Early bird tickets for Baltimore’s BEST party on sale now!

Travelers will find speed-up in CustomsT here's...


Travelers will find speed-up in Customs

T here's good news for international travelers.

Carol Hallett, commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service, reports that her agency averages just 20 minutes to inspect an arriving airliner; it used to take up to 2 hours. The efficiency is due to a program of selective targeting of which passengers to inspect, rather than a one-on-one session with each passenger. Also helping the process is the use of computers that can read the new machine-readable passports.

And, Ms. Hallett says, Customs is using "passive" canine teams to check for drugs. Instead of barking when they sense drugs in a suitcase, these dogs, she said, sit down and look up at you and smile.

Also on the horizon may be a pre-inspection station in London -- similar to ones used in Canadian airports and in the Bahamas -- that will speed up the arrival home. The Immigration and Naturalization Service is also testing a "smart card" that would allow frequent travelers to go through immigration in seconds. The card would contain information on the holder as well as a thumbprint; the frequent flyer would then use his thumb and the card to go through a turnstile.

College visiting facilitated

For parents with college-bound students, summer is the ideal time to visit college campuses. Philadelphia-based Search by Video, which distributes videotapes on more than 200 colleges and boarding schools nationwide, is offering a coupon good for a 20 percent discount on USAir flights to colleges. The coupon is available to those obtaining a video of various schools. Videotapes are $5 for each school, and up to eight schools can be placed on one tape. For information, call (800) 248-7177.

Another way to check out schools via video is to view Collegiate Choice's video walking tours. These tapes are independently produced to "show what the schools are really like, as an alternative to the slick recruiting videos some schools put out," said Cliff Kramon of Collegiate Choice. Each tape is $20, additional schools are $15 each. For information, write to Collegiate Choice, 41 Surrey Lane, Tenafly, N.J. 07670 or call (201) 871-0098.

Three-day jazz festival planned in Norfolk, Va.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the three-day Town Point Jazz Festival in Norfolk, Va., has become one of the largest free outdoor jazz festivals on the East Coast.

National headliners for the Aug. 14-16 party on Norfolk's waterfront include jazz bassist Larry Carlton, pianist and singer Diane Schuur, pianist Kenny Kirkland and banjo-strumming Bela XTC Fleck & the Flecktones.

This year's festival will headline a citywide jazz week -- Jazz Norfolk -- featuring jazz performances throughout the city's restaurants, nightclubs and concert halls.

For more information, call (804) 627-7809.

S o you're tired of the hassle of procuring Super Bowl tickets? Well, get this: They're already within your reach for the 1993 contest at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles. More than 1,000 two-ticket packages are available -- "No waiting, no problem," touts the host committee. What's the catch? The packages are $3,500 each.

For that price, you also get preferred parking close to the Rose Bowl, a pre-game "chalk talk" by "one of America's most respected professional football coaches," an invitation to pre- and post-game parties, and a Super Bowl poster and pin. Call the host committee at (310) 288-0804.

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