A sampling of industry news that caught my attention today:
- JetBlue officially announced its new premium transcontinental product, a video of which made the rounds over the weekend. The airline will operate a sub-fleet of 11 Airbus A321s sporting the luxe product on JFK-LAX/SFO routes beginning Q2 2014. And I was wrong in my original post about it… the seats are indeed lie-flat.
- Staying with the new cabin theme, Delta Air Lines revealed its new BusinessElite cabin today that will appear on the airline’s Boeing 757-200 (75E) aircraft serving JFK-LAX/SFO/SEA transcontinental routes. The new configuration is expected to appear next Spring. One Mile at a Time notes on his blog that American, Delta and United will effectively have the same transcon hard product once the new configurations on each airline take flight.
- The Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza has been rebranded as The Condado Plaza Hilton, a 571-room hotel in Puerto Rico’s capital city.
- Rooftop hotel bars and lounges have become increasingly popular and in-demand. While it’s not unexpected of upscale properties to offer such an amenity, I was surprised to read that a new Fairfield Inn & Suites in Nashville will get one.
- Airport cellphone waiting lots are getting more interesting with the addition of food trucks at several locations, including Austin, Cincinnati, Tampa and Tucson. I’ve certainly waited a while in a couple of lots and would have loved if something like this were available.
- More travelers are booking directly with rental car agencies than in the past, as the industry enjoyed 17.4% growth in average bookings during the past year. The growth of metasearch sites linking a traveler directly to each chain (versus an OTA such as Expedia) is one likely factor for the increase.
- The air traveling idiot of the day award goes to a North Carolina man who allegedly responded to a TSA employee’s question of, “Do you have anything in your pockets?” with “Yes, I have a bomb.” He was taken into custody and charged at Hartford’s Bradley International Airport.
- Finally, be sure to check out the Singapore Airlines First Class Amenity Kit Review I posted earlier today. The bag is underwhelming, but some of the amenities are top-notch.
– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.