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Traveler's Notes ...

January 20, 2002

Delta Air Lines last week lifted a ban on unaccompanied children ages 5 to 11 traveling on direct and connecting flights. The ban was imposed two days after the Sept. 11 attacks.... New York's annual Winter Restaurant Week, which offers discounted fixed-price menus at top restaurants, is being expanded to two weeks this year, Jan. 28 to Feb. 8 (excluding Feb. 2 and 3). The prices are $20.02 for lunch and $30.02 for dinner. More than 150 restaurants are participating. For a list, see www.nycvisit .com.... In New York, Alain Ducasse restaurant in the Essex Hotel was granted a fifth star, while Le Cirque 2000 was demoted to four stars in the 2002 list of Mobil restaurant ratings released this month. Twenty-five hotels and 14 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada received the highest rating, five stars.... Looking for more places to get rid of your outdated European coins and bills? Responding to the Jan. 1 introduction of the euro in Western Europe, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF has expanded its "Change for Good" program in which it collects old currency aboard international flights for donation to the U.N. group. For the next several months, you can donate unused currency to more than 100 Travelex and Thomas Cook sites in the U.S., including more than a dozen in the Southland. For a list, visit www.unicefusa.org /donation/change.html.... Measuring a tough year for the lodging industry, Smith Travel Research reported that average occupancy in U.S. hotels fell from 63.7% in 2000 to 60.2% in 2001, according to its preliminary figures.

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