Travel briefs


Air travel

Airlines packing in more seats

The squeeze continues.

Joining several other airlines that have packed their cabins with extra seats, American Airlines said it plans to squeeze in more seats on its Boeing 737 and MD-80 planes, which make up more than 60 percent of the fleet. The airline, which expects to emerge from bankruptcy and merge with US Airways in the next few months, has yet to decide how many seats it will add.

American announced plans last year to install 10 extra seats on its Boeing 777 to make room for lie-flat seats in business class. The airline said it would begin to add those seats next year.

American is not unique in trying to squeeze more revenue out of each plane. Alaska, JetBlue, Southwest and Spirit airlines have all installed seats with thinner seat back cushions, allowing the carriers to squeeze in more seats per cabin. Spirit, for example, packs 178 seats on an Airbus 320, while United puts 138 seats on the same aircraft model.

New service

out of Miami

American Airlines this month began flying nonstop between Miami and San Diego, making San Diego the third California city with nonstop service from Miami. A Boeing 737-800 aircraft that seats 150 passengers provides the service.

On June 28, XL Airways France will begin flying between Miami and Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. XL will make the trip three times per week on an Airbus A330-200.

Theme parks

Florida, California top ‘popular’ list

As usual, Disney’s Magic Kingdom near Orlando was the most visited theme park in the country — and world — last year with 17.5 million visitors, according to a new report from the Themed Entertainment Association, an industry trade group. The top 13 parks in the United States are in Florida and California, the report said, including Disney, Universal and SeaWorld parks in Orlando and Busch Gardens in Tampa. Ohio’s Cedar Point and Kings Island, known for their roller coasters, were 14th and 15th.

North Carolina

Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route clear

The shifting sands along the Outer Banks have been cleared away from a ferry channel between Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, allowing the ships to resume their regular route for the first time in five months. North Carolina’s transportation department says the original Hatteras-to-Ocracoke route resumed last week.

A storm pushed sand into the ferry channel on Jan. 18, making it too shallow for ferries to travel safely. An alternate route was in use since Jan. 22. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredged out a 12-foot deep path for ferry travel. The return of the original route means there will be 32 daily trips in each direction, starting at 5 a.m. from both Hatteras and Ocracoke.


Remembering JFK

It was 50 years ago that President John F. Kennedy addressed 10,000 cheering West Berliners not far from the Berlin Wall, telling them “Ich bin ein Berliner.” His words provided a promise of support for West Germans living in Berlin’s free but beleaguered American sector after they were heard around the world.

This summer, Berlin remembers the anniversary with a half a dozen special exhibits exploring Germany’s unique relationship with the United States and the Cold War politics that pitted Soviet-run East Germany against West Germany. Information:


Back to the slopes

Skiers returned to the slopes in big numbers during the recently ended 2012-13 ski season, according to the National Ski Areas Association. Nationally, skier visits rose 11 percent from last season to about 56.6 million, the association said.


Newest Princess ship is christened

The Royal Princess is cruising the Mediterranean after being christened by the Duchess of Cambridge earlier this month. Kate Middleton cut the ribbon that launched 4-gallon, $1,500 bottle of Moet and Chandon Champagne against the ship’s hull. “I name this ship Royal Princess, may God bless her and all who sail in her,” said the duchess.

In October, the 3,600-passenger Royal Princess, Princess Cruises’ largest ship, will sail to Fort Lauderdale, its home port for the winter when it will do Caribbean cruises.

Miami Herald

wire services

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