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Travel Roundup: Mesa Loses $31 Million, Marriott's Hawaiian Bus Tour, Commuter Train Searched and More

Mesa Air Group posts $31 million loss -- Mesa Air Group posted a $31 million loss in the fourth quarter and enumerated a list of problems plaguing the Phoenix-based regional airline. Mesa Air operates commuter flights for US Airways, United and Delta, and is on the hook for about $92 million in bonds due in the next 60 days, has a contract dispute with Delta and is trying to cash out of a bad Chinese deal. Its cash balance, only $65 million after being $200 million in 2007, is also making Wall Street nervous. Mesa Air chief executive Jonathan Ornstein remained optimistic, saying that Mesa's Go! Airlines is doing well, partnerships with US Airways and United are cordial and negotiations on bonds are developing. [Source: Arizona Republic]

Marriott kicks off Hawaii tourism West Coast bus tours at Costco -- Marriott Hotels kicked off a $300,000 tourism promotion -- a West Coast bus tour highlighting Hawaii stopping at Costco stores and travel wholesalers. On a tour bus decorated with the flora and fauna of Hawaii, the "Spirit of Aloha Tour" will travel from San Diego to Seattle for a month. The tour features singer and former "American Idol" finalist Camile Velasco and will promote the affordability of Hawaii, a hotel chain spokeswoman said. The West Coast is the largest single market for Hawaiian tourism and arrivals from there fell 14 percent from last year. [Source: Honolulu Advertiser]

Chicago commuter train delayed as police investigate -- Thousands of Metra passengers were delayed up to two hours Wednesday morning while police investigated reports of a suspicious man on a west suburban train. Just before 8 a.m., Naperville Police received a report from a ticket agent about a suspicious person at the Naperville train station asking questions about security. The ticket agent was unsure if the man left on foot or on a train heading to Lisle. Some passengers were taken off trains but it was unclear if they were searched by police. Representatives of the Lisle police, which had jurisdiction in the investigation, declined to comment. [Source: Chicago Sun-Times]

United unveils Wi-Fi on selected transcontinental flights -- Passengers on transcontinental United Airlines flights may soon be able to send e-mail or surf their favorite Web sites. United is set to unveil its broadband plan in the second half of 2009, on 13 Boeing 737s used for p.s., the airlines' premium service for business travelers. It plans to use the Gogo Inflight Internet service from Aircell LLC, which will charge about $12.95 a flight. If customers use it, the airline will consider using Wi-Fi on other aircraft.[Source: Chicago Tribune]

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