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Airports, Hotels, Cruises Navigate Many Changes

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The new security regulations for air travel, issued by the Federal Aviation Administration after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., were still in effect at the Travel section’s press time Tuesday and were expected to remain for an indefinite period. For daily updates, check the FAA’s Internet site, https://www.faa.gov. For information on Los Angeles International Airport, call (888) 544-9444 or visit https://www.lawa.org. Some key rules, according to officials:

* Curbside check-in of baggage, as provided by skycaps and others, is prohibited.

* Checking bags away from the airport, for instance at hotels or rental car stations, is prohibited. However, passengers may obtain boarding passes and seat assignments at these off-site locations.

* Knives and cutting instruments of any kind cannot be carried aboard aircraft, although they are allowed in checked baggage. Among the thousands of items confiscated at LAX last week were manicure sets, disposable razors and screwdrivers. Officials there asked passengers to avoid traveling with such items, even in checked baggage.

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* Only passengers with tickets are allowed through airport security checkpoints.

* Electronic (paperless) tickets are permitted, but passengers must arrive at airline security checkpoints with a supporting document, such as a boarding pass or reservation confirmation, according to Jerry Snyder, spokesman for the Western-Pacific region of the FAA in Los Angeles. He added that it’s up to each airline to specify the type of document.

* In general, public parking for vehicles must be located more than 300 feet from terminals. This may vary by airport. LAX banned not only parking but also driving of private vehicles in the central terminal area; airline passengers were required to park in off-site lots and take a shuttle in. John Wayne Airport in Orange County was allowing curbside pickup and drop-off and close-in parking, with inspection of vehicles entering the lot.

* The FAA was leaving it to the airlines to recommend how far in advance travelers should arrive for flights, Snyder said. LAX officials were suggesting three hours before domestic and four hours before international flights.

* All flights to and from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport were canceled until further notice for security reasons because it is near federal installations.

Closures, Tight Security at Tourist Attractions

Immediately after the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, many tourist services and park sites near military or other sensitive locations had shut down to visitors, but a week later most had reopened, some with tighter security measures in place. Updates on closures at national parks are available from the parks Web site, https://www.nps.gov. Here’s a rundown of closures or restrictions at some other sites as of press time Tuesday:

* USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii: The memorial, which shares Pearl Harbor with a Navy base, was closed in the week after the attacks but reopened Monday with new restrictions imposed by the Navy on what visitors could carry into the site.

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“The only restriction is that the visitors need to travel light when coming to the Arizona Memorial,” said Dan Hand, chief ranger at the memorial. Only 35mm cameras and wallet-size or smaller items can be brought into the memorial. No purses, fanny packs, backpacks or other luggage are allowed. For information, telephone (808) 422-0561, https://www.nps.gov/usar.

Of two other ship memorials in Pearl Harbor, the USS Bowfin submarine (tel. [808] 423-1341, https://www.bowfin.org) had opened last week with the same restrictions as at the Arizona. The USS Missouri remained closed, but the nonprofit organization that runs the site (tel. [808] 973-2494, https://www.ussmissouri.com) was planning to reopen later last week.

* Washington, D.C.: Tours at the White House had been suspended indefinitely. A spokeswoman for the National Parks Service in Washington said the decision to resume tours was being assessed day by day. For updates, call the White House’s 24-hour Visitors Office Info Line at (202) 456-7041, or check https://www.whitehouse.gov.

Most other national monuments in the capital were open last week, but with additional security. For visitor information, contact the National Parks Service, tel. (202) 485-9880, https://www.nps.gov/nama.

* Hoover Dam, Boulder City, Nev.: Hoover Dam remained closed to visitors and tours as of Tuesday. Spokesman Bob Walsh said the Bureau of Reclamation was considering reopening the visitors center, but that the ban on tours would continue indefinitely. For information, call (702) 293-8421 or check the dam’s Web site, https://www.hooverdam.usbr.gov.

* In San Diego, tour companies were sailing harbor cruises near the naval bases, but security was tighter.

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Hornblower Cruises and Events and San Diego Harbor Harbor Excursion were requiring passengers to show photo ID before boarding.

Several Landmarks Shut in Manhattan

Some of the landmarks and tourist attractions in Manhattan that were closed after the attacks remained closed last week. For updates, including transit, theater and hotel information, call (888) 805-4040 (a special hotline run by the city’s tourism bureau) or visit https://www.nycvisit.com.

Among the sites affected by the attacks, with their status at the Travel section’s press time Tuesday:

* The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and Castle Clinton in Battery Park: undamaged but closed to visitors.

* South Street Seaport and Museum, Pier 17: undamaged; the seaport reopened Thursday.

* New York Stock Exchange, 20 Broad St.: tours canceled last week. This week’s status uncertain.

* Federal Hall National Memorial, 26 Wall St. (an 1834-1842 building that commemorates an earlier building where George Washington took the oath of office): Part of the roof collapsed. Closed.

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* Fraunces Tavern Museum, 54 Pearl St. (the 18th century building where Washington bid farewell to his troops after the Revolution): undamaged but closed until Monday.

* Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, 1 Bowling Green (the 1907 Beaux Arts building that houses Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center): undamaged but closed.

Cruise Lines Divert Ships, Offer Credits

After the terrorist attacks, cruise lines began diverting their ships to other ports when the New York piers where they dock were closed for use by emergency vessels. Some itineraries have been altered into October, even though it was not known as of last week when the piers would reopen. Security measures were also being tightened, resulting in delays for some passengers.

