News briefs, week of Nov. 21, 2016

Delta sends out first bag-status alerts

Delta's app began sending push notifications to passengers on the real-time status of their checked bags as they were loaded onto planes and arrived at baggage carousels. Delta is the first airline to use a radio frequency identification (RFID) bag-tracking system across its network and said the system will reduce bag-handling errors by 25%. The airline can print RFID tags at the 344 airports where it operates.

Virgin developing supersonic jet
Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic unveiled plans for a supersonic passenger jet by 2023 that will fly 1,451 mph, or 10% faster than the Concorde, seat up to 55 passengers and fly as high as 60,000 feet. Denver-based Boom Technology, Virgin's partner, revealed a subscale XB-1 prototype last week, scheduled for a flight test in late 2017. Branson said fares will start at $5,000 for New York-London service.

Crystal yacht going to the Caribbean in 2017
Crystal Cruises' 62-passenger mega-yacht, the Crystal Esprit, will redeploy to the Caribbean in November from its current Seychelles winter base. CEO Edie Rodriguez said guests requested closer proximity to the major travel hubs. The Esprit will sail seven-day routes from Marigot Bay, St. Martin.

Regent's Voyager fresh from drydock
The Seven Seas Voyager emerged with a French restaurant, Chartreuse; a redecorated main dining room, buffet and lounge; and more modern-design cabins as part of a $125 million Regent Seven Seas fleet upgrade.

United automates PreCheck in Chicago
United opened the first automated security lanes in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to PreCheck, at Chicago O'Hare. Each lane offers five stations enabling up to five customers to simultaneously fill bins and has a second conveyor belt that returns the empty bins to the loading point after screening. The lanes are part of the TSA's effort to use automation to speed security.

Kimpton debuts first international hotel
The Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa on Grand Cayman marked Kimpton Hotels' international debut and Grand Cayman's first new hotel in more than 10 years. Kimpton, acquired by InterContinental Hotels Group in 2014, manages 65 hotels in the United States. The 266-room property on Seven Mile Beach has two pools and an 8,500-square-foot spa.

MSC to offer its first world cruise in 2019
MSC Cruises said it will operate its first world cruise in 2019. The MSC Magnifica will depart Genoa, Italy, on Jan. 5 for a 119-day, around-the-world voyage, visiting 49 destinations in 32 countries before returning to Genoa on May 3. Prices for the cruise start at $16,999.

Windstar moving the Star Legend to Asia
Windstar Cruises will deploy the Star Legend to Asia in winter 2017-18, moving it from the Caribbean, where the 212-passenger ship sails this winter. Itineraries will be offered from Hong Kong and Singapore and will visit Malaysian Borneo, Brunei, the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, China, Korea, Malaysia and Thailand.

Friends & Colleagues
ASTA has named Kim Sherrett its manager of membership and chapter development. Sherrett, who most recently was Nexion's manager of business development and education, brings 20 years of experience in the industry to the Society, where she will focus on growing membership and aiding chapters with their development and growth. Additionally, ASTA has promoted two of its staff members: Karen Morris, to director of meetings and events, and Erika Richter, to the director of communications. Morris was previously the Society's manager of meetings and events. Richter had served as senior manager of government affairs and communications. • • • Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald has been chosen to be CLIA's new global chairman, effective Jan. 1, when Adam Goldstein completes his two-year term. Goldstein, president and COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., is assuming the role of chairman of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association on Jan. 1. • • • El San Juan Hotel has named Stefan Huber to serve as managing director and general manager of the Isla Verde beach hotel.El San Juan will reopen its doors in early 2017 following a multimillion-dollar, propertywide renovation. A seasoned hospitality veteran, Huber returns to El San Juan, where he served as director of housekeeping from 1985 to 1987. Most recently, he was general manager at the InterContinental Dallas, a position he held since 2013. • • • Mountain Travel Sobek named Kimberly Daley president and CEO. Daley comes from Pleasant Holidays, where she served as senior vice president of sales and strategy; she had also been vice president and managing director of the tour operator's luxury Journese brand. She replaces Kevin Callaghan, who is retiring from day-to-day operations at the adventure travel operator but will continue to be involved as a consultant to the board and to the company.


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