What to Know Now

Airline lounges, particularly in the United Statues, have been in a pretty sad state for the last ten years as airlines looked for any way possible to trim operating costs. At their worst, maybe two years ago, they were nothing more than a place to get free Wi-Fi (unless you have a hotspot) and a free watery beer (unless you don’t drink).

Thanks in no small part to the grand efforts by the Amex Team, the tide may be starting to turn. The legacy airlines have now all stepped up their lounge game, and international carriers are doubling down on their opulence. Just last week, Etihad opened up a new lounge in JFK to compliment its new Residence inflight service, complete with private rooms for first class passengers.

While private lounges may be far cry for typical business travelers, this all does point to the lounge industry improving rather than contracting into oblivion in the coming year. Perhaps that $450 lounge subscription may still be worth it.

Social Quote of the Day

The Etihad FC and BC lounge is basically for the 1%. Right?

Gernot Trolf @ Mashable

Boeing 747-400 Delta

Airlines

Business Travelers Should Expect More Expensive Flights and Hotels: A forecast of next year’s travel trends from American Express Global Business Travel suggests that global airfares and hotel rates will rise in 2016, inflating costs for business travelers. Read more at Skift

Delta Filled More Seats and Made More Money in November: Delta Air Lines Inc. said Wednesday that a key measure of revenue per mile rose and passengers flew more miles in November. Shares rose 1.4 percent to close at $48.33. Read more at Skift

Why Spirit Air CEO Respects Delta’s Aggressive Basic Economy Strategy: If you’ve ever wondered what’s behind Delta’s strategy in launching its Basic Economy fares, the low fares with seats assigned after check-in and no changes or refunds allowed, just ask the CEO of Spirit Airlines, whose airline is feeling the competitive heat from Delta’s inroads. Read more at Skift

united-iphone

Airports

Etihad Reveals Personal Airport Lounge Suite for Super Luxe Flyers: In the skies, flyers who pony up the extremely pricy fare to fly in The Residence on Etihad Airways’ A380 vessels have access to three private rooms on the plane. Now they’ll also have access to a private suite, featuring a living room, shower, and prayer room, at New York’s JFK airport in the company’s newly opened Terminal 4 lounge. Read more at Skift

Egypt Will Open a Museum Inside Increasingly Quiet Cairo Airport: Egypt’s state news agency says a new museum will open soon at the Cairo International Airport. Read more at Skift

United Is Giving 6,000 Airport Employees iPhones to Improve Customer Service: United Airlines announced yesterday that it would be providing Apple iPhone 6 Plus smartphones to employees at its major hubs in the U.S. Read more at Skift

U.S. Governors Want More Tourists Pre-Screened Abroad: Governors from 19 Western states called Friday for expansion of a program that screens international travelers at airports abroad, in a bid to encourage tourism and stop terrorists before they arrive in the U.S. Read more at Skift

nokia-here

Tech

Video: Growth Hacks That Turn Startups Into Giants: Sasha Hoffman, CEO of startup Fuzzy Compass, and Gillian Morris, founder and CEO of startup Hitlist, spoke at the Skift Global Forum in Brooklyn, New York in October. Read more at Skift

Nokia Near Finalizing Sale of Mapping Technology to German Automakers: Nokia says it has received all regulatory approvals for the 2.8 billion euro ($3.1 billion) sale of its mapping unit to a consortium of German carmakers, Audi AG, BMW Group and Daimler AG, and expects to close it ahead of schedule on Friday. Read more at Skift

Uber Argues It’s Worth $62.5 Billion With New $2.1 Billion Round: Uber Technologies is looking to raise as much as $2.1 billion in a financing round that would value the car-booking company at $62.5 billion, said people familiar with the matter. Read more at Skift

hoteltonight

Hotels

Exclusive: HotelTonight Is Up for Sale Following Layoffs: HotelTonight has put itself up for sale, according to a source who has knowledge of the circulation of the company’s profit and loss statements and presumably other financials being shown to potential acquirers. Read more at Skift

12 Hotels That Know The True Meaning of “Deck the Halls”: From designer Christmas trees, life-sized gingerbread houses, and a paragliding Santa Claus, these hotels are making us rethink spending the holidays at home. Read more at Condé Nast Traveler

Your Turn

Our favorite flight attendant Heather Poole has an article on why people behave so irrationally inflight over on Mashable. Find it here.

Tips and Comments

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

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Photo Credit: American Express' Centurion Lounges are raising the bar for airport lounges. American Express