Skift

Skift Business Traveler: Cracks Form in the Veneer of Delta Skymiles

@grantkmartin

Jul 03, 2014 12:30 pm

Ted S. Warren  / Associated Press

A Delta Air Lines airplane is parked at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. Ted S. Warren / Associated Press


What to Know Now

Delta may be starting to see the impact of its crummy loyalty program. The folks on Flyertalk report this week that they’ve lowered the requirement needed to status match from AAdvantage or MileagePlus to SkyMiles — meaning that if you want to leave your favorite carrier and earn elite status on Delta, it’s now easier. Could this be because elites are leaving Delta left and right and the business travel market is so key to their plan? Nobody will say. But the tectonic plates are starting to shift.

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Top Story

The annual softball list of top travel operators was just posted by Travel + Leisure. I’ll save you the initial clicks:

  • Top Domestic Airline: Virgin America
  • Top International Airline: Singapore
  • Top Domestic Airport: Portland
  • Top International Airport: Singapore
  • Top Worldwide Hotel: Triple Creek Ranch, Montana
  • Top Worldwide Hotel Brand: Amanresorts

What does this mean for the business traveler? Not so much. T+L’s top picks are usually geared towards a leisure audience — one that doesn’t frequently travel or build loyalty — so while this list may be good inspiration for vacation, it’s not a real tipsheet for the hardcore insurance salesman putting in 200,000 miles a year.

SOCIAL QUOTE OF THE DAY

New Vice Travel Guides Are Like Rick Steves But With More Swears http://skft.it/1rjZn3F

@JasonClampet | Co-founder and Head of Content @ Skift

Mint, front row

Airlines

Analysts Question Whether JetBlue’s Business Class Will Make a Difference: JetBlue Airways expects its new sleeper seats for U.S. cross-country flights to add to profits even as some analysts question whether it will make a meaningful difference to the bottom line. Read more at Skift

Southwest Kicks Off a New Era With International Flights: Southwest kicks off its international service July 1 with a flights from Baltimore Washington International Airport to Aruba and Nassau; Atlanta to Aruba and Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Orlando to Montego Bay. Read more at Skift

Booze Is the Biggest Source of In-Flight Revenue for U.S. Airlines: Flyers spend more money on alcohol than any other in-flight purchase, according to data collected by onboard technology company GuestLogix, which tracked 8 million transactions across five U.S. airlines between November 2013 and March 2014. Read more at Skift

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Airports

Heathrow Baggage System Wreaks Havoc for Passengers: Tens of thousands of passengers who have flown through Heathrow’s Terminal 5 since last Thursday face days of delays before they see their luggage. Again. Read more at Skift

American, US Airways to Share O’Hare Terminals in First Physical Sign of Merger: Another noticeable sign for Chicagoans of the integration of American Airlines and US Airways will come Tuesday when the airlines combine their flight departures into a single terminal at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Read more at Skift

Tighter security for flights to US: Security is being tightened at airports with direct flights into the US – including some in the UK – in response to US warnings of a “credible threat”. Read more at the BBC

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Tech

Gogo Wi-Fi Services Launch on Japan Airlines Domestic Flights: Japan Airlines confirmed that it will launch Gogo-powered Wi-Fi onboard select flights between Haneda-Intani, Haneda-Fukoka, and Haneda-Hakodate starting July 23. Read more at Skift

Air France Begins to Trial NFC-Based Boarding: Select Air France Passengers who own smartphones equipped with Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, will participate in a trial of an NFC-Based Boarding system on flights between Toulouse-Blagnac and Paris-Orly, using the airline’s Touch&Pass app, over the next six months. Read more at Skift

U.S. Airports Roll Out Kiosks to Speed Customs Wait Times: On her way from London to Ithaca, New York, through Newark Liberty Airport on Wednesday morning, Cindy Gration found herself spending more time talking about the new automated passport kiosk she’d just used than it took to use the machine itself. Read more at Skift

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Hotels

Las Vegas’ Hotel Makeover Continues with Two Rebrandings on Tap: Two major Las Vegas resorts will be completely overhauled and rebranded in another sign that the entertainment capital is emerging from its recession doldrums. Read more at Skift

InterContinental Hotels CEO on Free Wi-Fi, Bleisure Travel and Brand Power: Richard Solomons sits in one of his hotels, explaining how travelers can’t be stereotyped. A businessman this week might be on vacation the next. For each trip, they have different needs. Read more at Skift

Hyatt To Open New York City’s First New 5-Star Hotel in More Than a Decade: Hyatt Hotels Corp. is seeking to make its Park Hyatt New York, opening next month at the base of the ultra-luxury One57 condominium tower, Manhattan’s first new five-star hotel in more than a decade. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

If you’re interested in renaming Washington National after US Men’s National Team goalie Tim Howard, there’s a petition underway. Albeit briefly, the wiki article for the US Secretary of Defense was also updated with Mr. Howard’s credentials yesterday. Bravo.

Tips and Comments

Can be sent to gm@skift.com and @grantkmartin. We publish the Business Newsletter twice a week on Monday and Thursday.

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