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Despite stalled growth in China, Brazil and Russia, a wave of newly middle-class travelers from the BRICs and beyond will start visiting international destinations in the coming decades — dwarfing the numbers we’ve seen thus far.
What to Know Now
I got to thinking about entitlement among business travelers as I stewed on an airplane without Wi-Fi this Monday. That bit from Louis C.K. about flying gets mentioned often, and to be fair I think that connectivity has come a long way in the last few years. ATG-4 is right around the corner on Gogo. Southwest lets you connect from gate to gate. Numerous airlines offer transoceanic Wi-Fi. And with competitors now chomping at Gogo’s heels, there may be some nice competition in the space pretty soon. It’s a great time to be a connected business traveler, even if that connection is sometimes at 0.004 Mbit.
Business travelers in Dallas are about to get a treat as Southwest Airlines announced that they’re dramatically expanding service from Love Field. The change comes with the expiration of the arcane law limiting the use of Love Field and should bring a hefty volume of competition to north Texas. So even if you don’t fly on Southwest, you can be thankful for the strong competition that the airline will bring to your market.
Social Quote of the Day
Totally sympathize with media hotel room horror stories in Sochi. This chandelier hasn’t been cleaned in days. Ugh. pic.twitter.com/UXuhFw8B57
The Latest Olympics Security Concern Is Toothpaste on Airlines: Airlines flying to Winter Olympics host Russia are being warned to watch for toothpaste tubes containing materials that could used by terrorists to make a bomb, according to a U.S. law enforcement official. Read more at Skift
Airlines Are on Their Fourth Consecutive Day of Weather-Related Flight Delays: U.S. airlines canceled nearly 2,800 flights Wednesday because of snow and freezing rain in the Northeast and Midwest, the third consecutive day that bad weather has snarled air traffic. Read more at Skift
Virgin Atlantic to End Flights to Sydney Following Years of Losses: The last flights from Britain to Sydney on Sir Richard Branson’s airline will cease in May, leaving British Airways as the only UK airline to operate a direct daily service. Read more at Skift
Air France Finally Catches Up to Competitors With Lie-Flat Seats in Business Class: Air France-KLM Group is introducing business-class seats that each cost 50,000 euros ($68,000) to make and turn into fully-flat beds, more than a decade after competitors including British Airways pioneered the experience. Read more at Skift
Houston Airports Reach Passenger Record in 2013: Year-end traffic reports released Tuesday by the Houston Airport System show Hobby Airport was used by 11.1 million travelers in 2013, up more than 6 percent from the previous year. It’s the fourth straight year of record use at the airport south of downtown Houston. Hobby’s usage is up 34 percent over the past decade. Read more at Skift
American Airlines Offers VIP Service At More Airports Than Any Other Airline: At a time when airlines such as Delta and United have devalued miles in their frequent flyer programs, making redemption of an award ticket more costly, 14 airlines around the world have rolled out VIP services for their most high-value customers, according to a report from IdeaWorks Company. Read more at Skift
Newark Airport Is Getting a Second Rail Line Into New York City: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey plans to extend the PATH train line to Newark Liberty International Airport over the next decade. Agency officials announced plans for the $1.5 billion project on Tuesday. PATH trains now end at Newark’s Penn Station. Read more at Skift
TripAdvisor Apps Now Provide Wi-Fi Information For Cities and Airports: TripAdvisor’s updated hotels and flights app now provide information about Wi-Fi and roaming charges for downtown areas and airports in 21 cities around the world. Read more at Skift
Your Car’s Computer System Can Be Hacked With Off-the-Shelf Parts: You probably don’t spend much time thinking about the computer in your car, but a pair of Spanish security researchers sure do. In preparation for next month’s Black Hat Asia security conference in Singapore, Javier Vazquez-Vidal and Alberto Garcia Illera have assembled a small electronic device that can leave a vehicle’s computer system open to attack. Read more at Engadget
Skyscanner Wants to Be a Global Player, Claims Its Growth Is on Steroids: Skyscanner, the flight-metasearch service that is branching out into hotels, says its revenue increased 96% to $108.6 million in 2013, its fastest pace in three years. Read more at Skift
FlightCar’s New Product Targets Business Travelers: FlightCar is seeking to boost the number of business travelers who make their cars available through its peer-to-peer rental platform, with a new offering designed to appeal directly to them. While that offering requires that business travelers pay for their parking, they could also make more when their cars are rented. Read more at Skift
How Fast Are Consumers Really Moving to Same-Day Hotel Bookings? Let’s face it: Mobile and same-day booking trends are transforming the user experience in hotel bookings, but the travel research and booking experience is still very much a multi-device phenomenon, with desktops, phones, tablets and even foot traffic/walk-ins playing a role, and both the desktop and longer booking windows still play a leading role in transactions. Read more at Skift
What Will Hotel Videos Look Like in the Future? With video quickly gaining market share within the little world we like to call the Internet, it’s fair to wonder how hotels will approach it with regards to marketing. In a recent advertorial, a digital marketing agency claimed that “bookings are 67% more likely to happen when a video tour is available,” and that “Internet shoppers who view [the] video are an astounding 89% more likely to book.” Read more at HotelChatter
Is Crowdsourcing the Design for a Hotel Brilliant or Just a Gimmick? The goal of the crowd-sourced hotel project, unfortunately dubbed a “Cotel,” is to mix design and technology to create an extended-stay hotel that better meets the needs of today’s business travelers. Read more at Skift
Charlie Hobart, United’s second-coolest PR guy, reached out to let us know that the airline has a new commercial featuring American Olympians. In light of the events starting today, we thought it would be nice to share. Take a look at the new ad here.