Hotels ditch imposing desks for friendly ‘pods’


Hotels ditch imposing desks for friendly ‘pods’ — Traditional hotel check-in counters — long and fortress-like — are on their way out. Hotel chains are replacing them with smaller desks or individual pods that take less space and let employees provide more personable service. (USA Today)

Cost of NYC cab ride jumps — The cost of standing still, like everything else in New York City, is going up. The price of an average cab ride increased by $1 on Wednesday when the city Taxi and Limousine Commission voted unanimously to double the amount charged on the meter when a taxi sits idly in traffic. The vote raised the cost of “wait time” from the current 20 cents per minute to 40 cents. (AP)

US Airways cuts losses — US Airways Group Inc., one of the nation’s top carriers, said today its third-quarter loss narrowed by 21 percent, and operating profit beat Wall Street expectations by a wide margin. (AP)

AirTran Airways posts third-quarter loss — AirTran Holdings, parent of low-cost airline AirTran Airways, Thursday posted a net loss for the third quarter, due in part to a $1.5 million tax charge and restrictions on carry-on luggage. (Reuters)

Right price? Not exactly — The daily rate for a rental car in San Francisco looks almost too good to be true on the Hertz Web site. And it is. When Chris Chiang tries to pick up the car, a rental agent hands him a contract that asks him to pay double the price for the vehicle. What should he do? (Christopher Elliott on Tripso)

Halloween frights around NYC — Halloween sights abound in New York City this year, from the annual parade to Hell House. (AP)

How to tell one plane from another — The writer describes his pastime of recording tail numbers of the planes he flew on. (The New York Times) (Registration required.)

An official leaf peeper makes her rounds
— Rita Downing is one of 60 volunteers around the state who gather information for New York’s fall foliage reports, which tourists check online and by phone to guide their autumn outings. (AP)

Little shark helps pierce Great White mystery — The great white shark is one of the oceans’ greatest predators, an animal feared by man and fish alike, an object of public fascination even before that campy hit movie Jaws. Yet only recently have we begun acquiring the skimpiest of knowledge about the species. A little guy in a 1.3-million-gallon tank here at Monterey Bay Aquarium is crucial to that effort. (USA Today)

Carrie Charney, Christopher Elliott, John Frenaye, Charles Leocha, Marge Purnell, Valerie Schneider, Mary Staley, Stephanus Surjaputra, Richard Wong.