National Phone Service Provides Flight Updates

<i> Friedheim is editor</i> -<i> publisher of Travel Agent magazine. </i>

Question: Is there a national telephone service that offers up-to-date information about flight delays, weather, airport transportation and other travel facilities ?

Answer: Airline Passengers of America, based in Alexandria, Va., has a number providing such information: (800) 872-2359. The service costs 75 cents a minute, charged to your Visa or MasterCard.

Q: What is the amount of duty-free merchandise that travelers can bring back from the U.S. Virgin Islands ?

A: The duty-free allowance is $800 for U.S. island possessions, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam, but not Puerto Rico.

Q: During our extended foreign trip we’d like to receive mail from home. Can this be sent care of our consulates or embassies ?

A: They don’t handle private mail . Have it sent to general delivery at post offices in cities you are planning to visit. Some banks and credit-card companies also will hold mail for you.

Q: Can we bring back a parrot or parakeet sold in Mexican shops ?

A: Mexican birds, though widely sold, cannot be imported into the United States.

Q: Is it really safe to pass film through airport X-ray machines ?

A: Some photographers still worry about possible damage. For a free folder on how to avoid problems, write to the National Assn. of Photographic Manufacturers, 550 Mamaroneck Ave., Harrison, N.Y. 10528; (914) 698-7603.

Q: I’d like to join a university educational tour. Must one be a student or alumnus to be eligible ?

A: Many colleges and universities sponsor trips for alumni, students and teachers, but outsiders often are accepted. Contact institutions in your area or your travel agent.