Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009, Hello End of Year Sale at BookIt.com®

-(BUSINESS WIRE)--Catch the last vacation deals of 2009 with BookIt.com®’s End of Year Sale – and save up to 70 percent on great resort and hotel packages booked through the online travel provider.

“Plus with flexible BookIt.com payment options there is no reason to pay more later when you get a steal now.”

Deals must be booked by midnight January 1 for End of Year savings and 2010 travel, with featured low rates at top resorts including Las Vegas, Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii, New York City and New Orleans. Guests can also save on bonuses such as free upgrades, spa credits and more.

“2009 has definitely been the Year of the Deal - but guests can get incredible deals on 2010 vacations booked by midnight January 1 through the BookIt.com End of Year Sale,” said Jesse Henson, Vice President of Marketing for BookIt.com. “Plus with flexible BookIt.com payment options there is no reason to pay more later when you get a steal now."

Lower travel prices were a silver lining in 2009’s soft economy. The U.S. Travel Association forecast a 6.6 percent drop in its travel price index in 2009, but foresees growth resuming in 2010 with an uptick of 0.3 percent.

Featured deals from the End of Year Sale include, but are not limited to, the following:

NH Riviera Cancun Luxury Resort - Riviera Maya

* $99 All-Inclusive: 60% off
* Reg. $249 pp/pn
* $180 in resort credits w/ 3-night stays
* 2 Kids stay free

Regal Sun Resort - Orlando

* $75: In Disney w/free upgrade
* Reg. $139
* Kids eat free

The Richmond Hotel - South Beach, Miami

* $129: Oceanfront plus free upgrade
* Reg. $229+
* Free upgrade
* Oceanfront

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

FlyersRights.org Supports TSA Efforts, but Cautions That New Procedures be Implemented Carefully

/PRNewswire/ -- Today, FlyersRights.org, the nation's largest non-profit airline consumer advocacy group, applauded the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) efforts to improve airport security in the wake of this week's incident aboard a Northwest flight bound for Detroit. However, the group warned that a large number of its members have expressed concerns that the new TSA procedures, including the 'one-hour rule', may place an undue burden on passengers.

"Obviously, safety during air travel must be the number one priority for everyone. However, we caution the TSA to fully consider the ramifications of these new rules, and take all steps necessary to ensure they are implemented with common sense and respect for the dignity of passengers. While it may seem obvious that airlines would implement these rules with a liberal dose of common sense, history has proven otherwise," said Kate Hanni, spokesperson for FlyersRight.org.

Our membership is concerned that the new procedures could so infringe on basic passenger needs that some travelers will find it necessary to avoid air travel altogether. In particular, we are concerned that the newly implemented "one hour rule", which severely restricts passengers' activities in the last hour of a flight, may pose health and safety risks for many people. Activities potentially banned during the last hour of a flight include: using the restroom, giving formula to a baby, taking vital medications, and stretching one's legs to avoid blood clots. We caution the TSA to restrict passengers' in-flight activities sparingly, and only when such restrictions have a direct and measurable correlation to improved safety.

Continued Hanni, "We can restrict passenger behavior ad infinitum in the hopes of preventing some future catastrophe, but, at some point, we will lose our identities as Americans. When it gets to the point when we can no longer feed a young child or access our handbag, we have to ask ourselves who is really winning this battle."

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Three Years Later: FlyersRights Is Still Protecting You From The Not So Friendly Skies

/PRNewswire/ -- Three years ago today, 13,800 people boarded 138 American Airlines jets in hopes of reaching Dallas Fort Worth for their connecting flights during a crowded holiday season in late 2006/early 2007. Yet, all 138 of these flights were diverted to 24 airports in and around Texas to endure what would be for some people -- including Kate Hanni and family -- a painful and life-changing ordeal. In Hanni's case, she and her family were stuck on an airport tarmac for 9 hours and 17 minutes without water, food, or usable toilets. That is when she decided to take action.

"FlyersRights.org has become, in 3 short years, the organization that airline passengers rely on to stand up for them and fight for their rights," said Kate Hanni, Executive Director FlyersRights.org. "It is rather amazing what we have accomplished, together, during such a brief period of time":

-- The introduction of 9 airline passengers' rights bills before Congress
-- The House of Representatives' twice passing our airline passengers'
bills
-- The passage of the New York Airline Passenger's Bill of Rights Law
(later overturned by the appellate court).
-- The passage of the currently-in-force Department of Transportation
(DOT) regulation requiring airlines to report time on the tarmac for
diverted, canceled and multiple gate return flights.
-- The DOT's doubling the bumping compensation for flights that are
oversold from $200-$400 to $400-$800 respectively.
-- The DOT's mandating that airlines note at point of purchase their
baggage fees so there are no surprises!
-- Completion and implementation of a DOT rule requiring airlines to
allow passengers off flights after 3 hour delays and taking care of
the essential needs of passengers while trapped on the tarmac.

FlyersRights.org looks forward to final passage of the FAA Modernization act S: 1451 which contains many further provisions for airline passengers that will make their travel by air safer, healthier and more tolerable. We intend to be the voice for all air travelers indefinitely!

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Mayday Air Jamaica Advises the Travelling Public Against the Use of Foreign Carriers into Jamaica During Inclement Weather

/PRNewswire/ -- A former president of the Jamaica Airline Pilots Association (JALPA) has sent an open letter to both Spirit and American Airlines advising of the high potential for disaster, and requested that they exercise extreme care when dispatching flights into Jamaica in marginal weather and not use Jamaican airports as alternates under any circumstances until the NTSB report is final.

Wesley Sampson and his organization, Mayday Air Jamaica (http://www.maydayairjamaica.com/), had last month on Nov. 19, 2009, in an open letter to Spirit re: its bid to purchase Air Jamaica, expressed grave concerns over the safety of the international travelling public into Jamaica, and the callous attitude of the Jamaican authorities in this regard.

"We note where the FAA had previously downgraded the islands' airports, the status of which, although reinstated, remains questionable where emergency equipment and facilities are concerned, as this accident shows. It is not reasonable to assume or expect that two experienced American Airlines pilots, trained to the highest standards of aviation safety, simply flew into Jamaica and crash landed in routine operations," said Sampson.

Mayday Air Jamaica strongly advises the travelling public not to use foreign carriers in inclement weather conditions, and to await the findings of the NTSB and the supervision of the Jamaican government in implementation of the recommended corrective procedures.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Only 3 Nights Remain to see Fantasy In Lights in 2009‏

Don’t let 2009 sneak away without enjoying Callaway Gardens’ Fantasy In Lights, a spectacular holiday light and sound show production featuring more than eight million lights.

A tradition for families and friends to spend time together creating holiday memories, Fantasy In Lights is open daily through December 30, 2009. The Christmas Village opens at 3:00 p.m. and the lights begin at 6:00 p.m. Tickets to Fantasy In Lights include same-day admission into Callaway Gardens, providing visitors twice the enjoyment from one ticket! The Gardens open daily at 9:00 a.m.

The remaining nights are for the less-expensive Value Night tickets priced at $16 for adults and $8 for children ages (6-12). Tax is additional. Children five and younger are admitted free but require a “free child” ticket. Group rates are available.

Two simple ways to purchase Fantasy In Lights tickets: 1) Order online at www.callawaygardens.com and print on your home computer (no waiting in a ticket line); and 2) Call 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292).

When ordering tickets, guests should decide the date, time, ages of those in party and whether they want to ride in their personal vehicle or on the Jolly Trolley.

Guests also are invited to stay overnight on the Fantasy In Lights package. Starting at $129* in the Mountain Creek® Inn at Callaway Gardens, package includes special admission to Fantasy In Lights; overnight accommodations; breakfast (per adult, per night of stay); admission to Callaway Gardens and daily use of the Callaway Fitness Center. The same package without breakfast is available for $109*.

Every year, Fantasy In Lights shines bigger and brighter. Since it opened in 1992, Fantasy In Lights has brought holiday cheer to millions of people! Make Fantasy In Lights a holiday tradition for your family!

Callaway Gardens is in Pine Mountain, Ga., 60 minutes southwest of Atlanta and 30 minutes north of Columbus. For additional information, contact Callaway at 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292) or visit www.callawaygardens.com.

Fantasy In Lights® is a registered trademark of the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation.

*Based on double occupancy.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Delta Offers Travel Assistance to Customers Affected by Winter Weather Across U.S. Midwest

/PRNewswire/ -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) today announced travel options for customers whose flight plans may be affected by severe winter weather across the U.S. Midwest - including at Delta's Detroit and Minneapolis-St. Paul hubs - through Sunday.

Customers booked on flights operated by Delta, Northwest Airlines or Delta Connection carriers to, from or through the following states from Dec. 22-27 may make a one-time change to their travel schedule without fees if tickets are changed by Dec. 27, 2009.

-- Illinois
-- Indiana
-- Iowa
-- Kansas
-- Michigan
-- Minnesota
-- Nebraska
-- North Dakota
-- South Dakota
-- Wisconsin


Delta will proactively reduce flight schedules to and from affected airports to ensure delays are minimized during the storm. However, customers may wish to consider postponing or rerouting their trip without penalty to avoid possible inconvenience.

Travel for changed itineraries must begin by Jan. 1, 2010 and changes to origin and destination may result in a fare increase. Any fare difference between the original ticket and the new ticket will be collected at the time of rebooking. Customers whose flights are cancelled may request refunds.

