What to Know Now
The Department of Justice finally signed off on Alaska Air Group’s acquisition of Virgin America — almost two months behind the original plan — and all of the legalities are getting buttoned up. Once the deal closes, which should happen imminently, Virgin America will quickly disappear into the larger carrier, though travelers still don’t know what the ultimate flight experience will look like.
Many are hopeful that facets of the current Virgin America experience, including the fun cabin lighting and industry-leading in-flight entertainment, will persist through the acquisition. A more realistic scenario, however, has all of Virgin America’s aircraft eventually adopting the Alaska branding and cabins.
More news on the ultimate fate of the carriers is expected this month. In the meantime, get those last Virgin America flights in.
Social Quote of the Day
Whenever I feel discouraged, I remember the words of my then-3 yr old after she puked carrots on the floor: “I’m gonna need more carrots.”
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In-Flight Calling: DOT Considers Passing New Rules: Should U.S. airlines allow passengers to make phone calls at 35,000 feet? And if they do, what rules should they follow to ensure all travelers have a reasonably peaceful journey? Read more at Skift
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President-Elect Trump Picks a Retired Marine to Manage U.S. Borders and the TSA: Trump has tapped retired Marine Gen. John Kelly as DHS secretary, according to published reports. A four-star general, like prospective defense secretary James Mattis, Kelly’s most recent assignment, which ended in February, was heading the U.S. Southern Command, which oversees the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Read more at Skift
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Autonomous Transportation and the Future of Business Travel: What does a world look like where, instead of going to the airport two hours early, taking an hour flight, and then a commute into a city center, one just gets in a vehicle and works — or sleeps — en route to the destination? Read more at Skift
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Travel-Focused Consumers Win in Amex and Chase’s Battle for Credit Card Supremacy: To attract the most profitable customers, banks are competing to offer the most irresistible perks, especially through premium cards such as the AmEx Platinum, Citibank’s Prestige card, and the new Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which created a frenzy online when it launched in August. Read more at Skift
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Washington, D.C. Has a Huge MGM Casino Opening Right Next Door: Far from the Las Vegas Strip, MGM Resorts International opens its $1.4 billion MGM National Harbor casino and resort just outside the nation’s capital this week, advertising a gambling floor “bigger than the White House” and an art collection that includes a large welded collage by Bob Dylan. Read more at Skift
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