Hotels change the sheets less frequently — Fresh bed sheets every day aren’t automatic in hotel rooms anymore. In the next two months, Marriott’s Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, Fairfield Inn & Suites and SpringHill Suites brands will begin testing customers’ reaction to changing the sheets every other night instead of daily. “It’s a growing industry trend,” says Marriott’s Steve Samson. (USA Today)


US Airways execs leaving on eve of merger
— The US Airways name will stay as part of a merger with America West Airlines, but many of US Airways’ top executives will be departing once the new enterprise is aloft this fall, leaving a string of America West officers in charge. (Post-Gazette)

Travel sites handle private data poorly — More large airlines and travel firms are sharing customer data with other companies without permission or have unclear privacy policies than six months ago, a research firm said Monday. (InformationWeek)

Shuttle is good to go for a.m. launch — Counting down to a liftoff planned for 10:39 on Tuesday morning, NASA officials said Monday that two familiar obstacles remained in the way of the first space shuttle mission in two and a half years: a persistent fuel sensor problem and the fast-changing Florida weather. (The New York Times)

Continental learns about worst seat in the house — There appears to be an airline seat worse than the middle one between an overweight passenger and a colicky infant, at least according to one exasperated passenger whose letter of complaint is bouncing around cyberspace these days. (The Washington Post)

Download the original letter (PDF) here on our Tripso Forums

What’s the 411 on 511? — The 511 system, created by the federal government in 2000, delivers traffic, weather and tourism information directly to a telephone. At least it is supposed to. But 511 has a long journey ahead of it. (The New York Times)

It’s Kirk vs. Picard in online travel — In the online travel world, one of the biggest battles for new customers has come down to this: Captain Kirk vs. Captain Picard. Patrick Stewart, who played Captain Picard on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” is the new company spokesman for travel search engine SideStep. That’s a direct challenge to rival Priceline.com, whose ads have long featured William Shatner, Captain Kirk on the original “Star Trek.” (WSJ)

Shuttle Discovery lifts off — The space shuttle Discovery roared into the skies over Florida Tuesday morning as NASA returned to manned space flight for the first time since the 2003 Columbia disaster. Under a blue, nearly cloudless sky, the spacecraft lifted off at 10:39 a.m. ET, as scheduled. (CNN)

launch.jpg
Comment from Christopher Elliott — This was the view from my driveway a few minutes ago. Talk about getting up close and personal with a spacecraft. It’s the first time I’ve seen the shuttle take off, and it was pretty impressive. The shuttle moves a lot faster than you would expect (do they slow down the film for dramatic effect when you see it on TV?) The launch trajectory isn’t straight up, but at a pretty extreme angle. (Blame Hollywood for making me believe this thing would take off slow and straight-up.) Before you realize what you’re looking at, the whole thing is over — the shuttle has essentially disappeared into space.

Southwest says it’s overspending in Seattle — In pitching his case for moving flights to Boeing Field, Southwest Airlines chief Gary Kelly aimed two powerful punches last week at the Port of Seattle over its management of the airport Southwest wants to leave, Seattle-Tacoma International. (Seattle Times)

Passenger turns the tables on TSA — A 62-year-old woman who was upset over being searched at the airport is accused in federal court of grabbing a female airport screener’s breasts. A federal jury in Green Bay began hearing evidence Monday in the case against Phyllis Dintenfass, a retired technology school teacher from Appleton who faces a charge of assault of a federal employee for allegedly shoving a security supervisor, then grabbing the female agent’s breasts. (AP)

European airline is grounded — Thousands of passengers have been left stranded after the parent company of budget airline EUjet filed for administration and stopped all flights. (BBC)

Orlando space constraints mean airlines must double up — More airlines in the future may share counter space and boarding gates at Orlando International Airport because of a space squeeze at the existing terminal, senior airport officials and airline representatives said Friday. (Sentinel)

Future is uncertain for Northwest mechanics — According to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), 4,500 airline workers have been laid off in Minnesota since 2001. About 745 Twin Cities members of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), which represents Northwest mechanics, have been laid off in recent months, and those numbers may grow. (Star Tribune)

Skip Bowman, Carrie Charney, Leslie Friedman, John Frenaye, Charles Leocha, Marge Purnell, Valerie Schneider, Mary Staley, Stephanus Surjaputra, Richard Wong.