What to Know Now

While we now know that US Airways and American won’t be merging their mileage programs in the 2014 calendar year, there are still many changes afoot. Last month, American reduced the number and quality of meals now being offered in domestic first class. Now, as of next month, US Airways is ratcheting down the value of their mileage program.

The Points Guy has a good summary of the changes which come as of August 1, but the thesis remains: your mileage balance is temporary and precious. Spend it while you can.

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Top Story

Finally some good news from the airline industry as Delta today announces that they’re opening up their inflight entertainment options. To start, passengers on flights over 90 minutes with seatback entertainment will have some sort of free content to access. More interestingly though, the airline is also starting to facilitate free streaming content through Gogo’s video player and the Fly Delta app. As Gogo continues to expand their capabilities and airlines get tech savvy, look to this day as the turning point.


Everyone at Google is “Head of Travel”. But @denschaal found the top wizard behind the curtains. http://t.co/2lsWjLYzYY

 – @sean_oneill | Sean O’Neill Travel Tech Reporter



JetBlue Considers Charging for First Bag Under New Fare Structure: JetBlue Airways Corp., one of the U.S. industry’s holdouts in not charging for a first checked bag, is considering adding the levy as the carrier overhauls the way it prices tickets. Read more at Skift

Flight Detours Around Ukraine to Result in Higher Airfares: The extra cost from rerouting hundreds of airliners around Ukrainian airspace, shut down following the downing of a Malaysian Air flight last week, is set to translate into higher ticket prices for passengers. Read more at Skift

The Math Behind Airlines’ Chaotic Boarding Practices: Boarding an airplane these days can be as vexing as enduring the flight itself. Mobs of passengers elbow past each other to get close to the boarding aisle, only to find that there’s no apparent rhyme or reason to their boarding order. For those braving the skyways during the hectic summer travel season, this might help explain why: Read more at Skift



U.S. Customs and Border Control Expand Overtime Benefits to Ease Long Waits at Airports:  The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency plans to increase the number of hours its staff can work at locations including Los Angeles International Airport and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, a move that it expects to boost tourism and economic growth. Read more at Skift

U.S. Database Glitch Delays Passport, Visa Processing: The U.S. State Department’s global database for processing visas and passports is experiencing problems that could cause delays for millions of people around the world who are awaiting travel documents. Read more at NPR

Screen Shot Ryanair App Menu

Screen Shot Ryanair App Menu


The Paper Map Companies That Just Won’t Quit: At a recent family gathering, a visiting relative mentioned he wanted to take a drive to the Berkshires, but didn’t know the best route. In response, three people pulled out cell phones to check travel apps and one person offered to loan him a GPS. Read more at Skift

Ryanair Continues Its Reinvention With a Smartphone App That Works: Ryanair has unveiled its first truly user-friendly app, after what have been two dismal previous attempts—the first one demanded passengers pay €3 for the privilege. Read more at Skift



Holiday Inn Tries to Tell Its Story on Tumblr in a New Brand Campaign:  Millions of people have stayed at Holiday Inn, but those guests probably don’t know who’s staying in the room next to them.  And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, the hotel’s new digital-first brand campaign, “Journey to Extraordinary,” works to fix this and showcase the diversity of guests who walk through Holiday Inns around the world each day. Read more at Skift

The Most Important Meal of the Day: the Hotel Chains and Properties that Do Breakfast Best: Among hotel chains, Hyatt Gold Passport has the best elite breakfast benefit and Hilton has the easiest breakfast benefit to get.  Perhaps the most generous elite offering was the Park Hyatt Aviara which wound up comping their Mother’s Day $95 per person buffet. Read more at View from the Wing

Tracking Facebook’s Most Visited Hotel Brands: When it comes to social brand presence for Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, Marriott International, and Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Page Likes is not the only thing that matters. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Josh Topolsky, the Editor-in-Chief of the Verge (and AOL alum) just abruptly left the company to join Bloomberg. Strange times for Vox Media, but I’m sure they’ll be fine.

Tips and Comments

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 in-flight entertainment options in Economy class on Delta's A330 aircraft. Delta Air Lines

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