Travel News Roundup
Three very big travel related stories broke today. I’ll cover each of them in some detail and provide direct links to the press releases so you can find out even more information. Let’s look at American’s new class of service, United’s rollback of their snack policy and Accor’s surprising acquisition of Fairmont!
American Airlines announced a new premium economy product coming to their longhaul aircraft. The product will debut on their 787-9 Dreamliners and will eventually be rolled out to all 777, 787, A330 & A350 aircraft. Here are the features of the new class:
It looks like a decent implementation. Will this mean that economy tickets are only upgraded to Premium Economy on a systemwide upgrade? Probably so. Still, it will take years for this to rollout fully and it will be interesting to see if Main Cabin Extra remains a thing and whether or not Delta and/or United follow suite. You can find more images and information at the link above.
Not to be outdone by American, United has news of their own! Free snacks have remained on some airlines such as Southwest, but many got rid of them years ago. It seems that United is moving in a more customer friendly direction and will be implementing a new snack program in February. Here are the details:
Customers on flights departing before 9:45 a.m. will receive a morning stroopwafel – a Dutch, caramel-filled waffle that pairs perfectly with coffee or tea, as shown on UnitedAirtime.com.
Flights departing after 9:45 a.m. will offer packaged savory snacks, such as an Asian-style snack mix of rice crackers, sesame sticks and wasabi peas or a zesty-ranch mix of mini pretzel sticks, Cajun corn sticks and ranch soy nuts.
I love Wasabi Peas, so I’m all for this, although that stroopwafel doesn’t do anything for me. Either way this is a move in the right direction in my opinion and one that other airlines (American) hopefully will consider following suit with. The full press release is linked to above.
Finally, this crazy bit of news broke today. Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel have been acquired by Accor Hotels. If you have never heard of Accor, they aren’t really big in the U.S., but they own a number of international brands ranging from Ibis on the low end to Sofitel on the high end.
Fairmont has a limited footprint, but this does bring a number of iconic properties under the banner of Accor which is no doubt a big win for them. It is interesting to see consolidation in the hotel industry and I certainly wonder what effect this will have on their loyalty program. There is also an awesome Chase card that may be going on the chopping block. The full press release is linked to above.
They say big news comes in threes and although each of these announcements is very different in its own way, I think they are all worth covering. The travel landscape is constantly changing and evolving and we are seeing that in three different ways. American is bringing a new product type to the U.S. market, United is going back to a benefit they once provided and the hotel space considers to shrink as more brands come under the control of super corporations. Fun stuff!