The best and worst of L.A.’s sports media

first_img“It’s just a part of the morphing into a new role,” said the 50-year-old forever-young-looking Miller, enjoying another ice tea at an outdoor restaurant Wednesday on a non-snowy winter day in Hollywood. Miller logged 17 years at ESPN, spending many a night on “SportsCenter” or “Baseball Tonight” or as a dugout reporter on regional games. It was ESPN who sent him out this way in 1999 to succeed Chris Myers as the host of Roy Firestone-created “Up Close.” That only lasted three years before the show was eventually, and unfortunately, phased out. In the process, he met his future wife, Lisa Marie, a North Hollywood native and graduate of Louisville High in Woodland Hills who was the show’s office manager. Taping the show out of the Anaheim ESPN Zone restaurant, Miller was able to start a family in Santa Ana with now 5-year-old daughter Calle and 2-year-old son Rigley (that’s as in Wrigley Field, but minus the “W”). Some regional biases die harder than others. But Miller knew as soon as he landed in this part of the country that he wanted to stay. “I knew as I was doing (‘Up Close’) that it was the greatest job I’d ever have, and looking back, I think the industry as a whole is missing a good, unedited interview show like that one,” Miller said. “It bugged me that the network was going more and more away from interviewing athletes and more to having their own analysts like (Peter) Gammons or a (Sean) Salisbury provide the soundbites to the day’s news. Maybe it’s because they’re not afraid to say things that an athlete that’s too middle-of-the-road won’t say.” We interrupt this story for an “Up Close”-esque segue: Some in the media industry assumed Miller’s reassignment to California was part of a career makeover. It came a year after an infamous incident in Cleveland, where Miller went through the embarrassment of an arrest for urinating out a second-story window onto two off-duty police officers on the night before the Cleveland Indians were to play the Baltimore Orioles in an American League playoff game at Jacobs Field. Do an Internet search for the story, and the version of what happened in the newspapers, and what Miller actually remembers taking place, are quite different. Miller says he was definitely drinking at the open-bar party, hosted by the American League. He needed to use the restroom but the lines were too long, so he grabbed an empty beer bottle and filled it up. The next thing he knew, he was getting a tap on the shoulder by police officers and being handcuffed. Newspaper reports quoted the police as saying he had “an instrument used for drugs” – Miller said it was a plastic dental pick – and the reported “residue” in his pockets were from aspirin and Rolaids. Charged with indecency, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, Miller immediately pleaded not guilty, and changed it in the December trial to no-contest. The way the story was reported – and it happened shortly after media frenzy over Marv Albert’s bizarre arrest for assaulting a sexual partner in a hotel room – has a profound affect on how Miller takes his journalistic approach to dealing with information about an arrested athlete or someone who’s going through public scrutiny. “I was angry about all the misinformation, and I was aware of it immediately,” he said. “When I was released, there were other reporters waiting to talk to me and I said, ‘You better get your facts right before you put them out there.’ “All that really did change me. It’s not like I was 20 in a frat house where it was some badge of honor. The thing that bothered me most was that the stories said, ‘Gary Miller, 40 …’ That’s not what I wanted to be doing with my life. I haven’t had a drink since. “But I did put myself in that situation. Since then, I had to interview athletes such as a Doc Gooden or Darryl Strawberry, and I guess I felt I could relate more to them after having my own public incident and the repercussions that go with it, having your life played out in the media. “Obviously, I don’t ever want to be put in that situation again. At least I didn’t hurt anyone. It was fairly minor-league stuff. I still get upset, though, when I see how lenient the courts can be with a DUI, or, especially here in Hollywood, when a celebrity is in the middle of a rehab and they’re allowed to come out to a movie premiere. I also don’t