The Business of Travel

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The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association


Week in Review

Today, on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, we urge you to join the fight to help end trafficking. It can be as simple as training your associates to recognize the sign or including language in RFPs inquiring about suppliers’ trafficking policies. Making a positive difference starts with the decision to make a change, no matter how big or small. There are resources for travel buyers to help end trafficking, tips on recognizing the signs of human trafficking, and additional resources for buyers and suppliers.

According to SiliconANGLE, Singapore Airlines recently revealed the data of 285 frequent flyers was compromised following a buggy website update.

Travel Leaders Group is set to acquire UK-based event management company Your Event Solutions (YES), Skift notes.

Winter storm Gia is expected to hit a 1,500-mile path from Colorado to the Mid-Atlantic region, USA TODAY reports. In advance of the storm, several major airlines are waiving change fees for passengers traveling through certain airports.

According to The Local Germany, walkouts by security personnel at several airports across Germany led to the cancellation of over 800 flights, affecting over 100,000 passengers. The Verdi union warns that another strike will take place on Tuesday at Frankfurt airport.  

Heathrow is offering local communities the opportunity to ask questions or provide feedback as it prepares to build its third runway, Buying Business Travel notes. The airport will hold 30 consultation events across neighborhoods surrounding the airport, where individuals can weigh in on how the airport should manage noise and local factors that Heathrow should consider in designing future flight paths.

According to ABC7 News, the pilot shortage is causing debate among some individuals in the airline industry. Boeing predicts airlines will need 790,000 new pilots around the world in the next 20 years, but even today, the shortage is causing small regional airlines to shut down. Some argue that the extensive training programs should be relaxed, but pilots warn that the 1,500 hours of flight time is necessary.

Portuguese airline HiFly aims to eliminate all single-use, disposable plastics in 2019, Business Traveller reports. The airline recently took its first flight completely free of single-use items like straws and cutlery.

What should you do if an airline damages your checked luggage? USA TODAY weighs in.

Avis Budget plans to equip 50,000 of its vehicles across Europe and the US with keyless technology, Buying Business Travel writes. The technology enables customers to completely manage their rental experience through the Avis mobile app.

According to Business Traveller, Air France is adding a “Healthy” meal option to the a la carte menu for its premium economy and economy class. Passengers can book the meals for long-haul flights departing Paris from April onwards.

During CES, Google revealed a few updates to Google Assistant including navigation, travel and translation features, The Next Web notes. The voice assistant can now help travelers check-in to a flight, retrieve a boarding pass, provide real-time translations, and more.

Airbnb has partnered with American Red Cross to raise awareness and provide safety information for hosts and guests, 4Hoteliers writes. The goal is to keep people safe from home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.


Week in Review

Happy New Year! The Week in Review is back in action to provide you with the latest business travel industry news.

In late November, Marriott announced that approximately 500 million guests (who made a reservation at a Starwood property) were impacted in a data breach. Today, the hospitality company downgraded its estimate to 383 million compromised records, Skift reports. Since some guests have multiple records in Marriott's system, the number of guests impacted is likely less than 383 million.

According to BBC, London’s Heathrow Airport and Sussex’s Gatwick Airport will invest millions of pounds in anti-drone equipment that can obstruct communications between drones and their operators. This move follows a drone disruption at Gatwick that caused 1,000 cancelled flights over 3 days last month.

In acquisition news, Flight Centre Travel Group has agreed to acquire Casto Travel’s U.S. operations, Skift writes. The Australia-based travel agency has a mission to strengthen its North American presence.

AirlineRatings.com has released its list of the safest airlines in the world for 2019, with Qantas topping the list, USA TODAY notes. The list also includes the 10 safest low-cost airlines.

Qatar Airways acquired a 5 percent stake in China Southern Airlines on 28 December, Buying Business Travel reports. The airline also holds shares in International Airlines Group, LATAM Airlines Group, Air Italy, and Cathay Pacific.

New York was the world’s top destination for business travel in 2018, Business Traveller writes. The annual rankings from Egencia highlight the most traveled-to destinations for business. London, Paris, Shanghai, and Toronto are also among the top five destinations.

According to Skift, new safety concerns present a complicated challenge for event organizers. From extreme weather to terrorist attacks to widespread disease outbreaks, the duty of care bar continues to rise for event planners.

Singapore Airlines is now offering passengers the ability to pre-book their meal choices, Business Traveller reports. This only applies to travelers in suites, first and business class.

Buying Business Travel writes on the importance of having proper risk management processes and programs in place. Is your organization prepared to locate and help your travelers in the face of an emergency?

