Coming & Going: Washington to Philadelphia by bus, OpenSkies Dulles to Paris

Sunday, February 21, 2010; F02

New routes lead to Philly and Paris

Travelers between Washington and Philadelphia hit a mega-coup when low-fare bus line Megabus announced its new nonstop route to the City of Brotherly Love. Before then, passengers had few good options: the sketchy Chinatown bus or the dog, Greyhound.

Service starts March 21 and will run four times a day in each direction. In the District, the bus departs from the public parking lot at Ninth and H streets NW. In Philly, the bus travels from the 30th Street SEPTA Station, on the corner of Market and North 30th streets. One-way fares start at $1 and top out at $10, plus a 50-cent service charge. Info: 877-462-6342, http://us.megabus.com.

Looking in the air, OpenSkies, the all business-class carrier and subsidiary of British Airways, is starting service from Washington Dulles to Paris's Orly. Flights begin May 3, five times a week. The introductory fare starts at $1,747 round trip including taxes for a business-class seat and $3,308 for a bed seat. Of the plane's 72 seats, 60 recline to 140 degrees and have a 53-inch pitch, and 12 lie flat. The carrier also offers promotions, such as catered meals prepared by a French chef. And if you feel guilty about paying for business class, don't: Similar trips on other carriers cost about 50 percent more. Info: 866-581-3596, http://https://www.flyopenskies.com/home/en_us.

Airline recycling: What a waste

The blue skies are not green, concludes Green America, an environmental watchdog group that recently released the study "What Goes Up Must Come Down: The Sorry State of Recycling in the Airline Industry." According to the organization, passengers generate 880 million tons of waste annually, of which 75 percent could be recycled. Yet only 20 percent is being reused. "Overall, we found that there is room for tremendous improvement in the industry," reads the study, "since nearly 500 million more tons of waste could be recycled each year, of which 250 million tons is generated in flight."

The group highlighted the airlines' major weaknesses in high-altitude recycling; for example, no airline recycles all the major materials (aluminum cans, glass, plastic, paper) or offers a comprehensive program for minimizing onboard waste. All 11 airlines in the study also give out snacks with wrappers that are not always recyclable. On the plus side, some airlines are making substantial strides: Delta, for one, recycles aluminum cans, plastic bottles, plastic trays, beverage cups, newspapers and magazines on flights landing at many major U.S. airports. And three cheers for American Airlines flight attendants, who created an aluminum can recycling program that benefits charity.

The study also created a report card for carriers. Delta and Virgin America earned the highest grade of B-minus; United and US Airways failed. The others received C's and D's. Good luck graduating.

Of course, passengers can take action, too. For instance, if your carrier doesn't recycle (ask the flight attendants), you can always deplane with the items and recycle them at the airport or in your destination city. Green America is also asking passengers flying domestically or internationally over the next year to participate in its study. See http://www.responsibleshopper.org for info, as well as the results of the study.

Travel tickers

The third annual Gettysburg Festival will kick off June 18 with more than 100 events showcasing art, music and cuisine over 10 days. Among the events is a live taping of the NPR/PBS show "From the Top," featuring classical music performed by young musicians, and a concert by Boston Brass. Most of the events are free. Info: 717-334-0853, http://www.gettysburgfestival.org. . . . Don't worry, you can always work off the weight gained from Denver Restaurant Week. Running Feb. 20-March 5, the event features 275 restaurants that will prepare multi-course dinners for the "mile-high" price of $52.80 for two or $26.40 for one, not including taxes and gratuities. (Wink, wink: Denver is 5,280 feet above sea level.) Sample plates: smoked buffalo ribs with marinated quail at the Fort and pan-seared Colorado trout at Root Down. Info: http://www.DenverRestaurantWeek.com.

Reporting: Andrea Sachs and Nancy Trejos. Help feed CoGo. Send travel news to: cogo@washpost.com. By mail: CoGo, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071

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