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
Fear! Terror! Ebola! Travel to west Africa is shriveling as carriers and passengers race to cut any connections to the region. Already, British, Emirates and a variety of other carriers have restricted their service, while visitors are scrambling to reschedule trips.
If you happen to be traveling to West Africa any time soon, the AP has a good gut check for anyone concerned about the pandemic. American carriers are allowing passengers to postpone their flights for over two weeks, while getting through on a European carrier can be a bit trickier. In the worst case, you can always fly with the Phoenix Air Group.
True story: one of the only reasons I upgrade to first class is for the warm meals. I certainly don’t need the space, have no bags to check and don’t really drink on planes. But the food! There’s nothing better than a warm free meal.
It disappoints me, thus, to see that American is aligning its premium meal service program with US Airways later this year, cutting the volume of meals on shorter flights and also reducing the spectrum of options. The changes, they claim, bring parity to the carriers and the industry, but equality could have also come from increasing the offerings on US Airways.
Sitting on the sidlelines of this merger, we all knew that the combined US-American carrier was going to be the least expensive (worst) of both worlds — so this actually isn’t a big surprise. Still, it’d be nice to see something beneficial for premium passengers come out of this merger.
SOCIAL QUOTE OF THE DAY
Burkina Faso is my favorite country name among all. That’s all.
American Airlines Cutting First-Class Meals on Shorter Flights: American Airlines Group Inc., the world’s biggest carrier, will discontinue first-class meals on most flights of less than 2 hours 45 minutes, providing a snack instead. Read more at Skift
Asia’s Biggest Airline Had a Weak Start This Year, But It’s Banking on Expansion: China Southern Airlines Co., Asia’s biggest carrier by passengers, forecasts a better second half after a loss in the first six months as economic growth picks up and the yuan’s volatility eases, Chairman Si Xianmin said. Read more at Skift
American Air’s First Class Food Cuts Part of Bigger Premium Rethink: Soon the only thing that might distinguish first class from economy travel on some shorter US Airways and American Airlines flights will be roomier seats, more leg room — and free cocktails. Read more at Skift
Dallas-Fort Worth Airport Drops $1.2 Million on Premium Lounge Consultant:
Dallas/Fort Worth Airport may spend up to $1.2 million with a consultant to study whether to add a premium travel lounge for international travelers at Terminal D. Read more at Skift
United Ups the Smartphone App Game With Passport Scanning Feature: Yesterday United Airlines began offering some passengers on international flights the ability to scan their passports using iPhones and Android devices and United’s app. Read more at Skift
Remodeled BOS Terminal Results in United Layoffs, Angry Politicians: In April, United Airlines cut the ribbon on the new $170 million Terminal B concourse at Logan International Airport (BOS). The efficiency of the 97,000-square-foot facility was extolled by the airline. In a statement from United, the new space was touted as “[m]odern, streamlined” and “state-of-the-art” and featured the “latest customer self-service technologies.” Read more at FlyerTalk
Why the In-Flight Call Ban on U.S. Airlines Is Such a Big Deal: U.S. Passengers don’t want inflight call service. It’s a pretty straight forward preference made abundantly clear to airlines operating in the US. Read more at Skift
Why your brand-new plane doesn’t have a seat-back TV: Since airlines want to get their new planes into service immediately, they usually schedule installations, which take an aircraft out of commission for several days, for a few weeks or months down the line. That means hundreds of bored passengers every day, and a negative perception of the plane and the airline. Read more at Engadget
European Train Tickets Make Their Way Onto Smartwatches: Although smartwatches are being heralded as the next generation of wearable technology, their nascent adoption is still gaining speed. Read more at Skift
Orbitz Tries to Build Loyalty With New Restaurant Rewards Program: Orbitz Worldwide has teamed with another Chicago company, Rewards Network, to offer dining rewards for the first time. Read more at Skift
Paris’ New 5-Star Hotel Is the First in a Wave Targeted at Asian Travelers:
A stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe, in a building where George Gershwin composed “An American in Paris” in 1928, the Peninsula opened its doors on Aug. 1, becoming the French capital’s latest five-star hotel. Read more at Skift
InterContinental Hotels Sees Profits Drop in First Half of 2014: InterContinental Hotels Group Plc, Europe’s second-largest publicly traded hotel operator, said first-half profit declined 8 percent as the company generated less revenue. Read more at Skift
The campaign that Matt Kepnes (better known as Nomadic Matt) started to boycott the world’s largest travel blogger conference is gaining steam, though as Conde Nast’s Paul Brady points out, most of the outrage is limited to within the (small) industry. Awkward times all around.