Airlines Improve Baggage-handling

Posted: August 18, 1991

Good news! Good news! The nation's largest airlines have posted their best baggage-handling record since the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) began keeping statistics four years ago.

DOT's Air Travel Consumer Report for June, released earlier this month, shows 5.04 complaints about lost baggage per 1,000 passengers among the 12 biggest air carriers. The previous best was 5.15 complaints per 1,000, set in April.

Midway, which carried only 410,333 passengers for the month, reported the best record, 2.71 complaints per thousand. Southwest, with 2.06 million passengers, was second with 4.09 complaints per thousand, and American, with a passenger load of 6.45 million for the month, was third with 4.32. The worst: TWA, with 6.19 complaints per thousand passengers.

The average on-time performance of the air carriers was the second best since they began reporting the information to DOT. The airlines were on time, according to the DOT statistics, 85.3 percent of the time, second only to an 85.5 percent on-time performance recorded in September 1988.

NEW SOVIET AIRLINE. British Airways and the Soviet airline Aeroflot are teaming up with other investors to launch a new airline, Air Russia, scheduled to take off in 1994. Start-up plans for the venture include seven new Boeing 767-300 planes, to be based at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport. Service will be to North America, Europe and the Far East. Domodedovo is Moscow's domestic airport; Sheremetyevo Airport has usually been used for international flights.

DEPARTMENT UPDATES. The State Department has revised several advisories for travel to foreign countries, including these:

* Cuba. Although travel to Cuba remains illegal for most Americans, the department updated its Cuban advisory because of the Pan-American Games there, scheduled to end this weekend. The advisory warns visiting Americans to steer clear of anti-government demonstrations. It also says that, because of economic hardships, robberies, including those resulting in injuries, are increasing. "Even the low-budget traveler has many items, including currency, that are not available in Cuba and that are attractive to thieves."

* Rwanda. The department advises deferring all nonessential travel there until further notice. Rwanda has been engaged in hostilities with an armed force composed of Rwandan exiles from Uganda. A negotiated cease-fire continues to be violated periodically, the advisory says, and fighting has been reported along the northern border with Uganda and in several areas along the eastern border with Tanzania, including the Akagera Game Park and Volcano National Park. Travel to these two tourist sites is often impossible.

* Chile. Caution is advised when traveling there. Although Americans can expect to visit Chile without incident, bombings and other violent acts directed against the Mormon Church and against institutions identified with the United States continue to occur.

HIGHLIGHTS

TEA-TIME HOSPITALITY. Call it tea time with a homey twist. Visitors to London can now take their afternoon tea in a private home, arranged through Home Hosting (GB). The company says families hosting the afternoon tea have an interest in meeting Americans.

The teas are served on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, year-round. Hospitality does have a price, though; in this case, 10 pounds sterling - about $16 per person.

Information: Home Hosting (GB), 754 The Square, Cattistock, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 0JD, England.

FRISBEE FETE. The National Frisbee Festival will be Aug. 31 on the National Mall in Washington. Billed as the largest noncompetitive Frisbee festival in the United States, it features world-class Frisbee champions, disc-catching dogs and the Big Throw, which is an attempt to break the world record for number of discs in the air at one time..

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