What to Know Now

Late last year, Hilton became the first large scale travel provider to get it’s mileage program hacked. This year, American Airlines became the first. Numerous members in the American Airlines Executive Platinum group on Facebook are reporting that their accounts are locked citing suspicious activity, and Gary over at View from the Wing corroborates the attack.

In Hilton’s case, the losses weren’t catastrophic but the exercise proved to the community how fragile our loyalty programs can be. So if you haven’t checked on your American account or changed your AAdvantage password lately, well, now might be the time.

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Social Quote of the Day

I certainly hope they toss some miles our way after dealing with this hassle.

austin_modern on Flyertalk



Qatar Air Says It’s Raising the Stakes in the Business Class Seat Race:  Qatar Airways will roll out a new seat in its business-class cabins next year that Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said will feature double beds and be more than a match for rivals’ costlier first-class products. Read more at Skift

United Airlines Puts Its Top Lawyer in Charge of Customer Service: United Airlines’ reputation for customer service got off to a rough start in 2015, when a run-in with an irate monk made headlines around the world. Now a high-level executive reshuffle (paywall) is raising some eyebrows among frequent fliers, since it puts the company’s general counsel in charge of customer care and experience. Read more at Skift

United Follows American with Rewards Boost for Premium Fares: United Continental Holdings Inc. is boosting the rewards for premium-cabin travelers for the next seven weeks, following a similar bonus program offered by American Airlines Group Inc. Read more at Skift

Aer Lingus Rebuffs IAG’s Second Acquisition Bid: British Airways owner IAG SA said it lifted its bid for Aer Lingus Group Plc at the end of last month and was rebuffed again by the Irish carrier’s board. Read more at Skift



Canada’s Porter Airlines Close to Selling off Distinctive Toronto Island Terminal:
Porter Aviation Holdings Inc., the biggest operator of flights at Toronto’s island airport, is nearing a deal to sell its passenger terminal to a group led by InstarAGF Asset Management Inc. for more than C$750 million ($633 million), people with knowledge of the matter said. Read more at Skift

TSA May Institute New Security Measures for Airport Employees: The Transportation Security Administration is considering additional security measures for airport and airline employees, federal officials said Thursday. Read more at Skift

Epic Tarmac Delays Are Not a Thing of the Past Everywhere: Ravali Reddy spent 12 hours in an economy seat on an Etihad Airways jet in fog-bound Abu Dhabi even before a 16-hour trek to San Francisco. Flying the other way she’d have been allowed off — or the airline would have felt the pain. Read more at Skift



Reimagining the Airport Lounge Booking Experience via a Smartphone App: Airport lounges are in a transition phase now, with changes to loyalty programs affecting access to them and new concepts by operators independent of airlines offering a new kind of competition. Read more at Skift

China Likes E-Hail Apps But Bans Unlicensed Services Like Uber From Operating:  China’s Ministry of Transport banned private cars from offering unlicensed taxi services via mobile-phone apps, even as it endorsed the software as having a “positive role” for licensed vehicles and chauffeurs. Read more at Skift

11 Cool Things From the Consumer Electronics Show That Will Make Travel Better: While the breathtaking new televisions and connected home displays that do everything except break up with your girlfriend might get the most attention at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, there are plenty of excellent new gadgets that could make your next vacation or business trip a little less stressful. Read more at WendyPerrin.com



Why Europe’s Small Flagship Airlines Should Act More Like Hotel Brands:  Former airline CEO, Peter Davies, who was most recently at the helm of Air Malta, tells us that a long-term solution to the problems faced by Europe’s small flagship carriers could be a hotel industry model. Read more at Skift

A Quick Peek at the Glitzy Baccarat Hotel New York, Opening in March: Baby it’s cold outside, but the heat – and the crystal chandeliers – are on inside the Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York. It’s been 250 years (make that 251) since the legendary glass maker Baccarat was founded, and after some delays (and possible sale) the first hotel to carry the luminous Baccarat name is finally going to open. Read more at HotelChatter

Accor’s New Website Is a Cautionary Tale for Hotel Brands With Ambitious Web Plans: Can a global hotel group with over 3,600 properties spread across 14 brands in 92 countries position itself as a hospitality provider delivering fully personalized local travel experiences? Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Our congratulations to the notorious travel writer Leif Pettersen, who just accepted a new position at….. The Mall of America?

Tips and Comments

Can be sent to gm@skift.com and @grantkmartin. We publish the Business Newsletter twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday, but sometimes on Friday.

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Photo Credit: Cards for American's AAdvantage loyalty program. American Airlines