Skift Take

The new flight attendants' contract at United, coupled with other steps CEO Oscar Munoz is taking, could finally enable United to make up some serious ground against its competitors.


It’s been six years, but last week United and former Continental flight attendants finally approved a unified contract that allows United to mix crews and operate non-legacy aircraft. This could mean happier flight attendants, smoother operations and, in the end, more on-time flights, although the contract was approved by a slim majority.

Mechanics are also working on their own contract set for approval later this summer.

It’s ridiculous that it took six years for this contract to go into effect, but between stubborn management and hardline unions this was a tough nut to crack (even this current contract only passed 53 percent to 47 percent). With United CEO Oscar Munoz now righting the ship, it’s time for United to make up some serious ground.


My mental health is markedly improved since I added “trump” to my Twitter mute filters.

@willsmith| Will Smith, CEO @FOO_VR



United Flight Attendants (Finally) Have First Post-Merger Contract: United Continental Holdings Inc.’s flight attendants approved a labor contract that will allow the carrier to put attendants from its two predecessor airlines on the same jets for the first time in the merged company’s six-year history. Read more at Skift

JetBlue Founder Neeleman Sees Turnaround at Brazil’s Azul and Portugal’s TAP: Airline tycoon David Neeleman is seeing signs of a turnaround in his two main markets after months of struggle, with a massive recession in Brazil and a management shakeup in his European foothold. Read more at Skift

Delta Identifies Fire and Disconnected Servers as Cause of System Failure: A small fire at Delta Air Lines Inc.’s computer center was partly to blame for the network failure that caused massive cancellations worldwide on Monday, a spokesman for the Atlanta-based carrier said. Read more at Skift

Etihad Airways Brings Its Leisure Travel Brand to North America: Etihad Airways has brought its leisure travel brand Etihad Holidays to the U.S. and Canada under the moniker Etihad Vacations, in a move to capture more of the leisure travel market for those visiting the Middle East. Read more at Skift



Airports under fire from RAC over ‘sky high’ cost of picking up and dropping off passengers: A row has broken out between a leading motoring organisation and many of the UK’s airports, over a survey focusing on “the sky-high cost” of picking up and dropping off passengers. Read more at The Independent

New Mexico Spaceport Director Ends Tenure With Virgin Galactic Yet to Move In: At what was once a remote desert outpost with spotty cell service and little infrastructure other than the shell of a quarter-billion-dollar futuristic hangar, Christine Anderson has watched the transformation of Spaceport America from her office window. Read more at Skift

Meet The Researcher Who Wants To Make Airports More Efficient, Using Math: Have you ever sat on a plane that taxis along the tarmac for miles, or one that idles on the edge of the runway in a queue? If so, you might be interested in some recent work from Dr Jun Chen from the University of Lincoln. He is obsessed with managing ground traffic in airports and has developed a system that may well save time and money while reducing emissions from aircraft. Read more at Forbes

Airlander 10


Data Breach Impacts 20 Properties From Major Hotel Chains: HEI Hotels & Resorts, a hotel owner and operator based in Norwalk, Conn., reported that its hotels branded under the Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt, and InterContinental portfolios were the victims of a malware attack that lasted more than a year. Read more at Skift

Giant Helium-Filled Airship With Huge Travel Ambitions to Make Maiden Flight: A blimp-shaped, helium-filled airship billed as the world’s biggest aircraft is due to make its maiden flight. Read more at Skift

Southwest Outage Price Tag Estimated at $54 Million: The cancellation of more than 2,000 Southwest Airlines flights due to a computer outage last month will cost the carrier an estimated $54 million. Read more at Skift



Craft Brewery Hotel to Tap Into Local, Experiential Trends: San Diego-based Stone Brewing, the 10th largest craft brewer in the U.S., is entering the hotel business. Read more at Skift

How Wyndham Plans to Tackle Vacation Rental Disruptors: The vacation rental market has undergone a seismic realignment since the twin juggernauts of HomeAway and Airbnb bounded onto the scene in the mid 2000s. Read more at Skift

5 Reasons Why InterContinental Hotels Group Is Ripe for an Acquisition: When news leaked over the weekend that China’s Anbang Insurance Group (yes, the same Anbang that attempted to buy Starwood for close to $14 billion earlier this year) was considering a $9.12 billion purchase of London-based InterContinental Hotels Group, it immediately reignited discussion about further consolidation in the hospitality industry. Read more at Skift


The Book Passage Travel Writer’s Conference, which just wrapped up in Corte Madera, California this past weekend, seems to have finished off well.


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

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Tags: airports, azul, delt air lines, delta air lines, etihad, skift business newsletter, skift business traveler, united airlines

Photo credit: United flight attendants have approved a contract that will enable the airline to commingle crew members who worked at United and Continental airlines before their merger. United Airlines

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