Daily Podcast: Spirit’s JetBlue Fears

Skift Take

Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, May 6, in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast explains Spirt Airlines’ regulatory concerns with a JetBlue takeover, why some business travelers a booking long-term stays, and a Hawaiian hotel worker who is fixing misconceptions.

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Episode Notes

Spirit Airlines rejected an unsolicited $3.6 billion offer earlier this week for the carrier submitted by JetBlue Airways to continue pursuing its planned $2.9 billion merger with Frontier Airlines. Why? Spirit executives didn’t want the regulatory scrutiny a deal with JetBlue would provide, reports Madhu Unnikrishnan, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.

In his most pointed remarks so far on the bid, Spirit CEO Ted Christie said during its first-quarter earnings call on Thursday that its board rejected JetBlue’s offer because it didn’t believe federal regulators would approve the deal. JetBlue is under scrutiny from the Department of Justice, which filed a lawsuit to block its Northeast Alliance with American Airlines, claiming the partnership would reduce competition on the East Coast. Christie added if the lawsuit progresses, Spirit would likely be called as a federal witness, complicating any potential merger with JetBlue.

Meanwhile, Spirit recorded first quarter revenues of $967 million, more than double the figure from the same period in 2021. But the carrier reported a $195 million first quarter loss compared to a $112 million loss last year as costs, including fuel, rose.

Next, business travelers aren’t just looking to stay in short-term rentals or hotels during their next work trips. A growing number of them are checking into apartments for stays that could last years, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons in this week’s Future of Work briefing.

Brian Carrico, the CEO and co-founder of apartment-booking platform The Guild, said he’s seeing more companies book apartments for long periods for their employees. Carrico added that business travelers staying at properties listed on its platform are increasingly viewing those apartments as home, with many of them bringing items such as golf clubs and guitars to new abodes.

We end today in Hawaii. Contributor Colin Nagy profiles Danny Akaka, a local historian and cultural ambassador to visitors at his Hawaiian resort, for this month’s At Your Service feature on the coolest jobs in travel.

Akaka’s 39-year career at the Mauna Lani Resort on the island of Hawaii has seen him occupy dozens of positions at the property, including helping to build it and serving as a landscaper after its opening. He said his varied job experiences at the resort were stepping stones to his current role. While working at the hotel’s Tennis Garden, guests would look for him in search of cultural tours and stories about Hawaii. Those interactions inspired the Historic Walking Tours that Akaka still conducts, on which he touches on topics such as geography and Hawaiian aquaculture.

While Nagy writes Akaka has bridged the gap between misconceptions visitors have of Hawaii and the reality of life in the state, Akaka also views himself as an important bridge to the older generation in his community. He said the root of his role is keeping important stories alive, adding they are only one generation away from being lost.

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