think I can listen to an athlete who blames someone else for their actions – like Evander Holyfield, an ordained minister who has all these children out of his marriage and says it’s because that’s what his father did. “I think they’re mixing the message there.” A strong spiritual force in Miller’s life also helped him reach a moment of epiphany after the incident. Having thick skin helps, too, when an employer lets you go without warning, which is basically what happened with him when KSPN-AM dropped him suddenly in November. Station management said Miller wasn’t opinionated enough, but somehow, the show he co-hosted with D’Marco Farr was successful enough that performance bonuses were kicking in for reaching certain ratings plateaus. Miller says he’s still receiving checks in the mail for that. “Based on my experience in the industry, it was not related at all to the content of the show, but to save money,” said Miller, who had been at the station for several years prior to the regular spot. “I’ve experienced almost every manner of discontinuation, but being let go for too much success and record ratings was a first. It was dumbfounding, especially when management said it takes 18 months for a show to really get running, and we had been doing it just a year.” Miller’s easygoing personna – something he says was molded by having Bob Costas as one of his broadcasting role models – wasn’t going to change. But that’s why he figured the station hired him in the first place, as a voice of reason to help shape Farr’s scattered opinions. The “bad taste” he says that is left from that radio gig is compounded by the fact that Farr, whom he recruited to join him for the show, hasn’t made any contact with him since then. There must be some strange reason, then, why KCAL feels compelled to keep Miller on the payroll. “We hired him knowing he had a lot of momentum and didn’t have to recreate any buzz based on who he was and the mark he’d already made in sports broadcasting,” said Scott Henry, the senior executive producer for sports at both KCAL and KCBS who hired Miller in December 2005. “He gave us instant credibility, especially for the Dodgers shows. By the end of last season, he and Eric Karros were really clicking on the pregame.” From his days 25 years ago at CNN, when he used to do weekend anchoring with Dan Patrick,. then to ESPN, where he rejoined Patrick and befriended a whole other lot of now-familiar sports personalities, Miller said he always had a fascination with living in the West, but never thought he’d be here. Now he can’t imagine leaving. “Not many people leave here once they get ingrained with it, as I guess millions upon millions of our neighbors and freeway travelers can attest to that,” Miller said. “I’d like to make it permanent – as permanent as anything can be in this ludicrous industry.” Contact media columnist Tom Hoffarth at thomas.hoffarth@dailynews.com (818) 713-3661 The best and worst of L.A. sports — TV anchor/reporters The top 10 1. Bill Macdonald, FSN After long consideration, we finally decided we shouldn’t be as amazed as we have been all these years about the way he transitions from anchor to reporter to sports awards show co-host. At last, one of the few who’s been with the cable network since the pre-historic days deserves to wear the crown. He’s not blushing. That’s a natural orange. Last year: 6 2. Fred Roggin, KNBC Channel 4 Combining the success of “The Challenge” interactive trivia show on Sunday nights during the NFL season and re-emerging on morning-drive sports talk boosts his Q-factor and keeps him ahead of the curve in that all-important exposure factor. Last year: 2 3. Jim Hill, KCBS Channel 2 Not to be blinded by all the stuff Mr. Snappy Dresser does off-camera, but serving as the acting grand marshal of the recent Martin Luther King Jr. Kingdom Day parade and his inclusion on the Hollywood Walk of Fame again show his importance in the community. Last year: 1 4. Lindsay Soto, FSN Earning more and more responsibility and respect with the network decision-makers, and for all the right reasons. Last year: 5 5. Curt Sandoval, KABC Channel 7 An ironman on and off the sports desk, he starts his 20th year as an on-air sportscaster (says his Web site, www.curtsandoval.com). Last year: 3 6. Patrick O’Neal, FSN So pop and step brother are having a heated discussion, apparently with a fireplace utensil, and