What to Know Now

Despite all of the ruckus that’s going on at HQ, good things are still in the works at United. Last week, the airline invited journalists to the unveiling of their new short-haul business class design, an overhaul that will find its way into some 200 aircraft over the next year.

In short, the cabin updates bring United’s premium cabins into the present, adding power, articulated seats and even fancy granite cocktail tables to a wide spectrum of aircraft and routes. Skift’s Marisa Garcia has the full scoop here.

Expect the new cabins to be installed through the rest of this year and into early next year.

Social Quote of the Day

JetBlue’s leadership on IFE: first ridiculed, then dismissed, and finally accepted as the obvious answer and copied

– @martysg | Marty St. George, MIT engineer turned JetBlue marketeer.

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Airlines

IATA’s Attempt to Make Passenger Experience Seamless Gets Its Second U.S. Airline: The Fast Travel program is part of IATA’s ongoing passenger experience improvement initiatives, and aims to give travelers a seamless travel experience through increased used of automation, while saving airlines billions in operating costs. Read more at Skift

United Reveals New Aircraft Interiors as if Nothing Else Is Happening: While the First Class seat design is conservative, fitting United’s overall product offering, it means business, offering a wider seat at 21.1-inches, forward recline, and other passenger-friendly features. Read more at Skift

Airline On-Time Performance Rose in July Alongside Complaints: U.S. airlines are posting better results for on-time performance and fewer cancelations but complaints are still rising. Read more at Skift

Delta Ends Interline Agreement With American, Leaving Passengers in the Lurch: Two of the world’s three largest airlines, American and Delta, will no longer exchange passengers to help them reach their destinations in bad weather or during other disruptions. Delta wants more money from the larger airline than American is willing to pay. Read more at Skift

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Airports

4 Questions About Privatizing U.S. Air Traffic Control: The early air traffic control network in the U.S. was a patchwork with no central authority, a situation that lasted until a spate of midair collisions led to the birth of the Federal Aviation Agency in 1958. Read more at Skift

Airport updates: LAX + Dallas + Minneapolis + Houston: Travelers departing Los Angeles International could see passenger drop-off delays due to new construction; members of Virgin Atlantic’s Elevate program are offered free UIber rides at Dallas Love Field; a new passenger lounge will soon come to Minneapolis-St. Paul; and the first portion of Southwest’s new terminal at Houston Hobby opens. Read more at TravelSkills

U.S. Senator Seeks Drone Ban Near Airports and Big Events: Sen. Charles Schumer wants lawmakers to force drone manufacturers to implement technology that would keep the unmanned flying objects away from airports, parades and major sporting events. Read more at Skift

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Tech

Virgin America Looks for JetBlue-Like Ways to Profit From Its New In-Flight Wi-Fi: Following a July announcement, Virgin America has now launched the ViaSat-powered high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi on the first of ten A320s. Read more at Skift

Airbnb’s New Apple TV App May Be the Ultimate Interactive Catalog for the Armchair Traveler: Travel retailers have tried for ages to provide television viewers a connection between what’s happening on their screens and a real-world experience they can easily purchase, but have largely come up short. Airbnb’s new app for the recently refreshed Apple TV may change all that. Read more at Skift

Work Hard Anywhere, An App That Helps Freelancers Find Decent Workspaces: Work Hard Anywhere is an app that helps freelancers find decent workspaces and coffee shops to operate from. The app rates locations by their criteria like quality of Internet access, places to plug-in, seating, and price so that users can find suitable places to work while traveling or in their own city. Read more at Laughing Squid

Uber CEO Visits Colbert’s New Show to Talk Driverless Cars and On-Demand Food: Among the string of guests to make an appearance during The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s first week was Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who was grilled by Colbert on Uber’s impact on the taxi industry, self-driving Ubers and the next thing he plans to “Uberize.” Read more at Skift
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Hotels

Four Seasons Hotels Taps Big Data to Upsell Food and Beverage: And you thought airlines were the kings and queens of upselling. Read more at Skift

U.S. Government Confirms It Will Shun Hilton-Managed NY Waldorf-Astoria Hotel: It’s official. The U.S. government says it’s abandoning decades of tradition and moving out of New York’s famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which a Chinese firm bought last year from Hilton Worldwide. Read more at Skift

Philadelphia Hotels Drop Prices as Pope Tourism Bookings Cool: Philadelphia’s hotel industry said Friday there’s still plenty of room at the inn for Pope Francis’ visit this month. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Mike Rowe (yes, the Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs) has a great vignette about an over-attentive flight attendant on his last Delta flight over on Facebook. Find it here.

Tips and Comments

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

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