Sara Hinkson, email: [email protected]

Sara Hinkson is a seasoned journalist specializing in the dynamic world of hotels and accommodations. As a dedicated hotels news site writer, Sara brings a wealth of expertise and a keen eye for industry trends to her reporting.With a passion for exploring the intricacies of hospitality, Sara's articles offer readers a comprehensive and insightful look into the latest developments, innovations, and challenges shaping the hotel landscape. Her commitment to delivering accurate, timely, and engaging content has solidified her reputation as a trusted source in the field, making Sara Hinkson a go-to authority for those seeking a deeper understanding of the ever-evolving hotel industry.

United Airlines Boeing 777-300 aircraft suffered a mid-air fuel leak

United Airlines Boeing 777-300 aircraft suffered a mid-air fuel leak Read More »


The aviation giant United Airlines has found itself under intense scrutiny following a string of incidents involving its aircraft over the past week, raising concerns about safety and operational standards. The airline reported a staggering five separate occurrences, ranging from mid-air emergencies to landing gear malfunctions, sparking investigations and heightening public attention.

The most recent incident occurred on Monday, when a United Airlines Boeing 777-300 aircraft, Flight 830, en route from Sydney to San Francisco, was forced to make an emergency landing just two hours into its journey. The aircraft, carrying 183 passengers and crew, experienced a mid-air fuel leak, prompting the pilots to divert the flight back to Australia due to a “maintenance issue.” This incident follows a concerning pattern of mishaps that have plagued the airline in recent days.

In a statement, the airline confirmed that all passengers and crewlanded safely” and “deplaned normally” at the gate in Sydney. No injuries were reported, but the incident has undoubtedly raised eyebrows and added to the growing list of occurrences that have put United Airlines in the spotlight.

The series of incidents began on March 4, when a Boeing 737 aircraft experienced a dramatic engine failure shortly after takeoff from Denver, bound for Fort Myers, Florida. Shocking footage captured flames erupting from one of the jet engines, appearing almost white-hot against the night sky. The plane, which was airborne for only “approximately 15 minutes,” was forced to make an emergency landing in Texas. Remarkably, no one was injured during the terrifying ordeal, but the incident underscored the potential safety risks involved in such occurrences.

Just three days later, on March 7, another United Airlines flight, this time a Boeing 777-200 traveling from San Francisco to Japan, was diverted to Los Angeles International Airport after one of its landing gear fell off during ascent. Eyewitness videos captured the aircraft losing one of its six tires on the left side as it climbed into the sky. Despite the dramatic incident, all 235 passengers, 10 flight attendants, and 4 pilots landed safely in Los Angeles. However, the occurrence raised serious concerns about maintenance and quality control procedures.

The following day, United Flight 821, bound for Mexico City from San Francisco International Airport, faced a hydraulic system issue shortly after takeoff, forcing the Airbus 320 aircraft to divert to Los Angeles. The plane’s hydraulic system, which is crucial for controlling various aircraft functions, experienced a problem in one of its three hydraulic units. The 105 passengers and 5 crew members were evacuated, and customers had to travel to their destination on a new aircraft. This incident further compounded the airline’s woes and raised questions about its maintenance protocols.

In a separate incident on the same day, a United Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 went off the runway at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, prompting an evacuation of the 160 passengers and 6 crew members. The plane, arriving from Memphis, “rolled onto the grass” while exiting onto the taxiway, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). No injuries were reported in the incident, but the occurrence added to the growing list of mishaps involving United Airlines aircraft.

Amidst this wave of incidents, Boeing, the manufacturer of several of the affected aircraft, has faced mounting pressure to address quality control issues. In a memo to employees on Tuesday, the company acknowledged the need for “weekly compliance checks” across all 737 work areas and “additional equipment audits” to reduce quality problems. The memo stated, “Our teams are working to simplify and streamline our processes and address the panel’s recommendations. We will not hesitate in stopping a production line or keeping an aircraft in position.” This admission highlights the airline industry’s growing concerns over safety and operational standards.

