Clarifying the Collection

Travel ConfidentialHilton Worldwide is apparently moving closer to removing the line between its three flagship hotels in New York, Orlando and Park City, Utah, and its broader Waldorf Astoria Collection. Last year, when the company opened the Orlando property as only the second Waldorf Astoria in the world, executives indicated to TC that the company was looking to merge all of its Waldorf Astoria Collection properties under the single brand name, Waldorf Astoria. The company backtracked when asked for an official statement, but the latest release on a new Waldorf property to open in London's Syon Park refers to the hotel as only a Waldorf Astoria hotel, not a member of the collection. And the release is careful not to make any distinctions, as in the past, between the three namesake Waldorf Astorias and the collection properties that are now listed together on their website as part of the Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts portfolio. TC's call to Hilton for clarification on the company's plans for the brand was not returned last week.

Here's good news for anyone who has ever had to hike the mile between terminals A and D at Miami Airport, only to then miss the connecting flight. Concourse A, now renamed D, is an extension of the existing Concourse D. There are 16 new gates and a new security checkpoint right at the gates. And here's the best news of all: The North Terminal Sky Train starts service in September. The people-mover will get passengers from one end of the mile-long concourse to the other in minutes. No more missed connections. And there will probably be enough time to buy a Cuban sandwich for the foodless flight ahead.

Massachusetts tourism officials might need to hit the road on a tour bus before publishing and promoting their next list of the state's top 1,000 attractions. Turns out that only 996 sites are listed, some of which are closed to the public. The Baker Robinson Whale Oil Refinery in New Bedford, for example, was gutted to make way for a hotel; Worcester's African Cultural Center is closed, as is St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Pittsfield.

TC was elated by the recent news of the Continental-United merger. As a frequent flyer from Denver, TC thinks the merger would make it that much easier to attain those coveted elite levels that bring free upgrades and other perks. But on a recent Continental flight from Denver to Houston, TC realized no amount of flying loyalty can buy you friendliness and respect. On that flight, TC's seat mate, a million-miler traveling with an infant, was scolded by flight attendants after his wife briefly switched seats (she was in coach with their two sons) so she could breast-feed the baby. At least it didn't happen on Mother's Day.

This column appeared in the July 26 issue of Travel Weekly.


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