What to Know Now

Today marks the beginning of the Farnborough Air Show in the UK, one of the biggest aviation shows next to Paris and Dubai. Expect lots of updates on the state of the airline industry as well as a variety of new product unveilings and demonstrations. Several journalists are already on the ground there — if you want an inside look, follow Edward Russell from Flight Global or check out the #FIA14 hashtag on Twitter. Already the peanut gallery is commenting on how tight the 787-900 turns are compared to the A380.

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There’s a ridiculous letter from American’s CEO Doug Parker in this month’s American Way trying to defend their support  of the Transparent Airfare Act. The legislation aims to revert earlier rules enacted by congress requiring full transparency in ticket sales — ie, airlines are now required to state the final price when selling tickets (including fees, taxes and whatnot) rather than the base fare.

It’s all a marketing hack. Airlines want to display lower prices to incentivize bookings — tacking on fees right at the end of the transaction — but congress rightly thinks that’s misleading. And in the airlines’ defense, hotels and many other industry providers aren’t required to list their full prices when advertising their product.

The whole fact that airlines are trying to weasel out of their legal obligations, though, leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and Parker’s spin in his American Way piece doesn’t help. Let’s hope that the Transparent Airfare Act never gets off the ground.


As Explained by Elasticity of Sleight of Hand >> Transparent Airfares Act Would Boost Revenue by More than $1 Billion http://airchive.com/blog/2014/05/05/airfare-transparency-act/

– @RWMann | Robert Mann, airline industry analyst



Business Travelers To Get Negotiated Airfares at United.com: United Airlines and Concur, the travel and expense tech company, are taking a significant step with their announcement July 10 of a partnership that enables employees of corporations that are clients of both United and Concur to book flights on United.com and still get the corporate discounts that their companies have negotiated with the airline. Read more at Skift

Boeing Now Offers Bigger Luggage Bins on Its Most Popular Domestic Jet: Boeing Co. says it is responding to the battle of the bins: It will offer airlines the option for bigger bins on new models of its 737 jet, which is commonly used on domestic routes. Read more at Skift

A flight less ordinary: How Air New Zealand became Australasia’s most profitable airline: Recalling the dark days of 2001 at Air New Zealand, when the Kiwi carrier was bailed out by its government after the collapse of Ansett, Ralph Norris likes to paraphrase Winston Churchill.  “Never waste a crisis,” Norris says.  Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald



Italian Designers Try to Build a Better Airport Waiting Area Seat: We love simple architectural design. So it’s no surprise these understated airport seats have caught our attention. Italian leather designers Poltrona Frau have just installed their new ‘Flair’ Seating concept at Bologna Airport, Italy. Read more at Skift

London Airports Install More Charging Points for Electronic Devices: More charging facilities are being introduced at airports to help passengers at risk of having to leave devices with flat batteries behind, the Government has said. Read more at Skift

The Man Behind the World’s Soon-to-Be Busiest Airport: Now that he’s had a taste of running the world’s busiest air hub for international passengers, Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths is determined to hang on to the honor while setting his sights on an even bigger prize: beating Atlanta for the title of busiest airport on the planet. Read more at Skift

U.S. Government Using TSA Fees to Pay Down Deficit, Not Help Airport Security: The so-called Sept. 11 security fee that was intended to fund the Transportation Security Administration is about to increase. The TSA, however, says it won’t necessarily benefit from the extra revenue. Read more at Skift


A New Model to Look at Mobile-First Consumers: The Rise of Silent Travelers: The implications of a increasingly independent, mobile-equipped consumer are far-reaching for every vertical in the travel industry. Even as airlines, hotels, and in-destination attractions and offerings continue to rely upon meaningful interactions with their customer, a significant segment of travelers are turning first, in new and powerful ways, to their devices to solve trip-related challenges that have historically been resolved by in-person experiences. Read more at Skift

Behind Starwood’s Social Customer Service Victories on Twitter: When it comes to caring for hotel customers on Twitter, Starwood Hotels and Resorts is one of the quickest hotel brands by response time. Read more at Skift

Japan Airlines to Track Gate Agents With Smart Watches and iBeacons: Japan Airlines Co, Ltd. (JAL) has announced that it will collaborate with Nomura Research Institute, Ltd (NRI) on a trials of iBeacon and smartwatch technology on passenger service personnel at Haneda airport’s Domestic Terminal 1. Read more at Skift



Opening in Chongqing, China Marks Westin Brand’s 200th Hotel: Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ Westin brand has surpassed the milestone of opening 200 hotels worldwide, and has plans to expand further into emerging markets later this summer. Read more at Skift

Starwood to Double Its Hotels in China, India: Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. will almost double the hotels it operates in China and India over the next four years to meet growing demand in Asia’s biggest emerging economies. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

My jealously this month is for Bassam Tarazi, the genius behind Colipera. Over the next few weeks he’ll be driving between London and Ulan Batar in a piece-of-shit car in his Mongol Rally bid — something I’ve always wanted to do. Best of luck Bassam.

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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: American Airlines CEO Doug Parker wants airfares to be 'more transparent' by making them harder to understand. Mike Stone / Reuters

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