The FAA recently uncovered dozens of issues throughout Boeing’s 737 MAX jet production process, including mechanics at a key supplier using makeshift tools like a “hotel key card” and “dish soap” to test compliance. These findings came after an audit launched in response to a door plug separating from a 737 MAX 9 at an altitude of 16,000 feet on January 5. The revelations have raised serious doubts about Boeing’s quality assurance measures and the potential safety risks posed by such lapses.

The safety concerns surrounding Boeing have been further exacerbated by the recent death of John Barnett, a former quality inspector who worked for the company for three decades. Barnett, who retired in 2017, was found dead from a “self-inflicted gunshot wound” in his truck in a hotel parking lot in South Carolina on Saturday. He was due to provide further testimony in his whistleblower lawsuit against Boeing but failed to appear in court. Barnett’s tragic demise has added to the controversy surrounding the company and raised questions about the culture and practices within its ranks.

As the aviation industry grapples with these concerning developments, both United Airlines and Boeing face intense scrutiny and pressure to address safety and quality control issues. The recent incidents have not only disrupted travel plans for thousands of passengers but have also raised questions about the operational standards and maintenance procedures of these major industry players.

The FAA, along with other regulatory bodies, is expected to investigate these occurrences thoroughly, potentially leading to policy changes or stricter oversight measures. The agency has already initiated a comprehensive review of Boeing’s production processes and quality control measures, with the potential for fines or sanctions if significant lapses are uncovered.

For now, both United Airlines and Boeing find themselves in the spotlight, with the public’s trust hanging in the balance as they work to restore confidence in their safety protocols and quality assurance processes. The airlines and manufacturers must take swift and decisive action to address these issues, or risk further damage to their reputations and potentially face legal consequences or financial repercussions.

In the wake of these incidents, passengers and industry experts are calling for greater transparency and accountability from these companies. They demand a renewed commitment to prioritizing safety above all else and implementing rigorous quality control measures to prevent similar occurrences from happening in the future.

The aviation industry as a whole faces a pivotal moment, where it must reassess its practices and standards to ensure the safety and well-being of passengers and crew members alike. Failure to address these concerns could have far-reaching consequences, including a loss of public confidence, increased regulatory scrutiny, and potentially even legal action.

As investigations into these incidents continue, the aviation industry must take a hard look at itself and implement reforms that prioritize safety and quality control above all else. Only then can it begin to rebuild the trust of the public and ensure a future where air travel remains a safe and reliable mode of transportation.

U.S. Embassy Urges Citizens to Evacuate Haiti Amid Security Concerns

U.S. Embassy Urges Citizens to Evacuate Haiti Amid Security Concerns

U.S. Embassy Urges Citizens to Evacuate Haiti Amid Security Concerns Read More »


Escalating Violence Prompts Urgent Call for Departure

Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 8, 2024 (5RMI) – In response to mounting security risks and infrastructure challenges, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, has issued a stark warning to American citizens residing in the country, urging them to evacuate immediately.

The escalating violence and instability gripping Haiti have prompted the Embassy to call upon U.S. citizens to make use of available commercial or private transportation options to leave the country as swiftly as possible. Emphasizing the gravity of the situation, the Embassy underscored its inability to facilitate air travel for private citizens at this time.

A statement released on the Embassy’s official website urged citizens to remain vigilant and to monitor local news sources for updates on security conditions. It also advised individuals to make departure arrangements in accordance with the prevailing situation on the ground.

The Embassy’s announcement comes amidst a backdrop of ongoing gang-related violence and disruptions to transportation and infrastructure. As a result, the Embassy will operate on a limited basis on Thursday, March 7, and has suspended all appointments for visas and services for U.S. citizens until March 12. This includes routine passport services and notary services.

“Individuals with scheduled appointments are advised against attempting to visit the Embassy until further notice,” the statement cautioned, citing potential limitations on entry until March 12 due to prevailing conditions.

For those who find themselves compelled to travel to Haiti despite the risks, the Embassy provided a series of safety recommendations. These included avoiding crowded areas, staying informed through local media updates, and maintaining a low profile. Additionally, citizens were advised to exercise caution, avoid outdoor activities after dark, and ensure they possess updated travel documents readily accessible.

