Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Delta’s long-awaited in-flight Wi-Fi, Zoom fatigue and business travel, and the fate of JetBlue and American’s alliance.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, January 6, and here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Delta Air Lines announced on Thursday that it’s making in-flight Wi-Fi free to all passengers starting on February 1, making good on a company promise from years ago, reports Edward Russell, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian made the announcement at the CES consumer electronics conference in Las Vegas, adding that customers would receive fast Wi-Fi. Bastian noted that travelers will need to log in to their SkyMiles loyalty account to access free Wi-Fi, but they’d be able to do so on as many devices as they wish to use. Delta joins JetBlue Airways among major U.S. airlines in offering customers free in-flight Wi-Fi.

Next, a growing number of employees are suffering from online meeting fatigue, driving more corporations to conduct in-person meetings for their staff. E-commerce company Shopify is one of them, recently announcing it’s banning recurring meetings with more than two people, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons in this week’s Future of Work briefing.

As Parsons writes Shopify wants to save the sanity of staff burdened by virtual meetings, industry experts predict a surge in business travel with more organizations settling into hybrid-work schedules. Ciaran Delaney, CEO and founder of booking platform Hubli, said it’s seen a substantial increase in internal in-person meetings among its Fortune 1000 clients.

Parsons notes more than half of UK and U.S. event planners said in a recent survey they’ve seen a noticeable improvement in business performance within their organization since resuming face-to-face meetings.

Finally, American Airlines and JetBlue Airways are eagerly awaiting a judge’s ruling in the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust suit against the two carriers’ Northeast Alliance. The decision could have significant implications for JetBlue’s proposed takeover of Spirit Airlines, reports Airline Weekly Editor Russell.

Airline analyst Jamie Baker wrote on Thursday he expects the ruling to come by the end of January. Federal judge Leo Sorokin said in November that he needed more time to review the evidence before issuing a ruling. The Justice Department argued that the Northeast Alliance, which enables JetBlue and American to sell tickets on each other’s flights, would reduce competition on the East Coast. The two carriers have asserted the alliance would help increase competition in markets dominated by Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.

Russell writes Sorokin’s decision will have an enormous impact on the proposed $3.8 billion JetBlue-Spirit deal. Baker said that if American and JetBlue win the antitrust suit, JetBlue could use Northeast Alliance as a bargaining chip to win government approval of the takeover.

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Tags: american airlines, business travel, delta air lines, jetblue airways, paxex, skift podcast

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