Honolulu Airport Tests Ridesharing Services

David Williams  / Bloomberg

A scene at Honolulu Airport, which is testing Uber and Lyft service. David Williams / Bloomberg

Skift Take: As in other destinations, consumer demand is driving the testing of ridesharing services at Honolulu Airport. The taxi industry is going to have to try to adapt. Travelers coming in and out of the airport will now have some more reasonable transportation options.

— Dennis Schaal

A three-month pilot program allowing ride-hailing services Lyft and Uber to pick up passengers at Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport is starting.

Hawaii Department of Transportation Director Jade Butay said the program that starts on Friday should cut wait times for customers, regardless of their transportation preference.

Ride-hailing apps were already allowed to drop off passengers, but can now pickup at two designated spots: the Interisland Terminal across from Lobby 2 and at the Overseas Terminal across from Lobby 8.

Uber and Lyft have been granted temporary permits for the program. The companies have agreed to pay the Airports Division 7 percent of prearranged trip fares.

The development is a major change to current policy and angered taxi drivers, who have long argued that ride-hailing companies have unfair advantages over cabs. Taxi drivers stopped picking up passengers on Thursday to protest the pilot program.

Drivers are not allowed to solicit customers or wait on airport property without having a pre-arranged customer.

“Oahu residents and visitors will benefit from having another convenient, affordable transportation option at the airport,” said Andrew Magana, senior manager for Uber in Hawaii. “This is also something uberX drivers on Oahu have long been asking for, as it will greatly help their business and support the local economy.”

Uber said the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport is the last of the nation’s top 30 airports to allow pickups by uberX drivers.

Lyft called the pilot program exciting.

“Passengers across the country have come to expect access to ridesharing during their travels and we’re looking forward to providing Lyft to the millions of Oahu residents and visitors who travel through HNL each year,” said Kirk Safford, Lyft’s senior manager of airports and venues.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Airbnb’s Split Payments and 8 Other Hospitality Trends This Week

H. Michael Karshis  / Flickr

An Airbnb in San Antonio. The company recently launched split payments for group travel. H. Michael Karshis / Flickr

Skift Take: This week in hospitality, AccorHotels’ Onefinestay and Hilton’s Conrad are stepping up in the luxury space, and Airbnb launched long-awaited split payments for group travel.

— Sarah Enelow

Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines hospitality.

For all of our weekend roundups, go here.

>>Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson isn’t afraid to speak up about a variety of issues that he sees impacting the wider travel industry, and that’s something not every travel CEO is willing to do: Video: Marriott CEO Hopes Starwood Tie-In Will Be Done on Deal’s Second Anniversary

>>Here’s to some of the most innovative and thoughtful brands in travel today. These companies are doing the heavy lifting to make travel and hospitality more inspiring: Best Airline and Hotel Innovators in 2017 From a Business Traveler’s Perspective

>>Despite its infrastructure challenges and a reputation for red tape, the world’s biggest hotel brands can’t seem to get enough of Africa. With thousands of rooms in the development pipeline, African cities will soon be festooned with a slew of international brands. It’s good news for global travelers and local economies alike: Hotel Chains Are Scrambling to Keep Up With Demand in Africa

>>In other words, don’t expect AccorHotels to be vying for Wyndham’s European vacation rental business anytime soon: Onefinestay CEO Views Hyper Personalization as Next Stage of Luxury Rentals

>>In the heavily competitive luxury space, Conrad is looking to gain its edge through innovative technology: Conrad Ups Its Innovation Play

>>For anyone who’s ever had to wrangle a payment from a friend for a trip, this new Airbnb payments feature is a very welcome early holiday present: Airbnb Makes Good on Startup Acquisition With Launch of Split Payments for Group Travel

>>Luxury consumers value the human touch, meaning technological innovation at this level needs to serve a purpose: Inside Conrad’s Latest Innovation Play — New Luxury

