Westin touches match to smoke-free trend

A move this month by Westin Hotels & Resorts to go smoke-free may open the door to similar policies by competitors. At least 200 North American hotels now prohibit smoking in rooms and other indoor areas, according to a survey of major chains and an analysis of media reports.

Time to quit?

Recently, an irate reader let me know he was sick of me moaning about my job as a flight attendant. His exact words were, “The last I heard, the drink-tosser’s job was voluntary.” I wonder: Is it time to quit?

Airline reward plans become cash cows

Airlines envisioned them as a simple marketing tool. But frequent flyer programs, 25 years later, have become big cash generators for an industry struggling on other fronts, as airlines raise hundreds of millions of dollars by selling mileage credits to banks, hotels, car rentals and phone companies.

Out of bankruptcy — and back in

The major airlines struggling with bankruptcy — United, Delta and Northwest — still don’t get it. They just don’t understand how to make money in the current airline world. And why not? Because they don’t know what the public wants. Sometimes I think they don’t care.

The complaint and the Caribbean

There is an art to complaining, and it doesn’t involve either whining or wheedling. What it takes is a backbone. So, when the water ran out on this anniversary vacation in St. Martin, the husband knew just what to do.

Pilots union says Delta’s inflexibility hurts talks

Delta Air Lines Inc.’s refusal to budge on its demand for $325 million in permanent pay and benefit cuts from its pilots could jeopardize efforts to hammer out a comprehensive agreement by a March 1 deadline, a top union official said Wednesday.

Mystery of the missing ticket

The $280.60 airfare from Sioux Falls, S.D., to Oakland, Calif., is a real bargain on But when Jane Christianson checks in at the airport, she discovers the agency was supposed to have sent a paper ticket, which it never did. She is forced to spend $850.30 on a new ticket — and now is balking at a refund. What’s going on?

4 killed in small plane crash in Calif.

A private jet overshot a runway and crashed in flames Tuesday, killing all four people aboard, authorities said. The Cessna 560 came in for a landing at Southern California McClellan-Palomar Airport on a flight from Hailey, Idaho, but went about 150 yards beyond the runway, smashing through scaffolding and into a commercial storage facility.

Secret powers

Terry RileyTravel would be so much more pleasant if it weren’t for all the obnoxious people. You know the ones. The guy who hollers into his cell phone in the airport lounge. The kid who runs up and down the aisle of the plane. The desk clerk who chats with a colleague while you cool your heels at the counter. But you have secret powers to stop them.