WHAT TO KNOW NOW
When Rafat and I first met at the Ace Hotel in New York to talk about this “Skift” idea he had stewing, I was critical about the idea of building and selling content to a busy travel community. Au contraire, he told me, Skift would be a travel intelligence company. Looking at the site on the edge of 2014, I now grasp the full meaning of that statement. Skift tracks industry trends, from hotels to airlines to tourism. They publish reports, like What the Sharing Economy Means to the Future of Travel. They’ve built a customized dashboard perfectly tuned to travel marketers. And they’re still growing like crazy.
Next year should be a great year at Skift. Stay tuned.
Travelers got a late Christmas present from Delta Air Lines this year as many woke up to ridiculously cheap airline tickets across a broad swath of the airline’s network. Savvy travelers were picking up fares in business class from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii for under $100, and Flyertalkers raced to scoop up tickets and find online vendors. Amazingly, most tickets were honored by the airline, perhaps echoing United’s similar debacle earlier this year. A Christmas miracle indeed.
SOCIAL QUOTE OF THE DAY
In hyper airline competition, I wonder if other airlines are going to match the Delta fare glitch.
The ‘Southwest Effect’ Changes as the Airline Evolves: When Southwest Airlines began service in the Twin Cities in 2009, the long-anticipated move was cheered by travelers hoping for additional flights and competition. Nearly five years later, Southwest has drawn enough fans at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to expand its nonstop schedule to eight cities. Read more at Skift
Delta: Final DC-9 Flight Will Be Jan. 6 Delta Air Lines’ last DC-9 flight will come Jan. 6, the carrier announced this week. That flight will depart Minneapolis/St. Paul at 4:20 p.m. on Jan. 6 before arriving in Atlanta a little before 7 p.m. Read more at USA Today
Good Times for the Airline Industry: The much-maligned airline industry is in the middle of a resurgence—according to the airline industry itself. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said this month that it expects industry profits to hit a record $19.7 billion in 2014, an increase of more than 50% on the $12.9 billion estimate made for 2013. Read more at The Economist
Hertz Faces Shareholder Lawsuit Over Airport Business and Advantage Sale: An unhappy shareholder from Connecticut has taken the driver’s seat in a class-action lawsuit brought against Hertz Global Holdings Inc., alleging fraud and violations of federal securities laws. Read more at Skift
New York Airport Tries A Frequent Flyer Program Of Its Own: Albany International Airport now offers miles or points for everything from parking and dining to purchases in airport shops. Customers can direct those miles or points to a frequent flier program of their choice. Read more at Skift
7 of The Best Airports To Be Stuck In: Buzzfeed Travel rounds up some of the best airports around the world worthy of a layover. Fluff content for a full holiday season, but a nice trip around the world. Read more at Buzzfeed Travel
Lufthansa to Allow Gate-to-Gate Device Usage Starting January 1: Lufthansa passengers will soon be able to use personal electronic devices during all phases of their flight. From January 1, the German airline will allow the use of small handheld devices from gate-to-gate — including during taxiing, take-off and landing — onboard its Boeing 747-8 aircraft. Read more at Skift
Why Google Glass Is the Most Personal Tech You’ll Never Own: With tablets and televisions safely in the “shared tech” category, the still unsettling Google Glass extends the nature of “personal tech” to a whole new level. Read more at CNET
The Best Apps for All Your New Devices: Christmas morning is over. The fire is roaring with wrapping paper, broken candy cane pieces litter the phone, and you’ve just opened a brand-new gadget. Now what? Read more at The Verge
Forget Something? Your Hotel May Be Able to Help: Travelers can almost always expect to find shampoo, lotion, and Q-tips in their hotel rooms. But at a number of hotels across the country, they can now ask for dental floss, hairspray, a night light, a waffle iron, or even jewelry. Read more at USA Today
Travelers Reveal The Best Service Perks They’ve Ever Received at Hotels: The hotel lobby of the Sofitel Macau. The mark of a truly top-notch hotel is its service. In addition to the room upgrades, attentive staff, and perks like champagne, the world’s best hotels go above and beyond great service to cater to the every whim of their guests and anticipate every desire. Read more at Yahoo
Now You Can Pay for Your Stay with Google Wallet at Carlson Rezidor Hotels: Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, whose brands include Radisson Blu, Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, and Country Inns & Suites, is allowing guests to store their Club Carlson loyalty program info in Google Wallet as well as letting guests pay for their stay using Google Wallet. Pretty cool and crazy convenient. Read more at Hotelchatter
It’s great seeing Scott Stein, review guru over at CNET at the top of their blooper reel this year. A great way to round up a year of tech and travel.