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Airlines Widening 'Use-It-or-Lose-It' Ticketing Policy

September 29, 2002

American and Continental airlines have expanded to international flights their new "use-it-or-lose-it" policy for nonrefundable tickets.

In the last month, the two airlines, along with Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways, stopped allowing travelers to apply unused, nonrefundable fares to a new flight for up to one year. American, Continental, Delta and United generally limited the change to U.S. and Canadian flights; Northwest and US Airways included virtually all flights. Policies vary, but most are effective for travel starting Tuesday.

US Airways, for instance, said nonrefundable tickets would be worthless after the original flight departed. American said it would honor such tickets for the whole day of the flight. (Spokesman Todd Burke said that would make the ticket valid to 11:59 p.m. on the date of travel.)

Most of the six, including American and Continental, also said that they would charge holders of domestic nonrefundable fares $100 to fly standby on the original date of travel, starting Jan. 1.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday October 12, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 9 inches; 344 words Type of Material: Correction
Airline tickets--An article in the Travel section on Sept. 29 said that several airlines no longer allow travelers to apply unused, nonrefundable tickets to new flights for up to one year. It should have added that these tickets generally can be used after the booked flight has departed as long as travelers cancel the reservation in advance and rebook for a later date (subject to fees and restrictions).
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday October 20, 2002 Home Edition Travel Part L Page 3 Features Desk 1 inches; 67 words Type of Material: Correction
Airline tickets -- An article in the Sept. 29 section said that several airlines no longer allow travelers to apply unused, nonrefundable tickets to new flights for up to one year. It should have added that these tickets generally can be used after the booked flight has departed as long as travelers cancel the reservation in advance and rebook for a later date (subject to fees and restrictions).

Under the new policies, unused, nonrefundable international fares could not be applied to fares on future dates, American's Burke and Continental spokesman Rahsaan Johnson said.

At American, standbys on such fares will be charged a $100 fee for flights to the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. (Other international destinations are not affected because American traditionally hasn't allowed standbys to them, Burke said.)

At Continental, which allows standbys on international flights, the fee will be $200 as of Jan. 1, Johnson said.

Expedia Adds Online Rebooking of Tickets

Expedia.com earlier this month began letting customers rebook their airline tickets online rather than having to call its 800 number to do so.

Customers access the option through the "My Trips" section of www.expedia.com, which also calculates any airline-imposed change fees and differences in air fare they may owe.

Expedia does not charge for the service, which can be used only with electronic tickets, a spokeswoman said.

Sheraton Opens Resort on Indian Reservation

At first glance, the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, opening Tuesday in the high desert 11 miles southeast of the Phoenix airport, seems be a typical resort hotel: 500 guest rooms, two 18-hole golf courses, four swimming pools, four restaurants and, of course, a large spa.

But the $170-million project, which sprawls over 1,200 acres, is unusual because it is on an Indian reservation, includes an equestrian center and celebrates the culture of its owners, the Pima and Maricopa peoples, who together form the Gila River Indian Community.

The building's artwork is by Native Americans, and educational programs focus on their culture. A boat ferries guests from the hotel to the resort's golf courses and the Wild Horse Pass Casino along a 2 1/2-mile re-creation of the region's Gila River, lined with indigenous plants.

The resort's architects, Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo of Newport Beach, are responsible for such diverse projects as the House of Blues club in Los Angeles and the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.

Introductory room rates, through Jan. 7, start at $179, subject to availability. Regular published rates range from $99 to $550, depending on the season. (602) 225-0100, www.sheraton.com/wild horsepass.

Getting on Board With Walt Disney's Hobby

A 1/8-scale model train that once steamed around the backyard of Walt Disney's Holmby Hills estate is featured in "The Happiest Train on Earth," opening Friday at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.

The exhibit, running through March 31, focuses on the entertainment magnate's fascination with rail, which helped inspire the design of Disneyland. Celebrities such as actress Mary Pickford and artist Salvador Dali rode or ran Disney's home train, which included a caboose he handcrafted, along 2,615 feet of track and tunnels.

Also at the museum, through September 2003, is a preview exhibit of more than 100 toy train cars and other objects selected from thousands donated by the family of former San Diego bank executive Thomas W. Sefton. Highlights include a rare 1930s Lionel Transcontinental Limited train set and a Buddy L outdoor railroad--a "push train" made in the 1920s and '30s that ran on backyard tracks.

The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $3 for adults, free to ages 16 and under. (916) 445-6645, www.california staterailroadmuseum.org.

Leisure Travel Rebounds, but Workers Stay Home

Leisure travel has surpassed last year's level, but business travelers are still hitting that road--or rather, the skies--less often, the Travel Industry Assn. reported.

In January through June this year, leisure travel was up 2% from last year--and nearly 4.5% in June alone, the association reported. But business travel was down 9% in the six-month period, and air travel declined 10%.

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