Delta also has extended its winter travel waiver for customers whose travel plans were affected by last weekend's record-breaking snow storm on the U.S. East Coast. Delta customers who were booked on flights between Dec. 18 and Dec. 26 to, from or through Baltimore; Boston; Greensboro, N.C.; Lynchburg, Va.; Newark, N.J.; New York (LaGuardia and JFK); Philadelphia; Raleigh, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; Roanoke, Va.; and Washington, D.C. (Dulles and Reagan National) may make a one-time change to their travel schedule without fees if tickets are changed and new travel begins by Jan. 1, 2010.

Complete details and the latest flight updates are available at delta.com and nwa.com.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Air Transport Association Comments on DOT Tarmac Delay Rule

/PRNewswire/ -- The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today commented on the Department of Transportation (DOT) Tarmac Delay Rule.

"We will comply with the new rule even though we believe it will lead to unintended consequences - more cancelled flights and greater passenger inconvenience. In particular, the requirement of having planes return to the gates within a three hour window or face significant fines is inconsistent with our goal of completing as many flights as possible. Lengthy tarmac delays benefit no one," said ATA president and CEO James C. May.

ATA airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic. For additional industry information, visit www.airlines.org.

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AirTran Airways Brings Low Fares to the Caribbean With New Service to Aruba

/PRNewswire/ -- AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AAI) , today launched new service between Atlanta and Aruba, offering one nonstop flight each week. On January 9, 2010, the airline will also introduce weekly nonstop flights between Orlando and Aruba.

Service to the popular vacation destination will join existing flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico, Cancun, Mexico, and most recently, Nassau, Bahamas, and Key West, Fla. In February, the low cost airline will continue its Caribbean expansion with flights to Montego Bay, Jamaica.

"Bringing our low fares and high-quality service to the Caribbean is a priority for AirTran Airways. Offering new service to Aruba is one more step in that direction," said Tad Hutcheson, vice president of marketing and sales for AirTran Airways. "Travelers in Atlanta and Orlando will benefit from the nonstop service, and customers from all over the country can make just one stop to get to their vacation in paradise."

"Speaking for everyone in Aruba's tourism industry, we are delighted to welcome AirTran Airways as our newest airline partner. By increasing the opportunity for more Americans to discover our island's unique pleasures and year-round perfect weather, this new direct service from Atlanta will benefit not only our visitors but the people of Aruba, for whom tourism is so important," said Otmar Oduber, Aruba's Minister of Tourism, Transportation and Labor. "The special character of a vacation in Aruba has helped us maintain a repeat visitor rate of over 60 percent - the highest in the Caribbean - and we are pleased that partners like AirTran Airways are helping us make those enriching experiences accessible from more gateway cities across North America."


*Sale Fare Terms & Conditions: All fares are one-way. All fares are non-refundable and a $75 fee per person applies to any change made after purchase, plus any applicable increase in airfare. Seven-day advance purchase required. Seats are limited, subject to availability, and may not be available on all flights. Tickets must be purchased by January 2, 2010. Sale fares are valid for travel January 9, 2010 through March 10, 2010. Blackout dates are as follows: February 12-13, 2010, February 15, 2010, and February 20-21, 2010. A first bag may be checked for a fee of up to $15 per person and a second bag may be checked for a fee of up to $25 per person. Reservations may be obtained or changed through an AirTran Airways Telephone Reservations Center for an additional $15 per person. Fares, routes, and schedules are subject to change without notice. Fares shown do not include Airport Passenger Facility Charges of up to $18. The September 11th security fee of up to $10 is not included. Fares to/from Aruba do not include additional government taxes of up to $100.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Delta Offers Travel Assistance to Customers Affected by Winter Weather Along U.S. East Coast

/PRNewswire/ -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) today announced travel options for customers whose flight plans may be affected by severe winter weather along the U.S. East Coast - including at Delta's New York-JFK hub - through Sunday.

Customers booked on flights operated by Delta, Northwest Airlines or Delta Connection carriers to, from or through the following cities from Dec. 18-20 may make a one-time change to their travel schedule without fees if tickets are changed by Dec. 23, 2009.

-- Baltimore, Md. (BWI)
-- Boston, Mass. (BOS)
-- Greensboro, N.C. (GSO)
-- Lynchburg, Va. (LYH)
-- Newark, N.J. (EWR)
-- New York, N.Y. (JFK, LGA)
-- Philadelphia, Pa. (PHL)
-- Raleigh, N.C. (RDU)
-- Richmond, Va. (RIC)
-- Roanoke, Va. (ROA)
-- Washington D.C. (DCA, IAD)


Delta is proactively reducing flight schedules to and from affected airports to ensure delays are minimized during the storm. However, customers may wish to consider postponing or rerouting their trip without penalty to avoid possible inconvenience.

Travel for changed itineraries must begin by Dec. 23 and changes to origin and destination may result in a fare increase. Any fare difference between the original ticket and the new ticket will be collected at the time of rebooking. Customers whose flights are cancelled may request refunds. Complete details are available at delta.com and nwa.com.

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US Airways Brings the “Aloha Spirit” to the East Coast with Launch of New Service from Charlotte to Honolulu

(BUSINESS WIRE)--US Airways (NYSE:LCC) begins new, daily, nonstop service between its largest hub in Charlotte, North Carolina and Honolulu, Hawaii on the island of Oahu today, creating more travel options for the airline’s customers on the East Coast. The year-round flight complements US Airways’ daily nonstop service to Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island from its Phoenix hub. The flight will be operated with Boeing 767 aircraft with seating for 18 in First Class and 186 in the main cabin.

US Airways Managing Director, Network Planning Mike Britman said, “Hawaii is one of US Airways’ most popular vacation destinations, and we’re pleased to provide our customers throughout the East Coast with easy access to Honolulu.”

Customers may book their flight through US Airways’ Web site at www.usairways.com, by calling US Airways Reservations at 1-800-428-4322 or through their travel agent. Complete air and hotel vacation packages are also available through US Airways Vacations at www.usairwaysvacations.com.

Oahu is the third new nonstop destination from US Airways’ Charlotte hub to be added this year. Last spring, US Airways resumed service between Charlotte and Paris after an eight-year hiatus and earlier this week, the airline began its first-ever service to South America with daily, nonstop flights to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Earlier this month US Airways also announced that it will begin daily, year-round service to Rome on May 13, 2010.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Southwest Airlines Announces Destinations, Fares for New Service at Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) today announced it will begin offering nonstop flights to four destinations from the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport when it opens May 23, 2010.

The four destination cities are Baltimore, Houston, Nashville and Orlando. Southwest begins selling tickets for the new service today.

Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport is the first international airport to be opened in the nation in more than a decade. The new airport, located in West Bay, will serve as a gateway to Northwest Florida and its world-famous beaches.

“We are very excited to join Southwest Airlines in announcing these four great destinations,” said Airport Authority Chairman Joe Tannehill. “This new service will open up our region to greater numbers of visitors and provide excellent travel opportunities for Northwest Florida residents. With this announcement, we are truly Northwest Florida’s low-cost airport.”

Southwest Airlines is the nation’s low-fare airline, currently serving 65 cities in 33 states. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates 3,300 flights a day and has more than 35,000 employees system-wide.

The new, $318 million, Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport will feature a 10,000-foot runway. The terminal building will be 125,000 square feet and have 7 gates. The airport aims to have the first LEED certified Terminal Building in the nation, with a state-of-the art storm water management system, extensive use of sustainable materials and a landscaping plan that will not require supplemental irrigation.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

AirTran Airways Returns Scheduled Service to Gulfport/Biloxi, Miss.

/PRNewswirel/ -- AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AAI) , today announced plans to resume scheduled service from Gulfport/Biloxi, Miss., to the carrier's hub in Atlanta and add new service from Gulfport/Biloxi to Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.

This service will begin on Friday, January 8, 2010, and will replace existing charter service to Atlanta. Flights to Atlanta and Tampa/St. Petersburg will operate on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays with the airline's Wi-Fi equipped, Boeing 717.

"We are bringing back our award-winning, high-quality, low-cost service to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Since beginning charter operations in July, we have been very excited about the response to our flights," said Kevin Healy, senior vice president, marketing and planning. "Now there's no easier way to get to the world-famous casinos and golf courses of the Gulfport/Biloxi area."

By transitioning from chartered service to regularly scheduled flights to Atlanta, residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast will also have access to virtually the entire AirTran network of more than 60 cities.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fly to Barbados Non-Stop From Atlanta With Delta Special

/PRNewswire/ -- Cure post-holiday blues with a warm-weather getaway to the beautiful beaches of Barbados. With one-way fares from Atlanta non-stop to Barbados' Grantley Adams International Airport starting at just $229*, each way based on required round-trip purchase, traveling to the Caribbean in the high season has never been more affordable. *Additional taxes/fees/baggage charges apply. See below for details. Tickets must be purchased by Dec. 28, 2009 for travel on or between Jan. 16 and Feb. 28, 2010. To book tickets or for fare information, visit delta.com. For information about Barbados, visit www.visitbarbados.org.

