CALIFORNIA

Broad's L.A. museum will be free to everyone

Billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad said he's hit on a fail-safe way to expose the most people possible to his collection of priceless contemporary art: He's going to let everybody in for free to the $140 million museum he's building in downtown Los Angeles.

Broad made the announcement during a hard-hat tour of the block-long building going up next to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Named The Broad, it is scheduled to open toward the end of next year.

"Art helps people be more creative in their thinking," said Broad, 80, who has helped transform downtown. "I've always believed that every city needs a vibrant center, and it occurred to me 50 years ago when we came here that Los Angeles was missing a vibrant center."

AIRLINES

Southwest enforcing its no-show policy

Passengers who fail to cancel bookings on Southwest now face loss of the ticket's value if they don't show up.

Under a new policy, customers who buy nonrefundable tickets such as Wanna Get Away fares must cancel at least 10 minutes before scheduled departure or forfeit the ticket's value.

In the past, there was little incentive to cancel, because Southwest let customers use the value of the unused ticket toward another flight within one year. That meant seats flew empty when Southwest could have sold them to somebody else.


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Southwest is still letting passengers change nonrefundable tickets ahead of time without penalty. Most other big airlines charge a $200 change fee.

ASIA

China opens world's highest civilian airport

China has begun flight operations at the world's highest civilian airport in a bid to boost tourism and tighten control over the country's restive west.

At an elevation of 14,472 feet above sea level, Daocheng Yading Airport replaces the previous champion, Bangda Airport in the Tibet Autonomous Region, 14,219 feet.

Aircraft engines produce less thrust at such elevations because of the much thinner air, calling for longer runways. Passengers are also warned of light-headedness and other symptoms of altitude sickness on arrival.

State media said flights from the new airport that began Monday will slash travel time from scenic Daocheng Yading to Sichuan's provincial capital of Chengdu from two days by bus to just 65 minutes. Other routes are to begin by the end of the month.

The region is a gateway to Tibet, one that Beijing has sought to promote for tourism as way of tamping down dissent among the native population and stabilizing the area through economic development.

UNITED STATES

Culinary Union warns of strike in Vegas

The Culinary Union has issued a written warning to Wall Street investors, saying a strike by Las Vegas hotel workers is possible if contracts aren't inked soon with two major companies.

The union, which represents some 50,000 bartenders, maids and food servers, has been in negotiations with gambling giants MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corp.

MGM and Caesars officials say they expect to reach agreements with the union. The two companies operate some 20 Strip-area hotel-casinos and have signed extensions for contracts that expired June 1 while talks take place.

Amtrak adds 'Dome Car' for leaf-peeping tours

Amtrak is bringing its one-and-only "Dome Car" to upstate New York for the fall leaf-peeping season.

The car features an upper level with windows on all sides and overhead to give passengers good views of the fall colors on the route from Albany to Montreal through Oct. 29.

The refurbished vintage car dates to 1955. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Hawaii now courting tourists from China

The Hawaii Tourism Authority's new marketing representative in China is asking Hawaii travel professionals to do more to accommodate Chinese travelers.

Brenda He of Travel Link Marketing recently told a tourism conference in Honolulu that hotels need to support Chinese tour operators and provide some rooms at special fares. She also said companies should have a Chinese sales team, because Chinese tour operators don't do business the same way as Japanese tour operators.

The tourism authority views China as a major growth market. It recently hired Travel Link Marketing to promote Hawaii tourism in China.

He says her target is to bring more than 180,000 Chinese travelers to Hawaii next year. That's about 30 percent more than the 140,000 arriving this year.

-- Compiled from Associated Press reports