Here is Corporate Travelers quick review of some of the biggest news in the air travel industry this month.
1. Delta Airlines now offering free Prosecco and Messaging
Delta has started offering their passengers sparkling wine in addition to their existing beverage service. Once restricted to first class passengers, now those in Economy will also be able to enjoy a complimentary Prosecco during their flight. Lisa Bauer, Delta’s VP of on-board services said that “Sparkling wine is often the first choice for a celebration, and we know how special it is for people to jet off on a trip, so we wanted to bring the celebration to them”. While this amenity is currently only available on international flights, Delta has brought back free meals in economy class for select coast-to-coast domestic flights this year. Delta has also recently become the first U.S. global carrier offering complimentary mobile messaging to its travelers. The new service lets customers connect via the in-flight Wi-Fi to messaging apps such as iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger for free.
2. Air Berlin closing down
Air Berlin, Germany’s second largest airline after Lufthansa, has announced that it will cease operations by October 28. However, subsidiaries such as LG Walter and Niki may continue operating flights according to reporting by the Associated Press. As the company continues with its insolvency process and continues sale negotiations with easyJet and Lufthansa the airline is working to secure positions for more than 8,000 employees. The troubled carrier was forced to fold after its largest shareholder, Etihad, refused to provide additional funding. An injection of capital from the German government allowed it to continue for long enough to negotiate a sale, which is projected to be finalized this month. You can read more on the Air Berlin insolvency here
3. Southwest eyes Hawaii Service
Low-cost U.S. airline Southwest has plans to begin selling tickets to Hawaii. Although they have not yet received authorization from the FAA for the service between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii they hope to have the route up and running early next year. This news comes on the back of Southwest’s debut earlier this month of the Boeing 737 Max 8, a variant capable of longer-range flights than pervious 737 types. The airline is expected to have 14 of these aircraft by the end of 2017.
4. United expands services to European cities
United Airlines has recently announced new seasonal routes to Europe set to commence in the summer of 2018. The carriers will add four new transatlantic services to its schedule, two of those routes to cities not usually served by United. The routes announced are Newark to Porto, Newark to Reykjavik, San Francisco to Zurich and Washington to Edinburgh. The airline has also announced the extension of other flights, such as the Chicago to Edinburgh and Washington to Lisbon services. These routes are already available for booking