First Free Story (1 of 3)

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Back when I used to fly exclusively on Northwest Airlines, my first taste of price gouging at LAX involved an ill attempt to buy a value meal at Burger King — only twelve dollars for a simple meal.

Airport shops have been gouging for so long that it’s almost a joke among the travel community. “Forty dollars for a car wash? What is this, LAX?” “Eight thousand dollars for a crown? Is your dentist working at LAX?” You get the picture.

Retailers, of course, deny any wrongdoing, though that may be harder given the current spat between Kitson stores and the Hudson Group, two operations that run airport convenience stores in LAX and across the country. Among the mudslinging, Kitson is now claiming the Hudson has been gouging passengers on water, charging an egregious five dollars per bottle.

You could be disgusted, like me, or you could start bringing your own water bottle like my always-prepared girlfriend. I’d suggest adopting the latter strategy.

Social Quote of the Day

My $9.27 turkey and cheddar sandwich from lax. Thanks for not price gouging @Starbucks #depressingasitlooks

@laurastampler, Reporter at TIME



Cathay Pacific Tries to Set a New Standard for Business Class Food: Restaurant food has improved immeasurably over the past 30 years. So how come our expectations of airline meals are so low, even when we (or our companies) pay thousands of dollars for a seat? Read more at Skift

Delta Backing Off its 3 Week Advance Purchase Requirement for Saver Awards: At the beginning of February Delta appeared to impose a three week advance purchase requirement in order to redeem awards at the saver level. Read more at View from the Wing

American Airlines Is Banking on Asia to Grow Its International Business: One year after American Airlines merged with US Airways, Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker has settled on his most important destination: Asia. Read more at Skift

Etihad Adds Residence Suite to New York Route in Open Skies Amenities Escalation: Etihad Airways has announced that its Airbus A380, featuring the multi-room Residence suite and the whole “Reimagined” experience is headed for New York, with the first flight between JFK International Airport and the airline’s Abu Dhabi home beginning December 1, 2015. Read more at Skift



Lawsuit Charges Water Bottle Price Gouging at Los Angeles Airport: A court fight over retail operations at one of the nation’s busiest airports led to a charges Friday that passengers are being gouged on bottled water prices. Read more at Skift

Frazzled Flier? Let These Furry Friends Relieve Stress At Airports Around North America: Air travel is stressful. Puppies are adorable. So why not put the two together to make for a happier flying experience? Read more at IBTimes

Contract TSA Employees in San Francisco Charged in Smuggling Scheme: Authorities say two security screeners at San Francisco International Airport have been charged with allowing methamphetamine to be smuggled through carry-on luggage at an airport checkpoint in exchange for money. Read more at Skift



Uber Says Goodbye to Japan After Government Ruling: Uber Technologies Inc., whose taxi-hailing app faces regulatory challenges globally, shut down a ride- sharing trial in southwestern Japan after the government called it illegal. Read more at Skift

How Tesla Is Helping to Remake the Iconic U.S. Road Trip: Some travelers pick hotels with a five-star chef. Vincent Argiro looks for a Tesla charging station. Read more at Skift

MH370 report reveals black box battery expired a year before flight: Precisely a year ago, on March 8th, 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight 370 mysteriously disappeared over the Straits of Malacca. There’s still no trace of the Boeing 777-200 or its 239 passengers and crew, but an exhaustive 584-page report released today reveals that the battery powering one black box’s locator beacon expired over a year before the incident. Read more at The Verge



Mandarin Oriental Admits Theft of Guest Credit Card Data: High-end hotel chain Mandarin Oriental said Thursday that the credit card systems at some of its hotels in the U.S. and Europe were hacked. Read more at Skift

Four Top Hotel CEOs Say How Brand Loyalty Has Changed: Getting guests through the door on a regular basis is hard when many consumers make their choices based solely on price. So how do you get them to make decisions based on a relationship with a hotel brand? Read more at Skift

The One Big Thing the New York Times Forgot About the City’s Hotel Market: Yesterday the New York Times reported that the “Hotel Market Staggers in New York City,” citing sharp declines in occupancy (-4.7 percent) and average daily rate (-8.6 percent) in Smith Travel Report’s (STR) most recent market report. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

A very special birthday to Brian Kelly, aka The Points Guy who turned 32 late last week. Keep on traveling, Brian.


Can be sent to gm[at]skift[dot]com or to @grantkmartin

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Photo Credit: The Encounter restaurant at LAX airport. J Brew / Flickr