A sampling of industry news that caught my attention today:
- The Department of Transportation fined Southwest Airlines $200,000 for violating the price advertising rule by not allocating a sufficient number of seats at advertised prices. One example: zero seats were available on any day during a $66 fare promo period for flights between Dallas and Branson.
- ANA is upgrading amenities in first and business class on several routes, featuring new bedding, amenity kits and meals. The changes begin in September.
- Just in time for the merger with American, US Airways has (finally) released its mobile app. Fly Gracefully tested it out and has some screenshots. Virgin America now remains as the sole “big” carrier (aside from the LCCs) that doesn’t have a mobile app.
- JetBlue today reported a net income of $36 million for the second quarter 2013, down from $52 million the same period last year. While it was the airline’s 13th consecutive quarterly profit, it was negatively affected by a “sluggish economic environment and continued maintenance cost pressures.”
- JetBlue and South African Airways have entered into a codeshare agreement, pending government approval. SAA offers nonstop flights from New York’s JFK airport to Johannesburg, and one-stop flights from Washington Dulles to Johannesburg via Dakar, Senegal.
- Spirit Airlines is switching airports in Phoenix this October. The airline will operate out of Sky Harbor instead of Phoenix-Mesa, and it’s adding a new flight to Dallas at the same time. Spirit also flies to Chicago and Denver from Phoenix.
- Tennis is one of my passions and Wimbledon champ Andy Murray will open a five-star hotel next April in Scotland. He bought the Victorian mansion being converted into a 15-room hotel early this year. Bookings are now available and a small double room (for the dates I checked) runs £210/night.
- The New York Times has an interesting article about how more hotels are adding libraries to keep guests inside their properties (in part to spend more on-site). Several boutique hotels, the Hyatt Magnificent Mile (Chicago) and others offer books and magazines. Country Inn and Suites properties have been doing this for quite some time, I believe.
- Misconduct cases by TSA workers have grown 26% over the past three years to 3,408 cases, 20% of which involved violations of security procedures. TSA takes the matters “very seriously,” of course.
- The new SkyTeam lounge is “coming along” at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, reports the Australian Business Traveller. It should be operational later this year and just might relieve some of the congestion in the Koru Club.
- Have a great ribbon cutting ceremony idea for the grand opening of a new airport terminal? LAX airport has a contest looking for original ideas in preparation for opening the new Tom Bradley International Terminal. The deadline to enter is August 11.
– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.