>>Aman is still not an ordinary hotel company. But it’s no longer as unusual as it once was. It’s a little more mainstream: Video: Aman Resorts Places Big Bet on City Hotels

>>Should other hotel loyalty programs follow World of Hyatt’s lead in being much more revenue-based and geared toward high-end travelers? This survey’s findings seem to suggest it, but we have some reservations: Marriott Edges Out Hyatt for Top Honors in J.D. Power’s Hotel Loyalty Survey

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Trump Slump Means U.S. Is Losing Visitors and 7 Other Tourism Trends This Week

Phil Roeder  / Flickr

Cloud Gate, aka “the bean,” in Chicago’s Millennium Park. The U.S. is experiencing a Trump Slump worse than anticipated. Phil Roeder / Flickr

Skift Take: This week in tourism, the dreaded Trump Slump is worse than industry leaders thought, including a 9.4 percent decrease from Mexico. For destinations facing the opposite problem, we gave suggestions for easing overtourism.

— Sarah Enelow

Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines tourism.

For all of our weekend roundups, go here.

>>Japan Tourism really thinks that U.S. travelers are turning Japanese, or at least their travel wish lists are. The tourism board is more building off the momentum it already has in the U.S. But most U.S. travelers don’t speak Japanese, and that will continue to be a sticking point for the country’s tourism: Japan Tourism Is Using Celebrity Chefs to Make the Country More Palatable to U.S. Travelers

>>Long-time tour operator Ker & Downey has always had a mission to get travelers to less-explored regions. Aside from bringing in tourism dollars to developing countries, the company stands out for its commitment to on-the-ground philanthropy: Giving Free and Independent Travel a Luxury Edge

>>Luxury travel brands are today operating within the transformation economy. Brands must align themselves with experiences that speak to affluent consumers’ desire for a personal evolution: Aligning Luxury Hotels With Active Brands to Attract High-Achieving Guests

>>China is a tiny part of its overall business right now, but Thomas Cook is thinking long term. Whether the company’s expansion into China is a success or not will probably come down to the strength of its local opposition, which is deeply entrenched: Thomas Cook China Operation Faces Strong Opposition

>>People with disabilities are often overlooked by event spaces and meeting planners. A new wave of innovation and technology can help make meetings and events more accessible, but lasting change needs to start with a focus on increasing accessibility during the planning process: Meetings and Events Technology Alone Can’t Solve Accessibility Challenges

>>Accessibility should become an integral part of the planning process for planners and event spaces alike. New technologies alone won’t fix these shortcomings: Accessibility Is More Than Adding Tech Gadgetry — Meetings Innovation Report

>>We’ve got your overtourism coverage. And we have some ideas for how to address the problem. Tune in for a valuable conversation: Skift Podcast: Finding Solutions for the Overtourism Dilemma

>>The Trump slump is not only real; it’s worse than anticipated. The much-coveted Chinese travelers, for instance, are looking to travel elsewhere for now: Trump Slump Means U.S. Tourism Is Losing Visitors From Its Most Important Markets

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United Nations Warns That 17 Arabic World Heritage Sites Are Endangered

Associated Press

This photo released Aug. 25, 2015 on a social media site used by Islamic State militants, which has been verified and is consistent with other Associated Press reporting, shows smoke from the detonation of the 2,000-year-old temple of Baalshamin in Syria’s ancient caravan city of Palmyra. Associated Press

Skift Take: Over the centuries, conquistadors, clerical authorities, and others have damaged architectural legacies that are now iconic. It’s happening again in the Middle East. The world should clamp down on the smuggling of antiquities and record digital imagery of historic architecture.

— Sean O’Neill

The new head of the U.N. cultural agency warned Thursday that 17 of the 82 World Heritage sites in the Arab region are on its “danger” list because of conflicts.

Audrey Azoulay, who took the helm of the educational, scientific and cultural agency known as UNESCO earlier this month, said over 100 sites across Iraq have been damaged.

