In Skift’s top stories this week, Icelandair's plan to return to normalcy, airlines wants to bring criminal charges against unruly passengers, shortages ripple through the travel industry this summer and investors back Outdoorsy as the new Airbnb.
Throughout the week we are posting original stories night and day covering news and travel trends, including the impact of coronavirus. Every weekend we will offer you a chance to read the most essential stories again in case you missed them earlier.
Icelandair Seizes Low-Cost, Long-Haul Opportunities in Norwegian and Wow Air Vacuum: As coronavirus restrictions ease, Icelandair is slowly returning to its gateways with international travel from the United States and seizing on the void left by Norwegian and Wow Air. The airline is hoping this marks a return to normalcy, and a big boost in travel and profitability.
Expedia Group Looks to Close the Lopsided Profit Margin Gap With Booking Holdings: Part of Expedia Group’s long-running profit margin gap with Booking Holdings has been structural, but a significant piece of it has been inefficiencies. Expedia’s Peter Kern is looking to bridge the great divide, but the outcome is far from assured.
Hilton Goes All-In on a Vegas Future With $4.3 Billion Resort: Hilton’s rapid growth in Sin City signals the company sees a full travel rebound for Las Vegas, which greatly suffered from a year of no major events during the pandemic. But developing a successful Las Vegas mega-resort doesn’t come cheap: Celine Dion wouldn’t leave Caesars Palace for pennies.
Airlines Ask Justice Department to Prosecute Unruly Flyers to Send Stronger Message: Incidents of unruly passengers aloft continue to rise despite stepped up enforcement and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines levied. Criminal charges and prison time could be next if airlines and unions get their way.
United Airlines Reveals New Venture Arm Won’t Go for Quick Returns: United’s heft could help its new corporate venture capital unit, which will be like a barnacle on a whale. Unlike pure-play venture capital firms, United Airlines Ventures can invest for a truly long haul thanks to its strategic focus.
U.S. Travel’s Great Summer of Shortage: Some sectors will feel the labor shortfall versus surging travel demand more acutely than others. Solutions will be complex — and protracted.
The New York Times Pulls Plug on Travel Show After 17 Years: No matter what you thought of the show, it’s another large loss for the travel industry after a horrific year.
Ian Schrager Wants to Upend the Luxury Sector With Relaunch of Public Hotels: It is not the first time Ian Schrager has attempted to brand Public as the next big thing for hotels with its “luxury for all” mantra. But the pandemic primed the travel market where this kind of high-end, limited-service brand has a real shot at growth.
There Is A Good Chance Google Travel’s Ambitions Are About To Be Reined In, Legislatively: There is a long lobbyist-filled journey ahead for this House committee-backed bill to cut Google Travel down to size. But it’s an important step that was almost unthinkable a few years ago.
RV Rental Sharing Gets Boost From New $120 Million Investment for Outdoorsy: Investors are betting that the trend in renting RVs won’t run out of gas after the pandemic wanes. They’ve funded Outdoorsy, an Airbnb-type service for recreational vehicles. Investors think the startup’s new private vehicle insurance product will help accelerate the RV trend.
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Photo credit: Icelandair is resuming direct flights between Iceland and Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. Pictured here, a plane taxiing on a runway at sunset. GettyImages