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Electronic Explorer

Locking Health in Upright Position

June 11, 1995|LAURA BLY

Former flight attendant Diana Fairechild flew 10 million miles before health problems grounded her--a direct result, she says, of exposure to pesticides and other chemicals on commercial aircraft.

Now, seven years later, Fairechild's campaign to alert travelers about the dangers of spraying bug killers on airplanes is being waged in cyberspace. From her home on the slopes of Maui's Haleakala, a dormant volcano, Fairechild produces Healthy Flying, a well-researched, engagingly personal series of columns on the Internet's World Wide Web (

Healthy Flying, which was launched in late February, offers a potpourri of tips and advice designed to "help jet travelers fly more safely, more comfortably and especially more healthfully," Fairechild says.

A section called "How Do You Snag Shut-Eye at 30 Thousand Feet?"--a formidable challenge for any traveler crammed into a coach-class seat--includes both the obvious (bring ear plugs and eye mask) and not-so-obvious (place a moistened handkerchief over your nose, and keep a bottle of water within reach to sip from during intermittent awakenings.)

Much of the Healthy Flying information comes from Fairechild's 1992 book, "Jet Smart," which Internet readers can order on-line. But she updates the site with information from wire services and other sources several times a month, and includes suggestions from fellow Netizens (Internet users) as well.

Healthy Flying is one of at least a dozen on-line travel health offerings. Among the best of the rest:

* The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has its own Web site (, with a Travel Information Page that supplies the same recommendations and reference material available by calling the CDC's travel hotline in Atlanta.

* "Who can appreciate the joys of exploring exotic destinations when you'd sell your grandmother for directions to the nearest toilet?" So begins Lonely Planet's hip health page on the Web (, with precautionary tales about everything from dysentery to bedbugs.

* GORP--the Great Outdoor Recreation Pages--is an excellent Web resource for any adventure traveler ( They offer links to several travel health sites, including Princeton University's Outdoor Action Program, with its informative look at high altitude sickness.

* Two travel health clinics provide on-line advice via the Web: Stanford Travel Medicine Service ( and the Medical College of Wisconsin's International Travelers Clinic (

* The library of CompuServe's extensive Travel Forum (GO TRAVEL) includes a directory of travel health clinics and files on such subjects as travel health insurance, malaria and drinking the water in Mexico.

Small bytes: American Airlines is the latest carrier to launch a site on the Web ( Much of the information is geared to travel agencies and other travel companies. But consumers can, among other things, pull up seating charts for American planes and frequent-flier updates; on-line booking will be available by the end of the year. . The magazine Conde Nast Traveler establishes its own Web presence on June 19 ( Senior editor Aaron Sugarman promises the on-line product "won't be the magazine stuffed into an electronic format." Features will include late-breaking reports on such travel-related topics as air-fare wars and currency devaluations, lush graphics and a service that allows travelers to pick a vacation spot based on criteria they select themselves. . .

Do you know the way to San Jose? Even repeat visitors will want to check out a new Web site devoted to arts, entertainment and tourism in the heart of the Silicon Valley (

* Bly welcomes reader comments. Address e-mail to:

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