Travel Advisors Put the Thrill Back Into Vacation Planning

Pack Up + Go

Milena Rocha Vitor went on a mystery trip to Philadelphia planned by a travel agency, Pack Up + Go. She’s pictured with a Isaiah Zagar mosaic in the background at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. Pack Up + Go

Skift Take: A growing number of travel advisors are offering mystery vacations, created by keeping trip details a secret from clients until the departure date. It puts the surprise element back in travel, which is something often lost these days, but the challenges for advisors are many.

— Maria Lenhart

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Grand Hyatt New York Will Give Way to a New Hotel and Retail Space

Michael Nagle / Bloomberg

Signage for Hyatt Hotels Corp.’s Grand Hyatt is displayed on the corner of Lexington Avenue and East 42nd Street in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. Michael Nagle / Bloomberg

Skift Take: Midtown Manhattan is rapidly changing, thanks to new zoning laws, and Trump might be feeling edged out. One of his first big projects is being torn down forever, and who knows — maybe he’ll get nostalgic. There will be taller buildings, and the Grand Central train station will get a facelift.

— Isaac Carey

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Is Southwest’s New Credit Card Companion Pass Offer Too Good to Be True?

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines will begin flying to Hawaii later this year, in part because it hopes to boost sign-ups for its co-branded credit card. Pictured is a Boeing 737 on the ground in Honolulu. Southwest Airlines

Skift Take: New customers who apply for the Southwest credit card by Monday, February 11, and meet minimum spending requirements will earn one of the airline’s companion passes for the rest of the year. The deals sounds too good to be true. But Southwest knows what it’s doing. This is probably smart business.

— Brian Sumers

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Thomas Cook Sale of Its Airline Could Be a Brexit Victim

Thomas Cook

The aircraft tails of Thomas Cook’s airline, which the tour operator might sell off to pay down debt. Analysts spoke skeptically about the plan. Thomas Cook

Skift Take: Investors in Thomas Cook cheered when executives said they might sell its airline to pay off debt. But the next day an analyst’s report spotlighted concerns about how Brexit-related regulatory snafus might hamper a sale. The divorce has so many unintended consequences.

— Sean O’Neill

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Qantas Cancels an Order for More Airbus Superjumbo Planes


Qantas has canceled an order for more Airbus A380s, making official what everyone has suspected for years. Pictured is one of the four-engine jets. Bloomberg

Skift Take: No one who was paying attention thought Qantas would take these aircraft. This is not a major surprise. But, yes, it is another suggestion the Airbus A380 program may not be around for much longer. The future is long-range, twin-engine jets.

— Brian Sumers

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The Bahamas Launches Marketing Blitz After Fyre Festival Fiasco

Bennett Raglin / Getty Images

(From left) Bahamas Minister of Tourism Dionsio D’Aguilar, Lenny Kravitz, Joy Jibrilu and Deputy Director General Tommy Thompson arrive at The Bahamas x Lenny Kravitz Fly Away Campaign Launch on February 7, 2019 in New York City. Bennett Raglin / Getty Images

Skift Take: The old adage is that there is no such thing as bad publicity. The Bahamas plans to turn the popular focus on the Fyre Festival debacle into a showcase for the beauty that led those scammers to select the destination in the first place.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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