News Briefs, Week of June 10, 2013

TSA pulls the plug on pocket knives

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) decided not to go ahead with a plan to allow pocket knives on airplanes. The TSA announced a plan on March 5 to let passengers carry knives with blades up to 2.36 inches starting on April 25. However, three days before implementing the policy change, the TSA decided to take more time to examine it, in response to strong opposition.

UA sells ancillaries by subscription
United started offering ancillaries by subscription, giving MileagePlus members the option of pre-paying for Economy Plus seating or checked baggage service for one year, for $499 or $349, subject to geographic and other restrictions. Subscriptions can also be purchased as gifts, United said.

Virgin makes plans to open N.Y. hotel
Virgin Hotels plans to open a New York hotel in 2016, at Broadway and 29th Street, just north of Madison Square Park. The hotel will have more than 300 guestrooms and "various fine-dining experiences," said Virgin Group. Virgin's first hotel is scheduled to open in Chicago in Q2 2014.

Minute Suites arrive at DFW
Minute Suites opened its third U.S. airport sleep center facility, at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport's Terminal D. Another is planned for Terminal A. The 7-by-8-foot sleep pods, priced at $34 per hour up to $125 for overnight stays, are also offered at Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Refit in the works for L.A. Sheraton
The Sheraton hotel in downtown Los Angeles will undergo an extensive renovation following the purchase of Macy's Plaza, the mixed-use project that includes the 485-room hotel, by Ratkovich Co., National Real Estate Advisors and Blue Vista Capital. Macy's Plaza, about three blocks from the L.A. Live retail-entertainment complex, will receive $160 million in upgrades that will include renovations to the 40-year-old hotel. The upgrades to the project, which will be renamed the Bloc, will be completed by September 2015.

Marriott to bring AC brand to U.S.
Marriott plans to bring its European lifestyle brand, AC Hotels, to the U.S. market. AC Hotels by Marriott, which has 79 properties in Spain, Portugal, France and Italy, was created in 2011 as a joint venture between Marriott and Spain's AC Hotels. The company identified likely markets for the upscale urban brand as Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia and New York.

Myanmar unveils tourism project
The Myanmar government has joined forces with Norway and the Asian Development Bank to draw up a tourism-development plan valued at nearly $500 million. The master plan recommends strengthening tourism education and training; increasing international air arrivals in Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw; improving the Irrawaddy River pier in Bagan to better support river cruising; and building better roads in destinations like Ngapali Beach and Inle Lake.

Friends & Colleagues
Cunard President and Managing Director Peter Shanks and P&O Cruises Managing Director Carol Marlow will step down at the end of September. David Dingle, pictured, will formally assume the CEO title at both Cunard and P&O. The job of Cunard president and managing director will be eliminated. Dingle's current title is CEO of Carnival U.K., a position he has held since 2007. Shanks joined Cunard in 2002, overseeing launches of the Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. Marlow's career with the company begin in 1997 and included leadership jobs at Cunard, Princess Cruises U.K., Swan Hellenic and P&O Cruises. • • • Tom Baumann, president of Travel Leaders Leisure Group and acting head of its Cruise Holidays franchise operation, will leave his position July 12. Travel Leaders said his position will be filled by President John Lovell, who will continue to run V-com. Kevin Weisner, currently vice president of Cruise Deals, will return to Cruise Holidays as senior vice president. Weisner was previously with Cruise Holidays from 2000 to 2005.


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