What to Know Now

It’s been a suspiciously rough few weeks for airline IT systems. One after the other, American, Alaska, Southwest, Delta, and United have all suffered from IT system breakdowns, delaying and canceling thousands of flights across the country and roiling passengers along the way.

The culprit? Antiquated IT systems mashed together from multiple, merged airlines plus problems at Sabre, the company that runs reservations for American, Alaska, and Southwest. But here at the Skift Business Travel HQ we’re more interested in another question: Why now and why so many airlines? It’s almost as if someone was testing our country’s infrastructure…

Social Quote of the Day

Wow. ANOTHER airline outage from an IT failure?! I’d love to be a fly on the wall in that post mortem meeting.

@geoff_grayson | Geoff Grayson, Account Manager at ServiceNow. 

Airlines

Oneworld Alliance Looking at Low-Cost Carriers in Emerging Markets: The Oneworld alliance, which includes British Airways and American Airlines, is reviewing the case for seeking members from the ranks of discount carriers while exploring measures to fill gaps in emerging markets. Read more at Skift

Airline CEOs Are Optimistic Following Talk With President Trump: Following a breakfast meeting with President Trump at the White House this morning, airline and airport executives voiced optimism for the potential of infrastructure improvements and relaxed regulations to improve the state of air travel in the United States. Read more at Skift

Spirit Airlines Feels the Heat From Other Carriers’ Low Fares: Spirit Airlines has faced increasing pressure from legacy carriers in the U.S. that have moved to introduce basic economy fares to compete with ultra low-cost carriers. Read more at Skift

JetBlue Will Curb Its Growth Slightly as It Seeks More Pricing Power: JetBlue Airways Corp. cut back on 2017 expansion plans, joining other U.S. carriers in the effort to keep the number of seats and flights in check to gain more control over pricing. Read more at Skift

Airports

Norwegian Air Has Picked New U.S. Bases But It’s Keeping Them a Secret: Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA said it has chosen the first two U.S. bases for the trans-Atlantic flights it plans to introduce later this year using Boeing Co. 737 single-aisle planes. Read more at Skift

The Airport Lounge Scene: What You Get and How to Get In: Mango smoothies beckon. Soft pretzels dangle from a wooden rack. There are platters of Scottish smoked salmon, sausage, bacon, eggs, waffles, pancakes, croissants, and cheese beside jars of homemade jams and a honeycomb hive tray. So begins a Saturday morning in a Lufthansa first-class lounge at Frankfurt Airport, where one can while away the hours at the buffet, in a sleeping room or with a hot shower (robes and slippers at the ready). Read more at The New York Times

New York LaGuardia’s Infrastructure Woes Pile Up As Storms Move Through: Storms moving through the Northeast this week have pushed New York’s LaGuardia airport to the breaking point. Read more at Skift

Internal Documents Show Undercover TSA Officers Routinely Spy on Flyers: Have you ever waited in an airport security line without looking at the other travelers around you? Have you ever blinked, yawned, or blushed? If you’ve done any of these things in a U.S. airport, you may have been the subject of covert surveillance by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security employees, according to a new report. Read more at Skift

klm facial recognition schiphol

Tech

AccorHotels Plans to Test Selling Flights on Its Website: AccorHotels is developing a reputation as being a bit of a pioneer. Its latest move? Selling flights on Accor.com in a pilot program that begins in Europe this spring. Read more at Skift

Flight Metasearch Analysis: Why Are Sites Slow to Add Instant Booking? Airfare comparison websites are hot, given Tuesday’s news that the Priceline Group will buy UK and Denmark-based metasearch site Momondo Group for $550 million. Given deals and ample valuations, it’s easy to buy into the cliche that technology companies innovate at supersonic speeds while airlines are slow to change. But the opposite can seem true, at least if you are a consumer shopping for flights online. Read more at Skift

KLM Tests Facial Scanning to Speed Boarding of Flights: KLM will use face-scanning technology at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in a test of ways to speed up the boarding process and improve security. Read more at Skift

Hotels

Rezidor Hotels Points to Terrorism and Oil Prices as Earnings Wane: The lasting impact of terrorist attacks in France and Belgium is continuing to hamper the performance of Brussels-based Rezidor Hotel Group. Read more at Skift

Trump Hotels CEO Interview: With International Expansion off the Table, Domestic Growth Gets Full Focus: A lot has happened since we sat down with members of the Trump Hotels executive team on January 25 during the Americas Lodging Investment Summit in Los Angeles. Read more at Skift

How High-End Hotels Are Reinventing Airport Lounges: When Henry Ford created the world’s first airport hotel in Dearborn, Michigan, it was to provide a nearby place to relax before or after the tediousness of a flight. Nowadays, luxurious airport lounges do much of the same thing, surprising guests with fine details that will make even the most jaded traveler feel they are entering a buttoned-up residence instead of a souped-up space in an airport. Read more at Condé Nast Traveler

InterContinental Hotels Group Suffers Data Breach at 12 U.S. Properties: InterContinental Hotels Group issued a statement notifying guests of data breaches at 12 properties throughout the United States from August to December 2016. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Off Assignment, a fantastic project that pulls in untold stories from travel writers, launched a Kickstarter last week. Check it out here and donate.

Tips and Comments

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

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