estranged step-sister adds her two cents, and Gloria Allred jumps into the fracas … Sorry, man. We won’t ask. Last year: 8 7. John Ireland, KLAC Channel 9 According to his Internet Movie Database site link ( http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0409869 ) , he died in 1992 from leukemia. All things considered, he still looks good. Last year: 4 8. Gary Miller, KCAL Channel 9 Says Dodgers pregame partner Eric Karros about Miller, considering they also worked on ESPN regional baseball games: “Gary is genuinely interested in what he does, from being well-prepared, well-informed and if he stands a stand, it’s not just for the sake of argument. He’s one of the most informed guys I’ve been around in the media.” Last year: 10 9. Jim Watson, FSN Asked to do more and more play-by-play assignments, he’s still the go-to guy if you need someone at the last minute to shag postgame quotes from the Milwaukee Brewers’ bullpen catcher. Last year: 9 10. Tom Murray, FSN His re-emergence on Kings and Ducks games as a rink-side reporter hopefully will be the first of an extended return for the former KCAL Channel 9 anchor. Last year: Not ranked Honorable mention Petros Papadakis, FSN; Kevin Kennedy, FSN Dodgers; Eric Karros, KCAL Channel 9 studio analyst; Paul Westphal, FSN basketball; Mario Solis and Bill Seward, KNBC Channel 4; John Hartung, KABC Channel 7; Christine Nubla, FSN; Rick Garcia and Rory Markus, KTTV Channel 11. The bottom 5 1. Jack Haley, FSN basketball studio. When Max Headroom moves those mechanical lips, it takes away all that distraction caused by fans waving behind him on the other side of the Staples Center studio glass. Perhaps they’re just trying to alert the people at home that there’s smoke coming out of his battery pack. Haley’s stratospheric comments are truly from another planet. Last year: Ignored 2. Steve Lyons, FSN Dodgers studio Can’t he just look at Kevin Kennedy and resist that urge to contribute something we already know? Maybe FSN will have him back this year; maybe not. Last year: Barely tolerated 3. Eric Dickerson, KCBS Channel 2. Please, stop living off the NFL Hall of Fame credentials and actually learn the craft now. Last year: Given another free pass 4. Alan Massengale, KCAL Channel 9. Why can’t we get over that smarmy smirk while he’s delivering his pitch? It’s as if he just heard a dirty joke off air and can’t wait to tell it when the segment’s finally over. Last year: Horrible mention 5. So whatever happened to Jennifer Gould? According to her vanity Web site (www.jennifergould.com), the former KTTV Channel 11 bar-hopper-with-a-microphone says she’s writing and producing feature fluff for the E! Entertainment Network. Which apparently still exists on some cable systems. Horrible mention Michael Eaves, FSN; Rob Fukuzaki, KABC Channel 7; Damon Andrews, KTLA Channel 5.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! How can it not crack Gary Miller up every time he’s walking through an airport or a crowded baseball stadium and he gets recognized. Sort of. “Someone will say, ‘Hey, I just saw you last night on ESPN,”‘ Miller said. “OK, even though I haven’t done a ‘SportsCenter’ in eight years…” For the Chicago-area native whose sports TV career was shaped by long stops at all-sports monolith in Bristol, Conn., as well as in Atlanta during the growing stages of CNN and Headline News, the mistaken identity is understandable. But a year has gone by since KCAL-Channel 9 hired him as a weekend anchor and co-host for the station’s Dodgers pregame telecasts. A recent year-long run on KSPN-AM (710) as an afternoon host on a show called “West Coast Bias” could be an even bigger clue to his region of choice for those still confused. last_img read more

Wilmingtons Tony Marra An OffDuty Watertown Firefighter Helped Save Life In Wilmington

