Notable Airline, Hotel and Travel News: August 15, 2013

A brief sampling of industry news that caught my attention today:

  • The biggest airline news story from yesterday remains as the most highlighted that I’ve seen today, namely where the Justice Department is attempting to block the American Airlines-US Airways merger, which I totally disagree with. It’s still gonna happen, everyone. Maybe not as fast as previously thought, but by this time next year the two airlines will have merged.
  • Meanwhile at American Airlines, they’ve launched a new codeshare agreement with Sao Paulo-based TAM Airlines. Bookings can be made today for codeshare flights on/after August 22.
  • I was unable to attend this year’s Global Business Travel Association convention in San Diego last week, but today I lived vicariously through Chris McGinnis’ photo collection of business class seats on display at the event. It’s a great series for any #avgeek.
  • Where will you find the greatest growth in hotel bookings? It’s via online travel agencies, such as Priceline, Expedia and Orbitz, who have enjoyed an 11.7% increase in Q2 2013 reservations.
  • Don’t qualify for (or have yet to get) Global Entry? You may be able to use a fast-track process when arriving at Chicago O’Hare’s Terminal 5. Automated Passport Control (APC) has been used since July at ORD, and it has reduced average wait times during peak hours by 16 minutes or 33 percent, while the number of passengers waiting over 60 minutes has reduced by 58 percent.

– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.

Related:

Notable Airline, Hotel and Travel News: August 14, 2013

Notable Airline, Hotel and Travel News: August 13, 2013

Notable Airline, Hotel and Travel News: August 12, 2013

Comments

  1. Don’t know why you think this merger will go thru. There is already several instances of past and future evidence of collusion (see below) if you read the lawsuit which I have. The comments of Doug Parker has put his foot in his mouth to many times and the DOJ can’t ignore blatant collusion in any merger. This is not a negotiating tactic.
    Did you see who the lead lawyer is from the DOJ for this lawsuit? William Bear. Google him and check out his track record for killing unfair mergers and then re-think your opinion.

    The juiciest bit to me was when Doug Parker is alleged to have forwarded an email to a rival airline CEO about how bad a “triple miles” promotion was for the airline industry profitability. I was shocked to read this because many large companies make it VERY clear in their training to employees that such attempts to collude could be potentially illegal.

    In 2010, one of US Airways’ larger rivals extended a “triple miles” promotion that set off a market share battle among legacy carriers. The rival airline was also expanding into new markets and was rumored to be returning planes to its fleet that had been mothballed during the recession. US Airways’ CEO complained about these aggressive maneuvers, stating to his senior executives that such actions were “hurting [the rival airline’s] profitability – and unfortunately everyone else’s.”

    US Airways’ senior management debated over email about how best to get the rival airline’s attention and bring it back in line with the rest of the industry. In that email thread, US Airways’ CEO urged the other executives to “portray these guys as idiots to Wall Street and anyone else who’ll listen.”

    Ultimately, to make sure the message was received, US Airways’ CEO forwarded the email chain—and its candid discussion about how aggressive competition would be bad for the industry—directly to the CEO of the rival airline. (The rival’s CEO immediately responded that it was an inappropriate communication that he was referring to his general counsel.)

    Translation: Doug Parker pushes the envelope to get other airlines to not compete and maintain overall industry profitability.

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