Travel briefs

 

Airlines

extra-legroom seats ON US AIRWAYS

In a message to employees last week, American Airlines Group leaders said they plan to add extra-legroom seats to US Airways planes in the merged fleet. The move mirrors American’s practice of providing extra legroom with a few seats in the economy cabin, and charging passengers more to sit there.

Passengers willing to pay $16 to $159 more per flight can get a Main Cabin Extra seat with up to six inches more legroom on most planes. The perk is free for elite members of American’s frequent-flier program.

U.S. Virgin islands

Park SYSTEM gets Maho Bay land

A 225-acre parcel of land that includes a beach on Maho Bay in St. John has been acquired by the U.S. Virgin Islands for $20 million.

The land has become part of Virgin Islands National Park and will be protected from development.

The national park makes up two-thirds of the island and was created in 1956 from land donated by Laurance Rockefeller.

The land, which comprises beach and hillside surrounding the bay on the north side of the island, had been owned since 2008 by the Trust for Public Land, which bought the land from an individual owner to protect it from development.

The beach is noted for its calm waters and abundant marine life,.

Air Travel

Orlando first to get biometric kiosks

Officials at Orlando International Airport are hoping some new kiosks will allow international visitors to land, touch and go.

The biometric kiosks will let international travelers speed up their arrival process by allowing them to complete customs declaration forms on touch-screens. The kiosks also record passports, fingerprints and facial images.

Orlando International Airport is the first U.S. airport to have the kiosks.

International travelers must come from a country where visas aren’t required to enter the United States and also must be approved by the Electronic System for Travel Authorization program.

Virginia

Natural Bridge to become a park

Natural Bridge, a 215-foot-high stone bridge once owned by Thomas Jefferson and a centuries-old tourist attraction, has been sold by its private owner at a fraction of its value to a conservation group and is destined to become part of Virginia’s park system.

Under a complex deal sealed Thursday, Washington, D.C., real estate developer Angelo A. Puglisi accepted $8.6 million for the 1,500-plus-acre property in southwest Virginia and tossed in the 90-foot-long limestone bridge in return for tax credits. The bridge alone is valued at $21 million.

The Shenandoah Valley property, which includes 35 parcels, caverns, a 150-room hotel and cabins, has an estimated value of more than $40 million.

Miami Herald

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