What to Know Now

International Premium Economy is officially on the way from American Airlines. The initial routes will be operated on the airline’s new 787-900 aircraft on two routes between Dallas and Madrid and Dallas and São Paulo. Over the next few years, the cabin will be integrated into the wider international fleet.

Now, the airline and its customers need to figure out how booking and upgrades are going to work. Currently, top elite members in American’s AAdvantage loyalty program are given system wide upgrades with which they can upgrade from economy to business — space permitting. With a new class in between economy and business, however, many fear that the value of those upgrades is going to precipitously fall. This after American eviscerated its loyalty program earlier this year.

The small silver lining is that until the process is in place, premium economy is going to be billed as Main Cabin Extra and bookable as such — that is, free for elites. Hold your breath for when the official upgrade pathway is announced.

Social Quote of the Day

Five people around me are playing Pokemon Go, and I feel like this is what the world would look like if everyone joined a cult.

@hannahbsampson | Hannah Sampson, Associate editor, @Skift

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Airlines

Ex-Lehman Trader Faces Headwinds in Launch of Crowdfunded Airline: As a bond trader at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., Navdip Singh Judge worked for spreads and bonuses at temples of modern-day capitalism. Now, he says the global capitalist system is broken and he’s looking to mend it. Read more at Skift

American Airlines’ New Premium Economy Cabin Will Beat U.S. Rivals to Market: American Airlines Group Inc. will be the first U.S. carrier to offer a premium economy cabin with more legroom, in a bid to win overseas travelers seeking extra perks at a lower price than in business class. Read more at Skift

5 Changes That Have Made Flying Safer: Despite many of us who have a fear of flying, air travel is actually safer than riding a train, driving, or even walking across the street. But hey, we can’t blame you for wondering how a giant hunk of metal flying 500 miles per hour miles high is a physical possibility. Read more at Condé Nast Traveler

8 U.S. Airlines Given Tentative Approval to Start Havana Flights: The Obama administration on Thursday proposed eight airlines including United Continental Holdings Inc, Delta Air Lines Inc, American Airlines Group Inc and JetBlue Airlines Corp to start nonstop flights from the United States to Havana, Cuba, as early as this fall, administration officials said. Read more at Skift
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Airports

Long Lines at Airports? You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet: We’ve all seen the long summer lines at airport security checkpoints full of angry travelers. But many of us haven’t heard the real reason: funding for the Transportation Security Administration has been sliced by 8.5 percent over the past five years, leading to a 5.5 percent drop in the number of screeners. At the same time, the number of travelers has increased by more than 15 percent. Read more at The New York Times

NTSB Probes Delta Flight That Landed at Wrong Airport: The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a Delta Air Lines Inc. flight that mistakenly landed at a South Dakota Air Force base, about 12 miles (19 kilometers) from its intended destination. Read more at Skift

How Can an Airliner Land at the Wrong Airport? Air travelers are asking, “How can a modern airliner land at the wrong airport?” My answer is simple: very easily. Read more at Medium

Small U.S. Airports Struggle to Attract New Service From Any Airline: In the subterranean depths of a downtown Denver hotel ballroom, airport executives from across North America are gathered at 8:30 a.m. on a Tuesday. Many were out late the night before, commiserating. Times are tough in the airport trade. Read more at Skift

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Tech

Virgin Galactic to Resume Test Flights of Its Commercial Spacecraft: Virgin Galactic Ltd., the commercial space company founded by billionaire Richard Branson, is set to resume test flights next month in a new spaceship that replaces the craft that crashed in a fatal accident two years ago. Read more at Skift

Vancouver Won’t be Approving Uber Anytime Soon: Visitors to Vancouver who want to use Uber are in for a surprise. Open the app and instead of the familiar city grid, there’s a petition asking users to help bring ride-sharing to the province of British Columbia. Read more at Skift

ViaSat Brings More Competition and Faster Speeds to the In-Flight Wi-Fi Market: When ViaSat pitched American Airlines not long ago, executives at the satellite Internet company made their usual argument. They promised they could deliver reliable high-speed Wi-Fi, similar to what passengers have at home, at a reasonable cost to the airline. Read more at Skift

Elon Musk Finds a Booster in Putin as Russia Funds Hyperloop Project: A brash dot-com millionaire showed up in Russia shopping for a rocket at the start of Vladimir Putin’s presidency, only to be derided as a crank by smug apparatchiks who plied him with vodka before waving him away. Nobody in Moscow is laughing at Elon Musk any more. Read more at Skift
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Hotels

Omni Hotels Announces Data Breach of Customer Credit Card Information: On July 8, Dallas-based Omni Hotels & Resorts reported that some of its properties’ point-of-sales-systems were recently attacked by unauthorized malware. Read more at Skift

Hospitality Tech Funding Is on a Downward Trend So Far in 2016: Hotel and alternative accommodations booking and tech startups raised about $550 million during the first two quarters of 2016, mostly for consumer-facing platforms, and while this amount might seem like a huge chunk of change some investors say this represents a slow down in funding. Read more at Skift

The London Hotel Chain That’s Letting Guests Book Specific Rooms: Earlier this year, we lamented the fact that although a few companies have attempted to allow or at least help guests choose a specific hotel room for their stays, the ability to do so was limited at best. Now, however, that seems to no longer be the case. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Barely weeks after Luke Bujarski, Skift’s head of research started, he’s already on the lookout for a Travel Research Analyst. Read more about the role here.

Tips and Comments

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

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Photo Credit: American Airlines new International Premium Economy product. American Airlines