What to Know Now

Marisa Garcia has an interesting analysis of the inflight Wi-Fi industry out this week that suggests that we may be in a bubble. She points to a variety of new technologies breaking on the market compared to relatively low adoption among passengers — inferring that maybe the technology is ahead of its users.

It’s true that only 6% of passengers on Gogo-equipped flights actually use the technology, but that number is also artificially constrained by the limited bandwidth on ATG networks. As bandwidth improves, it should go up — by how much though, I don’t know.

Speaking for the 6% of internet-greedy passengers I look forward to the improvements coming up in the industry. Hopefully as passengers get addicted to their Snapchat and Yo subscriptions, the inflight internet market starts to bear fruit.

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Top Story

Fresh on the heels of a premium cabin overhaul last month, Air France held a press conference in New York this week to announce a new series of cabin configurations. Covered by our own Samantha Shankman, the most interesting tidbit of news from the event was that the airline plans to hot-swap business and economy seating as demand dictates. This will help maximize revenue when business travel season is hot and also cut back on empty seats during slower, vacation months — a brilliant move if I might say.

Upgrades will be completed on the airline’s 777 fleet by the summer of 2016.



I would agree that offering free champagne to everyone is a good step toward becoming the world’s best airline by 2016, @AirFranceUS.

 – @p_brady | Paul Brady, Deputy consumer news editor at @CNTraveler — at the Air France press event



Virgin Atlantic Decides Where to Position its First Batch of Dreamliners: Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. plans to use its first Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner for flights from London’s Heathrow airport to Boston, with the initial batch of jets all destined for U.S. east coast routes. Read more at Skift

Dangerous Bacteria Found in Airline Tray Tables, TSA Bins: Bring the wipes when going through airport security, and when using airline seat belts and tray tables because they can be a bacterial nightmare. Read more at Skift

Air France Rolls Out Redesigned Cabins to Keep Pace With Competition: After four years in development, Air France today unveiled new cabins that bring better entertainment and more legroom to economy class flyers and complete privacy and comfort to business class passengers. Read more at Skift

Why Low-Cost Carriers Are Still Making the Aviation Industry Nervous: In his official remarks to attendees at the International Center for Competitive Studies in the Aviation Industry, Rome this June 17, Director General and CEO of IATA Tony Tyler expressed frustration that European market conditions do not foster the success of legacy carriers in the region. Read more at Skift



10 Ways Brussels Airport Fails Travelers and One Good Thing It Does: This years SITA IT Conference was held in Brussels, the de facto capital of Europe, seat of the EU Commission and the Council of the EU, and a really lovely city. Except for the airport. Read more at Skift

New York City Airports Introduce Free 30-Minute Wi-Fi for Flyers: Free Wi-Fi is coming to the New York City area’s major airports.  The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Wednesday approved a plan to offer free access at Newark, Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, to a point. Read more at Skift

Air Traffic Control Strikes and the Quest to Modernize Air Travel in Europe: Flights throughout Europe today were cancelled due to a strike by one of France’s unions of Air Traffic Controllers, UNSA-ICNA, scheduled from June 24-29. Read more at Skift



Israel to Pilot Futuristic Transit System that Could Alleviate Gridlock: California-based SkyTran has teamed up with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to construct the world’s first public pilot project for SkyTran’s elevated transit network. Read more at Skift

RelayRides Raises $25 Million with Focus on Long-Term and Airport Rentals: Over the past year, peer-to-peer car rental startup RelayRides has been growing its average rental times and revenues by focusing specifically on daily and multi-day rentals. On the strength of its results, the company has raised an additional $25 million in Series B funding led by Canaan Partners. Read more at Skift

There’s an In-Flight Connectivity Bubble That’s About to Burst: New developments in the aviation connectivity market now happen at speeds which surpass even the fastest connections on offer. Read more at Skift

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Marriott Expects 10% Revenue Boost From Global Expansion: Marriott International Inc., the world’s second-largest publicly traded hotel chain, said expansion into new Africa markets and a global economic recovery may boost revenue by as much as 10 percent this year. Read more at Skift

What Hotel Program is the Most Rewarding for Your Nights?  Overall, considering the quality of properties and the value of points plus elite benefits, I consider Hyatt Gold Passport the best progam all-around followed by Starwood Preferred Guest. Their hotels aren’t everywhere, and so I choose Hilton as a ‘backup’ program. Read more at View from the Wing

HotelTonight In Talks With Hotels About Keyless Room Entry: HotelTonight says it is talking with several global hotel chains about launching a feature where its customers would be able to unlock their guest rooms with their Android devices. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame has a hilarious story about the misery of riding in a CRJ regional jet over on Facebook. A well-written, awkwardly hilarious piece.


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

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Photo credit: The cubby box in Air France's new cabins. Samantha Shankman / Skift

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