Air crews among many volunteers helping with relief efforts

Pass interference: The FAA was prepared to waive or ease its flight and duty time limitations so airlines could provide even more assistance for Katrina relief efforts, a Transportation Department (DOT) official told TC.

But the DOT didn't have to take the FAA up on the offer because many airline crews volunteered to help. The official called it one of the great untold stories of the relief effort. Consider it told.


Shifting priorities: In August 2004, on the eve of the expiration of GDS regulations, Orbitz announced with great fanfare a program that would allow travel agents to book on Orbitz and receive a flat $5 commission. That was when Jeff Katz was president and the company belonged to the airlines. Now it belongs to Cendant.

TC recently ran into its current president, Mitch Truwit, and asked how the travel agent partner program was going. Truwit looked momentarily puzzled, then replied, "You know more about it than I do." Hmmm. Can TC charge a fat consulting fee?

Delta yin, Delta yang: Despite the woes besetting Delta right now, TC hears that it's actually possible a new route or two may be in the works.

Delta has already announced new service to Barbados from Atlanta starting Dec. 8, but TC hears that a flight or two per week from the U.S. mainland to Antigua also could figure into the winter season plans. Maybe things aren't quite as dire as they seem.

Scattered to the winds: By TC's unofficial count, more than a dozen cruise ships this year have had their voyages altered by hurricanes, which forced them to stay at sea extra days, change cruise destinations or switch an arrival and/or departure port.

That doesn't include the ships that altered ports of call to avoid storms and the Disney Wonder and Carnival's Fascination, both of which had to be diverted from Port Canaveral last week to avoid Hurricane Ophelia.

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