What to Know Now
A new poll out this week suggests that many Americans think that PreCheck is more harmful than helpful to the airport security system. Indeed, as I passed through “PreCheck” at SFO’s international terminal this week, there was no specific lane — just a single agent escorting passengers through the crowd and cutting in front of the other passengers.
The PreCheck system is still imperfect. Unilateral implementation across all airports and security lines may never happen, and localized solutions where there is no PreCheck service will always vary. To be clear though, it is still valuable and appreciated by most business travelers. We complain when it’s not working fast enough. Other passengers complain because they don’t understand the basis of PreCheck. But 9 times out of 10 it’s faster than the regular line, and those five minutes can be spent working in the airport or at home with my family. I’d never give that back.
Gobs of earnings reports came out from the airline industry, giving investors and consumers a look into how the industry handled the harsh winter and seismic changes to loyalty program. The short story? Delta, American and Southwest win and JetBlue and United lose. Both of those latter airlines blamed the weather on their losses (though Delta and American have huge presences along the eastern corridor).
Interestingly, this is the first quarter of earnings in which Delta has its rambunctious loyalty program in place — the one that basically kicks budget travelers to the curb and focuses on business revenue. Let’s hope that the other airlines don’t read the changes as profit.
Social Quote of the Day
2nd flight this week @Delta has made me gatecheck my bag only to board & find dozens of bin spots. “Deal with it” says the flight attendant
How Airlines and Airports Will Use Tech to Boost Retail:The aviation industry revealed a unified strategy using new tech innovations to take a greater share of our travel budget at both the Passenger Terminal Expo in Barcelona and the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg earlier this month. Read more at Skift
THAI Cuts Metal After Brawl: THAI Airways International (THAI) is trialling the use of plastic cutlery during in-flight meal services after the airline’s regular stainless steel flatware was used in a mid-flight brawl earlier this month. Read more at The Bangkok Post
Cathay Pacific’s New In-Flight Menu: Krug, Caviar & ‘Comfort Food': Cathay Pacific is busy upgrading its inflight meals, starting in first class with both Cathay and regional offshoot Dragonair, as the airline moves to adopt what it calls “a more contemporary Asian culinary theme for an experience that’s more aligned with fine dining.” Read more at Australian Business Traveler
Qatar to Open $17 Billion Airport Six Years Behind Schedule: Ten discount airlines, including FlyDubai, will move from the current airport to Hamad on April 30, an official at the country’s Civil Aviation Authority said, asking not to be named in accordance with policy. The remaining airlines, including Qatar Airways Ltd., will start using the new airport May 27, once first- and business-class lounges are finished. Read more at Skift
New Bathroom at Detroit Airport Is for the Dogs: A restroom area at Detroit Metropolitan Airport now accommodates four-legged flyers. Read more at Skift
Poll Shows Majority of Americans Believe TSA PreCheck Hurts Security:
A majority of Americans in a new Harris Poll believe participants in the TSA’s PreCheck program should pass a criminal background check to qualify, and also think that the less-rigorous screening means some potential threats will be missed. Read more at Skift
The New Airline Seats Designed to Save Fuel and Fit More Flyers: If you thought airlines could find no new ways to squeeze more passengers into each plane, you are underestimating the resolve of the airline industry. Read more at Skift
Smartwatches Add Airline Boarding Passes and Hotel Search: The first three airlines to launch the technology are AirBerlin, Vueling and Iberia, which have introduced mobile boarding passes for the Pebble Smartwatch, Sony’s Smartwatch 2, and Samsung smartwatch Gear 2. Read more at Skift
Eurostar Adds Wi-Fi and Exclusive Check-In Areas for Business Travelers: Eurostar Group Ltd. will introduce wireless communications and dedicated check-in areas for business travelers as the express rail service linking London with Paris and Brussels enters its third decade of service. Read more at Skift
Much-Hyped Virgin Hotels Have Been a Non Starter, So Far: Richard Branson made headlines in 2010 when he boasted that Virgin Hotels, his new boutique hospitality brand, would shake up the industry. The first property was projected to open within 18 months, with up to two dozen more operating within seven years. Read more at Skift
Hotel-Booking Site PointsHound Acquired by Points International: PointsHound, a San Francisco startup that enables travelers to earn airline miles from hotel bookings, made what appears to be a modest exit as it was acquired by Points International. Read more at Skift
Four Seasons Has Its Own Jet Now for Its High-End Tours: Four Seasons has a new product for its customers at the top of the income chain: Small private tours on a Four Seasons-branded private jet. Read more at Skift
A fond farewell to Wendy Perrin, who just left her post at Conde Nast Traveler to head out into the great unknown. Mum’s the word on what’s next. Wherever it is, best of luck Wendy.