She told a U.N. Security Council meeting Thursday on the destruction and trafficking of cultural heritage by terrorists and during conflicts that all six World Heritage sites in Syria have been “severely affected” including Palmyra and Aleppo, one of the world’s oldest cities.

Azoulay praised the council’s adoption in March of a resolution condemning the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage and warning the Islamic State extremist group, al-Qaida and other combatants that such attacks may constitute war crimes.

The resolution expands previous measures which were limited to the illicit trafficking in looted cultural items to fund terrorism and focused on Iraq and Syria.

Azoulay called the measure “a major breakthrough” that “testifies to a new awareness on the importance of culture, not only to respond to conflicts but also to prevent radicalization and fight violent extremism.”

She called for all countries to implement the resolution, improve data collection and information sharing on trafficking routes, and better damage assessments.

“This is why over the last months UNESCO sent rapid assessment missions to Palmyra, Nimrud, Ashur and most recently, Mosul, to define emergency protection measures,” Azoulay said.

U.N. counter-terrorism chief Vladimir Voronkov called terrorist attacks on World Heritage sites “an attack on our common historical roots and cultural diversity.”

“Additionally, the looting and illicit trafficking of cultural objects leads to the financing of terrorism and criminal networks,” he said.

To combat trafficking, he called for a stronger focus on investigations and cross-border cooperation, and on bringing in collectors, art dealers, auction houses and the tourism sector to stop the illegal trade in stolen cultural items.

Yury Fedotov, head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, told the council by videoconference from Vienna that “we need to do more to support countries to detect stolen cultural property with a view to dismantling criminal networks.”

“The art market and museums should pay special attention to the provenance of cultural items that they are considering for acquisition, or with which they otherwise come into contact,” he said. “Governments can help them to ensure that this care is diligently exercised.”

Copyright (2017) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

This article was written by Edith M. Lederer from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Travel Companies Still Offering Last-Minute Holiday Travel Deals

Michael Dwyer  / Associated Press

In this November 2017 photo, passengers pass through Terminal A at Logan International Airport in Boston. It’s getting late for booking holiday travel, but not too late.
Michael Dwyer / Associated Press

Skift Take: There are deals out there for holiday travel, but airlines are getting savvier about canceling flights when there is low demand so some bargains of previous years, such as on Christmas Day, are vanishing.

— Sean O’Neill

So you polished off the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, watched Black Friday and Cyber Monday come and go, and now — just now — you’re thinking that it might be time to make your Christmas travel reservations.

Well, procrastinators, you may have already missed the best prices of the season on airfares, but travel experts have tips for salvaging an affordable holiday trip.

Many flights around Christmas are expected to sell out. Still, as of mid-week, there were a number of reasonable fares available on competitive routes such as Chicago-to-Dallas, says George Hobica, founder of airfarewatchdog.com. Hobica pieced together a Chicago-Atlanta round trip on United Airlines and Spirit Airlines for $227.

That bargain is possible because United is in a fare war with Spirit Airlines in Chicago and other places. And the return flight is on Christmas night itself.

Booking Tips From the Experts

Which brings us to the money-saving suggestions from travel experts.

— Be flexible. If you’re willing to fly on Christmas or New Year’s Day you can save. Very early flights are generally cheaper too, and check if driving a little farther to an alternate airport helps.

— Check one-way fares; bundling two of them, even on separate airlines, might be cheaper than a round trip.

— Shop all the airlines, and set up alerts for your route. Hobica notes that sites such as Hopper and Hipmunk don’t list Delta while Priceline, Expedia, and Kayak do, and Southwest flights generally have to be searched separately.

— Fulfill your dream to sit up front. Because business travel drops during the holidays, airlines will sometimes cut prices on business- or first-class seats, although they’ll still cost more than economy.

— Travel light. If you can avoid checking a bag, it could spare you a $25 fee and reduce the risk of a lost bag, especially when taking connecting flights.

