What to Know Now
We’re getting close to the cutoff date for mileage devaluation on United (February 1) and the end of the calendar year for most elite flyers (February 28). Now’s a good time to start thinking about taking advantage of those elite benefits if you’re losing them — ideally by spending your miles. Gary Leff over at View from the Wing has a nice summary of the upcoming ruckus, but let’s look at things more practically: it’s terribly cold in the Midwest and the East. You deserve a break. Get the heck out of town (if you can).
JetBlue can’t get a break. With nonstop misearable weather along the east coast the airline, which has a major hub in New York City, has been cancelling flights left and right, and passengers are furious. During the last storm, the airline caught major flak for effectively resetting its east coast network and cancelling a 1,800 flights, and this week nearly 500 flights were disrupted.
Such is the cost of operating out of a busy east coast hub in the winter, I suppose, but JetBlue really has some karma to make up after this week.
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Southwest Says Lower Fuel Costs, Higher Fares Boost 4Q Profit: Southwest Airlines is making more money thanks to a lower fuel bill and higher average fares. The company said Thursday that fourth-quarter net income was $212 million, up from $78 million a year earlier. Read more at Skift
United Thinks it Has a Way to Keep Attendants Set for Furlough: United Airlines said it has found a way to keep 688 flight attendants who are set to be furloughed on April 1. The airline said Wednesday that it will offer them jobs in its Continental unit. The two airlines merged in 2010 and both fly under the United name, but they still have separate flight crews. Read more at Skift
Is JetBlue Getting A Bad Rap About Its Extensive Flight Cancellations? JetBlue had to cancel about 475 flights Tuesday and Wednesday in response to the latest winter storm, according to the company. FlightStats, a site that tracks flight routes nationally and around the globe, estimates that about 34 percent of JetBlue flights were affected, the largest proportion for any major American carrier. Read more at Skift
National Federation of the Blind Sues DOT On Airline Kiosk Access: The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) doesn’t think new Department of Transportation rules on access to airline check-in kiosks go far enough so it filed a lawsuit today against the DOT. Read more at Skift
Airport Lounges Becoming Weapon of Choice in Airline Competition: There’s a new battleground in the fight between airlines and it’s on the ground. Throughout New Zealand and Australia and in other parts of the world airlines are sinking big money into new and upgraded lounges to attract high-yielding business travellers and leisure passengers looking for extra luxury. Read more at Skift
Best Airports For Stranded Travelers: No traveler enjoys spending more time in airport terminals than they have to, but weather, mechanical issues and other snafus are simply a fact of modern-day flying. In some airports the wait can be more than pleasant than in others. So we asked frequent travelers to help us make a list of the best airports to be stranded in. Read more at Skift
Groupon Adds 20,000 Properties to Its Hotel Feature: Groupon wants to be much more than a flash sales site when it comes to hotels. The company added some 20,000 hotels to its Groupon Getaways with Expedia product, which now offers a mix of limited-time flash sales and hotels booked in the more standard way. Groupon says its flash sales offer discounts of up to 60% off published rates. Read more at Skift
5 Travel Startups That Target Business Travelers: This week’s roundup of startups aims to expedite travel annoyances whether it’s writing up an expense report or reminding a hotel waiter what you’ll have for dinner. Read more at Skift
Dell VP on Going Private, Innovation, and the Dell Dude: As Dell continues its new lease on life as a private company, VP of commercial sales Bobbi Dangerfield recently took time to share her thoughts on where things stand. In an interview with Laptop Magazine, Dangerfield tackled a variety of topics ranging from tablets to Dell’s approach to innovation. Read more at the Verge
Starwood’s North American Hotels Reach Record Occupancy in 2013: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Inc.’s North American hotel occupancies are at a record, giving the owner of the Sheraton and W brands greater ability than ever to raise rates in the region, Chief Executive Officer Frits van Paasschen said. Read more at Skift
Starwood Is the First Travel Brand to Advertise on Instagram: Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ guest loyalty program Starwood Preferred Guest has launched the first advertising campaign by a travel brand on Instagram. The ads begin today and run through February 4 across mobile and desktop on the photo-sharing service. Read more at Skift
TripAdvisor Reviewers Name Best Hotels of 2014: The results of TripAdvisor’s annual hotel popularity contest are out today, and internationally, Italy leads the pack with 152 winning hotels, followed by the United Kingdom with 145. The USA and France each has 144 lodgings on the list. Read more at USA Today
Hotel Companies Make a Resolution to Get Healthier in 2014: Healthy hotels, natural hot springs, and wellness tourism are among the top spa and wellness trends for 2014, according to a company that tracks the $2 trillion wellness industry. Read more at Skift
Matador Network just released their book 101 Places to Get F*cked Up Before You Die: The Ultimate Travel Guide to Partying Around the World which is an interesting take on the travel guidebook. Regardless of how you feel about the content it’s impressive to see a traditionally online outlet make the jump to the physical world. Congrats to Ross and the rest of the team.