alifornia is reaching again. We've never been a big fan of its Seller of Travel Law, and we like it even less now that the state is telling on-line travel firms all over the country that they could be violating the law every time a California resident logs on to their Web site and doesn't see the required notice and registration number.

California's gotta do what California's gotta do, but can't it do it without burdening interstate commerce?

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California's residents are free to go outside of their state to shop for travel and anything else, whether they use a mouse, their feet or their phones, and they should be able to do so without ensnarling the entire global travel industry in Sacramento's red tape.

It's hard enough to sell travel on the Web without putting icons all over the screen saying "Californians, don't click here."

Bipolar Air

Airline A raises the cancellation/change fee on nonrefundable tickets to $100 but cuts the agent's handling fee from $25 to $15. Typical greedy airline, right?

Airline B agrees to protect the agent's commission if it refunds a nonrefundable ticket issued by an agent. Now there's an airline that understands agents, right?

Wrong. It's the same airline.

Apparently, Continental has a split personality.

And the split seems to go right to the top. Just days after Continental and ASTA came to a truce about the $15 matter, and after Continental offered agents an olive branch on commission recalls, the carrier's chief executive officer, Gordon Bethune, told our reporter, "We think it costs less than $15, but we're willing to pay $15."

Continental's PR department should do more and better homework because this should have been on the CEO's short list of things not to say.

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