Thursday, April 30, 2009

Facts About the Swine Flu

The Swine Flu seems to be spreading, perhaps unreasonable, panic and hysteria among much of the U.S. population.

To simply look at the facts, it’s easy to see that it’s not nearly as bad as the media is making it out to be. Here are some of the facts about the Swine Flu, plain and simple.

  • The term "flu pandemic" simply means a new strain is infecting and spreading among people in several areas of the world at the same time. It can be mild, moderate, or severe.

  • Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine flu have occurred. Most commonly, these cases occur in persons with direct exposure to pigs (e.g. children near pigs at a fair or workers in the swine industry). In addition, there have been documented cases of one person spreading swine flu to others. For example, an outbreak of apparent swine flu infection in pigs in Wisconsin in 1988 resulted in multiple human infections, and, although no community outbreak resulted, there was antibody evidence of virus transmission from the patient to health care workers who had close contact with the patient.

  • President Obama has said the problem is a "cause for concern" and "not a cause for alarm."

  • As of April 30, the United States Government has reported 109 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death (which was a Mexican citizen who came to Texas for medical treatment).

  • Every year this decade, between 30,000 and 50,000 American deaths were recorded from complications related to the regular seasonal flu.

  • The swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is susceptible to the prescription antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir. In addition, the Federal Government has begun the process of developing a vaccine against this new virus.

  • The World Health Organization advises no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders.

This information in this blog was collected from the World Health Organization website, CDC website and

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What Do You Want on Every Flight?

That's what AirTran Airlines is asking their customers, what new amenity you would like to see on every flight?

The airline is conducting an online survey, you can go to to submit your suggestions and read other submissions. The airline promises to pick at least one of the new suggestions, saying the promotion is building towards a May 12 announcement about which new amenity the carrier will add on every flight. So far suggestions range from pizza to pilates.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Limits Have Been Set for Antarctica Sailings

As reported last week, countries with interests in Antarctica have agreed to impose mandatory limits on tourism to the continent to protect its fragile environment.

During a two week conference on the 50 year-old Antarctic Treaty, 28 countries have endorsed the US proposal to limit the size of cruise ships that land passengers on Antarctica. The number of people allowed ashore at any one time is also limited. The rules are voluntary at present but will become enforceable once each of the countries formally ratifies the agreement. Ships with more than 500 passengers cannot land in Antarctica and no more than 100 passengers can go ashore at one time.

There was no opposition to the terms of the agreement by any of the participating countries.

Friday, April 17, 2009

United to Charge Overweight Passengers for Additional Seat

Effective April 15, United Airlines will enforce a new policy adopted earlier this year. If a passenger cannot fit into a single seat, buckle their seatbelt, even with a seatback extender, or put the seat's armrest down, that passenger "must either purchase a ticket for an additional seat, or purchase an upgrade to a cabin with seats that address the above-listed scenarios," United Airlines wrote on its Web site. If the passenger doesn't agree to purchase the extra seat, he/she will not be allowed to board the plane. The only exception is couples flying together who can fit into adjoining seats.

Some suggest that this is discrimination. United insisted it was simply acting on the 700-plus complaints it received last year about obese travelers "infringing" on their neighbors' space. The policy applies to all tickets purchased on or after March 4 for travel after April 15.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tulip in Netherlands Named After KLM

The Keukenhof, the gardens and tulip fields that are one of the Netherlands top attractions has decided to name a special hybrid tulip after KLM.

The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade emphasized KLM's economic importance to the flower industry. "KLM's success as an airline echoes the wider success of the Dutch logistics industry. Frederique van der Wal, current owner of the lifestyle and flower collection, "Frederique's Choice," was invited to join in the naming ceremony with Peter Hartman, KLM CEO.
Bouquets of KLM tulips will be on view at Schiphol Airport in the days to come. The airport will have its own "mini-Keukenhof" in Terminal 2 at Schiphol Plaza. If you are flying into or through Schiphol be sure to look for the display.

The new hybrid tulip is called ‘Tulipa KLM’ and can be ordered online at

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Obama Lifting Restrictions on Family Travel to Cuba

In a measured break with a half-century of U.S. policy toward communist Cuba, the Obama administration lifted restrictions Monday on Cuban-Americans who want to travel and send money to their families in Cuba.

This includes the removal of limits on the frequency and amount of remittances that Cubans can send to family members in Cuba. Travelers will be authorized to carry up to $3,000 in remittances. And Cuban Americans will be able to visit relatives in their Island homeland for as long as they like and as often as they like.

In a further gesture of openness, U.S. telecommunications firms were freed to seek business there, too. However, the U.S. economic and trade embargo of communist-ruled Cuba will remain, but leaders of Latin American countries at this week’s Summit of the Americas are expected to push Obama to repeal it. The summit takes place April 17 to 19 in Trinidad.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Mexico Assures Safety at Tourist Destinations

The Mexican Tourism Board and its affiliates are advising the travel agent community and their clients that vacations will not be harmed by the current problems related to the drug trade.

"The violence occurring in Mexico is concentrated in five municipalities in the Northwest side of Mexico and is far removed from resort areas," said the Board. There have been no reports of tourists affected by the violence which is predominately located along the US-Mexico border.

The Tourism Board has a new web site to keep agents updated about the situation and it is found at The map on the site underlines the distance from the affected areas to resort areas.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Continental Voted Best North America Airline by SkyTrax

This is the second year in a row Continental Airlines has been named "Best Airline: North America" in the SkyTrax 2009 World Airline Awards.

The awards are based on an independent survey of more than 16 million passengers from 95 different nationalities conducted over a 10-month period. Continental is the world's fifth largest airline and is 75 years old this year. Fortune magazine named the airline the No. 1 World's Most Admired Airline on its 2009 list of World's Most Admired Companies.

Congratulations to Continental.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Air New Zealand Cancelling Flights Due to Lunch Breaks

Air New Zealand will have to cancel 25 regional flights each week, because its air traffic control staff have to eat lunch at scheduled times, according to a statement from the carrier.

Changes in the Employment Relations Act, which came into effect on Wednesday, April 1st, will see the Air Line Pilots Association insisting that members take their breaks at scheduled times rather than working flexibly as they have in the past. Air New Zealand says this means the Civil Aviation Authority from Wednesday will be forced to close five towers, twice each day, for 30-45 minutes.

Air New Zealand short haul head Bruce Parton said it was farcical that services to five regional airports would have to be cancelled. Regional customers will face disruption and reduced frequency as Air New Zealand is forced to remove approximately 2500 seats each week from regional capacity. Air New Zealand also stands to lose up to $3 million in revenue through the cancellation of these services to Gisborne, Napier, New Plymouth, Rotorua and Invercargill Airports."We appear to be the victims of an overly rigid dictate to business on how to achieve a healthy and safe workplace", Parton said.

There are many other airlines that fly between the U.S. and New Zealand. Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to book your vacation to the South Pacific!