*Terms and Conditions:

Restrictions: Tickets are nontransferable. Seats are limited and this fare may not be available on all flights or in all markets. Tickets: Fare shown is one-way. Round-trip purchase is required. Tickets must be purchased 24 hours after reservations are made, but no later than December 28, 2009. Travel Period: Travel may begin on or after January 16, 2010 and must be completed by February 28, 2010. Blackout Dates: None Fare Validity: Fare is valid in the Economy (Coach) cabin on Delta flights only. Minimum Stay: Saturday night. Maximum Stay: 30 days. Cancellations/Refunds/Changes: Tickets are nonrefundable except in accordance with Delta's cancellation policy. Fees may apply for downgrades/reissues and itinerary changes. Contact a Delta agent or visit delta.com for details. Taxes/Fees: Federal Excise tax of $3.60, Passenger Facility Charge(s) of up to $4.50, and the September 11th Security Fee of up to $2.50 for each flight segment are not included. For travel to/from Hawaii/Alaska, U.S. International Air Transportation Tax of up to $16.00 is not included. International fares, including fares for travel to/from PR/U.S. Virgin Islands,] do not include U.S. International Air Transportation Tax of up to $32.20 and U.S. and foreign user, inspection, security or other similarly based charges, fees or taxes of up to $299, depending on itinerary. Baggage Charges: For travel within the United States/PR/U.S. Virgin Islands and to/from Canada, $15 fee for 1 checked bag and $25 fee for second checked bag when bags are prepaid during online check-in at delta.com. For travel to/from Mexico, Central and South America (except Brazil), and the Caribbean, $25 fee for second checked bag when bags are prepaid during online check-in at delta.com. There is a $5 surcharge per bag on applicable fees when checking in via ticket counter, kiosk, or curbside. For all other travel, no fee for 2 checked bags ($50 for second checked bag for travel to/from Europe) and $200 fee for third checked bag. Allowances subject to size/weight limits. Miscellaneous: Fare and rules are subject to change without notice. It is the responsibility of the passenger to be in possession of all necessary documentation (e.g. valid passport, visa where applicable) at the time of departure from origin. Delta reserves the right to deny boarding to passengers without the proper documentation. Other restrictions may apply. ©2009 Delta Air Lines, Inc.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

American Airlines Praises U.S. and Japanese Negotiators for Reaching Tentative Open Skies Agreement

/PRNewswire/ -- American Airlines, a founding member of the oneworld® Alliance, today praised U.S. and Japanese government negotiators for reaching an agreement on Open Skies that will establish and foster a healthy global aviation framework in the Pacific Rim and replace the existing bilateral agreement that has governed aviation between the U.S. and Japan since 1952.

"By their nature, bilateral agreements create a system in which some airlines receive aviation rights while others do not," said Will Ris, American's Senior Vice President - Government Affairs. "Open Skies agreements, on the other hand, end discriminatory aviation policies and are in the best interest of American and Japanese people as well as the nations' airlines."

The existing bilateral agreement had provided a competitive advantage on routes to, from and through Japan for certain carriers for many years. American joins the other U.S. air carriers in the market to applaud government negotiators for effectively reaching an agreement to best serve the interests of the traveling public despite the last minute efforts by the dominant carrier in the market, Delta/Northwest Airlines, to derail the talks.

"This Open Skies agreement will effectively reset the playing field and enable new working relationships, particularly pro-competitive joint ventures granted anti-trust immunity by the U.S. and Japanese governments. Ultimately, the agreement will benefit not only the traveling public, but both countries in terms of tourism, trade and commerce - and traffic between the two nations can grow unimpeded," said Ris.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Delta Air Lines Applauds Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's Decision on Delta-Virgin Blue Group Joint Venture

/PRNewswire/ -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) today issued the following statement applauding a decision by the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to grant authorization to Delta and the Virgin Blue Airlines Group to enter into a joint venture on their flights between Australia and the United States.

"The ACCC's decision recognizes the increased competition and consumer benefits that Delta and the Virgin Blue Airlines Group will create by expanding their cooperation across the Pacific. Delta appreciates the ACCC's thorough review of the alliance and its finding that 'the joint venture is likely to enable the applicants to compete more vigorously and effectively against the established carriers on the route' and that it 'furthers the Government of Australia's key policy rationale in entering into an Open Skies Agreement with the United States.'

"Delta and V Australia are eager to move forward with their joint venture, and to bring new services to the market. We look forward to a similar decision from the U.S. Department of Transportation and urge the DOT to quickly conclude its review so consumers can begin to enjoy the important benefits of the alliance identified by the ACCC."

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Air Transport Association Expects 2.5 Percent Decline in Air Travelers Over 21-Day Winter Holiday Period

/PRNewswire/ -- The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, announced today that it expects 41 million passengers(1) to travel over the upcoming winter holidays(2) on U.S. carriers, representing a 2.5 percent year-over-year decline from the 42 million passengers(1) estimated to have flown during the same period in 2008.(3)

The three busiest travel days during this holiday period are expected to be Sunday, Dec. 27, Monday, Dec. 28 and Tuesday, Dec. 29, respectively, based on sample data from the 2008 winter holiday period.

"We are continuing to see fewer air travelers over the holidays, a trend that has been apparent throughout 2009," said ATA President and CEO James C. May. "Capacity reductions will likely mean fuller flights on many days." May added that the decline continues to be driven by a fragile economy and depressed global demand for travel.

ATA is expecting the federal government, once again, to open up Special Activity Airspace (SAS) on an as-needed basis to help ease congestion. SAS was also made available over the Thanksgiving holiday.

May encouraged passengers to pack light, to check their flight status before leaving for the airport, and to remember to arrive early to allow plenty of time for check-in and security screening.

In addition, ATA encourages passengers to consult its resource page for recommended travel tips. In particular, passengers are encouraged to keep in mind the following:

-- It is strongly recommended that all passengers review the Web site of
the airline on which they are flying for respective policies,
amenities, customer service plans and flight-operation alert
notifications.
-- Pack any gifts unwrapped, as they may need to be inspected by
security. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is also
providing additional Helpful Hints for Holiday Travelers online.
-- Remember that TSA requires that air travelers follow its 3-1-1 Rule
for liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-on bags when passing through
security checkpoints.
-- Passengers should be aware that they could be asked to provide their
date of birth and gender when making a reservation, as part of the TSA
Secure Flight program. Travelers should expect no change in the travel
experience, however, as part of this security initiative.


ATA airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic. For additional information about the industry, visit www.airlines.org.

(1) The total number of revenue passengers boarding aircraft in scheduled service.

(2) Defined as the 21 days spanning Thurs., Dec. 17, 2009 through Wed., Jan. 6, 2010.

(3) There is no source of industrywide traffic statistics for less than one month, so historical data for holiday travel periods must be estimated.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

TSA and Continental Airlines Expand Paperless Boarding Pass Program at SJU

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Continental Airlines announced today the expansion of the Paperless Boarding Pass pilot program at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU). The program will allow passengers to receive boarding passes electronically on their cell phones or PDAs, which will then be scanned by Transportation Security Officers at the checkpoint and eliminate the need for a paper boarding pass.

"The deployment of the mobile boarding pass highlights TSA's ongoing commitment to innovative technologies to further enhance security," said Jose Baquero, TSA Federal Security Director for Puerto Rico. "We are pleased to be able to partner with Continental Airlines to provide travelers with this option."

Each paperless boarding pass will display an encrypted two-dimensional bar code along with passenger and flight information that will identify the traveler. TSA Travel Document Checkers will use scanners to validate the authenticity of the paperless boarding pass sent to Continental passengers. The new technology heightens the ability to detect fraudulent boarding passes while improving customer service and reducing paper use.

TSA created the concept of how to scan the paperless boarding passes and Continental Airlines developed an implementation plan that involved encrypting the paperless boarding pass to ensure authenticity. Continental is the first U.S. carrier to test paperless boarding passes and offers the service now at 37 airports.

"We are very pleased that Puerto Rico has been selected as the introductory market of the mobile boarding pass program in the Caribbean and Latin America," said Rigoberto Alvarenga, Senior Director for Continental Airlines in the Caribbean. "Our customers surely appreciate this new technology as an added value when traveling. This program saves time and allows them to take more control of their travel experience."

The TSA Paperless Boarding Pass pilot program is currently operating at approximately 40 airports. The pilot is consistent with the global standard of the International Air Transport Association for bar coding of passenger boarding passes. TSA will continue to expand the use of electronic boarding pass scanners at the pace of participating airlines.

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Saturday, December 05, 2009

US Airways to Offer New Nonstop Flight to Rome from Charlotte Hub

(BUSINESS WIRE)--US Airways (NYSE: LCC) customers will have more ways to experience “la dolce vita” when the airline begins daily, year-round nonstop service to Rome from Charlotte, North Carolina, on May 13, 2010.

The new flight will complement US Airways’ daily nonstop service to Rome from Philadelphia, the airline’s international gateway. It will be operated with Airbus A330-300 aircraft with seating for 29 in Envoy, US Airways’ trans-Atlantic business class, and 259 in the main cabin.

US Airways Senior Vice President, Airport Customer Service, International and Cargo Operations Suzanne Boda said, “Rome is one of US Airways’ most popular European destinations. Our new service from Charlotte will offer our customers throughout the southeastern United States another convenient option for traveling to the Eternal City.”

US Airways currently offers nonstop service from its Charlotte hub to London’s Gatwick Airport, Frankfurt International Airport and Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport and also codeshares with Star Alliance carrier Lufthansa on Munich service from Charlotte. On Dec. 15, the airline will begin its first-ever service to South America from Charlotte with daily nonstop flights to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Customers may book their flight beginning Dec. 12 through US Airways’ Web site at www.usairways.com, by calling US Airways Reservations at 1-800-428-4322 or through their travel agent. Complete vacation packages are also available at www.usairwaysvacations.com.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Warm weather relaxing or playing in the snow? Tips for planning your winter travels

(ARA) - The winter months offer the perfect excuse to plan a fabulous getaway, and you don't have to travel far to find something that fits your vacation expectations.

