Aviation

Big fat airline wrap

There’s only one thing we read on Tuesdays, and that’s this fab airline wrap. Well, that and scanning our bank account to double-check how much we’ve spent on coffee this week.

SCOOT: Are you being too economy-ical? scootbiz-new

Scoot offers a dedicated cabin at the front of its magnificent fleet of near new 787 Dreamliner’s for its ScootBiz passengers, and many passengers travelling for business to Asia are opting for a large leather reclining seat with headrest, and its generous 15 kg carry on plus 30KG check-in luggage for a great price, sometimes cheaper than economy on full-service carriers.

Throw in priority boarding, a meal and drink, ScooTV entertainment to stream, wifi on board, in-seat power and it makes sense, if you are heading to Singapore and beyond, when the prices on offer in the Back to Basics Biz Sale this week is from $289 all-in -including taxes – from Perth to Singapore. To Singapore from Sydney and Melbourne, the all-inclusive price is from $389 per way and from $349 ex Gold Coast.

Emirates treats customers to traditional Lunar New Year delights

First Class mochi

Australian customers travelling on Emirates’ flights to and from select destinations in Asia including Singapore and Bangkok, during Lunar New Year are in for a special treat as the airline celebrates the festive season.

A special selection of delicacies and traditional Chinese fare await customers across all classes travelling between 4-6 February. To complete the travel experience, festive treats will also be available in the Emirates Lounges in Dubai, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore.

Emirates customers flying from Australia to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City can indulge in a selection of Lunar New Year desserts on board during this festive period.

First Class and Business Class customers can tuck into a mouth-watering lychee and raspberry mousse served with vanilla lychee compote, shaped in the design of a traditional Chinese firecracker.

First Class travellers will also receive a specially-curated goodie basket to complete the festive cheer, while Business Class passengers can also enjoy coconut and mandarin mousse, served with mandarin compote.

Discover South America for less with LATAM Airlines’ new sale

Boeing 767-300 of Latam Airlines at GRU Airport, Guarulhos, Sao Paulo - Brazil, 2017

LATAM Airlines, South America’s leading airline, has launched a new sale offering huge savings of up to 46 per cent to destinations across South America.

Available to book until 22 February 2019, the deal is available on economy flights between 1 March 2019 to 30 November 2019, and business flights between 1 March 2019 to 30 June 2019.
Sale highlights include:

• Savings of up to 46 per cent on return flights from Australia to Uruguay’s cosmopolitan capital, Montevideo with prices starting from AUD$1,139* economy

• Savings of up to 39 per cent on return flights from Australia to Santiago, Chile, LATAM’s gateway to South America, with prices starting from AUD$1,049* economy

More info here.

British Airways launches Valentine’s in-flight entertainment channel 

BA

British Airways is celebrating Valentine’s Day by adding a romantic touch to the in-flight entertainment with a new category, Love is in the Air.

The channel, which will run until the end of February, hosts a collection of romantic films, TV shows, audiobooks and music.

From classics like Gone with the Wind to the newly released rom-com Crazy Rich Asians and the award-winning The Shape of Water, the channel will keep customers entertained even on the longest of long-haul flights.

As part of its TV show offering, First Dates: Valentine’s Special is available for viewing as well as cult classic Sex and the City and some love-themed episodes of Friends.

For audiobook fans, author and biographer Sue Roe reads In Montparnasse while music lovers can enjoy Elgar and Finzi’s Violin Concertos and Lisa Stansfield’s album, Deeper.

Qatar Airways Converts 10 of its 50 Airbus A321neo on Order to the Longer Range Airbus A321LR

Qatar Airways Airbus A330 tail

Qatar Airways has announced that it will convert 10 of its 50 Airbus A321neo on order to the Airbus A321LR (long range) variant of the A320 family.

The A321LR is a type of A321neo, which has extra fuel tanks as well as a higher maximum take-off weight to give the aircraft additional range.

Qatar Airways will use the A321LR to connect Doha to new growing markets where today demand is not sufficient for wide body aircraft or where current narrow bodies (A320/A321) are unable to reach.

Alternatively, the new aircraft will be adopted to provide additional frequencies on existing Qatar Airways routes, giving our loyal passengers more choice and flexibility when they travel.

