What to Know Now
It’s only the second week of December and we’re in our second major snowstorm of the season. This weekend led to hundreds of cancellations throughout the Midwest and now into Monday it’s New England’s turn. Washington Reagan is already is canceling numerous flights. Worse, there’s a good chance that inclement weather will drop more snow and ice on New York and Boston this afternoon, making evening commutes miserable. Batten down the hatches — it’s going to be a long day.
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Well we’ve made it business travelers: American and US Airways officially inked their merger today. As we speak, American’s exiting CEO is patting backs at their Dallas headquarters, while there are a range of formalities and festivities scheduled among both airlines. If you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the news today, check out Dawn Gilbertson’s Twitter feed. She’s a reporter for the Arizona Republic and will be onsite all day. Meanwhile, if you’re worried about your miles or elite status you can put away your Xanax — there wont be clear resolution on the loyalty programs until next year.
Social Quote of the Day
Today we make history: @USAirways & @AmericanAir come together to form the #newAmerican http://usairways.com/arriving pic.twitter.com/BucSrNQshu
American Airlines and US Airways Close on Merger, Creating World’s Largest Airline: American Airlines CEO Doug Parker gathered with employees of the new American Airlines this morning at headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas to mark the closing of the $11 billion US Airways and American Airlines merger, and the termination of AMR Corp.’s bankruptcy restructuring. Read more at Skift
Etihad is Building a Fourth Alliance: Prevailing wisdom suggests that that airline industry should always do things in “threes.” We’ll soon have three big legacy carriers in the US that fit nicely into three big global alliances: Star Alliance, oneworld, and SkyTeam. But many have wondered whether the larger unaligned airlines would ever consider building a fourth alliance. The answer is yes. Though it’s not branded as such, Etihad is working hard on its effort to dominate the world. And its alliance is growing quickly. Read more at Cranky Flier
United Now Offers Flat-Bed Seats and In-Seat Plugs on All Premium Service Cross-Country Flights: United Airlines announced that 28 flat-bed seats will now be available on all of the carriers’ transcontinental flights from New York City to San Francisco and Los Angeles. Read more at Skift
The Top 10 Premium Airport Lounges of 2013: The arms race in premium lounges continues this year as the majors fight for the most valuable premium flyers. Read more at Skift
Charlotte to Become the New American’s Second Busiest Hub After Merger: Charlotte Douglas International Airport will be the combined airline’s second-busiest hub, behind only Dallas Fort/Worth in the airline’s number of daily flights. The new carrier will be called American Airlines and will be headquartered in Fort Worth. Read more at Skift
NYC Airports May Pay Up to $8 Million a Year to Replace TSA’s Exit Security: A plan by the Transportation Safety Administration to cease guarding exit lanes from secured areas of airports will cost the agency that runs the region’s three major airports $8 million a year, said a local group calling on the TSA to continue staffing the exit lanes. Read more at the Star Ledger
Virgin America May Find Tough Competition With New LaGuardia Slots: Federal regulators said Southwest had acquired the rights to 12 new takeoff and landing slots at LaGuardia Airport (as well as full control of 10 slots it had leased from American), while Virgin America will also take over 12 slots to enable its first-ever service at the airport. Read more at Skift
What Google Autocomplete Says About These 25 Travel Brands: That Google knows everything about us — our hopes, fears and dreams — is by now obvious. What we also tell Google is what we think, believe and search about the brands we use, and in this case, travel brands. Read more at Skift
California’s High-Speed Rail Authority Plans to Break Ground Next Month: Critics and many political observers might see California’s bullet train project as nearly dead, but state officials made clear Thursday that the train is still heading down the rails at full speed. Read more at Skift
Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile: are early upgrade plans a good deal? Over the course of just a few months in 2013, all four of the largest carriers in the US introduced completely new plans to go alongside traditional contract agreements and prepaid services. With T-Mobile Jump, AT&T Next, Verizon Edge, and Sprint One Up, each carrier is going after the same thing: subscribers who want to get the newest smartphone as quickly as possible. Read more at the Verge
Green Doesn’t Pay for Hotels, but It Can Help: Consumers aren’t making booking decisions based on LEED certification, but making your hotel green has been shown to increase operational efficiency and reduce costs. And there is a slim customer segment that is willing to pay more. Read more at HotelsNewsNow
Marriott’s Mobile Check-In Has Gone Worldwide: If you scored a Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal recently at a Marriott Hotel, another kind of “deal” awaits you–Marriott’s mobile check-in. Read more at Hotelchatter.
Should travelers demand refunds for ‘junk fees’? Imagine if someone forced airlines, hotels and car rental companies to return every penny they took from you under questionable circumstances. The checked-bag fee, often poorly disclosed. The resort fee billed to your room, whether you used the “free” wireless and unlimited local phone calls or not. The license recovery fees that pay for your rental car’s plates — as if that were optional. Read more at USA Today
Ross Borden, the founder of Matador Network makes a good point about Google Glass, opining that “these things will have to get a lot less ridiculous looking if they’re ever going to catch on in the mainstream.” Cheers to that Ross. Nice illustration.
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Photo credit: Passengers relax in the Air New Zealand LAX lounge and bar on the roof terrace. Air New Zealand