If you need to flee from the cold depths of winter, there are plenty of beaches in Florida and California, and warm desert landscapes to enjoy in Arizona and New Mexico that will warm you up and give your skin a bit of summer glow. Picture yourself playing tennis in the sun, or lounging by the pool with a book while the kids are splashing around in the water.

Here are tips on how to best plan your warm-weather winter vacation:

* Look for deals during the slow months. Because January and February are so close to the holidays, but too early yet for spring break, hotels and resorts tend to offer special discounts to encourage traveling.

* Pack sunblock, even if you've been "tanning." Also make sure your travel bags include sun shades, a hat with a brim and a water bottle. Nothing makes a vacation more uncomfortable than sunburn and dehydration.

* Add a jacket to the luggage. Nights can get chilly, and if the wind blows in a rain cloud or two, you'll be glad you have that jacket to ward off the goose bumps.

Maybe you like to play in the fluffy white stuff and can't wait to schedule downhill skiing in Colorado, snowshoeing in Maine or ice fishing in Minnesota. The images you'll take home this winter include majestic mountains covered in snow, your daughter pulling a 360 while snowboarding down a half-pipe or even a moose with a full rack of antlers on his head browsing for vegetation along a back country road.

Tips for planning your snow vacation include:

* Figure out if you're going to take your gear or rent it at your destination. While looking into this, determine if your vehicle can carry all the gear, or if there are any restrictions barring you from taking it on the airplane. If you plan to rent, call ahead of time to reserve your equipment.

* Pack many layers of clothing. Many snow activities can make you warm, but once you stop moving, you're going to want the heavier layers back.

* Again, don't forget sunblock, goggles, shades or hat, because the sun glaring on snow can easily burn your skin and eyes, and winter rays can be just as damaging as those in summer.

Once you have your destination picked and travels planned, there's one more step to ensure your winter getaway is successful. While away from home, having your health and safety front-of-mind is very important so you are prepared for emergencies like falling and breaking a bone while swishing down a ski slope, or suddenly discovering you have seafood allergies while sampling fresh crawfish in Louisiana.

On Call International provides travel assistance anywhere in the world to travelers who experience an emergency, need medical care or evacuation while away from home. If you want to return to your local hospital for treatment because you are familiar with the area and can have your personal doctor available, On Call will coordinate a medical evacuation for the sick person and help arrange transportation for the rest of the family.

Only a small percentage of health insurance plans cover medical evacuation when the member is on vacation and away from home. This means you could be on the hook for thousands of dollars if you need to be transported from the resort's local clinic to a better hospital hundreds of miles away, or need a nurse to monitor your care on the way home after a skiing accident.

So when you plan your next trip to sunny Texas or snowy Michigan, don't forget to pack some comfort and safety for you and your family. And consider enrolling in an On Call International membership just in case you experience a travel emergency.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

US Airways Expands Central and South America for Customers Through TACA Codeshare Agreement

(BUSINESS WIRE)--With recent approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation, US Airways (NYSE: LCC) customers will be able to enjoy expanded travel between the United States and destinations in Central and South America, thanks to a new codeshare agreement between TACA Airlines and US Airways beginning Jan. 12, 2010. Flying will be open for sale beginning Dec. 5 at usairways.com and through global distribution channels.

The codeshare agreement will complement existing US Airways flying to Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize and beginning Dec. 15—Rio de Janeiro, Brazil—from its Charlotte, N.C., hub.

With this new agreement, US Airways customers traveling from the United States to Latin America will be able to connect on flights operated by TACA Airlines. Through TACA’s hubs in San Salvador, El Salvador; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Lima, Peru, US Airways customers can travel on a single ticket to those countries, as well as Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Conversely, TACA customers gain greater access to US Airways' markets in the United States and beyond through connecting opportunities in Charlotte.

US Airways Senior Vice President Marketing and Planning Andrew Nocella said, “Our codeshare offerings continue to expand for our customers in 2010, which means more destinations in more countries. Customers can book these flights directly from US Airways and enjoy convenient ticketing and baggage connectivity just as they would on a US Airways-operated flight.”

“Through this agreement we can deliver an improved travel experience for TACA and US Airways passengers,” said TACA Corporate Development Vice President Alex Benitez. “Opportunities like these are driven by our concern for our customers’ needs and ultimately contribute to ensure high levels of customer satisfaction, one of our main business goals.”

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Reminder to Motorists: As You Travel This Holiday Season, Pay Special Attention to Law Enforcement Officers Patrolling Our Roadways

/PRNewswire/ -- On the day before Thanksgiving 2008, Deputy Nick Pham of the Monroe County (FL) Sheriff's Office was on patrol on U.S. 1 in the Florida Keys when his police cruiser collided with a semi-tractor trailer. A four-year veteran of Florida law enforcement in Florida, the 43-year-old husband and father died from injuries sustained in the crash.

Deputy Sheriff Pham was one of six law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty on the nation's roadways last holiday season -- the period between the Thanksgiving holiday and New Year's. That can be a particularly dangerous time for law enforcement, as millions of Americans take to the roads and officers step up their safety patrols. In all of 2008, 71 law enforcement officers nationally died in traffic-related incidents -- the leading cause of officer fatalities for the 11th consecutive year.

To help prevent officer deaths and injuries this holiday season, the "Drive Safely" campaign of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) is again reminding motorists to pay special attention to officers on the roads and to follow other common-sense traffic safety measures.

"Again this year, our dedicated law enforcement officers will be called on to give up time with their own families so the rest of us can travel in safety to spend the holidays with our loved ones. Every time we get behind the wheel -- and especially during the holidays -- we owe these brave men and women our full attention and consideration," said NLEOMF Chairman and CEO Craig W. Floyd.

"In addition to doing the obvious things -- not speeding or driving drunk -- drivers need to be especially mindful of officers who will be out enforcing traffic laws. If you see a police cruiser stopped by the side of the road, please slow down, move over and allow the officers to do their jobs safely and effectively," Mr. Floyd added.

The Memorial Fund's "Drive Safely" campaign promotes a number of actions motorists can take to protect law enforcement officers, other drivers and themselves:

-- Focus on driving. Avoid talking on your cell phone, eating, or hunting
for items in your vehicle while driving. When traveling 55 mph or
faster, a two-second distraction can be deadly. Adjust your speed for
road conditions, especially snow and ice.
-- Slow down and "move over." If you see an emergency vehicle stopped by
the side of the road, slow down and safely move over one lane if
possible. Forty-seven states now have "move over" laws, and violators
can be ticketed and fined.
-- Get out of the way of emergency vehicles. If an emergency vehicle has
its lights or siren activated, slow down, move to the right and stop
if possible. Once the vehicle passes, do not follow it too closely.
-- Stay off the shoulder. Driving on the shoulder of a roadway is not
only illegal -- it's dangerous. Emergency vehicles use the shoulder to
get to emergencies faster, where a few seconds can mean the difference
between life and death.
-- Watch officers' hands as they direct traffic. And listen for whistles
or other audible signals from officers on how to proceed.


For more information, safety tips and resources, visit the "Drive Safely" website at www.LawMemorial.org/DriveSafely.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Celebrate the Holidays with Family and Friends at Fantasy in Lights®

T2F Note: A perennial favorite of our staff during the holidays is to see the magic and wonder of the holiday lights. We've always found it a sure way to brighten the holiday. Callaway Gardens is a sure bet for our coveted Fayette Front Page Day Tripper Award.

Make holiday memories that last a lifetime with family and friends amongst more than eight million sparkling lights and holiday sounds at the 18th annual Fantasy In Lights® at Callaway Gardens® November 20 through December 30, 2009.

Nestled throughout the wooded landscape of the Gardens, the southeast’s largest holiday light show features 12 unique holiday scenes and a truly magical Christmas Village for family members of all ages to enjoy.

Guests celebrate the joy of the season and the wonder of nature as they travel through five miles of larger-than-life lighted scenes on either the Jolly Trolley or in their personal vehicle. Custom designed holiday scenes, such as the favored Snowflake Valley and Santa’s Workshop, are set to classic Christmas music provided by more than 400 speakers making this an experience everyone will truly remember. Two favorite scenes, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and The Nativity, can be found on the shore of Robin Lake. Both are 10 minute presentations with spectacular animation, narration and music.

The Callaway Gardens Christmas Village is beautifully decorated with Christmas trees; a Toyland filled with classic Christmas toy treasures; and is the place for boys and girls of all ages to share their Christmas wishes with Santa. The Christmas Village also is filled with unique Christmas gifts and decor; wares made by Georgia crafters; a cookie decorating station; a candy-by-the-pound shop; a Fantasy In Lights souvenir shop and more. A food court will provide an option of food and sweet treats.

Callaway Gardens is proud to announce that Fantasy In Lights has been honored by the American Bus Association as a 2009 Top 100 Event in North America and by The Chicago Tribune as one of the Top 48 Events in the World in 2009. Since 1992, more than two million visitors have made Fantasy In Lights part of their holiday tradition. It is a wonderful way to spend quality time with family members.

