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Delta, American up amenities game

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Delta, American up amenities game

Two of the nation’s largest airlines — Delta and American — are going head to head in a battle to offer the most stylish, comfortable and tech-friendly seats in the sky.

Almost simultaneously last week, the two carriers announced upgrades that would include all new seat categories at Delta Air Lines and power outlets and satellite-based Internet on American Airlines planes.

The upgrades, which will be added starting next year, signal that some airlines are ready to reinvest a portion of the hefty profits they are now collecting thanks to lower fuel costs, steady demand and moneymaking passenger fees.

The airline industry in the U.S. is expected to report a profit margin of about 6 percent in 2014, a dramatic improvement from the 0.3 percent margin of 2011, according to industry data.

Passengers who fly coach will benefit from some of the upgrades at Delta and American, but most are going toward pampering high-spending elite fliers.

Delta, for example, is creating a new seating category for international and trans-Atlantic flights called Delta One, which replaces Business Elite. Delta One fliers sit in private airborne suites and feast on "chef-curated meals, paired with wines selected by our master sommelier," the airline said.

American announced that it is investing $2 billion on new seats, satellite-based Internet access, a walk-up bar on 47 of its long-haul Boeing 777 jets, and an overhaul of the airline’s VIP lounges.

MORE HOTELS OFFERING FREE WI-FI

Good news for holiday travelers who will be staying in a hotel: You are more likely this year to get free Wi-Fi, a free breakfast and high-definition television.

That was among the findings of a new report by the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

The bad news is that the number of hotels that charge a resort fee is up to 7 percent, compared with 3 percent in 2012.

In a survey of more than 9,600 hotel owners and managers, the group found that only 11 percent of hotels said they charge for Internet service, down from 23 percent in 2013.

Among other findings, more than 80 percent of hotels have high-definition TVs, complimentary breakfasts and computers in the lobby for free use.

Hugo Martin, Los Angeles Times

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