— The lowest fare isn’t always the cheapest if it forces you to spend more to check a bag or pick your seat.

For example, American, Delta, and United now all sell so-called Basic Economy fares that come with fewer perks. You can’t even stow a bag in the overhead bin if you buy this ticket on American or United.

“The (advertised) fare is not what you’re going to pay if you are in Basic Economy and you’re checking a bag or picking a better seat,” says John DiScala, who runs the JohnnyJet.com travel site. Basic Economy usually saves travelers about $50 round-trip compared with regular economy, he adds, so in those cases, “I’d go with paying $50 more.”

There were big fare sales this week from JetBlue, Southwest, and others, but, in general prices for Christmas are heading higher.

Holiday airfares rise on average about $4 a day starting around Thanksgiving, according to the folks at Hopper, an airfare-analysis app. “Prices will go up at a steeper incline from here — $7 a day on an average fare,” says Patrick Surry, Hopper’s chief data scientist.

There is no single answer to the question of which day of the week is best to buy airline tickets.

For years the conventional wisdom was that Tuesday was the best choice. Airlines do often launch sales that day, but you’re just as likely to find a bargain on a Saturday or any other day. Some of the deepest discounts are on flash sales, which are promoted on social media but disappear quickly.

Flying home on the Sunday after Christmas will probably cost more because hundreds of thousands of other travelers are thinking the same thing.

But even traveling on Christmas Day, when most airports are relatively quiet, isn’t the automatic money-saver that it used to be, says Brett Snyder, who writes the Cranky Flier travel blog and runs a travel-help business.

“The airlines have gotten better at canceling non-peak flights,” Snyder says. “They used to say, ‘Fly on Christmas Day,’ but now there are a lot fewer flights that day.” The airlines have reduced the supply to meet the lower demand on days when few people want to fly.

There just aren’t as many empty seats on planes these days. The average domestic flight for all of December last year was 83.4 percent full, up from less than 73 percent just 15 years ago.

That makes it tougher to find last-minute bargains. So next year, start making plans earlier.

Copyright (2017) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

This article was written by David Koenig from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Brexit Talks Close to Resolution on Ireland-Northern Ireland Open Border

Bloomberg

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar believes the border issue with Northern Ireland is more or less resolved, and the next stage of Brexit talks can proceed. Bloomberg

Skift Take: Will the UK and EU maintain an open border between the EU’s Ireland and the UK’s Northern Ireland? Theresa May needs it for Brexit talks to proceed, although she’s trying to maintain the peace with her far-right coalition partner in Northern Ireland. It’s a very difficult dance step.

— Dennis Schaal

Ireland is well on it’s way to meeting its objectives in the Brexit negotiations, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said, as the European Union and the U.K. approach a deadline for moving on to talks about their future trading relationship.

A day after European Commission President Donald Tusk said the EU would consult with Ireland before deciding whether to allow negotiations to move on to phase two later this month, Varadkar made clear he sees his country in a strong position.

“We’re well on our way to achieving what we wanted” after the U.K. voted to leave the EU last year, Varadkar said in an RTE radio interview Saturday. A transition period “looks done and dusted” and maintaining the Common Travel Area is “there or thereabouts,” he said.

Varadkar reiterated that Ireland wants talks to move to the next phase, but would not endorse that move without an acceptable offer from the U.K. on the future of the border with Northern Ireland.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is working against the clock to find a way of avoiding a policed border on the island, without alienating the Northern Irish party that props up her government in London. Only when the EU accepts the U.K.’s proposed solution will Brexit negotiations move on to the trade talks that Britain wants to start this month.

Before moving to phase two “we want to be clear about the parameters of those talks and that means having a written assurance that there will be an avoidance of a hard border and there are a number of ways to do that,” Varadkar said.