Fantasy In Lights tickets start at $16 per adult and $8 per child and include same-day admission to Callaway Gardens to enjoy the beautiful holiday floral displays at the John A. Sibley Horticultural Center; the tropical warmth at the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center and the amazing feats of the Birds Of Prey show (weather dependent). Advance ticket purchases are strongly recommended. Simply purchase online at www.callawaygardens.com/fil or call 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292).

Admission to Fantasy In Lights begins at 6:00 p.m. nightly. November 22nd is reserved for pedestrians only as more than 6,000 guests will stroll through the winter wonderland of Fantasy In Lights for the annual March of Dimes Night Walk.

Callaway Gardens is offering guests a special Fantasy In Lights package to provide families with an affordable and memorable holiday vacation to celebrate the season and reconnect with loved ones. Overnight packages are available at all four lodging options.

For additional information about Fantasy In Lights or to make a reservation for a special holiday experience, please go to www.callawaygardens.com/fil or call 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292).

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

CDC Kicks Off National Travelers' Health Public Awareness Campaign

/PRNewswire/ -- Every holiday season, millions of Americans travel through the nation's airports, seaports, and train stations to spend time with loved ones. Special holiday get-togethers - and traveling itself - bring people close together but also provide an ideal way for illness to spread. To help travelers avoid the flu this holiday season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today launched its largest ever public awareness campaign about staying healthy while traveling.

"The holidays are one of the busiest travel times of the year," said Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "People are in close contact - whether they're on a plane, train, ship or just visiting with loved ones. This campaign provides practical advice to help travelers prepare for their trips and stay healthy during their holiday travel."

CDC is urging people to take the following steps when planning their travel and to stay informed about what to do if they get sick while they're gone, including:

-- Traveling only when they are feeling well
-- Getting vaccinated for flu (both seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 if they
are in a priority group)
-- Washing hands often
-- Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve

"We know that flu - and specifically H1N1 this year - is a big concern for people, but flu shouldn't ruin the holidays," Dr. Schuchat said. "By practicing a little prevention, people can enjoy their holidays and stay well at the same time."

CDC developed the campaign in response to the emergence in April of the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic. Since then, flu has spread throughout the country and around the world. In the United States, it has accounted for millions of cases and more than 4,000 deaths since April.

CDC launched the campaign at a joint event with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano today in Washington, D.C. The campaign will run through the holiday season and use a variety of media, including informational posters at major airports, ports of entry and border crossings; national radio and print advertising; and social media and online outreach. CDC will also partner with local health departments, travel professionals, health care professionals, and colleges and universities to further educate the public. Campaign themes include "Prevention can be Travel-Sized" and "Stop, Wash and Go."

For more information about the CDC Travelers' Health campaign, recommendations regarding travel, visit http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/content/novel-h1n1-flu.aspx. For more information about the H1N1 virus, visit www.flu.gov.

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European Courts Grant Historic New Law for Airline Passengers Rights: Will U.S. Ever Follow?

/PRNewswire/ -- Flyersrights.org and its President, Kate Hanni, applaud the decision handed down in a European court today which will require airlines in the European Union to compensate victims of mass delays for which they are responsible. Those who are forced to wait three hours or more will be compensated 600 Euros, the same as if their flight had been cancelled. But the airlines will be required NOT to cancel the flight unless it fits strict criteria as set down in this historic new law.

The decision, handed down by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, "is an important step forward," according to Hanni, "in creating a legal acknowledgment that the rights of victims, abused and ignored by the big airlines for far too long, will be given priority over the bloodless corporations that have simply taken it for granted that they engage in any behavior, no matter how injurious it is to consumers, without fearing repercussion. Imagine being stuffed like a sardine in a hot metal tube, without working toilets, food or water or access to medicines for over three hours, with no rights?"

Hendrik Noorderhaven EU Claim, FlyersRights.org EU counterpart and Global Partner said "This is a Historic decision for airline passengers in the EU, and in particular, any passengers traveling to the EU who suffer through anything greater than a 3 hour delay. They will now be reimbursed for this suffering with cash."

Hanni took it a step further, questioning why the United States has not yet taken similar measures to protect its citizens from this kind of corporate abuse.

"Sadly, the U.S. is woefully behind in prioritizing the rights of its consumers. Why hasn't Congress passed the Airline Passengers Bill of Rights, created in bipartisan fashion by Senators Barbara Boxer and Olympia Snowe, inserting it into the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009? Why can I still be held hostage on a tarmac for 9 hours without any rights? The time to sit idly by and allow big airlines to treat their passengers like jet fuel is long past. We deserve nothing less in the Unites States than the very same rights the courts have just granted to consumers living in democracies across the European continent."

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dollywood’s Splash Country Wins Must-See Waterpark Award

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dollywood’s Splash Country won the Must-See Waterpark Award on Monday, Nov. 16, at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo 2009 in Las Vegas.

The program recognizes outstanding waterparks around the world that provide visitors with a unique and memorable experience, top-notch guest service, operations, and safety.

“IAAPA’s Must-See Waterpark Award truly is an honor for our entire Dollywood’s Splash Country team and all of Herschend Family Entertainment, which is dedicated to providing a one-of-a-kind guest experience in a wholesome family setting,” Dollywood’s Splash Country Vice President and General Manager Gene Scherrer said.

The park twice has been recognized by the Travel Channel as one of the country’s top ten water parks. In 2001, Dollywood’s Splash Country was named the World Waterpark Association’s Best New Water Park in America.

In August, Dollywood’s Splash Country announced the addition of Slick Rock Racer, a multi-lane mat slide, for the 2010 season. Slick Rock Racer spans 300 feet and features four water-drenched lanes, each side by side. Positioned belly down on mats, each rider travels head first on a channel which includes an initial dip to build speed. Multiple bumps along the length of the slide allow riders to gain additional momentum which propels them to the finish. The new attraction can accommodate approximately 600 guests an hour.

Slick Rock Racer joins Dollywood’s Splash Country’s more than 30 water adventure slides including The Butterfly, Mountain Scream, Mountain Twist, and the 70-foot-tall Fire Tower Falls®, the state’s tallest twin speed slides.

Marking its tenth year of operation in 2010, Dollywood’s Splash Country is a 35-acre water adventure park located adjacent to Dollywood theme park. Situated in a unique wooded mountain setting, Dollywood’s Splash Country operates from Memorial Day through Labor Day. For more information, visit http://www.dollywoodssplashcountry.com.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Six Flags White Water Announces New Interactive Addition for 2010 Inspired by The Wiggles...The World's Premier Children's Entertainers

/PRNewswire/ -- Guests will find themselves wiggling with excitement as Six Flags White Water introduces its newest attraction in May 2010. The largest water park in the Southeast will transform into the wiggliest and wettest family destination with the introduction of North America's first Wiggles Water World. The Wiggles are the world's #1 preschool entertainers, having sold more than 23 million videos and 7 million CDs worldwide.

Wiggles Water World will boast five interactive sections spread over 40,000 square feet. The biggest adventure of all can be found at the center of Wiggles Water World on board The S.S. Feathersword, a 25-foot tall interactive play ship. Guests can become Captain Feathersword's first mate while exploring water cannons, telescopes, net climbs, secret crawl-throughs, port-holes and slippery slides.

And the fun doesn't stop there - adventure seekers can visit Wags the Dog's Kennel Slide Tower, splash around in Henry the Octopus's Pop Jets, explore Dorothy the Dinosaur's Spray Garden or take a ride on the Big Red Car Slide. The whole family can even grab a bite to eat at the Yummy Yummy Cafe.

"The Wiggles have touched the hearts of children for over 18 years and we are thrilled at the opportunity to bring this unique family experience to our water park," said Melinda Ashcraft, Six Flags Atlanta Properties Park President. "Wiggles Water World is the first of its kind in North America and will make 2010 a very special season."

After forming in Sydney Australia in 1991, The Wiggles have become the most popular children's entertainers in the world, combining music with early childhood education. Wiggles Water World will be designed to leverage the group's vast recognition and status among children ages 2-6. Since their inception, The Wiggles have franchised into other countries, including the development of Wiggles-themed play areas in five other Six Flags parks in the U.S.

Wiggles Water World will join a host of thrilling rides and attractions, including one of the tallest freefall slides in the world, a one-of-a-kind family raft ride and a giant wave pool. In 2008, Six Flags White Water was named "Best Private Water Park in the US" by Aquatics International.

More Flags. More Fun. More Affordable. 2010 Six Flags White Water Season Passes are on sale now for the lowest price of the season at $49.99. A Season Pass offers unlimited visits to Six Flags White Water, free tickets for friends, more than $300 in savings on in-park food and fun, and access to exclusive Season Pass events.

Six Flags White Water opens for the 2010 season on Saturday, May 22. For more information on Wiggles Water World and on the operating schedule, go to sixflags.com/whitewater.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Celebrate the Most Wonderful Time of the Year in one of the Most Wonderful Cities in America

/PRNewswire/ -- Holidays are the perfect time to visit Atlanta. Holiday travelers are invited to enjoy the holiday lights, ice skate in Centennial Olympic Park, save on Radio City Christmas Spectacular and Nutcracker tickets and so much more, with this special Atlanta vacation package.

Whether you're planning on traveling to Atlanta for the holidays or thinking about visiting The Big Peach throughout the coming months, the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel is eager to host guests during the most wonderful time of the year.

