What to Know Now
Though facets of US Airways will continue to exist for years to come, the final official flight operating as US Airways wrapped up this week. The Airbus A321 took a circuitous journey around the country to bid the nation farewell, flying from Philadelphia to Charlotte to Phoenix to San Francisco, terminating its voyage with a redeye from San Francisco to Philadelphia. Though the Skift Business Travel team was out on assignment this weekend, Airways News did a great job of covering the event.
Now comes the challenge of moving both airlines to the same reservation system. Though the cutover went fairly smoothly this weekend. American is now bracing itself for the first day of heavy business traffic. Business travelers, for their part, should plan accordingly.
Social Quote of the Day
On day one of combined @USAirways / @AmericanAir operations, @flightaware is reporting zero cancelations so far. All good so far!
The Return of the 19-Hour Flight: They flew nonstop to Singapore from New York and Los Angeles in business class. And they loved every minute of it.Well, maybe not every minute. But when Singapore Airlines scrubbed those nonstops from LAX and Newark, N.J. (a major departure point for the New York City market), in late 2013, business travelers wanted them back. Read more at Skift
Buying the Right Wine for Tasting at 36,000 Feet: Emirates is one of many airlines adding elite wines to the list of luxury perks like massage beds and Michelin-starred cuisine as a long-term strategy to win wealthy travelers’ loyalty. Read more at Skift
This Weekend Will Test American Air’s Technical Merger With US Airways: American Airlines has spent nearly two years preparing to merge its reservation system with US Airways’ setup. A critical test of its success comes Saturday, when it hopes to complete the task without disturbing flights, or passengers, and the US Airways brand becomes part of airline history. Read more at Skift
Why airline on-time performance stats are useless: When you’re planning a trip, do you ever rely on airline on-time performance statistics to choose one carrier over another? Maybe you shouldn’t. Read more at Travel Skills
Houston’s Hobby Airport Opens International Terminal: Southwest Airlines’s new five-gate international terminal at Houston’s Hobby Airport opened yesterday, and was immediately inaugurated with the departure of flights to new destinations. Read more at Conde Nast Traveler
Delta is Increasing the Price of Lounge Passes – More than You Think, and Not for the Reason They Say: As Delta has invested in lounges, they’ve also raised price. They raised the full membership fee to $695 a year and started charging a $29 fee to those with more basic membership and who obtain their lounge access via a credit card (American Express Platinum or Centurion, Delta Reserve). Put another way, they’re reducing overcrowding by keeping out your spouse. Read more at View from the Wing
Flushing: New York’s forgotten airport – and most contested development site: Once the city’s busiest airfield and home to the Goodyear blimp, the abandoned airport is one of New York’s last vacant tracts of land. Development proposals – a distribution centre, a wetlands park – keep falling through. Read more at The Guardian
Venture-Funded Indian Hotel-Booking Apps Achieving Success With New Models: At age 17, Ritesh Agarwal spent three months living out of a suitcase. His mom wanted him to get an engineering degree; instead, he began hopping among dozens of inns and bed-and-breakfasts throughout India, briefly manning reception desks and cleaning rooms at one of them. Read more at Skift
Gogo CEO Michael Small on Digital Habits of Air Travelers: Small, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the communications industry and is transitioning Gogo from merely an air-to ground systems provider into sattelite-based Wi-Fi, discussed the topic, “The Digital Habits of Air Travelers and What Brands Can Learn From Them.” Read more at Skift
Hyatt Hotels Is Getting Rid of In-Room Pay-Per-View Porn: Hyatt Hotels will no longer offer on-demand pornographic movies in its rooms, the company said Wednesday. Read more at Skift
Hotels Are Learning How to Succeed From Indie Restauranteurs: Ten flavors of Stoli vodka behind the hotel bar and microwaved chicken fingers at the hotel restaurant are going out of fashion. Read more at Skift
Amazon Abruptly Shuts Its Hotels Business After Stilted Efforts to Compete: Amazon, which in April moved beyond selling deeply discounted hotel rooms into a more well-rounded hotel-booking business, abruptly shut down its Amazon Destinations service entirely with no warning. Read more at Skift
Trump Hotels’ Ivanka Trump on Obsessing Over Details: Trump is charged with the domestic and global expansion of the company’s hospitality and real estate interests, and actively participates in all aspects of both Trump and Trump-branded projects, including deal evaluation; pre-development planning; financing; design; construction, sales and marketing, and ensuring that Trump’s physical and operational standards are met. Read more at Skift
Marriott Updates Its Loyalty Program To Better Compete With Hilton, Hyatt and Starwood: Loyalty programs in the hotel industry have taken a beating over the last several years as one program after another slashed its benefits. With new changes coming from Marriott Rewards though, the bottom may now be behind us. Read more at Skift
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Photo credit: A US Airways Express plane (foreground) departs from a gate past an American Airlines plane (background) at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Mike Theiler / Reuters