A brief sampling of industry news that caught my attention today:
- Delta Air Lines will arm flight attendants with Nokia Luminas to “improve the customer experience.” FAs will be able to process onboard credit card purchases in real-time, including on the spot upgrades to Economy Comfort.
- American Airlines and US Airways got another kick in the merger gut when the DOJ proposed a February 2014 start date for the antitrust trial, far later than the early November date American had requested.
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software is nothing new, but just how far do airlines take it? A Forbes article looked into whether United Airlines is storing data about your religion, political affiliation or sexual orientation. The answer is “no,” according to a senior VP, as the airline is more interested in characteristics related to flight behavior. When it comes to collecting more intimate information about people, the VP described United’s simple philosophy: “If in doubt, don’t.”
- A former United baggage handler has been ordered to pay $32,000 in restitution to travelers who had items from their luggage stolen. He’s also serving a six month jail sentence and will be on probation for three years.
- The fall Hyatt promotion has been announced, where you can earn up to 50,000 Gold Passport bonus points for stays between September 9 to November 30.
- Starwood Hotels and Resorts broke ground on a new 10-story Le Meridien “The Joseph” in Columbus, Ohio, which is slated to open in 2015 featuring 135 rooms.
- What’s your favorite airliner? A new poll reveals the most loved plane is a Boeing 777, followed by the 747, Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner. I’m shocked a CRJ didn’t make the cut.
– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.