Boarding Pass

By David Tykol

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 342nd issue of your monthly overseas travel magazine.

A year and a half ago, ITN Contributing Editor Jim Patterson, who wrote the “Focal Point” column, went on hiatus following abdominal surgery. Recently, he informed us he was fit to travel again and we were looking forward to new material from his latest trip.

Sadly, we received this news from his wife, Betty: “Jim died of a heart attack photographing the beautiful flowers in Monet’s Garden at Giverny, France, on May 28. We had spent almost a week in Paris and at Mont-Saint-Michel, the Normandy battlefields, Dinan, St. Malo and Bayeux and were to take the overnight train from Paris to Venice for a week in Italy the day he died.”

Jim’s articles started appearing in ITN in 1999, and his photography column debuted in 2001. Excellent writing and superb images — a great talent lost. Jim had won several awards for his travel slides.

We extend our sympathies to Betty.

It’s a small step toward cleaner seas, but in April the American Academy of Environmental Engineers presented its 2004 Excellence in Environmental Engineering Competition grand award in the small projects category to Royal Caribbean Cruises and CDM. CDM is a global environmental consulting, engineering and construction firm that assisted the cruise company.

Specifically, the cruise company was honored “for the development and implementation of the cruise industry’s first comprehensive ISO 14001-certified environmental management system and environmental officer-training program.”

Broadly, Royal Caribbean developed a sustainable environmental management system that reduces shipboard waste and its impact on the environment.

In regard to what is done with all solid, hazardous and chemical waste on board cruise ships, the system includes technical advancements and fleetwide changes to waste-management programs. It also includes environmental officer training, going beyond regulatory compliance and making improvements in organization, treatment processes and record keeping.

Environmental officers also train crew members in environmental management practices, perform ongoing inspections, serve as advisors to shipboard management and act as links to the company’s shoreside departments.

Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., operates Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises. More info is at

The Transportation Security Administration is testing a Registered Traveler Pilot Program at five airports. Think “diamond lane” at airport passenger screening stations.

Registered Travelers will gain access to a speedy check-in and boarding procedure, skirting extra security inspections at airports. Before you get excited, be aware that you must travel at least twice a week to qualify as a test participant, and you must show up in person at one of the designated airports within a specific period to sign up (you cannot phone in).

Those enrolling in the program must pass security screening, which includes analysis of law enforcement and intelligence data sources and a check of outstanding criminal warrants. Each volunteer also will provide personal details, including name, address, phone number and date of birth, along with a “biometric imprint” of fingerprints and iris scans.

The basic question to be answered is “Can passenger screening be expedited without compromising security?”

The airlines involved are gathering volunteer Registered Travelers. The program is being tested with Northwest Airlines at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (their sign-up began on June 28 at the TSA desk in the airport lobby mezzanine); United Airlines at Los Angeles International; Continental Airlines at George Bush Intercontinental (Houston), and American Airlines at both Boston Logan International and Ronald Reagan Washington National airports.

We need your help. So that we may better compose future issues, please answer this question: “Where were you in May 2004?”

If you were traveling outside of the U.S. on any days in the month of May, please tell us what countries you went to.

Jot down your answer along with your last name (in BLOCK letters) and ZIP code and mail it to May Travel, c/o ITN, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818. . .
or call (toll-free) 800/486-4968. . . or fax 916/457-7339. . . or e-mail We’ll even accept carrier pigeon.

Of those who respond, 10 will receive one-year extensions to their ITN subscriptions!

Thanks for participating.