The Transportation Security Administration has launched a pilot program that lets average travelers speed through security checkpoints. The program, dubbed Managed Inclusion, is being tested at the Indianapolis and Tampa, Fla., international airports. The program makes use of the PreCheck security lines, which are reserved for pre-screened travelers. People passing through those lines can keep on their shoes, belts and coats and are not required to take computers and liquid containers out of their carry-on bags. Under the new program, regular travelers not enrolled in the program can be invited to use the PreCheck lines if they pass inspection from an explosive-sniffing dog and a TSA agent who is specially trained to detect suspicious behavior.


Hotel rates may hold steady in 2013

U.S. hotel stays cost about 4 percent more during the first half of 2012. No figures are in for the second half of the year. Hotel rates, which saw their biggest drop since the depression in 2009, are regaining ground in most cities. In San Francisco, some rooms that went for $150 two years ago hover around $300 now. Prices may have peaked, so don't look for huge rises in 2013.


Cruise ships adapt to please passengers

Because guests demand changes and technology allows for features that didn't used to be possible, cruise ship designs are growing more fluid. There are more differences between ships built from the same basic blueprint, and older ships are sent into dry dock to be retrofitted with features from newer ships. Among the features on the last class of ships that seem to be keepers are more elaborate water parks and sports decks, Norwegian's cabins for the solo traveler, spa-linked staterooms, exclusive luxury areas on non-luxury ships, more niche bars and ever-more-specialized restaurants.