We’ve also got the latest on Google’s new push into online hotel booking that will make it easier for business travelers to search and book through Google alone. And, of course, business travelers are already mad about Marriott’s new loyalty program. Who can blame them?
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— Andrew Sheivachman, Senior Editor
AIRLINES, HOTELS AND INNOVATION
FAA Grounds Boeing 737 Max Jets in Reversal of Earlier Stance: The Federal Aviation Administration finally bowed to pressure. The United States followed the world and grounded all Boeing Max jets, including the larger models flown by United Airlines.
Boeing Max 8 Flying: What Airlines, Agencies Are Telling Customers: A range of differing responses to the Ethiopian Air disaster involving a Boeing 737 Max 8 was making it hard for travel advisors. It was difficult to know whether to advise against the plane when some airlines continued to fly it, others grounded their fleet, and the U.S. FAA had, until Wednesday afternoon, found no basis to keep the aircraft out of the sky.
Google Quietly Releases Its Hotel Booking Destination With Potentially Huge Implications: Within months, Google has rolled out new features in flights and hotels that, we dare say, make it a convenient one-stop shop to book travel sans encumbrances. Given its dominance in search, hotels and online travel agencies are on another planet if they are not feeling wary.
Airlines Tap New Tech to Sell Each Other’s Fares: Investor 777 Partners has bought tech company Air Black Box, while online agency Kiwi has taken a stake in reservation system AeroCRS. These deals hint at a growing interest among airlines to use tech to build marketing alliances that differ from traditional codeshares.
The Curious Case of Japan’s New Low-Cost, Long-Haul Carrier: Japan Airlines is certain its low-cost, long-haul carrier will excel. That’s hard to say, as details are still so sketchy. But the project is intriguing and holds the promise of something fresh in the air. So it’s worth waiting a little while longer for the final reveal.
Activist Marriott Loyalty Members Launch Campaign to Air Complaints: The Bonvoyed campaign is certainly the most ostentatious attempt at drawing attention to Marriott’s latent IT issues. If it’s not careful, however, bonvoyed.com may face the same fate as United’s blocked customer activist website, untied.com.
THE FUTURE OF TRAVEL
Would Tax Law Proposals Kill Travel Agencies in Some States? As states look for new sources of tax revenue in the service-driven economy, businesses like travel agencies are viewed as likely targets. Part of the problem is ignorance among legislators of how agencies operate and why added taxes would be devastating for many.
Singapore’s Changi Is Changing the Idea of What an Airport Can Be: An airport is hardly the place people want to come to and spend hours, but Changi Airport Singapore looks set to change all that when its Jewel project opens next month.
U.S. Citizens Will Soon Need Visas to Visit Most of Europe: Overall it’s not a huge deal, but we all know that the fewer hurdles put in front of travelers, the more traveling they’ll do.
Singapore’s Iconic Raffles Hotel Is Adding a Co-Working Space: Co-working is entering the hotel space more and more, and even going luxe when the historic Raffles Hotel in Singapore reopens later this year, just as we predicted last year.
Skift Senior Editor Andrew Sheivachman [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.