Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TSA's Secure Flight Begins Vetting Passengers

/PRNewswire / -- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced today the implementation of the Secure Flight program, which shifts pre-departure watch list matching responsibilities from individual aircraft operators to TSA and carries out a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. To date TSA has assumed the watch list matching responsibility for passengers on domestic commercial flights with four volunteer aircraft operators and will add more carriers in the coming months.

"The implementation of Secure Flight is a critical step towards mitigating threats we know exist in our aviation system," said TSA Acting Administrator Gale Rossides. "Secure Flight improves security and protects passenger privacy and civil liberties by ensuring the confidentiality of government watch list matching protocols."

Under Secure Flight, airlines will gather a passenger's full name, date of birth, and gender when making an airline reservation to determine if the passenger is a match to the No Fly or Selectee lists. By providing the additional data elements of gender and date of birth, Secure Flight will more effectively help prevent misidentification of passengers who have similar names to individuals on the watch list.

In addition to addressing misidentification, Secure Flight protects sensitive watch list data and enables officials to address security threats sooner, keeping air travel safer. By implementing one watch list matching system, the program provides a fair and consistent matching process across all airlines.

TSA continues to provide a robust redress process through the Department of Homeland Security's Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) (www.dhs.gov/trip), a single portal for travelers to seek redress for adverse screening experiences and resolve possible watch list misidentification issues. Secure Flight uses the results of the redress process in its watch list matching process to prevent future misidentification of passengers who may have a name that's similar to an individual on the watch list.

The second stage of implementation, which is expected to begin in late 2009, will assume the watch list matching function for passengers on international flights from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and international air carriers.

TSA's goal is to vet 100 percent of all domestic commercial flights by early 2010 and 100 percent of all international commercials flights by the end of 2010.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Getting More for Less on Your Florida Beach Vacation

As economic times become tougher, everyone starts to look at getting more for less. And never before has it been more important to get away from it all to sit back, relax, unwind and recharge. The staff at Pristine Properties Vacation Rentals understands the struggle between reconciling a tight budget with vacation plans. To help you make your plans a reality, this company has adopted a program to allow their guests to experience just that…getting more for less.

Pristine Properties is a rental management company in the Panhandle of Florida managing nearly 250 homes from Mexico Beach and St. Joe Beach to Cape San Blas and Indian Pass. This area is considered the Forgotten Coast for its solitude and pristine coastline. Located about 30 miles east of the College Spring Break College-Crazed atmosphere of Panama City Beach, this area is much more peaceful than its neighbor. The beaches are beautiful, the people are friendly and the seafood is divine. It is the perfect place for the entire family including your leashed pets which are welcome on most parts of the beach. As an added bonus, the waters are kid friendly with no rip currents to worry about.

So back to the more for less. With each vacation rental home reservation, guests receive a complimentary Family Fun Pass. This is your ticket to excitement along the coast offering one free admission/fare to an 18-hole round of golf, a deep sea fishing excursion, a unique experience of horseback riding on the beach and unlimited DVD rentals for each nights’ stay. What a huge savings for anyone who wants to take advantage of these exciting activities, making your family vacation one to remember.

With gulf front properties starting at just over $800 for a week in the spring or $850 for a week in the summer, prices are still considerably lower here than in other coastal communities. It is certainly a place one must experience to appreciate its true value. So if you’re budget is a little tighter this year, but you know your family needs a beach break try the Forgotten Coast.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Alaska Airlines Cancels Flights in and Out of Anchorage After New Mount Redoubt Eruption

/PRNewswire / -- Alaska Airlines has suspended its remaining flights in and out of Anchorage for Saturday night after Mount Redoubt erupted again about 3:40 p.m. Alaska time and generated ash clouds that pose a significant risk to air travel. Shortly after the airline suspended flights, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport ceased all operations about 6 p.m. Alaska time because of volcanic ash falling in the area.

Alaska Airlines will evaluate resuming service once authorities reopen Anchorage International Airport. Flight departure information will be posted at alaskaair.com.

"We apologize for the inconvenience to our customers, but their safety is always our highest priority," said Ben Minicucci, Alaska Airlines' chief operating officer and executive vice president of operations. "We're continuing to closely monitor the weather and ash from Mount Redoubt and will resume flights when it is safe to do so. We're also making every effort to re- accommodate passengers whose travel plans have been disrupted."

In all, 37 flights to and within the state of Alaska were canceled Saturday. Since the volcanic eruptions began Sunday, March 22, Alaska Airlines has canceled more than 185 flights affecting an estimated 10,000 passengers.

Travelers are advised to check the status of their flights before going to the airport at alaskaair.com or by calling 1-800-ALASKAAIR (1-800-252-7522). Specific information about flight changes related to the Mount Redoubt volcano is available at alaskaair.com.

Ticketed passengers who are affected by Mount Redoubt eruptions and scheduled for travel March 28 through March 29, 2009, will be allowed changes without penalty if their new travel is on or before April 5, 2009. A full refund will also be offered for any unused portion of the ticket. Passengers with new reservations and those scheduled to travel after April 2, 2009, who wish to change their flights will be charged applicable penalty and change fees. Passengers booked on an Alaska Airlines Vacation should contact the Vacations Department at 1-800-468-2248.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mount Redoubt Eruption No Cause for Alarm

/PRNewswire/ -- While news outlets worldwide feature stories on the explosion of Alaska's Mount Redoubt volcano, travelers are urged to get current, local information before cancelling travel plans.

The volcano, which is located approximately 103 miles southwest of Anchorage, began erupting on Sunday, March 22, and has been intermittently active since. So far, though, the ash cloud has not significantly impacted Anchorage airspace, and ash fall has been limited to a few small, remote communities.

Volcanologists in Alaska and elsewhere have noted the volcano could remain active for a period of weeks or months, but travelers with trips planned for the summer should monitor the situation before cancelling vacation plans. Visitors are asked to check with local convention and visitors bureaus and tourism businesses to find out what the situation is like in the specific areas to which they are traveling. Most areas of the state remain unaffected by the volcano's eruption.

"If I wasn't paying attention to news broadcasts or the web, I wouldn't even know it was happening," said Ron Peck, president and COO of the Alaska Travel Industry Association. "Right now in Anchorage we're seeing basically no impact from the eruption, and that could continue to be the case indefinitely. It would be a shame if people cancelled their plans for no real reason."

Weather and other meteorological forces dictate ash-fall patterns, and circumstances can change often and quickly. Updates are posted regularly at several sites, including the Alaska Volcano Observatory (www.avo.alaska.edu), the National Weather Service (http://pafc.arh.noaa.gov/volcano.php) and Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau (www.anchorage.net/volcano).

Peck suggested travelers concerned about their summer plans should purchase trip insurance. Inexpensive policies are widely available on the Internet and through travel agents or airlines.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Georgia State Park Lodges Offer Businesses an Affordable Alternative for Meetings in Tough Times

/PRNewswire/ -- In today's challenging economic times, cutting corporate budgets doesn't have to mean giving up the annual executive golf outing or sales retreat. It just might mean rethinking the venue. Georgia State Park's seven lodges are ideal venues for meetings and corporate retreats. The modern accommodations, scenic environments and unparalleled recreational opportunities provide groups the perfect blend of business and pleasure at an affordable cost.

"Many businesses don't realize the tremendous resources our state parks offer in terms of corporate meetings, retreats and team building," said Vickie Slack, regional director of sales for Georgia State Park Lodges. "Our seven lodge facilities located throughout the state are the perfect blend of technology and nature, which is ideal for planning a relaxing and productive meeting."

