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Step aside, Mike Trout: John Wayne Airport is the hot new trading card

Move over, Mike Trout. There's a new trading card in town. John Wayne Airport recently rolled out its first baseball-style airport card.

No disrespect to the Angels center fielder, of course. This card is part of the North American Airport Collectors Series, which features cards for 35 airports.

Like sports trading cards, the front has the airport's call letters (in this case, SNA, for the airport's location near Santa Ana) and a photo.

The "statistics" on the back feature quick facts such as the year the airfield started (1923), the year it became an airport (1940) and the year it was renamed in honor of movie star John Wayne (1979).

The airport's card debuted this week to coincide with National Travel and Tourism Week. Airport personnel will be handing out the cards this week at the Riley Terminal. You can pick one up anytime at information desks in the airport's baggage claim areas.

Visitors are urged to snap a selfie with their SNA trading card and post it on social media using #AirportCard.


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Daily nonstop flights between Qatar and LAX to start in January

Qatar Airways plans to begin new daily service between Qatar and three U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, next year.

Nonstop service between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Doha International Airport (DOH) in Qatar will begin Jan. 1, according to the carrier's announcement on Monday.

The airline plans to operate Boeing 777s with 42 lie-flat business-class seats on the new route.

The airline said it will add service between Doha and Boston on March 16, 2016, and service between Doha and Atlanta on July 1, 2016.

The carrier, owned by the government of Qatar, won Skytrax 2014 awards for best business class, best airline in the Middle East and best business-class airline lounge.

Qatar Airways likes to point out another distinction: It became the most "liked" airline on Facebook, with 9.3 million (as of Tuesday) and counting.

Other new service coming to LAX:

--Alaska Airlines plans to begin flights between L.A. and Costa Rica in the fall.

--Mexican budget airline Volaris is ready...

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Maui: Diners can save money, help others during Restaurant Week Wailea

Savings await diners this month on Maui’s southern shore as restaurants band together to fight hunger with special menus during Restaurant Week Wailea.

Nineteen restaurants are participating in the May 24-30 Restaurant Week Wailea, during which three-course, prix-fixe meals will be offered for $29, $39 and $49 a person, depending on the restaurant.

Restaurants range from casual to upscale and include diverse cuisines. Among the participants:

Duo Steak and Seafood at the Four Seasons Maui.

Humuhumunukunukuapuaa at the Grand Wailea.

Ko at Fairmont Kea Lani.

Matteo's Osteria at Wailea Town Center.

Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman at Wailea Gateway Center. 

The various restaurants’ special menus can be found online.

Beverages, gratuity and tax are not included in the prix-fixe prices. Some restaurants will also be offering wine pairings.

No coupons or tickets are required, but reservations are recommended.

Part of the proceeds from each meal will be donated to the Maui Food Bank.

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On the cusp of change, is Cuba ready for you? Are you ready for Cuba?

Should you go to Cuba now that restrictions on travel have eased?

Alice Short, assistant managing editor for the Los Angeles Times, recently returned from her first visit to Cuba.

Catherine Watson, a veteran travel writer, just returned from her fifth visit.

The two compared notes on a nation that’s been at the center of turmoil and a source of controversy since long before Fidel Castro overthrew the government on New Year’s Day 1959.

Short was drawn to Cuba partly because it was a bit of a forbidden fruit. “I marveled at my even being there,” she says of her 5 1/2-day visit.

Watson was drawn back to Cuba partly out of curiosity about what had changed. “It wasn’t different enough yet,” she said.

The video gives a preview of their articles in the Sunday Travel section of The Times, which will also include visuals by staff photographer Brian van der Brug. The package also will be available online starting Saturday.

Follow us on Twitter at @latimestravel

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Travel tip: Remove batteries before storing electronics

Here’s a flash: Remove batteries from electronic devices if you’re storing them between trips.

When I’m not on the road, I keep my compact Nikon flash in my camera bag, and I store the camera bag in my home office.

Although both cameras I use on assignment have pop-up flashes, the lightweight Nikon device lets me bounce flash for softer illumination.

After my last trip in 2014, I stored the flash in its pouch. On my first trip of the year in March, I grabbed the flash, confidently put it in my camera bag and took off, not bothering to check it.

Nothing happened when I turned it on. Assuming the AA batteries were dead, I grabbed two new batteries to insert, opened the flash compartment and found that the old batteries had leaked.

Despite new batteries and a quick cleaning, the flash still didn’t fire. When I returned to work, I turned it over to Times photo editor Richard Derk, who cleaned the contacts (with a small screwdriver but “very gently because you don’t want to damage those contacts”)...

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Culture, science blend at Hawaii Volcanoes park fest on Big Island

A cultural festival and a serious scientific study will blend in May at the Big Island's Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The park will join forces with National Geographic for a two-day adventure that will connect the dots between the park's flora and fauna and the traditions of Hawaii's native population.

The park, at the southern end of the Big Island of Hawaii, will hold a Biodiversity & Cultural Festival May 15-16 to coincide with the research to be conducted as part of National Geographic's BioBlitz.

Working alongside more than 150 scientists and Hawaiian cultural practitioners, thousands of people are expected to fan out across the park to document its animal and plant life, both in recent lava flows and nearby rainforests.

Participants will learn about endangered endemic species such as the nene, a Hawaiian goose, and the Mauna Loa silversword, a plant that flowers only once during its lifetime.

Participation is free, but pre-registration is required. Children 8 and older can take...

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