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Originally published Sunday, November 18, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Travel briefs

Traveling soon? Leave lots of time

The airline industry is urging Thanksgiving travelers to get to the airport extra early this year, and to expect longer-than-usual lines...

The airline industry is urging Thanksgiving travelers to get to the airport extra early this year, and to expect longer-than-usual lines at security checkpoints.

Domestic carriers are expected to fly roughly 27 million passengers over the holidays, with planes about 90 percent full, the Air Transport Association said.

More than 2.5 million passengers a day are expected to travel Wednesday and the Sunday and Monday after the holiday, according to ATA. The expected uptick in holiday air travel comes despite historic delays reported by airlines all year. More than 24 percent of flights arrived late through September and the industry's on-time performance through September was the worst since data began being collected in 1995, according to the Transportation Department.

For an update on what's expected at Seattle-Tacoma International and advice for traveling during the holidays, see www.seattletimes.com/travel.

Cruising

Norwalk virus hits Norwegian ship

A highly contagious virus that causes stomach flu sickened about 220 passengers aboard a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship that returned Monday to Honolulu after its weekly seven-day cruise around the islands, officials said.

Lab tests confirmed a norovirus — which causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea — aboard the Pride of Hawaii, said Janice Okubo, spokeswoman for the Hawaii Department of Health.

The Norwalk-like virus infected about 9 percent of the ship's 2,500 passengers, NCL said. Virus symptoms typically last a day.

The company said that the outbreak had been confined to just the one ship; the Pride of Aloha and Pride of America, which also cruise the islands, were not affected.

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While the Norwalk virus typically lasts 24 hours, it may persist for several days. There's no good way to treat its symptoms besides drinking fluids. It can become life-threatening for the very old, the frail and the very young if they become dehydrated.

Europe

EU regulators crack down on discount airlines

European Union regulators plan to crack down on airlines that hide fees or conditions on tickets on their Web sites as part of a drive to toughen enforcement of consumer-protection rules.

The measures come as the EU considers stricter rules that require airlines to include all taxes and fees in advertised fares. While the commission doesn't plan to name any companies in the preliminary findings, carriers that appear to engage in questionable practices will be forwarded to national authorities for investigation.

Ryanair Holdings Plc., Vueling Airlines SA, Iberia Lineas Aereas de Espana SA and SAS Group's Spanair SA unit face investigations regarding their advertising practices, Reuters reported earlier.

Problems include listing prices without airport taxes and fees, promoting free or low-price tickets that aren't available for purchase, requiring customers to click a box to avoid buying insurance or failing to provide ticket and cancellation terms.

Airlines

British, other airlines hike fuel surcharges

British Airways said it is raising fuel surcharges by as much as 35 percent because of record oil prices.

The biggest increases will impact international flights, where the surcharge will rise from 10 pounds ($21) to 48 pounds ($99) on trips under 9 hours and from 15 pounds ($31) to 58 pounds ($120.40) on trips longer than nine hours, including the airline's daily nonstop between Seattle and London.

Lufthansa, Europe's second-biggest airline, will raise its fuel surcharge on long haul flights by 15 percent as oil prices hit record highs. Tickets for international flights will be subject to a 77- euro ($113) surcharge. Lufthansa recently announced it will be starting nonstop service between Seattle and Frankfurt.

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Continental Airlines recently joined United Airlines in adding a $10 charge on U.S. round-trip fares to help offset a 55 percent surge in jet-fuel prices this year.

Las Vegas

New bus, trolley

service for Strip

Las Vegas last week launched a new fleet of buses and trolleys for travel around the Strip and various city landmarks.

Collectively called the Vegas.com Arrow, the vehicles are equipped with videos about attractions and with touch screens that allow you to buy tickets for shows and tours.

Single-ride tickets are $2.50, or buy a $10 all-day ticket that includes the Arrow and the monorail, which has seven stops. Buy passes at various hotels or at www.vegas.com/vegascomarrow.

Compiled by Times staff and news services.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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