Alaska goes digital with boarding pass
Alaska and Horizon Air introduced electronic boarding passes for passengers with mobile devices departing from Anchorage; Boise, Idaho; Denver; Las Vegas; Portland, Ore.; Seattle and Spokane, Wash. The service expands to San Jose, Calif., and Fairbanks, Alaska, on Feb. 24, with more cities to follow throughout the year. The e-boarding pass displays flight data and an encrypted barcode that can be downloaded from from 24 hours in advance up to one hour prior to departure. The airline said the data are "scanned and verified" by Transportation Security Administration agents at the security checkpoint.

Aloft is testing RFID keycards
Aloft Hotels is testing a service that enables guests to avoid the check-in desk and head directly to their rooms. The service is being tested at the Aloft in Lexington, Mass. Starwood Preferred Guest members who opt to participate in the program receive a keycard with RFID capability. On the day of a planned stay, a text message is sent to the guest's mobile device with their room number, and the door to the room is synced with the chip in the keycard. Starwood partnered with hospitality technology company VingCard Elsafe to launch the service.

Norwegian Epic: sea trial, no errors
The Norwegian Epic successfully completed its first sea trials in the Atlantic, four months prior to the 4,200-passenger ship's scheduled delivery. The 153,000-ton Epic, Norwegian Cruise Line's largest ship to date, will undergo a second round of sea trials in mid-April.

La Quinta Inns joins UATP system
La Quinta Inns & Suites became the first hotel company to join the UATP system, traditionally a charge card for air travel only. UATP began recruiting hotel and car rental firms a year ago and signed up Amtrak last spring. UATP said WalMart was a driving force because of its efforts to put its travelers' La Quinta business on its central UATP account.

Qantas to cut back on 1st-class cabins
Qantas is dropping first-class seating on eight A380s on order from Airbus and is reconfiguring its 747-400s to eliminate first-class in favor of a new mix of business, premium economy and economy. The Australian airline plans to keep first-class sections in 12 of its A380s flying from Sydney and Melbourne to London via Singapore and Los Angeles.

Southwest terminal in Philly unveiled
Southwest consolidated its Philadelphia Airport operations into a newly refurbished Terminal E, with access to 10 of the enlarged terminal's 17 gates. It previously used the same number of gates but in different locations. In addition to seven new gates, the $45 million face-lift also gave the terminal a 500-seat holding area, new rest rooms and expanded concessions.

Hertz continues off-airport push
Hertz said it plans to open 150 off-airport car rental locations this year to serve the insurance replacement and other local market segments. The company already has 1,600 off-airport locations in the U.S.

Friends & Colleagues

Enzo Visone was appointed executive chairman of Silversea Cruises. Manfredi Lefebvre, Silversea's current chairman, will remain on the board as deputy chairman. Visone most recently served as CEO of an asset management company based in Milan. Prior to that he was CEO of the beverage company Campari Group. • • • John Beauvais has been named president of FCm Travel Solutions USA, a post he will assume on March 1. John joined FCm's parent company, Flight Centre, in 2004 and most recently served as vice president of airline relations and ticket center for Flight Centre USA, ranked No. 11 in Travel Weekly's 2009 Power List. Prior to his post with Flight Centre, John spent 10 years working in a variety of management roles with American West Airlines, and five years as an aviation consultant. • • • Robin Shaw, Royal Caribbean International's vice president and managing director in the U.K., left Royal Caribbean after five years to join the Acromas Group as CEO of the Cruise Division, which includes Saga and Spirit of Adventure. • • • Ritz-Carlton named Stephen Hahn area vice president of sales and marketing with responsibility for its five properties in the Caribbean and Mexico, in addition to other projects in development and under negotiation. Hahn formerly was Marriott International's director for Western region market sales. • • • Holland America Line has named Jason Grant as director of fleet information technology. Grant most recently was with Lindblad Expeditions, where he served as director of information technology for the line's fleet.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI