What to Know Now

One of the least popular changes brought forth by the former United Airlines administration was the updated loyalty program, Mileage Plus. Though in line with the current trend of airline loyalty programs (higher fares = more miles), Mileage Plus has largely been perceived as bad for budget travelers — and there’s definitely a sense of anxiety building among the loyal ranks of United flyers.

It may just be general feather smoothing, but United’s new CEO seems to get that urgency. In a letter to frequent flyers this week, Oscar Munoz acknowledged that the airline can do better and promised to focus on customers and earn their loyalty. Perhaps that translates to a better loyalty program in the works.

Social Quote of the Day

Yay, Smisek is out at @united! Here’s hoping Oscar Munoz actually cares about customer experience/loyalty & product quality.

@ joshanon, Co-Founder/CEO of Visioneer Studios. Ex-Lytro Sr. Product Manager, ex-Pixar cinematographer/technical director, freelance photographer, and startup fanatic.

Oscar Munoz united

Airlines

United Is Reworking Schedules to Better Battle Mother Nature: Plagued by persistent delays, United Airlines will shuffle its route system to improve reliability and reduce its exposure to Mother Nature. Read more at Skift

Lufthansa Reorganizes in Attempt to Fend Off Gulf and Low-Cost Carriers: Deutsche Lufthansa AG will organize its airlines into two units, one focused on premium services and the other on no-frills flights, to tackle the double threat from low-cost carriers offering cheaper tickets in Europe and airliners from the Persian Gulf outclassing it on services to Asia. Read more at Skift

The Low-Cost Carrier and Digital Threat to Loyalty and Points Programs: Are loyalty and milage programs stale, and representative of the needs of an older generation? Read more at Skift

United CEO to Frequent Flyers: ‘We Can Do Better’: Without mentioning anything about the circumstances that find him running the airline, United’s new CEO Oscar Munoz sent an email to MileagePlus members yesterday pledging, “We can do better, and will keep listening to our customers to become the top-performing airline.” Read more at Skift

wpid-thumbnail-d6cd3bcfde97420df39a10176357578c.jpeg

Airports

Competition for New York City Heats Up as American Plans New Routes: With a new series of airline routes launched by American Airlines out of LaGuardia Airport, the competition for New York City is about to get much more comprehensive. Read more at Skift

What Happens If You Take Frozen Liquids Through Airport Security: Nobody enjoys going through airports. Despite the miracle of air travel for the masses and the systems for funnelling the right people into the right places being a magnificent example of engineering and system design, it is basically impossible to board a plane without being intensely frustrated. Read more at Gizmodo

The Future of Air Traffic Control Includes Unmanned Towers: Passengers landing at remote Ornskoldsvik Airport in northern Sweden might catch a glimpse of the control tower — likely unaware there is nobody inside. Read more at Skift

Winfried Hermann auf der internationalen Fachmesse "World of Energy and Solutions" (Foto: Uli Regenscheit)

Tech

Intellectual Capital Is the New Draw for Smart Meetings Destinations: Advanced destination marketing organizations (DMOs) are positioning themselves in the meetings market as gateways to their intellectual capital, versus just another city with a collection of convention centers, convention hotels and “unique local experiences.” Read more at Skift

Uber and Lyft Are Now Legal in Las Vegas, Sort Of: It’s been a long road, but ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft say they’re now up and running in Nevada — even without Clark County’s blessing. Read more at Skift

Can Virtual Tours Encourage More People to Get Onboard? It’s hard to convince people to cruise. Read more at Skift

ritzcarlton

Hotels

Millennial Concerns Driving Ritz-Carlton’s New Logo and New Brand Voice: The Ritz-Carlton Company recently announced it is singing a new tune with its fresh new brand voice and logo. Read more at Skift

Standard Hotels’ New Website Capitalizes on the Brands’ Big-City Lifestyle Culture: Standard Hotels launched a new version of its website last week with a mobile-first mission designed to convey the immersive experience at the hotels with equal energy on the digital platform. Read more at Skift

New York Hotels Go Local With Fashion Week Events: New York Fashion Week is the Cadillac of fashion weeks in America. Read more at Skift

German Hotels and Public Spaces May Finally Get Free Wi-Fi: Germany is set to remove legal quirks that hold providers of Wi-Fi hotspots liable for what users that have connected do online, a move chancellor Angela Merkel’s government hopes will increase free Internet offerings across the country. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Via Flyertalk, one man’s ridiculous quest to earn frequent flyer miles through car rentals – 37 of them in one weekend.

Tips and Comments

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

Subscribe to the Skift Business Traveler Newsletter

Photo Credit: The United Club at San Diego International Airport. United Airlines