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington resident Tony Marra, a firefighter for the city of Watertown, is being heralded for his off-duty heroism in response to a serious rollover car accident on Route 38, near the Wilmington Plaza, on the morning of Wednesday, July 18.Around 8:20am, a 38-year-old woman was driving a 2012 Nissan Rogue northbound on Main Street when she reportedly veered to avoid a vehicle pulling out of the Speedway parking lot. Her vehicle rolled over multiple times, landing on its roof.Tony Marra, an off-duty Watertown firefighter, witnessed the accident and quickly jumped into action to assist the driver.“Marra gained entry into the overturned vehicle, helped extricate the patient, and removed the patient from the immediate danger of the running overturned vehicle in an active roadway,” according to Wilmington Fire Lieutenant Robert Varney. “When I reached the patient, Marra had already given the patient a rapid trauma assessment, and had successfully calmed the patient down from an excitable state due to the severity of the accident.”The driver was transported to a local medical facility with non-life threatening injuries. Her vehicle suffered major damage and was towed. Mass Highway was contacted to remove a significant amount of shattered glass from the roadway. Traffic was backed up in the area, with northbound traffic rerouted through the Wilmington Plaza paring lot and one of the two southbound lanes temporarily closed.“Firefighter Marra did not have to stop and help, yet he did not hesitate to jump into action and provide lifesaving care by removing the patient from immediate danger,” Varney wrote in a letter to Watertown Fire Chief Robert Quinn. “Firefighter Marra provided himself an exemplary model of a civil servant, and a Firefighter that you and the town of Watertown should be proud of.”“In a time where the media sometimes only focuses on the negative actions of firefighters, they miss out on the day-to-day heroic actions of firefighters,” added Varney.Rollover crash on July 18 (courtesy of WPD)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWilmington Firefighter Praised For Help He Provided To An Injured Woman While Off-DutyIn “Police Log”Wilmington’s Top Public Safety Stories Of 2018In “Police Log”SELECTMEN NEWS: Board Supports Fire & Police Substation In North Wilmington; Town To Vote On Project In April 2020?In “Government”last_img read more

Sri Lanka explosions Jacqueline Fernandez Alia Bhatt Virat Kohli and other celebs

first_imgJacqueline Fernandez condemns Sri Lanka explosions.TwitterThis Easter Sunday (April 21), Sri Lanka woke up to a series of explosions at churches and hotels in the country. Over 359 people have been reportedly killed, and more than 600 injured in the deadliest terror attack in recent times in the island nation. The Sri Lankan police confirmed that terrorists attacked three churches and three hotels, including the Shangri-la hotel in Kingsbury, Colombo, and the St Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade. The church attacks occurred around 9 am when devotees had gathered for mass on the occasion of Easter Sunday.Bollywood celebrities condemned the Sri Lanka blasts, in messages on Twitter. Sri Lankan beauty Jacqueline Fernandez, who was Miss Sri Lanka and is now an established actress in Bollywood, tweeted, “Extremely sad at the news of bombings in Sri Lanka. It’s unfortunate that one is not able to see that violence is like a chain reaction. This has to stop!”Other Bollywood celebrities like legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, directors Madhur Bhandarkar, Shekhar Kapur, and Kunal Kohli, actors Vivek Oberoi, Kamal Haasan, Siddharth and Boman Irani. Actresses Alia Bhatt, Priyanka Chopra, Parineeti Chopra, Swara Bhasker, Huma Qureshi, Dia Mirza and Raveena Tandon also expressed shock and grief over the serial blasts in Sri Lanka. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief over the “horrific” incident.Cricketer Virat Kohli also condemned the blasts, saying, “Shocked to hear the news coming in from Sri Lanka. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this tragedy. #PrayForSriLanka.”Alia Bhatt said on Twitter, “Heartbroken at the news from Sri Lanka. Why do innocent people have to die? What is the point of all this meaningless violence? If only all this energy went into bringing peace, it would unite the world rather than dividing it.”Lata Mangeshkar tweeted, “I am deeply saddened to see the appalling attack in Sri Lanka. My heart goes out to the people there and I share their grief. Praying for peace to prevail.”Priyanka Chopra said on Twitter, “Heartbreaking scenes from #Srilanka. A day of celebration turned into one of tremendous loss. My prayers and thoughts go out to everyone affected by these horrific attacks.”Madhur Bhandarkar said on Twitter, “It’s a extremely shameful act of terrorism to attack innocent civilians. My heartfelt condolences