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Expert Talks About Travel Industry’s Challenges

Recent changes in scheduling and delays from several major airlines have made getting out of town more difficult than normal. Airline journalist David Field talks about about what to expect from travel companies this summer.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    Now, the hassles of getting out of town. Why does it seem even more complicated this summer? Judy Woodruff has our update.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Summer travel is already underway, as many Americans head to the nation's shores, mountains, and overseas. But those traveling by air will face new headaches and longer lines before take-off. According to the Air Transport Association, the number of passengers traveling by plane will increase 3 percent over last summer, to 209 million.

    Air travelers are expected to cope with even more delays, too. But one hurdle to international travel has been cleared, for now. The government announced Friday it's easing new passport restrictions for travelers flying to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean, after the processing time for new applications quadrupled over the last four months.

  • PASSPORT APPLICANT:

    I applied 10 weeks ago, and that's like the maximum that they say, and they haven't even started processing it yet.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The new rules requiring passports for travel in and around North America took effect in January. The government says it expects to issue more than 17 million passports this year, a 40 percent increase over 2006. That's caused worries and missed flights for many travelers.

  • PASSPORT APPLICANT:

    It's been stressful and very frustrating knowing we may lose all of the money we have on the plane and our reservations and all that, but it looks like I'm actually going to get it now.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Until October, travelers will be able to go to those regional destinations with a valid government I.D. and printed proof that they have applied for a U.S. passport.

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