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Travel Roundup: CityCenter Postpones Harmon Hotel, Amtrak's Onboard Sales, Hawaii Loses Seats and More

CityCenter Holdings postpones hotel opening -- CityCenter Holdings LLC announced that it would postpone the opening of the Harmon Hotel & Spa to 2010 and drop its plan for residential condominiums. CityCenter Holdings is a joint venture between MGM Mirage and Infinity World Development Corp., which is developing a 67-acre complex of hotels, condos, casinos and shopping. Those customers who already put deposits on the Harmon condominiums will be given refunds and can purchase a unit at the neighboring Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas or other CityCenter properties. By pushing back the Harmon Hotel & Spa, the company may save $600 million in construction and other costs. Aside from the Harmon Hotel, development at the CityCenter project is still set for its grand opening in December 2009. [Source: HotelNewsNow]

Amtrak to sell tickets onboard with credit-card readers -- Amtrak plans to buy 2,000 credit-card readers to sell onboard tickets. While the company said that most passengers will have a ticket to board, the readers will be used if ticket windows are closed or unavailable at the station. Conductors will swipe a customer's credit card onboard for immediate authorization. An Amtrak spokesman said the rail line isn't doing this to increase onboard sales, but as part of its movement towards ticketless travel. Amtrak said it hopes to award a contract for the card readers by the end of February. The readers won't be used for reservation-only trains such as the Acela. [Source: Philadelphia Inquirer]

Hawaii airline seats down 16.1 percent -- The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism said that while 2.1 million seats are scheduled to fly nonstop to Hawaii in the first quarter of 2009, it's still a 16.1 percent drop compared to last year. The declines are coming from all over the United States, with the biggest drops from California and Las Vegas. The only bright spots in the report are added planes from Seattle and Anchorage, which are expected to boost seats 10.2 percent and 41.8 percent respectively. [Source: Pacific Business News]

Orbitz announces cost-cutting and new CEO -- Orbitz Worldwide Inc. announced Barney Harford as its new chief executive and its plans to reduce operation costs by $25 million. The company already cut $20 million by reducing its work force by 10 percent in November but didn't say if this meant more job cuts for the Chicago-based online company. The company has been hit by the slowing economy as consumers become less likely to part with extra cash. Harford takes the place of Steve Barnhart who recently resigned. [Source: Associated Press]

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