AirAsia unveils AI chatbot with website and mobile app facelift

AC20190128_AVALaunch-03347

AirAsia today unveiled a website and mobile app facelift, including a chatbot named AVA (AirAsia Virtual Allstar) powered by artificial intelligence.

The updates are designed with guests in mind, and are aimed at delivering a more seamless, user-friendly experience to airasia.com and the app’s 3.3 million monthly active users, from flight bookings to browsing for deals to online shopping and customer support.

New features include:

  • New homepage

New comprehensive homepage designed for easier and faster navigation, including upcoming flight notice, search shortcut and recent searches, links to the best hotels, travel, duty-free shopping and activity deals, recommended destinations and link to BigPay, AirAsia’s money app.

  • AVA chatbot

Meet AVA, an AI chatbot available on the new live chat feature to respond to guest inquiries instantly. AVA currently speaks eight languages – English, Bahasa Malaysia, Thai, Bahasa Indonesia, Vietnamese, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. AVA was built by the AirAsia Software Engineering and Technology (AASET) and Customer Happiness team using technology from Ada, a Toronto based company that specialises in AI-powered customer experience.

  • New flight search with map

iOS users can now choose where to go using an interactive map that pinpoints all AirAsia’s destinations in a single page. This feature is the first among airline apps.

  • Combined Station Picker

A first among airline apps, iOS users can now select the nearest departure and arrival airports and filter by number of stops and flight duration.

  • Voice assistant

iOS users can now also check their upcoming flight status simply by asking Siri. To use this feature, just click the “Add to Siri” button under Flight Itinerary or My Bookings.

  • FACES enrollment

Guest may now enroll to AirAsia’s Fast Airport Clearance Experience System (FACES) on their mobile app to clear security and board their flight seamlessly. Just click on My Account and My FACES to take a 5 seconds video of your face.

  • More features

On top of that, guests can search for the lowest fares using the Low Fare Calendar, which has been integrated in the app, earn and pay using BIG Points and enjoy instant member discounts when they log in.

RwandAir and Amadeus extend partnership to boost continued growth in Africa and beyond

RwandAir

RwandAir, the national carrier of the Republic of Rwanda, is pleased to announce its expansion through its partnership with Amadeus, a world-class passenger service solution, to adopt technology that will allow its customers to benefit from improved efficiency, a better experience and increased convenience.

This is in line with further boosting Rwanda as a travel destination.

Rwanda is growing as an economic centre in East Africa and is becoming an increasingly important travel destination, for tourists and business travellers alike.

Last year Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali was ranked the third most popular destination in Africa to host international conferences.

RwandAir was recently named the 10th most-improved airline in the world by Skytrax and has built a reputation for excellent on-time performance.

Having previously provided RwandAir with distribution services, Amadeus will now roll out solutions across passenger systems, revenue management, loyalty management, payments, and data & analytics. The extended partnership intends to support RwandAir’s plans of expanding its network and fleet.

Emirates serves over 20,000 plant-based meals on board during ‘Veganuary’

Economy Class Vegan meal

Emirates served over 20,000 plant-based meals across all classes in January, known to Vegans worldwide as Veganuary. The worldwide movement, to encourage Veganism especially in January has seen on board requests for vegan meals increase by over 40% this month.

The airline caters to all its customers and has a range of dedicated menus for medical or religious meal requirements which are designed with a team of nutritionists and chefs. Vegan meals rank as the third most commonly requested special meal in Economy Class. Last month, travellers voted Emirates as the Best Airline for Vegan Meals in a poll by Vegan News.

Emirates has over 170 plant-based recipes in its kitchen to cater to its vegan customers. Emirates’ team of nutritionists and chefs use the freshest vegetables and unique grains to create the special meals. Known for its regionally inspired cuisine on board, Emirates takes the same approach for its vegan meals with recipes inspired by its destinations.

Some of the most popular dishes include Mushroom Ravioli, Vegetable Tagine served with couscous, and a Sweet Potato, Lentil and Spinach Ragout served with steaming brown rice. The meals are served complete with a special selection of mouth-watering vegan desserts such as Key Lime Parfait with date and citrus compote, Moist Chocolate Cake, or a Chia Seed Pudding.