According to Business Traveller, the global ridesharing industry is valued at $61.3 billion and is expected to grow to $218 billion by 2025.


Week in Review

Mexico City International Airport suspended operation for several hours on Tuesday due to a 7.1-magnitude earthquake, reports Business Insider.

According to CBS Chicago, airlines began resuming flights to Puerto Rico on Friday, following Hurricane Maria’s devastation of the island.

Travel Leaders Corporate shares news of Travel Leaders Group’s acquisition of Raleigh-based TMC Travel Management Partners.

TechCrunch reports that Uber has lost its license to operate in London.

According to Bloomberg, Boeing has landed an $11 billion deal from Turkish Air, signaling the carrier’s rebound following last year’s terrorist attack in Istanbul.

TravelDailyNews International reports passengers will face new delays and cancellations during a new ATC strike in France.

According to USA TODAY, airlines charged $7.1 billion in baggage and changed reservation fees in 2016.

Mashable reports that Airbnb has added in-app restaurant reservations to its platform on its quest to take over travel. GBTA announced a partnership with Meeting Professionals International (MPI) to deliver meeting and event focused education at GBTA Conference 2017 Frankfurt in Partnership with VDR.

According to Skift, travel agents are increasingly using global distribution systems to book hotels.

4Hoteliers notes that the total value of hospitality projects in the UAE reached over $71 billion in September 2017.

According to Business Traveller, the FAA is using outdated information on aircraft evacuations.

Buying Business Travel reports that London has been named the most popular business travel destination.

According to Business Traveller, Heathrow Airport urges the government to scrap the Air Passenger Duty (APD) on all domestic UK flights. Newly-released research reveals that UK air passengers pay at least an extra £225 million a year in taxes on domestic flights than their European counterparts.

Air Transport World notes that Virgin Australia has begun testing a pop-up, mobile luggage check-in system. The service enables passengers to check in and drop off baggage in a remote location away from the airport.

Business Traveller reports that Qatar Airways rolled out a global chauffeur airport transfer service.

According to USA TODAY, fliers may soon board more international flights with a picture rather than a passport, thanks to biometric technology implemented by Customs and Border Protection.

Business Traveller reports that the Civil Administration of China is relaxing its restrictions on mobile device usage on flights, allowing individual airlines to determine their policies.

Skift notes that European regulators are investigating Lufthansa’s controversial travel agent surcharge.

According to USA TODAY, Frontier Airlines has been fined $1.5 million for subjecting passengers to long tarmac delays in Denver last December.


Week in Review

Buying Business Travel reports that the UK laptop ban has been lifted on Tunisia flights.

According to USA TODAY, Qantas is planning for a 20-hour non-stop flight from Australia to London.

Buying Business Travel reports that Vietnam Airlines and Garuda have agreed to an extended partnership including more codeshares.

Business Traveller notes that the disparity between business and economy classes is growing.

According to Buying Business Travel, corporate travel rewards specialist Rocketrip has signed deals with a range of new corporate clients.

Tnooz shares findings from a new study by Carlson Wagonlit Travel which reveals that 88% of business travelers find business travel easier to navigate thanks to technology.

Buying Business Travel notes that Labour leaders could vote against the addition of a third runway at Heathrow due to environmental concerns about pollution.

According to Skift, KLM has become the first non-Chinese airline to accept WeChat Pay.

Tnooz reports that Delta has added video chat to its customer service line-up.

Business Traveller claims that Portuguese immigration officers planned a walk-out on Thursday and Friday.

According to Buying Business Travel, Loganair signed a new distribution deal with Sabre.

NPR reports that China is relaunching their high-speed rail service, which happens to be the world’s fastest inter-city lines.

Buying Business Travel notes that Edinburgh Airport has begun working on a new £80 million extension to its terminal.

According to Skift, UK business travel is in a post-Brexit slump.

Business Traveller reports that Qatar Airways has launched a pre-order dining service enabling business and first class passengers to pre-order their main course up to 14 days before departure.

BBC has revealed the worst flight routes and longest average delays experienced by UK passengers.

According to Hotelmarketing’com, hotels are making strides in measuring ancillary revenues.


Week in Review

According to The Washington Post, President Trump announced revisions to parts of Obama’s Cuba policy on Friday. The new policy prohibits commercial dealings with Cuba’s military and somewhat limits U.S. citizens from freely traveling to the island.

Buying Business Travel notes Heathrow baggage issues that affected passengers on Thursday morning have been resolved. Some passengers departed on flights without their luggage due to the baggage system failure.

According to Buying Business Travel, British Airways’ IT failure from last month will cost the airline £80 million.

