Southwest time lag
On-time performance of Southwest Airlines has deteriorated over the past year, dropping from 81 percent of all flights arriving on time in 2013 to 70 percent for the first five months of 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Southwest says the drop was caused by scheduling too many flights at the most popular takeoff times.
Airline seats repurposed
Project Luvseat, a program launched by Southwest Airlines, will donate 43 acres of leather from hundreds of old airline seats to charitable groups in Kenya to make soccer balls, purses and shoes. The airline began two years ago to install new seats made of a lighter synthetic material.
Los Angeles Times
Top-tier hotels dress down
Luxury hotels usually have formal restaurants to match their elegant ambience, but some high-end properties are creating more relaxed and casual dining options for their guests. The Berkeley hotel in London, for example, recently relaunched the two-Michelin-star “Marcus” by chef Marcus Wareing with white and cream interiors that are meant to be less stodgy than the earlier dark-hued walls, furniture and floor. Also in London, the Fera at Claridge’s opened in early May in a space formerly occupied by Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s. Gone are the tablecloths, jackets and fussy service. Diners in jeans are now welcome and even encouraged to come into the kitchen to interact with the chefs. The shift away from fanciness is a result of traveler demand, said Albert Herrera, of the luxury travel network Virtuoso. “The ritual of formality has adapted to the changing palates of younger and more worldly travelers who want the choice of eating in a casual setting,” he said.New York Times
Deal of the week
Caribbean savings offered for fall
Starwood Caribbean Hotels & Resorts are offering Sunsational Savings, with savings of up to 30 percent. The deal applies to four properties in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico (San Juan and Vieques Island). For example, at the Westin St. John Resort & Villas, pay $285 per night and receive a free fourth night plus a $100 food and beverage credit. Book and travel by Nov. 20. Use promo code ZS4. At the W Retreat & Spa on Vieques Island, receive a free third night and a $100 credit. Rates start at $409 a night. Booking and travel dates: Aug. 13-Nov. 1. Use promo code SS3R. Info: 866-716-8147, www.starwoodcaribbean.com.Washington Post
CheapTickets.com gets a reboot
Orbitz Worldwide on Wednesday will launch a retooled version of CheapTickets.com, its lesser-known U.S. travel agency aimed at travelers who strive for the lowest prices. The revamp includes a new loyalty program for travel cheapskates and a new price-comparison tool. Chicago-based Orbitz is better known for travel bookings on Orbitz.com. But its CheapTickets.com brand appeals to a different customer, often younger people who use mobile apps, travel less frequently and are price-sensitive deal hunters. New efforts include a CheapCash loyalty program that racks up award currency for flight bookings that can be spent on hotel stays.Chicago Tribune