What to Know Now

In an age where legacy carriers are racing to strip down and simplify economy fares, Southwest Airlines made a pro-consumer move last week by taking a stand.

Asked about the disruptive fares in a call with investors Thursday, CEO Gary Kelly basically discarded the concept, saying “There is huge value in offering our customers — 100 percent of them — a great product.” He also suggested that adding more complexity to the booking and fare process would be against what the airline stood for.

As to whether investors agree with him (or will try to force his hand), the jury is still out. But in the near term, budget-focused passengers on Southwest can rest easy.

P.S. Did you feel like you didn’t get enough time off last year? You’re not alone. Read the results of our annual survey of Americans’ vacation time.

Social Quote of the Day

Commendable is the only word for Southwest policies

@presidentapai | Sudhakara Reddy, National President – Air Passengers Association of India

Airlines

Airlines Are Trying to Comply With Trump’s Anti-Muslim Travel Ban: Global airlines are struggling to comply with new travel restrictions after being caught flat-footed by President Donald Trump’s executive order blocking visitors from seven predominantly Muslim nations. Read more at Skift

American Airlines Expects to Catch Up to Delta With Its Basic Economy Strategy: Executives at American Airlines, the biggest airline in the world, had two stories to tell to investors on a call, and both were about catching up to Delta Air Lines, broadly speaking. Read more at Skift

Southwest Won’t Copy Rivals With a Basic Economy Fare: Promising that Southwest Airlines does not plan to introduce a basic economy fare, CEO Gary Kelly blasted his competitors for treating some passengers like “second-class” customers. Read more at Skift

AirAsia X Gets Clearance to Launch First Low-Cost Flights Between Asia and U.S.: Malaysia’s AirAsia X Bhd said it had become Asia’s first low-cost carrier to receive approval to operate scheduled passenger flights to any destination within the United States. Read more at Skift

Airports

Dubai Airport Duty-Free Cut Prices Because of Brexit and Chinese Travelers: Dubai duty-free cut prices after a weaker pound led to lower airport sales and expects to boost revenue by five percent this year, driven by spending by Chinese travelers. Read more at Skift

Biometric Company Clear Wants to One-Up TSA PreCheck: Clear, the biometric screening firm long hobbled by a limited network, is landing in several major U.S. airports soon, including New York’s LaGuardia, marking the start of an era that could radically accelerate your trip from curb to cabin. But there are some bumps to smooth out first. Read more at Skift

New VIP Lounge at Frankfurt Airport Offers Private Suites: A new VIP Lounge recently opened at FRA, and while entrance isn’t cheap, it isn’t limited to passengers of a certain airline or cabin class. Read more at The Points Guy

Dubai Airport CEO Offers to Give Trump Advice on Fixing U.S. Hubs: Dubai International Airport would welcome a call from the Trump administration on ways to improve American airports, the CEO of the Mideast hub said on Tuesday as it retained the title of the world’s busiest for international travel. Read more at Skift

Tech

Twitter Users Are Trolling Trump Hotels With Stories of Refugees: Twitter users are using a tweet by Trump Hotels in 2011 to attack the U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s new ban on all travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. Read more at Skift

Business Travel Is Expected to Soar in India, Struggle in Brazil as Economies Diverge: Two of the world’s largest emerging economies had very different years when it came to business travel. Read more at Skift

Finnair Passengers Can Now Use Alipay on Shanghai Flights: Finnair says it will launch Alibaba’s online payment platform as an official way of paying for goods and services on its flights connecting Helsinki and Shanghai. Read more at Skift

For American Airlines New Technology Means Fewer In-Seat Screens: In a sign of the times, American Airlines said Tuesday it will not install in-seat entertainment screens on the next-generation Boeing 737s that start arriving later this year — aircraft that should be deployed mostly within North America. Read more at Skift

Hotels

Japanese Hotel CEO Sees Challenges in Trump’s Protectionist Policies: For now, Toyoko Inn Co. is pushing ahead with plans to open hotels in Germany and France this year, and is seeking permission for a more than 1,000-room property in New York’s Queens, said CEO Maiko Kuroda in an interview at the company’s Tokyo headquarters. The company, which puts its success down to female management in male-dominated Japan, is now left pondering Trump. Read more at Skift

Trump Hotels Pursues Domestic Rather Than International Expansion: Only days after Donald Trump took the oath of office, the head of his hotel-management company outlined hopes for an ambitious expansion across the U.S., raising new questions about potential conflicts between his business and the presidency. Read more at Skift

Hilton and Marriott CEOs Urge Hoteliers to Hire More Millennials and Lobby to Ease Travel Barriers: Despite being fierce competitors, the CEOs of Marriott and Hilton agree that the current era is a golden age of travel. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Given today’s political climate, now’s a good time to take a look at Skift’s manifesto on travel as the geopolitical center of the world. Read it and take it to the airport.

Tips and Comments

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

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Photo Credit: Southwest won't jump on the basic economy fare bandwagon, its CEO said. Pictured is a Southwest Boeing 737 on a taxiway. Southwest Airlines