Diverse Facilities & Recreational Offerings for Custom Experiences

Facilities for group meetings at Georgia State Park Lodges range from cozy lodge meeting rooms perfect for small groups of 5 to 28, to larger meeting room and convention space to accommodate up to 475 people. And, each of the lodges features wireless Internet service and the latest audiovisual equipment necessary for conducting successful meetings.

After the business of the day is done, the parks offer boundless recreational opportunities to fit every interest and fitness level. For hiking and biking enthusiasts there are miles of secluded trails with breathtaking views of mountainous peaks, waterfalls, and secluded lakes and streams. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy championship golf and fishing enthusiasts will appreciate some of the finest trout steams in the Southeast. The on-site coordinators are also available at each lodge to customize retreats to include special workshops, nature programs, entertainment and team-building exercises designed to challenge participants by taking advantage of the natural environment.

Convenient Locations and Packages Makes Planning a Breeze

Georgia State Park Lodges offer seven locations from the north Georgia mountains to secluded coastal areas; there is a lodge convenient to all major southeastern cities.

The "Breath of Fresh Air" meeting package includes overnight guest room, meeting facilities, meals (dinner upon arrival, breakfast the next morning and lunch the day of departure), morning and afternoon breaks, basic audio/visual equipment and all gratuities. Package prices range from $130 to $170 per night, based on time of year. Rates are based on single occupancy, with a 2-night minimum stay required on weekends. Taxes are applicable. This package is available at all of the lodges except The Lodge at Smithgall Woods and The Reynolds Mansion on Sapelo Island, due to the intimate setting of these properties.

Georgia State Park Lodges include the following:

Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge, Dawsonville, Georgia

Inspiration and environment go hand-in-hand at Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge, a 56-room mountain retreat within earshot of one the Southeast's highest waterfall. Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge offers an ideal meeting facility for up to 200, along with all the unique amenities of an Appalachian location - miles of hiking trails, trout streams, and one of the seven wonders of Georgia, Amicalola Falls. The lodge features 3,074 square feet of meeting space that includes four spacious conference rooms and ballroom capabilities. For pre-function gatherings, receptions and other group activities, guests enjoy the conference lobby with its huge stone fireplace and stone verandah overlooking the mountain valley more than 1,000 feet below.

Red Top Mountain State Park & Lodge, Cartersville, Georgia

Located on the shores of Lake Allatoona, Red Top Mountain State Park & Lodge incorporates the best of business and recreation, including hiking on 12 miles of trails, swimming, tennis, boating, fishing and interpretive programs. The 33-room lodge features four meeting rooms totaling 2,500 square feet of functional space. Additional space is also available in the two group shelters that accommodate from 100 to 250 attendees.

The Lodge at Smithgall Woods, Helen, Georgia

Nestled on 5,600 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains, The Lodge at Smithgall Woods is the centerpiece of this upscale Georgia Heritage Preserve and executive retreat, which provides corporate and private groups extensive outdoor recreation, elegant accommodations and exquisite culinary delights. All of these amenities are offered with the rustic charm only the secluded Blue Ridge Mountains can provide. Amidst melodious songbird calls, rustling leaves and complete privacy, groups of up to 28 guests may reserve The Lodge at Smithgall Woods for exclusive-use. Exclusive-use reservations require a 10-room minimum and include accommodations, three delicious meals per day and all on-site activities.

Unicoi State Park & Lodge, Helen, Georgia

Perched high in the Blue Ridge Mountains just two miles northeast of the Alpine Village of Helen, Unicoi State Park & Lodge offers groups the perfect rustic retreat to test those important team-building skills. With team building programming, guests may participate in their choice of activities designed especially for their group. The lodge features spacious meeting rooms, which accommodate 5 to 475 people. The exclusive Beach House, overlooking a 53-acre lake, offers a relaxed atmosphere for meetings and events.

George T. Bagby State Park & Lodge, Fort Gaines, Georgia

Surrounded by 700 acres of quiet forest, a 48,000-acre lake and a Willard Byrd designed, links-style golf course, George T. Bagby State Park & Lodge in southwest Georgia is the perfect location for conferences, receptions and other group functions. An expanded 3,867-square-foot conference center has meeting and banquet space for up to 200 guests. The 60-room lodge also features a full-service restaurant with lake view and catering for meals and receptions.

Little Ocmulgee State Park & Lodge, McRae, Georgia

Showcasing 1,277 acres of natural grandeur within Georgia's inland coastal region, Little Ocmulgee State Park & Lodge is ideal for group getaways. The 60-room lodge features a 3,867-square-foot conference center that will accommodate up to 210 people. Guests can enjoy nature's wonders as the park offers miles of hiking and nature trails, 18 holes of championship golf and a 265-acre lake.

The Reynolds Mansion on Sapelo Island, Georgia

The Reynolds Mansion on Sapelo Island is a charming 6,110-acre getaway accessible only by ferry for uniquely successful retreats. Accommodating up to 29 guests in 13 bedrooms, the mansion brims with turn-of-the-century ambiance, architecture and art. Meetings and retreats are the house specialty at The Reynolds Mansion. Groups will enjoy the ornately decorated Circus Room that features the wild animal murals of famed artist, Athos Meneboni, whose work appears throughout the house.

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Updated Itinerary, New Vessel for Galapagos 2010

/PRNewswire/ -- In celebration of Charles Darwin's 200th birthday, Cruise West, one of the world's leading providers of small-ship exploration cruises to the most fascinating destinations on earth, has updated its popular Galapagos itinerary. During the 2010 season, the 10-day/9-night cruises will journey throughout Darwin's inspiring islands on the elegant, 100-guest Galapagos Explorer II, sister ship to Cruise West's Spirit of Oceanus. The itinerary to this UNESCO World Heritage Site has been rearranged, ensuring that visitors receive maximum exposure to the Islands' diverse wildlife and spectacular scenery. Save up to $600 per person by booking and paying in full by May 22, 2009.

Ecuador - a remarkably varied country with mountains, jungle, coastal areas and islands - is home to one of Latin America's prize jewels, the Biosphere Reserve of the Galapagos Islands. Traveling 650 miles west of the mainland, guests will sail the waters that gave birth to revolutionary scientific theories, explore multi-colored volcanic islands, and interact with thousands of animal species including giant tortoises, pink flamingos, blue-footed boobies and Galapagos penguins.

More than 9,000 feet above sea level, the Ecuadorian adventure begins in the charming colonial town of Quito, once the northern capital of the Inca Empire. After a historical walking tour of the city viewing Baroque art, strolling cobblestone streets and enjoying a birds-eye view of the metropolis from observation point El Ventanal, visitors will savor renowned Mediterranean cuisine at the Theatrum Restaurant & Wine Bar in the National Theater.

Guests will fly from Quito to San Cristobal Island to board the Galapagos Explorer II, a 293-foot vessel that includes a Jacuzzi, marine observation deck and reading room. Experienced naturalist guides will also board the ship, poised to lead expeditions in search of wildlife and to provide invaluable local and historical insight both on-ship and off. First day highlights in the Galapagos include snorkeling, swimming and strolling along the beach near San Cristobal Island, a haven for Darwin's finches, brown pelicans and yellow warblers.

