Voyager Supplier News Update – February 2012

Airline News

Qantas:

Q streaming

Qantas is trialling Q Streaming – the very latest in wireless flight entertainment (IFE) technology. During the trial, all domestic customers flying the nominated B767 (VH-OGH) will be able to access inflight entertainment using Apple iPads. The iPads will be loaned free to customers during the trial. Q Streaming will provide customers with greater choice and flexibility, with access to over 130 ours of on-demand movies, television and radio programs.

Inflight connectivity

Qantas is trialling inflight connectivity which will enable customers to access the internet inflight via a wi-fi connection. During the trial, customers travelling on six nominated A380 aircraft between SYD/MEL and LAX will be able to access the internet on their personal devices. Access will be free to all customers in First cabins on the nominated aircraft. Customers in other cabins on the nominated aircraft will be offered access on a mix of paid and free of charge basis, depending upon the needs of the trial. The inflight connectivity trial will run for 8 weeks from February 2012.

QF points transfers

Qantas is offering a 20% boost on hotel loyalty scheme points when they are transferred into the QF Frequent Flyer program. Points can be transferred into the scheme from Accor’s A|Club, Hyatt Gold Passport, Choice Privileges, Hilton Honors, Marriott Rewards and IHG’s Priority Club programs.

Qantas & British Airways: JSA economy class fare restructure

Qantas and British Airways are aligning their economy class fare structure on JSA routes, in order to support the new arrangements for travel between Australia and UK/Europe via Asia. From 25 March 2012, both Qantas and British Airways will operate services between UK/Europe and Australia via Singapore. Qantas will also fly between Australia and Bangkok and Australia and Hong Kong with British Airways operating services between Bangkok and UK/Europe, and Hong Kong and UK/Europe.

To support this new arrangement and provide customers with more consistent access to seats, Qantas and British Airways are changing their economy class fare structures for these routes.

S, Q and O inventory classes will be dedicated to long-haul itineraries between Australia and UK/Europe.

L, V and N inventory classes will be dedicated to mid-haul itineraries between Australia and Singapore/Hong Kong/Bangkok.

Y, B, H, K and M inventory classes will continue to be available for both long-haul and mid-haul itineraries.

Qantas Frequent Flyers and British Airways Executive Club members won’t experience any changes as a result of the fare class realignment.

From 1 February 2012, all new bookings made in economy or World Traveller economy class will be booked under the new fare structure.

Points Upgrade SMS Notification

Qantas is advising customers that they may now be notified of successful frequent flyer point pgrade requests up to 24 hours before departure by SMS.

QantasLink jets to Rockhampton, Gladstone and Mackay

QantasLink has announced a major boost to its services throughout Queensland, including the launch of Boeing 717 services to the booming resource towns of Rockhampton, Gladstone and Mackay.

Executive Manager Narendra Kumar said the introduction of two B717s to the QantasLink fleet in Queensland would add more than 200,000 seats of annual capacity. “QantasLink’s new 115-seat B717 services will offer customers faster flight times and more seats at peak times by complementing existing aircraft on these routes,” he said.

Rockhampton and Gladstone will launch on 15 March, followed by Mackay on 26 March, and the expansion also includes new Q300 and Q400 services across other destinations including Emerald, Roma and Bundaberg.

QantasLink also recently upgraded capacity on several other routes including between Cairns and Weipa, Cairns and Horn Island, Townsville and Cloncurry/Mt Isa and Townsville-Moranbah.

QantasLink jets to Rockhampton, Gladstone and Mackay

QantasLink has announced a major boost to its services throughout Queensland, including the launch of Boeing 717 services to the booming resource towns of Rockhampton, Gl

Virgin:

Virgin Australia has implemented its new business class product on its Boeing 737 narrow-body domestic fleet nationwide**. Each aircraft has eight comfortable leather seats in the business class cabin, with a 38” pitch giving passengers great personal space with a dedicated crew member in the front cabin who will serve a good choice of food and wine on all flights.

**Please note: Since the business class product launch, Virgin Australia has decided to stop selling their old Boeing 737-700 aircraft as business class and will downgrade the cabin and fares to economy by the end of April, along with offering rebates on business class fares already paid by passengers who ended up travelling on those planes. Unlike the Boeing 737-800s, which all sport Virgin’s new business class, most of the 13 older-model Boeing 737-700s in the airline’s domestic fleet retain the original premium economy seats in the first rows. While these seats have been recovered in new material, and include the same meals and service as business class on the -800 aircraft, there is a distinct difference between the ‘business class experience’ on the old and new aircraft.

The entire Boeing 737-700 fleet is now being marketed and sold as economy-only flights” – including the first three ‘premium economy / business class’ rows.

Rebates offered on business class fares

According to Australian Business Traveller, passengers who’ve paid business class fares but landed in a 737-700 are entitled to a travel voucher worth 50% of the cost of their ticket. This voucher can be claimed by calling Virgin Australia’s Guest Contact Centre on 13 6789. Forward bookings for travel not yet made will be offered travel credit equal to the difference between the cost of the business class fare and the lower flexi-fare for that flight.

Until the end of February the meal service in the 737-700′s ‘business class’ cabin will remain the same as for 737-800 flights. Other business class perks such as lounge access will also remain.

From March 1st, meals served to passengers in those first three rows will revert to Virgin Australia’s standard flexi-fare offering.

How to choose the best business class seats on Virgin Australia Boeing 737

Tips on how to choose the best business class seats on Virgin Australia Boeing 737 – http://www.ausbt.com.au/best-seats-guide-virgin-australia-boeing-737-business-class

Virgin Australia extends seat selection options on intenrational long haul services

From 20 February Virgin Australia introduced Advance Seat Selection for Economy Promo fares and Extra Legroom Selection for all Economy fares on its international long-haul flights numbered between VA 001 – VA 050.

