What to Know Now

Big changes may be coming to the Oneworld alliance, home to American, British, Cathay, and a handful of other carriers around the world. Over the last several months, IAG, the parent company of British Airways has been making repeated attempts to acquire Aer Lingus, the flag carrier of Ireland. And though their earlier efforts were met with hysterical laughter, it looks like the Irish are now taking the offer seriously.

On the other side of the stage, Qatar just inked a deal to buy 10% of IAG, strengthening their role within the alliance and doubling down on its partner carriers.

All this is to say that tomorrow’s Oneworld alliance may be much stronger than the one we know today. With Aer Lingus on board we’ll see much better access to the British Isles and from a smattering of long-haul ports serving Dublin. Stronger ties with Qatar also mean better connections to and from the Middle East.

Provided this all pans out, members of the Oneworld alliance should be hopeful about the future.

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SOCIAL QUOTE OF THE DAY

It’s madness, @mrmickeylowe. It’s like watching @British_Airways make worst attempt to disguise screwing over its already disgruntled customers.

@jeremywired | Jeremy White, Product Editor for Wired UK

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Airlines

The World’s Best Long-Haul Premium Economy Cabins: Ever since Virgin Atlantic first introduced the revolutionary concept of the Premium Economy cabin in 1992, less price-sensitive air travelers could enjoy a better flying experience than frugal Economy passengers without having to dish out the big dollars for Business or First class travel. Read more at Skift

JetBlue to Unveil Bag Fees and New Types of Fares in the Second Quarter: JetBlue is getting a lot more complicated as the discount airline grows up. Read more at Skift

Qatar Airways Buys 10 Percent Stake in British Airways Parent IAG: Qatar Airways said Friday it has bought nearly 10 percent of the parent company of British Airways and Spain’s Iberia, deepening wealthy Qatar’s business ties to Europe and intensifying competition with the airline’s fast-growing Gulf rivals. Read more at Skift

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Airports

NY Airport Passenger Arrivals Reach Record 117.1 Million in 2014: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has broken its airport passenger record for the second straight year. Read more at Skift

Denver Airport Bans Sales of Pot-Themed Souvenirs to Save Image: Tourists who fly to Colorado to try legal pot can forget about buying souvenir boxer shorts, socks or sandals with a marijuana leaf on them when passing through the Denver airport. Read more at Skift

FAA Investigates Near-Midair Collision by New York City Airport: The FAA is investigating a near-midair collision between two planes by an airport north of New York City. Read more at Skift

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Tech

Qantas Just Made Virtual Reality In-Flight Entertainment a Reality: Starting this March, Australia’s Qantas will offer first-class passengers a new way to trip when traveling by air. Through a partnership with Samsung, the airline has introduced fully immersive virtual reality (VR) technology to its Sydney and Melbourne International First Lounges and first class cabins on select A380 services. Read more at Skift

Enjoy Complimentary Inflight Entertainment on Select Alaska Flights Through March: Alaska Airlines is offering free movies and TV shows to all flyers through the end of March as part of new brand experience. Read more at FlyerTalk

European Business Travelers Booked Flights Last-Minute More Than Americans During the Holidays: Understanding why 35 percent of European business travelers booked last-minute, or same day, trips during the holidays compared with only 18 percent of their U.S. counterparts requires knowing the divergent markets for last-minute flights in Europe versus the U.S. Read more at Skift

Uber Says Study Proves Customer Data Is Safe From Uber: Uber Technologies says that if you catch a ride with one of its drivers, your personal and financial data are safe — from Uber itself. Read more at Skift

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Hotels

U.S. Hotel Industry, Marriott, Give In and Withdraw FCC Wi-Fi Jamming Petition: The American Hotel & Lodging Association and Marriott International bowed to the inevitable and officially withdrew their joint FCC petition seeking clarification on whether and how they would be able to block attendees’ Wi-Fi for efficiency and security purposes at meetings and events on their properties. Read more at Skift

One Man Takes a Stand Against the Forced Gratuity on Room Service Bills. Will You Join Him? Tipping extra for room service, when there are already gratuity and delivery charges involved, has long been a hot topic here at HotelChatter. Will McGough is seriously fed up with these service shenanigans. Here’s his rant. Read more at HotelChatter

Las Vegas Reports 41.1 Million Visitor Record for 2014: A record 41.1 million visitors descended on Las Vegas last year. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Peter Shankman’s got a new book out called Zombie Loyalists. Read it. Buy it for your sister. Get better customers.

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: Illustration of tail fins of Oneworld alliance members. Oneworld Alliance