Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Extra, Extra!: Convene Newsstand

Welcome to this week's edition of Extra, Extra!, wherein we round up news from the meetings- and business-travel industry that we didn't have room to print in our weekly ThisWeek@PCMA newsletter. We hope you enjoy!

According to data provided by OAG–The Official Airline guide, and reported on by USA Today, the 10 largest U.S. airlines had 2.7 percent more seats available in November (obviously a big travel month) than the same time last year. That's a reversal from the trend of the last three years, during which, responding to a weakening (and then flat-out weak) economy, airlines cut capacity, eliminating routes and numbers of planes running those routes. Now that tide is turning — albeit slowly — as airlines carefully adjust their supply to meet the growing demand.

A common dictum you hear in meetings these days — as this reporter did at DMAI's Annual Convention in Fort Lauderdale this past July — is not "please silence your cell phones," but rather, "keep your phones on," for the purposes of Tweeting and the like. But some companies are pushing back against that, according to this story in the New York Post. The story cites Wendy Sachs, the editor in chief of Care.com, a "caregiver matchmaking service," who says that she has banned iPhones, BlackBerrys, and Androids (Google's smartphone) from meetings:
“It’s sort of ironic given that we’re a tech company, but what we found is that people are looking at their BlackBerry or their laptop and they’re just not as engaged,” she says. Post-ban, “You can clearly see more engagement and less distraction.”
File this under news you always knew was true, even if you didn't have proof: According to new research, as reported on by Time magazine, "chronic jet lag results in brain changes that persist long after a traveler returns to her normal day/night schedule." Psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, subjected female Syrian hamsters to six-hour "time shifts" twice a week for a month. When they tested the time-addled hamsters against a control group on learning and memory tasks, the "traveler" hamsters had more difficulty completing them — not only in the last two weeks of the trials, but also a month after the final hamster "flight" had ended.

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