What to Know Now

Health and safety at the pointy end of the airplane is at the front of everyone’s mind this week as we digest the news that a Germanwings flight was intentionally crashed by what appears to be mentally distraught pilot. The investigation is still ongoing, but as a knee-jerk reaction, EU airlines are already putting rules in place to require two crew on the flight deck at all times.

Meanwhile, the question of “Who’s fit to fly?” continues to worry the traveling on public. Over on Mashable, flight attendant Heather Poole sums it up nicely:

“Am I afraid to go back to work? Not at all. I trust the people I work with, even after something like this happens.”

Social Quote of the Day

Writing about how I still feel safe in the sky, how I trust my coworkers and I’m not afraid to fly.

@Heather_Poole

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Airlines

Germanwings Co-Pilot ‘Intentionally’ Crashed Plane Says French Prosecutor: The co-pilot of a Germanwings flight that slammed into an Alpine mountainside “intentionally” sent the plane into its doomed descent, a French prosecutor said Thursday. Read more at Skift

More Airlines Promise to Require Two Crew Members in Cockpit at All Times: Airlines and officials around the world on Thursday began requiring two crew members to always be present in the cockpit, after details emerged that the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 had apparently locked himself in the cockpit and deliberated crashed the plane into the mountains below. Read more at Skift

U.N. Agency Says Thailand’s Aviation Industry Is a ‘Significant Safety Concern’: Thailand is facing bans on new international flights and increased inspections after the International Civil Aviation Organization flagged significant concerns about the country’s aviation safety, officials said Friday. Read more at Skift

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Airports

Spain’s Record Tourist Arrivals Equal Big Profits for Its Biggest Airports: Aena SA said profit jumped last year as the operator of Spain’s main airports for Madrid and Barcelona benefited from a record number of tourists visiting the country. Read more at Skift

Obama International Airport? Emanuel floats idea of renaming O’Hare, Midway: Could Mayor Rahm Emanuel be thinking about renaming Chicago’s airports, perhaps after President Barack Obama? Read more at the Chicago Tribune

Not Losing Our Luggage Has Made Airlines $18 Billion Richer: Lost luggage is a nuisance for passengers and expensive to airlines.But new innovations in technology and processes are making mishandled luggage less likely, and airlines’ books look better as a result. Read more at Skift

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Tech

Finnair Investing $33 Million to Install Wi-Fi Across Fleet: Finnair has announced that its Board of Directors approved an investment program to install in-flight Wi-Fi on the majority of its wide-body and narrow-body fleet. Read more at Skift

Hotels Want to Tax Expedia for Competition’s Sake: Marriott, Hilton, InterContinental, Starwood, and the rest of the hotel industry are pressing the State of Maryland to make online travel agencies such as Expedia pay sales tax on the room rate consumers pay when they book a room so that the hotels can compete more effectively against these rivals. Read more at Skift

The New Airline Seat Design Fit for Passengers and Low-Cost Carriers: A new player has entered the field of aircraft seat design and plans to reveal the prototypes of its new theatre-style Rebel seat at this year’s upcoming Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg in April. Read more at Skift

Yelp Is Getting Into the Tours and Activities Booking Business: Yelp, which added hotel bookings through Hipmunk in October, is branching out anew and is offering tours and activities via Vimbly. Read more at Skift

British Airways Frequent Flyer Accounts Hacked: Some British Airways frequent flier accounts have been hacked, but the airline says that most personal information is safe. Read more at Skift

 1Hotels

Hotels

Interview: Barry Sternlicht on the Launch of His New 1Hotels Brand: If you’re the person who created W Hotels and St. Regis Hotels, where do you go after that? Read more at Skift

Hilton Knows Hotels’ Global Expansion Opportunities Are Enormous: Ever wonder why real estate interests are pouring so much money into hotel construction and investors are funneling so many dollars into Airbnb and its peers? Read more at Skift

Interview: InterContinental Hotels Group Rethinks Metasearch Participation: UK-based InterContinental Hotels Group, the largest hotel group in the world, was an early adopter of travel metasearch some 15 years ago but now thinks the metasearch sector is at a pivotal moment and is re-evaluating its participation. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Our favorite Korean travel blogger is getting married today. Congratulations, Runaway Juno.

Tips and Comment

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

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Photo Credit: People and family members of a victim pay tribute next to a stele and flowers laid in memory of the victims in the area where the Germanwings jetliner crashed in the French Alps, in Le Vernet, France. Christophe Ena / Associated Press