The following days at Hood, Santa Cruz, and Rabida islands will feature: indigenous wildlife viewing (tropical fish, lava lizards, Galapagos dove, white-tipped reef shark, Sally Lightfoot crabs and more); a visit to the Charles Darwin Station to learn about on-island research and to view the Galapagos tortoise breeding and rearing center; a meander through Puerto Ayora, the largest town on the islands; and climbing lava cliffs to glimpse seawater spraying high into the air through precarious fissures.

The ship will then sail to desolate yet breathtaking Bartolome Island, offering 360 degree views of the archipelago as well as an extinct volcano with a variety of red, orange, green and black volcanic formations. The next stop is James (Santiago) Island, the only location Fur Seals can be found in the Galapagos. The following morning, guests will witness marine iguanas basking on every plausible surface of Fernandina Island - snorkelers can watch them feeding underwater on clear days. On the northwestern tip of Isabela Island, approachable only by dinghy, intrepid sea-goers can snorkel at a cave renowned for its dazzling array of marine wildlife.

The Galapagos sojourn ends with a 45-minute bus ride through changing vegetation zones in the Santa Cruz Highlands, where guests can quietly approach the 40 giant tortoises native to the region. After breakfast, guests will disembark the ship and fly to Guayaquil for departure home, or head to Lima to begin a fully guided, post-cruise land excursion of Cusco and Machu Picchu.

Historians-at-heart will uncover ancient Incan mysteries for six days in Peru, first exploring the lively markets and significant monuments of Cusco, then relaxing on a comfortable train ride to the charming Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel where guests stay for two nights. Gazing up from the base of the Andes, Machu Picchu is entirely hidden from view - exactly as its 14th century artisans intended. A fully guided tour (or independent tour, if desired) whisks travelers to this hidden perch, recognized as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The post-cruise excursion ends back in Cusco with tours of the Inca Fortress, Citadel of Ollantaytambo and the circular terraces of Moray.

Galapagos cruises depart March 29 and April 5, 2010; prices begin at $4,999 per person, double occupancy. Three tiered early booking and final payment savings are available - book and pay in full by May 22, 2009 and save $600; by July 16, 2009, save $400 and by September 11, 2009, save $200 per person. The cruise plus optional six-day Peru land tour starts at $9,499 per person. To learn more about the Galapagos itinerary, or other Cruise West voyages, call 1-800-296-8307, contact a travel professional or attend one of the company's online live presentations - Visit http://www.cruisewest.com/presentations to view the schedule.

More information about Cruise West, Cruise West's 2009/2010 Galapagos itineraries or cruise locales as diverse as Panama & Costa Rica, Mexico's Sea of Cortes, Japan, Vietnam, the Galapagos, Antarctica, the Pacific Northwest or the romantic rivers of Europe can be found online at www.cruisewest.com or by calling 800-296-8307.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Delta's Summer Fares Make Travel to Europe Affordable

/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) today announced it is making a European vacation a lot more affordable this summer with discounts as much as 57 percent*** to destinations like Venice, Italy; Zurich, Switzerland; and Prague, Czech Republic.

"Travelers can take advantage of the stronger U.S. dollar abroad with Delta's low summer fares on over 500 weekly flights from the U.S. to 34 European destinations," said Tom Bach, Delta's senior vice president of Revenue Management. "This combination makes European vacations a great value in 2009."

Delta is the No. 1 carrier across the Atlantic, offering multiple options to Europe from its hubs in New York-JFK, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Detroit and Cincinnati.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

AirTran Airways Hits the Jackpot with New Service in Atlantic City, N.J.

/PRNewswire / -- AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AAI) , today announced plans to begin service in Atlantic City, N.J., effective June 11, 2009. The expanding low-fare carrier will offer roundtrip nonstop flights between Atlantic City International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

"In 2009, AirTran Airways is continuing to expand into new or underserved routes that our customers have expressed interest in," said Bob Fornaro, chairman, president and CEO for AirTran Airways. "Atlantic City now becomes the 59th destination for AirTran Airways. The reach and convenience of our Atlanta hub will make it easier for residents from the Jersey shore to connect with many other business and leisure destinations. Passengers will enjoy traveling on America's newest all-Boeing fleet and experiencing our award-winning service."

"We could not be more pleased that AirTran will be providing air service out of the Atlantic City International Airport," said New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine. "The dynamic environment in Atlantic City and ongoing economic opportunity development throughout South Jersey has created the opportunity for AirTran to serve a market that has been eager for more convenient access to national air service. This new addition is a real boost for commerce and tourism in the Garden State."

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Monday, March 23, 2009

75 Years Of Smoky Mountains Beauty

(NAPSI)-Just about everybody loves birthdays and anniversaries, and one of America's treasures marks a big one throughout 2009. It's the 75th anniversary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America's most visited national park.

Many people assume that one of the legendary national parks out West gets the highest visitation, but the annual 9 million visits to the Smokies far outpace the 4.4 million of second-place Grand Canyon National Park.

The park's next-door neighbor, Pigeon Forge, Tenn., is a great home base for a national park vacation because it combines the joys of nature with the delights of a family vacation destination.

It was in 1934 when a big piece of Appalachian backcountry--eventually 800 square miles--became the national park. Today, it's the biggest piece of wilderness in the Eastern U.S. and a magnet for hikes, wildflower treks, photography expeditions and driving tours.

Indeed, it was the desire for a scenic location for driving tours that helped establish the national park. The movement began in the 1890s, but it was motorists' clubs--early branches of the AAA in the mid-1920s--that pushed the effort into high gear.

Unlike in the West, where the federal government could carve out national parks from land it already controlled, land for Great Smoky Mountains National Park had to be acquired privately and then donated to the U.S. That also meant that about 1,200 people moved away when the park's boundaries were set.

What was acquired was not necessarily prime land. Most of what we see today as forested wilderness was logged over by timber companies and was in terrible shape. Mother Nature has healed a lot of wounds in the last 75 years.

The park's Mt. LeConte rises to the sky south of Pigeon Forge and provides a breathtaking backdrop for the tourist community that claims Dollywood, 13 theaters, WonderWorks, scores of restaurants and dozens of family attractions among its attributes.

Six Pigeon Forge festivals scattered throughout the year are on the national park's official 75th anniversary calendar, and there's a special show at Dollywood that's helping to celebrate the occasion.

That show is "Sha-Kon-O-Hey! Land of Blue Smoke," which pays tribute to the music, heritage and traditions of the mountains. "Sha-Kon-O-Hey" is the phonetic spelling of the Cherokee word for this lovely mountain region.

To plan a Pigeon Forge/Great Smoky Mountains visit, go to MyPigeonForge.com or call toll-free (800) 251-9100.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Discover the Rail Way(SM) on National Train Day

/PRNewswire/ -- Amtrak will celebrate America's love for rail travel with events across the country at its second annual National Train Day, May 9, 2009. Marking 140 years of connecting travelers from coast to coast, National Train Day commemorates the day the first transcontinental railroad was created and looks toward the future of rail travel with large scale events in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles, and many more locally organized events in communities nationwide.

"Train travel is deeply rooted in American culture and it shows great promise to become a growing part of our country's transportation future," said Emmett Fremaux, vice president marketing and product management, Amtrak. "National Train Day gives the public a glimpse into how the train shaped the country and how it will continue to do so through exhibits showcasing how train travel provides greener travel options with clean technology and greater efficiency through high-speed rail travel."

