A laptop ban is slated to hit Europe-to-U.S. flights soon. A laptop being used in first class on a flight is pictured here. Christopher Jasper, Alan Levin and Richard Weiss / Bloomberg
The Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report is our weekly newsletter focused on the future of corporate travel, the big fault lines of disruption for travel managers and buyers, the innovations emerging from the sector, and the changing business traveler habits that are upending how corporate travel is packaged, bought, and sold.
The big news this week is the likely ban of laptops and tablets on flights from Europe to the U.S., which will present a huge disruption for business travelers if put into effect.
Talks are still taking place between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and airlines flying transcontinental routes, but it seems like some form of the ban will be put in place soon. Australia, as well, has signaled it will ban laptops on inbound flights.
This will likely mean security delays, traveler confusion, stolen laptops, and a serious risk of company information being accessed from devices in checked baggage. Get ready, just in case.
Meanwhile, a few big moves are happening in corporate travel. Expedia’s acquisition of SilverRail will give its customers more robust rail options around the world, which could come in handy for corporate travel arm Egencia. Companies are also shaking up their loyalty programs, to allow business travelers to earn points across different elements of their trip. And Lola, which debuted last year as an AI-fueled travel agent for vacationers, will soon pivot to focus on frequent business travelers.
Read more below.
— Andrew Sheivachman, Skift
Social Quote of the Day
Anyone who tells you business travel isn’t glamorous obviously has no appreciation for a fine bucket of free ice. @jonesrooy
Business of Buying
EasyJet Is Buying Bigger Aircraft to Take Advantage of Alitalia and Air Berlin’s Woes: With space being at a premium at key airports during peak periods, EasyJet has done the sensible thing in upping the size of its aircraft. Its performance hasn’t been great since the Brexit vote but with weaker carriers struggling, it is in a position to turn things around. Read more at Skift
Expedia to Buy Rail Distributor SilverRail Technologies: Expedia recognized some time ago that it needed to wire up rail providers, particularly in Europe and Asia, and now it is securing a technology leader in the space for its portfolio of transportation solutions. Read more at Skift
JetSuite Wants to Bring a Private Jet-Style Experience to the Masses: The list of new brands that wanted to disrupt private jet flying in recent years is long, but successes are few. Having someone at the helm who has solid experience in commercial aviation sets JetSuite apart from the competition. Read more at Skift
Virtuoso Travel CEO on the Future of the New Luxury Traveler: Wealthy travelers define luxury in many different ways, based on who they’re traveling with and why. However, there is consensus in terms of the growing demand for more human connectedness and meaningful experiences for both adults and children. Read more at Skift
Safety + Security
Looming Airline Laptop Ban at Heart of Trump’s Classified Intelligence Breach to Russians: Perhaps the airline industry can get more details about the proposed laptop ban from the Russians since they have yet to get clarity from the Trump administration. Read more at Skift
Airlines Warn Wider Laptop Ban Could Cost Passengers $1 Billion: The airlines are saying that the remedy — a wider laptop ban — isn’t necessarily appropriate to cope with the threat. Given the lack of transparency about the threat, it leaves everyone in the dark. Read more at Skift
Disruption + Innovation
Lola Travel App Will Pivot to Target Business Travelers: Paul English was pretty candid about the limitations of his initial idea and equally excited about the potential of tapping into the corporate travel world. The “travel agent in your pocket” approach was never going to be big for the average consumer and targeting businesses seems much more sensible. Read more at Skift
Car Rental Companies Have Too Many Vehicles and Not Enough Customers: Car rental giants are working to reduce fleet size following a period of reduced demand. But as ridesharing continues to grow in popularity on a global scale, these companies need to get creative about what the future of on-demand transportation really looks like. Read more at Skift
Love Global Entry? 6 More Options That Speed Travelers Through Customs: Global Entry is the gateway drug. Now other countries are allowing you to skip through immigration faster than ever before. And it is easier than you would think. Read more at Skift
AccorHotels’ New Flight and Hotel Packages Target Loyalty Members First: In its attempt to own more of the traveler experience from start to finish, AccorHotels is leveraging the power of its loyalty program — something its peers, no doubt, will also want to do going forward. Read more at Skift
Flight Centre Expands Its Presence in Europe: With a 25 percent share in 3mundi, Flight Centre wants to further tighten its grip on corporate travel in Europe. Read more at Breaking Travel News