 

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Peter Flanagan from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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American Airlines Solves Holiday Pilot Shortage and 3 Other Aviation Trends This Week

Tim Bounds  / Flickr

American Airlines is facing a pilot shortage for the upcoming holiday travel season. Tim Bounds / Flickr

Skift Take: This week in aviation, we wondered who’s really taking care of their customers. Delta is bringing back free upgrades; Southwest is ready to pay to make travelers happy, and American was forced to scramble to address a pilot shortage scare.

— Sarah Enelow

Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines aviation.

For all of our weekend roundups, go here.

>>Here’s to some of the most innovative and thoughtful brands in travel today. These companies are doing the heavy lifting to make travel and hospitality more inspiring: Best Airline and Hotel Innovators in 2017 From a Business Traveler’s Perspective

>>Delta is slowly restoring benefits once-lost to SkyMiles members, but it’s more of a competitive move against other carriers than an olive branch for passengers: Delta Brings Back Complimentary Upgrades for Frequent Flyers — Business of Loyalty

>>This was a lot of public drama for no reason. Maybe it would have been better for the company and the union to solve their differences in private. The flights would have continued as scheduled, and no one would have known there was an issue: American Airlines Solves Its Holiday Pilot Problem and Will Not Cancel Any Flights

>>When something goes wrong on a flight, Southwest tries to be proactive in communicating with customers. Is this the right approach? Or should Southwest wait until passengers complain? Southwest Takes Customer Service Seriously — Airline Innovation Report

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A Paris Tour Tracks the Old Haunts of Famous Black Americans

Russell Contreras  / Associated Press

In this June 20, 2017 photo, novelist Colson Whitehead speaks to fans after discussing his Pulitzer Prize-winning book ‘The Underground Railroad’ at the English-language bookstore Shakespeare and Company in Paris. Travelers to Paris can create a different type of itinerary exploring African-American connections to the City of Light. Russell Contreras / Associated Press

Skift Take: The City of Light famously embraced African-American expats fleeing American racism. A tour of the former hangouts of these intellectuals, performers, and other luminaries can offer a fresh travel experience.

— Sean O’Neill

The great African-American writers James Baldwin and Richard Wright began their feud over Wright’s novel “Native Son,” at Cafe Les Deux Magots. Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis held hands with his white girlfriend, French actress Juliette Greco, while strolling along the Seine after hanging out with Picasso. Entertainer Josephine Baker became a megastar at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees.

Some travelers to Paris seek selfies with the Eiffel Tower, go to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre or stroll to the Arc de Triomphe. But you can create a different type of itinerary exploring African-American connections to the City of Light. Some of the United States’ greatest black intellectuals and performers sought an escape here from the racism of 20th century America, and with a little homework, you can retrace their footsteps.

“Paris. … There you can be whatever you want to be. Totally yourself,” poet Langston Hughes wrote, according to Paule Marshall’s memoir “Triangular Road.”

“I’ve never felt a moment of sorrow,” Wright said about leaving the U.S. for France.

How and why these black expats felt more at home in Paris than in their own country is the theme of Black Paris Tours , founded and led by Ricki Stevenson.

In the U.S., African-Americans contended with segregation, racial terror and little support for their art. But in Paris, they drank wine with surrealists, frequented bars that aided the French Resistance during World War II, and enjoyed accolades for their work, Stevenson said. The French showered them with admiration and opportunity — ironic given France’s treatment of its African colonies. And while Paris today is a multiethnic city, immigrants from its former colonies, especially North Africans, often face racism and discrimination.

Yet decades ago, African-Americans felt welcomed here. St. Louis-born Freda Josephine McDonald, for example, came to Paris as a dancer after a life of cleaning houses and babysitting for wealthy white families. In the U.S., she was criticized for being “too dark.” The New York Times once called her a “Negro wench.” But in Paris, she drew immediate fame for her 1925 performance in La Revue Negre at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees. As Josephine Baker, she became one of the era’s most popular performers.