On May 9, Amtrak will host complimentary events in four of its gateway stations across the U.S., Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles from 10am to 3pm. An experience for the whole family, National Train Day allows Americans to Discover the Rail Way while enjoying live musical entertainment, interactive green exhibits, VIP appearances, a Kids Corner, and train exhibits from the past, present and future. In addition to the four major market events, communities across the country are encouraged to develop and host their own National Train Day events, which nearly 100 local sponsors participated in hosting for the first National Train Day in 2008.

In honor of National Train Day, Amtrak is offering members of its loyalty program, Amtrak Guest Rewards, the ability to earn double points for any trip taken between March 16 and May 8, triple points after their fifth trip taken during this timeframe, and quadruple points for any trip taken on National Train Day, May 9. Amtrak Guest Rewards enables frequent train travelers to earn points redeemable for free Amtrak travel year round in addition to a variety of other rewards.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Delta Makes Travel to Africa More Affordable with Special Fares to Kenya and Liberia

/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) today announced limited-time special fares on its new routes to Kenya and Liberia*, making travel to Africa more affordable on the only airline with scheduled service between the U.S. and that continent.

Delta is offering a one-way introductory fare of $819** for travel between Atlanta and Nairobi, Kenya (via Dakar, Senegal), from June 2 to Aug. 30, 2009; and of $989** for travel between New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Monrovia, Liberia* (also via Dakar), from June 8 to Aug. 30, 2009. A round-trip ticket purchase is required and travel must be booked by April 7, 2009. **Additional taxes/fees/restrictions/baggage charges may apply. Details are included below.

Delta's new flights to Kenya and Liberia are part of the airline's expanding service to Africa, which already includes service between New York-JFK to Accra, Ghana; Dakar; Cape Town, South Africa; and Abuja, Nigeria* (via Dakar*, beginning June 10, 2009). Delta also offers nonstop service between Atlanta and Dakar; and Lagos, Nigeria. Delta's existing one-stop service between Atlanta and Johannesburg, South Africa, via Dakar, will become a nonstop flight starting June 1, 2009.

**Terms and Conditions:

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: Fares shown are round-trip. Tickets must be purchased within 72 hours after reservations are made and no later than April 7, 2009. Travel Period: Travel to Nairobi may begin June 2, 2009 through August 30, 2009. Travel to Monrovia may begin June 8, 2009 through August 30, 2009. Blackout Dates: None. Fare Validity: Fare is valid only in the Economy (Coach) cabin via nonstop flights operated by Delta Air Lines. Minimum Stay: For Monrovia 7 days; for Nairobi 5 days. Maximum Stay: 3 months 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 within the United States/PR/U.S. Virgin Islands, $15 for 1 checked bag and $25 for second checked bag. For all other travel, no fee for 2 checked bags and $200 fee for third checked bag. Allowances are subject to size/weight limits. Contact a Delta agent or visit delta.com for details. 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. Miscellaneous: Fares, taxes, fees, rules, and offers are subject to change without notice. Other restrictions may apply. (C)2009 Delta Air Lines, Inc.

*Subject to foreign government approval.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Where's Waddle?

T2F Note: Our staff has visited the Charleston Aquarium within the last couple of years. We found it to be an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. Of interest to our group from Fayette County, Georgia, was the look at the ACE basin type of wildlife. For some reason, we just don't have the exchange from salt to fresh water pools near Atlanta! We'll be sure to check out this newest attraction soon. In the meantime, the Charleston area receives our coveted "Fayette Front Page Day Tripper Award."

Checking out historic downtown Charleston, walking the Ravenel Bridge, or picking up fish at Earthfare. Sounds like every day activities for Charleston residents and the same goes for the city's newest addition, Waddle. Waddle, the lead penguin of the South Carolina Aquarium's Penguin Planet exhibit has been busy exploring Charleston since his arrival from San Diego in late February. Where is Waddle now?

Quite the computer-savvy penguin, Waddle has posted photos of his adventures on his website, WheresWaddle.com. He is even soliciting suggestions from the community on where he should head next. Keep up with Waddle online at WheresWaddle.com, suggest his next adventure, become friends with him on facebook or follow him on twitter. Join in penguin mania by placing a WheresWaddle.com car decal your car! (Available at upcoming South Carolina Aquarium events).

Opening Saturday, March 21, 2009, Penguin Planet will feature a Magellanic penguin habitat and 550 square feet of gallery space. Located on the Aquarium's first floor, guests will have the opportunity to see these aquatic flightless birds firsthand through the exhibit's 10 foot wide window allowing for underwater viewing. Included in general admission, Penguin Planet will delight and educate visitors through its awe-inspiring Magellanic penguins, children's interactive learning games, educational exhibits on climate change effects in South Carolina and of course - daily programs starring the penguins!

Penguin Planet grand opening festivities include special member only previews and a grand opening celebration on Saturday, March 21, 2009. The experience will be a temporary exhibit, visiting through March 2010. Only at the Aquarium for one year, you will not want to miss Penguin Planet!

An accredited institution by the Association of Zoo's and Aquarium's (AZA), the South Carolina Aquarium's Penguin Planet exhibit has approval from the AZA Penguin Taxon advisory group. AZA is the leading accrediting organization for zoos and aquariums and accredits only those institutions that have achieved meticulous standards for animal health, education, wildlife conservation and science. With approximately 2,400 animal exhibitors licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture, only 10% of the institutions are accredited.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

St. Patrick’s Day Parking at Savannah International Trade & Convention Center

T2F Note: Parking is always entertaining at best during the big parade. Here is a tip just in case you decide to head down to Savannah for the traditional wearing of the green.

St. Patrick’s Day Parking at Savannah International Trade & Convention Center

Parking for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be available at Savannah International Trade & Convention Center beginning at 7AM and ending at 3PM on Tuesday, March 17. A parking fee of $10 per vehicle will include a round trip on the water ferry for all vehicle passengers.

PLEASE NOTE: The Trade Center Parking Lot will not admit vehicles after 3pm on Tuesday March 17. The water ferry will continue to run until midnight for convenience of Trade Center and Westin guests.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah

T2F Note: Make no bones about it. Our staff enjoys the wearing of the green on St. Pat's in Savannah. Of course, some of the Fayette Front Page staff has to wear the color orange, but that's ok. No matter what Irish blood flows through your veins, Savannah's celebration of St. Patrick's Day earns the highly coveted Fayette Front Page Day Tripper Award.

Savannah is going green for St. Patrick’s Day! Savannah has been celebrating her Irish heritage for more than a century. Traditional Irish values and customs of the old are mingled with the vibrancy and charm of a city whose quirky personality comes out in both people who call Savannah home and those that are just here to visit. St. Patrick’s Day will be held on Tuesday, March 17, starting the day with the 185th Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The following events are part of the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Celebration:

Tara Feis Festival
March 14
A free, family-friendly, outdoor celebration of all things Irish, featuring two stages of live entertainment, food, arts and crafts and children's activities.
Emmet Park
11 a.m.- 5 p.m.
912.651.6417 or www.savannahga.gov/art

Tybee Island's St. Patrick's Heritage Celebration Parade
March 14
In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, the family-friendly parade runs south on Butler Avenue from 4th Street to Tybrisa Street.
Butler Avenue, Tybee Island
3 p.m.
912.786.5444 or www.tybeevisit.com

St. Patrick's Day in City Market
March 16-17
Join us as we celebrate all things Irish in City Market! The event is free and open to the public.
City Market
All day
912.232.4903 or www.savannahcitymarket.com

St. Patrick's Day on River Street
March 16-17
It's the celebrating of the green on Historic River Street! Come get your green on during this nationally recognized festival.
Historic River Street
All day
912.234.0295 or www.riverstreetsavannah.com

185th St. Patrick's Day Parade
March 17
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with the 185th Annual Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade! It is the second largest St. Patrick's Day parade in the country.
Historic District
10 a.m.
912.233.4804 or www.savannahsaintpatricksday.com

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Vail Resorts Introduces 'Epic Summer, A Colorado Family Adventure' Vacation Experience in Colorado's Rocky Mountains

/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE:MTN) today announced a new all-inclusive summer family vacation experience in Colorado's Rocky Mountains, "Epic Summer, A Colorado Family Adventure." Vail Resorts is combining the best of its Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail and Beaver Creek mountain resorts in Colorado with classic Rocky Mountain summer adventures for locally guided, all-inclusive family vacation experiences in four- and seven-day itineraries. Vail Resorts will begin taking reservations for the Epic Summer trips beginning April 1, 2009.

