What to Know Now
Shared private jets are the pet teacup pigs of the airline industry: everyone wants one and thinks they’re cool, but once they’ve got them, they don’t know what to do. Ashton Kutcher and Jay-Z’s Blackjet didn’t fare well. NetJets has a revolving door of CEOs. Surf Air’s founding CEO stepped down and started Beacon on the east coast. Fact of the matter is, it’s tough to build a new business model in the private jet industry where competition from legacy airlines is high, scale is difficult, and your customer base is small and particular.
OneJet thinks that it has the solution. The airline plans to launch scheduled private jet service across a handful of destinations in the Midwest, “using an algorithm” to charge less for each ticket as the plane fills up. Skift’s Dennis Schaal found that a one-way seat on OneJet from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh quoted at $283 for the first seat, compared to $160 on US Airways — with a layover. As part of their value proposition, the airline promises to run schedule service between their destinations and solicit the advice from a “who’s who” of former industry executives including the former TSA chief and Virgin America’s former CEO.
We’ll see how it goes. While the prices are reasonable, OneJet will need some serious marketing effort (putting its destinations on its homepage, for example) behind its service. Once the passengers show up, I’m interested to see how they scale.
Social Quote of the Day
When Legacy Airlines Degrade Themselves With Budget Fares: A new type of “budget” fare is creeping into legacy airline networks, including Delta and British Airways, and the trend is dismantling the idea of air travel as we know it. Read more at Skift
Can a New Private Jet Service Backed by Former DOT Chief and Online Veterans Win Where Others Lost? Scheduled, private jet service may be the best alternative for small cities that no longer have nonstop routes from bigger commercial airlines that abandoned them. Read more at Skift
JetBlue Is Adding Bag Fees to Make Investors, Not Flyers, Happy: JetBlue officials confirmed today that the airline is on track to introduce new fare families, which means some passengers would pay fees for the first checked bag, during the second quarter, which ends June 30. Read more at Skift
Alitalia CEO Wants a 5-Star Airline and Hopes Etihad Can Help: When Silvano Cassano was offered a chance last year to go back to running a company after working as a consultant, he told himself, “if it’s in Italy, no thanks.” Read more at Skift
LATAM Airlines Blends Cultures in Launch of Largest VIP Lounge In South America: LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines, partners in the LATAM Airlines Group, have built a physical representation of their partnership and the extended global market reach that partnership creates with the largest VIP lounge in South America, located on the 4th and 5th floors of the western sector of Santiago’s International Airport in Chile. Read more at Skift
American Airlines’ $2 Billion Makeover Brings Fresh Look to Tired Lounges: American Airlines has announced the start of a multiyear program to completely overhaul its Admirals Club Lounges, converting them into new spaces where passengers will find themselves at ease to rest, work, catch-up with friends and colleagues, and refresh between flights. Read more at Skift
New York City Airports Had Highest U.S. Domestic Fares During 2014 Holiday Season: New York City area airports had the most expensive average round-trip airfares during the 2014 holiday season but other rising business hubs such as Houston weren’t far behind. Read more at Skift
TravelBird Is a European Travel Scale-Up to Watch: Booking holiday trips online isn’t exactly ground-breaking stuff, you would think. And then you come across a company like Amsterdam-based TravelBird, which seemingly identified a gap in the market a little over five years ago and has been on a rocket ship ever since. Read more at Skift
Pilots’ iPad App Problem Delayed American Airlines Flights for Second Day: A software fault on Apple Inc. iPads used by American Airlines pilots for navigation charts delayed some flights Wednesday after affecting operations overnight. Read more at Skift
Exclusive: Booking.com Finally Enters the Corporate Travel Business: With millions of business travelers already using its websites to book hotels, Booking.com decided to finally seize the opportunity and has quietly launched Booking.com for Business, which is geared for small businesses without managed travel programs. Read more at Skift
Cities in the U.S. Struggle to Improve Weekend Hotel Bookings: During the past year, all of the top 25 U.S. markets saw higher average daily rates during the week than on the weekends, but the discrepancy varies depending on the relative strengths of their business and leisure allure. Read more at Skift
Starwood Hotels Hires a Banker to Mull Strategic Alternatives: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, which saw the surprise departure of its CEO in February, hired a banker to “explore a full range of strategic and financial alternatives to increase shareholder value,” the company announced. Read more at Skift
La Quinta’s Quarterly Earnings Beat Wall Street Expectations: La Quinta Holdings Inc. (LQ) on Wednesday reported first-quarter net income of $6.1 million, after reporting a loss in the same period a year earlier. Read more at Skift
Starwood Concedes That Sheraton Is a Tired Brand: As Starwood mulls its strategic and financial alternatives, interim CEO Adam Aron basically admitted to financial analysts that its Sheraton brand is a tired brand and that the service quality is subpar in some locations. Read more at Skift
National Geographic Traveler has a new Editor-in-Chief. Our congratulations go to Maggie Zackowitz.
Tips and Comments
Can be sent to gm[at]skift[dot]com or to @grantkmartin