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Skift Take

We look forward to covering more of “The Great Airline Snackening” as the months go on.

— Grant Martin

What to Know Now

The Great Snackening continues. It looks like American has been experimenting with a new strategy to proactively bring snacks directly to the gate during a delay of more than two hours. The program, which is currently only being tested in JFK, brings chips, fruits and cookies directly to gates during delays over two hours, whether the holdup is from weather, air traffic control, or mechanical issues.

American’s new airport-snack experiment comes at a time of significant catering overhaul (that is, The Great Snackening) across the entire airline industry. Earlier this month, American announced plans to bring snacks back to the economy cabin while United launched its own snack campaign for the main cabin late last year. Both of those overhauls came after significant upgrades to the airport lobby catering experience.

Whether this pittance is enough to make up for a decade of ancillary fees and constantly shrinking legroom is another question, but for now consumer sentiment remains curiously high. A little salt can go a long, long way.

Social Quote of the Day

@AmericanAir lovely hospitality for pax on delayed flight 3. Only 2h delay but you still put out snacks. Well done!

@shawnlandres

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Airlines

Lufthansa Still Struggles to Get Its Low-Cost Revolution Off the Ground: Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s new discount arm is struggling to deliver as employees resist efforts to cut expenses on European routes and long-haul flights are blighted by a series of unlikely setbacks. Read more at Skift

Delta’s Financials Have Improved So Much Its Debt Rating Is No Longer Junk: Delta Air Lines Inc. achieved its longstanding goal of regaining investment-grade credit, following through on a priority of retiring Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson. Read more at Skift

Ryanair Plans Expansion in Germany as Lufthansa and Air Berlin Face Setbacks: Ryanair Holdings Plc will double operations in Berlin and add bases in Hamburg and Nuremberg as it seeks a fourfold expansion of its share of the German airline market at the expense of Air Berlin Plc and Deutsche Lufthansa AG. Read more at Skift

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Airports

Russian Airports Are Hurting From Halt on Turkey Flights: A top official at Russia’s busiest airport says the halt or reduction of flights to Turkey, Ukraine and Egypt over the past three months has cost the country’s airports six billion rubles ($77 million). Read more at Skift

AirGrub Partners With U.S. Airport Group for Speedier Pre-Flight Nosh: The Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) has announced a new partnership with AirGrub Systems to expand the app’s reach in North America. Read more at Skift

A Bill Privatizing U.S. Air Traffic Control Cleared a House Committee: A Republican-controlled House committee on Thursday endorsed a bill that would wrest responsibility for running the nation’s air traffic control system from the government and turn it over to a private, nonprofit corporation run by airlines and other aviation interests. Read more at Skift

American Airlines May Soon Give Passengers Snacks and Drinks During Delays: American Airlines Group Inc. wants to see if offering free snacks and drinks will calm the jangled nerves of travelers whose flights are delayed, the latest move by a U.S. carrier to improve customer service. Read more at Skift

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Tech

A Russian Billionaire Is Betting Big on Uber: Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s investment vehicle LetterOne invested $200 million in Uber Technologies Inc., betting in ride-hailing technology after selling billions of dollars worth of oil assets. Read more at Skift

American Airlines Will Now Push Flyers to Use Uber: Nearly 18 months after United signed a similar deal, American Airlines will bring Uber into its booking process. Read more at Skift

Competition and Uber help push down car rental rates: The average car rental rate for business travelers in the fourth quarter of 2015 was $38.88, a 13.6% drop over the same period in 2011, according to an analysis by Travel Leaders Corp., a Minnesota-based travel management company. Read more at The Los Angeles Times

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Hotels

Van Gogh’s Bedroom Recreated in Chicago as Airbnb Rental: Art lovers have a chance to spend one starry night in a replica of Vincent Van Gogh’s bedroom for only $10. Read more at Skift

Bed Bugs in Hotel Rooms Are On the Rise (Yuck): Good rule of thumb? Put your luggage in the bathtub when you check in. Read more at Conde Nast Traveler

Expedia Overturns Hotel Business Model With Introduction of Bidding for Listings: In what may ultimately develop into a massive change in the way online travel agencies and hotels do business with one another, Expedia Inc. has quietly introduced changes in the way hotel properties make it to the top of the page on brands such as Expedia.com and Hotels.com. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Matthew Teller is currently bouncing around Antarctica on assignment. Follow his fascinating Twitter feed (yes, Twitter is still relevant) here.

Tips and Comments

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

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