WHAT TO KNOW NOW

We’re all used to an occasional fiasco wrought by thunderstorms passing through airline hubs, but Delta’s latest debacle may have really taken the cake. After a series of thunderstorms moved through airline’s Hartsfield-Jackson International airport in Atlanta Wednesday, the airline struggled to right its ship this weekend, canceling thousands of flights and stranding tens of thousands of passengers.

One traveler posted a now-viral photo and said he had been stuck in Atlanta for three days.

At issue wasn’t the airline’s recovery from the thunderstorms; apparently, the problem was its failure to properly re-accommodate passengers, reschedule crews and clear out the backlog. “We understand the resulting recovery has not been ideal and we apologize for that,” Delta’s COO was forced to admit this week.

Disruptions are expected to bleed into Monday.

SOCIAL QUOTE OF THE DAY

Just tried to call @Delta. The airline that trademarked the phrase “The On-Time Machine” said wait time would be more than three hours.

@BrianSumers | Brian Sumers, airline business editor for @skift.

 

AIRLINES

Delta Air Lines Wins Crystal Cabin Award for Best International Business Class Design: At the Airline Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany last week, Delta Air Lines picked up a prestigious Crystal Cabin award for its upcoming Delta One cabin, snatching it away from competing designs at United and Bombardier. Read more at Skift

Airlines Offer Deals as They Try to Sell More Miles to Consumers: For many U.S. airline customers, earning miles by flying is more challenging than ever. Nearly every airline allots them based on how much a customer spends, rather than how far the passenger flies, so a cheap ticket to Tokyo nets thousands of miles fewer than it once did. Still, in some ways, it has never been easier to acquire miles. Read more at Skift

The Sad State Of American’s Domestic First Class Meals: “After flying three flights this week (between Florida and the west coast via Dallas), I was reminded of just how sad the state of American’s domestic first class catering is.” Read more at One Mile at a Time

American’s Basic Economy Fares Are Working for the Airline So Far: American Airlines’ Basic Economy fares — the cheap, no-frills tickets that bar most passengers from bringing larger carry-on bags — only have been available for six weeks, and they’re sold in just 10 U.S. domestic markets, but one influential Wall Street analyst says they’ve already been beneficial for the carrier’s revenues. Read more at Skift

AIRPORTS

New York’s Worst Airport Looks to City’s Worst Prison for Hope: Travelers stuck in endless delays at New York City’s cramped and congested LaGuardia Airport can feel like prisoners. Now there’s a plan to liberate them by closing the city’s most notorious jail. Read more at Skift

TripAdvisor to Open Branded Retail Store at Raleigh-Durham Airport: TripAdvisor is expected to soon reveal whether it will return to TV advertising this year, but a modest branding exercise of a different sort is under way: The company will open a TripAdvisor-branded store at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Read more at Skift

Homeland Security Will Continue to Search Electronic Devices at U.S. Airports: The Department of Homeland Security will continue searching the mobile phones and electronic devices of travelers at U.S. airports, the agency’s leader said as lawmakers of both parties questioned whether the anti-terrorism tool is unlawfully intrusive. Read more at Skift

TECH

Watchdog Group Asks Whether Laptops in Cargo Hold Create a Safety Risk: The Flight Safety Foundation, a non-profit funded by airlines and other groups to reduce the risk of accidents, on Friday issued a press release urging the industry to take steps not to “introduce another risk” from the highly flammable batteries powering the electronics. Read more at Skift

EU Finds Most Travel Websites in Europe Mislead on Pricing Information: Two-thirds of travel booking websites provide misleading information on prices and so breached EU consumer protection rules, the European Commission said on Friday. Read more at Skift

The Luggage Industry Keeps Adding Tech Gimmicks to Boost Sales: As the U.S. Travel Goods Association’s annual show takes place April 5–7 in Las Vegas, it’s apparent that many manufacturers are doubling down on the industry’s bet that consumers want luggage that is tech-savvy. Read more at Skift

 

HOTELS

Hard Rock Hotels Has Big Plans for Transforming Trump’s Former Taj Mahal in Atlantic City: Donald Trump, domes and minarets are out. Rock ‘n’ roll and guitars — lots of guitars — are in as the Hard Rock chain re-does Atlantic City’s former Trump Taj Mahal casino. Read more at Skift

Hyatt Launches Member Experiences for Loyalty Program: Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels has added the ability to book custom experiences through its new World of Hyatt loyalty program. Read more at Skift

Marriott Is Selling More Starwood Properties to Further Its Asset-Light Strategy: Today, Marriott announced its latest move meant to complement its existing financial strategy and to help the company get that much closer to achieving some $250 million in annual cost “synergies,” or savings, associated with its $13.3 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which was finalized in September. Read more at Skift

YOUR TURN

Is it Gross? with Matt Gross is back with special guest Andrew Zimmern, some fruity pebbles and Mountain Dew. Find it here.

TIPS AND COMMENTS

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

Subscribe to the Skift Business Traveler Newsletter

Photo Credit: In this promotional photo from Delta, an employee handles a passenger's bag. Delta's operations went awry with many cancellations in the days following thunderstorms that hit the Atlanta, Georgia area April 5, 2017. Delta Air Lines