What to Know Now

A brief trip into the way-back machine recalls the brief period at the end of the Northwest-Delta merger in which elite Northwest passengers received an unpublished bonus on international travel: Free upgrades to business class. The airlines claimed that this was a nice way to let elite travelers to try out the premium experience, but it also served the purpose of building loyalty and retaining business passengers.

Taking a page from that playbook, British Airways is offering something very similar through the end of the year. Passengers booking into Club World (business) will have the option to upgrade one leg to first on select routes, provided inventory is available. Considering the glut of dirt-cheap business fares currently on the market though, competition might be tight.

Keep an eye out for the upgrade option at booking as you plan your British Airways travel over the next few months. Hopefully a few Skifters luck out.

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Top Story

It’s a great week in the airline design space, with (leaked) sexy photos of Southwest’s new livery, news on Frontier’s new livery, new Dreamliners for United, and even a heritage livery program at American.

Southwest officially pulled the wrapper off the design this morning in Dallas and to the surprise of the internet, Twitter did not explode in a frenzy of Airbnb-like hate for the design (smart to not make it look like private parts, LUV folks).

Now we just need some of that fancy design to focus on making more room for economy passengers and everything will be zen.

Social Quote of the Day

I don’t really love the font but also mostly don’t care.

SBM12 on Flyertalk regarding the new Southwest Airlines livery

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Airlines

Rumors Circulate About Southwest Airlines Redesign: Aviation message boards, such as Airliners.net and FlyerTalk.com, are hopping with comments speculating Southwest will change the paint job on its planes for the first time since 2001. Read more at Skift

British Airways Bumping Business Class Flyers Up to First in Promo Push: British Airways will offer business- class passengers a free upgrade to first as it seeks to attract new customers to its most exclusive product. Read more at Skift

United Airlines Takes Possession of First Plus-Sized Dreamliners in the U.S.: United Airlines is showing confidence in Boeing’s 787 by taking delivery of the new, larger version of the jet that Boeing calls the Dreamliner. Read more at Skift

Royal Jordanian Shows Other Airlines How to Design a 787 Correctly: Royal Jordanian, famous for their striking charcoal coloured livery, have recently received the first of their 787s.  In a thedesignair.net exclusive – which it’s sharing with Skift – we reveal the images in full high-resolution for you to salivate over. Read more at Skift

JAL Introduces a New Premium Economy Class for Dreamliners: Japan Airlines has revealed its new 787-8 JAL Sky Suite cabin interiors featuring greater comfort, and more room in all cabins; and introducing a new Premium Economy cabin and a new in-flight entertainment system. Read more at Skift

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Airports

What Makes Copenhagen Europe’s Most Efficient Airport? Copenhagen Airport (CPH) has just signed beneficial airport charges agreements with easyJet, Norwegian, SAS, and IATA (which represent 85% of traffic at CPH) at rates which are among the lowest in Europe. Read more at Skift

Lufthansa Pilot Strike Cancels More Than 200 Flights: Lufthansa has canceled more than 200 short-haul flights as a result of a planned six-hour strike by pilots at Frankfurt airport, its main hub. Read more at Skift

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Tech

More Strikes in Germany as Train Drivers Push for Better Pay: A strike by train drivers across Germany has brought hundreds of long-distance and commuter trains across the country to a standstill. Read more at Skift

The Shrinking World of Online Booking Sites: Let’s say you are going to Nebraska and need a hotel — the Hilton Omaha. In late September, it is $212 a night (including tax) on Hilton.com. But you know you can do better. Read more at Skift

Google Set to Debut Its Most Disruptive Travel Product: The sky is falling for online travel agencies and metasearch players because Google is rolling out a couple of new advertising products for hotels and wholesalers that will likely level “the search playing field in travel like we have never seen before.” Read more at Skift

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Hotels

Interview: Starwood CEO on Why Agility Is the New Company Buzzword: Starwood Hotels CEO Frits Van Paasschen does not know what the Generation Z hotel guest will want ten years from now, but he wants to make sure Starwood is the first hotel brand to provide whatever that turns out to be. Read more at Skift

Aman Resorts: The nasty battle for the ultimate luxury hotel chain: Almost as fast as entrepreneur Omar Amanat and Russian billionaire Vladislav Doronin teamed up to buy ultraluxe Aman Resorts, the partnership exploded in acrimony and litigation. As the two battle for control, it’s up to the courts to decide: Who conned whom? Read more at Fortune

Public Official Probed for Scoring Hotel Points on Taxpayer’s Dime: A San Jose public official is in hot water for allegedly earning travel rewards by continuously booking hotel rooms for his entire staff under his Hyatt and Hilton rewards numbers. Read more at Flyertalk

Your Turn

Ross from Matador just returned from Burning Man with some solid aerial footage. Find it here.

Tips and Comments

Can be sent to gm@skift.com and @grantkmartin. We publish the Business Newsletter twice a week on Monday and Thursday.

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Photo Credit: A pilot entering a newly re-branded Southwest plane. Southwest