What to Know Now

Happy Holidays from the Skift Business Traveler Team.

Long reluctant partners in Pacific Northwest, Alaska and Delta are finally throwing in the towel and calling it quits. For years, the airlines worked together as loyalty program and codeshare partners, sharing customers and revenue despite Delta’s clear plans to expand in Seattle — Alaska’s home territory.

Now that Alaska has acquired Virgin America though, that relationship is no longer a priority. Starting on May 1 of 2017, passengers will no longer be able to book flights on the opposing carrier’s website nor will frequent flyer miles earn across programs. In short, competition is on.

Luckily for Alaska passengers there are plenty of other partner carriers on which to earn and spend miles. But if the Delta-Alaska breakup is a foreshadow of Alaska’s new approach to partnerships, other carriers like American and JAL may soon get the boot.

Social Quote of the Day

The POLAR EXPRESS is now departing Anchorage with non-stop service to Louisville ‘s Worldport.

All Aboard! ???✈

– @AeroSavvy | Ken Hoke, Frustrating air traffic controllers world-wide as a Boeing 757/767 captain for a package express airline. 

Airlines

Airbnb Is Really Building A Flight Search Engine, May Buy An Online Booking Site For It: Airbnb Inc. is developing a service for booking air travel as the home-rental startup looks to compete with Priceline Group Inc. and Expedia Inc. for more of people’s online travel spending. Read more at Skift

American Air Wins Its Five-Year-Old Anti-Trust Lawsuit Against Sabre: A federal jury in New York on Tuesday awarded American Airlines $5.1 million in damages in a five-year-old antitrust lawsuit concerning whether Sabre used its “massive power” over airlines to charge fees and “harm competition.” Read more at Skift

Indian Airlines Offer Base Fares as Low as 2 Cents in New Fare War: Air travelers globally are bracing for higher fares after OPEC decided last month to cut output. Not in India, the world’s fastest-growing major aviation market. Read more at Skift

Smaller Bathrooms on Planes Pose Challenges for Passengers: Smaller lavatories are helping airlines to add extra seats to new and existing aircraft for more profit, but some passengers — if they can get into the bathrooms — say they are being shortchanged. Read more at The New York Times

Airports

Travelers from Canada to U.S. Get New Pre-Clearance Customs Options: U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy will be highlighting a new law that will make it easier for people to travel between Canada and the United States. Read more at Skift

New York’s LaGuardia Airport Hopes Everything Will Be Different in 6 Years: Congestion is the biggest reason why LaGuardia Airport in New York is regularly rated the worst in America: Neither planes nor people move in an efficient manner through a facility designed for far, far less traffic. Read more at Skift

EU Angry that U.S. Visa Waiver Program Still Has Haves and Have Nots: The European Union says little progress has been made in persuading the United States to lift visa restrictions on some EU countries despite the visa waiver accord between Washington and Brussels. Read more at Skift

 

Tech

Conrad Hotels Transforms Instagram and Virtual Reality Into Travel Guides: A little over a year ago, Conrad Hotels, like many of its luxury hotel peers, repositioned itself with a content campaign centered around “smart luxury.” Read more at Skift

Upgrade for America’s Busiest Rail Lines Depends on Trump Administration: A U.S. agency on Friday endorsed an expensive plan to expand and repair the busy U.S. Northeast Corridor rail lines over the next three decades, adding new tracks in most locations and cutting the time to travel from Washington to New York by 35 minutes. Read more at Skift

Uber Isn’t Profitable in the U.S. and Is On Track to Lose $3 Billion in 2016: Even as Uber Technologies Inc. exited China, the company’s financial loss has remained eye-popping. In the first nine months of this year, the ride-hailing company lost significantly more than $2.2 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter. In the third quarter, Uber lost more than $800 million, not including its Chinese operation. Read more at Skift

Hotels

Alain Ducasse’s Châteaux & Hôtels Collection Partners With Airbnb on Trips and Rooms: When Airbnb’s Global Head of Hospitality and Strategy, Chip Conley, said he could envision hotels and Airbnb working more closely together in the future at the Skift Global Forum in September, we’re wondering if he was referring to this. Read more at Skift

The Biggest Challenges and Opportunities for Luxury Hotels in 2017, Explained: As we head into the new year, luxury hoteliers have a number of different challenges and opportunities for innovation that lie ahead of them. While the luxury space continues to be a lucrative one for the hospitality industry, there’s increasing pressure on hoteliers to continue to evolve. Read more at Skift

Accor’s New CEO for Luxury Hotels Wants to Protect Brand Integrity in a Crowded Field: AccorHotels increased its luxury hotel portfolio exponentially this year, especially in North America and Asia, following its acquisition of Fairmont Raffles Hotels International (FHRI) in July. Read more at Skift

Hilton Is Pretty Sure It Needs Five More Hotel Brands to Better Compete: At Hilton Worldwide’s Investor Day on Dec. 8, Jim Holthouser, Hilton’s executive vice president of global brands, revealed that while the company is very happy with its repertoire of 13 hotel brands, it isn’t ruling out the possibility of adding more. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Bloomberg’s annual Jealousy List, in which it shares the top articles that it wish it wrote, contains some of the year’s best, most thoughtful pieces. Check out the 2016 list here.

See you in 2017.

Tips and Comments

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

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Photo Credit: A Delta jet, left, takes-off, as an Alaska Airlines plane lands at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Wash. The airlines ended their tenuous friendship last week. Elaine Thompson / Associated Press