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What to Know Now
Good news everyone. We’ve acquired Gadling, AOL Travel’s blog and the site for which I used to edit. Gadling used to be the hub for all-things-travel, from news to trip reports to destination advice to the chork, but it’s been on hold for the last few months. With Rafat and Jason overseeing the new Gadling we’ll be able to bring it back to its former glory. Stay tuned to Gadling or Skift for more details — though we’ll be taking some time to rebuild and strategize, we should be rolling soon.
We all knew it was coming. After Delta massacred its mileage program last year in order to reward high spenders, it was only a matter of time until the other legacies followed suit. For United, it was this week. Starting next year, members of United’s Mileage Plus program will only be awarded miles based on how much they spend instead of how much they fly. So the wealthy, last-second business traveler will get richer with more miles while the poor, budget traveler will remain poor. Capitalism at its best.
Social Quote of the Day
Looking forward to seeing the new @Gadling, just acquired by @Skift: http://www.gadling.com/2014/06/12/skift-acquires-gadling-travel-from-aol/ (Congrats to both teams!)
Will All-Business Class Odyssey Airlines’ Epic Tale End in Triumph? Although CEO Adam Scott’s first attempt to start Odyssey Airlines began around nine years ago, he will he hoping for a smoother journey after the planned launch of all-business class flights between London City Airport and New York in 2016. Read more at Skift
JetBlue Balances Creation of New Mint Business Class with Perks in Coach: JetBlue modestly debuts its Mint business class service on June 15 with a 9:30 a.m. flight on a new A321 from JFK to Los Angeles, and so begins a new era in the airline’s existence and a delicate balancing act as the carrier tries hard not to alienate the passengers toward the back of the plane. Read more at Skift
United Follows Delta By Connecting Its Loyalty Program to Passenger Spending: United Continental Holdings Inc. is following the lead of Delta Air Lines Inc. in basing frequent flier miles on fares instead of distance flown. Read more at Skift
Copenhagen Airport Walks Away With Top Honors at Food and Drink Awards: Copenhagen Airport has received numerous accolades for its excellence in service and convenience, in great part due to its strong focus on the application of technology to improve the passenger experience at the airport. Read more at Skift
Iceland’s International Airport Tries to Become a Destination of Its Own: Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport is undergoing a transformation from a once underused transfer hub to a global stopover that shares local culture even with passengers just changing flights. Read more at Skift
U.S. Airlines Improve On-Time Arrival Rates in April: Airlines are doing a better job of arriving on time, although more than one in five flights still run late. The U.S. Transportation Department said Tuesday that the nation’s biggest airlines achieved an on-time arrival rating of 79.6 percent in April. That is up from 77.6 percent in March and 77.3 percent in April 2013. Read more at Skift
Taxis and Transit Workers Strike Across Europe in Transport Tech Upheaval: Cabbies and train workers walked off the job on Wednesday, leaving traffic snarled in some of Europe’s biggest cities as they protested changes to the travel industry that they say could endanger passengers and give untested upstarts an unfair advantage. Read more at Skift
Expedia to Launch Bitcoin as a New Payment Option: For travelers looking to avoid nasty credit card fees, Expedia is adding a payment option for hotel bookings — Bitcoin. Read more at Skift
Amtrak Wants to Offer Riders High-Speed, Reliable Wi-Fi on Its Best Route: Spotty and slow Wi-Fi is among Amtrak riders’ greatest complaints along the Northeast Corridor, which is why Amtrak today announced plans to upgrade its on-board Wi-Fi service along the well-traveled route, which runs from Washington to Boston. Read more at Skift
Hilton to Open 5 More Hotels in Myanmar: Hilton Worldwide has signed a contract to operate five hotels in Myanmar, which is emerging as a popular Southeast Asian tourist destination after military rule was lifted in 2011. Read more at Skift
What Food Looks Like to the Hotel Brand Heralding Healthy Travel: Goji berry granola, kale salad, and paleo dinners are something that most travelers wouldn’t consider eating five years ago. Read more at Skift
Hilton To Develop Largest Resort In The Middle East: Hilton Worldwide has joined hands with Qatar investor Al-Rayyan Hospitality to develop the largest beach resort in the Middle East at Salwa Beach in Qatar. The 362-key property will be located 97 kilometers from Doha, and will feature a waterpark, luxury marina, yacht club, dive center, cinemas, 13 restaurants, bars and lounges, in addition to retail outlets. Read more at Gulf Business