Ovation's weekly client e-newsletter, the Informed Traveler, keeps readers updated on travel industry news and trends.
Following is a recap of July's Top 5 (most clicked by Ovation clients) e-newsletter stories.
Delta Air Lines has unveiled its first retrofitted Boeing 777, reports USA Today. The plane is the first of 18 in Delta's fleet of Boeing 777s to be updated with new cabin interiors, the rest of which will be completed by 2019. The update will give Delta customers the latest cabin interior when they fly on the 777, which are mostly used on long overseas flights. The retrofitted planes will feature 296 seats, including 28 of the company's new "Delta One" business class seats, which are suite-like and include a sliding private door. Delta is also adding 48 of its new international style premium economy seats, which they have branded as "Delta Premium Select." Initially, the first retrofitted Boeing 777 will fly between Detroit and Beijing before shifting to another route next month. To read more, click here.
2. American Makes It Easier to Upgrade from Basic Economy
Travelers who have purchased low-cost, basic economy seating but who then want upgrades, carry-on luggage, seat assignments and other benefits will now have the opportunity to upgrade to standard economy, as American is now allowing travel agencies to buy out of basic economy through its secured travel agent portal. While there are restrictions, the move gives travelers the chance to upgrade without having to pay a change fee.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said it will not regulate minimum seat size on airplanes, despite passenger complaints and a federal court case, reports Travel + Leisure. In a letter to consumer advocate group FlyersRights.org, the FAA said it found "no evidence that there is an immediate safety issue necessitating rulemaking at this time" regarding seat width and pitch. FlyersRights.org sued the FAA at the U.S. Court of Appeals last year, alleging that cramped seats were a safety issue in the airplane cabin. At the request of the House Infrastructure and Transportation Committee; however, the Department of Transportation will audit the FAA's evacuation standards. The audit could call for new testing. To read more, click here.
As airlines look for ways to add more seats within an aircraft, they have begun shrinking the size of lavatories in order to free up more space, reports Travel Weekly. Boeing and Airbus are offering trimmed-down lavatories on narrow-body aircraft widely used by major U.S. carriers. The new lavatories have drawn criticism and complaints from flyers, flight attendants and pilots. To read more, click here.
The United States has a shortage of airline pilots right now, particularly at the regional airline levels, reports CNN. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there were about 827,000 pilots in America in 1987; however, the number has decreased by 30% over the past three decades. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts that, over the next 20 years, air travel will double, which could create problems for the U.S. airline industry if the number of new pilots continues to dwindle. To read more, click here.