"In these challenging times, we're seeing a return to the basics of a classic family vacation with 'luxury' now defined as companies providing a good value and people spending quality time with friends and loved ones. Our 'Epic Summer' vacation will have the best that Colorado's Rocky Mountains have to offer with everything included at one very attractive price," said Rob Katz, chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. "Right now, there is no better place to visit than the majestic national parks and forests of the West, and our new Epic Summer vacation will take guests on a guided tour through these spectacular mountain settings for a memorable outdoors summer adventure."

What makes Epic Summer trips memorable, besides the carefully selected activities, are Vail Resorts' experienced local guides who will lead guests through the entire itinerary from the moment they arrive until it's time to say farewell. The Epic Summer guides have been hand-picked because of their knowledge of and passion for Colorado and the mountains. They are experts in the history, culture and ecology of the areas that families will visit and have already taken care of all of the logistical planning so families can relax and make the most of their vacation experience.

Seven-Day Epic Summer Itinerary

On the six-night, seven-day itinerary, families will experience all of the following included activities:

-- The wonder of standing at the top of the Continental Divide in a trip
to world-renowned Rocky Mountain National Park.
-- The thrill of whitewater rafting down a scenic Colorado river.
-- The serenity of horseback riding through groves of aspens, pines and
fields dotted by wildflowers on Beaver Creek Mountain.
-- The awe of a gondola ride to the summits of Vail and Keystone
mountains, followed by family-friendly naturalist hikes and
mountaintop picnics.
-- The delight of an historical walking tour through the old Victorian
mining town of Breckenridge, which is celebrating its 150th
anniversary this year.
-- The excitement of an authentic gold mine tour and hands-on gold
-- The reward of a Wild West cowboy campfire dinner, complete with wagon
rides and storytelling.

The itinerary also allows plenty of time to explore the unique shops and boutiques in the towns of Estes Park, Vail and Breckenridge, along with other optional activities such as outdoor ice skating, orienteering and bicycling.

All of the meals are included and carefully planned to reflect the character and flavor of the Rocky Mountain West. Three of the lunches are mountaintop picnics where guests enjoy magnificent sweeping views of Colorado's Rocky Mountains, while another is enjoyed on the banks of a river during the rafting excursion. Dinners take place in iconic Colorado restaurants as well as an outdoor cowboy campfire dinner.

Four-Day Epic Summer Itinerary

Families looking for a weekend escape can enjoy an abbreviated version of the seven-day guided trip featuring white water rafting, a scenic gondola ride to an easy guided hike and mountaintop picnic, horseback riding and time for shopping in the towns of Vail and Breckenridge.

Environmental Education & Carbon Offset

To round out the guest experience and engage family members of all ages in the unique natural settings of the Epic Summer adventure, key messages about local flora and fauna, geology, geography and history of the region will be artfully integrated into guest activities. As a further complement to the experience and in keeping with Vail Resorts' commitment to environmental stewardship, the carbon impacts associated with the lodging and transportation portion of each guest's trip will be offset to support development of renewable energy throughout the country.

All-Inclusive Pricing

The Epic Summer trips run from June 26, 2009 through Sept. 6, 2009. Both packages include experienced guides, accommodations in well-appointed condominiums or lodge rooms in Keystone or Breckenridge resorts, all featured activities, transportation to and from all activities, ground transfers to/from Denver International Airport and all meals. Airfare is not included. The Epic Summer trips are recommended for children ages 6 and older.

The six-night, seven-day all-inclusive package is priced at $1,195 for adults and $895 for children (ages 12 and under). It begins on Sunday evenings with a welcome reception and dinner in Keystone Resort and ends after breakfast on Saturdays.

The three-night, four-day package is $695 for adults and $545 for children (ages 12 and under). It begins on Thursday evenings with a welcome reception and dinner in Keystone Resort and ends after breakfast on Sundays.

For more information and reservations, call 888-538-EPIC (3742) or visit www.epicsummer.com. Vail Resorts will begin taking reservations for the Epic Summer trips on April 1, 2009.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Book Fares That Fit Your Budget Now With AirTran Airways' New Sale Fares

/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AAI) , today launched a sale for travel to all the airline's destinations with fares starting as low as $39*. Travelers may purchase these sale fares at http://www.airtran.com/ or via AirTran Airways' reservations system at 1-800-AIR-TRAN. For Spanish, call 1-877-581-9842.

These special fares are available for purchase through March 12, 2009 and are good for travel through November 4, 2009. Off-peak travel sale fares are valid for travel on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Peak day sale fares are valid for travel on Friday and Sunday. Like all AirTran Airways fares, prices included in this sale are available for one-way travel and do not require a roundtrip purchase or an overnight stay.

Following is a sample of the one-way sale fares. All fares require a 10-day advance purchase and are valid in either direction:

Sample Fares: Off-Peak Peak

Atlanta - Cancun $99 $109
Atlanta - Charleston $39 $49
Atlanta - Los Angeles $129 $149
Atlanta - Memphis $59 $69
Atlanta - New York/LaGuardia $84 $94
Atlanta - Orlando $69 $79
Atlanta-San Juan $109 $119
Atlanta - Washington, D.C. (Dulles and
Reagan National) $74 $84
Baltimore/Washington (BWI) - Atlanta $74 $84
Baltimore/Washington (BWI) - Cancun $109 $109
Baltimore/Washington (BWI) - Dayton $59 $69
Baltimore/Washington (BWI) - Milwaukee $69 $79
Baltimore/Washington (BWI) - Rochester $59 $69
Baltimore/Washington (BWI) - Tampa $79 $89
Boston - Baltimore/Washington (BWI) $59 $69
Boston - Orlando $84 $94
Buffalo/Niagara - Ft. Myers $79 $89
Chicago - Tampa $85 $95
Columbus, Ohio - Atlanta $69 $79
Detroit - Atlanta $69 $79
Ft. Myers - Boston $76 $86
Flint - Orlando $89 $99
Harrisburg - Orlando $99 $109
Houston -Washington, D.C. (Dulles and
Reagan National) $89 $99
Indianapolis - Tampa $99 $109
Milwaukee - Atlanta $84 $94
Milwaukee - Branson $89 $109
Milwaukee - Ft. Myers $89 $99
New York/LaGuardia - Akron/Canton $69 $79
Orlando - Chicago $89 $99
Orlando - Phoenix $129 $139
Orlando - Rochester $89 $99
Orlando - Milwaukee $89 $99
Philadelphia - Ft. Lauderdale $79 $89
Pittsburgh - Tampa $89 $99
Richmond - Orlando $79 $89
San Juan - Orlando $79 $89
Tampa - Milwaukee $89 $99
Washington, D.C. (Dulles and Reagan National) -
Orlando $86 $96
West Palm Beach - Baltimore/Washington (BWI) $82 $92
White Plains (Westchester) - West Palm Beach $89 $99

AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AAI) , a Fortune 1000 company, is ranked number one in the 2008 Airline Quality Rating study. The airline offers coast-to-coast flights, North America's newest all-Boeing fleet, friendly service and Business Class and complimentary XM Satellite Radio on every flight. To book a flight, visit http://www.airtran.com/.

