Posted by: Mark Ashley

90469073 695fe22eda Short hops    July 12, 2006Safety first!
Flying from the United States to Korea or Japan? If you’re traveling with Asiana or Korean Air Lines, you’ll take a different flight path nowadays, thanks to North Korea’s recent missile tests coming dangerously close to existing air routes. Today Japan’s largest airlines, Japan Air Lines and ANA, announced their own re-routings. No word on American carriers’ flight paths. Yay.

Safety second!
British tourists file more travel insurance claims on trips to Thailand than any other country. Runners up: “…the Czech republic, which came out top for incidents of pick-pocketing, South Africa, top for violent robberies, and Mexico, which is the place to go for over-exposure to the sun, it seems.” By this measure, Ireland was the “safest” destination.

Impressive, but…
China recently completed the train to Tibet and began passenger service. It’s an ambitious and impressive engineering project to be sure (the train cars are pressurized, like a plane, due to the enormous altitudes), but also a highly controversial exercise in internal colonialism. A good overview of the cultural and political ramifications (and fears) can be found here. It’s not all gee-whiz-isn’t-it-neat-what-they-built.

The Denny’s of the Sky?
A new promo: If you fly Aloha Airlines on their birthday (July 26), and you keep the boarding pass stub, you can fly free on your birthday (return within 7 days). Inter-island flights only. But what the heck.

Fare sale to Europe
Air France kicks off their Bastille Day fare sale today (purchase by July 28). Some good late summer/fall fares.

More luxe to Europe
All-biz airline Eos looks to expand from the New York-London route to also serve New York-Paris.

Healthier airborne meals
Northwest Airlines had better keep up. Just a few weeks ago they announced that their Stalinist experiment in inflight dining was over, and that they would reintroduce a choice (gasp!) to the menu in domestic first class. At the same time, other carriers are redesigning their first and business class menus, too, with an eye for lighter gourmet fare. But take away the ice cream, and flyers revolt. (The sarcastic chorus of “boo hoo” is coming from the economy seats.) The article also plugs Peter Greenberg’s book The Traveler’s Diet: Eating Right and Staying Fit on the Road.

Predicting the next protectionist outrage
Chicago Midway under foreign management? It could happen, since the city is soliciting bids for long-terms leases on the airport. We’ll see if a (likely) winning bid from a foreign entity yields as much furor as the Dubai ports affair. If an international firm wins the bidding, it won’t be the first foreign-managed US airport. Indianapolis and Stewart-Newburgh, NY airports are already under British firms’ control. International bids for US assets should be no surprise, given the current account deficit; all those dollars flowing overseas need to be put to work somewhere…


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