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What to Know Now
Out at the South By Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, last week, Gogo shared its shiny new 737 test plane equipped with next-gen 2Ku connectivity with the airline community.
Satellite connections, as we all know, are coming to the entire industry soon — and Gogo is helping to lead that charge. So why the dog and pony show?
In part, it’s grandstanding. But it’s also about staying dominant in an ever-competitive market. Sure, Gogo operates the lion’s share of internet for domestic aircraft, but with new connectivity solutions coming on line, the rest of the world is now at stake. In addition, Gogo also needs to keep its legacy customers happy, something that American sorely pointed out in February.
It’s easy to see then that there’s a lot riding on putting on a good show and illustrating high quality internet. And truly as advertised, the 2Ku that the Skift Business Traveler editorial team tried is greased-lightning fast. Now we just need to work on updating those legacy ATG connections.
Social Quote of the Day
It’s actually working really well. Using Gogo’s new 2Ku system.
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Rumor: American Eliminating Tickets Holds As Of April 1, 2016: The Department of Transportation requires that airlines operating to the US offer a 24 hour reservation guarantee, where you can lock in a reservation and then have 24 hours to change your mind. While Delta and United allow you to refund your ticket within 24 hours, American instead lets you hold a ticket for 24 hours before having to ticket. Read more at One Mile at a Time
Onboard TAM’s Inaugural Long-Haul Airbus A350 XWB Flight to the Americas: The story of TAM and the A350 stretches back nearly 10 years in the making when the airline ordered 27 A350-900s for delivery over the years 2015-21. Since the initial order, 12 have been up-gauged to the stretch A350-1000s. Read more at Airways News
Uber Rejects Driver Safety Requirements at World’s Busiest Airport: Atlanta’s airport, the world’s busiest, is insisting that Uber drivers get fingerprint-based background checks to pick up passengers, but the ride-sharing service is balking at the proposed rule. Read more at Skift
Norwegian CEO outlines ambitious Gatwick plans: The CEO of low-cost carrier Norwegian says that the airline would base over 150 new aircraft at Gatwick airport should approval for a second runway be given. Read more at Business Traveller
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Airbnb Will Start Selling Travel Experiences Later This Year: Vacation rental website Airbnb Inc. wants to own more of people’s travel experiences. The company has been testing a service for tourists to book add-on services, said Airbnb Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky. Read more at Skift
Uber Makes It Possible for Some Drivers to Be Paid Instantly: Uber is launching a pilot program intended to help the ride-hailing service’s drivers draw their pay faster, an effort that may also fend off emerging payday lenders who are targeting drivers. Read more at Skift
Starwood Is First U.S. Hotel Chain to Receive Authorization to Operate in Cuba: Stamford, Connecticut-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, became the first U.S.-based hotel company to enter Cuba in nearly 60 years, just one day after accepting a rival takeover bid from China’s Anbang Insurance Group for $13.2 billion in cash over Marriott International’s $12.2 billion bid from November 2015. Read more at Skift
Marriott Enters the Cuban Market Like Starwood and Airbnb Before It: Just one day after Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced it would be the first U.S. hotel company to operate in Cuba after nearly 60 years, Bethesda, Maryland-based Marriott International has announced that it too will begin doing business in the country. Read more at Skift
New York’s Iconic Plaza Hotel Is Up on the Auction Block: New York’s Plaza Hotel is poised to go on the auction block next month, potentially ending two years of uncertainty over ownership of the storied property off Central Park. Read more at Skift
BP Oil Spill Money Helps Alabama Rebuild a Beachfront Hotel: After a court fight and years of trying to rebuild a beachfront lodge destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Alabama has begun construction on a multimillion-dollar hotel and conference center that will partially funded by money from another Gulf Coast disaster: the BP oil spill. Read more at Skift
This year’s Skift Forum is shaping up to be a doozy. Check out the confirmed list of travel executives showing up to the event here.
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Can be sent to gm[at]skift[dot]com or to @grantkmartin