“The opportunity to live a rich, full life is something that she could have in Paris,” Stevenson said. “She could not have this in the United States.”

When Baker died in 1975, she was buried in a French military uniform with her medals for her role in the French Resistance during World War II.

Today, you can catch a show at the Art Deco-style Theatre des Champs-Elysees, visit Baker’s favorite restaurant La Coupole and take photos at Place Josephine Baker, a square. Her image, rarely seen in the U.S., is widespread in Paris. There’s a swimming pool named for her too, in a barge floating on the Seine.

And while the Lenox Lounge, a famed Harlem jazz club where Billie Holiday sang, has closed, Paris jazz clubs such as Caveau de la Huchette in the city’s Latin Quarter still serve up energetic evenings of live swing and bebop.

Founded in 1947, Caveau de la Huchette was one of many clubs where African-American performers sought to make a living amid changing music tastes in the U.S. It played host to the likes of Lionel Hampton and Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers. Last year, the club got a cameo appearance in the movie “La La Land.” One evening last summer, a trio of saxophonists drew a diverse crowd of swing dancers enjoying 1940s-era jazz.

Around the corner from Caveau de la Huchette, vintage shops sell posters of African-American jazz artists and hard-to-find vinyl albums like “The Hawk in Paris” by Coleman Hawkins.

In Saint Germain des Pres, Cafe de Flore is known as a favorite hangout of Ernest Hemingway’s. But it’s also where James Baldwin, a son of Harlem who came to Paris with only $40, crafted his novel “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” There’s a small photo of Hemingway upstairs but no image of Baldwin.

At Le Select cafe, a gathering place for intellectuals before World War II, Baldwin finished “Giovanni’s Room,” a novel about an American in Paris and his affair with an Italian man.

The famed English-language bookstore Shakespeare and Company served as a meeting place for African-Americans and other expats throughout the 20th century and still does. On a recent afternoon, the African-American writer Colson Whitehead talked to a crowd outside the store about his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Underground Railroad.” He answered questions about slavery in the U.S., police shootings and the state of African-Americans in a post-President Barack Obama nation. Inside, books on display included “They Can’t Kill Us All: The Story of the Struggle for Black Lives” and “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.”

Looking back on his time in Paris, Miles Davis once wrote: “I loved being in Paris and loved the way I was treated.”

Stevenson said visitors can learn about that chapter of the African-American experience today. “All you need to know is the history,” she said. “And know where to visit. It’s all here.”

___

If You Go…

CAFE LES DEUX MAGOTS: 6 Place Saint-Germain des Pres

CAFE DE FLORE: 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain

CAVEAU DE LA HUCHETTE: 5 Rue de la Huchette

SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY: 37 Rue de la Bucherie

 

Copyright (2017) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

This article was written by Russell Contreras from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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American Airlines Solves Its Holiday Pilot Problem and Will Not Cancel Any Flights

Brandon Wade  / American Airlines

An American Airlines pilot works in the controls on an aircraft parked in Miami. The airline has solved its staffing issue for December. Brandon Wade / American Airlines

Skift Take: This was a lot of public drama for no reason. Maybe it would have been better for the company and the union to solve their differences in private. The flights would have continued as scheduled, and no one would have known there was an issue.

— Brian Sumers

American Airlines said Friday it does not expect to cancel any flights in December because of a pilot shortage, ending a 48-hour saga that had some passengers wondering if they should switch airlines for holiday travel.

For at least a week, according to the airline’s pilot union, American had been dealing with a technical problem with its pilot scheduling system. The airline’s computers had erroneously approved time off for just about any pilot who wanted it — regardless of whether the pilot deserved it. American kept quiet, but Bloomberg reported it on Wednesday, and soon media worldwide chased the story, making passengers nervous.

The union, the Allied Pilots Association, said Wednesday that American was at least one pilot short for as many as 15,000 flights in the second half of December. American disputed the number, but agreed it had a problem, and began offering pilots 150 percent of their usual pay to work on days on which they were mistakenly given time off.

