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For the last 24 hours I’ve been trying to figure out how I got upgraded on my United flight to San Francisco this afternoon and then I suddenly realized it: upgrade season is back. Some call it amateur season, some call it kettle season — for me it’s less about the fewer business travelers on the road through the holidays and more about the higher number of seats and suites available for the few of us still pounding the pavement.

If you think about it though, this really is the last season that we’ll be seeing these high volumes of elites among the airline ranks. Minimum spends are slowly chipping away at the volumes of high-tier elites, and many unhappy with the airlines are starting to give up entirely. Perhaps next year those upgrade lists will stay permanently short.

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Singapore Air’s Business Class Seats That Embrace Lazy Summers: Singapore Airlines Ltd. wants its high-end customers to embrace their lazy side.  Travelers in business class can pretend they’re slumped in a deck chair by the beach at 30,000 feet (9,100 meters) above sea-level or feel like they’re lounging on a sofa by choosing two new preset seat positions — “Sundeck” and “Lazy Z.” Read more at Skift

Airlines as Lifestyle Brands May Be the Future of Air Travel: Could airlines secure profits and build customer loyalty by becoming the next hot lifestyle brands? Read more at Skift

American ‘evaluating’ proposed long-range A321neo: American Airlines is “evaluating” Airbus’ proposed long-range A321neo, says vice-president of fleet planning Peter Warlick. Read more at FlightGlobal

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With Strong Economy, U.S. Air Travel Expected to Rise During Thanksgiving Season:  U.S. airlines will carry 24.6 million passengers during the Thanksgiving holiday season, 1.5 percent more than last year amid an improved economy, the carriers’ trade group forecast. Read more at Skift

Terminal at J.F.K. Could Soon Offer Travelers a Bit of the High Line:  Travelers passing through Kennedy International Airport may soon be able to get a taste of the High Line without leaving JetBlue’s expanded terminal. Read more at The New York Times

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Airline and Hotel Apps Get Lousy Reviews from Users: Airline, hotel mobile and car rental apps get the worst ratings from travelers and the gap between them and the most-popular travel-booking apps is huge. Read more at Skift

The Challenge of Finding the Fastest In-Flight Wi-Fi: If you’re looking for great Wi-Fi in the air, you’re not alone.  So are the 97% of passengers traveling who are permanently attached to their fancy gadgets. After all, what good is the latest state-of-the-art communication technology if you can’t communicate? There’s the rub. Read more at Skift

Uber Seeks To Add $1 Billion in Funding at $25 Billion Valuation: Ridesharing service Uber needs a little more money to bankroll global expansion and to fend off competitors so it is trying to raise an additional $1 billion in funding at a $25 billion valuation. Read more at Skift



Interview: Four Seasons CEO on Building a New Kind of Loyalty:  With fewer than 100 properties, Four Seasons as a hotel brand regularly punches above its weight in the crowded hospitality field. It is bulking up though, with 70 openings planned over the next six years. Read more at Skift

Chinese Ownership of New York’s Waldorf Raises Espionage Concerns: For years, high-profile guests at New York City’s landmark Waldorf Astoria hotel could be assured their private conversations wouldn’t be overheard by anyone — except, perhaps, by U.S. spies. Read more at Skift

The Insider Scoop on Starwood’s New “Your World Rewards”  The new Starwood Emirates partnership has gone live. Read more at View from the Wing

Your Turn

Thanks to Micki Maynard for sharing this great video of a crosswind landing at O’Hare this past week. Scary to watch, but fairly routine for the pilot types.

Tips and Comments

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

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Photo Credit: Customers of United wait in line to check in at Newark International airport in New Jersey. Eduardo Munoz / Reuters