In case of emergencies, individuals were directed to contact the U.S. Embassy Port-au-Prince or the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs for assistance.

New Travel Requirements for U.S. Passport Holders Visiting EU

New Travel Requirements for U.S. Passport Holders Visiting EU Read More »


In a significant development, travelers from the United States planning trips to European Union (EU) countries will soon encounter new entry requirements. These changes, anticipated to impact travelers, airlines, cruise ships, and other transportation companies, were confirmed by EU authorities this week.

The European Union has announced the impending implementation of the ETIAS permit, slated to come into effect by the middle of next year. This move is part of the EU’s broader efforts to enhance border security and streamline travel processes.

Under the upcoming system, airlines and shipping companies will be mandated to conduct checks on passengers’ authorization status at least 48 hours before departure. This verification process will be carried out electronically through a specialized tool provided by the EU.

The ETIAS, officially known as the European Travel Information and Authorization System, serves as a visa-free travel permit for travelers from 60 countries and territories, including the United States. This initiative aims to strengthen security measures while facilitating smoother travel experiences for tourists.

Implementation of the ETIAS system entails registration with eu-LISA, the EU agency tasked with overseeing it. Notably, over a thousand companies, primarily operating in the commercial aviation sector, have already completed the registration process.

Once the ETIAS program is rolled out, U.S. passport holders will be required to obtain travel authorization before entering any EU country. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in penalties for carriers found transporting passengers without valid travel documents.

To assist with the transition, a grace period will be implemented, allowing travelers at least six months to adjust to the new requirements without facing entry denials into the Schengen area, provided they meet other entry criteria. However, following the conclusion of this grace period, entry to 30 European countries may be refused without the appropriate travel authorization.

The introduction of ETIAS travel authorizations is expected to bring about several benefits, including the streamlining of travel procedures, reduction of waiting times, deterrence of criminal activities and terrorism, prevention of irregular migration, and complementation of the EU’s visa liberalization policy.

U.S. Woman Faces Charges for Pulling Down Pants & Underwear on Frontier Airlines Flight

U.S. Woman Faces Charges for Pulling Down Pants & Underwear on Frontier Airlines Flight Read More »


The tranquility of a routine flight turned into chaos aboard a Frontier Airlines plane en route from Orlando to Philadelphia International Airport on November 20. Dulce Huertas, a 60-year-old Philadelphia woman, found herself at the center of a tumultuous ordeal that culminated in her arrest and federal charges for multiple offenses, including interfering with a flight crew, simple assault, and indecent exposure.

As Flight 4944 approached its destination, a seemingly innocuous request triggered a chain of events that would escalate into a disturbing confrontation. Huertas, attempting to use the restroom, was advised by a flight attendant to remain seated, as per standard safety protocols during the descent phase of the flight. However, what began as a routine instruction soon spiraled into a verbal altercation as Huertas vehemently refused to comply.

In-Flight Disturbance:

As the aircraft neared the gate for arrival, tensions aboard reached a boiling point. Despite repeated requests and warnings from the flight crew, Huertas defiantly disregarded instructions, pushing past other passengers and making her way toward the front of the plane. A passenger captured the unsettling scene on video, revealing the shocking moment when Huertas, amidst apologies to her fellow passengers, pulled down her pants in an act of indecent exposure, sparking alarm and confusion among those onboard.

Confrontation and Threats:

Even as flight attendants and fellow passengers attempted to intervene and de-escalate the situation, Huertas continued to exhibit aggressive behavior. Reports indicate that she not only physically assaulted a flight attendant but also made explicit threats against other passengers, creating an atmosphere of fear and unease. Despite the efforts of law enforcement personnel who were summoned to the scene upon landing, Huertas remained defiant, persisting in her disruptive behavior and verbal outbursts.

Legal Ramifications:

In the aftermath of the incident, federal authorities swiftly moved to press charges against Huertas for her egregious conduct onboard the flight. The charges levied against her carry serious legal consequences, including the potential for a lengthy prison sentence, supervised release, and substantial fines. If convicted, Huertas could face up to 21 years and three months behind bars, underscoring the gravity of her actions and the severity of the charges against her.

