The Takeoff Episode 03: Why Team and Culture Matter for Travel Startups Sponsored This content is created collaboratively with one of our sponsors.
What to Know Now
In case it wasn’t clear from the sabre rattling earlier this year, Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines are definitely quarreling. The two airlines, which were previously seen
loudly fighting outside a bar battling over the Seattle market, are now starting to cut reciprocal elite benefits from each other’s programs including free checked bags and priority boarding. While it’s still possible to earn miles on opposing carriers, that benefit may be next. And then there’s the awkward baggage situation. At least Alaska still has American to lean on.
An interesting theory in the frequent flyer community regarding the merger between American and US Airways is that the combined mileage program is going to be the worst of both worlds. On my side, as an elite with American I’ve already noticed a lower frequency of upgrades — just because there are now so many elites. But the program downgrades are more systematic, including different fare structures, worse cancellation strategies and less food. Gary Leff has a good rundown on some of the grave changes to expect over at View from the Wing.
Social Quote of the Day
We’ve got a seat just for you at 30k and we promise we’ll share our #waffletaco pic.twitter.com/SdkLp3n75Z
Virgin America Reports its First Full Year of Profitability: Virgin America finally has some good news. Today the airline reported fourth quarter and full year 2013 results. Operating revenue for the full year rose 6.9% to $1.42 billion, and net income came in at $10.1 million, compared with a $145.4 million net loss in 2012. This is the airlines’ first full year of profitability. Read more at Skift
Delta has Started Attaching Extra Tags to ALL of its Seattle Customers’ Bags: These tags remind customers that they could check their bags for free if they had the Delta Gold Rewards Amex. Unfortunately for Delta, they chose a pretty dumb place to implement it. Read more at Hack my Trip
Southwest Announces New Destinations From Reagan National Airport: Southwest Airlines Co is adding flights to new destinations such as Akron-Canton, Ohio, Indianapolis and Dallas Love Field from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport this year, it said on Monday. Read more on Skift
Get free Skyteam Elite Plus status: If you hold Star Alliance Gold (maybe thanks to a Turkish Airlines status match) or oneworld Emerald (so far it appears Sapphire won’t get a match), reports have indicated you can get Skyteam Elite Plus status via a “match” from China Airlines. Read more at Altimtr.com
TSA Recommends a Better Show of Force by Law Enforcement at Airport Checkpoints: The U.S. Transportation Security Administration recommended on Wednesday that armed law enforcement officers be posted at airport checkpoints and ticket counters during peak hours. Read more at Skift
The Number of Delayed and Lost Bags Reaches Ten-Year Low in 2013: For flyers that constantly complain about shrinking seat size, rising food prices, and lengthier boarding times, there is at least one area where the flying experience is improving. Read more at Skift
Ground Worker Strike In Germany Set to Disrupt Flights This Thursday: Passengers at German airports face lengthy delays on Thursday after trade union Verdi called for a strike by ground staff as part of wider industrial action over public sector pay. Read more at Skift
Flyers Weigh Benefits of Travel Insurance After Long Winter of Delay: Allianz Travel Insurance reports a 25 increase in U.S. sales on its consumer-only website since the beginning of the year. Read more at Skift
Expedia Homepage Redesign Emphasizes Simplicity and the Mobile Revolution: Expedia.com trumpeted the official launch of its redesigned homepage, which follows an industry trend emphasizing a simple, uncluttered look. Read more at Skift
Stash Hotel Rewards Sees Opportunity for Independents in Loyalty Program Devaluation: Enter the four year old Stash Hotel Rewards, a loyalty program and booking site for independent hotels and small chains, which sees opportunities to take advantage of the pain points, but has to compete against giant chains with massive marketing budgets, and boutique brands such as Kimpton, with its own rewards program. Read more at Skift
Marriott Kickstarts West Africa Expansion with Luxury Hotels in Nigeria: Marriott International Inc., the owner of brands including the Ritz-Carlton and Renaissance, is strengthening its position in West Africa as economic growth in Nigeria and Ghana boost travel and tourism. Read more at Skift
Andy Murray’s Cromlix Hotel To Open Next Week: Tennis pro Andy Murray is about to open his very first hotel next week in Dunblane, Scotland, but lest you think he’s throwing in his tennis career to become a full-time hotelier, he will actually be missing opening ceremony to prepare for the Davis Cup quarter-final in Italy. Read more at Hotel Chatter
Airbnb Is Making a Dent Among Business Travelers: Many business travelers are flocking to Airbnb, the San Francisco online marketplace where people rent homes or rooms to short-term visitors. Its expansion into business travel is a key reason investors reportedly pushed the company’s valuation to $10 billion last week. Read more at Skift