What to Know Now
Looks weird, right? But weird in a good way. Welcome to Skift’s new site. Yes, after little more than a year in business we’ve updated the site with a fresh design delivering a cleaner, more visual message. Prominent, you’ll note, are the features on the right vertical of the skift.com homepage, while day-to-day news is collected in the left column. Our main areas of focus ranging from digital to transport are still featured, and you can find those traunches on the top navigation bar. These are only the most prominent of the design changes that are coming over the next few weeks as the redesign continues. Have feedback? Email us or tweet at us.
In case you needed more evidence that the economy is recovering there’s a nice new report out from the United National World Tourism Organization this morning that suggests that tourism is back on the move. Big deal, you might be thinking, but with more travel comes a healthier economy and more crowded rooms and planes. And that means more competition for our room upgrades and our business class cabins much much sooner.
No problem. Everyone wins when the economy is humming. But be prepared: it’s going to be a busy year on the road.
Social Quote of the Day
“Be quiet but friendly; proud, but not arrogant; joyous, but not boisterous.” pic.twitter.com/4XcZMtEl0r
What’s Ahead for TSA’s PreCheck Program in 2014: There is little love among the flying public for the Transportation Security Administration. Complaining about the TSA screeners that staff airport security gates, baggage control, and select transportation points around the United States has become as much a travel-related pastime as commenting on airline peanuts or mocking the safety instructions at the beginning of every flight. Read more at Skift
Airlines Like Slim Seats, But Passengers Aren’t Fans: “Slim-line” seats, with thinner seat-back cushions, are increasingly popular with airlines because they weigh less and help squeeze more passengers into a plane. But the seats may not be so popular with passengers. Read more at Skift
Former Senate Leader Takes to Twitter to blast United: May be time to add “airline critic” to the resume of physician and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. That’s after the 61-year-old Frist took to Twitter to blast United Airlines, taking shots at the carrier for everything from poor service to thin lavatory walls. Read more at USA Today
Southwest Pilots Confused by Lights When Landing at Wrong Airport: The pilots of a Southwest Airlines plane that landed at the wrong airport in Missouri this week told investigators they mistook the bright runway lights of a smaller airport for their intended destination at Branson Airport, the National Transportation Safety Board said on Friday. Read more at Skift
U.S. Airports Race to Complete Billion Dollar Upgrades: Call it airport peer pressure: Across the nation, airports are pouring billions of dollars into upgrades. They’re motivated by aging buildings, a desire to keep airlines happy with their hubs in an age of consolidation, and a push to lure travelers into spending more inside the terminal. Read more at Skift
Sweden Spends $500 Million to Makes Its High-Speed Rail Better for the Environment: Swedish State Railways (SJ) has said it plans to spend SEK 3.5 billion (€400 million) overhauling its fleet of high-speed SJ 2000 trains. SJ chief executive Crister Fritzson said the refurbishment has been driven by a massive increase in passenger numbers over the past 15 to 20 years. Read more at Skift
HP brings back Windows 7 ‘by popular demand’: HP really wants people to buy a Windows 7 PC instead of a Windows 8 machine. The PC maker has been emailing customers over the weekend noting that “Windows 7 is back.” The move is clearly designed to position Windows 7 over Microsoft’s touch-centric Windows 8 operating system. Read more at the Verge
Interview: Skyscanner CEO on Making Metasearch Moves in the U.S.: Frustration fueled Gareth Williams’ interest in creating a better flight search product after he found himself spending too much time looking for air travel options to visit his brother back in 2001. “I spent a week writing a tool that would save me half an hour,” he said in a recent interview. Read more at Skift
The Master List of Worldwide Hotel Openings in 2014: Once again, HotelChatter has scoured the internet (or, more likely, the STR database) to bring together the The Master List of Worldwide Hotel Openings for the new year. Read more at HotelChatter
Skift Q&A: How Aloft Hotels Is Targeting Next Gen Mobile Travelers: Starwood launched Aloft Hotels in 2008 from the ground up with the same focus on global lifestyle trends as W, yet at a lower price point for the mid-tier, highly-connected hotel guest of the future. Read more at Skift.
Mobile Check-ins At Hotels Poised For Dramatic Growth: Already available at a smattering of brands and individual hotels, mobile hotel check-in is poised for rapid expansion this year across the industry. Read more at Skift
I love how travel ombudsman Chris Elliott and loyalty blogger Gary Leff are always at each other’s throats. In a few words, Chris is a usually a staunch opponent of airline loyalty programs, while Gary almost always comes to their defense. They’re both right, of course, in their specific ways, but it’s fun watch them grandstand for their respective sides.
The latest chapter in the war comes at Gary’s site in an article called. “How Frequent Flyer Programs Really Work (What Travel Writers Tell You is Wrong).” Fill up your popcorn bucket before clicking.
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Photo credit: Former Senator Bill Frist is not happy with United. This United Airlines 787 Dreamliner is taxiing to the gate at O'Hare International Airport. Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune/MCT