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News Flash: ATA Ceases Operations

ATA filed Chapter 11 and ceased all operation on Wednesday, April 2. The airline has cancelled all current and future flights.

On its website, the airline states “ATA currently is unable to provide refunds to customers who purchased tickets directly from ATA with cash or a check. These customers may be able to obtain a full or partial refund for their unused tickets by submitting a claim in ATA’s Chapter 11 proceedings. Information about submitting a claim will be available at the following website: http://www.bmcgroup.com/ataairlines.”

The airline has a codeshare agreement with Southwest Airlines and suggests customers who purchased tickets from Southwest Airlines for flights operated by ATA under the codeshare agreement should contact Southwest Airlines directly at (800) 308-5037.

Travelocity customers should view the FAQ page for more information on their options and information on how to contact an agent for assistance. Agents will work to minimize the impact of this disruption on your travel plans.

According to the Associated Press (via USA Today), “Prior to the shutdown, the airline had approximately 50 flights a day, mostly between Hawaii and four west coast cities — Oakland, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas.”

USA Today’s Ben Mutzabaugh’s reports “ATA’s shutdown is another blow for air travelers in Hawaii, where Aloha –- formerly the state’s No. 2 carrier -– ended passenger service earlier this week. ATA, which had briefly grown into one of the USA’s 10 biggest carriers earlier this decade, had a heavy focus on Hawaii. In addition to its charter business, ATA offered regularly scheduled commercial service on several routes -– almost all to and from Hawaii. The Hawaii flights operated as part of a codesharing partnership with Southwest.”

The airline cited the cancellation of a major military contract and the high cost of jet fuel as reasons for its decision to cease operations.

Pay What You Like For Dinner?

Forget singing for your supper—these days, apparently, you can just empty your pockets of spare change in return for that filet mignon.

I came across this intriguing article about Pay What You Like restaurants the other day and was flabbergasted. No menu prices? No snooty markups? No—gasp!—Awkward Tipping Moments Complete With On-The-Fly Math? Could this be the model of the future for discerning travelers who revel in a new cuisine but don’t always find the dollar-to-other-currency rate in their favor? (Yes, London, I’m looking at you.)

The American Way: Five Road Trips That Beckon Vacationers

I always looked forward to family vacations as a kid. My parents would load the minivan with games and a cooler full of goodies, and we’d hit the road. Of course, my little sister and I would usually end up fighting in the backseat, but the conflicts were laid to rest with pit stops along the way and the occasional ice cream break at Dairy Queen.

The most memorable road trip was one that we took to Red River, New Mexico the summer after fourth grade. It was the first time I saw a mountain range. I remember winding our way through the beautiful scenery, stopping at various outlooks to relish the views and explore. To me, road trips have always been about more than just getting from Point A to Point B; they’re a chance spend quality time with family and to see parts of the country that you’d otherwise overlook.

Knowing that summertime is limited and road warriors have a lot of ground to cover, I consulted the road-tripping gurus at RoadTrip Wizard to get their recommendations on making the most of America by car. They suggested 15 drives to introduce the family to some of the country’s most beautiful, natural landscapes, but I whittled the list down to my five personal favorites:

Vacation and the Presidency

In May 2006, President George W. Bush was asked what was his best moment in office so far. After admitting he’s had “a lot of great moments,” the moment he chose referred not to his daily duties as commander-in-chief, but to his cherished vacation time: “I would say the best moment was when I caught a 7 ½-pound largemouth bass on my lake.”

It’s hard work to preside over the home of the free and the brave, which is why vacation was built into the presidency since the start of the nation. George Washington had his beloved Mount Vernon plantation; John Adams his Massachusetts farm. More recently, we’ve gotten used to hearing about George W.’s vacation compound in Crawford Ranch, Texas, with his stocked fish pond, river canyons, and sprawling, single-level home visited by everyone from Vladimir Putin to Lance Armstrong.

Photo courtesy of IgoUgo member Susie Go Go.

Bryce Corbett: The Paris You Won’t Read About in Guide Books

Paris by day is elegant and refined. But you don’t have to scratch too far beneath the picture postcard surface of the City of Light to discover there is a deliciously louche, borderline seedy side to the world’s most-touristed city.

How do I know? Because I have been living here eight years, because I have spent an inordinate amount of time and money in cafés and bars conducting “research,” and because the fruit of that labour – a new book called A Town Like Paris – has just been published.

At the heart of the book is a love story. My love story. I came to Paris from Australia as a swinging bachelor – a young man bent on adventure, determined to foist myself upon an unsuspecting French female population and, in the process, eat my fill of Hemingway’s fabled moveable feast.

Photo of Shay courtesy of Carla Coulson.