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Study: Air fares, competition haven’t been hurt by consolidation

The conventional wisdom says that when major competitors in a given industry start to merge, that consolidation leads to higher prices for consumers and less competition overall. But a new study from the consulting firm PwC US finds that is not really the case—or at least, it hasn’t been for the U.S. airline industry in recent years.

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America's Top Hotels for Meetings

America's Top Hotels for Meetings
© David Purcell.

Cvent, a cloud-based marketplace that connects meeting planners with venues worldwide, surveyed its meetings and events planners to rank the Top 100 Meeting Hotels in the U.S. (Hint: The cream of the crop are located primarily in warm-weather destinations.)

  1. The Peabody Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
  2. Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center, Nashville
  3. Hyatt Regency, Atlanta
  4. Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando, Fla.
  5. The Venetian and Palazzo Resort, Hotel & Casinos, Las Vegas
  6. Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center, National Harbor, Md.
  7. Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
  8. The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta
  9. ARIA Resort & Casino at CityCenter, Las Vegas
  10. MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas

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QE2 Docks as Dubai Hotel

QE2 Docks as Dubai Hotel
© Harry Melchert - dpa / Corbis.

Dubai is now home to the famed Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise ship, as developers convert it into a floating hotel in downtown Port Rashid. The resort, to open in about a year, will retain the original furnishings and 300-room layout. Meanwhile, the 1,608-room JW Marriott Marquis is scheduled to open in Dubai at the end of this year.

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What's New in Chicago

What's New in Chicago
© PUBLIC Chicago.

At O’Hare Airport, United Airlines is making major improvements at Terminal 2, installing boarding bridges at 10 United Express gates, to be completed by mid-2013, and building a 12,500-square-foot United Club, due by the end of this year. Next spring, two international airlines are scheduled to start flying to ORD for the first time—Air Berlin, with service to Germany’s capital city; and Hainan Airlines, with flights to its Beijing hub.

On the lodging scene, Joie de Vivre Hotels opened the 184-room Hotel Lincoln at 1816 N. Clark after a $10 million overhaul of an existing property, while the 63-room luxury boutique Hotel Ivy made its debut at 233 E. Ontario. The Langham Chicago was due to open this year in a 52-story mixed-use building at 330 N. Wabash (next to the Trump Hotel). John Pritzker, son of the late Hyatt chief, reportedly plans to convert the Chicago Athletic Association building on S. Michigan Avenue into a 250-room luxury property to open in 2014, managed by Thompson Hotels. Less recently, the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel opened, occupying the first 18 floors of the visually stunning Aqua Tower near Lake Michigan, while lodging innovator Ian Schrager converted the historic Ambassador East Hotel in the Gold Coast neighborhood into the Public Chicago.

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Four U.S. carriers announce new code-share agreements

Four U.S. airlines—US Airways, American, Alaska and Virgin America—have set new code-sharing partnerships with foreign carriers that will provide for seamless connections all around the world.

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In-flight Wi-Fi technology advances on two fronts

Companies involved in in-flight Wi-Fi technology announced progress on two fronts last week that eventually will mean more widespread availability and better connections for passengers. And some of that progress relied on sacks of potatoes.

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United’s most frequent flyer sets another record

You think you log a lot of miles in the air? Compared to United’s favorite customer of all time, you’re probably nothing more than a rank amateur. The airline announced last week that its most frequent flyer has set a new mileage record.

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Briefs: Terminal overhaul coming at IAH; Virgin opens lounge at LA

In airport news this week, Houston Bush Intercontinental plans another major terminal overhaul; Los Angeles International welcomes a new lounge for Virgin America passengers; Nashville adds security lanes for business flyers; new concessions open at Minneapolis-St. Paul; and departing Anchorage travelers can now purchase carry-on beer.

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Southwest will add, increase some fees in 2013

Southwest Airlines has carved out a consumer-friendly reputation for itself in the airline business by not charging some of the most onerous fees imposed by its rivals. But those fees do generate huge amounts of revenue, and Southwest executives told an investors’ conference in New York that they expect to bring in an extra $100 million in 2013 by adjusting their fee policies.

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United sets new domestic and international routes

United Airlines has come out with a raft of new route announcements for winter and spring, including one new transcontinental market and other new routes to Latin America and Canada.

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