Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio July
By Sarah J.F. Braley
MORE BUCKS FOR BEING BUMPED?
The DOT is evaluating whether airline passengers deserve
more money for their trouble
Paid enough to wait? No traveler likes to be
bumped, but getting an airline coupon for a few hundred dollars
usually eases the pain somewhat. What most frequent flyers don’t
realize, however, is the Department of Transportation’s Denied
Boarding Compensation rule, which established the amounts due to
passengers who get kicked off oversold flights, hasn’t changed
As the rule stands, if the airline can arrange alternate
transportation that will get the passenger to his destination
within two hours of the original planned arrival (four hours for
international flights), the passenger can receive up to $200.
Compensation doubles if the delay is longer than two (or four)
Now comes word that Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta has
ordered a review of the measure, with an eye toward increasing
compensation payments. There is no set time line for a resolution,
according to a DOT spokesperson.
Big brother is watching the bags.
Following the arrest earlier this year of 17 baggage handlers at
Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, British Airways has announced
it will install cameras in its 340-plane fleet by the middle of
The airline introduced cameras in some of its planes two years
ago but kept the operation secret. “After the detection aspect of
the operation, which worked well, the airline felt it needed to
provide a deterrent,” says a British Airways spokesperson,
“although we are still not saying how many cameras will be in each
plane and exactly where we are putting them.”
E-mail service from an airplane finally has been launched. In
April, Singapore Airlines debuted the system on a 747 flight
between Singapore and Los Angeles, when its public relations
representatives sent a message to the media saying, “This mail is
sent to you from 35,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean.”
The service, which also allows passengers to access Web sites
stored on an onboard server, is being installed on the rest of the
carrier’s 747s and 777s.
The e-mail capability, which is connected to Singapore’s
inflight entertainment system, is one of a number of new features
being introduced throughout the year. For instance, all passengers
now can play multiplayer network PC games against each other, no
matter where they are seated. Also available are 25 Nintendo games.
The Wisemen audio-and-video-on-demand system, available in first
and Raffles (business) class, has been upgraded to DVD quality;
starting this month, coach passengers also will be able to use it.
The entertainment choices are being expanded to 50 movies, 60 hours
of short features and 100 CDs.
Curbside hotel check-in.
Wyndham International has announced it is installing a new wireless
check-in/check-out service in all its larger conference hotels and
Here’s how it works: Staff members greet guests curbside and,
using handheld devices called OperaPalms (from Micros Systems),
wirelessly obtain credit card authorization, record guests’
signatures and program a key card. At checkout, the wireless
printers produce a guest folio and receipt.
U.S. and select Caribbean properties will be the first to be
wired for the new service over the next two years. The technology
was tested and is now live at the Wyndham Dallas Market Center.
Digital subway map.
A popular program for Palm-based handhelds and PocketPCs is Métro,
a free route calculator for just about every subway network in the
world. Available in 17 languages, version 3.0 helps travelers get
from here to there in more than 150 cities, including New York,
London, Cairo and Seoul. The download is accessible at PalmGear (www.palmgear.com).
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