*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. Ten-day advance purchase required. Seats are limited, subject to availability, and may not be available on all flights. Tickets must be purchased by March 12, 2009. Sale fares are valid for travel through November 4, 2009. Lowest sale fares are valid for travel on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Additional sale fares are valid for travel on Fridays and Sundays. Blackout dates to/from Florida and Cancun are as follows: March 20-22, 2009, and March 27-29, 2009; April 3-5, 2009, April 9-10, 2009, April 12-13, 2009, and April 19, 2009; May 21-22, 2009, and May 25, 2009; June 26-28, 2009; and July 2-3, 2009, July 5-6, 2009. Blackout dates for the rest of the system are as follows: March 22, 2009, and March 29, 2009, April 3-5, 2009, April 9-10, 2009, April 12-13, 2009, and April 19, 2009, May 21-22, 2009, and May 25, 2009, June 26-28, 2009, and July 2-3, 2009, July 5-6, 2009. Service to San Diego begins May 5, 2009. Service to Seattle begins May 5, 2009. Service to Branson begins May 11, 2009. 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 do not include segment taxes of $3.60 per segment. A segment is defined as a takeoff and a landing. Fares to/from Puerto Rico do not include additional government taxes of up to $32.20. Fares to/from Cancun do not include additional government taxes of up to $100.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Delta Air Lines Announces New Flights between Atlanta and Brasilia, Brazil, Starting in December

/PRNewswire/ -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) today announced it will begin nonstop service between Atlanta and Brasilia, Brazil on Dec. 17, 2009.*

Delta will be the only U.S. airline to fly nonstop to Brasilia, Brazil's capital city, increasing to six the number of cities served by Delta in the country.

Delta has offered service between Atlanta and Sao Paulo for more than ten years, and has continued expanding throughout the years with nonstop flights between Atlanta and Rio de Janeiro, New York City-JFK and Sao Paulo, Atlanta and Manaus, and a direct one-stop flight connecting Atlanta to Recife and Fortaleza.

On May 21, Delta also will begin nonstop service between Los Angeles and Sao Paulo.

"As Delta continues to grow in Latin America, this new flight to Brasilia becomes a significant step in our expansion given the governmental and diplomatic activity in Brazil's capital," said Jim Cron, Delta's senior vice president of Global Sales and Distribution. "Of course, Brasilia also is a base for some of the most important companies in South America, and we look forward to better serve the travel needs of the business sector by offering more direct flights and connections between Brazil and the United States, Europe and Asia."

The new Atlanta-Brasilia flight will be operated with a Boeing 757-200ER, with 158 seats in Economy Class and 16 seats in BusinessElite(R), Delta's award-winning premium service.

Delta is offering a special one-way introductory fare of $399** for travel between Jan. 11 and March 30, 2010. Round-trip ticket purchase is required. Tickets must be purchased by March 23, 2009. Additional taxes/fees/restrictions/baggage charges may apply. Details are included below.

*Subject to foreign government approval.

**Terms and Conditions

Restrictions: Fares shown are available at delta.com. Tickets cost $20 more if purchased from Delta over the phone, or at a Delta ticket counter, and this amount is nonrefundable. Tickets are nontransferable. Seats are limited. Tickets: Fare shown is one-way; round trip purchase is required. Tickets must be purchased within 24 hours after reservations are made and no later than March 23, 2009. Travel Period: Travel may begin on or after January 11, 2010 and must be completed by March 30, 2010; Blackout Dates: None. Fare Validity: Fares are valid only in the Economy (Coach) cabin via nonstop flights operated by Delta Air Lines. Minimum Stay: Saturday night. Maximum Stay: 30 days. 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. International 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 within the United States/PR/U.S. Virgin Islands, $15 for 1 checked bag and $25 for second checked bag. For all other travel, no fee for 2 checked bags and $200 fee for third checked bag. Allowances subject to size/weight limits. Contact a delta agent or visit delta.com for details. 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. Miscellaneous: Fares, taxes, fees, rules, and offers are subject to change without notice. Other restrictions may apply. (C)2009 Delta Air Lines, Inc.

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

A Year like No Other at Wild Adventures

/PRNewswire/ -- 2009 will be a year like no other at Wild Adventures Water and Theme Park. A Polynesian renovated Water Park with a new water thrill ride, all-star concerts and more exciting animal interactions await guests when the park reopens Saturday, March 14. This year will be unforgettable and guests will not believe all of the new thrills and attractions!

Larger than life country megastar Keith Urban kicks off the park season with a high energy performance on March 14. This is just the beginning of the star-studded concert series scheduled for the year. Vince Gill and Amy Grant, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Clint Black, Chris Tomlin, Foreigner and Bret Michaels are a few of the concerts planned, all included with park admission.

Great reserved concert tickets are still available for Keith Urban. Purchase tickets online, by phone or at the park for $40, $30, and $20. Reserved seat tickets do not include park admission. Tickets for other announced concerts will be available for purchase at a later date.

It's not a dream; it's a tropical paradise at the renovated Splash Island Water Park. Take a journey through this Polynesian land and enjoy delicious food and enticing shopping areas, expanded lockers, and comfortably updated facilities. Every inch of the water park has been touched and transformed into a tropical paradise for families looking to relax and enjoy a mini vacation.

Thrill-seekers will flock to the newest and biggest addition to the park, the Wahee Cyclone. The new water thrill ride towers over Splash Island, and lures guests to take a heart-racing plunge through its 45-foot tall, bright blue and green funnel. The entire family can experience the Wahee Cyclone together, on four-person tubes.

More animals means more fun at Wild Adventures! The new aviary, Lorikeet Landing, is over 7,000 square feet and houses colorful lorkieets, and parakeets as well as tortoises, large ground birds and Koi fish. This new interactive area invites visitors to experience the habitat of some of the world's most colorful and exotic animals.

Can't get enough of animals? Make new friends as you get up close to baby rabbits, chicks, miniature horses, and more at the Furry Friends Petting Zoo. Saddle Up Pony Rides give children the opportunity to ride a pony through a guided trail, just like a cowboy.

Even the theatrical show, Imagine, features live animals! Imagine, an entertaining song and dance performance, features a baby llama, and an armadillo. Audience participation is encouraged to tell the story of a little girl and her journey through the forest, meeting friends and learning life lessons along the way.

Experience the fun, excitement and thrills of Wild Adventures Water and Theme Park all year long with a 2009 Season Passport! 2009 Regular and Gold Passports are available for purchase online, by phone or at the park. Wild Adventures Season Passports are $69 + tax and include unlimited park admission for the year. Upgrade to a Gold Passport for $20 more (total of $89 + tax) to enjoy free parking, Adventure Quest miniature golf and Adventure Raceway go-karts through December 31, 2009.

