What to Know Now

Scott Kirby, American’s President and COO just up and left the Fort Worth-based carrier on Tuesday to take a new job at — wait for it — United Airlines.

Neither airline was particularly forthcoming about the reason behind the movement (though both, ironically, paint it as a victory), but there’s speculation that Kirby was unhappy with his trajectory at American and is looking forward to an eventual chief executive role at United.

Reaction from the community was similarly mixed with most passengers and analysts alike scratching their heads over how this will impact the carriers. One thing’s for certain though: investors sure liked the change. United was up 8% on Wall Street on Tuesday while American was — wait for it — also up.

Social Quote of the Day

What If American Was Telling the Truth in Their Press Release Firing Scott Kirby?

– @garyleff | Gary Leff, blogger @ View From the Wing

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Airlines

Qatar Airways’ Rocky Relationship With Airbus May Impact Large Aircraft Order: Qatar Airways said it’s poised to make a major jetliner purchase, adding to a backlog of more than 340 outstanding orders for Boeing Co. and Airbus Group SE planes. Read more at Skift

United Poaches American Airlines President Scott Kirby: In a surprise move, American Airlines President Scott Kirby has left for the same job at United Airlines, where he will work under new CEO Oscar Munoz, who seeks to transform the airline from industry laggard into one of the world’s best-run carriers. Read more at Skift

First Commercial Flight Between U.S. and Cuba in Half a Century to Fly Today: The first commercial flight between the United States and Cuba in more than a half century is scheduled to fly from Fort Lauderdale to the central city of Santa Clara on Wednesday morning, re-establishing regular air service severed at the height of the Cold War. Read more at Skift

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Airports

New York and Los Angeles Airport Scares Highlight TSA’s Failures: It’s easy to yell at people going through security; it is harder to bring your training — under stress — to professionally protect people during times of chaos. Read more at Skift

I Went to LaGuardia… For a Spa Day: As airports go, New York’s LaGuardia doesn’t have the best rep. It’s known for being outdated and impossible to get to, and infamous for its lack of edible food options (or any amenities for that matter). There’s a reason it was named the worst airport in the United States by Condé Nast Traveler readers. So when I had the opportunity to enjoy a spa day at the less-than-stellar transport hub, I was skeptical. Read more at Conde Nast Traveler

Delta’s Multi-Million Dollar Attempt to End Lost Airline Luggage: Delta Air Lines is investing $50 million to soothe one of air travel’s biggest headaches: lost and delayed luggage. Read more at Skift

 

Tech

Audi Launches Rent by Hour Plan in Hong Kong and Looks to Gridlocked Beijing: Beijing residents may soon be able to rent Audi cars by the hour with the tap of a smartphone, as the German luxury carmaker rolls out the service in Hong Kong and considers introducing the service to cities on the mainland. Read more at Skift

Google Challenging Uber With New Waze-Powered Ride-Share Service: Google plans to leverage its navigation app, Waze, which it acquired in 2013 for $1.1 billion, to pilot a ride-sharing service in San Francisco beginning in the Fall. Read more at Skift

The Changing Face of Accelerators, the Travel Industry and Startup Opportunities: Startup accelerators have shelled out billions of dollars in funding and provided mentorship to some of the most successful Internet companies to date, including several travel startups such as Airbnb. Some accelerators, though, say the term “accelerator” carries the stigma of funding first and guidance and mentoring second, and have moved away from it. Read more at Skift

A Muslim family has their breakfast at the Al Meroz hotel in Bangkok

Hotels

Thailand Opens Its First Halal Hotel in Attempt to Broaden Its Tourist Base: Predominately Buddhist Thailand has opened its first halal hotel as hopes to attract more Muslim visitors and boost one of the few bright spots in its economy. Read more at Skift

Fees at U.S. Hotels on Track for a Record High This Year: If you’re a hotelier, should you be more concerned about making money from charging fees or a potential consumer backlash? Read more at Skift

Voice-Activated Hotel Rooms Are Now a Thing at Aloft: Last Wednesday, Starwood’s tech-centric hotel brand, Aloft, unveiled its top-secret “Project Jetson.” Now, for the first time, hotel guests can talk to their rooms, thanks to the help of Apple’s ubiquitous voice-powered assistant, Siri. Read more at Skift

Affluent Travelers and the Power of Hotel Loyalty in 4 Charts: More than 14.5 million U.S. households have annual incomes greater than $150,000 and are frequent travelers with plenty of disposable income for hotels. But that’s not the ceiling of the American affluent population — the ultra affluent are even more loyal and devoted advocates for hotel brands. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Joe Sutter, the father of the Boeing 747, passed away this week. Read a nice tribute over on CNET.

Tips and Comments AND COMMENTS

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

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Photo Credit: United is trying to right past wrongs with new innovations and new hires, of which American Air's Kirby is clearly a part. Skift