Vegan meals, along with other special meals, are available on all Emirates flights and across all classes and can be requested 24 hours before departure. All the menus on board are changed monthly.

Stretch, relax and rejuvenate: Cathay Pacific opens The Sanctuary by Pure Yoga

cathay

A visit to Cathay Pacific’s Business Class lounge at The Pier in Hong Kong has just become even more beneficial for mind, body and soul following the opening of The Sanctuary by Pure Yoga.

Designed in partnership with The Pure Group, The Sanctuary by Pure Yoga is a 700 square-foot area divided into two zones – The Body Sanctuary, which is dedicated to yoga, and The Mind Sanctuary, where travellers can meditate to focus and calm the mind.

KLM connects people through a live hologram bar

Take-off_Tips_Selfie

What if travellers waiting to board a plane could exchange tips face-to-face with others who are heading in the opposite direction? KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has worked with creative agency DDB Unlimited to build a bar where travellers can meet to exchange local tips at airports in the Netherlands, Norway and Brazil. This new travel experience is called ‘Take-off Tips’ and is driven by 3-D facial scanning and hologram technology.

Rather than passively waiting for a flight, KLM has created an innovative way to share the kind of priceless local tips and cultural insights that their customers can’t get by reading a guidebook. Using a live connection, travellers can chat with a hologram of their counterparts, looking each other straight in the eye. Allowing travellers separated by thousands of miles to sit face to face – just as in real life. With KLM’s Take-off Tips bar, customers are able to talk to each other at airports in Amsterdam, Oslo, and Rio de Janeiro – strangers who would otherwise never have met.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Wholesalers

Big fat wholesaler wrap

Happy Monday readers! Have we got a wholelotta wholesaler news for you! Not really, this wrap is quite short, we just wanted to use a pun.

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Tourism

Here’s why Japan is the best country for solo travellers

Whether you’re looking to go on a journey of self-discovery or just plain don’t like people, solo travel has a little something for everyone.

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Travel Agents

Barry Mayo talks home-based: “It’s the satisfaction of being in control of your time”

by Ali Coulton

Having completely lost control of our time for quite a while now, we’re considering a career change after reading this.

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Travel Agents

Incentive Alert: Win the ultimate LA trip

Put a nice full-stop on your week by giving yourself the opportunity to win a banger of a trip. Or just have a few cheeky wines like the rest of us.

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Hotels

Airbnb slams tourism council’s “one-size-fits-all” recommendations for short-stay sector

Can’t stand Airbnb? Do you wish it could just piss off out of the tourism industry forever? Well, this will surely help get your rage on.

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Tourism

RESEARCH: A quarter of travel choices are made based on food

Similarly, the majority of Travel Weekly’s choices are also based on food. In fact, right now we’re deciding whether to finish another article or abandon ship and go get a kebab instead.

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Cruise

Virgin Voyages officially open bookings, announces private beach club

Tickets for Virgin’s much-anticipated ship, Scarlet Lady, are now on sale. We tried to convince our boss to buy us a ticket for ‘research purposes’ but he just laughed. We’re raking it as a maybe.

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Aviation

More Jetstar drama as airline apologises for refusing to fly home disabled passenger

Another day and another negative incident involving Jetstar. In more positive news, Travel Weekly’s editor has just found a $2 coin under his desk.

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Aviation

Mystery recipient of phone call by MH370 pilot revealed

As recent research points to a new possible crash site for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, another mystery surrounding the incident has now been solved.

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Cruise

Dream Cruises celebrates launch of Explorer Dream with roadshows

The celebrations kicked off in Sydney on Thursday night. Please excuse us for filing this story a day late – we’re still recovering from all the champagne we drank on the night.

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Aviation

Airbus to cease production of A380 superjumbo jet

by Ali Coulton

The announcement signals the end of an era for the aviation industry. We’ll be raising a tearful glass to the ‘giant of the skies’ at knock-off drinks this afternoon.

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Tourism

Flavour of the week

Break out the welcome cupcakes and spring for some Nescafé Gold. It’s time to welcome the industry’s latest recruits.

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