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Riding out the storms
Insurers, airlines, hotels and cruise and tour operators were scrambling last week to deal with wrecked vacations in the wake of hurricanes Ivan, Frances and Jeanne, which killed hundreds and wreaked havoc in the Caribbean and the eastern U.S.
The State Department warned against travel to several Caribbean countries; for updates, visit http://www.travel.state.gov .
Here were some travel suppliers' policies, as of the Travel section's deadline Tuesday:
Insurers: Policies that cover trip cancellation and interruption typically pay in the case of tropical storms, but details vary by insurer. San Diego-based CSA Travel Protection, for instance, has processed more than 1,800 storm claims so far and expects to pay out $1 million this season, spokeswoman Karen Knight said.
Airlines: There was no uniform policy. Delta Air Lines was allowing certain Florida and Bahamas customers to rebook without penalty until Oct. 7 if they were scheduled to travel between Sept. 9 and Sept. 30. American Airlines loosened rebooking rules to more than 40 destinations on tickets issued on or before Sept. 13 for travel from Aug. 30 to Oct. 17. Travelers must rebook by Oct. 17.
Hotels: Some offered free or reduced-rate stays to stranded guests. A number of Caribbean resorts have policies to provide free replacement stays in the case of a hurricane.
Cruises: Many companies canceled cruises and reworked itineraries to avoid the hurricanes; some reroutings may remain in effect for some time because of port damage.
Carnival Cruise Lines offered 50% refunds to passengers on its Holiday ship, which departed New Orleans two days late after being diverted to Galveston, Texas. It offered a choice of a refund or credit to other customers whose trips were canceled.
Royal Caribbean offered a 50% discount on a future cruise, plus on-board credit, for delayed cruises.
United Airlines will begin radically revamping its nonstop service to New York's JFK Airport from LAX and San Francisco next month.
The company will phase out 767-200s on the route over four months and replace them with B757s with less than half as many coach seats, all of which will be United Economy Plus. These seats offer more legroom than in coach, mostly hot meals and laptop plug-ins at every third seat. First-class and business customers will have laptop plug-ins and hand-held DVD players. First-class will also have lie-flat seat beds.
It will probably be more difficult for low-fare leisure travelers to get seats on the new planes, said Martin C. White, the airline's senior vice president for marketing. Economy Plus seats go mostly to high-mileage loyalists and those paying full economy fares, he said.
See Santa Barbara with one pass
Visitors to Santa Barbara can now buy a pass that admits them to eight cultural attractions. Called the 1pass, it's good for three consecutive days and costs $25 per adult, $17 for ages 13 to 17 and $8.50 for ages 2 to 12. You'll need to visit several sites to get your money's worth. Adult admissions to Santa Barbara's art museum, maritime museum and zoo total $25, including $3 for zoo parking.
The 1pass is available at http://www.tixstar.com , by phone (noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday) at (800) 504-8587 or at the Tixstar office in Santa Barbara's Paseo Nuevo shopping complex.
— Compiled by