What to Know Now

Someone doesn’t like the new management over at American Airlines. Last week, the carrier’s pilots union sent a harsh letter to Doug Parker, American’s CEO, lamenting the terrible relations between management and employees and an “embarrassing” product for which they’re tired of apologizing. This is the union’s second letter in just over two months.

Whether the pilots union has any grounds to make demands is above our pay grade (though FWAAA on Flyertalk gives some great insight) but one thing is clear. Employees at American don’t seem happy and customer service is definitely taking a hit. With the merger now behind it, American has some ironing to do.

Social Quote of the Day

I don’t know how a certain airline CEO sleeps at night.

@Heather_Poole | Heather Poole, Flight attendant / Author of the New York Times bestseller CRUISING ATTITUDE

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Airlines

United Airlines CEO Returns 5 Months After His Heart Attack: United Continental Holdings Inc. chief executive officer Oscar Munoz, who underwent a heart transplant after falling ill five months ago, will return to full-time duty next week.  Read more at Skift

Just how overpriced are budget-airline refreshments? LAST week Kayak, a search engine for travel, caused a minor kerfuffle when it released the results of a survey examining the price of in-flight refreshments offered by budget British airlines. Read more at Gulliver

2 Years After MH 370 Disappearance, Malaysia Airlines Is Finding Its Way: Malaysia Airlines is out of intensive care. Now it’s working on long-term rehabilitation. Read more at Skift

Delta to Cut First Class Prices After Making SkyMiles Upgrades Harder: Airline miles junkies typically have one goal for their large mileage balances: Swilling Champagne in first class while jetting across an ocean for free. Delta Air Lines, the world’s second-largest carrier, wants to end that mindset and get people treating their miles as a form of currency. Read more at Skift

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Airports

Minneapolis Airport Is a Troubling Sign of Political and Security Challenges at U.S. Airports: Long waits at security checkpoints have become the new normal at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where the number of screeners has fallen while the number of travelers is rising. And officials said Friday there’s no relief in sight as the busy spring break and summer travel seasons approach. Read more at Skift

Report: U.S. Legacy Airlines Still Dominate International Traffic in and Out of the Country: A report released by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration shows that U.S. flagship claims of market incursion in U.S. airspace by foreign carriers does not stand up to scrutiny of passenger numbers and market share. Read more at Skift

The UK’s Plan to Strengthen its Borders Is 8 Years Late and Over Budget:A U.K. program to strengthen border security by collecting passenger information in advance and consolidating two computer systems is running eight years late and may end up costing two-thirds more than anticipated, a panel of lawmakers said. Read more at Skift

 Dr. Jill Biden Tours NASA's Johnson Space Center

Tech

NASA Wants to Bring Back Supersonic Jet Travel: NASA says technology is now rimed for a leap forward—to supersonic flight—cutting cross-country travel times to two hours or less and making a trans-Atlantic trip a matter of just a few hours. The question is whether commercial jet makers, and airlines for that matter, will follow its lead. Read more at Skift

Why Samsonite and Tumi are joining forces: Samsonite, the world’s largest luggage company, said Friday that it agreed to pay $1.8 billion to acquire Tumi, a deal that would bring together an everyman’s travel brand with an ultra-luxe one whose suitcases start at around $500. Samsonite hopes the purchase will allow it to become a more dominant force in the upscale corner of the market. Read more at the Washington Post

Last-Minute Hotel App Shakeout Heats Up as HotelQuickly Lays Off 10 Employees: Is this just part of the maturation process or a shakeout in the tonight-only and last-minute hotel-app sector? Read more at Skift

Boeing’s New Airplane Toilet and Bathroom Will Kill Humans’ Germs: The trash can’s overflowing, the floor’s a mess and raising the toilet lid is a source of dread. Even the hardiest frequent fliers turn into germophobes hours into a long-range trip. Boeing Co. is readying a solution: a self-cleaning toilet. The U.S. planemaker says it’s found a way to use ultraviolet light to kill 99.99 percent of germs in jetliner lavatories, disinfect all surfaces after every use in three seconds and keep the restroom from becoming a petri dish. Read more at Skift

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Hotels

Austin, TX Rethinks Soft Regulations on Airbnb- and Uber-Like Services”: Austin boasts a reputation as one of most cutting-edge cities in the U.S, but new local regulations on ride-hailing apps such as Uber and rental sites such as Airbnb are stirring discontent in the tech sector, where some entrepreneurs say they’re now feeling less welcome. Read more at Skift

Iran Gets 5-Star Melia Hotels Property on Caspian Sea: Iran, where beaches are segregated by gender and alcohol is banned, is getting its first foreign-branded seaside hotel, complete with swimming pools, bars and a spa. Read more at Skift

Hotels Shrink Desks and Closets in Attempt to Modernize Room Design: Hotels are going for a new minimalist look to attract younger guests, but the move has left some experienced travelers angry, wondering how they’re expected to get work done without a desk. Read more at Skift

Renaissance Hotels Wants to Un-Disney New York’s Times Square: When the Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel wanted to rework the public spaces and convert one floor of meeting spaces to luxury suites with balconies, they turned to local interior designer Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, principal of BNO Design. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Ellen Page has a new travel series out on Vice. Read the NYT’s profile here and then check out the series here.

Tips and Comments

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

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Photo Credit: American Air pilots on a tarmac in Dallas, TX. American Airlines