WHAT TO KNOW NOW
Airlines have been whittling away at inflight meal options for years, so much that we’re now at a point where sack lunches may be a passenger’s best bet. Free domestic meals in economy are now a thing of the past. International meals have been paired down and most flights charge a fee for alcohol. Some airlines like Norwegian charge for any food whatsoever.
Thankfully, we may have passed the industry’s low point, and United gets part of the credit for turning the ship around. Last year, United upgraded its first class food options and as of last week a new raft of economy meal changes is coming down the line. Among other upgrades, the airline plans to launch multi-course meals (yes, in economy) and bring back free booze to international customers. And lo and behold, British Airways just announced that it is upgrading inflight meals as well.
Some might argue that this is just a return to the way it once was — and I take no issue with that course — but some also call it a minor victory for the general traveling public. Frankly, I’m still amazed that we’re getting free food on international flights.
SOCIAL QUOTE OF THE DAY
United’s New Three-Course Meal in Long Haul Coach Is a Great Idea… Or a Really Bad One http://dlvr.it/9TCYb9 (Cranky Post)
Why Today’s Traveler Should Be Worried About Space in Tomorrow’s Airline Cabin: News out of the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany seemed to revolve around creating better “efficiency” in airline cabins this year, which loosely translates to “how to fit the most passengers into the smallest amount of space.” Read more at Skift
Gulf Carriers Rush to Add U.S. Flights Before Possible Rule Change: Persian Gulf carriers are “rushing” to add new flights to the U.S. ahead of possible restrictions in a dispute over whether they are unfairly subsidized, said the chief executives of Delta, American and United airlines. Read more at Skift
Boeing’s New ‘Space Bins’ Offer 50% More Storage Space, Will Debut With Alaska: As fees for checked baggage grow more prevalent and become more expensive, the struggle to find overhead space for carry-on luggage is growing more contentious. Engineers at Boeing hope that larger, easier-to-use overhead bins will help to make gate-checked bags and territorial skirmishes between passengers a thing of the past. Read more at FlyerTalk
Interview: Turkish Airlines CEO Says His Airline Is Better and Different Than Gulf Carriers: Turkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil has been at the helm of one of the world’s fastest-growing carriers for a decade, but looking back isn’t feasible when your hub is poised to become one of the world’s busiest. Read more at Skift
TSA to Add Recurring Background Checks for Airline and Airport Workers: The Transportation Security Administration is tightening security rules for airline and airport workers in the wake of a criminal case in which an Atlanta baggage handler was accused of smuggling guns on commercial jets, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Monday. Read more at Skift
Mohegan Sun and Incheon Airport To Collaborate on Unique Gaming Resort: The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority of Connecticut and Incheon International Airport Corp. of South Korea have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a one-of-a-kind gateway entertainment resort. Read more at Skift
The Lobbying Groups in the Fight for Open Skies Over U.S. Airspace: Who is subsidizing the various coalitions lining up on either side of the debate over Open Skies agreements and the alleged $42 billion in governmental subsidies handed out to three Gulf carriers, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar? Read more at Skift
New Adjustable Economy Seat Concept Makes Room for One and All: A new Economy Passenger Seat concept will make cabins more comfortable for smaller and larger passengers alike. Read more at Skift
Rethinking Hotel Communications for a Multi-Screen World: A rethinking and re-imagining of hotel–guest dialogues is under way. Read more at Skift
World’s Fastest Train Sets New Record of 375 Miles Per Hour: A record for the world’s fastest train has been set – at 603 kilometers per hour (375 miles per hour). Read more at Skift
Google Makes Another Big Move Toward Dominating Hotel Search: Google is making its own Google Hotel Finder, its hotel price-comparison product, increasingly irrelevant with the tweaks it is making to Google-powered hotel ads atop Google’s organic search results. Read more at Skift
Apple Watch Gets Hotel Bookings via Booking.com App: Travel companies were quick to create apps for Apple Watch, which begins shipping to consumers later this week, and make sure their products are among the first that owners download. Many of the early iterations of these services, however, will make information rather than action available on the watch. Read more at Skift
Hyatt says 200 Gold Passport accounts hacked: Hyatt said the accounts of about 200 of the 18 million members in its Gold Passport hotel rewards program have been hacked. Read more at the Chicago Tribune
Upscale Fitness Brand Equinox to Launch Health-Conscious Hotel Line: While most hotels include a gym as a complimentary amenity for guests, luxury fitness brand Equinox is switching up the pattern by adding hotels to its gyms. Read more at Skift
Hotels Still Weary of Booking.com Pricing Dominance: Competition authorities in France, Italy and Sweden have reached agreements with Booking.com to ensure that hoteliers in Europe can offer lower rates to online travel agencies than they do to the hotel-booking powerhouse but some hoteliers believe the commitments don’t go far enough and there are plenty of questions still to be answered. Read more at Skift
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Can be sent to gm[at]skift[dot]com or to @grantkmartin