Daily Podcast: Airbnb’s Work-From-Wherever Policy

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Hello from Skift. It’s Monday, May 2 in New York. Here’s what you need to know about the travel industry today.

Rashaad Jordan

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast discusses Airbnb’s new highly flexible work policy, food trucks that can make events and meetings safer, and United Airlines’ efforts to increase access to a new generation of pilots.

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Episode Notes

Airbnb announced last week that it was permanently extending its work-from-anywhere policy, which its UK chief executive Amanda Cupples said she would do at Skift Forum Europe in March. The move has business travel editor Matthew Parsons wondering what other companies will follow in Airbnb’s footsteps.

While major travel companies have touted work-from-anywhere messages in their marketing for the past two years, few have publicly committed to fully remote travel. Booking Holdings is one of the companies that hasn’t taken the plunge, with CEO Glenn Fogel acknowledging last year at the Skift Global Forum that he was in no rush to offer his employees permanent remote work.

But with the lines between work and home continuing to blur, Parsons writes that Airbnb’s move should spur other travel companies to embrace a fully remote workplace. He adds that companies like Airbnb that sell the dream of remote work to consumers around the world must live by their words.

Second, becoming a pilot has long been considered largely unattainable for many people of color and women, with those in the profession typically having a military or legacy connection to such a career. But a flight school launched by United Airlines last year is making significant progress in creating diverse groups of new pilots, writes contributor Mary Ann Ha.

United said when establishing the United Aviate Academy, the first ever launched by a major US airline, that it aimed to make the profession more accessible to communities typically underrepresented in the cockpit. The carrier has been successful in this regard, with 80% of the academy’s first class last year being women or people of color. This figure is 30 percentage points higher than what United committed to when it launched, and has essentially remained the same despite the addition of students by the academy. United has worked with groups such as the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals and Sisters of the Skies to help identify qualified candidates.

United spokesman Charles Hobart said he hoped the academy would help the carrier address its pilot shortage, an issue CEO Scott Kirby said last month was weighing on the company. The airline aims to hire 10,000 pilots in the next 10 years, half of whom will be trained at the academy.

Finally, event industry executives believe they have found a safe choice for food and beverages as in-person events resume. What is that? food trucksreports Lisa Jade Hutchins, writer for EventMB, a Skift brand.

Professional food trucks feature food handlers using personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves. They have seen an increase in demand due to the return of in-person events, with organizers seeing them as the safest catering option for large groups. Melissa Burdette, senior director of events at Meeting Professionals International, said one of the reasons food trucks are considered safe is that they involve less handling of food and serving utensils by compared to a traditional buffet.