Ongoing Investigation:

The incident aboard Flight 4944 has prompted a thorough investigation by federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Federal Air Marshal Service, in collaboration with local law enforcement authorities. Investigators are diligently working to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and reconstruct the sequence of events leading up to and during the altercation onboard the aircraft. Their objective is to ascertain the full extent of Huertas’ actions and determine any underlying factors contributing to her behavior.

Implications for Airline Security:

The disruptive behavior exhibited by Huertas raises broader concerns regarding airline security and passenger safety. Incidents of unruly behavior onboard aircraft not only disrupt the travel experience for passengers but also pose potential risks to the safety and well-being of everyone onboard. Airlines and regulatory agencies alike must remain vigilant in enforcing strict protocols and procedures to prevent and address such incidents effectively.

Support for Flight Crew:

In light of the challenges faced by flight crew members in managing disruptive passengers, there has been a growing call for enhanced support and resources to ensure their safety and well-being. Flight attendants play a vital role in maintaining order and security onboard aircraft, often facing difficult and potentially volatile situations. It is imperative that airlines prioritize the training, support, and protection of their crew members to enable them to perform their duties effectively and safely.

The events that unfolded aboard Frontier Airlines Flight 4944 serve as a sobering reminder of the importance of maintaining order and discipline onboard commercial aircraft. Dulce Huertas’ actions not only disrupted the peace and comfort of her fellow passengers but also endangered the safety and security of the entire flight. As the legal proceedings unfold and the investigation continues, it is imperative that appropriate measures are taken to hold Huertas accountable for her conduct and to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. Ultimately, ensuring the safety and well-being of passengers and crew members remains paramount in the realm of air travel.

2024’s Top Air Routes, Is Your City Among the Busiest?

2024’s Top Air Routes, Is Your City Among the Busiest? Read More »


The absence of New York, London, and Dubai in the top 10 is a stark reminder of the massive demand for air travel within the Asia-Pacific region.

January: A Quiet Yet Active Month for International Flying

Following the holiday season and amidst tightened budgets, January traditionally witnesses a slowdown in international travel. Corporate traffic dwindles, and many vacation destinations face suboptimal, if not sub-zero, weather conditions.

Despite these factors, tens of millions of people continue to traverse the globe by air. But which routes experienced the highest traffic this month? Utilizing the latest data from analytics firm OAG, Skift unveils the international flights that defied global trends and kicked off the year with a surge.

1: Hong Kong to Taipei

Leading the charts for international capacity in January is the route from Hong Kong to Taipei. With a travel duration typically under 90 minutes, this route is favored by both business and leisure travelers.

Major airlines such as Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, and EVA Air frequently deploy their largest widebody jets, increasing both passenger capacity and cargo transport. In January 2024 alone, over half a million seats were available on this route.

2: Cairo to Jeddah

Securing second place is the Cairo to Jeddah route, one of two Middle Eastern routes in the top 10. This link serves as a crucial trade route and a gateway to holy sites, with up to eight scheduled airlines connecting the two cities. Low-cost carriers like Air Arabia and flyadeal compete with flag carriers such as EgyptAir and Saudia on this route.

3: Seoul to Tokyo Narita

Occupying the third position is Seoul‘s first appearance among the top routes, with over 428,000 seats offered in January between Incheon International Airport and Tokyo Narita.

This route between the two Asian megacities is favored by both budget airlines and legacy carriers, boasting a total of 10 different airlines servicing the route. Remarkably, this ranking is achieved despite the availability of additional travel options to Tokyo Haneda Airport.

