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Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio April 2002 Current Issue
April 2002 On TravelPLANNER'S PORTFOLIO:

On Travel

By Sarah J.F. Braley


Travelers welcome security measures&IRS backs off frequent-flyer miles' more

All hassles aside& In February, the travel reservation Web site Travelocity (www.travelocity.com) surveyed nearly 3,400 members, all of whom had traveled between Jan. 4 and Feb. 3, to gauge their feelings about airport security. The majority said, “bring it on.”

On the topic of travel ID cards, 76 percent of those polled strongly support or somewhat support a voluntary system for cards containing encrypted information such as a photograph, fingerprints, flight history and/or facial and eye mapping.

More than two-thirds (70 percent) support giving federal law-enforcement agencies access to all travel reservations. Yet, citing privacy issues, 26 percent are opposed to giving access to “personally identifiable travel information” such as itineraries with names attached.

What makes these travelers feel secure? More than half are comforted by bomb-sniffing dogs inspecting luggage; 47 percent also cited manual baggage searches, and 43 percent said allowing only ticketed passengers past security checkpoints helps calm their fears.

Tracking travelers. Reacting to corporate concerns over the security of international travel, Rosenbluth International (www.rosenbluth.com) has launched a technology product called the Global Security Suite.

Among the features is the ability to send custom news and travel alerts related to individual itineraries to any e-mail-enabled wireless device. The alerts are sent out from one week before through the end of the trip. The system also automatically submits the traveler’s itinerary (name, hotel, air travel information and trip dates) to the local U.S. Embassy.

Another component of the system offers a Web-based global database with overviews on every country, including political structure, monetary policy, business conditions, safety and more. An additional searchable database holds significant events whose anniversaries might fall during a trip.Coming soon will be an interactive travel locator, compiling information on all employees currently traveling in one place.

Fly for free. The IRS has announced that frequent- flyer miles garnered during business travel and redeemed for leisure travel or promotional products are not considered income and don’t have to be reported on April 15.

Basically, the agency admits it doesn’t want to deal with the paperwork, citing numerous technical and administrative issues involved in calculating income from frequent-flyer miles.

This does not mean, however, that the IRS won’t take up the issue again in the future, but for now, those free flights really are free.

Best sellers. Many travelers have discovered convenient products like wrinkle-proof clothes offered by the Travelsmith catalog and Web site (www.travelsmith.com). Here are the company’s 10 most popular goods:

Coolmax Piqué separates, designed to keep you comfortable and dry (shirt, $39; pants, $49)

The Packable Panama hat, which springs back into shape ($37.50-$39.50)

The Indispensable Black Dress in Supplex/Lycra fabric, which never needs ironing ($79-$89)

Suede-soft microfiber raincoats (jacket, $149; trench coat, $179; raincoat, $189)

Tencel travel denim jeans, in stretchy fabric ($59)

The Ultimate Travel Skirt, made of poly-Supplex twill ($59)

Expandable 25-inch Pullman suitcases, with built-in garment bag ($259)

Men’s Explorer’s cargo pants ($54)

Tropical microfiber clothes that keep you cool (blazer, $159; jacket, $149; shorts, $59; pants, $79)

The Great Escape shirt made of cotton and polyester, which doesn’t require dry cleaning or ironing ($59)

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