Case of the Missing Hangers

I THINK I CAN tell you what may have happened to the folks who were charged an extra $25 for hangers they supposedly stole from BWI Ramaday [Coming and Going, Oct. 20]. More than likely, a previous guest was the culprit. When he/she checked out of the Ramada, the staff probably didn't do their normal room check.

The same thing happened to me at a New York hotel. The staff knocked on my door and asked if they could check the minibar. Thinking they just wanted to ensure I had everything, I said I was fine, as I had no intention of using it. When my credit card bill came, I was charged $200 for minibar expenses. The hotel admitted that it should have checked the bar before I checked in, and removed the expense from my card.

Lynn Farrow

Arlington

YOUR ARTICLE included a blatant inaccuracy. The story reported that "neither the hotel manager nor corporate headquarters would respond" to the guest's pleas of innocence. In fact, I told your reporter that both the hotel and the Ramada Customer Service Center discussed this incident with the guest.

Every Ramada hotel is owned and operated under a franchise agreement with Ramada Franchise Systems, and individual properties set their own policies relating to theft. It's not okay for guests to take hangers or, for that matter, towels, robes, clock radios or TVs.

Removing items from a hotel room constitutes theft, and guests who take things can expect to be charged a fee. This is a standard and reasonable practice in the industry and occurs at every end of the spectrum -- from five-star to unrated properties.

Emanuel Naim

Manager, Consumer Media Relations

Cendant Corp., Hotel Group

Our item made clear that the guest talked to hotel officials and that they refused to accept his pleas of innocence. Of course it is not okay for guests to steal hangers, but the point of the item was that the guest's guilt was automatically assumed. Our larger point was that charging guests without informing them is not standard industry practice, according to representatives of major hotel chains with whom we spoke.

Florida Trail Blazers

YOU PAINTED an inviting picture of Florida's bike trails ["As the Wheel Turns," Oct. 20]. I thought your readers would like to know that a local bike touring company for cyclists over 50 (Senior Cycling Inc.) offers a van-supported tour that includes the West Orange, Van Fleet, Withlacoochee and Pinellas trails. For details, call 540-668-6307 or check www.seniorcycling.com.

Donna Packard

Vienna

London Hotels

I ENJOYED your article on London hotels ["10 London Hotels to Call Home," Oct. 20]. One suggestion: All the rates quoted are for double occupancy. Those of us who travel without spouses most of the time would sure like to know what the single rate is. It wouldn't hurt to include that, would it?

Donald Y. McCoy

Great Falls

Space limitations prevent us from listing multiple hotel rates, so we compromise by listing those for doubles. From that figure, readers can get a sense of the hotel's other rates, and call or check the hotel's Web site for further information.

Laptop Woes

I READ with interest your article on ways to travel with your laptop [Road Test, Oct. 20], particularly about the Shoreline Laptop Case.

I have a laptop case with straps and Velcro to hold the laptop. When opened, the accessory pockets fold away from the laptop, which is then unobstructed and visible. Prior to 9/11, I could simply open this up, send it though the X-ray at check-in, fold it up and be on my way. Since the attacks, security insists that the laptop be removed.

I presume a similar fate would befall the Shoreline Laptop Case.

Jeff Stone

North Andover, Mass.

Write us: The Washington Post Travel section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071; via fax, 202-334-1069; or e-mail, travel@ washpost.com. Include your name and daytime phone number. Letters are edited for length and clarity.