What to Know Now

If lower fuel prices and enormous ancillary fees wont push down the cost of air travel, there’s one thing that we can always count on: competition. Southwest, Spirit, Virgin America and JetBlue have done a good job of keeping domestic fares low over the last years, but up until recently, the international market has had no white knights.

Thankfully, the markets are starting to correct themselves. Norwegian has been fighting for months to get wider access into the US and some of the major EU legacies are shaving off part of their businesses to go ultra-cheap. Coming soon you’ll see low-cost options from both Air France and Lufthansa, and though it may take time for their unions to come around, the result will be more options across the Atlantic. For consumers, that competition can only be good.

Subscribe to the newsletter here and send tips to gm@skift.com or @grantkmartin.

SOCIAL QUOTE OF THE DAY

American Airlines, flight attendant union face off | Dallas Morning News http://t.co/NODJRrGQjv

‏@azbizeditor | Kathy Tulumello, Business Editor of the Arizona Republic

JAL Premium img_figure1

Airlines

Is There a Simpler Solution to the Reclining Seat Debate? Airline passengers don’t need costly bargaining. They need a better assignment of property rights. So here’s a more feasible proposal for peace in the back of the plane. Instead of giving all seats the right to recline, divide the plane laterally, with reclining seats on one side and non-reclining seats on the other. Read more at Skift

Japan Airlines Cuts Seats to Increase Comfort on Long-Haul Flights: The introduction of Japan Airline’s (JAL) new JAL SKY SUITE 787 service is such an eye-catcher, and a surprise to the industry, that the double-take gives us whiplash. Read more at Skift

Air Canada Bets on Listicles and Badges to Engage Frequent Flyers: When Air Canada relaunched its top-tier frequent flyer program as Air Canada Altitude two years ago, it ran a series of focus groups that found customers were looking for greater connections with fellow flyers and recognition for their many trips. Read more at Skift

Delta Will Sell You Elite Qualifying Miles And Even Elite Qualifying Dollars!  As airlines are wont to do (see, for instance, American’s offer), Delta will sell you elite qualifying miles to top off your 2014 total and boost your 2015 status. Read more at View from the Wing

Gatwick train station to be transformed with £120 million upgrade

Airports

Gatwick to Make Plane to Train Seamless With $190 Million Upgrade: Gatwick Airport announced a £120.5 million upgrade to its train station, as part of continued enhancements to a seamless rail to air travel experience. Read more at Skift

TSA Admits Fault for 1.2 Mile Security Line at Chicago Midway: On Sunday, November 30, the busiest travel day of the year, post-Thanksgiving travelers flying out of Chicago-Midway International Airport (MDW) found themselves stuck in a security line that stretched about one mile with wait times of 20-75 minutes, requiring the help of Chicago police officers to manage surrounding airport car and foot traffic.  Read more at The Points Guy

An Easy Way to Improve Your Next Flight Delay: Airport Lounge Day Passes: You no longer have to be an elite traveler, a frequent flier, or even a passenger of a specific airline to enjoy the stress-free haven of an airport lounge. Over the past couple of years, several independent companies have nabbed real estate in the country’s busiest airports, bringing comfy armchairs, Wi-Fi, workspaces, snacks and drinks, and even spas and showers to anyone passing through the terminal with a few extra dollars to spare. Read more at WendyPerrin.com

3219107542_99ba6a6d09_b

Tech

When It’s Cheaper to Drive Than to Fly in the U.S. This Holiday Season:  U.S. airlines have been adverse to passing along fuel savings to travelers in the form of reduced airfares, and with gasoline prices at their lowest in three years, travelers will find that it is much cheaper to drive than to fly over the Christmas break to certain destinations, especially for distances around 2,500 miles or less. Read more at Skift

The Current State of Rail Travel in the U.S. and Europe: North America was built and discovered using trains, and that same sense of exploration lives on for travelers embarking on rail journeys across the continent each year. Read more at Skift

The Standard Miami

Hotels

Why Luxury Hospitality Is Returning to the Human Element: The LE Miami hotel buyer and supplier conference released its latest industry thought leadership report on Monday, entitled: Exploring The Shift In Luxury. Read more at Skift

Top 10 Hotel Club Lounges in the U.S. & How to Gain Access: TPG Assistant Editor Melanie Wynne shares her picks for the top 10 hotel club lounges in America, as well as tips on how to earn your way into them through their affiliated loyalty programs and co-branded credit cards.  Read more at The Points Guy

Yotel to Expand Internationally in Airports and City Centers: Yotel, the bright purple hotel brand, announced plans to expand to additional airports and city centers. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Quite the interesting exchange went down between Cranky Flier (The Man) and flight attendant Heather Poole (The Employee) yesterday. Get your awkward pants on and read 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.

Subscribe to the Skift Business Traveler Newsletter

Photo Credit: Will Norwegian spearhead an attack on budget travel across the Atlantic? Norwegian Air Shuttle