What to Know Now

Happy Summer.

Across three security checkpoints this weekend (with PreCheck access at two), my total time spent in line at North American airports was about three minutes. My partner, who doesn’t have PreCheck, waited an aggregate fifteen.

Similar stories repeated across the country this weekend as surprised travelers realized that security checkpoints weren’t as bad as everyone was expecting. In part, that’s due to quick deployment from new TSA assets and support from the major U.S. carriers. But I’m starting to believe that a big part of discrepancy between perceived and actual wait times may simply lie in the frenzy that centered around the initial long lines.

Sure, Chicago, Charlotte, and Seattle have all had their share of egregious lines this past month — and more may still be on the horizon. But for many other travelers, your upcoming security line may be little more than business as usual.

Social Quote of the Day

Nothing says LaGuardia Airport like 15 plastic tubs catching water and a guy poking the ceiling with a broom handle.

– @petergrosz | Peter Grosz, Chef at Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar, Times Square, NY.

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Airlines

Lufthansa Is Latest Airline to Suspend All Flights to Venezuela: German airline Lufthansa says it is suspending its flights to Caracas, citing the difficult economic situation in Venezuela. Read more at Skift

Branson Says Several Suitors Vying for Virgin Australia Stake: Air New Zealand Ltd.’s stake in Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. has attracted several potential buyers and talks are under way about a possible deal, said Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of Virgin Group Ltd. Read more at Skift

United Cancels Its Only Flight to Africa: United Airlines will stop flying to Nigeria next month, ending the carrier’s only route to Africa because of weakness in the energy sector and difficulties in collecting money from tickets sold in that country. Read more at Skift

Finnair Wants to Make Itself More Attractive to Potential Buyers: Finnair Oyj Chief Executive Officer Pekka Vauramo’s expansion strategy and push upmarket are helping to position the Nordic carrier for further merger activity within the European aviation industry. Read more at Skift

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Airports

TSA Security Lines This Weekend Weren’t Nearly as Bad as Feared: Travelers who had braced for long lines and long waits were instead moving through most U.S. airports fairly quickly Monday, as the busy Memorial Day travel weekend drew to close. Read more at Skift

Massive Labor Strikes Are About to Make Travel in France a Nightmare: Travelers beware: French labor unions plan a string of strikes in the coming days that will target trains, the Paris subway system, ports and possibly airports. Read more at Skift

Global Aviation Group Pushes Back Against UN Airport Security Plan: The United Nation’s aviation agency should avoid creating new checkpoints outside airport terminals as it draws up proposed global guidelines to improve security in the wake of recent attacks on travelers, the head of Airports Council International said on Friday. Read more at Skift

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Tech

A.I. May Book Your Next Trip (With a Human Assist): Virtual travel assistant services — some from established companies like Facebook, IBM and Expedia, and others from new entrants like Pana and HelloGbye — are now popping up worldwide, just as major hotel chains like Starwood and Hilton are incorporating robots into their everyday operations. Read more at The New York Times

Uber Wants Arbitration, Not Class-Action Lawsuit in Surge-Pricing Case: Uber Technologies Inc. is trying to force an antitrust suit over the company’s surge-pricing algorithm into arbitration, arguing the class-action case is attempting to dodge a ban on customers taking disputes to court. Read more at Skift

Prepare for the headphone apocalypse by staring at this render: One day we will tell our children, “Phones used to come with a headphone jack and a charging port.” They’ll guffaw, but then they’ll look deep in our somber eyes and know we tell the truth. Read more at The Verge

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Hotels

Blackstone to Sell $1.1 Billion in European Hotel Properties: Blackstone Group LP, the world’s biggest private-equity property investor, plans to sell hotel buildings in London, Dublin and Amsterdam for about 980 million euros ($1.1 billion), according to people with knowledge of the matter. Read more at Skift

What Hotel Tech Are You Using? Take This Skift Poll If You’re In The Hotel Industry: Skift is currently investigating the state of hotel tech and automation, for an upcoming Skift Trends Report. As part of that report, we’re looking at hotel property management systems (PMS) and want to know what system you use in your hotel or the hotels you’re associated with. Read more at Skift

Starwood Is Investing $300 Million Into Le Meridien Despite Marriott Merger: More than a decade after Starwood Hotels & Resorts acquired Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts, the upper upscale hotel brand started by Air France in 1972, has come into maturation. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Off Assignment is up and running with its Letter to a Stranger campaign. Check out the new travel series here.

Tips and Comments

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

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Photo Credit: A long line of travelers waiting for the TSA security check point at O'Hare International airport in Chicago. Teresa Crawford / Associated Press