Hilton Hotels

Got a passport? 60 percent of Americans don’t!

Happy Friday! Get your passport and get going.

Passports. Have one? If not, you’re not alone.

About 60 percent of Americans don’t have current passports and Hilton Hotels is doing its part to help potential international travelers get going.

Hilton is kicking off its Hilton Passport Project with a Passport Concierge booth in the American Airlines terminal at O’Hare International Airport from October 20 to 22.

At the Passport Concierge booth, travelers will have the opportunity to fill out their passport applications, get their questions answered by on-site U.S. Department of State experts and take passport photos and get some ideas about international destinations.

The booth will move on to the Hilton San Francisco Union Square from November 2 to 4 and to the Hilton Cleveland Downtown from November 9 to 11.

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Tidbits for travelers: lost luggage, found privacy, & contests

A little bit of this ‘n that today.

Blackpool Suitcase

(No one is walking off with this bag!)

The story out of Phoenix about a couple who managed to steal more than 1,000 pieces of luggage from the baggage claim carousels at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is alarming, for sure.

But we shouldn’t be surprised.  While many airports have some sort of security in the bag claim area, the job of making sure passengers walk off with only their bags is the responsility of each airline. And in most airports, airlines haven’t been actively monitoring bag match-ups for years.


I’m working on a story about this for my column next week on MSNBC.com, and would love to hear from you if you have any first hand experience to share.

In the meantime, here are some other travel tidbits you might find useful:

Through November, the folks at 3M are once again hosting “privacy havens” at several busy airports around the country.

This year, you’ll find these quiet spots at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and in Terminal 8 at New York’s JFK International Airport. (Exact locations here).

On the busy days right before and after Thanksgiving, these “privacy havens” will also be offering free massages and free Wi-Fi.

And two sweepstakes you may want to enter:

Up in the air

To coincide with the new movie “Up in the Air,” with George Clooney, American Airlines is having an auction and a sweepstakes.  You’ll need to use AAdvantage miles to bid on travel, movie and “experience-” related items in the auction, but entering the contest, which has prizes that include a trip to Los Angeles and 260,000 AAdvantage miles, is free. You’ll just need to watch the trailer and then enter your details.  (Auction bids and sweepstakes entries must be in by Jan 5, 2010.)

And Hilton (which seems to have a part in the Up in the Air movie) is also having an Up in the Air sweepstakes.  You can enter by booking a Hilton stay, but if you’re not heading out on the road before January 18, 2010 you can enter for free by “sending your hand-printed name, address and phone number on 3” x 5” paper to Hilton “Up In The Air” Sweepstakes Alternate Entry, P.O. Box 8600, Westport, CT 06888”

Good luck!