Skift Take

Today's edition of Skift's daily podcast looks closer at United's weather headaches, U.S. ground transport, and hotel tech innovations.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Episode Notes

Airlines flying out of the New York City area have had a terrible recent stretch, with severe weather and a shortage of air traffic controllers contributing to thousands of flight disruptions just before the Fourth of July. But perhaps the hardest hit carrier was United Airlines — especially at its hub Newark, reports Edward Russell, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift publication. 

Newark was the only airport where United saw triple digit flight cancellations through Wednesday this week. So what helped cause the large number of disruptions? Russell notes New York City-area air travel was bound to face significant distress this summer. The Federal Aviation Administration acknowledged earlier this year it had a shortage of air traffic controllers. It even allowed airlines to reduce schedules by up to 10% at the three major New York City-area airports this summer. 

Russell notes the measure aimed to limit disruptions from severe weather while noting it was only a question of when those storms took place. 

Next, the U.S. government has invested billions of dollars to upgrade the country’s infrastructure. However, MGM Resorts International CEO Bill Hornbuckle believes too much of that infrastructure spending has been focused on aviation, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill. 

Hornbuckle said in an interview with Skift that ground transportation is more important than air in most destinations and for more travelers. He added he wants to see ground transportation get a fair share of already approved budget money. Hornbuckle noted that at least $110 billion out of the federal money earmarked for infrastructure projects could be used to benefit tourism. 

O’Neill writes a U.S. Transportation Department had identified about 100 roads, railways and bridges that needed improvement to support tourism nationwide. Fifteen of them were deemed essential. 

Finally, advances in hotel technology took center stage at this week’s HITEC travel tech conference in Toronto, reports Travel Technology Reporter Justin Dawes in this week’s Travel Tech Briefing.

Dawes reports that while property management systems and new door locks are critical for businesses, those aren’t the displays drawing crowds. He writes that robots and holograms are most popular. The conference showcased, among other products, an artificial intelligence-powered robot that could deliver wine directly to a guest’s room.  

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Tags: hotel technology, infrastructure, newark airport, skift podcast, united airlines, weather

Photo credit: A United Airlines plane at Newark airport. Chris Leipelt / Unsplash

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