In general, cruise lines offered credits for future cruises, not refunds, to passengers who canceled trips immediately after the attacks or were unable to get a flight to the departure point. Last week many companies went back to enforcing regular refund deadlines, which vary by line but generally require cancellations about two months ahead to get full refunds. Below is information on several major lines. It was accurate as of last week but may have changed by today; contact the lines for updates or visit their Internet sites.

* Carnival Cruise Lines: The Carnival Victory switched its departure port from New York to Boston for its weekly fall foliage cruises; the season’s last one departs Saturday.

Carnival was giving credits for a future cruise, usable until March 31, 2003, for passengers who could not get to departure ports through Sept. 16. On Sept. 17 the cruise line returned to regular cancellation deadlines, generally 60 to 70 days ahead for a full refund, but may loosen them for “special situations” such as death of family members in the attacks, a spokeswoman said.

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* Holland America Line: Beginning Sept. 17, the Amsterdam’s 10-day New England-Canada sailings began using Boston rather than New York as a port; the next cruise is Thursday. The line said it was giving a 100% future cruise credit, usable through April 30, 2003, to customers who missed departures through Sept. 18; the credit includes the flight, if booked through Holland America. For sailings after that date, normal cancellation deadlines were expected to apply.

* Norwegian Cruise Line: The Norwegian Sea is using Boston rather than New York for its weekly Canada-New England cruises departing today through Oct. 14, a spokeswoman said. The Norwegian Sun will use Boston instead of New York for its 12-day Canada-New England sailings departing this Friday, Oct. 10 and Oct. 22.

Norwegian was offering cruise credits, usable through December 2002, to residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut who canceled cruises scheduled through last weekend. For people from other states who couldn’t get to the departure port, “a claim will be reported and reviewed” for cruise credits, the company said. Otherwise, regular cancellation policies were being applied.

* Princess Cruises: The Pacific Princess has switched its departure from New York to Boston for its weekly Bermuda cruises, through Oct. 21; its 27-day New York-to-Cape Town, South Africa, voyage Nov. 1 will also switch to Boston. The Royal Princess’ 10-day sailings between Montreal and New York were also being rerouted to Baltimore and Boston through Oct. 10. Regular cancellation deadlines apply, a spokeswoman said.

* Royal Caribbean International: The Nordic Empress’ weekly cruises to Bermuda are leaving from Philadelphia instead of New York. Passengers who missed cruises due to flight problems after the attacks were offered a cruise credit usable through Dec. 15, 2002. After Sept. 16, regular cancellation policies apply.

Hotels Waive Penalties for Cancellations

With thousands of travelers canceling at the last minute or simply not showing up in the wake of the terrorist attacks, most hotels have temporarily relaxed rules and waived penalty fees, most often equal to the first night’s stay.

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* Marriott International Inc., whose brands include Renaissance Hotels, Courtyard, Residence Inn and Fairfield Inn, said all properties will waive cancellation and no-show fees for individuals and group reservations. The grace period runs through Sept. 30 for U.S. hotels and through Wednesday for foreign properties.

* Atlanta-based Six Continents Hotels, the parent company of Holiday Inn, Inter-Continental and Crowne Plaza, will waive the same fees through Sept. 30.

* Hilton Hotels, the Beverly Hills-based corporation whose brands include Doubletree, Embassy Suites and Hampton Inn, has extended its grace period through Sept. 30 for individuals and through Oct. 31 for groups. Kathy Shepard, Hilton’s vice president of corporate communications, said the policy has been in effect at all properties owned and managed by Hilton worldwide, although franchise properties are legally free to set their own policies.

* Motel 6 and Red Roof Inn, both owned by the French company Accor, waived cancellation and no-show fees through last Thursday.

* Best Western, an association of independently owned and operated motels, was waiving cancellation and no-show fees for reservations at least through Sept. 16. Customers also could request waiver of fees imposed after Sept. 16.

* Four Sisters Inns, a collection of 11 properties in California and Washington, is waiving cancellation and no-show fees indefinitely despite mounting financial losses, according to President Shelley Claudel.

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After the terrorist attacks, the company’s Inn at Harbor Steps, a 25-room Seattle lodging that depends on business travel for about 40% of its clientele, received cancellations for three corporate meetings, resulting in the loss of 100 room nights. Four Sisters also runs three Napa Valley inns, where occupancy has dropped by half, Claudel said.

No decision has been made about when the grace period will end.

“From a human standpoint, we will err on the side of generosity,” Claudel said, citing as an example a Virginia couple who never arrived as scheduled at their Napa Valley inn. “How am I to know they aren’t tremendously affected by these tragedies?”

Las Vegas Hotel Rates, Occupancy Drop

Flights were quick to return to Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport after the attacks, with nearly normal operations last Tuesday, but hotel occupancy and room rates were slower to recover.

Only about two-thirds of the gambling mecca’s hotel rooms were occupied last weekend, compared with about 94% on a normal weekend, according to a survey by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The International Vision Expo, expected to bring 18,000 conventioneers to the city, canceled its event scheduled for this weekend, citing concerns about its members’ ability to travel.

Room rates at the Bellagio last week dropped to $169 per night, about $100 lower than normal, and MGM Grand rooms went for about $70 per night, or $50 to $60 less than normal, said Alan Feldman, spokesman for the parent company, MGM Mirage.

Compiled by Times Staff *

Editor’s note: California Corner appears on L6 this week. Deal of the Week, Free for the Asking and This Week’s Holidays do not appear this week.

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