What to Know Now

Headquartered in a United hub city, the Skift Business Travel team is familiar first-hand with the operational inconsistencies that United experienced this summer. In short: on-time performance has been less-than-perfect while wait times on the ground have been frustrating.

While the airline has suggested and demonstrated improved on-time performance, it looks like there’s a more official fix in the works. Starting this January, the airline plans to alter its flight schedule to ease up on gate congestion and hopefully speed up flight turnover. This in addition to its current efforts to make the passenger experience even more “Flyer Friendly.”

Thank goodness. While we all know and love United as an airline, the constant delays and missed connections are getting old. Hopefully the new flight scheduling system makes an impact.

Social Quote of the Day

Hey, at least they finally are saying they need to improve on time performance to remain competitive. the way to fix a problem is to admit there is a problem. They have now admitted there is a problem and at least starting to do something to fix it.

Baze @ Flyertalk

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Airlines

United Says It Is Working Hard to Become More ‘Flyer-Friendly’: Despite years of substantial hiccups and challenges after its merger with Continental Airlines, United Airlines insists it is committed to delivering on the original promise of ‘the Friendly Skies.’ Read more at Skift

Lufthansa Offers Direct Booking Savings and Agents Aren’t Happy: As Lufthansa Group airlines get ready to charge more for bookings made outside direct channels, travel agents will end up passing the extra fee along to their clients. Read more at Skift

British Airways Is Keeping Its 747s Alive One Upgrade at a Time: If it’s the end of the line for Boeing Co.’s 747 jetliner, nobody told British Airways. Read more at Skift

Qantas Considers Bold Move Into Asia to Take on Low-Cost Carriers: Qantas Airways Ltd. has just posted its best profit result in seven years. Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce must now decide whether to throw the cash at expansion in a region where competitors have lost $462 million over the last 12 months. Read more at Skift

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Airports

The Small Airline Labor Battle That Threatens Service to Regional U.S. Airports: The Teamsters group representing pilots at Republic Airways is balking at allowing a vote on the company’s contract offer, deepening the rift between labor and management at the regional airline. Read more at Skift

Las Vegas Airport Thinks Growth Will Come From Abroad: Las Vegas plans to double the number of international gates at McCarran International Airport with the expectation that foreign travel to the destination will climb as officials seek out prized direct flights, particularly with Asia. Read more at Skift

Member of staff at satellite communications company Inmarsat point to a section of the screen showing the southern Indian Ocean to the west of Australia, at their headquarters in London

Tech

20 Charts Showing Surprising Trends in Global Last-Minute Travel: People’s lives and schedules are often unpredictable and in many cases the days of planning travel several months in advance are long gone. Read more at Skift

Uber Hires Hackers Behind Jeep Takeover to Work With Security Team: Uber Technologies Inc. has hired the two computer-security engineers who hacked into a Jeep Cherokee, gaining control of the car’s steering, brakes and engine. Read more at Skift

Faster In-Flight Wi-Fi Coming Soon on a Global Level: Britain’s Inmarsat Plc said Friday’s expected launch of its third Global Xpress satellite will allow it to offer mobile broadband service to customers in the remotest regions, giving airline passengers the ability to stream movies and update social media on flights worldwide. Read more at Skift

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Hotels

Hotel Industry Gets Fee-Happy With Nightly Charges for Non-Smoking Rooms: There has been a lot of talk recently about various forms of hate-selling and upselling in the airline and car-rental industries and now, as ancillary fee revenue rises in the lodging industry, some hoteliers are getting increasingly aggressive. Read more at Skift

Virgin and Ace Hotels in One NOLA Neighborhood? It’s Happening: Virgin Hotels just received approval to bring their innovative ‘chambers’ and practical amenities to the Big Easy. Read more at Conde Nast Traveler

For Loyal Guests, Hotels Bring Back the House Call: In the hotel industry, customer relationship management has evolved to keeping notes on a regular guest’s favorite foods or room preference. But now some of the country’s most celebrated properties are reviving an old service for an even more personalized connection: the house call. Read more at The New York Times

Your Turn

Keith Bellows, the longtime editor of National Geographic Traveler, has passed. Read and pay tribute over at National Geographic.

TIPS AND COMMENTS

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

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Photo Credit: United's app for iOS. Skift