What to Know Now
Wearable technology for the traveler just got a fraction more appealing with the launch of the Apple smart watch. Beyond the typical functionality to read one’s emails and reject phone calls directly from the wrist, the app store holds the most potential for travelers of the future.
Already, brands like American and Starwood are publishing technology for the watch, making it easier to check in for a flight or even unlock your hotel room through the device. And though most of the upgrades and gizmos could currently be colored as gimmicky, there’s unanimous agreement that we’re facing the right direction for innovation. Next up: an app for putting me to sleep during my eleven hour flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco.
Past the pretty new designs of the Southwest and Frontier liveries, there’s much afoot in the business space of the two low-cost carriers.
As Frontier continues to redefine itself as an ultra-low-cost carrier, their goal with the new design is to appeal to a mixture of legacy (see: the retro F) and millennial travelers (see: the animal tail art) while quietly cutting costs all around. Our own Brian Summers goes into the details.
Southwest, on the other hand, is trying to grow up as a carrier, shedding not only its livery but also its old marketing campaign and slogan. With their new campaign, they hope to convey a more mature look as they expand service internationally. We’ve got another deep dive on that effort here.
Does this mean that the singing flight attendants will soon be taboo? Probably not. The airline still puts customer service first, and appealing to customers through song and dance is just another way to skin the cat. I for one look forward to Southwest again.
Social Quote of the Day
“The new identity is the equivalent of someone flailing their arms in water, pleading for help. The airline has no clear vision about where it wants to go. Absent that, they pillaged the history books to rob Frontier of past branding elements – and, in doing so, failed miserably at this exercise.”
– Henry Harteveldt, travel industry analyst at Atmosphere Research Group in “Frontier Airlines Looks to the Past to Set Designs on Its Future “
The 10 Airlines in the $1 Billion Ancillary Fee Club: Spirit Airlines got a higher percentage of revenue, 38.4%, from ancillary services in 2013 than did any of the other 58 airlines around the world that disclosed their revenue from such fees and services. Read more at Skift
Southwest’s New Look Marks Change in Business Objectives: Southwest Airlines is unveiling an unprecedented brand refresh as it grows up and out of the U.S.: Read more at Skift
Embattled Lufthansa Pays for Grounded Passengers to Take the Train: Another strike by the VC pilots union, has grounded Lufthansa flights out of its south German hub, Munich, today from 10 am to 6 pm. Read more at Skift
Frontier Airlines Looks to the Past to Set Designs on Its Future: Seeking to position itself as an airline that offers super cheap fares but still cares about customer satisfaction, Frontier Airlines unveiled a new branding strategy on Tuesday, one that plays up the carrier’s long history. Read more at Skift
Dubai to Spend $32 Billion to Create World’s Largest Airport: Dubai’s ruler has endorsed a $32 billion expansion plan for the city’s second airport that aims to make it the world’s biggest, the emirate’s airport operator said Monday in the latest sign that the Middle East’s brash commercial hub is determined to move on from its 2009 financial crisis. Read more at Skift
FlightCar Raises $13.5 Million for Peer-to-Peer Airport Car Rentals: Flightcar, which facilitates peer-to-peer airport rentals at three U.S. airports, today announced a $13.5 million fundraising round led by GGV Capital. Read more at Skift
Budget Travelers Less Satisfied With London Airports Than Business Flyers: Airline passengers flying into London can broadly expect a certain level of service based on the carrier that they’re on, according to LJ Research, which uses independent surveys to advice tourism and destination marketing clients. Read more at Skift
U.S. Airports and Airlines in the West Have the Best On-Time Performance: Airline passengers traveling through the western half of the United States can expect their flight to arrive and depart on-time more than anywhere else in the country, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Read more at Skift
The State of Airline Flight Tracking 6 Months After the Vanishing of MH370: Six months after the disappearance of MH370, all we know about what happened to the aircraft is what we don’t know. Read more at Skift
What Buying Airline Tickets Through Twitter Will Look Like: Taking advantage of flash deals for flights could soon be as easy as a few clicks on Twitter, which yesterday announced a pilot of its new “Buy” button. Read more at Skift
5 New Travel Startups for Smart Hoteliers and Sophisticated Guests: These five travel startups are making travelers and the companies that serve them smarter by giving them access to tool for connections, data insights, and more effective searches. Read more at Skift
Joie de Vivre Hotels Prioritizes Discovery and Bookings on New Homepage: Joie de Vivre Hotels (JDV) officially launched its new website, featuring a split-screen homepage offering users two choices to explore, research and book their hotel stay. Read more at Skift
Marriott Gets Into Wellness Trend With Kale-Packed Vending Machines: Toss the potato chips and Dr. Pepper. Bring on the kale and quinoa. That’s the guiding principle over at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare, which now has a lobby vending machine stocked with detox salads including organic kale with quinoa and fennel; greek yogurt with berries; and antibiotics-free lemon pepper chicken. Read more at Skift
Why Hotels are Losing Last-Minute Battle to Booking Sites: Lots of travelers are searching for last-minute hotel stays on online travel agency and hotels’ mobile websites, but when it comes to booking these rooms, it’s the online travel agencies that are converting lookers to bookers to a much greater degree. Read more at Skift
Marriott plans to add 1,300 hotels by the end of 2017 and will double its presence in Asia: The company said it will gain 200,000 to 235,000 rooms, which could add $450 million to its annual revenue. It plans to have 300 to 315 locations in Asia by the end of 2017, or at least double the 150 hotels it had there at the end of 2013. Read more at Fox Business
One of my old editor’s at AOL has been working at Time for the past few years and just wrapped the cover story for this week’s edition. You guessed the topic: Apple Watch and wearable tech. Nice work, Matt Vella.