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This week marks a big milestone for Skift as we stepped into the physical space and launched our very first Skift Salon. The event, which took place last night at MRY in New York City, focused on the trends that will define travel in 2014 and was a great success. Feedback ranged from the curious to the cautious to cheerful, and as we head back to the Skift Offices this week we’ll be distilling that info down to prepare for our next session. Expect news on that in the first quarter of next year.
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As we touched upon earlier this week, the big news in the hotel world is that Blackstone is taking the Hilton Hotels group public in the coming days, and the IPO could have a massive effect on the brand. Most are expecting a fairly successful turn, and if more money comes in the door that translates to a better forecast for the business traveler. Perhaps those HHonors points devaluations will soon turn around.
Social Quote of the Day
I missed a part of tonight’s #skiftsalon but heard the outcome was a nice exchange of ideas and a success. Looking forward to the next.
Looking to Get Drunk for Free? Fly Delta: If you’re flying coach on a US-based airline, you probably expect that you’ll have to pay something beyond the fare for, well, pretty much anything. Alcohol is no exception. But now, Delta is opening up the liquor cabinet for long-haul travelers, even in coach. How does this stack up versus other carriers? Read more at Conde Nast Traveler
The International Airlines That Already Offer In-Flight Phone Calls and Texting: While Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler felt some heat and backtracked on his consideration of in-flight voice calls, at least 19 airlines in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America routinely permit passengers to gab on their mobile phones, and there haven’t been any reports of onboard riots or mutinies. Read more at Skift
How to Get Onboard an Air Canada Boeing 787 Dreamliner (and for How Much): At this time last year, spotting a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in the skies was quite the rare occurrence. But as the aircraft’s teething problems have calmed and more tails roll off the factory floor, airlines are more eager than ever to welcome the efficient jet into the fold. Read more at Jaunted
U.S. Opening First Quick-Screening Enrollment Site at Indy Airport: The government says Indianapolis International Airport will have the first enrollment site for an expedited screening program that allows airline passengers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belts, and keep laptop computers in cases at security checkpoints. Read more at the Indianapolis Business Journal
The New American Airlines Will Sell New York LaGuardia Slots to Southwest and Virgin: Southwest Airlines and Virgin America will buy the take-off and landing slots at New York’s LaGuardia Airport that US Airways Group Inc and American Airlines must sell as part of their agreement to merge, three sources said on Wednesday. Read more at Skift
Fashion Startup Zady Targets Holiday Flyers With New Airport Pop-Up Shop: Four months after launch, conscious lifestyle website Zady opened its first pop-up shop to grab the attention of holiday travelers. The shop will be open from November 8 until January 4 in the Delta Terminal at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport. Read more at Skift
JetBlue Takes a Shortcut to Add Apple Passbook Capabilities: A year-and-a-half after Apple launched Passbook for mobile boarding passes, JetBlue has added the capability for its iPhone-wielding passengers, and the airline did so in a somewhat unconventional way. Read more at Skift
Bluetooth Advances Herald Sleeker Wearables That Charge Wirelessly: Imagine a Pebble without the need for a proprietary charging connector. Or how about a Galaxy Gear that doesn’t lose connection to your phone every time you walk away for a quick errand? Both are evolutionary steps on the way to a truly desirable smartwatch and this week sees a pair of new announcements that will bring them closer to reality. Read more at The Verge
The Lonely Planet Guide to… the World’s WORST Travel Advice: “Don’t waste your money on bottled water! I just drank the tap water and I feel fine,” brags a fellow hostel guest in Kathmandu. This person won’t be seen again for three days, looking about 8lbs lighter. Read more at Lonely Planet
Streamlining Hotel Check-Ins for Business Travelers: After a long day traveling, the last thing any road warrior wants is to wait at a hotel check-in desk. Don’t fret, frequent travelers: hotels have heard our pleas and help is on the way. New technologies promise to let guests skip the front desk, although it might take several years for all of us to reap the benefits. Read more at Travel and Leisure
A Look at IHG’s New EVEN Wellness Hotels: Don’t expect to find a front desk when you walk into an EVEN Hotel, a new wellness-oriented brand set to debut next year. Guests will instead be directed to a “Well-ness Island,” where an employee will hand them either cool or heated hand towels, depending on the season. Read more at USA Today
Industry friendlyguy and AP airline reporter Scott Mayerowitz got a new column this week covering business travel at Travel + Leisure. I’ve linked to him above, but his first post is on streamlining hotel checkins and it’s a great read. Congratulations, Mr. Mayerowitz.