Exploring the Top 10 Busiest International Routes

  1. Hong KongTaipei (HKG-TPE)
  • Seats: 546,276
  • Description: The proximity between Hong Kong and Taipei, coupled with the short travel duration, makes this route immensely popular for both business and leisure travelers. With major airlines deploying their largest jets, passenger capacity and cargo transport are significantly boosted.
  1. CairoJeddah (CAI-JED)
  • Seats: 468,103
  • Description: Serving as a vital trade link and a gateway to holy sites, the route between Cairo and Jeddah witnesses significant traffic, with both low-cost and flag carriers vying for passengers.
  1. Seoul IncheonTokyo Narita (ICN-NRT)
  • Seats: 428,238
  • Description: Despite the availability of alternative routes to Tokyo Haneda Airport, the link between Seoul Incheon and Tokyo Narita remains popular among travelers, with a diverse range of airlines servicing the route.
  1. Kuala LumpurSingapore Changi (KUL-SIN)
  • Seats: 411,074
  • Description: Connecting two major Southeast Asian hubs, this route is vital for both business and leisure travel, with a large number of seats offered by various airlines.
  1. Seoul IncheonOsaka Kansai (ICN-KIX)
  • Seats: 408,982
  • Description: Another key route from Seoul Incheon, connecting to Osaka Kansai, highlights the strong air connectivity within East Asia.
  1. DubaiRiyadh (DXB-RUH)
  • Seats: 384,044
  • Description: This Middle Eastern route is crucial for both business and religious travel, with significant capacity offered by airlines connecting Dubai to Riyadh.
  1. JakartaSingapore Changi (CGK-SIN)
  • Seats: 352,438
  • Description: As a major link between Indonesia and Singapore, this route sees substantial traffic, facilitated by both budget and full-service carriers.
  1. BangkokSeoul Incheon (BKK-ICN)
  • Seats: 343,100
  • Description: Serving as a vital link between Thailand and South Korea, this route witnesses consistent demand from both business and leisure travelers.
  1. BangkokHong Kong (BKK-HKG)
  • Seats: 336,323
  • Description: The route between Bangkok and Hong Kong highlights the strong air connectivity between two major Asian cities, with a significant number of seats available for travelers.
  1. Tokyo NaritaTaipei (NRT-TPE)
    • Seats: 325,577
    • Description: Connecting Tokyo Narita to Taipei, this route serves as an important link between Japan and Taiwan, offering travelers multiple options for air travel.

Source: OAG, Jan 30, 2024

Note: The OAG data is based on available seat capacity, not the number of passengers carried.

Boeing 737 MAX 9 Lands Safely at PDX After Earlier Emergency Landing

Boeing 737 MAX 9 Lands Safely at PDX After Earlier Emergency Landing Read More »


Three weeks ago, the tranquility of a routine flight was shattered when a door plug unexpectedly dislodged mid-air, prompting an urgent emergency landing at Portland International Airport. The incident cast a shadow of concern over the aviation industry, leading to the unprecedented decision by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ground all Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets, sparking widespread scrutiny and necessitating thorough investigations into the root causes of the mishap.

Now, after weeks of meticulous inspections, comprehensive reviews, and stringent safety assessments, the aviation world witnessed a significant milestone on Friday. Alaska Airlines Flight 621, originating from the vibrant city of Las Vegas and bound for the tranquil landscapes of Portland, symbolized the cautious resurgence of the grounded aircraft as it gracefully touched down at 7:04 p.m. This marked not just the completion of a journey, but a beacon of hope signaling the gradual return to normalcy in the wake of uncertainty.

In the aftermath of the flight, passengers eagerly shared their experiences, offering insights into the ambiance within the cabin during this historic voyage. Many admitted to the initial revelation that they were traveling aboard a 737 MAX 9 only upon settling into their seats and perusing the pamphlets thoughtfully provided. Despite this revelation, a prevailing sense of confidence and reassurance permeated the atmosphere, buoyed by the professionalism and unwavering commitment to safety exhibited by the crew.

Theresa Fernandez, a resident of Sandy, Oregon, encapsulated the prevailing sentiment, describing the atmosphere onboard as “relaxed, calm, and ready to go home.” Her sentiments found resonance in the words of fellow passenger Mike Beem, a resident of Boring, Oregon, who commended the crew’s efforts and expressed unwavering trust in the safety protocols implemented. Even amidst moments of turbulence, passengers like Tom Coutts from Damascus remained steadfast, embodying a stoic belief in the inherent safety of air travel.

