A brief sampling of industry news that caught my attention today:
- Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic received approval from the DOT for their joint venture. Of particular interest to business travelers will be new harmonized flight schedules on the ultra-competitive New York JFK-London Heathrow route.
- Reciprocal frequent flier earn and burn benefits can now be enjoyed by American Airlines and Qatar Airways members. This arrangement is in addition to the codeshare agreement between the airlines. Qatar officially joins the oneworld alliance on October 30.
- Meanwhile at American, they and US Airways have extended the merger agreement until January to account for possible delays resulting from the DOJ antitrust trial.
- Southwest Airlines will increase the points required for Wanna Get Away rewards to 70 per dollar, up from 60 per dollar, beginning with bookings made on/after March 31, 2014.
- Hilton Worldwide opened the new 555-room Conrad Dubai featuring two pools, a spa and fitness center, several dining venues and an outdoor yoga pavilion.
- More business travelers are booking upscale hotel rooms and premium cabin flights, according to a new study. There’s been a 3.5% increase in deluxe rooms booked from last year, and a 4.6% increase in the number of agents who said at least 11% of their clients are booking first or business class.
- The FAA is expected to relax restrictions on in-flight device use by next year, allowing passengers to keep reading and watching previously downloaded items that don’t require Wi-Fi or cellular usage when below 10,000 feet.
- Frankfurt Airport has opened a new hotel… for dogs. The 25 “room” Hundepension opened last week and will allow travelers who were unable to find other arrangements for their dogs a great on-airport solution. I love it!
- Finally, here’s a pretty darn cool #avgeek website that finds airport codes around the world that (mostly) combine to form your name. Here’s my result:
– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.