What to Know Now

The day of reckoning is finally upon us when the loyalty programs of American Airlines and US Airways merge into one. Though the airline originally said that it would be mashing the two programs together sometime in Q2, in a note just sent to customers, the airlines shared that they would be starting the transition on March 28th. Over the course of several days, the programs will slowly melt together — and I’m sure there will be plenty of hiccups along the way. My advice: log out of your frequent flyer account over the weekend and check back again after next week’s Business Traveler. All should hopefully be smooth by then.

As for the airlines merging their operations, the Dallas Morning News reports that the airlines are planning to get their sole operating certificate on April 8th.

Social Quote of the Day

#CNN is basically unwatchable for some time after there’s been a plane crash

@dombeveridge | Dom Beveridge, Strategy/Data/Tech Guy

JAZZ Seat_1

Airlines

French President Says No Survivors Likely in Germanwings Crash: A passenger jet carrying 148 people crashed Tuesday in the French Alps. France’s president said no survivors were likely as search-and-rescue teams raced to the remote region. Read more at Skift

5 New Airline Cabin Features Changing the Way We Travel: With the aviation industry soon headed for its biggest aircraft cabin products show of the year, we thought we’d take a moment to give you a peek at some innovations which we’d love to see make their way from the show booth to the clouds. Read more at Skift

World’s Smallest In-Flight Entertainment System Makes Short Flights More Informative: AirFi, the world’s smallest and portable in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, is set to bring entertainment to short-haul flights while opening up new revenue opportunities for airlines. Read more at Skift

American Airlines Now Has the Industry’s Largest Loyalty Program: American Airlines Group Inc., formed in the 2013 merger with US Airways Group, is moving a step closer to completing the tie-up by combining the carriers’ frequent-flier plans on March 28. Read more at Skift


American Airlines Bag Fees

Airports

The 5 U.S. Airports With the Best Cellphone Service: Of the five best U.S. airports for receiving cellular service only one is also ranked among the five busiest. So you’ll probably never know what you’re missing. Read more at Skift

Of Course The TSA Uses Meerkat: As of yesterday, you can also add the Transportation Security Administration as an early adopter of the technology. Read more at Skift

Tech

Hyperloop World Headquarters Opens in Downtown Los Angeles: A company behind Tesla and SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk’s vision to build a futuristic, high-speed transportation system is now operating out of a downtown Los Angeles warehouse space. Read more at Skift

Screen-Shot-2013-08-12-at-4.55.35-PMBehind Today’s Launch of Marriott’s New Digital Travel Magazine: Marriott International is unveiling a new online destination travel platform today called Marriott Traveler, beginning with content about local New Orleans experiences like dining on gumbo z’herbes at Dooky Chase’s. Read more at Skift

5 New Travel Startups That Try to Meet a Traveler’s Every Need: This week’s travel startups are not essential to the travel experience, but rather meet the specific, or unnecessary, needs of certain consumers — whether it be their religion or their addiction to technology that defines them. Read more at Skift

 

Hotels

There Are Only 2 More Howard Johnson’s Restaurants Left in America: One of the three remaining Howard Johnson’s restaurants still in business has been sold and will close after a nearly 60-year run in a New York village. Read more at Skift

1193058061_6ab465d051_bExclusive: Amazon’s New Hotel Business Begins to Take Shape: Amazon has begun to broaden the way it works with hotels using the precise business model that Skift reported in November that it would. Read more at Skift

How Hotels Can Turn RFID From Concept to Reality: RFID has many more uses for the guestroom, including improving the back-of-house of inventory management. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Photographer and travel writer Lola Akinmade Åkerström has some tips for creating your very own smorgasbord over on Today.com. Check it out here.

TIPS AND COMMENT

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

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Photo Credit: A view of two US Airways Express planes next to an American Airlines plane (background) at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Mike Theiler / Reuters