A sampling of industry news that caught my attention today:
- Catching the majority of industry followers off-guard (myself included), the U.S. Department of Justice and several states are suing to block the American-US Airways merger. The DOJ claims higher airfares and fees would result if the merger goes through. American and US Airways, of course, will “mount a vigorous defense and pursue all legal options in order to achieve this merger.” So… the DOJ gives a pass to Delta-Northwest, United-Continental and Southwest-AirTran, but suddenly American-US Airways is concerning? In other news, several lobbyists are now searching for new jobs.
- Meanwhile today, Delta Air Lines is attempting an airfare hike aimed at tickets purchased within 7-days of travel. No word as of this posting whether or not other airlines are matching (I have a sneaking suspicion that AA/US won’t).
- Oneworld alliance member Cathay Pacific announced Newark as its newest U.S. destination with Boeing 777-300ER flights to Hong Kong scheduled to begin March 1, 2014. Business class award availability is apparently quite good on the new route, which is the highest class offered. If you’re looking for first class on CX out of NYC, you’ll still need to depart from JFK.
- Asiana Airlines has offered $10,000 to each of the surviving 288 passengers from last month’s San Francisco crash landing. Accepting the payment will not, apparently, prevent passengers from suing the airline later. $10k/passenger is likely a drop in the bucket compared to what will eventually be paid out long-term.
- The 2013 Passenger Choice Awards finalists have been selected across various categories, including best overall passenger experience, several best in region(s), best cabin ambiance and best food & beverage. Voting is closed for the 2013 awards, but you can vote in your favorite airlines now for 2014.
- The Hilton Hawaiian Village has expanded its weekly fireworks show to include Tuesday nights, in addition to the existing Friday night event that has been a highlight for tourists and locals alike since the 1980s.
- Attention Club Carlson members… the new Radisson Hotel Atlanta Northwest, Marietta has opened. The Category 3 property is about 30-minutes from Hartsfield-Jackson airport and features 218 guestrooms and 26 suites.
- The most forgetful passengers with firearms in their carry-on bags appear to frequent Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Sixty-seven guns have been seized so far this year at ATL alone, and the TSA expects the total at all U.S. airports to exceed last year’s record of 1,556. For the first half of 2013, 862 total guns have been confiscated to date.
– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.