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Long proud of its reputation as New York’s boutique, no-fee carrier, JetBlue finally stepped in line this week and locked in some of the changes that all of legacies have been enjoying. Coming soon you’ll see less legroom, more seats and baggage fees on the carrier, moves made to better compete with the other airlines that are raking in billions in ancillary fees.
In a way, they had no choice. With oil prices down and airfare stagnant, American, Delta and United have been rolling in cash and today’s revenue is tomorrow’s innovation. Without the extra income, tomorrow’s JetBlue could fall behind. To their credit though, at least they have the industry leading Mint. And they’re keeping Wi-Fi free.
Social Quote of the Day
Analyst says @SouthwestAir might copy @JetBlue if bag fees don’t scare away customers: http://bit.ly/1yqI7Kn
United Pushes Frequent Flyers to Use Miles for Airport Food, Booze: What can’t you buy with frequent-flyer miles these days? From kitchen gadgets to charitable contributions to all-inclusive vacations, airlines have been pushing an expanding menu of rewards—anything to avoid giving away more free flights. And starting today, United will take the next logical step and allow its 95 million Mileage Plus members to use miles in lieu of money to pay for food and drinks at the carrier’s Newark (N.J.) hub. Read more at Bloomberg BusinessWeek
Commercial Airfares Won’t Drop Despite Lower Fuel Costs for Airlines: U.S. airlines are saving tens of millions of dollars every week because of lower prices for jet fuel, their largest expense. So why don’t they share some of the savings with passengers? Read more at Skift
The World’s Best and Worst On-Time Airlines: According to the most recent statistics from air travel consulting firm FlightStats, Iberia Airlines has the best on-time performance among global airlines in October of this year. Read more at Skift
The New JetBlue Will Have More Bag Fees and Less Legroom: JetBlue lowered the boom today, revealing that its upcoming revenue initiatives will include bag fees for travelers who choose the cheapest fare option in its upcoming branded fares, and 15 more seats in coach on its A320 aircraft, meaning 1.6 inches of reduced seat pitch. Read more at Skift
United’s Newark Plans Will Reinvent New York Airport Tech and Food Offerings: Newark Airport isn’t known as the most desirable departure point, but United’s plans to overhaul its Terminal C hub aims to dissolve this negative perception as restaurants by dozens of celebrity chefs and 6,000 iPads step onto the scene. Read more at Skift
United and Orbitz Sue Site for Selling Hidden City Tickets: United Airlines Inc. and Orbitz Worldwide LLC sued to prevent the travel website Skiplagged.com from helping consumers buy what the companies call improper “hidden city” plane tickets that undercut their sales. Read more at Skift
Thanksgiving Travel Rush Could Soon Happen Every Week at 30 U.S. Airports: Airports have enough trouble accommodating the flood of passengers hitting the skies during the Thanksgiving travel rush. Soon, this headache could become more than an annual occurrence: Some airports will face this every week. Read more at Skift
The New 3-D Seat Design That Would Make Flying So Much Cooler: As Ben Orson, Managing Director of JPA Design told attendees at the Skift Forum this year, the next big trend in cabin design is 3-D seating. This design approach is defined as capitalizing on the vertical space of the aircraft to improve cabin density beyond what horizontal use of floor space can accomplish. Read more at Skift
Former Marriott Execs Raise $3 Million in Seed Funding for Hotel Booking Site: A hotel booking startup, Imagine If, says it raised $3 million in seed funding from former Marriott executives, among others. Read more at Skift
Japan Tests Bullet Train That Cuts 90-Minute Trips in Half: Japan is unveiling a train that travels even faster than a speeding bullet train. This week, the Central Japan Railway Company is having passengers test out a maglev train that reaches speeds of up to 500 kmh (about 311 mph). The train will run between Tokyo and the central city of Nagoya by 2027, cutting traveling time from 90 minutes to 40 minutes. Read more at Skift
InterContinental Hopes to Raise $1 Billion From Sale of Iconic Hong Kong Hotel: InterContinental Hotels Group Plc, owner of the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands, is seeking at least $1 billion from the sale of a Hong Kong hotel, people with knowledge of the matter said. Read more at Skift
Trip Advisor couple ‘fined’ £100 by hotel for bad review: A couple say they have been “fined” £100 by a Blackpool hotel for leaving critical comments on travel review website Trip Advisor. Read more at the BBC
Interview: Shangri-La Hotels CEO on Maintaining Brand Identity Amid Expansion: Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts has been rapidly expanding beyond its original Asian borders over the last decade, with some especially notable openings like Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard in London this year. The hospitality group launched six new hotels altogether in 2014, with another 11 scheduled to open next year. It also rebranded some of its Traders Hotels under the new Hotel Jen flag targeting the Millennial travel segment. Read more at Skift
Good news, David Lytle, the former head of Frommer’s digital and a magnanimous travel writer will be reading at the monthly Weekday Wanderlust in San Francisco next month. Stop by and heckle him on December 17th.