Skift Take

Southwest and easyJet have proved that airlines can be both low-cost and attractive to business flyers. The secret? Offer a reliable, dependable product.

What to Know Now

German carrier Air Berlin has been trying to find its way for over eight years, hemorrhaging cash and piling up losses along most of the way. With the situation starting to get urgent, part of its latest strategy is to start serving business class customers on short-haul European flights through a new dedicated cabin — a contrast from the airline’s single-cabin approach thus far.

In addition to new cabins, the carrier is also continuing to expand into the U.S. with new routes from Berlin to Los Angeles, Orlando and San Francisco. Many of the current routes to the U.S. will also be operated with a greater frequency, expanding capacity by up to 50%.

Together, these efforts should expose Air Berlin to passengers in both new demographics and geographies. Enough new passengers to keep the ship from sinking? Ask again next year.

Social Quote of the Day

Going far far FAR west today… About as close as you can get to Russia on a commercial flight from ANC.

@ZachHonig | Zach Honig Editor-in-Chief of The Points Guy and traveler to the far reaches of Alaska

airberlin Herzen. Berlin, den 16.03.2015


Southwest Airlines Board Backs CEO Kelly: Southwest Airlines Co.’s board made no bones about its response to the labor groups that called for the ouster of two top executives: They’re not going anywhere. Read more at Skift

As Losses Mount, Air Berlin Will Focus on Business Travelers: Air Berlin Plc is introducing business-class seats in Europe in a push to position the airline in a more lucrative segment of the market following years of losses. Read more at Skift

Qantas Has Eight More A380s On Order, But has Little Use for Them: Qantas Airways Ltd. said it doesn’t want the remaining eight A380s it still has on order because the dozen it operates now are sufficient to meet demand, further dimming future sales prospects for the largest passenger plane that’s struggled to find buyers. Read more at Skift

American Airlines Mechanics


Boingo Adds Major U.S. Cell Carrier to Make Wi-Fi Faster at U.S. Airports: Fresh off its partnership with Sprint at 35 U.S. airports Boingo Wireless is bringing on a second major U.S. cellular carrier to help make travelers’ airport web surfing faster and more convenient. Read more at Skift

American to Raise Ground Worker Pay Under New Interim Contract: American Airlines reached an interim agreement with the union for at least 30,000 mechanics, baggage handlers and other workers to provide average pay increases of 22 percent and retirement improvements while talks on a full contract continue. Read more at Skift

What’s the most popular item for sale at the airport? It turns out people’s top priority in an airport, besides making their flight, is staying hydrated. Read more at CNN

Las Vegas Will Get Its First Non-Stop Flights to Beijing in December: Hainan Airlines will begin flying the first non-stop route between China and Las Vegas beginning December 2, rewarding more than a decade of advocacy efforts on the part of McCarran International Airport and the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. Read more at Skift



New Travel Service Black Tomato Works With Drones For Slick Travel Videos: Filmmaker Tim Browning has worked on the set of countless big-budget blockbusters—including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Skyfall, Spectre—but now he’s setting his sights on more personal projects. He has signed on as the exclusive drone photographer for bespoke travel outfitter Black Tomato, a job that will have him crisscrossing the globe filming travelers from the skies. Read more at Skift

2 Years of Travel Startups: Which Companies Survived and Died: When we began our weekly Skiftseedlings stories on startups in December 2012 the backdrop to the travel startup landscape was different than today. In 2012, most of the world’s major economies were growing and recovering from the global recession of 2007 to 2009. Four years later, while Airbnb and Uber are grabbing headlines, funding in certain sectors such as hospitality tech has been uneven. Read more at Skift

Gogo Doesn’t Have Profits Yet, But Says It Has Momentum: In more than three years as a public company, Gogo has not reported a profitable quarter, and while that did not change Thursday, the company is betting it is finally on the right track. Read more at Skift

bazin accor


Paris and Luxury Hotels Take Brunt of French Tourism Slump: Terrorist attacks are taking their toll on France’s tourism industry, with Paris bearing the brunt of a drop in visits by holidaymakers from outside Europe. Read more at Skift

AccorHotels CEO to the Hotel Industry: ‘You Have an Obligation to Be Bold’: A lot has happened since Skift sat down with AccorHotels CEO Sebastien Bazin on July 14, just hours before a terrorist attack took place in Nice, France, taking the lives of 84 and injuring more than 300. Read more at Skift

Priceline CEO to Hotels: We Can Offer Discounted Rates, Too: Priceline Group Interim CEO Jeffery Boyd wanted to appear reasonable and measured so in discussing the hotels chains’ efforts to push direct bookings on their own websites, he declined to get into a tit for tat discussion. Read more at Skift

What Hotel CEOs Think About Terrorism, Slumping Oil, Brexit and Other Woes: While most hotel CEOs remain somewhat optimistic about the immediate futures of their respective businesses, they’ve also tempered their financial outlooks for the remainder of this year, given all of these challenges, as well as the ones that lie ahead. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

We knew it wouldn’t be long after David Farley moved to Berlin before started filing for The New York Times. His first piece touching on dinner parties and the local immigrant culture ran last week.

Tips and Comments

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

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Photo credit: A woman stands behind the exhibition stand of Air Berlin at the ITB tourism fair in Berlin. The low-cost carrier is adding a business class in an attempt to slow losses. Tobias Schwarz / Reuters

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