Lodge opens at snow park

A snow park for inner-tube riders in Big Bear Lake opened a day lodge last week.

The heated, 1,980-square-foot building at Big Bear Snow Play has restrooms, a snack bar, a ticket booth and two acres of parking.

Tickets, which include equipment rental and moving-walkway access to the top of the hill, are $22 per day. Info: (909) 585-0075, www.bigbearsnowplay.com.

Jane Engle


Bora-Bora makeover

BORA-BORA, the romantic island in the central South Pacific, has become the darling of the Society Islands, if new and refurbished hotel properties are an indication.

The Sofitel Bora Bora Beach Resort has reopened recently after an $18-million redo that included 13 new over-water bungalows and a new spa. Rates in 2007 begin at $371 a night.

Sofitel also has the 31-bungalow Motu Bora Bora on a private island a five-minute boat ride from the beach resort. It was recently refurbished as part of an $80-million renovation of Sofitel properties in French Polynesia. Rates begin at $507 a night. (800) 763-4835, www.sofitel.com.

A new Intercontinental Resort & Thalasso Spa fully opened in the fall with 80 over-water bungalows.

Rates begin at $878. (888) 424-6835, www.boraboraspa.intercontinental.com.

The St. Regis Bora Bora opened in the spring, with 100 villas, including several over the water. Rooms at the ultra-luxe resort, which is said to have played host to Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, start at $980 a night in 2007. (877) 787-3447, www.stregis.com.

Catharine Hamm


For $3, you get the bottle

AMERICAN Airlines on Jan. 1 plans to start selling 16.9-ounce bottles of spring water for $3 each. Flight attendants will continue to serve bottled water by the glass for free, said spokeswoman September Wade.

The rest of American's coach food service will also change.

Multi-item snack boxes, costing $4, will be replaced by treats, such as cookies and potato chips, for $3 per package. About a third more flights will sell snacks.

Sandwiches and salads will be sold on flights of three hours or more, not just on longer routes, Wade said. .

-- Jane Engle


Carrier adds legroom

JETBLUE AIRWAYS fliers will soon enjoy some of the most generous coach legroom in the industry after the carrier takes out a row of seats. The bad news: They will get fewer flight attendants.

The low-cost carrier on Jan. 1 will start removing six seats from each of its single-class Airbus 320s, allowing it to increase seat pitch, a measure of legroom, by 2 inches, said spokesman Bryan Baldwin.

By March 2, all 96 jets will offer at least 36 inches of pitch in the first 11 rows and 34 inches in the rest of the cabin, compared with the 31 to 33 inches that U.S. airlines typically provide in coach.

The change, by reducing total seats from 156 to 150, will also allow the flights to be staffed by three instead of four flight attendants under an FAA rule that requires at least one attendant for each 50 seats. "By taking out a row, we're saving money, " Baldwin said, adding that JetBlue did not plan to raise fares to cover revenue lost from missing seats

JetBlue's Embraer 190 fleet, whose 100 seats have 32- and 33-inch pitch, won't be affected.

Jane Engle


Streetcar rolling again

NEW Orleans' St. Charles streetcar last week began partial service for the first time since Hurricane Katrina struck the city in 2005. The car goes between Canal Street and Lee Circle; full service is expected next year.


jane.engle@latimes.com; catharine.hamm@latimes.com

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