NORTHWEST Airlines is starting separate boarding lines at domestic gates for high-mileage frequent fliers and first-class customers. The system is being phased in over two months at gates with boarding bridges.
The change is coming as carriers are trying new ways to streamline boarding.
Northwest last month began what it called "open boarding." Instead of filling the coach cabin from front to back, it lets fliers take their assigned seats as they arrive. It may sound chaotic, but Northwest spokesman Kurt Ebenhoch said Northwest's experts had determined that it saved time.
Southwest Airlines, long known for its system of open seating and boarding by groups, on Monday plans to begin testing assigned seats on some departures from San Diego's airport. Airline officials said they hoped to learn whether the change would affect turnaround times.
-- Jane Engle
Palatial stay in Buenos Aires
IN Argentina, the Palacio Duhau-Park Hyatt Buenos Aires is expected to open Wednesday in a restored 1934 palace.
The hotel has 203 rooms and suites, updated with modern amenities, including wireless. But it has retained some of its old touches, such as high ceilings, the original wood doors and its star-patterned marble floor. The hotel also has an 8,000-square-foot spa, containing an 300-foot indoor swimming pool.
The Palacio is on Avenida Alvear, in Buenos Aires' high-end Recoleta shopping district. Room rates begin at $410 a night. For information: (800) 233-1234, www.buenosaires.park.hyatt.com.
-- Vani Rangachar
up in the air
HUNDREDS of Varig passengers were stranded last week as the financially shaky airline canceled more than half its flights in its home country of Brazil and abroad.
Varig has been operating under bankruptcy protection since June 2005 and is to be auctioned this week. At least two companies are said to be interested in Brazil's flagship airline.
Brazilian authorities said other airlines were honoring Varig's tickets, although Varig said 11 carriers had refused to do so.
Times wire services