Celebrate Atlanta's signature holiday magic for as low at $129 per room, per night through December 28, 2009. The Holiday in the City rates are available from 11/22/09 to 11/29/09 and 12/18/09 to 12/28/09, and include:

-- Deluxe downtown Atlanta accommodations for one night
-- Access to $10 off select Radio City Christmas Spectacular tickets at
the Fox Theatre 11/19 to 12/6
-- Purchase Atlanta City Pass (includes admission to six attractions) for
$69
-- Purchase tickets in Atlanta's outdoor ice skating rink at Centennial
Olympic Park
-- Purchase 20% off Atlanta Ballets Nutcracker tickets showing at the Fox
Theatre 12/11 to 12/27


For package details, terms and conditions, visit http://marriott.com/hotels/hotel-deals/atlmq.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Holiday Travel: Not-So-Silent Nights in Asheville

/PRNewswire/ -- Asheville is known for mild winters, snow-capped mountains and a cozy downtown full of holiday tradition, but this year the season will sizzle with spectacle, savings and chances to splurge. Below are some of the season's best holiday events and travel deals for 2009:

ASHEVILLE SEASONAL SIZZLE: 19 Days of Not-So-Silent Nights

Holiday magic will literally be in the air as the night sky over Asheville sparkles during Seasonal Sizzle. Firework displays choreographed to Christmas music favorites will light up the night on Saturdays at 7 p.m. in December. Downtown streets will hum with carolers, roving performers and holiday shoppers. Local restaurants will offer "Sizzle Specials," getting guests in and out in time for the fireworks. Shops and galleries will stay open late, offering a festive occasion to browse decked-out window displays, art galleries and Asheville's whimsical boutiques. The lively atmosphere will go well into the evening - visit AshevilleSeasonalSizzle.com for event info and details about Sizzle after-parties.

-- Seasonal Sizzle Firework Dates: Dec. 5, 12, 19 at 7 p.m. -- FREE
-- Holiday Travel Deal: 'Tis the Season-al Sizzle Package -- Weekend
package includes two nights at historic Grove Park Inn, a $50 gift
card, twilight spa passes and appetizers at Magnolia Lounge. Watch the
fireworks from Sunset Terrace and enjoy the National Gingerbread
Competition Display.
-- AshevilleSeasonalSizzle.com - holiday events, travel packages,
seasonal recipes and shopping guides

MORE TOP HOLIDAY EVENTS:
-- Santa on the Chimney: To ready himself for clambering down chimneys
across the world, Santa will practice on 315-foot Chimney Rock. Dates:
Dec. 5 & Dec. 12 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. FREE with park admission
-- Warren Haynes Christmas Jam: Rock legend Warren Haynes returns to his
hometown bringing along his friends for the 21st annual Warren Haynes
Xmas Jam featuring Counting Crows, Ani DiFranco and Gov't Mule. Date:
Dec. 12
-- National Gingerbread House Competition & Display: Culinary
contestants from across the country will bring their edible
masterpieces to The Grove Park Inn this holiday season. Check out the
new behind-the-scenes gingerbread tour. Dates: Nov. 18, 2009 to Jan.
3, 2010. FREE
-- New! Legendary Inns Gingerbread Tour: Take a holiday trolley tour to
four of Asheville's historic bed & breakfast inns classically
decorated and featuring an elaborate gingerbread scene from 'Twas the
Night Before Christmas. Dates: Saturdays, Nov. 7, 2009 - Jan. 2, 2010
at 5 p.m.
-- Singing Santa & Asheville Holiday Parade: Grammy Award winner David
Holt and Appalachian songstress Laura Boosinger will preside over the
Asheville Holiday Parade. Always a favorite, Singing Santa croons from
atop his float as it winds through historic downtown. Date: Nov. 21 at
11 a.m. FREE
-- Christmas at Biltmore: Holidays arrive at America's largest home in
style. This year, Christmas at Biltmore promises more than 40
Christmas trees, miles of ribbon, garland, lights and holiday music.
Dates: Nov. 6, 2009 to Jan. 2, 2010

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

St. Kitts Is On Sale With Delta Air Lines

/PRNewswire/ -- The St. Kitts Tourism Authority is pleased to celebrate the commencement of a second weekly non-stop flight from Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to St. Kitts from Delta, the world's largest airline, with Delta's special new low fares to the island.

Travelers can now fly to St. Kitts from Atlanta on Delta for just $309* each way (based on a required round-trip purchase; Saturday night stay required. *Additional taxes/fees/restrictions/baggage charges may apply. See below for details). Fare available at delta.com. Flights must be purchased by November 16, 2009 with travel to be completed on or before February 28, 2010.

Delta's second weekly non-stop flight to St. Kitts from Atlanta will operate on Wednesdays, beginning on December 23, 2009 and continue through April 7, 2010 for peak winter travel season, complementing Delta's Saturday non-stop flights to St. Kitts. Delta Air Lines flight DL573 departs Atlanta at 9:40 a.m. and arrives into St. Kitts' Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport at 2:35 p.m. The return flight DL574 departs St. Kitts at 3:35 p.m. and arrives into Atlanta at 7:14 p.m. These flight times allow for convenient round-trip connections from over 90 airports in the U.S. and Canada.* Flights are listed in local time.

For more information about St. Kitts, contact the St. Kitts Tourism Authority toll-free from the US at 1-800-582-6208 or from Canada 1-888-395-4887, e-mail info@stkittstourism.kn, visit www.stkittstourism.kn or follow St. Kitts on Facebook and/or Twitter.

A portion of travel for some itineraries may be operated by Delta subsidiary Northwest Airlines or the Delta Connection® carriers: Atlantic Southeast Airlines, Compass Airline, Comair, Mesaba Aviation, Pinnacle Airlines, Shuttle America or Skywest Airlines.

* - Restrictions: Fares shown are available at delta.com. Tickets cost $20 more if purchased from Delta over the phone, $35 more at a Delta ticket counter or ticket office, and these amounts are nonrefundable. Tickets are non-transferable. Seats are limited. Tickets: Tickets must be purchased no later than November 16, 2009. Travel Period: Travel may begin on or after November 2, 2009 and must be completed on or before February 28, 2010. Blackout Dates: To and from St. Kitts: November 19-29, 2009 and December 17, 2009-January 12, 2010. Fare Validity: Fares are valid in the Economy (Coach) cabin on Delta/Delta connection carriers only. Minimum Stay: Saturday night. Maximum Stay: 30 days. Cancellations/Refunds/Changes: Tickets are nonrefundable except in accordance with Delta's cancellation policy. Fees may apply for downgrades/reissues and itinerary changes. Contact a Delta agent or see [or visit delta.com for details. Taxes/Fees: Federal Excise Tax of $3.60, Passenger Facility Charge(s) of up to $4.50, and the September 11th Security Fee of up to $2.50 for each flight segment are not included. Fares do not include U.S. International Air Transportation Tax of up to $32.20 and U.S. and foreign user, inspection, security or other similarly based charges, fees or taxes of up to $299, depending on itinerary. Taxes and fees must be paid when the ticket is purchased. Baggage Charges: For travel to/from Mexico, Central and South America (except Brazil), and the Caribbean, $25 fee for second checked bag when bags are prepaid during online check-in at delta.com. There is a $5 surcharge per bag on applicable fees when checking in via ticket counter, kiosk, or curbside. For all other travel, no fee for 2 checked bags ($50 for second checked bag for travel to/from Europe) and $200 fee for third checked bag. Allowances subject to size/weight limits. Contact a Delta agent for details. SkyMiles Partner Offers: Partner offers subject to the terms and conditions of each individual offer. Partners subject to change. All SkyMiles program rules apply. To review the rules, visit delta.com/memberguide. Miscellaneous: Fares, taxes, fees, rules, and offers are subject to change without notice. Other restrictions may apply. ©2009 Delta Air Lines, Inc.

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US Airways Resumes Flights between Florida’s Space Coast and Charlotte Hub

(BUSINESS WIRE)--US Airways (NYSE:LCC) will make getting to Florida’s Space Coast easier as the airline resumes daily non-stop service between Melbourne, Fla. and its largest hub in Charlotte, N.C. after a twelve-year hiatus. Year-round service is set to begin Thurs., Feb. 11, 2010. All three daily flights will be operated by wholly owned US Airways Express carrier PSA Airlines using 70-seat Bombardier CRJ700 regional jets.

The new service will offer Melbourne customers convenient connections through Charlotte Douglas International Airport to US Airways’ extensive network. “We’re glad to be serving Melbourne International Airport again,” said US Airways’ Director, Express Planning Jason Reisinger. “US Airways customers in Melbourne and the Space Coast will once more be able to fly out of their home airport and will be able to connect to more than 125 domestic and international destinations through our Charlotte hub.”

Richard Ennis, executive director, Melbourne International Airport, said, "We are delighted to welcome US Airways back to Melbourne and look forward to a successful partnership for many years to come."

With service to Melbourne, US Airways will fly to 15 destinations in the Sunshine State. Customers may book beginning Nov. 15 through US Airways’ Web site at www.usairways.com, by calling US Airways Reservations at 1-800-428-4322 or through their travel agent.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Delta Offers Travel Assistance to Customers Affected by Hurricane Ida

/PRNewswire/ -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) today announced travel options for customers whose flight plans may be affected by Hurricane Ida.

Customers booked on flights operated by Delta, Northwest Airlines or Delta Connection carriers to, from or through the following Gulf Coast cities through Tuesday, Nov. 10 may make a one-time change to their travel schedule without fee if tickets are changed by Nov. 11, 2009.

-- Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
-- Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss.
-- Mobile, Ala.
-- Panama City, Fla.
-- Pensacola, Fla.
-- Tallahassee, Fla.