to the one who lost their lives and praying for the safety of everyone affected in #SriLanka. Stay Strong!”Vivek Oberoi tweeted, “Deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic and terrible attacks in #SriLanka. An act of cowardice on a day of prayer, shame on these terrorists. My sincere prayers with the victims and their families. We are all with you #SriLanka. Please stay safe.”Parineeti Chopra said on Twitter, “Could never have thought a quiet country like #Srilanka could be attacked like this. What is the world coming to? Thinking of all the families affected. All my love and prayers always …”Kamal Haasan, actor and politician, said, “Violence can never be the final solution to human disagreements. Ironic that the island that spawned the word serendipity is not able to find it. My deepest sympathies to those affected by the bombs in Srilanka. The government should be impartial and swift in rendering Justice.”Huma Qureshi expressed sadness, saying, “What a sad day !! To attack families and children going to church on #EasterSunday ??!!! This is terrible … what is happening to our world ??? #SriLanka.”Siddharth tweeted, “What a tragic Easter Sunday. The devil knows no mercy. To attack families and children when they are most vulnerable… This is beyond comprehension. #PrayForSriLanka.”Director Kunal Kohli said, “Heart goes out to the people of #srilanka. Another cowardly terrorist attack. #Wearewithyousrilanka 80 Injured In Six Blasts In Sri Lanka Churches And Hotels On Easter.”Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar tweeted, “While condemning the serial bomb attack in #Colombo, we express our solidarity with the people of #SriLanka and the families of the victims. Let’s pray that they have the strength to move through this tough time.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed solidarity with Sri Lanka. He said on Twitter, “Strongly condemn the horrific blasts in Sri Lanka. There is no place for such barbarism in our region. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured.”Swara Bhasker tweeted, “Heartbreaking & tragic news from #SriLanka Curses upon the monsters who carried out this inhumanity! On a joyous festive day! What is the world coming to????? Prayers & strength to the victims & families.. #SriLankaTerrorAttack.”Raghava Lawrence, choreographer, actor and filmmaker, said, “My heart and prayers are with the ones who got affected in the tragic incident happened in #SriLanka. God be with u all !!! Raghavendra swami gives strength to all to recover from this incident. #SpreadHumanity #PrayForSrilanka”.Boman Irani said on Twitter, “Shocked to hear the extremely disturbing news coming in from #SriLanka. Had stayed at the hotels & it’s heartbreaking to even imagine the situation. My heartfelt condolences to the near & dear ones of those who lost their lives & praying for a speedy recovery of the ones injured.”Shekhar Kapur tweeted, “Latest reports say 150 people killed in SriLanka in terrorist attacks on Churches, Hotels. While none has admitted to this, it was a well coordinated attack at Easter. When Churches were full. Terrorism remains our number 1 global enemy. No one, nowhere is safe #SriLankaBlasts”.Dia Mirza said, “My heart goes out to #Srilanka. Thoughts and prayers for all the families who have lost their loved one’s… #SrilankaBlast”.Raveena Tandon expressed shock over the polarisation. She said, “polarisation on twitter over #SriLankaTerrorAttack is saddening disgusting.While communists/leftliberals #lalsalaam hysterically ranting insinuating “hinduterror”while in same breath claiming terror has no religion,while rightwing extremist gleefully gloating on a “I told you so””.Heartbroken at the news from Sri Lanka. Why do innocent people have to die? What is the point of all this meaningless violence? If only all this energy went into bringing peace, it would unite the world rather than dividing it.— Alia Bhatt (@aliaa08) 21 April 2019 Heartbreaking scenes from #Srilanka. A day of celebration turned into one of tremendous loss. My prayers and thoughts go out to everyone affected by these horrific attacks.— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) 21 April 2019 Extremely sad at the news of bombings in Sri Lanka. It’s unfortunate that one is not able to see that violence is like a chain reaction. This has to stop ! — Jacqueline Fernandez (@Asli_Jacqueline) April 21, 2019center_img Violence can never be the final solution to human disagreements. Ironic that the island that spawned the word serendipity is not able to find it. My deepest sympathies to those affected by the bombs in Srilanka. The government should be impartial and swift in rendering Justice.— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) April 21, 2019last_img read more

