News and notes from around the interweb:
- Alaska Airlines reportedly near settlement with Department of Justice over its acquisition of Virgin America. DOJ may be losing its leverage as time approaches for a new administration, perhaps vindicating Virgin America CEO Dave Cush’s endorsement of Donald Trump.
- The Clinton Foundation came under criticism for accepting donations from foreign governments while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. Now foreign governments feel pressure to stay at the Trump Hotel in DC. And maybe wear Trump Collection ties?
In interviews with a dozen diplomats, many of whom declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak about anything related to the next U.S. president, some said spending money at Trump’s hotel is an easy, friendly gesture to the new president.
“Why wouldn’t I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, ‘I love your new hotel!’ Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say, ‘I am staying at your competitor?’ ” said one Asian diplomat.
- While the biggest and most profitable US airlines (Delta, United, and American) hope that the election of Donald Trump means greater protectionism and success in abrogating Open Skies treaties with Qatar and the UAE, Australia has just signed an Open Skies agreement with Qatar. These agreements — as US policy has recognized for forty years — are valuable for both businesses (like Fedex with its Mideast hub, and Virgin and Alaska who grow from their codeshares) and consumers (who have more flight options and lower prices) alike.
- Qantas raising the price of frequent flyer mileage upgrades. Relevant to Citi ThankYou Points cardholders.
- T-Mobile 3rd and 4th line free
- Congressman Bill Shuster (R-Airlines for America) sees an opportunity with the new administration to bring back up the idea of moving air traffic control into a private non-profit corporation (something United and American favor, Delta — which has older planes and wants to avoid required tech investment — opposes).