My good-bye to BoardingArea, and hello to American Airlines!

Here I am photographing a room at the Homewood Suites in New York this past summer.Here I am photographing a room at the Homewood Suites in New York this past summer.

Dear BoardingArea bloggers and readers and TravelUpdate readers, Thank you so much for reading my blog posts, sharing your thoughts and opinions, and sometimes keeping me on my toes! It has been a privilege tracking down news about the hotel and airline industries for you as a blogger at BoardingArea.com (thanks to frequent flier guru Randy Petersen) and previously as a journalist-turned-blogger for USA TODAY. I am truly grateful for the travel conversations we’ve had here as well as on Twitter and Facebook, where talk has… Read More »

Forgot my Ray Ban sunglasses at Tampa’s TSA checkpoint, but I’m getting them back!

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When I left Tampa last month, I hurried through the airport and rushed through the TSA checkpoint. Shoes off: check. Laptop out of bag: check. Sunglasses off: check. So, once through the checkpoint, I picked up my fairly organized group of belongings and quickly re-assembled myself. But I wasn’t so late that I was panicking. I was calm enough to take the time to place my license back into my wallet before proceeding to my gate and even exchanged pleasantries with… Read More »

Nightmare hotel stories, great taco joints & other road stories from up-and-coming band Fire and the Romance

Members of the alt-pop band Fire and the Romance on the road. Photo courtesy of frontman Dion Roy.Members of the alt-pop band Fire and the Romance on the road. Photo courtesy of frontman Dion Roy.

By Barbara DeLollis and Felix Contreras As the alt-pop band Fire and the Romance (current single, “She’s a Devil“) prepares the release of their new album and supporting tour through the US northeast, frontman Dion Roy checks his to-do list: strategic venues, radio station appearances, media interviews and reliable hotels. These days, musicians are forced to use the road to make money as the record business falters and bands count more on ticket sales than record sales. Fire and… Read More »

Hilton’s Curio guests expected to stay longer and spend more, brand chief says

LAS VEGAS - Ku Noodle is one of the trendy restaurants. It features Asian cuisine by chef José Andrés. Photo by Barb DeLollis.LAS VEGAS - Ku Noodle is one of the trendy restaurants. It features Asian cuisine by chef José Andrés. Photo by Barb DeLollis.

McLEAN, VA. – By the end of 2015, Hilton Worldwide expects to be running 25 to 30 hotels in key metro areas under its newest brand, Curio so I recently sat down with Curio brand chief Dianna Vaughan to learn more. The brand is meant to be a collection of quirky, interesting hotels that keep their own identity. Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned is that the personality of the target Curio customer will likely drive them to spend more than guests… Read More »

What’s your flying routine? ‘Flying is for reading,’ BoardingArea’s Goddard says

U.S. Army Brigadier General Glenn Goddard reads on a recent flight. Photo courtesy of Goddard.U.S. Army Brigadier General Glenn Goddard reads on a recent flight. Photo courtesy of Goddard.

Do you have a routine when you’re 30,000 feet in the sky for work? I’m posing this question after my recent conversation with U.S. Army Brigadier General Glenn Goddard, one of the many BoardingArea.com bloggers who flies frequently for his or her demanding jobs. And Goddard has a very specific flying routine, which – during our conversation – I realized that it might just be the only travel topic that I have never written about! (Goddard, by the way, co-writes The Military… Read More »

Do Hilton HHonors members redeem points differently under the peak pricing model?

McLEAN, VA. – Remember when Hilton Worldwide’s loyalty program adopted the peak-period pricing program in March 2013? Since then, some hotels – especially those in high-demand markets such as New York – began charging Hilton HHonors members more points to redeem a free night during peak times, and fewer points during slower times. The move was intended to make hotel owners happy since they felt they weren’t getting a fair redemption rate during heavy demand periods when they could sell rooms… Read More »

Exclusive: Marriott to adopt new hotel cancellation policy on Jan. 1, 2015

Per the rate rules above, the Marriott hotel at DFW airport gives guests more flexibility than many hotels. They have until 6 p.m., the day of arrival, to cancel their reservation to avoid penalty fees.Per the rate rules above, the Marriott hotel at DFW airport gives guests more flexibility than many hotels. They have until 6 p.m., the day of arrival, to cancel their reservation to avoid penalty fees.

Starting Jan. 1, 2015, Marriott International will officially adopt a stricter reservation cancellation policy than what is currently in place at most of its properties, TravelUpdate.com has learned. Marriott told Travel Update that the goal is to sell more rooms, as opposed to collecting more reservation penalty fees. Once the policy takes effect, consumers will have until 11:59 p.m. local time the day before check-in in order to avoid paying a penalty charge, according to the email obtained by Travel Update that Marriott… Read More »

Washington D.C.: How to get tickets to the National Christmas Tree Lighting event

A ticket to the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. Travel Update photo by Barb DeLollis.A ticket to the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. Travel Update photo by Barb DeLollis.

WASHINGTON D.C. – If you’re planning to be in Washington during Dec. 4, like to experience local traditions and you tend to be a lucky person, here’s a tip for you. On Oct. 17, you can enter the lottery to win free tickets to attend the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony outdoors at the Ellipse, the grassy area on the south side of the White House. The annual event was started under President Calvin Coolidge in 1923. POTUS has attended ever… Read More »

Road warrior fitness: Hotels are slowly starting to embrace TRX suspension equipment

The TRX suspension ropes are one of the first things you see at the Hershey Hotel's new fitness center. Photo by Barb DeLollis.The TRX suspension ropes are one of the first things you see at the Hershey Hotel's new fitness center. Photo by Barb DeLollis.

HERSHEY, PA. – When we’re on the road often, working out in the hotel gym can get boring so I’m always watching for new distractions – and possible trends. And now, for the first time in years, I’m happy to report that I’ve finally found something new and interesting. In addition to the yoga mats and exercise balls that hotels have been adding over the last five or so years, I’m starting to find TRX suspension training equipment… Read More »

Marriott Hotels to test wireless smartphone charger in 29 lobbies

The portable smartphone charger that Marriott Hotels is testing in 29 of its 500 hotels. Photo courtesy of Marriott.The portable smartphone charger that Marriott Hotels is testing in 29 of its 500 hotels. Photo courtesy of Marriott.

Finally, a hotel chain has listened to the mobile-device-dependent traveler who often seeks a battery charge! This fall, Marriott Hotels will roll out portable charging stations that will let customers charge up to six smartphones at one time. The device, for now, will appear in 29 hotels so don’t expect to see the Kube charger  pop up in every single Marriott lobby just yet – but that day will apparently come. “We are focused on rolling out the chargers” for the full… Read More »