Bengal Fish Fest kicks off today

first_imgKolkata: The state Fisheries department will organise the three-day ‘Bengal Fish Fest 2019′ at Nalban Food Park in Salt Lake Sector V from Friday to Sunday (January 11 to 13), with the aim of propagating the activities of the state government in this area and at the same time, address the current issues pertaining to aquaculture, fish feed and exports in the fishery and seafood sector.The festival will host stalls and exhibitions put up by stakeholders from the fisheries sector for promotion of modern technologies, different varieties of fish feed, ornamental fish etc. A large number of food stalls will also be set up by reputed food chains/brands to titillate the tastebuds of fish loving Bengalis with exotic fish delicacies. Indian Chamber of Commerce is the event partner. Also Read – 3 injured, flight, train services hit as rains lash BengalState Fisheries minister Chandranath Sinha said: “We have been able to increase the production of big fishes in the state by 40 percent. We have instructed state Fisheries Development Corporation to take necessary steps to increase fish cultivation in ponds throughout the state.” It may be mentioned that with its vast resource of more than 4.27 lakh hectares of impounded water bodies (including 3.35 lakh hectares of inland and 0.92 lakh hectares of brackish water area), Bengal has a tremendous potential in the fisheries sector, which is almost unrivalled in India. Bengal ranks second in fish and first in fish seed production in the country. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed”This sector has tremendous export potential and during the last 7 years, export figures have grown significantly from 61,709 metric tonnes (Rs 1,734 crore) in 2011-12 to 1,05,318 metric tonnes (Rs 4,910 crore) in 2017-18,” a senior official of the state Fisheries department said. A special Investors’ Meet will also be organised during the festival to explore the scope of export promotion and investment potential, as well as the possibility of promoting the fish market within and outside Bengal.last_img read more

Its all about connections for Transat as it launches its 20182019 winter

first_imgIt’s all about connections for Transat as it launches its 2018/2019 winter Sun lineup << Previous PostNext Post >> Thursday, June 14, 2018 Posted by Travelweek Group center_img Tags: Princess Cruises, Transat Share TORONTO — Transat is ramping up its domestic network with a 187% capacity increase. “We’re not gunning for Air Canada or WestJet,” says Transat’s Chief Distribution Officer, Joe Adamo. Rather the big boost in seats comes as Transat focuses on its feeder program as a crucial part of its strategy for a successful winter Sun season.At Transat’s 2018/2019 Sun program launch yesterday in Toronto, Adamo said Transat’s feeder program from cities across Canada (into Toronto and Montreal for connecting flights) has been so successful that the company is taking things up a notch for the upcoming winter season.The feeder program “will be critical for the coming winter,” said Adamo. “It will make a material difference to us going forward.”He reiterated that Transat is not looking to go head to head with the domestic reach of Air Canada or WestJet. “We simply want to optimize our network. I have every confidence that our point-to-point program will be successful.”Adamo added that Transat is also keenly focused on its relationships with its travel agency partners. “We want to hit the ground running for 2019. We want these [agency chain] discussions to happen now. We want to put these agreements to bed much earlier than in years past. We want to get out there and talk about what we need to be successful for this winter, and those talks need to happen this summer.”On a national basis Transat’s sun capacity is about the same as last year, keeping in mind that from 2017 to 2018 Transat increased its Sun capacity by about 20%. The company is also essentially replicating last year’s winter transatlantic