Airlines dropping family-friendly policies

The Smart Traveler

January 13, 2008|By Tom Parsons | Tom Parsons,The Dallas Morning News

GONE ARE THE DAYS WHEN FAMILIES traveling with young children received special treatment from airlines, because the companies now are focused on business travelers. While you may wish for more perks, when you think about the amount of money you save over what the business traveler pays, you may not mind so much.

Southwest changed its boarding policy this fall, ending pre-boarding for families with young children. Although families cannot pre-board, if they check in early enough they can qualify for the first boarding group of 60 passengers. Southwest still makes an exception for families with young children by allowing them to board before the second group. Their airplanes have 137 seats, so there should still be enough seats after the first group to allow families to sit together.

CHINA A TO Z

Plume / $16

The subtitle of this informative and much-needed book sums it up quite nicely: "Everything you need to know to understand Chinese customs and culture." Whether you're going to China for business or pleasure (or even if you're an armchair traveler), you'll appreciate the nearly 100 entries, alphabetized by subject, on topics ranging from body language to visiting a home to public displays of affection.

You will learn everything from how to avoid eating "unbearable" things to proper restaurant etiquette. A whirlwind cultural primer.

JUNE SAWYERS

CHICAGO

Museum of Modern Ice

A colored ice wall and an ice painting you can skate on will be installed in Chicago's Millennium Park as part of a new winter celebration in February. The Museum of Modern Ice will be on view Feb. 1-29. Both works will be created by Canadian artist Gordon Halloran. The ice wall, called "Paintings Below Zero," will be 95 feet long and nearly 12 feet tall and will be behind the popular "Cloud Gate" sculpture. The work will be composed of brightly colored vertical sheets of ice. Chicago hotels are offering discounts for visitors interested in the ice display. For more details, call 877-244-2246 or go to cityof chicago.org / tourism.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

AFRICA

U.S. warns against travel to Kenya

Kenya's tourism industry, which brings in some $900 million a year and attracts more than 1 million visitors a year, is sure to take a hit after the recent rioting and ethnic clashes. The United States has warned tourists against all but essential travel to Kenya. The violence -- during the holiday season -- has hit resort towns such as Mombasa on the sweltering coast, the Rift Valley, and the capital, Nairobi, known for its vibrant nightlife. "Every business in Nairobi is now shut down," said Madhu P. Shah, who owns shops in the capital. "I never thought that would happen to us in Kenya."

ASSOCIATED PRESS

10 FOR THE ROAD

Take a swing at it

Best new golf courses of 2007, according to Travel + Leisure Golf magazine

1. Chambers Bay, Tacoma, Wash. (public; Course of the Year)

2. Golf Club at Ravenna, Littleton, Colo. (private)

3. Stonebrae Country Club, Hayward, Calif. (private)

4. The Home Course, DuPont, Wash. (public)

5. Promontory, Painted Valley Course, Park City, Utah (private)

6. The Golf Club of Cape Cod, Falmouth, Mass. (private)

7. Creek Club at Reynolds Plantation, Greensboro, Ga. (private)

8. Kinloch Club, Kinloch, New Zealand (public)

9. Gozzer Ranch Golf & Lake Club, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho (private)

10. Cobble Beach Golf Links, Owen Sound, Ontario (public)

NEW YORK

2nd Ave Deli returns to the city

For nearly two years, the 2nd Ave Deli has sat high atop the pastrami lovers' consciousness as devotees waited anxiously for news about its revival. The New York deli -- founded by the late Abe Lebewohl in 1954 -- shut down in January 2006 thanks to skyrocketing rents at its old location in Manhattan's trendy East Village. But the wait finally ended Dec. 17 as the deli's owners literally cut the salami and officially welcomed 2nd Ave Deli fans to its new address -- on 33rd Street near Third Avenue. Most of the menu has been preserved, including the $21.75 "Instant Heart Attack," which arrives in the form of two large potato pancakes with a choice of meat.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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