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Thursday morning travel notes

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor  April 9, 2009 09:22 AM

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Good morning, travelers. Here are some developments you might be interested in:

First Night has not seen its last day. Organizers told Globe reporter Eric Moskowitz that they have regrouped from a New Year's Eve storm that dropped half a foot of snow on Boston and caused hundreds of thousands of revelers to skip last winter's festivities, hampering the button sales that sustain the extravaganza and creating a nearly $200,000 deficit. To help save First Night, a host of vendors and artists agreed to give back money or waive outstanding balances. The organization also temporarily laid off staff, slashed the pay of its executive director, solicited new donations, and used some of its reserves to erase its deficit. The cost-cutting and cash-generating measures enabled First Night Inc. to end its fiscal year, which runs April through March, with a balanced budget, according to executive director Geri Guardino. That means, she said, that First Night 2010 is on. "I promise," Guardino said. "And there'd better not be another storm." Here's where you can read the rest of the story.

*United Airlines received US permission to delay until June 2010 the start of flights between San Francisco and Guangzhou, China, because of a drop in travel demand. The one-year postponement is the second by the UAL Corp. unit for the route, which originally was to have begun in June 2008. The Chicago-based airline secured US Transportation Department approval for the additional delay, Jean Medina, a United spokeswoman, confirmed in an e-mail. (Bloomberg Neww)

*A man who says he desperately needed to use an airplane bathroom after eating something bad in Honduras faces a federal charge after being accused of twisting a flight attendant's arm to get to the lavatory, the FBI said. Joao Correa, 43, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he had a bathroom emergency 30 minutes into a March 28 Delta Air Lines flight from Honduras to Atlanta, but found the single coach aisle on the Boeing 737 blocked by a beverage cart. He said he asked whether he could use the lavatory in business class, but was refused. Transportation Security Administration policy requires passengers on international flights to use the restroom in their seating class. When the cart wasn't moved after a few minutes, Correa said, he ran for the business class lavatory. He said the flight attendant put up her arm to block him, and he grabbed it to keep his balance. A Delta flight attendant said Correa grabbed her right arm, pulled it down and twisted it, according to authorities. Correa was arrested after the plane landed in Atlanta and held for two days in jail. He was charged with interference with a flight crew, said Gregory Jones, head of the FBI in Atlanta, and released on bond after appearing before a US magistrate. "I'm devastated," the Concord, Ohio, man told the paper. "I've never had any event with the police in my life." (AP)

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  • Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor
  • Eric Wilbur, Boston.com staff
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  • Patricia Borns, a frequent contributor to Globe Travel, writes and photographs travel, maritime, and historical narratives as well as blogs and books.
  • Patricia Harris, a regular contributor to Globe Travel, is author or co-author of more than 20 books on travel, food, and popular culture.
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