American management and the pilot union have not had the best relationship, and for a couple of days they traded barbs about the severity of the issue. American maintained it would find a way to fix it, while a spokesman for the union told reporters the airline was underplaying the extent of the problem. The union also blasted American for not collaborating with pilot leaders on a solution.

All that is moot now. American said in a statement the union and management have devised a plan to ensure no flights will be canceled. It did not immediately share details of the deal.

“We are pleased to report that together, American and the Allied Pilots Association have put that worry to rest to make sure our flights will operate as scheduled,” American said. “By working together, we can assure customers that among the many stresses of the season, worrying about a canceled flight won’t be one of them.”

In a statement, the union said: “With this agreement in principle, we anticipate that American Airlines will be able to maintain a full December schedule as planned for its passengers.”

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How Emily Fischer, Founder of Haptic Lab, Uses Design to Drive Positive Change

Skift Take: Through her design studio, Haptic Lab, Emily Fischer seeks to bring about transparency, simplicity, sustainability and consciousness in the way products are created and designed.

— Dawn Rzeznikiewicz

The Unbound Collection by Hyatt and SkiftX present The Freedom to be Extraordinary content series, which explores how breaking free from convention can lead to extraordinary success. These conversations will reveal how leading innovators and entrepreneurs approach creativity and how they’re embracing the freedom to be extraordinary.

It’s not easy for Emily Fischer to come up with a quick phrase or title to describe what she does. The textile designer, kite designer, soon-to-be clothing designer, and new mom knows that she likes making things, and doesn’t want herself to fit into a box. It’s this motivation that led her to leave the world of commercial architecture to start her own Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary design studio, Haptic Lab.

She was turned on to the world of arts, crafts, and design at an early age. “I grew up in a very quaint community in Wisconsin where women were always crafting as a side hustle. I spent a lot of time at craft sales in church basements, along with a really creative mother. This culture introduced me to how things get made on a small scale,” says Fischer.

Destined for design, she worked as an architect in Manhattan for five years, but soon realized it wasn’t the right fit. “Architecture can come with a lot of work and not a lot of reward,” she says. She grew frustrated with the fact that projects she worked on often didn’t come to fruition, and that designs got lost in translation compared to what was actually built.

Being laid off during the economic recession finally gave her the motivation she needed to break out on her own and try to make a living through Haptic Lab and her own creations. She put together a website of her “weird, experimental post-graduate projects,” which involved handmade quilts, kites, and a few other works. She soon found a loyal audience. “That bit of encouragement made all the difference,” Fischer says.

The studio’s team has expanded to include a small group of craft artisans, designers and tinkerers. Specializing in tactile and sensory design that combine new technologies with traditional craft techniques, Haptic Lab’s handmade projects are designed to playfully explore the sense of touch and feel and are created through a hands-on, research-driven approach.

“When you’re making something by hand, you’re scaling it for human beings. That tactile characteristic is important for me to relate to. … In addition to being handmade, my projects all have a relation to the topics I’m constantly reading and learning about,” she says. She also describes herself as “an obsessive walker,” doing her best thinking on the move. “Engaging with the physical reality of the world around me is a huge part of my inspiration.”

Beyond overseeing Haptic Lab, Fischer is also a new mom. When asked how this has changed her creative process, she says, “I think the biggest change was that having a child can often make you feel like you need to make the world a better place. It was even stronger after the election this year. When I look at my daughter I ask, ‘What would make you most proud of me?’”

One way she’s resolving this decision to make a positive impact is by putting Haptic Lab on track to become a Certified B Corporation this year, which means it will meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. “That means being carbon neutral and sourcing materials that are better for the earth. Even if it ends up costing more, there’s a lot of value in that,” she says.

The Unbound Collection by Hyatt

This content was created collaboratively by The Unbound Collection by Hyatt and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.

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