What to Know Now
The New York Times published a scathing report on Delta’s SkyMiles program late last week, pointing to the loyalty community and passengers’ constant frustrations with the airline.
Many of the conclusions we’ve covered here before. SkyMiles is changing to a more dynamic program that’s based on passenger spend rather than distance flown. The end result will be fewer elite passengers and miles that can be redeemed for less. The New York Times article also showed that Delta isn’t really giving clear answers these days about how many miles it takes to get a rewards flight.
For many, though, that really doesn’t matter. Fact is, Delta’s a well-run airline with great aircraft and competitive fares. General consumers who don’t really care about miles have every reason to book their travel on Delta. For those who care about frequent flyer miles, though, it’s really time to consider other options.
Social Quote of the Day
It must be difficult to maintain a contentious relationship with your customers where the level of heartache on both sides extinguishes any positive aspects that might form in the relationship. It’s like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, without the humor.
Southwest Is the Most Contrarian U.S. Airline and That’s Why It Always Wins: You won’t find Southwest Airlines flight attendants wearing hot pants or go-go boots anymore. And no one at the Dallas headquarters thinks the airline can turn a Boeing 737 in 10 minutes. Read more at Skift
British Airways Parent Sees 40% Q2 Profit Spike Thanks to Fuel, Iberia Savings: British Airways parent IAG SA said second quarter profit rose 40 percent as it cut costs, fuel prices fell and the Iberia unit extended an earnings revival. Read more at Skift
Lufthansa Shows No Sign of Caving on New Booking Fee: The Lufthansa Group is poised to begin leveling a surcharge on September 1 on flight bookings that take place outside its channels and the Group, including Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, and Swiss, shows no signs of retreating from the fee. Read more at Skift
Dallas Love Field Is Even Worse Than LaGuardia Says Virgin America: Not long ago Virgin America had to battle two larger rivals for the space to fly out of Dallas Love Field. Now, a burgeoning number of flights there means Virgin is fighting to get planes off the ground on time. Read more at Skift
Rome’s Airport Adds a Power Failure to Its List of Ongoing Woes: A brief electricity outage hindered operations at Rome’s main Fiumicino airport, the latest blow after a fire in a nearby pine forest blocked flights the previous day. Read more at Skift
Breast Feeding Rooms to Become Standard at Chicago Airport Terminals: City Council members recommended Friday that lactation rooms be placed in every terminal at Chicago’s two major airports, a move that one alderman said could help make it the nation’s “most breast-feeding friendly” city. Read more at Skift
Atlanta Airport Once Again in First Place for Guns Found in Carry-on Luggage: Authorities say Atlanta’s airport once again leads the nation in the number of guns found in carry-on bags. Read more at Skift
The Secret to a Successful Airline Customer Service Twitter Account: Is having a separate social media customer service account instead of handling all brand messaging and reservation-related inquiries on a universal account more effective for airlines? Read more at Skift
The App That Lets Users Text Without Cell or Wi-Fi: Text messaging has a tendency to fail at places where you need it most. Read more at Skift
Airlines Give In-Flight Entertainment Options an Update: With more in-flight entertainment than ever, the longest flights can often seem short these days. Read more at The New York Times
Expedia Cozies Up to Google While Boycotting TripAdvisor Hotel Bookings: Expedia Inc. is cozying up to Google to enable Expedia hotel bookings right in the search engine but Expedia is keeping its distance from hotel bookings on former sister site TripAdvisor. Read more at Skift
To Get a New Casino Approved, Steve Wynn Will Improve a Boston Subway Line: Wynn Resorts is proposing lending a hand to Boston’s creaky transit system. Read more at Skift
Tokyo Developers Converting Offices to Hotels to Keep Up With Tourism: Record tourists to Japan are stretching the ability of hotels to accommodate them in a sector constrained by high costs, forcing developers to think out of the box for means to quickly increase lodging options without breaking the bank. Read more at Skift
Will Intercontinental Hotels Buy Fairmont, and What Happens to Lifetime Fairmont Status? Last week market excitement ratcheted up over an IHG-Starwood combination, although that culminated in word from IHG that talks ended without a deal. Now it appears that IHG, the parent of Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and related brands is looking at acquiring Fairmont. Read more at View from the Wing
InterContinental Says It’s Not Merging With Starwood and Shares Drop: InterContinental Hotels Group Plc fell the most since Feb. 17 in London trading after the company said it isn’t in merger talks with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. Read more at Skift
2016’s Association of Writers & Writing Programs from March 30 – April 2 will include a panel on travel writing with three of my favorite colleagues – Jim Benning, Pam Mandel and David Farley. See the full event calendar here.
Tips and Comments
Can be sent to gm[at]skift[dot]com or to @grantkmartin