News and notes from around the interweb:
- American’s ‘Five Star’ VIP service can be purchased by travelers with at least one segment in a premium class of service. Sid Lipsey describes the experience at LAX though I’d quibble with his characterization of the American Admirals Club as “ultra-exclusive.”
- I wrote earlier that SkyTeam member Air Europa would launch its own frequent flyer program, with status matching. Paul D. points out that it is live — and appears to be the first European program offering unlimited complimentary upgrades for top tier elites.
- Leopard print and colour clash: Inside the eye-watering cocktail lounges onboard planes in the 1970s
- Starwood CEO Adam Aron – brought onboard to sell the company – is now departing to run AMC Theaters. I interviewed Aron, who formerly ran marketing at both Hyatt and United and developed Pan Am’s frequent flyer program (and co-owned the Philadelphia 76ers), at an industry conference in April.
Knowing nothing about AMC theaters (other than that the former iteration of their rewards program was quite valuable), I figure I should learn about their stock — I can’t imagine Adam Aron went there to run the company for the next 10 years. So there’s a reasonable likelihood they want him in place to tell a good marketing story and sell it
- Why the State Department wants to record the social security number of every passport holder
- Amazon Prime is starting to play with food delivery and offers a wide variety of restaurants in my home of Austin. I’m a big fan, though, of Favor which is app-based and delivers anything not just food. They do a great job of updating you from the time your order is placed to when the driver shows up at your door. It’s cashless, and you get actual product purchase receipts inside the app.
- Legacy United flight attendants will picket at airports around the world tomorrow. But they’re busy and not all that dedicated, so picketing in most locations will last only about an hour.
- I’ve had scores of people share the ‘aircraft with a skydeck’ idea with me over the past week or so. In many ways this isn’t a new concept — one of the original investors in Southwest Airlines was an evangelical persuaded to commit to the startup carrier with a promise that their Boeing 737s would include skylights so that passengers could look up towards the heavens (as described in Lamar Muse’s Southwest Passage). Obviously that never happened.