Delta will proactively thin flight schedules to and from affected airports to ensure delays are minimized during the storm. However, customers may wish to consider postponing or rerouting their trip without penalty to avoid possible inconvenience.

Travel for changed itineraries must begin by Nov. 11 and changes to origin and destination may result in a fare increase. Any fare difference between the original ticket and the new ticket will be collected at the time of rebooking. Customers whose flights are cancelled may request refunds. Complete details are available at delta.com and nwa.com.

All customers traveling to, from or through impacted Gulf Coast cities are encouraged to visit delta.com or nwa.com to check the status of their flights before arriving at the airport. Updates on flights also are available by calling 1-800-325-1999 (Delta) or 1-800-441-1818 (Northwest).

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Nation’s Best Christmas Event Begins Nov. 7 with Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Presented by Humana

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dollywood unwraps its 20th anniversary holiday season on Nov. 7 with the opening of its award-winning festival Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana, which continues through Jan. 2, 2010.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas festival recently won its second consecutive Golden Ticket Award for Best Christmas Event. The awards are presented annually to the “best of the best” in the amusement industry by Amusement Today magazine from an international poll.

“I just love spending the holidays with family and friends, so I hope my Smoky Mountain Christmas festival brings families closer together this time of year,” Dolly Parton said. “My wish is for everyone to be wrapped in warm holiday memories, just like the ones of my family that I cherish and hold so dear.”

The Golden Tickets also honored Dollywood for Best Shows, which includes the park’s lineup of holiday entertainment. Dollywood’s live stage shows feature Dollywood’s Babes in Toyland, Christmas in the Smokies, O’ Holy Night, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs, and An Appalachian Christmas. Multiple performances are featured each day, and all shows are included with park admission.

Set amid a colorful display of four million holiday lights, Dollywood also offers guests more than 20 rides and attractions, including The Polar Express 4-D Experience™ which takes guests on a magical journey to the North Pole. Guests can enjoy the world-renowned Thunderhead and Mystery Mine coasters, as well as the Dollywood Express, a 110-ton steam engine that takes a nostalgic railroad journey into the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Santa’s Workshop is Santa’s home-away-from-home at Dollywood where a larger-than-life-sized display of toys awaits visitors. Santa also appears twice each evening in the Parade of Lights, joined by a cast of fun characters and brightly colored floats. Breakfast with Santa is featured from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. each Saturday during the festival. Seating is first-come, first-served for the meal which includes bacon, sausage, eggs, sausage gravy and grits. Prices are $15.99 for adults, $7.99 for children ages 4-11. Dollywood admission is required.

Seasonal favorites and special recipes from Dollywood’s best chefs are on the menu at the park’s many restaurants. Endless buffets featuring oven-roasted turkey and dressing with all of the trimmings are holiday favorites. Each year welcomes new additions, like this year’s chicken pot pie served at Backstage restaurant, all sure to become classic dishes offered for years to come.

Dollywood is a 150-acre family adventure park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit dollywood.com. Operating days and hours vary.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Mapping Out An Off-Season Getaway

(NAPSI)-Whether you enjoy trips off the beaten path or prefer mainstream vacation spots, off-season travel can be a delightful and affordable way to get away.

The trips can be an opportunity to discover that a destination-perhaps even one of your favorites-has a personality that changes with the seasons. Enjoying a ski resort in summer is a ready example. It's both weird and wonderful to hike on a cross-country trail or ride a mountain bike down a ski slope when your only memory of these locations is snow covered. Plus, many traditional warm-weather destinations offer incentives and activities to help save off-season travelers some cool cash.

Each year, for example, a four-month-long event called Pigeon Forge Winterfest attracts vacationers to the Great Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., an area once strictly thought of as a place for summertime fun. Now in its 20th year, the festival welcomes thousands.

The hallmark of the celebration is an unforgettably dazzling show of millions of decorative lights. The city even mounts lighted snowflakes on utility poles and erects gigantic storytelling displays-a popular one depicts a blacksmith pounding on an anvil producing snowflakes, not sparks, in the Tennessee night.

Complementing the city's efforts-which you can view on narrated trolley tours-are displays created by businesses throughout town. The Dollywood theme park adds millions more lights for its holiday event called Smoky Mountain Christmas, as well.

There's also the popular Wilderness Wildlife Week that offers eight days of free classes, seminars, photo shows and activities, most of which focus on Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located next to Pigeon Forge.

Additionally, travelers can enjoy hikes in the Smokies-where winter produces vistas that don't exist when summer's leaves are on the trees. Indeed, each year, Wilderness Wildlife Week hikers collectively cover about 5,000 miles on dozens of National Park trails.

For those looking for what may be a surprisingly authentic Western experience, Winterfest stirs things up with its popular celebration of cowboy poetry and Western music. Even though the city is east of the Mississippi, American Cowboy magazine still calls the experience one of its Top 101 Western Events.

For more information and tips on planning a trip, visit www.MyPigeonForge.com or call (800) 251-9100.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Enjoy the 'Best of the Best' At Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa This Fall

/PRNewswire/ -- Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa was recently recognized by the radio talk show Speaking of Golf for its outstanding Golf Pro Shop and its Equani Spa. The syndicated show addresses golf and the lifestyle of golfers. The recognition comes at a time when Brasstown Valley Resort is offering its Fall Awakening Getaway Package which includes a choice of activities.

Catch the beautiful leaf season in the North Georgia Mountains and enjoy a specially priced getaway from $185 (Sunday - Thursday), or from $235 (Friday - Saturday). The Fall Awakening Package is for two guests sharing a traditional guestroom and includes: a full Breakfast Buffet for two in the Dining Room, and a choice by each of the two guests for either a round of golf at the Denis Griffiths-designed Brasstown Valley Resort Golf Club, or a one hour trail ride from the Resort Stables. Guests may also upgrade their activity to a 50 Minute Swedish massage or a manicure/pedicure at the Equani Spa for an additional $20. Upgrades to deluxe guest rooms with a balcony or a fireplace are also available for an additional $20 per night. Rates are based on availability and exclusive of resort fees and taxes. For information or reservations visit: www.brasstownvalley.com or call 800. 201.3205.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Great deals, seasonal activities make pre-holiday a great time to get away

(ARA) – A vacation may be the last thing on your mind as the holidays draw near this year, but contrary to popular belief the holiday season is a great time to take a break. Pre-holiday season deals sweeten the appeal of a weekend getaway to decompress from the stresses of a busy fall and winter season.

“While airfares and hotel rates do rise on and immediately surrounding major holidays, the weeks leading up to those times can yield amazing deals and wonderful opportunities to escape the hectic pace of the holiday season,” says Brad Dean, president and chief executive officer for the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Still not convinced now is the time for a quick getaway? Consider these facts:

Getting There

Airports will be crowded and frustrating as soon as the holidays arrive. Yet airfares are lower and airports are less crowded in the weeks leading up to peak holiday season. You’re much more likely to score a good deal on airfare – and a less stressful airport experience – if you travel pre-holiday.

Driving trips are also easier before the holiday. Come Thanksgiving or Christmas, everyone will be visiting family and friends to celebrate. Highways are less likely to be clogged with traffic in advance of the holidays. To make the most of your weekend getaway, choose a driving destination that’s easily accessible and offers the most “bang for your buck.” Myrtle Beach, S.C., for example is a popular driving destination from many parts of the eastern seaboard and Midwest.

Hotel Deals

Hotel prices typically increase a day or two before a holiday – rates may even double over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. However, hotels are relatively empty and inspired to offer better deals in the weeks leading up to the holidays. In fact, rates can be reduced to more than half the cost of a room during peek summer season. You can find great package deals if you travel before the holidays, especially to affordable locations that are in their “off” seasons. Many beach resorts and hotels offer all-inclusive packages with admission to local attractions and many feature heated indoor swimming pools and even indoor waterparks.

Cool Prices on Hot Attractions

Attraction tickets that might seem pricey during high season will likely be more appealingly priced during the pre-holiday, “off season.” Some outdoor attractions in more temperate climes, such as Myrtle Beach will stay open through the holidays, as will shows, indoor attractions and sites. Plus, you won’t have to fight the “peak season” crowds or lines at year-round attractions like popular museums and aquariums.

A Taste of the Holidays without the Expense

What commercial venture in the United States doesn’t stretch the holidays? With Halloween items appearing on store shelves in early September, is it any surprise that resort attractions will don their holiday d├ęcor and feature holiday-themed events and shows long before the actual dates arrive?

It’s possible to get into the holiday spirit and enjoy themed shows, attractions and activities when you travel before the holidays. For example, the Myrtle Beach area offers everything from live holiday shows to candlelit gardens with carolers, Christmas tree festivals to holiday markets.

To learn more about a pre-holiday getaway to Myrtle Beach, go to www.visitmyrtlebeach.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fall for Leaves in Georgia

Looking for some fall leaf colors? Look no further than our great state of Georgia. It is currently estimated that the leaf color change is at 30%.

The excessive rainfall in Northwest Georgia has delayed the leaf color change in the area, however, the leaves are just starting to pop in North Georgia.

Head on up to the Lake Rabun, and the Jasper area for some great views.



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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Callaway Gardens® Presents a Mystery Theater Dinner: Halloscream

Looking to add a little scare to your Halloween weekend? Bring your detective skills and appetite to Callaway Gardens® on Friday, October 30, 2009, for another Mystery Theater Dinner. Those, not faint of heart, will participate in a symposium on paranormal research and development.

