What to Know Now

Ask any business traveler to name a pet peeve about premium hotels and you’ll likely get an response about Wi-Fi. It’s slow. It doesn’t work well. And why does it cost so damn much?

Well, Marriott is finally starting to get the message. Last week they announced that they’d be giving free Wi-Fi for all visitors to their hotels. Sure, the Wi-Fi is only for members of its (free to join) loyalty program and sure, the Wi-Fi is throttled (one has to pay $5-7 for faster service) but at least it’s a start.

One wonders if this is simply an attempt to reverse the tide of bad PR that Marriott has been getting due to a recent $600,000 fine levied against them for blocking visitor’s Wi-Fi hotspots. Or maybe it’s just a legacy hotel adapting to a new generation of hotel visitors. Either way, the era of obnoxious paid Wi-Fi may soon be over.

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Social Quote of the Day

Kind of interesting that Apple pushed Beats Music with this Southwest partnership instead of iTunes radio.

@shepmcallister | Shep McAllister, Gawker Media Commerce Editor

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Airlines

Cathay Pacific Quietly Reveals a Updated Brand Look: Cathay Pacific have been working on a new brand image for the past few months, and while you may be forgiven for going ‘Really?’ the subtle difference in the new brand positioning is both striking, powerful and evocative. Read more at Skift

Virgin Galactic Reassessing Long-Term Benefits of Space Travel: The Virgin Galactic spaceship destroyed in a fatal accident high over the Mojave Desert was only designed to take tourists on a fleeting thrill ride into the lower reaches of space. Read more at Skift

Qantas Will Save Money by Cutting Life Rafts and Legroom: Qantas Airways Ltd. is taking extreme measures to cut its planesd’ weight and pack in more paying travelers as Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce works to return the carrier to profit. Read more at Skift

American Airlines’ 787 Makes First Appearance: American Airlines’ first 787 Dreamliner emerged from a Boeing factory paint shop in the wee hours of Thursday morning. The jet, a 787-8, is expected to be delivered to the Fort Worth-based carrier by the end of the year. Read more at Airways News

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Airports

TSA Officers Waver on Whether LAX Is Safer One Year After Shooting: A year after a man walked into Los Angeles International Airport with an assault rifle and vendetta against security screeners, efforts are still underway to prepare for such attacks. Read more at Skift

Las Vegas McCarran starts $67 million runway paving project:  For the next six months McCarran International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the country will juggle thousands of flights with one less runway. Crews started a multimillion-dollar runway paving project Wednesday. Read more at 8newsnow

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Tech

Up to 53% of Airline Passengers May Suffer From NoMoPhobia:  If you feel pricking on your thumbs and fear that wicked radio silence coming once you board the aircraft, you’re not alone. Read more at Skift

Starwood Betting That High Cost of Mobile Check-Ins Will Be Worth It:  Starwood plans to begin rolling out keyless check-ins next month at additional Aloft Hotels and at W hotels around the world, and in addition to the improvements in the guest experience, Starwood is banking on getting plenty of marketing buzz and increased room occupancies and rates from the initiative. Read more at Skift

Southwest Is Launching Beats Music Service on Its Flights: In a first for an airline and the in-flight entertainment (IFE) industry, Southwest and Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE), the airline’s entertainment partner, will offer Apple’s Beats Music to keep up with the current needs of passengers, the airline said in a statement. Read more at Skift

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Hotels

Marriott International Introduces Free Basic Wi-Fi for Rewards Members: Marriott International today announced plans to provide free standard Wi-Fi to members of its loyalty program Marriott Rewards when they book a full-service hotel directly via the hotel’s website, mobile app, by phone, or in person. Read more at Skift

Hilton Sees Filling Rooms on Weekends as New Trend: Hilton Worldwide saw its occupancy rate in the Americas rise 2.9 percentage points to 79.7% in the third quarter, and a chunk of that was generated by filling rooms on weekends. Read more at Skift

Hyatt Expanding Its Select Service and Extended Stay Brands in Cities: Hyatt didn’t meet analysts’ expectations for its third quarter earnings, but that doesn’t mean its Hyatt Place and Hyatt House brands didn’t make strides. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Executive Producer of the Small Empires series Stephen Greenwood pointedly hints this week that he may be planning an exceptional in air stunt for his upcoming wedding. More news TK.

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 Marriott hotel is pictured in downtown Los Angeles. Fred Prouser / Reuters