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Business_travel By Joe Brancatelli

Recession Be Damned. The New Properties Keep Opening: The number of new hotels opening would be overwhelming even if the economy were still roaring along. Now it just seems, well, chaotic. But here we go.

  • Hilton has opened a new 175-suite Embassy Suites in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, and a 135-room Hilton Garden Inn in Suffolk, Virginia.
  • Marriott has opened a 118-room Fairfield Inn in Schertz, in suburban San Antonio.
  • Starwood has opened side-by-side properties in Arundel Mills, Maryland. One is a 147-room Element and the other is a 142-room Aloft hotel. It has also added a 91-room W Hotel in Doha, Qatar.
  • Overseas, citizenM, a prefab, high-tech hotel concept, has opened its second property. The 215-room hotel in Amsterdam's financial district complements the original citizenM, located within walking distance of the passenger terminals at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.
  • Kempinski has opened a 98-room lakefront resort in the High Tatras Mountains of Slovakia.
  • Marriott has opened a 118-room Renaissance hotel in Paris near the Eiffel Tower.

Flu Panic Eases, But Mexico FlightsDisappear: The panic surrounding the H1N1 or swine-flu pandemic has eased, but U.S. carriers have bowed to the inevitable: Travelers have stopped flying to Mexico and flights are largely empty.

In other news,

  • Air Europa adds a weekly flight between Miamiand Tenerife in the Canary Islands on June 20. The flights will operate with Airbus A330-200s configured with 24 business-class and 275 coach seats.
  • Delta's big international hub at New York/Kennedy will get still another route. Four weekly flights to Valencia, Spain, begin on June 5.
  • On October 1, JetBlue Airways adds daily flights between its hub at New York/Kennedy and Barbados.

On-the-Road Intelligence to Help You Travel Smarter:

  • Southwest Airlines fliers take note: The carrier's legendarily bad in-flight coffee may be a thing of the past. The airline now serves Lift, a dark-roasted, 100-percent Arabica blend of South and Central American beans. And here's the big news: Southwest has finally abandoned the powdered creamer and now serves a liquid creamer.
  • Avis renters in Europe take note: Avis Europe has begun charging a 40 euro or 40 British pound penalty for no-shows who don't cancel their bookings.
  • Air Fiji has closed.
  • Waiting for that long-promised new in-flight entertainment system on US Airways? Forget it. The airline that is always first with the least has decided it won't install the system, which it has been testing on a single Airbus A320. The airline told employees that it couldn't raise financing for the installation.
  • Airlines may be ramping up service to Tel Aviv, but travel to Israel is plummeting. Overnight stays in the first quarter of the year were down 26 percent.
  • After trying to bury the data, the Federal Aviation Administration released its statistics on bird strikes and the numbers are chilling. Bird strikes more than quadrupled in 2007 compared to 1990. The report said plane-wildlife collisions killed 219 people and destroyed 200 aircraft worldwide since 1988.

Related Orbitz resources:

Joe Brancatelli is editor and publisher of, a non-commercial Web site for business travelers. Copyright 2009 by Joe Brancatelli. Licensed by contract for Orbitz use.

Tagged: Caribbean, Europe, Mexico

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