April 02, 2008

The Clinical Laboratory Management Association canceled its ThinkLab '08 meeting, scheduled for March 29 to April 1, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta because of damage caused by a March 14 tornado. Mark John, COO of CLMA, said the convention center could not accommodate the group because it was still operating at a reduced capacity and because transportation and meeting space logistics prevented the group from relocating to another venue in the city. "It just wasn't in the best interest of the organization to try and pull this off," John told M&C. The conference was expected to draw 2,200 attendees.

Aloha Airlines has flown its last passenger. The company shut down on Tuesday after filing for bankruptcy on March 20, just two years after it emerged from a prior state of bankruptcy protection. Both Hawaiian Airlines and Island Air increased their capacity to help stranded Aloha ticket holders. Aloha's air cargo and aviation services units will continue operations, in anticipation of their acquisition by another company. In a statement, Aloha CEO David Banmiller attributed the airline's shutdown to "unfair competition."

The 315-room Westin Imagine Orlando opens tomorrow across from the Orange County Convention Center. The hotel offers 7,200 square feet of meeting space, the Fiorella's Cucina Toscana restaurant, a fitness center and a pool

The 393-room Hilton DFW Lakes in Grapevine, Texas, is adding a stand-alone conference center. Ground probably will be broken in July on the 25,000-square-foot facility, which will open in the second quarter of 2009. The addition of the center, which will include an 11,000-square-foot ballroom, will bring the IACC-approved property's total meeting space to 81,000 square feet. In the past year, the Hilton has added flat-panel TVs to all rooms, which also have been refurbished; renovated the Tennis & Sports Club; opened the Java lobby lounge, and redone the Bonnie & Clyde's Sports Bar & Grill to offer a covered patio. Austin Ranch, a nearby dude ranch that now is managed by the hotel, is available for special events.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum announced Monday that Carnival and its five subsidiary cruise lines -- Holland America, Princess, Costa, Cunard and Seabourne -- have agreed to refund $40 million to customers who paid a fuel surcharge that was levied after they had already booked their cruises. According to a release from the attorney general, the settlement will affect 1.1 million bookings that were made prior to Nov. 7, 2007, for sailings on or after Feb. 1, 2008. Passengers who booked on or after Nov. 7, 2007, still will be required the pay the fuel fee, which is set at $5 per person, per day, for the first and second guests in a stateroom and cannot exceed $70 per person, per cruise.