At this fictitious annual gathering, the world’s top experts on paranormal activity will report on the year’s greatest moments in the weird and bizarre. But, the night will become more unusually evil with a mysterious murder.

Who could have done it? Possibilities include the likes of Professor Alfred Hitchhike, the foremost authority on paranormal activities and a representative of The Paranormal Institute of Technology; Doctor Victor Von Beerenstein, the good doctor who has dropped his family practice for mysterious research; Doctor Heckyll/Mr. Jive, the prim and proper doctor who sometimes like to take a walk on the wild side; Helga Von Beerenstein, the lovely dear and departed yet - present and accounted - for wife of Victor; or Monique LeSpat, a beautiful, wealthy widow whose midnights cravings can sometimes be bloody awful.

This evening of mystery and macabre will include opportunities for guests to interact with the cast. Before the show, selected guests will receive reading parts and will be cued to deliver their award winning performances. Solving the mystery comes with prizes for the winning team.

Halloscream is calling your name. Reserve your spot today by calling 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292). Registration is limited, so make your reservation soon.

Callaway Gardens®, is in Pine Mountain, Ga., 60 minutes southwest of Atlanta and 30 minutes north of Columbus. For additional information, call 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292) or visit www.callawaygardens.com.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Huge yard Sale! Celebrate Family Fall Festival at Historic Indian Springs October 31

Looking for a really good yard sale?

The Historic Village at Indian Springs is having a Huge Event on October 31st, traditionally known as Halloween. The Village is giving away $500.00 in CASH PRIZES for the best costumes. Now, everyone knows you have to be home on this Night of Trick-or-Treat, so this event starts at 7:00 AM and closes at 3:00 PM. Visitors can find some funky things to wear, paint pumpkins, enjoy homemade pies at the Cafe' , drink cider, and just enjoy being outdoors while they find those really awesome bargains on clothes, furniture, and all the things you need to buy before the holidays.

All the Village Shops will be open and every store will have sale merchandise during this event. If you want to sell, a booth can be yours for just $5.00. Stop in at THE BIG CHIEF COUNTRY STORE or call 770-775-5350 to register, but do it today, because space is limited.

To get an early start, folks may want to stay in one of the vintage cottages in the Village, or there's camping, RV space and cabins inside the Indian Springs State Park across the street. Start a new tradition - Bring the whole family, enjoy the lake, go hiking, and pick up some great buys. Ms Frankie Willis is looking forward to a big crowd. "People love to be outdoors when the weather starts to cool.

Now is the best time to enjoy The Whimsical Botanical Gardens with the kids. Be sure to visit Daisy Pearl's Fashion Boutique and LadyBug and Tadpole's Children Store.. We have just brought in the new fall styles. Plan on having lunch at Pinky's Parlor & Cafe'. We will be serving breakfast and lunch with homemade pies and cold beverages. " Mrs. Lee's Stagecoach Sweetstop is where friends meet and enjoy rich ice cream and homemade fudge. "We will have warm apple cider ready for you -but the weather is never too cool for ice cream, " says Ms Diann. "And don't forget, the children can paint pumpkins, draw and do art activities all day for free at Generations Gallery - and then come have ice cream here. It is a lot of fun."

"The writers are meeting every Saturday, and on the day of the Yard Sale we have a special guest, Rita Lewis, who will be talking about her new book, " Excuse Me, Your Honor..." , exlains Andi Kulp. "Rita came to our very first "Open Mike" at our Writers Conference two years ago and here she is - with her first book completed."

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Boo at the Zoo Returns

T2F Note: What better way to spend a fall day than at the zoo? This week's highly coveted Fayette Front Page Day Tripper Award goes to Zoo Atlanta for hosting this year's event during daylight hours.

Fun family Halloween festival runs October 24, 25 and 31


Atlanta’s favorite fun family Halloween festival is set to return – this year on three fun-filled days. Zoo Atlanta’s signature seasonal event, Boo at the Zoo, is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, October 24 and 25 and Saturday, October 31. Activities will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The popular celebration invites guests of all ages to sample sweet treats, meet whimsical costume characters, and enjoy live entertainment. Costumes are not only welcome, but encouraged: costume contests will take place during each day of the event.

Successful 2007 and 2008 installations of the event took place during the evening, with just one disappointment for Boo at the Zoo guests. Most of the Zoo’s star attractions – more than 1,000 animals from around the world – had gone to bed by the time the event began. With this year’s return to a daytime event, visitors will get to see their favorite Zoo residents, many of them joining in the fun themselves with their own Halloween-themed enrichment treats.

Boo at the Zoo is free for Zoo Atlanta Members and children under 3; free with general admission.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

All-Star Southern Gospel Concerts Headline Dollywood’s National Gospel & Harvest Celebration Presented by Humana

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nowhere does fall make its arrival so abundantly known as in the Smoky Mountains, and Dollywood’s annual National Gospel & Harvest Celebration presented by Humana (Oct. 2-31; closed Tuesdays & Thursdays) honors the season with special music, crafts and food.

Southern gospel music takes top billing during the monthlong festival with more than 200 free concerts. Some of the artists appearing include Mike & Kelly Bowling (Oct. 2 & 3), Gold City (Oct. 4 & 5), The McKameys (Oct. 9 & 10), The Ball Brothers (Oct. 9 & 10), Brian Free & Assurance (Oct. 11 & 12), Michael Combs (Oct. 12), Legacy Five (Oct. 11 & 12), The Kingsmen (Oct. 16 & 17), Mark Bishop (Oct. 16 & 17), The Crist Family (Oct. 18 & 19), The Greenes (Oct. 18 & 19), The Inspirations (Oct. 23 & 24), The Whisnants (Oct. 23 & 24), Mark Trammell Trio (Oct. 25 & 26), The Isaacs (Oct. 25 & 26), Karen Peck & New River (Oct. 30 & 31) and The Perrys (Oct. 30 & 31). Plus, Dollywood’s own award-winning Kingdom Heirs quartet performs daily.

Southern gospel and bluegrass music share a common ground with great songs deeply rooted in beautiful vocal harmonies and a powerful message. In addition to a lineup of gospel music’s most popular acts, the festival welcomes special gospel performances by Riders in the Sky (Oct. 2 & 3), Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen (Oct. 4 & 5), Dailey & Vincent (Oct. 18 & 19), and The Gibson Brothers (Oct. 14 & 21).

All concerts are included with Dollywood admission. A complete concert lineup is available at dollywood.com.

The country’s most talented crafters visit Dollywood throughout the festival, showcasing a one-of-a-kind display of beautiful and unique artistry as well as up-close demonstrations as they create their works of art. Craft demonstrations include woodturning, spinning, dyeing, basket weaving, wool rug hooking, papermaking, and weaving. Crafters also will make hats, sorghum, fiddles, Windsor chairs, rugs, woodworking tools, and rope. Other featured crafters’ booths will showcase stained glass, handmade jewelry, woodcarvings, glassworks, dulcimers, harps, oil and acrylic artwork, games, toys and more.

Dollywood’s 18th annual Woodcarving Showcase and Competition, one of the Southeast’s top woodcarving events, takes place Oct. 2-4 with daily demonstrations by master carvers who showcase this unique art form through a variety of carving styles. This year’s competition features a special competition honoring Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s 75th anniversary. The exhibit will be displayed throughout the event. Each day also features a special carving competition. The Team Carving Championship is slated for Oct. 2 (2 p.m.) The Whittling Competition takes place Oct. 3 (1:30-3:30 p.m.) and the always-fun Pumpkin Carving Competition wraps things up on Oct. 4 (1:30-3 p.m.)

Rusty’s Trailblazing Chuckwagon returns to this year’s festival, bringing with him the nostalgia of the Western frontier as Rusty shares stories of feeding hungry cowboys from his completely restored 1901 John Deere wagon. From “tongue to tailgate,” Rusty’s working wagon is an accurate model of chuck wagons that date back to the 1860s. His trusty Dutch oven is the vessel through which Rusty prepares a variety of campfire dishes that are slow-cooked over an open fire. And don’t miss Rusty as he shares the secrets behind the age-old technique of cowboy coffee.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

America's Purple Heart Trail

(NAPSI)-One of the reasons that freedom thrives in America is because of brave men and women who endured the true pain of preserving the nation's ideals. Indeed, some have given their lives to uphold justice and liberty for all.

For these acts of individual bravery, the nation's government presents its oldest military decoration: the Purple Heart medal. The Purple Heart Trail was established in 1992 by the Military Order of the Purple Heart to create a visual and symbolic tribute to those brave men and women. The Purple Heart Trail originates at a monument in Mt. Vernon, Virginia. Mt. Vernon is the burial location of George Washington, the nation's first president, the commander in chief of the Revolutionary Army, and the father of the Purple Heart award. Currently, 45 states have enacted legislation to have some portion of their road system dedicated to honor Purple Heart recipients, and other states are now working on dedicating sections of their road system. Montana and Kansas have dedicated their state's entire interstate system as the Purple Heart Trail. Currently, the longest part of the trail runs along I-80 from San Francisco to the Wyoming-Nebraska border, and Nebraska is trying to get its portion of I-80 so designated.

Signs have been placed in many locations across America indicating roads, highways and even bridges where states and localities have enacted legislation to mark their portion of the Purple Heart Trail. Guam and Puerto Rico have also acted to honor Purple Heart recipients this way. These signs present a visual reminder to those who travel freely through the nation that freedom is not without cost.

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