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Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks closer at AI travel planning, Chinese tour group resurgence, and American Air’s new European routes.

— Rashaad Jorden

Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, August 18. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Paid ChatGPT Plus users are now able to plan virtually every aspect of a trip in one place using the travel plugins available on the platform. So what worked well and what didn’t on those travel plugins? Travel Technology Reporter Justin Dawes provides answers in his Travel Tech Briefing.

Dawes reports ChatGPT Plus wasn’t created to be a travel platform, but with some improvements, he notes it could be a very useful tool for planning trips. Paid ChatGPT Plus users have access to beta versions of third-party plugins such as Expedia, Kayak and Skyscanner. Dawes writes that users can, for example, ask about the availability of flights and hotels, and the chatbot will pull information from the plugins when it can. 

He also lists issues he experienced using the travel plugins, such as errors when trying to prompt for a detailed itinerary and booking options. Those errors force a user to start the process over again. 

Next, China recently announced it would ease restrictions on overseas group tours. But traveler numbers won’t likely hit 2019 levels for some time, reports Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia.

Although Bhutia writes would-be travelers immediately started searching for trips in large numbers, numerous challenges remain for those looking to travel overseas in groups. International flights from China are at roughly 50% of pre-pandemic levels. In addition, Chinese travelers often face a complicated visa application process as well as surging prices for many popular tourist destinations. 

Bhutia adds another hurdle making group overseas travel difficult is high levels of youth unemployment. The unemployment rate among urban workers aged 16 to 24 was a little more than 21%. 

Finally, as airlines post record transatlantic profits, American Airlines will launch service to three European destinations next summer, reports Edward Russell, editor of Skift publication Airline Weekly. 

Russell writes American will start offering daily flights from its Philadelphia hub to Copenhagen, Naples and Nice next year. The company had hoped to add new European destinations to its schedule this summer but chose to wait until next year due to uncertainty about new Boeing 787 deliveries. American will also add new flights between Dallas-Forth Worth and Barcelona next June. 

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