This is a roundup of news and other interesting pieces that I’ve come across over the last few days. Read about Oneworld entering membership talks with “several airlines”, Clear unveils new timed service, stunning new skyscraper’s observation deck in NYC, Southwest Airlines “aggressively hiring”, and American Airlines turning away passengers at Flagship Check-in.
Airlines ranging from Oman Air to Taiwanese startup Starlux and Alitalia successor ITA are among the unaligned ‘free agents’ which have said they want to join forces with a global alliance.
Oneworld chairman and Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker says he is already in discussions with several airlines, including Oman Air, “because it is my duty towards my members to grow our alliance.”
Clear is introducing a new service called “Reservation Lane powered by Clear” at Orlando International Airport (MCO) to allow flyers to plan for a timed and expedited entry through security.
Using the new system, travelers passing through security at MCO can book a reservation via reserve.clearme.com timed to the departures of their outgoing flights, simply by entering their flight details and number of passengers in their group. Once you select your reservation time, you’ll finish booking by entering contact information, before receiving a confirmation QR code via email, which will be used to access the Reservation Lane powered by Clear. Once a QR code has been issued, passengers will be directed to the Transportation Security Administration to show their boarding pass and photo ID, before heading to the standard TSA security line.
New York City’s fifth public high-rise observatory, officially opened to the public yesterday afternoon. Located on the top four floors of Kohn Pedersen Fox‘s 1,401-foot supertall skyscraper, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt features thrilling vantage points and a collection of immersive spaces and art installations from Kenzo Digital, placing it among the most Instagram-worthy destinations the city has to offer. The venue also includes Danny Meyer’s latest culinary outpost perched 1,100 feet above Midtown, Manhattan, called APRÈS, which was separately designed by Snøhetta.
Prices start at $39 per adult and $33 for children ages 6-12. Children 5 and under can visit the observation deck for free. If you want to visit during sunset to get those great shots of the city, you will have to pay an extra $10. NYC residents get a small discount of $5 on all tickets.
The carrier said that it had a goal of hiring approximately 5,000 employees by the end of 2021. To date, it’s already “more than halfway toward that goal,” CEO Gary Kelly said in a statement. Southwest is now trying to focus on ramping up its schedule, and in order to do so, it will need more staff.
Earlier this month, the Dallas-based carrier lost an estimated $75 million due to operational challenges. The carrier canceled more than 2,000 flights, which it blamed on bad weather and air traffic control issues. The move stranded numerous passengers at airports nationwide.
American Airlines has a private check-in for top customers at Chicago O’Hare, LAX, London Heathrow, Miami and New York JFK called Flagship First Check-in. But this doesn’t always work as intended and the rules around who can use it are complicated.