Skift Take

Unlike United and Smisek, Delta was run so well the handover should run smoothly.

What to Know Now

Delta’s simultaneously most loved and most hated CEO just announced his retirement. He’ll be resigning his position in May to Ed Bastian, the airline’s current president.

Mr. Anderson led the airline through some remarkably tough times as the American economy slowed through a recession and oil hit all-time highs. Throughout, Delta led the way in profit from ancillary revenue while maintaining an updated fleet and brand, leading many to label it the best current airline for business travelers.

At the same time though, many of the changes implemented by Anderson’s Delta antagonized its competitors and frequent flyers. Delta has out-innovated others in charging extra for “branded fares” while SkyMiles, Delta’s loyalty program, has effectively been destroyed. Aggressive tactics in Seattle and the Middle East have also not made the airline popular with Alaska Airlines and Qatar.

In short. Delta’s shareholders are sad to see the CEO go while elite members and competitors are pleased. Either way, he was a hell of a businessman.

Social Quote of the Day

Say what you will about RA, he played a hand pretty similar to the cards Smisek was dealt and won the poker tournament. Smisek ended up having to borrow bus fare home from the casino.

BearX220 @ Flyertalk



Delta Air Lines CEO Retires After Leading Turnaround: Richard Anderson, who oversaw Delta Air Lines’ transformation into one of the world’s most profitable airlines, will retire this May. His right-hand man, airline president Ed Bastian, will take over as CEO, the Atlanta-based airline said Wednesday. Read more at Skift

Why 2016 Will Be A Terrible Year For Earning Frequent Flyer Miles: The world of airline loyalty programs is contracting this year, making it harder for travelers to both earn and spend their frequent flyer miles. Read more at Skift

12 Airline Trend Predictions for 2016: Which Are Most Likely to Succeed? In-flight retailing and technology firms GuestLogix and OpenJaw have each released their respective predictions of top trends in air travel technology for 2016. But which of them are really ready to fly and which need more time in the hangar before they can take off? Read more at Skift

A Subscription Service for Unlimited Monthly Flights Is Here: Subscription-based commercial flight services haven’t really been attempted yet, for a variety of reasons. But flight booking start-up OneGo wants to attract small companies and business travelers by offering unlimited domestic U.S. flights for the price of a monthly subscription payment. Read more at Skift

Airlines Finally Realize They Can Afford to Give Free Snacks: After 15 years of near austerity, U.S. airlines are restoring some small perks for passengers crammed into coach. Read more at Skift



New Legislation Would Privatize Air-Traffic Control by Charging Fees From U.S. Airlines: The U.S. air-traffic control system would be spun off to a nonprofit corporation and airline passengers wouldn’t be allowed to talk on mobile phones under sweeping legislation being unveiled Wednesday to set aviation policy for the next six years. Read more at Skift

The Battle to Be the Biggest Airline at LAX Is One Without a Winner: It’s a battle for Los Angeles that may never have a clear winner. Read more at Skift

Political Turbulence and the Quest to Privatize U.S. Air Traffic Control: The air traffic control system that choreographs the roughly 7,000 aircraft in U.S. skies at any given moment is the most complex, but also one of the safest, in the world — and rarely a thought in the minds of the millions of travelers who rely on it. Read more at Skift

Study: U.S. Business Travelers Like Flying More When They Have TSA PreCheck: Nothing eases the pain of long lines and extensive security measures at the airport like taking the fast lane. Read more at Skift



5 New Travel Startups Making Expense Reporting More Bearable: As loyalty slowly erodes among some travelers, combined with many who want to go outside their companies’ policies to book travel, expense reporting is at a crossroads. Read more at Skift

The Prius is the least badass car on the road: Just let Toyota’s cringeworthy Super Bowl ad prove it to you. Read more at The Verge

New York City’s Uber Drivers Strike to Protest Fare Cuts: Uber drivers plan a strike outside the company’s New York City offices Monday to protest price cuts. Read more at Skift



Measuring Airbnb’s Real Threat to U.S. Hotels Using Industry Metrics: Even if 2016 does not turn out to be the year Airbnb announces an initial public offering, it may turn out to be the year of deep, fascinating Airbnb data — whether the short-term rental service wants to share it or not. Read more at Skift

Marriott Executives Explain the Brand’s Internal Strategy Shift at MIT: Two of Marriott’s key executives responsible for driving the hotel group’s corporate culture turnaround spoke at the MIT Design Driven Innovation conference this week in Boston. Read more at Skift

Hotels’ Efforts to Keep Guests Healthier Expand to Meet Guests’ New Needs: Running concierges, a hotel mini bar stocked with produce from the local farmers market and a training wall that comes standard in every room. The hotel industry is moving beyond basement gyms and basic spa menus to accommodate guests’ growing requests to stay healthy while on the road. Read more at Skift

Hotel Loyalty and the Next Generation of Guest Personalization: One bedrock of building more long-term, “relationship-focused” loyalty relies upon hotels offering more personalized, customized experiences for loyalty travelers. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

The Points Guy TV kicked off this week. More on it’s success on Skift.

Tips and Comments

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

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Photo credit: Delta Chief Executive Richard Anderson is seen during an interview in New York May 22, 2013. 117785 / 117785

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