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TravelHaven News Brief

Southwest to begin service from La Guardia in June

Southwest Airlines has planned to offer service to New York City for years. The New York Times reports that these plans will become reality in late June, when the low-cost carrier begins service from La Guardia Airport. Southwest’s presence is expected to affect fares in and out of the airport similar to the way JetBlue Airways’ prices affected fares at Kennedy Airport.

TSA to replace metal detectors with whole-body scanners

The Transportation Security Administration had originally planned to use whole-body imaging machines on passengers who set off checkpoint metal detectors. However, according to the New York Times , initial testing prompted the TSA to decide to replace metal detectors with imaging machines. Critics say the equipment results in the equivalent of "a physically invasive strip search."

Obama administration pushes to protect Antarctica

TravelPulse reports that the Obama administration is trying to impose limits on the size of cruise ships that are allowed to sail to Antarctica and on the number of passengers who go ashore. The State Department says the government’s plan would "minimize the likelihood of marine oil spills" and "ensure that tourism is conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner." The goal is to help protect the area’s delicate environment.

Appeal of air travel goes down due to fees, frustrations

Airline travel used to be the type of occasion that inspired people to get dressed up, be on their best behavior and anticipate the awe of the moment. FlightsFromHell.com reports that mounting airline fees, downsized seats, and horrifying stories about other travelers’ experiences making their way around the Internet combine to make the allure of air travel fade fast.

Cuban-Americans no longer face restrictions travel to Cuba

A Los Angeles Times story says that the Obama administration has lifted travel restrictions for Cuban-Americans interested in visiting Cuba, along with removing limits on money transfers to their relatives on the island nation. Meanwhile, momentum continues to build for other changes in U.S. policies regarding Cuba. Legislation is pending in Congress to end the Cuba travel ban on all Americans.

Push to end travel ban for Cuba raises questions

As federal lawmakers work toward lifting the travel bans on Cuba, The Associated Press ponders whether the move will spark a wave of American visitors to the island nation. The potential influx of tourists raises a number of questions about Cuba’s infrastructure, service, hotels and cuisine, all of which have been criticized as inadequate. "There is great pent-up demand," said Bob Whitley, president of the United States Tour Operators Association, which opposes the travel ban. "It will have to be controlled by officials in Cuba but also by U.S. tour operators to make sure the infrastructure is up to it."