HERE'S a new way to avoid check-in lines at LAX: Check your bags before you get there.
A new service, which was to have started last week at the FlyAway Bus Service station in Van Nuys, tags your checked bags, issues your boarding pass and puts your bags through security checks. At LAX, you bypass the ticket counter, go through security checks and then to the gate. At your destination airport, your bags pop out on the baggage carousel as usual.
The service, which costs $5 per person, is available 4:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; you must check your bags at least three hours before your flight.
The service is available only for domestic flights and on a limited number of airlines, said Tom Winfrey, spokesman for Los Angeles World Airports. The airlines, he said, are Alaska, American, American Eagle, Continental, Delta, Horizon, Northwest, Skywest, Ted, United and United Express.
The FlyAway bus to LAX, which leaves from 7610 Woodley Ave., east of Van Nuys airport, costs $3 each way for adults; $2 for ages 2 to 12; free for children under 2. Parking at the Van Nuys lot is $4 per day. For schedules, visit www.lawa.org/lax and click on "ground transportation," then "flyAway."
The check-in service, operated by Baggage Airline Guest Services, or BAGS, based in Orlando, Fla., is being expanded to other Los Angeles-area sites. It is expected to be available starting Wednesday at the L.A. Convention Center; Sept. 24 at the World Cruise Center at the Port of Los Angeles; and by the end of the month at Union Station in downtown L.A., where another FlyAway bus operates, Winfrey said. Information was expected to be posted later at www.lawa.org/lax.
$24 million later, Cancun's Club Med to reopen
IN another sign of recovery since Hurricane Wilma hit Cancun, Mexico, last fall, Club Med Cancun Yucatan is scheduled to reopen Nov. 11 after $24 million in repairs and renovations.
The 384-room resort, formerly an adults-only facility, will emphasize family activities, local culture and eco-tourism, a spokeswoman said.
A new Discovery Center will organize tours, and a Mini-Club Med, opening in December, will focus on children ages 4 to 10. Baby sitting and activities for teens also will be offered.
Other new facilities include an adults-only dining area and the Jade Villa, a building with upscale services such as private-car transport from the airport, room service and free Internet access.
All-inclusive, land-only rates start at $825 per adult, double occupancy, with restrictions, for seven nights. Jade Villa rates start at $1,428 per person. Info: (800) 258-2633, www.clubmed.com.
White shark now swimming in Monterey
A 104-pound white shark, measuring more than 5 feet, is on display at Monterey Bay Aquarium.
The male shark, caught last month in Santa Monica Bay, several miles offshore, was held in an ocean pen off Malibu before being taken to Monterey.
In 2004-2005, the aquarium set a 198-day record for exhibiting another white shark, which was returned to the wild after she killed two other sharks in the Outer Bay exhibit.
For more information: www.montereybayaquarium.org.
Visitors to the Orlando, Fla., area can enjoy $17 fixed-priced lunches and $29 dinners at more than 20-plus restaurants in September. Info: www.orlandoinfo.com.