While the successful flight of Alaska Airlines Flight 621 marked a significant milestone in the gradual reintroduction of the 737 MAX 9 to service, it also underscored the meticulous approach adopted by regulatory authorities and airlines alike. Notably, not all aircraft have received clearance for operation, with the FAA mandating a rigorous inspection and maintenance regimen to ensure the highest standards of safety are met before granting approval for flight operations to resume.

Looking ahead, both Alaska Airlines and United, among others, are poised to reintegrate the 737 MAX 9 into their fleets, with United scheduling its inaugural flight for Sunday. However, amidst the anticipation of a return to normalcy, passenger safety remains paramount. Airlines have taken proactive measures to reassure travelers, offering the flexibility to switch to alternative flights at no additional cost for those uncomfortable with flying on the 737 MAX 9.

As federal investigators continue to delve into the circumstances surrounding the emergency landing, scrutinizing every aspect from the integrity of the door panel to the adequacy of maintenance procedures, the aviation industry remains resolute in its commitment to transparency and accountability. Alaska Airlines, in particular, has outlined ambitious plans to expedite the inspection process, with the goal of completing the comprehensive assessment of its fleet by the end of the following week.

In conclusion, the successful flight of Alaska Airlines Flight 621 serves as a poignant reminder of the resilience and adaptability of the aviation industry in the face of adversity. As passengers embark on their journeys with renewed confidence, they do so with the assurance that every precaution has been taken to prioritize their safety and well-being, reaffirming the unwavering commitment to excellence that defines modern air travel.

Return of the Boeing 737 Max 9: Implications for the Airline Sector

Return of the Boeing 737 Max 9: Implications for the Airline Sector Read More »


Boeing’s recent announcement regarding the resumption of service for the Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft after a stringent three-week grounding has sparked considerable discourse within the aviation sector. This development not only signifies a pivotal moment for Boeing but also prompts a broader conversation about safety, regulatory oversight, and the intricate dynamics of the airline industry.

The decision to ground the Boeing 737 Max 9 was precipitated by a critical incident involving an Alaska Airlines jet, where a door panel malfunctioned shortly after takeoff. This event triggered widespread concern and led to an immediate halt in Max 9 operations, affecting not only Alaska Airlines but also United Airlines, the two primary carriers operating the aircraft in the United States.

In the wake of the grounding, airlines were forced to grapple with significant disruptions to their flight schedules, resulting in countless canceled flights and logistical challenges. The repercussions of this hiatus reverberated throughout the industry, prompting introspection among stakeholders regarding safety protocols, regulatory oversight, and the long-term viability of the Boeing 737 Max series.

Alaska Airlines, at the forefront of the Max 9‘s return to service, exemplifies resilience and adaptability in the face of adversity. With the impending resumption of flights, Alaska aims to assuage passenger concerns while prioritizing safety and transparency. CEO Ben Minicucci’s acknowledgment of passenger anxiety underscores the airline’s commitment to addressing concerns and rebuilding trust in the Max 9‘s reliability.

The FAA’s decision to greenlight the return of the Max 9 to service comes after rigorous scrutiny and comprehensive safety assessments. This regulatory approval represents a critical milestone for Boeing, signaling confidence in the aircraft’s airworthiness and adherence to stringent safety standards.

However, Boeing‘s challenges extend beyond the technical aspects of aircraft certification. The company faces mounting scrutiny from both industry stakeholders and government officials, who have raised questions about Boeing‘s corporate culture, oversight mechanisms, and commitment to transparency. Addressing these concerns will be paramount for Boeing as it seeks to regain public trust and restore its reputation as a global leader in aerospace innovation.

The reinstatement of the Boeing 737 Max 9 has broader implications for international carriers as well. Airlines such as Aeromexico, Copa Airlines, and Turkish Airlines, which operate routes to the United States utilizing the Max 9, will also benefit from the FAA’s clearance. The resumption of Max 9 operations by Copa Airlines, in particular, serves as a symbolic step towards normalizing global aviation operations and restoring confidence among travelers.

As the Boeing 737 Max 9 returns to the skies, airlines are taking proactive measures to address passenger concerns and facilitate a seamless transition. Alaska Airlines and United Airlines have implemented flexible rebooking policies and fee waivers to accommodate affected passengers, reaffirming their commitment to customer satisfaction and safety.