Business Traveler states Hong Kong International Airport is set to receive nearly $900 million in upgrades ahead of the opening of its third runway in 2024.

Buying Business Travel claims the Las Vegas Convention Centre received approval for a $1.4 billion renovation that will add 600,000 square feet of new meeting space to the building.

According to CNNMoney, airline passenger complaints skyrocketed in April. The U.S. Department of Transportation fielded 1,909 complaints against U.S. airlines in April, up 69 percent from March.

TravelDailyNews International reports air traffic management modernization efforts in Europe have been taken to the next level.

Bloomberg claims the U.S. is seeking ways to head off a full laptop ban on airline flights.

According to 4Hoteliers, Hilton opened its 100th hotel in Greater China.

The GBTA Foundation released a new study in partnership with Best Western Hotels & Resorts that explores the Hotel RFP process through the eyes of a travel manager.

The Economist reports younger business travelers are more likely to extend trips for fun, and companies should encourage them in doing so.

According to Buying Business Travel, Jaguar Land Rover gave $25 million and a fleet of vehicles to Lyft. The funding will support Lyft in developing and testing driverless cars.

Skift notes Scandinavian airline SAS is creating an Irish subsidiary to fly shorter routes and compete on costs with low-budget airlines.

According to Skift, Amadeus' hospitality division is making bigger hotel deals as it chases a breakthrough.

4Hoteliers shares why hotels are getting on board with sustainable development.

According to Business Traveller, the impression that the United States is closed for business could have a big financial impact.

The Independent reports AirHelp has unveiled its ranking of the most punctual airlines with the best service in the world.

According to Buying Business Travel, Manchester Airport reported record passenger growth in May, witnessing 11.9 percent in growth compared to the previous month.

Tnooz claims Expedia is enabling hotels to highlight landmarks and local experiences as part of their online listing.


Week in Review

A shooter has wounded and killed multiple people after opening fire at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida on Friday afternoon, reports Bloomberg.

According to TravelPulse, American Airlines has experienced its third fume incident in the past six weeks. In the most recent incident, seven flight attendants were hospitalized as a result of a cabin odor causing severe headaches.

Buying Business Travel notes British Airways cabin crew have planned a two-day strike on January 10. According to Bloomberg, the airline promises to carry all fliers throughout the strike, with some passengers required to modify their departures.

ABC News reports an hours-long U.S. Customs system outage resulted in thousands of delays for travelers on Monday night. According to Reuters, Lufthansa plans on hiring more than 3,000 new staff in 2017, mainly consisting of flight attendants.

Buying Business Travel notes Kazakhstan has introduced visa-free travel for all EU and OECD countries for up to 30 days.

According to The Nation, The World Travel & Tourism Council urges Asean governments to focus on infrastructure to cater to future traveler demand.

Tnooz shares Ctrip has bought global ground transportation provider TangRen World. The purchase will enable Ctrip to act as a full-service agency for Chinese international travelers.

According to TTG Media, an insolvency firm reports nearly 2,700 UK travel businesses are in significant distress.

Buying Business Travel reports Heathrow has cut its domestic passenger charges by £10 to boost regional growth.

Tnooz claims private accommodation travel bookings are forecasted to reach $106 billion by 2018, accounting for 1/5 of global hospitality bookings.

According to Skift, a new report claims Airbnb is becoming a bigger threat to hotels than expected. In 2015, only 12 percent of business travelers had used Airbnb in the last 12 months, compared to 18 percent in 2016.

Business Traveler reports a new U.S. law will increase the number of U.S. Customs pre-clearance facilities at the Canadian border.

According to PYMNTS, business travelers could be wasting travel managers’ efforts by not following or understanding their travel policy. The study notes that travel policies must be effectively communicated, otherwise a business traveler’s perception of the policy outweighs the reality of the policy.

Businses Traveller notes Qatar Airways has confirmed a new business class seat, which will be unveiled in March.

HotelMarketing’com reports UK mobile usage for travel is set to surpass desktop usage in early 2017.

According to TravelDailyNews, AirlineRatings.com has revealed its top 20 safest airlines for 2017, with Qantas taking the number one spot.

The New York Times reports New York’s JKF airport will receive a $10 billion upgrade. Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined a plan to modernize the airport and improve nearby highway and transit systems.

According to Skift, rising fuel costs will soon impact the U.S. airline industry, likely causing travelers to pay more to fly than in recent years. Declining jet fuel expenses have come to an end, with crude oil prices more than doubling from February 2016.

This week's list comes from The New York Times: 52 Places to Go in 2017