A brief sampling of industry news that caught my attention today:
- For the sixth straight year, Virgin America was named “Best Premium Class” airline here in the U.S. by business travelers in Conde Nast Traveler‘s annual poll. Sun Country, Hawaiian, Alaska and Allegiant (??!!) rounded out the top five.
- United’s new Cleveland-Austin nonstop flight began today. SkyWest Airlines operates a CRJ-700 on the 1,171-mile route clocking in at roughly three hours.
- Air France will be overhauling the cabins of their long-haul fleet soon, and details about the new economy and premium economy sections have been announced. For an even better description of the upgrades than the linked presser, click here.
- Lufthansa’s newest route for the beautiful Boeing 747-8 will be Frankfurt-Chicago beginning in October, replacing existing 747-400 service.
- TSA Pre✓™ lanes opened in Terminal 2 of New York’s JFK Airport yesterday, much to the delight of Delta Air Lines passengers.
- Dorm room, anyone? Hostels are apparently gaining popularity with some business travelers due to excessive hotel room rates or lack of other availability. I’d stay in a private room, but my days sleeping in the same room with a stranger are over.
- Starwood has opened the Aloft Panama, a 139-room property set to add an additional 186 rooms by next year.
- The new Star Alliance Lounge at Los Angeles International Airport has officially opened. It looks fantastic and appears to be a significant upgrade from the former space. For more images, click here.
- Social media is a fascinating “new” aspect in the airline and travel arena, with many travelers taking to Twitter to voice real-time experiences or pose questions. One such person was allegedly threatened to be offloaded after complaining on Twitter about EasyJet!
- Finally, this topic has been discussed before, but a new Flyertalk thread was posted today asking, “Are amenity kits left behind by deplaning passengers fair game?” If you follow my blog, you certainly know my answer.
– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.