My recent flights were delayed because the airline boarded passengers with seats in the front of the plane first. Why don't they board the back first?
We are not aware of any carrier that allows passengers at the front of the plane to board first, unless they are in first class or business class or they need extra time.
United Airlines often boards by groups but allows those with window seats to get on the plane first, followed by passengers with middle seats and then those with aisle seats. "We used to do it from back to front," spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said, "but we tested it this way in September and found that it quickened the boarding time, for obvious reasons."
Southwest, which has open seating, boards by groups. If you are in Group A, you can sit wherever you choose -- front, back or middle.
And AirTran Airways recently began a new method of loading fliers: It staggers the process by boarding several rows in back, then several in front, then a few more in back, then front, until its plane is loaded.
Any ideas on places to stay and things to see while in Cairns and Melbourne, Australia?
Cairns, in northeast Australia, is accessible for day trips to Daintree Rainforest, Cairns Night Zoo and whitewater rafting. If you venture farther out to Port Douglas or Palm Cove, you will find accommodations and attractions that are suitable for couples and families.
Port Douglas, an hour north of Cairns, has beach access (Cairns has no beach) and is popular for snorkeling and diving. Lodging suggestion: Hibiscus Gardens (hibiscusportdouglas.com.au), a four-star resort in a tropical garden. Rates start at $124 midweek.
Melbourne, on Port Phillip Bay in southeast Australia, has a number of diverse neighborhoods. The Hotel Lindrum (hotellindrum.com.au), in the central business district, is a boutique property. It's a short walk from Federation Square, which has a great mix of restaurants, bars, museums and galleries. Also nearby is historic Queen Victoria Market, a large open-air market with local and imported foods and souvenirs.
St. Kilda is a beachside neighborhood where you will find the St. Kilda Esplanade Art and Craft Market and Acland Street, with restaurants, wine bars and cake shops. At night, the club scene takes over. For lodging, check out the Prince Hotel (theprince.com.au), which has wonderful views of the bay, a spa and good on-site dining.