For more information about Wild Adventures Water and Theme Park's unbelievable 2009 season, please visit our website at www.wildadventures.com or call 229-219-7080.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Riding The Rails Into American History

(NAPSI)-Railroads have long held a special place in the history of our country. In 1841, in a tribute to our nation's beginnings in Philadelphia, William Henry Harrison took the train from the "City of Brotherly Love" to Washington, D.C., to kick off his inauguration. In 2009, President Barack Obama continued the tradition.

Whether it is railroad history, fond memories or fictional characters of our youth, our fascination with railroads touches both children and adults. For example, one special engine, his friends and their adventures have enchanted Americans for years.

Thomas the Tank Engine, a blue steam engine created by a father for his son nearly 65 years ago, is fostering a love of train history in a new generation of kids and parents. Thomas is teaming up with historic railroads across the country for the Day Out With Thomas 2009: The Hero of the Rails tour, a program that encourages families to embrace the past and preserve their local history.

Tapping into the passion that children and their parents have for railroads, Day Out With Thomas events keep this spirit alive at more than 40 regional railroads across the country. Each railroad station stop has its own distinctive history for participants to explore; many stations have welcomed presidents, dignitaries and celebrities, and led passengers to great destinations.

Presented by HIT Entertainment and sponsored by The LEGO Group, the Day Out With Thomas 2009: The Hero of the Rails events run through December 2009. Rolling out of the station for its 14th consecutive year, the tour is expected to welcome more than 1 million passengers at approximately 300 event days. Each event offers fans the opportunity to take a ride on a 15-ton replica of Thomas the Tank Engine and features a variety of Thomas & Friends-themed entertainment.

This No. 1 blue engine, based on the real trains that traveled the English countryside in the 1940s, is a lens through which children experience and explore the magic of the railroad today.

The Hero of the Rails tour--named for the DVD special starring Thomas and his engine friends in a heroic adventure that tests their bravery, friendship and courage--will also honor local hometown heroes. At every stop, firemen and policemen will be invited as the guest celebrity story readers.

For tickets, please visit www.thomasandfriends.com/dowt. For general Thomas fun, log on to www.thomasandfriends.com.

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Savannah's Tara Feis 2009 March 14

Savannah’s Emmet Park will be transformed into a vision of the Emerald Isle during the City of Savannah’s Tara Feis Irish Celebration, taking place Sat., Mar. 14 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Topping the line-up will be Grammy-nominated Celtic music group, Cherish the Ladies.

Now in its eighteenth year, the family-friendly feis (pron. FESH) – or festival – will be a feast for the eyes, ears and palate, with live performances, food, art activities, crafts and games hosted with Irish ceremony, tradition and hospitality. As in previous years, Tara Feis is a free, non-alcoholic event geared towards families and children.

“It is thrilling to see Tara Feis grow in popularity every year,” said Bernadette Winters, chairperson of the Tara Feis Planning Committee. “Irish heritage is an important aspect of Savannah’s cultural background, and we are pleased that so many people come to Tara Feis every year to learn about, appreciate and celebrate our traditions and heritage.”

Festivities begin at 11 a.m. with an official Irish opening ceremony, headed by local and international dignitaries. The main stage will feature plenty of traditional Irish dancing, as well as live performances by notables such as local folksinger Harry O’Donoghue and musical duo Seldom Sober. Two performances by Grammy-nominated traditional Irish music group Cherish The Ladies will highlight this year’s feis.

Taking their name from a traditional Irish jig, "The Ladies" -- as they are affectionately called -- received recognition as the first and only all-women traditional Irish band. Over the past twenty years, they have established themselves as performers without peer, playing throughout the world at international festivals, concert halls and even at The White House. With their unique blend of virtuosi instrumental talents, beautiful vocals, captivating arrangements and stunning step dancing, this powerhouse group combines all the facets of Irish traditional culture in an engaging and entertaining package. 'Cherish The Ladies' has been named "Best Musical Group of the Year" by the BBC, "Entertainment Group of the Year" by the Irish Voice Newspaper, chosen as the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall's "International Group of the Year," and voted the "Top North American Celtic Act" by National Public Radio’s Thistle and Shamrock program.
The Tara Feis children’s stage will feature a full day of entertainment, including performances from storymaker Sean Driscoll, the puppets of Conrad Hartz and traditional Irish dancing performances from Glor na h’Eireann Irish Dance School and the Irish Dancers of Savannah.

The ancient art of the Seanachie, or Irish Storyteller, will come to life as master Seanachie Batt Burns tells the tales of the colorful characters of the Hills of County Kerry, Ireland, where he lived most of his life. Burns' has performed at festivals, clubs and campuses throughout the U.S. and internationally. His new book, "The King with Horse's Ears and Other Irish Folktales" was released in February.

Tara Feis is free and open to the public. Emmet Park is located in downtown Savannah at the east end of Bay Street. For a performance schedule or more information, please contact (912) 651-6417 or visit www.savannahga.gov/arts.

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From Air Credits to Complimentary Nights to Pre-Loaded Debit Cards, 'Best of Barbados 2009' Offers the Ultimate Caribbean Spring & Fall Travel Package

/PRNewswire/ -- The Best of Barbados package is back with even bigger savings and more hotel partners, making 2009 the perfect year for travel to Barbados. From March 1 to April 1, 2009 and June 8 to July 3, 2009, Barbados is offering the chance to book an authentic Caribbean experience for travel during either Spring (May 1 - July 15, 2009) or Fall (September 1 - December 18, 2009). The 2009 Best of Barbados package is guaranteed to leave memories that last a lifetime at a rate that won't break the bank. For more information, www.visitbarbados.org.

The special Best of Barbados program invites visitors to customize vacations directly with their travel agent, selecting options from a full range of the very best hotels, attractions and activities available on island. Best of Barbados offers a truly unforgettable Caribbean experience at an exceptionally low rate, proving there has never been a better time to visit Barbados.

Visitors on the Best of Barbados program can take advantage of the following:

-- Air credit of up to US $300 per person
-- First night free
-- Complimentary breakfast daily
-- Buy one ground activity and receive second at half price for
participating ground activities
-- 7 night minimum stay at European Plan hotels
-- 5 night minimum stay at all-inclusive hotels
-- One US$25 Oistins Fish Fry voucher per booking
-- One Barbados Gourmet Card, which offers 25 percent off at
participating restaurants per booking
-- One US$100 pre-loaded debit card for spending in Barbados per booking

For those that book September 2009 travel dates during the March 1 - April 1 reservation period, a September Special will be applied to their package, adding one additional free night of accommodation to stays of seven nights or more.

Further information on the 2009 Best of Barbados package and a list of participating hotels, restaurants and attractions can be found at www.visitbarbados.org or by calling the Barbados Tourism Authority at 1(800) 221-9831. For reservations and package prices, consumers should contact their preferred travel agent.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Delta Renames Airport Lounges 'Delta Sky Clubs' Following Merger with Northwest

/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) yesterday announced a name change for the airline's more than 50 airport lounges worldwide as part of the merger with Northwest. The new moniker, Delta Sky Club(TM), will replace the current Delta Crown Room Club and Northwest Airlines WorldClubs names.

New Delta Sky Club signage will begin appearing in airports in early April and is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.

"Creating the largest global lounge network under the Delta Sky Club brand is the first in a series of lounge changes designed to provide our customers with one consistent, world-class lounge experience," said Ranjan Goswami, Delta's director of Customer Experience.

Throughout 2009, the lounges will continue to offer existing amenities, including complimentary beverages and snacks, personalized flight assistance, satellite TV, Wi-Fi access and other connectivity options. By early 2010, Delta plans to harmonize all Delta Sky Club offerings to provide customers with one consistent service and product experience, adopting customer favorites from both lounge programs.

