Are you eager to chatter away on your cell phone at 35,000 feet or listen to your seatmate do the same? Not so fast. More Americans oppose this idea than support it, according to a survey released recently by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The numbers, based on a survey taken in November: 45.2 percent of U.S. residents surveyed think cell phones should definitely or probably be barred from cabins; 39.7 percent think they're definitely or probably okay if they don't interfere with aircraft communications; and 15 percent aren't sure.
Like it or not, several foreign airlines are moving to equip their planes for cell phone use. U.S. flights are a different story, because government regulators, saying cell phones might interfere with ground or air communications, are balking at giving the go-ahead.
Take an ethical trip
In an effort to get travelers off the beaten path and support destinations in developing countries, a group called Ethical Traveler has published a list of the "10 best ethical destinations."
Ethical Traveler looked at environmental protection, social welfare and human rights in the world's developing nations. The honorees, in alphabetical order, are Argentina, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Namibia, Nicaragua and South Africa. Details: www.ethicaltraveler.org.
Child's play at the airport
Flying with kids? Cheapflights.com has compiled the "Kids' Airport Diversion Guide," listing play areas and onsite aviation museums at domestic and foreign airports to keep your children occupied until boarding time. To find the complete list, go to www.Cheapflights.com; scroll down to "Travel Guides," then click on "2008 Kids' Airport Diversion Guide." Tampa International doesn't rate a mention, but here are some highlights:
At Baltimore/Washington International, the main terminal has a children's play area in the Observation Gallery with "an array of airplane parts: a wing, tail, wheels, even part of a fuselage" and other play equipment. Boston Logan International has a Kidport in Terminal C with an airplane-climbing sculpture and a baggage-claim slide.
Picture-perfect fall foliage
Heading North this fall to go leaf-peeping? Jeff Folger, who photographs foliage for Yankee magazine (see a nice slideshow of his work at vistaphotos.net), offers these tips for making good shots of autumn color:
• Don't discount overcast days for shooting. Cloudy days are great because colors are more saturated.
• On sunny days, try lying on the ground, looking up through a tree with the sun coming through the leaves, and watch the colors explode as you shoot.
• Try focusing on a single branch or one glorious leaf instead of trying to get a panoramic view of an entire valley or mountain range.
• Try using an ordinary pair of blue sunglasses as a light filter by holding it in front of your camera lens to intensify the colors.
See more autumn images, check a schedule of peak leaf color times, and send seasonal e-cards at yankeefoliage.com.
The boor next door
Be glad your hotel room isn't next door to the one occupied by rocker Amy Winehouse, entertainer Michael Jackson or the 1998 U.S. Men's Hockey Team. They've all earned a place on the concierge.com list of the World's Worst Hotel Guests. Read about the rude behavior of the 15 guests named to the hall of shame at concierge.com.
Check out the wild blue yonder
The latest plane to undergo restoration by military retirees at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola is the PB2Y Coronado, the flying headquarters of Adm. Chester Nimitz during World War II and the first U.S. plane to land in Tokyo after the war. When the restoration is completed in about three years it will join 150 restored aircraft and more than 4,000 artifacts representing Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aviation.
The museum is the largest naval aviation museum in the world and is the most visited museum in the state of Florida. Strap yourself into the flight simulator, where you can fly a mission in Desert Storm; fly with the Blue Angels in the Imax theater; and dine in a cafe that's a recreation of the officer's club at Cubi Point in the Philippines.
The museum is at the Pensacola Naval Air Station: navalaviationmuseum.org/home.aspx (there's a list here of aircraft on display), or call (850) 452-3604. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Free; fees for Imax theater and simulator. Blue Angels performances at 8:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesday.
Compiled from Times wires