Westin touches match to smoke-free trend


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. (USA Today)

Cell phones top list of business travelers’ gripes — A survey of business travelers around the world shows that most — 61% — would rather not see cellphone use permitted on airplanes. (AP)

Airlines grapple with Ch. 11 status — While United Airlines is about to emerge from more than three years of bankruptcy reorganization, two of its biggest rivals, Delta and Northwest, are still in the early stages of restructuring their own finances under Chapter 11. (AP)

Air freight, passenger traffic growth slows — Air freight grew a “disappointingly low” 3.2 percent in 2005, while passenger traffic expanded 7.6 percent, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said Tuesday. (Reuters)

T loaner to power Big Easy’s trolleys — To the MBTA, it’s a 22-year-old portable electric substation, gathering dust after upgrades to the T’s power system made it largely obsolete. To the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, however, the 60-foot-long mobile unit is a lifeline to return service on one of the Crescent City’s historic streetcar lines. (The Boston Globe)

Stumbling tourist smashes rare China vases — A visitor to a British museum tripped on his shoelace, stumbled down a stairway and fell into a display of centuries-old Chinese vases, shattering them into “very small pieces,” officials said Monday. (AP)

Détente in the hotel bed wars — Most hotel executives concede that the war is now over. That is to say, every hotel chain that believed it could benefit from upgrading its bedding has probably done so. The question now is, Have their most frequent customers also benefited? (The New York Times)

The romance of business travel and other myths — Who needs industry statistics about airplane orders and hotel occupancy rates when the beleaguered business people who are sitting in the planes and sleeping in the hotels are testing another kind of boundary: the limits of humiliation, weirdness, fear and revulsion? Wouldn’t you rather hear their stories? Here are some of them. (The New York Times)

Southwest raises most fares — Southwest Airlines is raising fares as the airline becomes more exposed to high fuel prices, a move that likely means higher prices for travelers who fly any airline competing with the discounter. Executives with Dallas-based Southwest said Monday that they had raised fares between $1 and $3 each way on most flights. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Investigators find no evidence airliner was target — Federal investigators have found no evidence of a terrorist connection to an American Airlines pilot’s report of a plume of smoke — possibly from a small rocket — near Los Angeles International Airport last fall, the FBI and Homeland Security Department reported Monday. (AP)

Flight attendants OK deal — Flight attendants for Continental Airlines have approved an agreement that calls for $72 million in labor concessions, according to the airline and the union. (AP)

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