Crown Room Club and WorldClubs members may continue to use their current credentials and One-Day passes until the end of 2009, when the conversion of all Delta Sky Club locations will be complete.

The introduction of Delta Sky Club is part of the airline's integration of Delta and Northwest operations worldwide following last year's merger. Other upcoming merger milestones include outfitting all pre-merger Northwest flight attendants, airport customer service agents and Delta Sky Club employees in Delta uniforms designed by Richard Tyler, as well introducing a consistent on-board experience, including food choices and in-flight entertainment, on Delta and Northwest flights.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Buckhead St. Paturday Festival

Buckhead St. Paturday Festival will take place on Saturday, March 14th in Buckhead West Village. With gates opening at 5pm, the music lineup will feature performances by UV (Ultimate U2 Tribute) at 9pm, Block Party (80's and 90's Covers) at 7pm, and Gary Pfaff and the Heartwells at 5pm. Additionally, DJ O'Danny M will be spinning inside Andrews Upstairs starting at 8pm until close.

"We have a great schedule planned for a fun evening of music and plenty of entertainment," said Steve de Haan, East Andrews, LLC President. "Plus, guests can enjoy traditional Irish food, green beer, dunk the leprechaun and win a trip to Savannah."

A limited number of $6 tickets are on sale now at www.TicketAlternative.com. This is a 21+ event. Ticket prices and artists are subject to change without notice.

Buckhead St. Paturday Festival, presented by Stout Irish Sports Pub, Andrews Upstairs, Star 94, Yuengling Beer, America's Oldest Brewery and Tullamore Dew, will take place in the Andrews Square parking lot located on Cains Hill Place between East Andrews Drive and Irby Avenue. For more information about the event, please visit www.BuckheadFestival.com.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

AirTran Airways Named as a Finalist for the 2009 Travelzoo Awards

/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AAI) , was chosen as a 2009 Travelzoo Awards finalist in the Leading Provider of Domestic Airfare Deals category.

The Travelzoo Awards, also known as 'The Tzoos', celebrate the companies behind the best deals in travel, including airlines, hotels, vacation companies, cruise agencies, cruise lines, shows & events, car rentals and destinations. Travelzoo's 85 deal experts around the world evaluated more than 80,000 deals to uncover the companies behind the best deals in 23 categories.

Throughout its history, AirTran Airways has created new customers in each of the airline's new destinations, extending the benefits of low-fare, high-value service to more people. The company's Atlanta hub has grown substantially, service has expanded in key focus cities, and the overall route map has extended significantly, enabling people to fly who otherwise would have driven or stayed at home.

"AirTran Airways is honored to be a finalist for this year's Travelzoo Awards," said Tad Hutcheson, vice president of marketing and sales for AirTran Airways. "We pride ourselves on being a leader in travel and will uphold our commitment to provide low fares and outstanding customer service."

"With such incredible deals in the market, we are thrilled to be able to honor and celebrate the top 94 travel companies who have surpassed our deal evaluation criteria," said Shirley Tafoya, president, North America, Travelzoo. "These finalists continue to inspire consumers to take their next trip and ultimately help drive demand for travel within the U.S. and abroad."

Travelzoo Award finalists will be recognized and winners will be announced at the 3rd Annual Travelzoo Awards ceremony taking place on Wednesday, April 1, 2009, at the Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta. The event also coincides with TravelCom 2009, which attracts more than 700 travel industry professionals and media. For more information visit http://www.travelzoo.com/tzoos.

To determine the 2009 Travelzoo Award Finalists, Travelzoo's deal experts evaluated over 80,000 deals researched in 2008 on the following 5-point scale:

1. Reliability: The Test Booking Center(TM) performed more than 115,000
verifications on deals published by Travelzoo in 2008. The Test
Booking Center validates both online and offline qualifications
including availability, accuracy of information published and ease of
booking. When tested for this level of reliability, the deals provided
by Finalist companies, met all the requirements of the testing process
and scored in the 90th percentile or higher.
2. Appeal: Of the more than 200,000 user ratings collected by Travelzoo in
2008, Finalist companies consistently achieved user rating scores
between 4.5 and the highest score of 6.
3. Competitiveness: Travelzoo Award Finalists offered competitive travel
deals that were considered outstanding compared to similar offerings in
the marketplace. Qualitative user feedback indicated Finalist
companies regularly developed deals that inspired Travelzoo users to
book trips they did not otherwise plan on taking. Additionally,
proprietary campaign performance data sourced directly from Travelzoo
advertising partners was evaluated to determine the level of consumer
4. Consistency: All companies consistently provided Travelzoo users with
exceptional offers throughout the past year that inspired incremental
travel, based on both qualitative and quantitative user feedback.
5. Quality: Travelzoo's 85 deal experts in North America, Europe and
Asia-Pacific, regularly consult with more than 1,000 travel companies
around the world to uncover the best deals. All deal experts were
surveyed for their nominations in 23 categories to arrive at
preliminary nominations. Over the next four weeks the Travelzoo Awards
Committee, comprised of 13 senior deal experts, will be studying the
deals from the Finalist companies, and with the data points listed
above, will determine the winners in 23 categories.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

ATF Special Agent in Charge Cautions Travelers Headed to Mexico

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- John A. Torres, special agent in charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Los Angeles Field Division, issued a statement today cautioning college students planning on traveling to Mexico for spring break. Torres is concerned about travelers' personal safety and is cautioning them to avoid the temptation to bring firearms across the border.

Torres is troubled about the recent violence plaguing Mexico and is concerned about the safety of U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico, particularly college students making spring break trips to local border towns. "I know that spring break is a rite of passage for many college students, however I would discourage traveling to places like Tijuana and Rosarito due to drug cartel violence affecting those areas," said Torres. "If they do decide to go, they should be sure and follow the information provided by the State Department in a recent Travel Alert," added Torres. The cities of Tijuana and Rosarito are both popular destinations for San Diego area college students and have recently experienced violence perpetrated by drug cartels.

A recent State Department Travel Alert advises U.S. citizens going to Mexico to travel on main highways during daylight hours. Travelers are advised to stay in well known tourist areas of the cities and avoid areas where prostitution and drug dealing may occur. Travelers should also avoid displaying expensive-looking jewelry and large amounts of cash.

Torres wants the public to know that ATF is actively working in partnership with local firearms dealers through its "Don't Lie For The Other Guy" campaign to prevent the straw purchase of firearms. A straw purchase is where a legal purchaser fills out the required paperwork to obtain a firearm and then gives that firearm to somebody that is not legally able to posses it. This type of scheme has been used by drug trafficking organizations and they have paid straw buyers as young as their late teens and early 20s to accomplish the purchases.

"I want potential straw buyers to be put on notice that ATF is currently dedicating large resources to investigate this criminal activity and any evidence of wrongdoing uncovered will be turned over to the United States Attorney's Office for prosecution," said Torres. "I realize that in these tough economic times the promise of money by firearms traffickers may be tempting, but remember the old adage, 'crime doesn't pay,'" added Torres.

In San Diego, ATF has increased its enforcement activity involving firearms trafficked to Mexico. Through the Project Gunrunner initiative, ATF has a group of agents dedicated to solely combating this type of criminal activity. Firearms recovered by law enforcement in Mexico are routinely traced by ATF to determine their origin. The vast majority of the firearms recovered originate in the United States, with many coming from California.

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