There are many scandals that have emerged across the U.S. government recently, but the saga of Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt is notable for his attempts to leverage his position into a better business travel experience.

A whistleblower told authorities that Pruitt was finding excuses to travel the world and stay in luxury hotels, all the while flying on unapproved Delta Air Lines flights to rack up SkyMiles. Hell, why not.

I took a look this week at the pain of government travel and how it ties into the greater problems making life miserable for business travelers. Everyone wants to travel like a boss, but many leaders can’t live the ultraluxe life they envision. The rest of us have even less hope.

We also have the latest on important loyalty program updates and changes across the aviation industry. Check it all out below.

If you have any feedback about the newsletter or tips, feel free to reach out via email at as@skift.com or tweet me @sheivach.

— Andrew Sheivachman, Business Travel Editor

Airlines, Tech, and Distribution

What the Scott Pruitt Scandal Tells Us About the Misery of Business Travel: Corporate travel policies are restrictive, and perhaps no organization is as restrictive as the U.S. government. The Scott Pruitt scandal is a good reminder that business travel is an important part of life wherever you happen to work. Everyone wants to live the good life, but few really can.

New Wyndham Branding Should Enhance Its Loyalty Proposition: While a new branding campaign by Wyndham may foreshadow some turbulence ahead for the hotel group, on the surface it will make it easier to find and book network hotels.

Southwest’s Engine Type Considered Among Most Reliable Despite Recent Issues: The pictures from Southwest Flight 1380 are scary. But flying remains incredibly safe. Investigators will undoubtedly figure out what happened, and when they do, flying will be even safer.

U.S. Airlines May Have to Avoid Russian Airspace as Diplomatic Talks Continue: If the two countries can’t resolve this issue quickly, it could be costly for U.S. carriers. America’s airlines often overfly eastern Russia to get to east Asia. They don’t necessarily need to, but other routings take longer and burn more fuel.

WestJet Has a Lot Riding on the Launch of Its New Low-Cost Airline: Starting up a new low-cost airline in a pretty crowded market presents a major challenge for WestJet’s new CEO. Add on an expansion of its long-haul program, and you can see why aviation analysts are a little worried.

The Future of Travel

Marriott Finally Reveals How It Will Combine All 3 of Its Loyalty Programs: How much do we want to bet that the new loyalty brand that debuts next year turns out to be Marriott Preferred Guest? Or better yet, just Marriott Rewards?

TravelPerk Raises $21 Million for Business Travel Bookings: TravelPerk’s and TravelTriangle’s fundings are yet a further sign that Skift called it right in our 2018 Megatrend predictions. We said companies are investing heavily in treating business travelers as respectable consumers rather than as animals that need prodding like goats.

FTC Chastises Uber for Breach of Personal Information Impacting 20 Million Users: We’ve seen this across many industries: Systems get hacked and the affected companies sit on the information and delay informing their customers. Uber has to do way better than this. Amazon likely has some culpability in this latest incident, too, as it was storing Uber customer information.

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Skift Business Travel Editor Andrew Sheivachman [as@skift.com] curates the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.

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Photo Credit: EPA administrator Scott Pruitt at CPAC 2017. Pruitt's attempts to game the government's business travel rules seem to have backfired spectacularly. Gage Skidmore / Flickr