What to Know Now

The road to implementing Basic Economy fares in the United States got a little bit longer this week with news that American and United are behind on their scheduled rollout. Originally, the airlines planned to have basic economy fares — which strip away passenger perks to better compete with low cost carriers — integrated by the end of this year. Both, however, have now pushed those plans back to 2017.

According to Skift’s Brian Sumers, much of the delay centers around the logistical and programmatic challenges with integrating complicated fare structures, but it’s also possible that the carriers are taking a bit of extra time to scrutinize the way they do business. Just last week, the White House released guidelines for how it expects airlines to sell tickets, and the fallout from that campaign may dramatically change how carriers market their fares.

Regardless of the delay, passengers will now be able to enjoy a few more months of basic-economy-free travel where all passengers in economy are treated (mostly) equal.

SOCIAL QUOTE OF THE DAY

.@AmericanAir is “on track” to launch its basic economy fare, plans to do so in January to avoid holiday peak, says pres Isom

Edward Russell, Airline and finance editor @ Flightglobal

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Airlines

Proposed Alaska Air-Virgin America Merger Hits Minor Snag in San Francisco Federal Court: Alaska Air Group Inc. can’t complete its merger with Virgin America Inc. unless it gives at least seven days advance notice to the San Francisco federal court judge presiding over a consumer antitrust case contending the tie-up is anticompetitive. Read more at Skift

American and United Aren’t Yet Ready to Compete With Spirit Air on Price: By now, all three major U.S. airlines were supposed to be selling new discount fares that allowed them to more forcefully compete with domestic airlines known for bare-bones service — Frontier Airlines, Allegiant Air, and Spirit Airlines. But major airlines are complex entities, and sometimes they cannot implement new strategies as quickly as they wish. Read more at Skift

Here’s Why American, United and Delta’s On-Time Stats Should Dip: Most of the monthly stats the large carriers report don’t include their regional operations, mostly smaller, 50-to-90-seat jets that funnel travelers to and from hubs. Starting next year, the U.S. Department of Transportation is closing that gaping hole by requiring performance information on flights operated by a half dozen regional airlines. Regulators are aiming to make monthly performance at the major carriers reflect how well their regional operations did. Read more at Skift

United Turns Its Focus From International to Domestic Growth: In the past three years, United Airlines has added many flights to far-flung destinations, including Chengdu, Xi’an and Hangzhou in China, and Tel Aviv, Singapore, and Auckland. But as United has tried to fulfill its global aspirations, it has taken a more cautious approach in the United States, adding relatively few routes. Read more at Skift

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Airports

Iceland’s Main Airport Finally Gets Its First Domestic Route: Earlier this month, Air Iceland, an Icelandair affiliate, announced that from the end of February next year, the airline would offer up to six flights a week between Keflavik Airport and Akureyri. Read more at Skift

The Most Delayed Airports Around Thanksgiving Travel: The Tuesday before and after Thanksgiving could be the world’s worst days to fly according to a new analysis ahead of the November holiday. In a recent infographic released by RewardExpert, the company revealed the best and worst days to fly around Thanksgiving. Read more at Flyertalk

UK Government Promises to Choose Between Heathrow and Gatwick: U.K. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling poured cold water on the notion that the government may approve competing expansion plans for London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports. Read more at Skift

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Tech

Hotels Find That Guests Won’t Wait When It Comes to Mobile Messaging: New survey data and research suggest hotels should be paying even more attention to mobile messaging and requests from guests than they already are. Read more at Skift

New U.S. Rules Could Bring Unprecedented Change to Booking Flights Online: Buried in a document dump by the White House and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is a potential bombshell that could one day upend how airlines sell flights to consumers online. Read more at Skift

A Traveler’s Guide to Customs: When to Shake Hands, Hug or Kiss: The world may be increasingly globalized, but when it comes to greeting practices, local customs still prevail — and things can get awkward when, say, a hug-loving American businessman meets his Japanese counterpart for the first time. (Best just to bow.) Read more at The New York Times

Google Flights Now Notifies Flyers When Airfares Will Expire: Plenty of flights apps these days inform users whether they expect airfares to rise or fall but Google Flights is taking its features one step further and notifying flyers when airfares will expire. Read more at Skift

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Hotels

InterContinental Hotels Tripped Up by Security Concerns and Low Oil Prices: InterContinental Hotels Group has endured a slowdown in revenue-per-available-room growth as it continues to feel the effects of terrorism in Europe and the sluggish oil industry. Read more at Skift

Footwear Expert Zappos Looks for a Fit in the Hospitality Business: At the Global Wellness Summit in Tyrol, Austria, Zappos, the Amazon-owned online footwear and clothing retailer announced it is contemplating a foray into a new business model: hotels. Read more at Skift

Starwood and Marriott Add Reciprocal Benefits to Credit Cards as Loyalty Programs Draw Closer: Though Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) are still not slated for full integration until 2018, the two hotel giants took another small step towards opening up reciprocal benefits yesterday, when they allowed for loyalty program members using a co-branded credit card from one operator to earn bonus points when booking a hotel room on the other. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Friend-of-Skift Anna Brones spoke at [The] Shakespeare and Company this past weekend on Paris and Coffee. Take a quick look at the event and her book here.

Tips and Comments

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

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Photo Credit: Economy class seating is shown on a new United Airlines Boeing 787-9 undergoing final configuration. The airline, along with American Air, has delayed the rollout of its cheaper economy seats. Ted S. Warren / Associated Press