What to Know Now

The rumors were true. Last week, we noted that American Airlines might be considering the addition of a premium economy cabin to its international fleet, a distinctive and separate section between Business and Economy classes.

Yesterday, the plans became official. In a first for domestic legacy carriers, American plans to integrate the service into a good portion of its international fleet starting in late 2016. The exact rollout depends on the aircraft and whether it comes from the factory or needs to be overhauled, but by 2017, the switchover should well be underway.

There’s much still to be determined regarding how American plans to price the premium economy product and how upgrades will work — for now, the focus lies on launching premium economy and getting it integrated. When elites find out that they can’t upgrade directly from economy to business — then the pitchforks will come out.

Social Quote of the Day

…the cabin in the mockups just feels…staid. Grey. Boring. Like a domestic first class cabin on a regional jet from the previous decade

@thatjohn on Runwaygirl, commenting on the new American Airlines Premium Economy

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Airlines

Etihad Adds Private Jets to Its Suite of Elite Services: Etihad Airways has announced a new partnership with on-demand private jet service Victor to give its The Residence and First Apartment customers a flashier way to connect to their luxury long-haul A380 flights. Read more at Skift

American Airlines Brings Its Take on Premium Economy to International Flights: American Airlines is challenging foreign rivals by creating a “premium economy” cabin on international routes that boasts some of the perks of business class but a lower ticket price. Read more at Skift

New Vertical Cabin Design Stacks Passengers to Increase Room in Economy: A patent filed by Airbus this year, which considered using vertical space in the cabin to make more room for passengers, was not universally well received. Despite this, independent inventor, Olivier Grégoire, stands by his own, somewhat similar, vertical seating proposal. Read more at Skift

United Airlines Adds Reliability Guarantee for Corporate Clients: United Airlines is making a promise to its largest corporate clients: the airline will be as reliable as American and Delta next year, or it will offer credits for upgrades and fees. Read more at Skift

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Airports

Tampa Airport Ups the Ante on Charging Stations With 4,600 at Gates: As part of its $1 billion master plan, Tampa International Airport is adding hundreds of new charging stations with thousands of electrical outlets and USB ports at every gate. Read more at Skift

San Diego’s New Airport Crosses the Border Into Tijuana, Mexico: The U.S.-Mexico border is one of the world’s most fortified international divides. Starting Wednesday, it will also be one of the only that has an airport straddling two countries. Read more at Skift

Video: Building the Airport of the Future: Kim Day, CEO of Denver International Airport, spoke at the Skift Global Forum. Day’s talk “Building an Airport for the Future of Travel” explored the challenges of improving airport infrastructure with an eye on the future of travel. Read more at Skift

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Tech

Expedia Invests in Hotel Guest-Experience Platform Alice: Seeking to get deeper into hotel technology like Booking.com and TripAdvisor, Expedia Inc. made a minority investment in Alice, which provides a back-end platform for hotel operations and a guest app for communications with hotel staff. Read more at Skift

The Fickle Startup: When to Chase and When to Flee From a Category Leader: When the Priceline Group announced in 2012 it would acquire Kayak for $1.8 billion that had to be welcome news for rival Trivago, which saw Expedia Inc. take a controlling stake in it a few months later. Read more at Skift

Wi-Fi Demand at Conventions Is Huge, and It’s Only Getting Bigger: There is a certain amount of foreboding in the meetings and conventions industry around the future of Wi-Fi connectivity, or more specifically, the quality of connectivity. Read more at Skift

Video: Gogo’s CEO on the Digital Preferences of Passengers: Michael Small, CEO of Gogo, the in-flight Wi-Fi provider, spoke with Atmosphere Research’s Henry Harteveldt about the digital habits of air travelers and what brands can learn from them. Read more at Skift

The Claremont Fairmont

Hotels

Accor Buys Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel Brands for $2.9 Billion: AccorHotels today confirmed months of rumors that it would acquire FRHI Holdings Ltd, the parent company of the Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissotel hotel brands. Read more at Skift

Merger Mania in Hospitality Raises Competition Concerns: The travel industry’s 800-pound gorillas have been bulking up, and consumers are getting nervous. Read more at The New York Times

Steve Wynn Buys 1 Million Shares of Wynn Resorts: Stephen Wynn has bought 1 million more shares of his namesake casino company’s sagging stock on the open market. Read more at Skift

Small Luxury Hotels Enters 2016 With New CEO and New Direction: Small Luxury Hotels of the World, a luxury brand with an extensive roster of independent hotels around the world, is ending 2015 with some big changes, including the appointment of a new CEO and the unveiling of its new brand identity. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

If anyone misplaced a 747, we may have found it in Malaysia.

Tips and Comments

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

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Photo Credit: Side view of American's new seats. American Airlines