What to Know Now

Chicago-based Hyatt hotels is launching yet another brand this week with The Unbound Collection — only this time, the formula is different. Unlike, for example, the Centric hotels which are built around and geared towards snake people Millennialls, The Unbound Collection lets hotels keep their distinctive styles and targeting.

What keeps them together? Marketing and distribution under the same Hyatt umbrella and most importantly: participation in the Hyatt Gold Passport program. This means that business travelers looking for a bit of flair past the sad old redundancy of Hyatt Regencies around the world will still have a place to earn and redeem their loyalty points. And that’s pretty cool.

The first four properties in The Unbound Collection by Hyatt are: The Driskill Hotel in Austin; Hôtel du Louvre in Paris; Carmelo Resort & Spa in Carmelo, Uruguay; and Coco Palms Resort in Kauai.

Social Quote of the Day

So far I’m seeing more than 40 proposed daily flights to Havana, more than double the number allowed, this’ll be interesting

– @crankyflier | Brett Snyder, The Cranky Flier

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Airlines

The New Entrants in the Competitive Long-Haul Airline Race: The leading Gulf carriers are adding performance-stretching destinations after largely exhausting the potential for new links between the biggest cities. Their desert hubs, located at the confluence of flightpaths between Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas, are also drawing in enough transit passengers to deliver the critical mass needed to make once marginal services viable. Read more at Skift

Have Dog or Peanut Allergies? These Are Your Rights on a Plane: If you or a family member has a severe allergy, flying can not only be stressful—it can be dangerous. Here’s how to protect yourself and your loved ones the next time you board so you can feel safe in the air. Read more at Condé Nast Traveler

The U.S. Should Give Norwegian Air Freedom to Fly, Says EU: The European Union’s transport chief pressed the U.S. to let Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA serve American destinations from Ireland, hinting at an unprecedented arbitration request to end a two-year-old stalemate. Read more at Skift

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Airports

The World’s Best Airports in Service Quality, as Selected by Passengers: Airports Council International (ACI) has announced the winners of its 2015 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards. The results may prove surprising. Read more at Skift

Lifting Wright Amendment Leads to Thousands of Noise Violations at Love Field: The legislation that re-opened Love Field to a greater number of flights has also led to an increase in noise pollution and an almost three-fold increase in citizen complaints about jet engine noise. Read more at Flyertalk

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Tech

Increased Leisure Travel Demand Could Lead to Fewer Business Trips: Airfares have been relatively flat in the domestic U.S. for the past few years, but a new report finds that prices are expected to creep upwards beginning in 2016. Read more at Skift

HotelTonight Is Having ‘Difficult Discussions’ With Hotels About Margins: After months of downplaying its problems despite carrying out layoffs in November, HotelTonight co-founder and CEO Sam Shank now admits the company was overly focused on growth at the expense of profitability and is currently conducting “difficult discussions” with hotels about their margins. Read more at Skift

Hertz Reports Softening in Corporate Rental Car Business: While Hertz reported notable weakness in business travel in its fourth quarter earnings call this week, the car rental company doesn’t believe that the extreme weakness in the global energy sector will spill over into other markets. Read more at Skift

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Hotels

The Political Push to Destroy Hidden Hotel Fees Has Begun: The hatred of hidden resort or service fees tacked onto hotel rates is well-documented. Read more at Skift

Sheraton Is Working to Earn Devotion From Corporate Travelers: The turnaround of Sheraton is underway as parent company Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide tries to reposition the nearly 80-year-old hotel brand to appeal to modern business travelers. Read more at Skift

Marriott-Starwood Merger Clears Regulatory Hurdles in U.S. and Canada: Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission today stating that they had cleared pre-merger antitrust reviews in both the United States and in Canada. Read more at Skift

Hyatt Hotels Launches Its New Brand: The Unbound Collection: Hyatt Hotels is answering growing consumer demand for more independent-minded travel and hospitality experiences with a new soft brand: The Unbound Collection by Hyatt. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

The first Boeing 727 just completed its final journey at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. Read the trip report over at Airways News.

Tips and Comments

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

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Photo Credit: The Carmelo Resort & Spa, part of Hyatt's Unbound collection. Carmelo Resort & Spa