What to Know Now
Airline alliances will be shifting later this year for American business travelers as US Airways leaves Star Alliance (where United is the biggest partner) and joins Oneworld (where American is the biggest). Those planning ahead are already doing a bit of posturing — for example, loyal American flyers are crediting their United miles to US Airways as they plan for the US and AA programs to converge later this year.
All of this movement is going to leave Star a bit weaker in the United States (though they’re extremely strong in the EU), and there’s already talk about how United is going to forge ahead on its own. One thread on Flyertalk strongly asserts that the airline will start actively wooing elite from US Airways and maybe other airlines.
Then again, JetBlue and American just mysteriously ended their partnership on the east coast. Perhaps JetBlue and the Star Alliance have bigger plans.
A tangle of news over the week has led us only narrowly closer to the fate of Malaysia Airlines flight 370. After Malaysian officials confirmed that the flight changed course and flew for hundreds of miles, the Chinese said they may have spotted some debris with one of their satellites. This morning, however, they concluded that their initial assessment was a mistake. All of this leads us back pretty close to square one while highlighting concerns over the aptitude of Malaysia Airlines management and what sort of location data we should be collecting in real time. It’s going to be a long weekend.
Social Quote of the Day
U.S. investigators say missing Malaysia jet flew for up to 4 hours after disappearing from radars
Malaysia denies #MH370 flew for hours; China says satellite images mistake. No end to confusion.
An Easy Way to Make Airline Wine Taste Better: Here’s a way to vastly improve the taste of wine on an airplane. Shake it. The benefits of letting red wine aerate are long established by sommeliers. Read more at Skift
American Airlines Gets Sued Over Jet Fuel Sales Tax: American Airlines Group Inc., the world’s largest air carrier, was sued by the Chicago-area Regional Transportation Authority for allegedly evading Illinois sales taxes on jet fuel. Read more at Skift
8 Airlines That Answer Flyers’ Tweets in Less Than an Hour: Despite airlines’ relative success on social media in recent years, only eight airlines around the globe answer their customers’ tweets in less than one hour. Read more at Skift
Vancouver Airport Sells 74 Customs Kiosks to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson: The management of Vancouver International Airport has more than the usual vested interest in speeding international travelers through Customs. It just sold 74 Automated Passport Control BorderXpress kiosks to the busiest airport in the world. Read more at Skift
Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport Turns 40 Years Old, Prepares for Life After Middle Age: Charles-de-Gaulle Airport keeps busy as Europe’s second largest airport, moving 62 million passengers in 2013, but as it celebrates 40 it is poised to further enhance its image and accommodate even more growth. Read more at Skift
Interview: Heathrow Terminal Designer on Creating Airports for Flyers and Cities: Architect and designer Luis Vidal is the brains behind Heathrow Airport‘s new Terminal 2 opening this June. The terminal was designed to reduce anxiety in flyers the moment they arrive, built to bring in natural light and reduce energy waste, and conceived with several high ideals in mind. Read more at Skift
Hotel Room Keys That Double as Gift Cards Are the Next Big Meeting Trend: Sheraton Hotels & Resorts turned room keys into Starbucks cards for the first time this week for its Global General Managers Summit at the Sheraton Seattle. In addition to opening room doors, each card was loaded with $10 to use at five Starbucks locations nearby the hotel. Read more at Skift
United Airlines Preparing iOS-Exclusive In-Flight Movie Service: United Airlines is preparing to launch a brand-new service for in-flight movies that will be exclusive to Apple’s iOS devices. The service will allow customers to stream around 150 movies and 200 TV shows to their devices completely free while mid-flight. Read more at 9to5mac.
How Cellphone Photos of Hotel Rooms Can Combat Sex Trafficking: Photographs of the hotel’s interior posted by guests on an online travel site confirmed that the style of desk on which the one young woman was posed matched the desks used inside Crowne Plaza guest rooms in St. Louis. Making this solid connection between sex trafficking and the specific places it happens is at the heart of a new effort driven by three St. Louis area women. Read more at Skift
A Transient Workforce and Rising Rents Lead to Growth of NYC’s Extended-Stay Marke: Known as extended-stay, corporate or short-term housing, these units have proliferated in recent years across Manhattan, both in buildings dedicated solely to this function and scattered inside existing rentals and condos. Read more at Skift
Renaissance Hotels’ Big Push to Become a Leader in Experiential Marketing: Renaissance Hotels announced three new partnerships with entertainment and media industry heavy hitters last week, expanding on its innovative RLifeLIVE programming. First unveiled in 2010, RLifeLIVE was designed to activate the hotel lobbies and other public spaces with live bands and interactive dining, drinking and cultural events. Read more at Skift
Here’s What The Park Hyatt New York Will Look Like When It Opens on August 28th: It’s not quite the moment we’ve been waiting for (that will happen on opening day) but it’s a very close second. Today we’ve got a sneak peek at what the 210 guest rooms and suites inside the Park Hyatt New York will look like when it opens on August 28th. Read more at HotelChatter
I must say that the Guardian is doing an excellent job at keeping up with the Malaysian Air news this week. On their live page they’re making active, intelligent updates and sifting out most of the detritus that flows through places like Twitter. Keep an eye on this page and you’ll see the updates flowing in.