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Bailouts and Travel Infrastructure

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Global EconomyThere’s lots of stuff to talk about in the news and it all starts with a B: bailout, bailout, bailout.

As we see what is going with the Congressional bailout plan, I am reminded that nobody is focused on our travel infrastructure, and this is serious! We are now seeing, even if oil were to cost $20 a barrel, how our travel infrastructure is so badly put together.

I had a meeting with the chairman of Southwest Airlines and he told me that they are actually going to start putting on new routes. That may not seem like a big deal, but it is.

Last year, Southwest added one route, Denver, but about a hundred cities applied to Southwest for a route. This year they are adding none.

But, in March, Southwest will be adding a new route to Minneapolis/St. Paul, to give Northwest a run for their money. The new route will only go from Chicago to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Right now, the price of a round trip from Chicago to Minneapolis/St. Paul will cost about $400, but when Southwest goes into a market the prices drop, so this might be a good thing for the people of St. Paul. Especially because, by March, Northwest Airlines won’t be Northwest—it will be Delta, assuming everything goes through with the buyout.

Again, remember when you talk about failing financial institutions you have to talk about our travel infrastructure. If Congress doesn’t focus realize that without travel those financial institutions can’t operate, we are all going to be in trouble.


nurse-kid.jpgOne of the reasons I traveled to Dallas last week was that I am on the board of an amazing charity organization called Airline Ambassadors. This is an organization of flight attendants, pilots and mechanics that do between 10-12 missions a month to places in need around the world. If you go to their Web site you can find out how to get involved as well. It is truly one of the best volunteer vacations you can imagine.

The medical advisor for Airline Ambassadors is Patch Adams … how great is that?

We had six 747s on the ground days after the tsunami, we rebuilt towns around New Orleans after Katrina, and, more recently, we were even in the Gulf after Hurricanes Ike and Gustav.

It’s really good work, a really great volunteer opportunity, especially if you have expertise in any one area. For example, hotel chefs go down all the time to teach the kids to cook; if you are an engineer you can wire the building so the kids have light to read at night. To find out how you can participate, visit

Read more about experiences you can have with Airline Ambassadors here.

Or find out about more voluntourism opportunities as well as various types of volunteer vacation projects around the world.

Check out Peter’s Travel Detective Blog for more travel news and analysis.

From Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio