Travel Tidbits: Lavatories and Lobbies

LAVATORIES

In a previous blog I detailed my recent 10-hour flight to Hawaii… with my two-year-old. (Oh, yes, it was quite an adventure.) What I didn’t share with you was the good fortune we had to be seated in a bulkhead row (bulkhead row = more leg room), located not far from the restroom. My silent gloating ended abruptly when I noticed a long line forming around our seat area. There were at least a dozen people in line to use the two lavatories in our section.

As I looked up, my eyes locked with a fellow passenger who shook her head and commented that the line for the restrooms at the back of the plane were just as long. Meanwhile, the line for the first-class lavatory (which cheap seat passengers were not allowed to use) was non-existent.

My observation of the restroom logjam took place in January. Incredibly, just two days ago, I learned that American Airlines is now offering relief for cheap seat passengers with full bladders. Effective immediately the airline will allow coach passengers to use the lavatory in the first-class section.

According to American, the rule change applies to domestic flights and to international flights leaving the United States. (The airline had been restricting coach passengers from using the first-class restroom since 2003.)

Coach passengers rejoice—we can now use the lavatory located nearest to our seats. What a concept.

LOBBIES

How many times have you hung out in your hotel’s lobby (minus the times you’ve sat there because you were locked out of your room)? If you answered, “never” you aren’t alone. Many guests make a beeline from the front desk to their rooms and barely look at the lobby, much less spend quality time there. It’s a practice hotel managers say they are looking to change.

At major hotel properties across the country lobbies are morphing into party rooms. Several extended-stay properties’ have introduced lobby happy hours complete with free food and beverages. Marriott is taking the concept a step further announcing it plans to redesign its lobbies to promote socializing.

And, they aren’t alone. Westin recently unveiled its new “Unwind … A Westin Evening Ritual,” which the hotel calls “a complimentary nightly social event.” Examples of the new program include The Westin Excelsior, Venice Lido’s event that teaches guests how to mix a perfect Bellini. Meanwhile, guests staying at The Westin in Tucson receive lessons on how to make guacamole.

In addition, Staybridge Suites, which already hosts complimentary evening sundowner receptions and Wednesday barbecue nights at its Atlanta Perimeter-East property, is expanding its lobby-socializing program. Guests spending the night at Staybridge Suites Tallahassee in Florida will get to watch movies on a theater-like screen and enjoy complimentary popcorn in the lobby there.

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Traveling with Children: Finding the Best Hotel Room

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.

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