Ultimately, the reinstatement of the Boeing 737 Max 9 underscores the resilience of the aviation industry and its unwavering commitment to safety. As airlines, regulators, and manufacturers continue to collaborate and innovate, the industry remains steadfast in its pursuit of excellence and ensuring the safety and well-being of all passengers who take to the skies.

Tackling the Online Hotel Pricing Challenge, Expedia CEO Calls for Hotel Industry Unity

Tackling the Online Hotel Pricing Challenge, Expedia CEO Calls for Hotel Industry Unity Read More »


In the ever-evolving landscape of online travel, Expedia CEO Peter Kern has raised a clarion call at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) in Los Angeles, shedding light on the escalating crisis of unauthorized wholesale rates permeating smaller retail travel platforms. This momentous occasion marked Kern as the first head of a major online travel agency to address the prestigious ALIS conference, underlining the gravity of the issue for hotel owners and developers alike.

Kern’s impassioned plea delves into the heart of a billion-dollar problem – the misuse of wholesale rates in the expansive online marketplace. His message to hotel owners is unequivocal: the time has come to combat the rampant leakage of rates, a challenge that poses a significant threat to the efforts of online travel agencies in delivering the best prices to consumers.

Traditionally, hotels have earmarked specific rooms for discounted wholesale rates, reserving them exclusively for contracted partners to provide specialized deals to discerning clientele. Examples abound in collaborations with tour operators, where wholesale rates are strategically bundled with discounted flight packages. However, Kern highlights a disconcerting trend: certain agencies are willfully violating these agreements.

The consequences are palpable and frustrating for hoteliers. Wholesale rates intended for specific partnerships are finding their way into unintended channels, surfacing on various online travel agencies (OTAs) and comparison sites. Kern emphasizes the tangible frustration faced by hotel staff when guests arrive armed with rates unbeknownst to the hotel’s management.

Despite concerted efforts by Expedia, collaborating with major hotel chains such as Marriott to address the issue, the problem persists. Independent and regional hotel groups, in particular, continue to grapple with the insidious practice of “wholesale leakage,” undermining the very essence of online travel agencies striving to offer the most competitive prices.

In the face of being undercut on prices, some hotels appear indifferent, driven by the immediate benefits of achieving high occupancy rates. General managers, often evaluated based on these metrics, face a dilemma in prioritizing short-term gains over the intricate process of tightening distribution, which demands both time and financial resources.

Compounding the challenge is the elusive nature of tracking these unauthorized rates. Geographical restrictions shroud their visibility, with rates appearing normal on U.S.-based searches while revealing lower prices when accessed by travelers in the Asia Pacific region.

Acknowledging that some hotels may not fully grasp the severity of the issue, Kern finds this perspective puzzling. In a stern warning, he cautions against compromising direct-to-consumer rates for the sake of short-term occupancy gains, questioning the long-term viability of such a myopic strategy.

The clarion call echoes urgently across the industry: hotel owners and online travel agencies must forge a united front to staunch the flow of unauthorized wholesale rates, safeguarding the integrity of pricing structures and ensuring a fair and competitive marketplace for all stakeholders. The challenges are formidable, but the imperative for collaborative action is undeniable in navigating the complex seas of online hospitality.

United Airlines Faces Financial Setback in Q1 Amid Boeing 737 Max 9 Grounding Challenges

United Airlines Faces Financial Setback in Q1 Amid Boeing 737 Max 9 Grounding Challenges Read More »


United Airlines is grappling with significant financial challenges in the first quarter of the year, largely attributed to the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 9. The recent filing by the airline sheds light on the broader financial implications that may arise for carriers dealing with issues surrounding this specific aircraft model.

The projected adjusted loss for United Airlines during the first quarter ranges from 35 to 85 cents per share, directly linked to the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 9 since January 5. Notably, Alaska Airlines is the only other U.S. carrier affected by these groundings. United, possessing the most extensive Max 9 fleet with 79 aircraft, is facing substantial fallout, while Alaska Airlines, with a smaller fleet, is yet to disclose the financial impact, awaiting its fourth-quarter earnings announcement on January 25.

The grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 9 resulted from a mid-air incident involving an Alaska Airlines jet, where a door plug detached. This has forced United to cancel hundreds of flights daily. Although initially, the carrier projected 737-9 cancellations until January 26, the recent filing extends this expectation through the end of January. The operational disruptions from these cancellations have added to United’s challenges, with the carrier anticipating a three-percentage-point increase in unit costs (excluding fuel) in the first three months of 2024. Additionally, revenue is expected to remain flat during the first quarter.

United CEO Scott Kirby reportedly expressed frustration with Boeing’s ongoing quality issues. Despite these challenges, the airline remains cautiously optimistic about its future financial performance, anticipating an adjusted profit of $9 to $11 per share in 2024. This projection surpasses the $9.58 per share expected by Wall Street analysts, as reported by Reuters.

In the fourth quarter, United reported a net income of $600 million, reflecting a 29% decrease from the previous year. However, the overall revenue for 2023 demonstrated a noteworthy 10% increase from 2022, reaching $2.6 billion.

Acknowledging the resilience of its team, CEO Scott Kirby expressed gratitude, stating, “Our plans really came together in 2023, and I want to thank the United team for all of the hard work it took to get us there.” United highlighted strong travel demand throughout 2023 and reported revenue growth in both premium and basic economy cabins.

Despite the near-term challenges posed by the Boeing 737 Max 9 groundings, United Airlines appears poised to navigate through the headwinds and remains committed to its long-term strategic goals. The airline is scheduled to hold an earnings call at 10:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday, providing an opportunity for further insights into its financial position and strategies for overcoming the challenges at hand.

Boeing 737 Safety Concerns: F.A.A. Issues Alert for 737-900ER Door Plug Inspections

Boeing 737 Safety Concerns: F.A.A. Issues Alert for 737-900ER Door Plug Inspections Read More »


In response to ongoing safety concerns, the Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.) has taken a proactive approach by issuing a safety alert urging airlines to conduct thorough inspections on door plugs of Boeing 737-900ER planes. This directive comes on the heels of heightened scrutiny surrounding Boeing aircraft, with the 737-900ER being the second model under investigation within the same month.

The F.A.A. underscored that the 737-900ER shares a common door plug design with the more contemporary 737 Max 9, the latter having experienced an alarming incident prompting the grounding of approximately 170 jets. The incident involved the detachment of a door panel from an Alaska Airlines flight departing from Portland, Oregon, on January 5, necessitating an emergency landing. As a result, the F.A.A. initiated an investigation to determine whether Boeing adhered to safety protocols and design specifications for the Max 9.

Door plugs, essential components serving as panels in locations where an emergency door would be situated with additional seating configurations, have become a focal point in the ongoing safety assessments. While the Max 9 underwent grounding, the F.A.A. clarified that the 737-900ER, an earlier-generation model outside the Max line, has not experienced any door plug issues to date. However, as an added layer of safety, the F.A.A. is recommending airlines to conduct visual inspections on mid-exit door plugs to ensure proper securing.

The F.A.A.’s advisory suggests immediate inspections at the four crucial locations securing the door plug to the airframe of 737-900ER aircraft. This model has amassed over 11 million operational hours and approximately four million flight cycles since its introduction. Boeing, expressing unwavering support for the F.A.A. and its customers, emphasizes the importance of safety in aviation.

Airlines operating the 737-900ER, including industry giants such as Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines, have swiftly responded to the F.A.A.’s recommendation. These carriers have confirmed the commencement of inspections on their respective fleets, with assurances that the inspection process will not disrupt their flight operations.

The incident involving the Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 earlier this month, while not resulting in serious injuries, serves as a stark reminder of potential safety hazards. The National Transportation Safety Board is actively investigating the incident to ascertain the root cause behind the door plug detachment.

Concurrently, the F.A.A. has taken additional measures by mandating an initial round of inspections on 40 grounded Max 9 planes. These inspections aim to finalize comprehensive guidelines for the aircraft. The F.A.A. reported the completion of these inspections last week and is currently in the process of reviewing the collected data to further enhance the safety standards of Boeing’s aircraft.