Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio August
By Sarah J.F. Braley
NEW PERKS IN AIR, HOTEL AND AIRPORT
Benefits of an airline merger, a hotel points program,
airport food guidance and more
TWA turnover. Now that the old workhorse
airline is part of American Airlines, the TWA faithful are
beginning to see some changes, aside from the appearance of
American Way magazine in seatback pockets. TWA’s Aviators
frequent-flyer program will expire on Nov. 30, but all miles will
be transferred to American’s AAdvantage. Members of both programs
who have reached a higher level through TWA will be upgraded in the
For now, travelers can place their miles in either account, but
American is encouraging Aviator members to join AAdvantage, using
the exact same name and address on both accounts, so the transition
of miles will go more smoothly.
On another note, American is taking two rows of seats out of
TWA’s cabins to give passengers more room.
Now that Singapore Airlines offers e-mail service and limited
Internet access using technology from Matsushita Avionics Systems,
the big domestic airlines are preparing to provide the capability
in the near future. American, Delta and United have taken equity
stakes in Boeing Co.’s Connexion technology, which uses satellites
to provide e-mail and Internet access.
The service is expected to be installed in the first set of
planes by mid-2002. If successful, it will be wired into about
1,500 planes. Lufthansa will be the first international airline to
American Express and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide have
joined together to launch the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card.
Every time cardmembers make a purchase, they are awarded one
Starpoint per dollar (plus two extra points per dollar if the money
is spent at a Starwood property), which can be redeemed at the
company’s more than 700 hotels or with 29 airlines. Those who sign
up are enrolled in Preferred Plus, a new level of Starwood’s points
system offering complimentary upgrades at check-in, when available,
and 4 p.m. checkout. The annual fee is waived for the first year
and is $30 after that.
Starwood also is joining the curbside check-in club. Using a
handheld computer from Holtsville, N.Y.-based Symbol Technologies
and a miniprinter, hotel staff members check guests in, process
their credit cards, print receipts and program room keys at any
location in the hotel. The system is in place at the Sheraton in
Parsippany, N.J., and will be instituted soon at many Sheraton,
Four Points by Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis, Luxury Collection and W
The right food choice.
The terms “healthful food” and “airport dining” tend to be
opposites in most travelers’ minds, but more terminals are offering
tasty dishes that won’t hurt your waistline. To get the skinny on
which airports have the most healthful choices, visit the Web site
of Washington, D.C.-based Physicians Committee for Responsible
Medicine (www.pcrm.org), which evaluates the availability of
healthful food at the 10 busiest U.S. airports each year.
The organization praises San Francisco International, where 24
out of 25 restaurants offer low-fat, high-fiber, cholesterol-free
meal options. “Healthy and delicious foods are abundant,” says the
report. “If you have time, swing by the new international terminal,
which has the most gourmet choices.”
Next on the list is Minneapolis-St. Paul, with 27 out of 41
restaurants providing healthful options, followed by Chicago’s
O’Hare International, with 18 of 28 restaurants. In descending
order, the last seven are Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas/Fort
Worth, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Detroit.
Because some major airports, including Boston, JFK, Newark and
Miami, weren’t in the top 10, PCRM will expand its critique to
evaluate the top 20 next year.
Back to Current Issue indexM&C
| Events Calendar
| Incentive News
| Meetings Market
| CVB Links
| Reader Survey
| Hot Dates
| Contact M&C