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Week in Review

Following the cancellation of 2,300 flights and thousands of delays nearly two weeks ago, two of Southwest’s biggest unions are calling on CEO Gary Kelly to step down. USA Today reports the unions are unsatisfied with the airline’s large focus on Wall Street performance and outdated reservations technology.

The aviation industry has seen major complications this week, starting with an Emirates accident in Dubai. Channel NewsAsia shares the news of a Boeing 777 flying from India that crash-landed and caught fire, resulting in the death of a firefighter and a four-hour shutdown of the Dubai International Airport. Subsequent to the crash landing, airline passengers are under criticism for grabbing their luggage in emergencies, despite being ordered not to. Instead of evacuating immediately, passengers stopping to grab their luggage endanger others and put many lives at risk, says Bloomberg.

In other news, gaps in security resulted in easy access to data belonging to millions of German airline passengers. Germany’s largest wholesale ticket dealer revealed security gaps that provided access to the names, addresses, credit card numbers and flight data of millions of passengers, RT shares.

Train service to Gatwick Airport may be disrupted next week, as a result of an anticipated strike by Southern Rail staff. Airlines are advising passengers to look for alternative transportation options, reports Buying Business Travel.

According to Skift, airlines anticipating the effects of Brexit are warned of lower profits later this year. British Airways owner International Airlines Group, however, relies on a recent acquisition to soften the blow. IAG acquired Ireland’s Aer Lingus last year, and the national airline has already seen a massive increase in first-half 2016 profit.

United and the TSA are working together to streamline airport security with new automated baggage screening lanes, redesigned security checkpoints and permanent PreCheck enrollment centers at the airline’s hubs in Chicago, Newark, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Eligible travelers would be able to enroll in TSA PreCheck directly at the airport, according to Business Traveller.

Brands continue to push customers to book directly, with direct booking now cheaper than agencies for a majority of hotel searches. Tnooz looked at data that shows 53 percent of rates are cheaper on hotel sites than those of intermediaries. InterContinental Hotel Groups also claims early success in its latest push to drive direct bookings over bookings on online travel agencies, shares Skift.

According to USA Today, JetBlue’s first flight to Cuba from the U.S. will launch at the end of the month on August 31. The airline will initially offer weekly service to the country until daily service begins in October. Although restrictions have been lifted, navigating both country’s regulations before traveling to Cuba is no easy feat. Bloomberg reports travelers must determine how a trip fits into the permissible reasons, sort out health insurance and more.

USA Today finds airlines are becoming more adept at hiding travel fees, with some adding fees after the seat purchase and others waiting to show fees until the checkout process, when travelers are less likely to walk away from the purchase.

Forbes shares findings from GBTA’s BTI Outlook – Annual Global Report & Forecast which shows global business travel topped $1.2 trillion in 2016 and is expected to reach $1.6 trillion by 2020. Skift reports international business travel to the U.S. grew faster than leisure travel last year. Business travel from top overseas markets grew by 15 percent year-over-year, while leisure travel for the same markets grew by only nine percent.

This week, we bring you a list from Skift:

4 Charts Showing the $5 Billion Boom in Chinese Investment in U.S. Hotels