What to Know Now

Earlier this month, Delta made a bold move by opening up its Studio in-flight entertainment product to all passengers for free — whether through seatback screens or streaming WiFi. Now, curiously, United has done the same. Though the latter carrier doesn’t have as many seatback entertainment-equipped aircraft, streaming video will still be available over Wi-Fi, and the content library offered will not be insignificant.

Why the coordinated and sudden move to free entertainment? Partially because it’s a tangible perk that the airlines can release to customers without adding too much cost — and partially because carriers are so rich that they can afford to give it away.

The era of airline fees is still far from over, mind you — in fact if anything it’s getting worse with new products like basic economy fares. But if the traveling public demands cake, then the airlines will deliver as long as said cake isn’t too pricey.

Social Quote of the Day

I’m just so *tired*’of this. #PrayersForOrlando

@AvQueenBenet | Benet Wilson, Owner, Aviation Queen LLC and Air Travel Expert

virgin atlantic

Airlines

Virgin Atlantic Says It Could Move Fleet Out of London if Britain Leaves EU: Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. will suffer a slump in demand if Britain exits the European Union as international businesses desert London for major cities still inside the 28-nation bloc, according to Craig Kreeger, the U.K. carrier’s American chief executive officer. Read more at Skift

Lufthansa Surprise CFO Exit at Critical Time Creates Concerns: Deutsche Lufthansa AG shares dropped 5.3 percent Friday after the surprise departure of Chief Financial Officer Simone Menne opened an unwelcome hole in the German airline’s top management at a time when its strategy is in a state of flux. Read more at Skift

United CEO and Longtime Director Says Board Missed Signs of Airline’s Decline: United Airlines’ board was too isolated in recent years, allowing the carrier to fall behind rivals since its 2010 merger, said Chief Executive Oscar Munoz, who shouldered some of the responsibility himself. Read more at Skift
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Airports

Bomb Injures Four at Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport: A small explosion at a check-in area of Shanghai’s main international airport injured four people Sunday but did not cause any disruption to flights, officials said. Read more at Skift

St. Louis is a Dying City to Every Airline But Southwest: It’s been 10 years since any airline operated 100 flights in a day there.Southwest Airlines seems to be able to make the city work where others haven’t been able to. Read more at View from the Wing

Air France’s Pilots Join Broader Strikes, Angering Just About Everyone: About a quarter of Air France pilots are striking to demand better working conditions — the latest challenge to travelers and France’s image as it hosts Europe’s biggest sporting event. Read more at Skift

Tech

Uber Follows Lyft by Allowing Advance Ride Scheduling: Uber Technologies Inc., bending to customer demand, said people now will be able to schedule a ride in advance. Read more at Skift

Want to Watch Netflix With Gogo Wi-Fi on a Flight? It’s Finally Possible: For years, Gogo has been the in-flight Wi-Fi service passengers have loved to hate. But that might soon change. Read more at Skift

Sleeping on (Some) Planes Is Better Than Ever With New Aircraft and Technology: For every inch of lost legroom in the back of the plane, there seems to be one new amenity in the front. Read more at Skift

Flying United? You’ll Finally Be Able to Watch Movies or TV on Every Flight: By the end of June, United Airlines customers likely will no longer need to fear boarding an aircraft without in-flight entertainment. Read more at Skift

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Hotels

Red Lion Hotels’ Contrarian Approach to Direct Bookings: If you listened to just about any major hotel CEO during his first quarter earnings calls this year, the phrase “direct bookings” was bound to come up. The so-called “direct booking wars” as they’ve been referred to — this battle of epic proportions being played out among the hotels and the online travel agencies (the Expedias and Pricelines of the world) — are a hot topic in the hospitality world. Read more at Skift

Omni Hotels Turns to the Cowboys and the Braves to Help Redefine the Brand: Omni Hotels is developing two new properties that will be connected to two new major league sports facilities operated by the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Braves. Read more at Skift

Hotel Pioneer Ian Schrager on Airbnb, Donald Trump and the True Definition of Boutique: For the past few years, Ian Schrager, co-founder of the groundbreaking Morgans Hotel, one of the iconic hotels that helped propel the boutique hotel movement back in 1984, has had a ritual. Read more at Skift

Boutique Hoteliers Aren’t Worried About Big Brands, Politics or Airbnb: What are boutique hoteliers most worried about? It’s not the big brands getting bigger, the looming Presidential election, or the threat of Airbnb or online travel agencies like Expedia or Booking.com. Instead, what’s on their minds the most relates to changing customer behavior, rising payroll costs, sales and marketing, and finding just the right location for their properties. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Freda Moon‘s latest 36 Hours guide takes another good look at Los Angeles. It’s a good read. Check it out here.

Tips and Comments

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

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Photo Credit: United Airlines is equipping all its aircraft with either streaming in-flight entertainment or traditional seat back options. Skift