What to Know Now

It was with great disappointment that many in the airline community learned that Virgin America would be purchased by Alaska Airlines earlier this year, ceding to the slightly-less-cool but slightly-healthier airline up the coast. Virgin America has built a bit of a cult following over the last decade as it maintains its appeal to the Millennial demographic, and by merging with Alaska, many feared that its trademark coolness would fade to Alaska Grey.

New comments from Alaska’s CEO Brad Tilden, however, suggest that the final nail is not yet in the Virgin America coffin. In remarks at the Wings Club in New York City yesterday, Tilden acknowledged the value of Virgin America’s brand and suggested that both carriers might be able to operate independently under the same corporate umbrella, ostensibily keeping the younger carriers branding and product in place. It’d be a bold move….

Social Quote of the Day

But it won’t happen, VA is doomed. I will bet a free VA flight with anyone willing to bet.

@rafat | CEO and Founder of Skift

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Airlines

Singapore Airlines to Fly San Francisco-Singapore Nonstop to Compete With United: Singapore Airlines will start flying nonstop between San Francisco and Singapore beginning in October, a route that will test the range of the carrier’s new Airbus A350s. Read more at Skift

Alaska Airlines CEO Hints That Virgin America Brand May Not Be Doomed: Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden said Wednesday that he might keep the Virgin America brand, running it and Alaska as two different products within the same airline group. Read more at Skift

Virgin Atlantic CEO Already Sees Low-Cost Norwegian Air Hurting U.S. Fares: Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA’s expansion into long-haul flights linking Europe with North America is set to depress fares in the world’s most lucrative travel market, according to Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. Read more at Skift

American Airlines CEO Says Industry May Never Again Lose Money: The U.S. airline industry has been so transformed in the past five years that the nation’s largest carriers may never again report annual losses, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told investors recently. Read more at Skift

 

Airports

United Airlines Won’t Be Punished Over Decision to Close Cleveland Hub: United Airlines complied with a legal agreement it signed in 2010 that was supposed to require it to keep its Cleveland hub open for at least five years, even after it closed that hub in 2014, according to an auditor’s report commissioned by Ohio’s attorney general. Read more at Skift

U.S. Airline On-time Performance Improves, While Complaints Fall: Airlines are doing a better job of sticking to their schedules, and consumer complaints are falling. Read more at Skift

Low-Cost Holdouts Frontier and Spirit Will Join TSA’s Precheck Program: Passengers on Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines, the nation’s top two discount carriers, soon will have access to the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program, a development that should significantly reduce security wait times for some customers. Read more at Skift

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Tech

Travel Budgets Have Peaked as Share of Consumer Wallet, Growth to Cool Down: While American Airlines’ Doug Parker argues that the aviation industry will no longer bleed as it did in years’ past because of fundamental changes, financial services firm PiperJaffray provides a much more sobering assessment about “softening” travel fundamentals and the limits of traveler spending. Read more at Skift

Start-Ups Selling Seats on Private Jets Don’t Always Make It: New companies pop up frequently, many with apps that allow travelers to book seats in minutes. But not all of them will survive. Read more at The New York Times

Millennials Are More Likely to Use Travel Agents Than Any Other U.S. Demographic: The number of people who say they’ve used a travel agent to book a trip has rebounded slightly in recent years, and increased interest from millennials in agents may have contributed. Read more at Skift

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Hotels

Tokyo, the Park Hyatt and the Art of the Hotel Arrival: The last few times I’ve checked in, I’ve noticed a few recurring details. Let’s unpack them a bit. Read more at Skift

Hotels That Rival Nearby Theme Parks: The following new and improved resorts champion proximity and entertainment, and many come with perks such as free shuttles to the theme park, on-site ticket sales, early park admission and line-jumping status. Read more at The New York Times

For Hotel CEOs, Understanding the Magic Behind Branding Has Never Been More Crucial: Last week, many of the big players in hospitality converged in New York City to make huge investment deals and hobnob with their colleagues. And when companies weren’t focused on cutting deals, their CEOs were talking about a lot of things — the Zika virus, terrorism, Airbnb, the rise of nationalism, and the TSA, to name a few. Read more at Skift

The Legendary Watergate Hotel Reopens in Washington, D.C.: The famous (and sometimes infamous) District hotel has a splashy new whisky bar and a saltwater pool. Read more at Conde Nast

Your Turn

E3 is happening this week, which means the internet is full of awkward reporters reporting awkwardly. Check out the best clip reel here.

Tips and Comments

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

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Photo Credit: Virgin America's acquirer left open the door for the brand to continue operating, yet offered nothing firm about the possibility. Virgin America