Boarding Pass

By David Tykol

Dear Globetrotter:
Welcome to the 348th issue of your monthly overseas travel magazine.

In a conference in Geneva in November, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) committed to four initiatives to simplify the airline business and cut costs.

  • Implement 100% electronic ticketing by Dec. 31, 2007 — no more paper tickets.
  • Implement “bar codes” on boarding passes to replace magnetic stripe technology.
  • Implement Common Use Self Service (CUSS) kiosks at airports for check-in.
  • Implement Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for baggage sorting and handling.

In September, several major airlines followed the lead of Northwest Airlines and began charging customers a $5 service fee for tickets bought over the phone and $10 for tickets bought at the counter. These airlines were American, Continental, US Airways and United.

Already in full service at London Heathrow’s Terminal 4 and scheduled to be used at all British airports is the new security scanner the Rapiscan Secure 1000. This is the scanner you’ve heard about that, using a narrow beam of low-intensity x-rays, displays on a screen what is basically a naked image of the person being scanned. The x-rays penetrate clothing and are reflected by the body as “backscatter” to be gathered by sensitive detectors and compiled into an image.

Security personnel are looking for weapons and other dangerous items, of course. Passengers have a choice of going through the scanner or undergoing a physical touch search, and in England, at least, most people prefer the scanner.

The images are not stored and are not seen by anyone other than the security officer operating the machine.

The technology has also been sold to Canada, but, other than having held trials in Orlando, the FAA and TSA think some tweaking needs to be done to the machine to protect travelers’ modesty before Americans will be comfortable with it.

Animal Fair, “the nation’s largest lifestyle quarterly for pets and animal lovers,” last year named Finnair as the Most Pet-Friendly Airline, citing that small pets placed in a carrier can travel beside their owners throughout the flight. Pets can even sit in their owners’ laps on Finnair flights (except during takeoff and landing).

The magazine also named St. Petersburg, Russia, as the Most Pet-Friendly Destination. Results were based on the travels of Editor in Chief Wendy Diamond and her purebred Maltese, Lucky Diamond. In the Russian capital, Lucky was free to roam, “dined at the finest restaurant and was even invited to attend the Philharmonic.”

Call Animal Fair in New York City at 212/629-0392, ext. 202, or visit

ITN subscriber Ann Logan of Shelbyville, Kentucky, wrote in: “I read with interest the Lamberts’ account (Nov. ’04, pg. 82) of their trip to Egypt with Ibrahim Morgan. It brought back memories of the visit my husband, Bill, and I made to Egypt in November ’01 and what a pleasure it was to have Ibrahim as our guide. We wrote to ITN about our trip soon afterward (March ’02, pg. 134).

“As an update, Ibrahim has married a pretty young lady, Amira, and they now have a darling daughter, Julie, who is 15 months old. We have kept in touch through e-mail since our trip. So, we found a friend as well as a guide!”

Betty King of Savannah, Georgia, sent a note regarding an “Orissa and West Bengal” tour in 2004: “Had a nice trip with Craft World Tours (Byron, NY; 585/548-2667). Please send sample copies of ITN to my friends from this trip.

Frank Basile of Indianapolis, Indiana, wrote, “My fiancé and I recently returned from a wonderful 2-week trip to Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. The itinerary was designed by Nino Mohan of Worldview Tours (Newport Beach, CA; 800/373-0388 or to meet our particular needs regarding where we wanted to go and the amount of time we had available. He did an excellent job and everything went according to plan. Also, the representatives in each area were friendly, efficient and knowledgeable.

“Because of his professionalism and the fine job he did, we would recommend him to anyone interested in traveling to this part of the world.

“Incidentally, I enjoy reading ITN and feel that it provides the seasoned traveler with good information, including tour recommendations, from other seasoned travelers for locations generally not included in other publications.”

Betty Thomas of Wheat Ridge, Colorado, took two tours in September and October ’04, one of northern Italy with Maupintour and a Caravella Italia tour of the Amalfi area. She wrote, “Both tours were excellent. Great itineraries. Accommodations were 4- and 5-star. The tours were booked through Alec Cross of International Travel Marketing (Corona, CA; 800/830-1083 or e-mail

Betty also sent in the names and addresses of fellow tour members to be sent sample copies, adding, “These were fun people who deserve to know about ITN.”

Spreading good cheer — Joan Bargamin of Richmond, VA, sent a postcard to let us know, “We still wear our ITN hats around the globe — the essence of chic, c’est vrai!” —David Tykol, Editor