What to Know Now

Witness, citizens, the armies of social media marching towards the gates of Uber, as the car sharing service tries to keep control over an unsteady market and capitalist prices. At issue is the “surge” pricing that the company engages when supply is too low and demand too high, incentivizing drivers to get on the road but also digging deeper into the consumer’s pockets. Some say it’s a good balance of supply and demand. Others say it’s bad business. Either way you look at it, Uber’s laughing all the way to the bank while some customers are paying up to $175 for an eight-block ride.

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Each new day brings another chapter in the inflight connectivity saga as airlines and regulatory agencies spar over authority and adopt new technologies. Delta took a strong stance on inflight phone calls this week after their Richard Anderson, their CEO pronounced that nobody would be talking in-flight on his airline in the near future. On the other side of the pond, European airlines are now making ground on electronics use from gate to gate, with British Airways now allowing passengers to use their devices. Christmas comes early for the Brits.

Social Quote of the Day

It’s finally happened. I’ve finally had to conduct an invisible orchestra in an airport to get my batons through security. oh the shame.

@JamieAPhillips – Jamie Phillips, Assistant Conductor of @the_Halle


American Airlines CEO to Let Employees Choose the Tail Design: Now that the merger between American Airlines and US Airways has closed, American CEO Doug Parker kept getting asked one question over and over again. Are you going to keep the livery that American unveiled last January?. Read more at Skift

Garuda SkyTeam Join Date Set For March 5, 2014: It’s been a big month for alliance announcements, what with news that US Airways would exit Star Alliance and join Oneworld in March, and hints that Air India might finally be preparing to enter Star Alliance, and now there’s another piece of news out of Asia – according to this SkyTeam announcement, Garuda Indonesia is going to be joining SkyTeam in March 2014.  Read more at The Points Guy

Virgin Atlantic To Charge $40 Extra For Seat Reservations: The new fee will come into place on the Gatwick to Las Vegas service from April next year and will be applied to customers wishing to specify their seat more than 24 hours in advance. Read more at Skift

A Sneak Peak Inside American’s New Premium A321 Aircraft: American’s new A321T (the “T” stands for ‘transcon’) will be flying New York JFK to Los Angeles and San Francisco. The new narrowbody plane will be configured with premium seats and inaugural flights will commence January 7. Read more at View from the Wing


Reasons Why London’s Airports Will Fade, Even if They Add Runways: The interim report from the Airports Commission [embedded below] has taken us a step closer to building the airport capacity many argue the UK economy desperately needs. However, even if the country achieves Sir Howard Davies’ goal of additional runway capacity by 2030, the world we inhabit by then will have moved on considerably. Read more at Skift

Delta 737 Slides off Taxiway at Snowy Madison Airport: An arriving Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-800 slid off a snowy taxiway at Wisconsin’s Dane County Regional Airport Monday afternoon. No one was injured.  Airport spokeswoman Kim Jones tells The Associated Press Flight 385 had about 60 passengers and was taxiing when it left the paved surface and slid into snow around 4 p.m. local time. Read more at USA Today

Airports Hire Personal Shoppers to Boost Retail Revenues for Layovers: Travelers may request a personal shopper when they arrive at the airport, or book one in advance and send details about items of interest, preferences, the time they have on the ground, favorite brands and a shopping budget. Read more at Skift


Airlines Test Boarding Systems As Biometrics Influences the Process: What’s the most efficient way to board a plane? Rear to front, randomly or by adapting scientifically calculated methods? Over the years airlines have experimented with ways to get passengers seated as quickly as possible, but only with recent technology have some real alternatives been made possible. Read more at Skift

Delta CEO Tells Employees Worldwide That In-Flight Calls Won’t Be Allowed: CEO Richard Anderson says the airline’s frequent fliers believe that voice calls in the cabin would disrupt the travel experience. Delta says a majority of customers in a survey last year said the ability to make voice calls would make their experience worse, not better. Read more at Skift


Hotels team up with Google to give virtual tours: Hotels are partnering with Google to change the way travelers can view hotels even before they walk through the front entrance. Read more at USA Today

Southeast Asia’s Largest Casino Group to Spend Up to $4 Billion on a Las Vegas Resort: Genting Bhd., Southeast Asia’s largest casino operator, will spend as much as $4 billion on completing an unfinished Las Vegas resort it bought from Boyd Gaming Corp. earlier this year, its chairman said yesterday. Read more at Skift

What Hotels Can Learn From the Sharing Economy: The sharing economy should not be viewed as a threat to the hotel industry. The fast rise of sharing startups notwithstanding, they still make up just a small fraction of the one billion yearly U.S. room nights. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Travel writer, videographer and spokesperson Robert Reid stopped by for a visit to Skift central this week to drop off a great piece on the glut of 2014 destination roundup lists. Check out his excellent and thought-provoking piece here (hint: Cancun).

Tips and comments

Can be sent to [email protected] and @grantkmartin. We publish the Business Newsletter twice a week on Monday and Thursday.

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Tags: american airlines, oneworld, skift business newsletter, star alliance, starwood

Photo credit: A US Airways plane passes American Airlines planes at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington in this April 23, 2012 file photo. Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

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