SYRIA - TERRORISM - Latakia - UPDATE: A car bomb detonated in the government-held Syrian city of Latakia, in the Sahat al-Hamam district, killing one person and wounding 14 INDIA - SECURITY - Gadchiroli - Suspected Maoists shot dead three villagers in Maharashtras Gadchiroli district on suspicion that their tip-off to police led to killing of 40 ultras. PHILIPPINES - SECURITY - Rizal - NPA terrorists attack construction workers in Quezon, burn equipment. Checkpoints were also beef-up in the area while troops are conducting pursuit operations. INDONESIA - FLOODING - Makassar - Parts of Makassar City were flooded following incessant heavy rain. Floodwaters reached height of up to 1.5 meters in Katimbang, Biringkanayan Sub-district. ZIMBABWE - BUS - Government deploys armed soldiers and police para-military support unit to man ZUPCO buses carrying passengers after rioting last week. Travel Smart… Travel Safe … www.eTravelAlerts.com
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Airlines are scrambling for revenue anywhere they can find it. Fuel surcharges are now common across the industry, and can be several hundred dollars on overseas flights. Most US lines other than Southwest charge for all checked bags on domestic flights. Many now charge for picking your own seat, and charge more if you pick a decent seat by an exit row or bulkhead. (The kindest way to think of it is that the prices have increased, but you get a discount if you're willing to fly with no checked bag, sit in a lousy seat, and bring your own lunch.) Nobody includes meals on domestic flights any more, although I have to say that the $7 salads and sandwiches are often a lot better than the former free gray-green glop.
Be wary of “friendly” strangers. There have been reports of alleged sexual assaults at tourist resorts carried out by resort staff and, in some cases, by other tourists. Women travelling alone are often harassed. Refrain from excessive drinking, especially at all-inclusive resorts. Although most hotels and resorts are well guarded, ensure that your hotel room doors and windows are secure.
Four giant airline computer systems in the United States handle nearly all the airline reservations in the country. (They're known as CRSs, for computer reservations systems, or more often now GDS for global distribution systems.) Although each airline has a ``home'' CRS, the systems are all interlinked so that you can, with few exceptions, buy tickets for any airline from any CRS. The dominant systems in the U.S. are Sabre (home to American and US Airways), Galileo (home to United), Worldspan (home to Delta, Northwest), and Amadeus (many European lines.) The company that owned Galileo and Orbitz recently bought Worldspan, so the two GDS will presumably be merged. Many of the low-price start-up airlines don't participate in any of these systems but have their own Web sites where you can check flights and buy tickets. Southwest, the largest and oldest of the low-price airlines, doesn't participate, either. Southwest's web site gets car and hotel info from Galileo, but the info seems not to flow the other way. Orbitz one of the big three online travel agencies, runs its own system which is "direct connect" linked directly to many of the airlines.