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Skift Business Traveler: United Tries to Woo Back Premium Fliers With Food

@grantkmartin

Aug 21, 2014 1:00 pm

United Airlines

The new Strawberry Fields Salad in United's premium domestic cabins. United Airlines


What to Know Now

We should all move to Australia. Sam Shankman points out this week that the top cities in The Economist’s city liveability index basically correlate inversely to business hubs. So if you’re in New York or London you have a lower quality of life whereas those in Melbourne and Vienna are best off.

The list doesn’t take plenty of factors into account but it’s a nice read if you’re looking into places to retire or even vacation. I’m already salivating for the south Pacific.

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Top Story

Well it looks like United chased away too many business travelers after gutting it’s mileage program and driving its operations into the ground after the Continental merger. According to an announcement from the airline today, to woo them back they’re upgrading their in-flight meal offerings, now serving full meals in first class on flights under 800 miles (previously it was 900) and expanding the number of routes served.

This is a great contrast to the general direction in which domestic first class meals have been headed. Earlier this month the new American downgraded their meal offerings to match service with their dumpier friends at US Airways. Hopefully United’s changes incite competition.

Social Quote of the Day

@united “upgrades” domestic 1st class meals. New menu reads like a diner’s – only worse. http://t.co/Xea26K7RMI #airline #PaxEx

@hharteveldt | Henry Harteveldt, Airline, hotel and travel industry analyst.

Iberia Menu

Airlines

Iberia Adds a Custom Scent in Bid to Appeal to All Five Senses: Iberia Airlines has followed the advice of leading brand strategists by appealing to the full range of senses in the cabin; adding scent and sound to touch, taste and sight through its introduction of a signature scent, Mediterráneo, and a new soundtrack compilation of popular Spanish music to set the mood as passengers board and deplane. Read more at Skift

Design Lessons for Domestic Routes from Japan Airlines’ New Cabin Design: Originally launched on the Haneda – Fukuoka route back in May, JAL have revamped their domestic cabins on their 777s to offer comfort to its guests. Read more at Skift

Why JetBlue’s Investors Are Hoping It’s Looking to Spirit for Inspiration: Do you remember the outcry last year when Southwest launched an advertising campaign that seemed to neglect its maverick roots in favor of an-all-grown-up corporate image?  That little brouhaha would pale in comparison to the coming storm if some JetBlue shareholders and a Cowen & Co. analyst are correct about the carrier’s future direction. Read more at Skift

A police officer checks the passport of a Chinese immigrant at the Shen Wu textile factory in Prato

Airports

Hamas military warns int’l airlines of more airstrikes:  The Hamas military warned of further rocket attacks on Israel’s strategic interests, including Ben Gurion airport east of Tel Aviv, a spokesperson said on Wednesday, adding that an Israeli airstrike in Gaza had failed to kill its commander, Mohammed Deif. Read more at CNBC

Training Can’t Help Passport Officers Better Check Photo IDs: Something to ponder the next time someone asks for your photo ID: that immigration officer at the airport—or the security guard at an office building, or the barman serving you drinks—is likely no better at matching your face to the picture on the ID than you are, a new study from the University of New South Wales has found. Read more at Skift

United Extends Lease at Denver International Through 2035: When Denver International Airport (DEN) first opened its doors in February of 1995, United was the only carrier to sign a long-term lease with the airport. That 30-year lease was set to expire in 2025. The new agreement, which was announced Tuesday, guarantees DEN status as a United hub through 2035. United is Denver’s largest airline by passengers carried, and it operates more than 375 flights from DEN daily. Read more at FlyerTalk

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Tech

Let’s Stop Pretending It’s Bad to Bring Devices on Vacation: It’s time to stop feeling guilty about bringing mobile devices on vacation.  Although it is a great idea to unplug, soak up the outdoors , enjoy the company of our loved ones, and force ourselves to detach from the 24-hour work cycle, it’s time to stop acting surprised about the importance we place on the devices — especially when on the road. Read more at Skift

Uber Hires Obama’s Campaign Strategist as Top Policy Executive: Uber Technologies Inc. is adding to its executive ranks by hiring David Plouffe, a former top political adviser to President Barack Obama. Read more at Skift

Uber Secures A Spot in United’s Mobile Apps in Business Travel Push: United’s and Uber’s apps are teaming to help air passengers get some ground transport of the e-hail variety. Read more at Skift

Flyers Beginning to Prefer BYO Entertainment to Seat-Back Screens: Airline passengers generally like the idea of ditching seat-back onboard video screens and instead wirelessly streaming movies and TV shows to their own portable devices, such as laptops and iPads, according to a new study. Read more at Skift
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Hotels

La Quinta Hotels Sees Business Travelers as Its Mega Growth Opportunity: The peak demand days at La Quinta Inns & Suites are Wednesdays for business travelers, and Fridays and Saturdays for leisure travelers, but it’s clear that the hotel chain’s most acute interest is on pleasing that midweek business guest. Read more at Skift

Hotel Pipeline in U.S. Tilts Toward Midscale and Upscale Properties: The U.S. hotel pipeline is booming, and hoteliers are looking for more upscale and midscale lodging options. Read more at Skift

Kimpton Expands With Purchase of Landmark Building in Chicago: Kimpton Hotel & Restaurants announced plans Tuesday to convert a historic LaSalle Street office building into a four-star hotel in what would be its fifth adaptive reuse project in Chicago. Read more at Skift

Provenance Hotels Integrates Local Products to Elevate Guest Experience: Unless you’re at an airport hotel, a clean bed and warm shower aren’t enough to attract guests anymore. Travelers today are looking to form deeper, more emotional connections to the destinations they visit, and lodging becomes an integral part of that experience. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

The New York Times’ Nick Bilton just brought his Leica over Los Angeles on a helicopter ride. For some great photos of one of my least favorite cities, check out his story.

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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