Delta recently launched its first international flights with in-flight Wi-Fi service, an expansion of the Wi-Fi service it has offered on domestic flights for the last five years. The satellite-based Wi-Fi service debuted on Boeing 747-400 jets flying to Tokyo from Atlanta and Los Angeles. Provided on laptops and mobile devices, the Gogo service is available for an additional fee by hour or for the entire flight. More than 150 planes will be equipped by the end of 2015. ajc.com 4/14/14
Starting this month, American Airlines/British Airways now offers up to 17 nonstop daily flights and a total of nearly 120 flights per week between New York and London—the most of any airline or alliance. Flights depart from 7:15 am through 11 pm from JFK and Newark to Heathrow. Flyers can also arrive and depart from London City Airport, which is close to the city’s financial district. Every premium-class seat converts into a fully lie-flat bed with more than 1,000 beds available each day, each way, as well as five times more first class seats than all other airlines combined. American Airlines, 4/11/14
Marriott Rewards ranks highest among hotel loyalty/rewards programs in overall customer satisfaction, according to a recent J.D. Power & Associates survey. The report measures five customer satisfaction categories, in order of importance: account maintenance/management, 23%; ease of redeeming points/miles 22%; ease of earning points/miles 18%; reward program terms and ease of earning points/miles 16%; and customer service 5%. IHG Rewards Club and Canada-based Delta Hotels’ Delta Privilege programs were next best in the survey of 3,800 hotel loyalty plan customers. J.D. Power & Associates, 4/14/14.
United Airlines has launched its all-new mobile application for the Android platform, offering customers innovative new features, smoother functionality and an improved touch-friendly design that enables travelers to access information more quickly and easily. Its new features include travel cards, a travel wallet and the ability to rotate the screen, stack multiple boarding passes and use a new home screen widget. The new app, available at united.com/mobile, also enables customers to view seat maps more clearly, buy travel options and book award tickets on multiple flights. BreakingTravelNews, 4/11/14.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch is expanding its chip and PIN technology to all purchasing and travel credit card products available to clients in the United States. EMV (EuroPay Mastercard Visa), or chip, technology allows card holders to make payments through chip-enabled merchant terminals that are regularly used in countries outside the US. Every chip card transaction is uniquely encrypted, adding protection against counterfeit fraud. More than 100,000 chip and PIN cards have been issued to clients in the United States alone, and newly issued credit cards for middle-market and large corporate clients will feature EMV technology. Business Travel Executive, 4/9/14.
Anticipating major growth in income levels in Asia over the next 20 years, Hilton Worldwide will continue to aggressively add properties across its 10 global brands. This year new hotels will open in China, Okinawa, Bangladesh, and South Korea. Since its entry into China 25 years ago, Hilton has steadily expanded its presence to an expected more than 150 hotels and 55,000 rooms within the next few years. TravelPulse, 4/10/14.
United has just added a second daily flight between Houston and Tokyo, timed to connect with Latin American arrivals including Brazil, Mexico and Peru. Also launching this month will be additional service between Atlanta-San Francisco, Minneapolis-Los Angeles, Atlantic City-Chicago, Atlantic City-Houston and Munich-Houston. The airline will also continue the rollout of its expanded Wi-Fi entertainment service on A319, Airbus A320, Boeing 747-400 and select 777-200 aircraft. Tarmac transportation service will be offered via a Mercedes-Benz vehicle for some flyers at San Francisco, and 500 new charging stations in seating areas at airports across the U.S. are being added. United Airlines, 4/7/14
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The U.S. Travel Association this week submitted to DOT results of a survey that shows “strong” support from travelers for a requirement that would give them “the ability to both see and purchase the full cost of their travel, including core fees such as for baggage and seats, when shopping through traditional travel agencies and online travel sites.” According to the early-February survey, 92% of 1,031 U.S. business and leisure travelers support such a rule. Moreover, four out of five respondents are “very” or “somewhat” convinced the rule is necessary “because you shouldn’t have to go to an airline’s website . . . for the full cost of travel, including fees.” The Beat, 4-4-14
Four weeks into the hunt for Malaysia Airlines MH370, pressure is building for better ways of tracking aircraft as regulators wrestle with the jet’s disappearance, armed with only minimal information on the fate of its 239 passengers and crew. The U.S. pilots association ALPA has called for existing satellite technology to be made mandatory so controllers can track aircraft. Some airlines now use satellite-based voice and text communications, but these are not mandatory. The Flight Safety Foundation, an independent Washington-based group campaigning on safety matters, has called for an international symposium to help improve flight tracking. Reuters, 4-6-14
Marriott has just opened its 215-room Denver Marriott Westminster full service hotel and Tiller’s Kitchen & Bar restaurant in Westminster, CO. It features a new guestroom design, 12,000 square-feet of event, ballroom and meeting space . . . Also in Denver, IHG’s Holiday Inn Express will debut a five-story 81-room hotel on E. 45th Ave. . . . In Greenville, SC, Starwood will soon open an Aloft Hotel, which includes 144 spacious, loft-like rooms, leading-edge technology and a lively, social atmosphere . . . On Panama’s west coast, RIU Hotels & Resorts has just opened the Riu Playa Blanca resort with 573 contemporary-design rooms and a selection of up-to-date amenities. Hotel Industry News, 4-7-14.