April 2005

Rushing rapids cascade down the Sierra Nevadas and the Rockies every year as surely as robins sing and blossoms bloom. A banner year of snowfalls in the towering peaks surrounding Lake Tahoe will ensure that some of the best whitewater conditions in decades are coursing through the center of Reno, Nev., for the annual Reno River Festival.

A House committee unanimously approved legislation to authorize $6 billion over three years to fund Amtrak. Bipartisan action by the full Transportation Committee is a powerful counterweight to proposals by the Bush administration and the Amtrak board to overhaul the way it does business, eventually transfer operating authority to the states and introduce competition.

Her flight from London to Washington was a nightmare from start to finish. First the one-hour delay for late passengers. Then the mechanical breakdown over the Atlantic. Then being trapped on the tarmac without food or water, and unable to use her cell phone. Now Susan Fallon wants a refund from Virgin Atlantic. But is she entitled to one? And how should you deal with a delay when you’re traveling in Europe?

Every year airline industry executives meet in Phoenix for an international conference, and every year talk turns to the need for consolidation in the ailing business. This year, there’s finally something happening.

A proposed Homeland Security Department authorization bill does not include the Bush administration’s proposal to raise airline ticket fees to $8 from $5 to provide an additional $2 billion, according to a copy sent Tuesday to House Homeland Security Committee members’ offices.

Clam diggers on the muddy flats near Boston’s Logan International Airport in Massachusetts will be loaned GPS-equipped cell phones so they can alert authorities to suspicious activity – just one of several ideas being tested this summer to protect airports from terrorists.

You see them crowding the airport check-in counter, looking for a sign. Waiting for an announcement. They are business travelers, frequent fliers, off-duty employees, and even first-timers. They are the last ones to board, but the first ones to petition for an available seat up front.

One of the most important purchases you’ll make when you head to Europe this summer is a guidebook. A good guidebook can be a blessing. A bad guidebook can create problem after problem. A good guidebook is honest, well-researched and accurate. A bad guidebook is a result of lazy writers and editors who simply reprint previously researched entries without quality and fact-checking.

A packed commuter train left the tracks and slammed into an apartment building, killing 50 people and injuring more than 340 others in Japan’s deadliest rail accident in four decades. The seven-car train, carrying 580 passengers, derailed in an urban area near Osaka in central Japan at 9:20 a.m. Monday.

Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines both reported steep first-quarter losses yesterday, while the low-fare JetBlue Airways bucked the industry trend and posted a modest profit. But even JetBlue was not insulated from the high fuel prices that have dragged down airline profits this year. JetBlue earned only $7 million in the quarter, less than half the profit it made during the same period last year.