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What to Know Now
Good news fair travelers, it’s Cyber Monday. As if you didn’t get enough viral footage of Americans accosting Americans at Walmarts across the country this past weekend, we’re now clamoring over our cubicle walls to beat each other to $377 flat screen TVs or the CTA Digital 2-in-1 iPotty with Activity Seat for the iPad.
Lest you think that the travel industry was immune from such injustice, fear not — any good airline or hotel that you can shake a stick at is offering some sort of Cyber Monday deal today and it’s almost hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Try a few of the community roundups if you want to dabble. IBT has a pretty solid roundup, while Johnny Jet’s list is well-researched and updated. Or for global strategy, check out Harriet’s guide over at USA Today. Failing results on Cyber Monday, you can also check out BBC Travel’s holiday gift guide.
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As we sent out last week’s newsletter there came word that American Airlines and US Airways were cleared to move forward with their merger. Once the deal falls into place on December 9th there’s plenty for the two carriers to sort out over the next year including computer systems and labor, but for business travelers the message seems clear: US Airways and American Airlines will soon be one.
Luckily, loyalty programs is one of the main priorities for the two airlines to sort out in 2014, so you can continue to accrue status on your respective carrier and expect the points and status to merge late in the year. American has a decent FAQ here.
Social Quote of the Day
Just popped my @TSA Randomizer cherry: At beginning of security line, touch an iPad screen and it directs you to the left or right.
Low-Cost Carrier Norwegian Air Begins Florida to Scandinavia Flights: South Floridians with ties to Scandinavia are gearing up to welcome new flights launching this weekend between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and the Nordic region. Read more at Skift
Seats on a Plane: How to Make Sure You Can Sit Together During the Busy Holiday Travel Season: It can be really hard to get seats together for flights during the holidays. Flights are full. More families are traveling together so more people are trying to sit together (compared to solo business travelers). And more and more airlines are holding back the number of seats they assign for ‘free’. Read more at View From The Wing
United Now Offers Flat-Bed Seats and In-Seat Plugs on All Cross-Country Flights: United Airlines announced today that 28 flat-bed seats will now be available in the p.s. Premium Service cabin on all of the carriers’ transcontinental flights from New York City to San Francisco and Los Angeles. Read more at Skift
Dallas/Fort Worth Airport Will Ship Your Gifts for Free: Many airports host gift-wrapping stations during the holiday travel season to encourage and help out travelers doing some last-minute shopping on the fly. But this year Dallas/Fort Worth International is upping the ante and not just wrapping gifts purchased at the airport; it’s offering to ship gifts purchased at the airport for free. Read more at USA Today
ATL24: A Day in the Life of the World’s Busiest Airport: Our surliest colleagues may not like the production, but CNN Travel has one of the most forward-designed web travel features we’ve seen in a long time. Read more at CNN
What Should Airports Do With Smokers of E-Cigarettes? A survey of 1,000 travellers by global travel search site Skyscanner found that 57 per cent of people would not object to other airports following in the London hub’s footsteps, by licensing areas for “vaping”, the practice of inhaling vapour from an e-cigarette. Read more at Skift
5 Baggage Advances That Would Improve the Passenger Experience: Outside of finding new ways to lose checked luggage, airlines and airports haven’t been seriously innovating. These five ideas, from permanent baggage tags to smart delivery, pick up the slack. Read more at Future Travel Experience
Mobile App Predicts the Possibility of Seeing the Northern Lights:
Innovation Norway has launched a new mobile app that predicts and informs users about the possibility of experiencing Northern Lights across the Arctic sky. The free app is available for both iOS and Android platforms. Read more at Visit Norway
Exiting Airports To Become Much Slower, With These New Glass Exit Portals: Futuristic unmanned portals have replaced officers at the security exits of two small Northeast airports, adding a few seconds in a bulletproof glass pod to the end of every passenger’s trip. Read more at Skift
Best Travel Gadgets, T+L Edition: Everyone has a list of travel tech this time of year, but only Travel + Leisure has a 30-page slideshow devoted to it. Cameras, headphones, tablets and perhaps the last holiday mention of a Blackberry that we’ll ever see. Read more at Travel + Leisure
Abu Dhabi to Incorporate Online Reviews Into Official Star System: Abu Dhabi’s hotel classification system is modeled after official rating systems in Switzerland and other countries, but now the tourism authority will begin incorporating user/guest reviews from TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Expedia and Hotels.com as part of its overall scoring. Read more at Skift
Hilton IPO Is Coming and Could Be Largest For A Hotel Chain: By the end of the year, McLean-based Hilton Worldwide is expected to raise $2.4 billion in the largest-ever initial public offering by a hotel chain, and perhaps erase doubts that private equity giant Blackstone Group erred when it bought the company six years ago. Read more at Skift
How Much Are You Willing to Pay for Green and Energy Saving Hotel Amenities? Even though common sense tells us that “green initiatives,” such as not washing towels and sheets every day, should make things cheaper in the long run, we haven’t exactly been seeing hotel rates drop just because a property puts a card on our pillow and a key-activated power switch on the wall. Read more at HotelChatter.
I’m in the midst of a years-long study on the efficacy and scope of hot dogs around the planet. With our annual Thanksgiving tradition of overseas travel now behind us, I’m happy to report that the Hungarian hot dog is a bit more… robust than what we experience here in the states. Cheers to my parents for being the local test case.