Another reason bedspreads weren't cleaned very often, said Thomas L. Keltner, executive vice president for brand performance and franchise development at Hilton, was that they weren't usually slept on like sheets and were "a lot of times peeled back."
Hilton is encasing its duvets in new white sheets to help keep them clean and for ease of laundering. Hilton also will provide new 250-thread-count sheets and -- like other hotels -- is replacing mattresses and box springs and adding extra pillows.
Transcript: Washington Post reporters Sara Goo and Keith Alexander discussed holiday air travel woes.
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Crowne Plaza rolled out its new bedding program in 2003. Like many hotels, the chain had dark, floral-patterned bedspreads, which made visual inspection for stains difficult. It has been replacing its bedspreads with white duvets.
"We want to showcase to our guests that we no longer have anything that can hide stains or filth, and it forces you to clean them on a regular basis," said Kevin Kowalski, vice president of brand management for Crowne Plaza. The hotel also is replacing its sheets with 200-thread-count versions.
So how often did the housekeeping staff at Crowne Plaza's 106 North America properties clean the bedspreads?
"I couldn't tell you," Kowalski said. "It varied by hotel. Some cleaned them often and some cleaned them seldom."
Delta Shuttle Changes: Beginning today, Delta Air Lines will no longer guarantee a seat on its hourly shuttle to New York out of Washington's Reagan National Airport.
Since Delta acquired the New York shuttle from Pan Am in 1991, it had regularly brought in an extra aircraft when a flight filled up. Previously, passengers -- usually harried business travelers -- rushing to make a shuttle never had to worry about flights being sold out.
Now, as part of its overall cost reductions, Delta will put the extra Boeing 737s to other use.
"It's an hourly shuttle. If someone misses a flight and has a ticket, there will be another flight in another hour," said Delta spokeswoman Benet Wilson.
Delta's chief shuttle competitor, US Airways, eliminated extra aircraft for its booked flights a "couple" of years ago, said US Airways spokeswoman Amy Kudwa.