program with a bit less capacity.Transat’s domestic routes “are mostly about feeding our South and transatlantic flights. Three years into the program, we can offer greater flexibility and greater choice. The biggest increases are the feeder flights coming in from B.C. and Alberta into Toronto.”Transat is gearing up for the introduction of its A321neo LR aircraft, with the first delivery scheduled for spring 2019. Transat will be the first North American carrier to fly these new long-range aircraft. The company is also in the process of introducing new A321 short-haul aircraft into its fleet. The aircraft “will be a real game changer for the economics of our company.” The new aircraft are earmarked for select Europe routes “and any and all Sun routes.”More news:  Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at seaOn the hotels side Transat is busy too, with Jordi Solé heading up the company’s new hotels division. “We’re aggressively out to acquire land and/or hotels,” said Adamo. Key destinations include Mexico and the D. R., with Transat’s own line of hotels expected in the next five years.This year’s ‘Sun & Fun’ 2018/2019 brochure includes, for the first time, Transat’s winter Europe product in Spain and Portugal in the same book as the company’s southern Sun packages, guided tours and Duos and Florida.Transat’s Commercial Director Nicole Bursey outlined the highlights of the 2018/2019 lineup at yesterday’s launch, covering 34 destinations in the Caribbean, Central and South America, Mexico and Florida with 635 hotels, including 30 or so new properties, some 40 properties that are exclusive to Transat, and four collections (Luxury, Distinction, Solo and Family).The winter Europe program also includes vacation options to Costa del Sol, Porto, Lisbon and the Algarve. There are also daily flights into London and Paris. Air Transat flies to Europe year-round with direct flights to Lisbon, Portugal, from Toronto and Montreal, flights between Toronto and Faro, Portugal (from January to April) and between Montreal and Malaga, Spain (all winter long, starting in January). Air Transat also flies to other European cities year-round as well, including Paris, London, Glasgow and Manchester.Here’s a quick look at the 2018/2019 winter Sun news:From Atlantic Canada, winter Sun flights will begin earlier than usual, with a mid-February 2019 start up. Transat has increased capacity out of Atlantic Canada to Florida (MCO and FLL) and also added an extra flight to Punta Cana.From Quebec, Transat will be resuming service into both San Juan and St. Maarten. There will be 10 flights a week into Punta Cana and increased capacity into Cartagena, Honduras, Haiti and Martinique out of Montreal as well as increased capacity out of Quebec City to Cancun.From Ontario Transat will also resume service into San Juan and St. Maarten, plus add 10 flights to Punta Cana and Cancun, increase capacity to Costa Rica and Florida and increase capacity from Hamilton and Ottawa.From the West highlights include increased capacity to Puerto Vallarta from several Western gateways and also increased capacity from Vancouver to Cancun.More news:  Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckTransat’s Early Booking Promotion, originally set to expire June 30, has been extended to July 13 and offers everything from Transat’s Price Drop Guarantee, to flexible change options for travel plans, to Option Plus upgrades for Luxury and Distinction collection passengers, to a $50 voucher for future travel.Transat’s Groups promo also expires July 13 offering clients $100 per couple savings at select top all-inclusive hotel chains.Groups continue to be a big part of Transat’s strategy and with Groups Max bookings agents can earn $10 in Transat Bonbon and get free group seating assignment and more for their clients.Meanwhile Transat’s cruise packages “are as easy to book as a one-week stay at a Decameron resort,” says Bursey.Transat now has 46 cruise packages on 16 ships, with departures from seven ports of call including, new this year, the return of San Juan as well as Cartagena. Packages include roundtrip flights with Air Transat, transfers and the cruise.Transat’s newest cruise partner is Princess Cruises. “This is a real coup for us because they don’t typically work through tour operators in Canada,” said Bursey. “They like Transat’s package concept.”last_img read more