Today’s podcast looks at JetBlue’s profitability problem, Machu Picchu protests, and Hilton’s text-based customer service.
Good morning from Skift. It’s Wednesday, January 31. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
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JetBlue Airways is focusing on how it can be profitable following its failed merger with Spirit Airlines. So JetBlue is looking at ways to cut costs and offer more leisure routes, writes Airlines Reporter Meghna Maharishi.
JetBlue is grappling with rising costs due to new labor contracts and also has engine issues that have currently grounded seven aircraft. JetBlue Chief Financial Officer Ursula Hurley said the company would offer crew members voluntary buyouts to help offset some of those costs. The New York-based carrier also plans to defer $2.5 billion in aircraft spending to the end of the decade.
And as JetBlue is increasingly targeting leisure travelers, the company is expanding service to popular destinations such as Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico.
Next, protesters have blocked crucial rail access to Machu Picchu in anger over the Peruvian government’s new online ticketing system for tourist attractions, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam.
Habtemariam reports tour operators have had to substantially alter their trips due to the lack of rail service since last Thursday. Sarah Migniac, an an executive at tour operator G Adventures, said reaching Machu Picchu could take nine hours without the train route. Migniac added that international travelers may cancel trips to Peru if traveling to Machu Picchu remains difficult.
One Peruvian official said the disruption is costing the Machu Picchu site roughly $260,000 in lost income per day.
Finally, Hilton has announced plans to enable guests to make requests by text at all of its hotels by the end of 2024, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill.
Guests will be able to send messages via the Hilton Honors app, WhatsApp, and other platforms. Although texting customer service requests has become common in sectors such as retail and finance, some major hotel groups still require phone or face-to-face internations. Hilton is the first hotel group to require all its hotels to enable guests to make requests via text.
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