consider expanding the service and making it permanent when the trial ends two to five months from now. Access costs $12.95 for each flight longer than three hours. A few other airlines, including Delta and Virgin America, are experimenting with similar broadband services. For more information on American's Internet service, visit http://www.gogoinflight.com.CRUISE CONTROL
Starting next fall, Washington area cruise lovers who don't want to fly to their ship will have a few more local options. The Baltimore Cruise Terminal, which serves Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line, will welcome Carnival Cruise Lines in September 2009. To start, the Carnival Pride will offer two week-long itineraries -- one to the eastern Caribbean, one to Florida and the Bahamas -- and will have sailings every week through August 2011. That will make Carnival the first line to cruise out of Baltimore year-round.
Joining Carnival in sailing out of Baltimore, from November 2009 to February 2010, will be Celebrity Cruises' Mercury. The ship will be making two 12-night Eastern Caribbean trips (St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Maarten and Tortola), plus four nine-night cruises to Charleston, S.C., Key West, Fla., and CocoCay and Nassau in the Bahamas.
For more information on cruises leaving from Baltimore, visit the Cruise Maryland Web site, at http://www.cruisemaryland.com.THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED?
In April, South Carolina's big new attraction, the 55-acre Hard Rock Park, opened in Myrtle Beach. On Wednesday, just five months later, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, closing for the year. The $400 million theme park, which boasted more than 40 rides, shows and dining spots (including roller coasters with such names as Led Zeppelin -- The Ride and a children's attraction called Magic Mushroom Garden), is hoping to reopen in spring 2009 after "restructuring efforts," according to its Web site. Hard Rock officials said that the volatility of financial markets and the credit crunch had made 2008 a bad year to open an amusement park. Also, "tourism in Myrtle Beach is down as a whole," said the company in a statement.
When plans for the park's construction were first announced in 2006, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford described it as "the largest single investment in tourism infrastructure in South Carolina's history."TRAVEL TICKER
One-day adult tickets at California's Disneyland and Florida's Disney World are a staggering $69 and $75, respectively. But visitors to the parks in 2009 will be able to enter free on one day next year: their birthdays. Anyone older than 2 can take advantage of the offer by presenting a government-issued I.D. (e.g., driver's license, passport) at the box office of a Disney park. Patrons younger than 18 who do not have a government-issued I.D. can bring either their original birth certificate or a notarized copy. For more information, visit http://www.disneyparks.com. . . . Pittsburgh's two-month-long celebration of its 250th birthday gets underway Saturday with a citywide bike ride celebrating the completion of the Great Allegheny Passage, 150 miles of biking and hiking trails connecting Cumberland, Md., to Pittsburgh. (The 335-mile route between Washington and Pittsburgh is now continuous.) The ride will end at Pittsburgh's newly reopened Point State Park, and that night the city will witness the largest fireworks display in its history. For more information on all upcoming events, visit http://www.imaginepittsburgh.com.BARGAIN OF THE WEEK
Southwest has sale fares from BWI to Denver for travel through March 6. Round-trip fare is $259, including taxes. A 21-day advance purchase is required. Deadline to buy is Oct. 20. Blackout dates are Nov. 25-Dec. 2 and Dec. 19-Jan. 4. Fare applies to travel any day of the week on nonstop flights only; seats are limited. Other airlines are matching. Info: 800-435-9792, http://www.southwest.com.
Reporting: Ben Chapman, Christina Talcott, Scott Vogel
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