This week in aviation news, at the inaugural Skift Tech Forum, United discussed how to balance personalization with privacy when using customers' data. We also analyzed the ongoing saga, or rather downward spiral, of South African Airways.
Airline News Weekly Roundup
Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines aviation.
For all of our weekend roundups, go here.
>>There are limits to how much an airline like United knows about you and that is comforting to some travelers. But putting the data it does have to good use remains a challenge, although we see nothing controversial about wishing someone a happy birthday: United Plans New App But Is Weighing ‘Creepy’ Versus ‘Personalized’
>>One expert called South African Airways a “vanity project.” That’s probably accurate, because the carrier has lost money for six consecutive years. But the airline will survive, because the government wants it to. That’s the way it works. No one wants to see a national airline disappear: Letting Troubled South African Airways Go Bust Isn’t So Simple: Here’s Why
>>The government of South Africa is adamant the country needs a global airline as a matter of national sovereignty. That has been a costly decision. Is it necessary? The Folly of the State-Owned Airline
>>On a continent still very much in love with the notion of a flag carrier, money-losing or not, privately owned airlines offering scheduled services remain something of a rarity. But carriers like South Africa’s Airlink are showing lumbering state-owned airlines how it’s done: Airlink Flexes Its Muscles in Africa Focusing on Regional Routes
>>How seriously is EasyJet going to take the packaged vacations market? More seriously than it did before for sure, but enough to compete with the plethora of tour operators and online travel agencies out there? At this stage it’s hard to tell: EasyJet’s Packaged Vacation Push Won’t Be a Sure Thing
>>Like many airlines, Cathay Pacific underestimated the digital revolution and the threat of low-cost competition. It is playing catch up, and its recent financial results have not been pretty. But Cathay Pacific has an excellent brand, and it serves a lucrative home market. It should be OK: Why Cathay Pacific Wants to Take On Low-Cost Carriers Without Creating Its Own
>>In May, United removed tomato juice because few passengers drink it. Afterward, though, United got another lesson in the power of social media. Many folks complained, and so tomato juice has returned. The funny thing is, United’s customers still aren’t asking for it. But at least it’s there: Tomato Juice Is Back on United Airlines Flights, But It’s Still Not Popular
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Photo credit: Linda Jojo, executive vice president of technology and chief digital officer at United Airlines, spoke at the inaugural Skift Tech Forum on June 12, 2018, about the pitfalls of personalization. Pictured are some United ExpressJet planes. United