What to Know Now

We, as business travelers, should be experts at complaining. All things go wrong on the road — planes break down, room service fails, rental car shuttles don’t run — it’s part of the game. And there’s a way to channel those complaints: through the website, with the right context, without passion.

Why do I bring this up? Because social media have given us a great opportunity to fail at complaining. Look, I understand you have 93 followers and that the travel industry is ultra responsive on Twitter — but lobbing out surliness with no actionable steps isn’t going to help anyone.

A tip for those distraught on the road then: stay on message. Love your community. And if you do want to complain through social, tag your travel provider so they can see your complaint and help out. After that? Move on. Flying chairs after all, are amazing.

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Top Story

Long have we been told that smartphones are the next-generation tool for hotel visitors, but until now, most applications have really been a gimmick. That may change though with Hilton’s new plans. The hotel group announced this week that they’re planning to offer HHonors members the ability to select their own rooms and unlock their doors through smartphone technology, alleviating the need to go through checkin or pick up another set of cheap plastic keys.

There’s a long way to go until the technology is fully integrated into each door lock let alone each Hilton across the map, but the prospects for the technology are huge. Much credit to Hilton for leading the way.


 To succeed in business you need to be original, but you also need to understand what your customers want http://virg.in/evr

@richardbranson | Richard Branson, Tie-loathing adventurer and thrill seeker

A Southwest Airlines jet waits on the tarmac at Denver International Airport in Denver


FAA Proposes $12 Million Fine to Southwest for Poor Maintenance: The FAA has proposed a $12 million dollar fine to Southwest Airlines for continuing to operate more 44 aircraft on more than 20 flights after being alerted to poor maintenance practices on their fuselages by their contractor ATS. Read more at Skift

IPO-Bound Virgin America Plans Route Expansion: Virgin America would use an unspecified portion of its net proceeds from its hoped-for IPO for sales and marketing and acquiring additional flight equipment as it looks to expand its operations from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and soon Dallas Love Field. Read more at Skift

Delta Just Raised the Stakes in the In-Flight Entertainment Arms Race: In a move which turns in-flight connectivity monetisation theories on its head, Delta Airlines has announced that it will offer free in-flight entertainment on all Delta and Delta Connection flights over one and a half hours in duration–on all classes of service–through its new Delta Studio product. Read more at Skift



U.S. Government Asks Travel Industry to Help It Improve Airport Arrivals: U.S. airports pale in comparison to several of their international counterparts, and this has an adverse impact on tourism when foreign tourists begin to consider their destination options. With long customs lines and outdated technology, it’s easy to understand why a traveler might forgo a trip to the U.S. and save themselves the hassle. Read more at Skift

Design a Better TSA Checkpoint and Win $5,000: Since the inception of the Transportation Security Administration, the security checkpoint at airports within the United States has seen many changes and additions. From traditional metal detectors to full body scanners, the screening methods may have changed, but the basic layout of the checkpoint has remained the same. Read more at Forbes

The State of Airport Security in a TSA PreCheck-Packed World: PreCheck was supposed to be a respite from that action, a way of rewarding frequent travelers for their numerous trips through the airport checkpoint and speeding up security for passengers across the board. With growth, however, comes teething problems. Read more at Skift

Helsinki Airport Asks Flyers to Trade Privacy for Free Wi-Fi: Helsinki’s airport will be the first in the world to track passengers to within feet. The plan is being hailed as a technological breakthrough — and is drawing scrutiny from privacy advocates. Read more at Skift



Tracking Hotel Rate Drops Just Got Easier With Yapta’s RoomIQ: Yapta already lets travel management companies (TMCs) monitor drops in airfares with FareIQ, and soon they will be able to do likewise for hotel rates. Read more at Skift

Business Travel and Sharing Collide as Airbnb and Uber Ink Deals with Concur: Concur, the business travel management specialists, yesterday and today rolled out partnerships with Uber and Airbnb that give travelers more options for booking transport and lodging while on the road. Read more at Skift

China to Upend U.S. as Globe’s Largest Business Travel Market: China is poised to displace the U.S. as the world’s biggest business-travel market by 2016, aided by accelerating export growth and slowing inflation.China to Upend U.S. as Globe’s Largest Business Travel Market: Read more at Skift

One Company’s Non-Traditional Path to Free In-Flight Wi-Fi: ViaSat thinks free in-flight Wi-Fi is not only realistic but vital to the passenger experience, and the company which powers JetBlue’s popular Fly-Fi connection, wants to deliver its lightning-fast connections without charging passengers a penny. Read more at Skift

An exterior shot of the Hilton Midtown in New York


Hilton Worldwide Gives Guests the Freedom to Select Their Own Rooms: In a first for the hospitality industry at scale, Hilton Worldwide said it plans to introduce the capability for Hilton HHonors members to be able to select their specific rooms after booking a reservation, starting a day before their stay. Read more at Skift

Hotels Need to Rework Loyalty Programs to Capture Millennials: The hotel guests of tomorrow will no longer be happy to collect and count their points, and wait for the distant future to redeem them for a few nights’ stay. Read more at Skift

Guests using toilet at posh hotel can be seen from street after epic window design blunder:  Architects missed the fact that passers-by can see, and take pictures of, patrons using the toilets at the newly opened 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin. Read more at the Irish Mirror

Your Turn

On growing up: Skift’s co-founder and sherpa Rafat Ali reflects on our growth, failures and successes as we pass our two year birthday. It’s been a wild ride guys — here’s to another two years.

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: Guests using smartphones outside New York's Midtown Hilton. Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

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