What to Know Now

American Airlines finally launched its basic economy fares and the carnage is not as bad as many were expecting. The announcement came last week along with news about cleaner upgrade processes on American’s premium economy-equipped flights.

Like United, American doesn’t plan to include overhead bin space with its basic economy fares. The good news, however, is that elite members are exempt from the rule.

Perhaps the best news, however, is that passengers will still earn elite miles and status (unlike on United), which means that even if the boss forces you to fly on the cheapest fare, you can still reap some of the rewards.

It’s still not clear which routes will start offering the new fare structures, but American plans to start selling them in February. Make sure you don’t accidentally book the wrong fare classes.

SOCIAL QUOTE OF THE DAY

So now #AmericanAirlines AND #United have something called “basic economy” fares. I thought economy became basic 17 years ago. #travel

@JimByersTravel | Jim Byers, travel writer based in Toronto

Airlines

Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific Once Dominated Asian Skies but There’s a New World Order: The Venetian Republic and the British Empire built their economies on ocean trade. Dwindling naval power heralded their decline and fall. It’s a thought that should provoke a shiver of recognition in Hong Kong and Singapore, given the way their airborne fleets are falling victim to a new Great Power struggle. Read more at Skift

United Signals It Wants a Better Deal with Reservation Middlemen: Scott Kirby has only been president of United Airlines since late August, but he is already making waves. This week, he suggested — with the support of CEO Oscar Munoz — that the airline may need to take a tougher stance toward the technology companies that act as middlemen between airlines and travel agencies. Read more at Skift

What If Airlines Measured Revenue Like Traditional Retailers? Nearly every brick-and-mortar retailer measures sales the same way — by determining how much revenue they earn from each square foot of store space. But airlines have a more byzantine approach for testing revenue. Read more at Skift

United’s Chief Commercial Officer Leaves After Five Months on the Job: Julia Haywood, United Airlines’ chief commercial officer since August, who joined the company at the insistence of CEO Oscar Munoz, has left to return to the Boston Consulting Group, where she had been a partner and managing director. Read more at Skift

Airports

Global Airline Safety Standards For Satellite Tracking Will Kick in Next Year: Nearly three years after a Malaysian airliner vanished, it’s still possible, if unlikely, for a plane to disappear. But that’s changing with new satellites that will soon allow flights to be tracked in real time over oceans. Read more at Skift

Ryanair Again Threatens to Stop Flying UK Domestic Routes: Ryanair Holdings Plc could cease flights within Britain once the country leaves the European Union, rather than take steps to comply with new regulations. Read more at Skift

U.S. Flight Cancellations and Lost Bags Reach Historic Low: U.S. airlines canceled fewer flights and lost fewer bags in November than in any month in more than two decades, according to a new government report. Read more at Skift

Tech

Stay Alfred Raises $15 Million to Bring Hotel Service to Short-Term Rentals: Stay Alfred, a Spokane, Washington-based startup, has closed a $15 million Series A investment round. The equity financing was led by an undisclosed private equity group in Seattle, according to a regulatory filing confirmed by the company. Read more at Skift

Samsung says bad batteries and rushed manufacturing doomed the Galaxy Note 7: Samsung has finally released the results of the inquiry it commissioned into exactly what went wrong with the Galaxy Note 7, an acclaimed smartphone that had to be pulled from the market entirely last year after widespread reports of fires caused by the device. Read more at The Verge

Marriott’s New Two Bellmen Film Is Targeted Squarely at Asian Consumers: The latest installment of Marriott’s Two Bellmen short film series, showcasing the JW Marriott Hotels brand, was publicly premiered in Korea. Read more at Skift

Hotels

Donald Trump’s Washington D.C. Hotel Is Already a Five-Star Ethics Disaster: Red, white, and blue balloons rained down over crystal chandeliers in the soaring atrium of the Trump International Hotel at midnight in “a new inaugural tradition,” its social media account promised. But while President Donald Trump’s hotel in Washington did serve as a hub of Friday’s inaugural activities, it also stands as ground zero for what top Democrats and some ethics advisers see as his unique web of conflicts of interest. Read more at Skift

One of the Most Zen Hotels on Earth Opens in Frenetic Tokyo: You don’t come to Tokyo to relax. You come to eat all the uni in sight, zip around on the city’s super-fast metro, shop at glossy department stores, and drink too much Japanese whiskey. Then you head to a more rural part of the country, such as Hakone, to unwind. Or you can just check into the new Hoshinoya Tokyo and accomplish ample unwinding smack in the middle of the frenetic Otemachi financial district. Read more at Skift

Hilton CEO Sees Optimism Lifting Business Travel in 2017: Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta thinks 2017 could, potentially, be a good year for corporate business travel, perhaps owing to the so-called “Trump Bump” or “Trump Effect” that’s being noted by some industry watchers and downplayed by others. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

There’s a flood of travel people coming to New York City this weekend for the New York Times Travel Show. And while the show is exactly the same dull thing they’ve been trotting out year after year (seriously, it’s like a Groundhog Day of dated booths and recycled speeches over there), it’s always a great week to connect with people who are forced to come because everyone else is forced to come.

Tips and Comments

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

Subscribe to the Skift Business Traveler Newsletter

Photo Credit: An overhead bin on American Airlines. Now all three legacy carriers in the U.S. have bargain fares with severe limits for passengers. American Airlines