What to Know Now

In the midst of globally overhauling its catering program, United announced last month that it would be bringing free snacks to its top-tier 1K (100,000 miles flown each year) and Global Service members. Selections include anything from the in-flight Choice Menu — which has some pretty hearty options.

Feel food for top elites in economy isn’t a particularly revolutionary move — American already awards its Executive Platinum members with a similar benefit — but the improvement is a huge step for United’s elite members. Already, United upgrades are pretty tough to get due to swollen elite ranks, so any perk on top of the economy experience is welcome. And to this point, United needs it loyal customers to be happy.

This news also comes on top of general good news that United is finally starting to get its act together, per Ted Reed at Forbes. Perhaps 2016 will be the year that United finally starts to shine.

Social Quote of the Day

How the merged United lost its groove (actually never had it) and doesn’t know how to get it back. My Seat 2b column – https://t.co/gSMMeTPesO 

– @joesentme | Joe Brancatelli

AA pilot ipad

Airlines

United Is Adding a Training Safety Day for All 12,000 Pilots: United Continental Holdings Inc. is adding special training for all 12,000 pilots to boost safety and improve communication as the industry braces for a generational turnover among cockpit-crew members. Read more at Skift

European Airlines Are Almost Ready to Return to Tehran: Several European airlines aim to resume their flights to Iran following a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, the state-owned IRAN daily reported on Thursday. Read more at Skift

American Airlines CEO on Delta Competition: ‘We’ll Catch Them’: American Airlines Group CEO Doug Parker has a message for Delta Air Lines: We’re coming. Read more at Skift

American Airlines Claims It Earned More in 2015 Than Any Carrier in History: American Airlines reported a record profit for the fourth quarter and all of 2015 as a sharp drop in fuel prices more than offset lower revenue. Read more at Skift

air tower

Airports

After Going Public, OTG Has Its Eye on Bringing Gambling to New York Airports: As airline concessions upstart OTG Management files an IPO and continues to expand its operations into more U.S. airports, it’s also looking to generate more revenue by bringing gambling to its existing outposts. Read more at Skift

New Longest Flight by U.S. Carrier Is United’s San Francisco-Singapore Route: United Airlines will start flying non-stop daily between San Francisco and Singapore this year in the longest direct service by a U.S. carrier as falling fuel costs allow more airlines to offer longer flights. Read more at Skift

Why the U.S. Doesn’t Have Enough Trained Air Traffic Controllers: An audit of the FAA released earlier this month by the U.S. Inspector General found that 13 of 23 critical FAA facilities have inadequate staffing, while other less essential facilities are overstaffed. Read more at Skift

Heathrow Third Runway Supporters Are Feeling Confident, Despite Delays: U.K. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said opponents of airport expansion in southern Britain should take no comfort from December’s delay in deciding the location of a new runway and that the time will be used to construct a watertight case for growth that’s immune to legal challenges. Read more at Skift

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Tech

What It’s Like to Go Offline With Google Maps: You might not realize this, but mobile mapping apps can typically still direct you even if you lose your cellular connection; their turn-by-turn voice prompts can tap GPS location information when cellular signals aren’t available (though with less precision than having both). Read more at Skift

Gogo and US Deaf group agree landmark captioning deal: Gogo – in its guise as a growing provider of inflight entertainment thanks to its on-demand streaming service, Gogo Vision – is taking a laudable step towards accessibility with a closed captioning agreement with the US National Association of the Deaf (NAD). Read more at Runway Girl Network

3 Tracks Planned to Test Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Transportation Concept: Three Southern California companies are building separate test tracks to see how well the “hyperloop” transportation concept works in the real world. Read more at Skift

Steve Joyce, Choice Hotels

Hotels

Choice Hotels CEO: Why This ‘Will Be a Monster Summer’: Cheap gas prices are good for summer vacationers, especially those taking road trips. That’s one of the reasons that Steve Joyce, CEO of Choice Hotels, is optimistic about this year. Read more at Skift

Rich travellers want more free internet at hotels: IF YOU were a member of the 1%, what would be your primary concern when choosing a hotel? A fancy restaurant, maybe, or a luxury spa? Perhaps it would be privacy? In fact, according to a new report on luxury travel by Resonance, a consultancy, it would probably be free internet access. Read more at The Economist

Your Turn

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Tips and Comments

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

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Photo Credit: A meal served in Economy Class between the U.S. and select Latin American destinations. United Airlines