In response to feedback from guests, the following options have been introduced:

Advance Seat Selection will be extended to those guests travelling on Virgin Australia International Long-Haul Promo fares (Q, T & V classes) for a small fee of AUD$20.00 per person, per sector*.  Seat Selection remains complimentary for :

All other fares in Economy Class;
Premium Economy;
Business Class; and
Platinum, Gold and Silver Velocity Frequent Flyer members, regardless of fare paid, and extended to their travelling party when requested in the same booking

Pre-purchase of Extra Legroom seating will be available for guests travelling in Economy Class, including Groups , up to 365 days prior to travel for a fee of AUD$150.00. Previously this feature was only available on the day of travel at the Virgin Australia International check-in counter.

For further information please contact your dedicated Consultant or Client Relationship Manager.

Free Beer/Wine on Virgin

On all Virgin Australia domestic flights, economy passengers travelling on save type fares now receive complimentary:

Tea, Coffee, Water

Guests travelling between Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth & Sydney (Monday – Friday) will be offered in addition to the above complimentary (between 4pm – 7pm)

Wine and beer

DJ Sydney to Darwin

Virgin Australia has opened sales for its new direct service between Sydney and Darwin, which connects with the new Darwin-Singapore flights operated by Singapore Airlines subsidiary Silk Air.

The new DJ 737 route will commence daily operations from 02 Apr, with the service including the carrier’s new business class product and premium passengers able to access a new Virgin Australia lounge at DRW.

Singapore Airlines Codesharing

Singapore Airlines has commenced codesharing on part of the Virgin Australia domestic network, with the move adding 20 more cities to SQ itineraries.

Tickets for the codeshare flights include services from Melbourne to Hobart, Launceston, Darwin and Mildura; from Perth to Darwin, Port Hedland, Newman and Karratha; from Brisbane to Darwin, Rockhampton, Townsville, Cairns, Mackay and Williamtown; and from Sydney to Canberra, Ayers Rock, Ballina, Hervey Bay, Maroochydore, Coffs Harbour, Albury and Port Macquarie.

The alliance between the carriers also allows SQ’s KrisFlyer loyalty program members to earn and redeem miles for Virgin Australia flights, as well as giving lounge access to eligible pax.

Virgin – Skywest Alliance

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued an interim approval for an alliance between Virgin Australia and Skywest. The pact will see the two airlines able to jointly contract with corporate customers, offering seamless scheduled and charter services to regional, domestic and international destinations.

The interim approval allows them to begin marketing the combined services immediately, while the ACCC considers formally authorising the deal. Virgin Australia Group Executive of Commercial, Liz Savage, said the deal would “improve the airline’s ability to meet the growing demand from the resources and mining industries”.

As well as coordinated pricing and schedules, the alliance plan proposes extending the Velocity frequent flyer scheme to Skywest charter services, giving joint corporate customers the ability to earn points and status credits as well as access Virgin lounges.

DJ boosts capacity

Virgin Australia has announced a range of extra flights as “part of an accelerated capacity growth plan for major corporate, resources sector and leisure routes”. From 13 Feb DJ will operate extra flights on key trunk routes such as BNE-MEL, SYD-MEL and ADL-MEL, as well as from BNE to Cairns and Proserpine. The growth also includes extra services to Gladstone and Rockhampton to meet demand.

Virgin Atlantic ‘Upper Class’ Overhaul

Virgin Atlantic will overhaul its ‘Upper Class’ business class cabin, seats and service in the coming months as the airline invests £100 million upgrading its appeal to business travellers.

Passengers will see “a new cutting-edge Upper Class cabin including an enhanced seat, a futuristic bar, and many other cabin updates to give passengers a unique flying experience”, the airline promises, although it’s yet to reveal any images or hard details of the new product.

Also set for a make-over is the in-flight dining service, such as ‘express supper menus’ for lighter meals and quicker service,

The new Upper Class service will debut in the second quarter of this year on an Airbus A330 plying one of three daily services between London and New York.

It will then be rolled out through the rest of the Virgin Atlantic fleet over the next three years through to 2015, including the carrier’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A380-800s.

Etihad:

Etihad inflight connectivity on 3 Airbus A330-300s has taken off priced at US$10 for mobile/tablets & $20 for laptop wifi.

Etihad EU carbon levy

ETIHAD Airways will apply a US$3 levy to its fuel surcharge on flights into and out of Europe from 01 Mar 2012 to offset the European Union’s carbon scheme. EY said as carbon prices flucuate the levy cost may also change.

Etihad miles for money

Etihad Airways has announced a new PointsPay system which will allow members of its frequent flyer scheme to exchange Etihad Guest miles for funds on a prepaid Visa card. The transfers are done via an iPhone App, allowing the creation of a “virtual” PointsPay Visa card number which can be used for online shopping.

The system will be phased in gradually from this month, with plans for the entire Etihad Guest membership to have access by the end of April.

“This is a break-through innovation for the airline and loyalty industry, transforming our Etihad Guest miles into a global currency,” said chief commercial officer Peter Baumgartner.

The move will allow Etihad points to be effectively redeemed at over 30 million points of sale across the globe.

Skytrans:

Skytrans SYD route

Cairns-based passenger and charter carrier Skytrans is moving forward with plans to launch new services between Toowoomba & Sydney by March. GM Michael Thinee confirmed Skytrans would begin the route with a daily service using either a 36- or 50-seat Dash-8 aircraft. The airline had initially hoped to offer double daily services on the route but has been restricted due to demand from the booming resources sector.

Jetstar:

Jetstar Japan has announced details of its first flights, which are set to debut on 03 July 2012 flying to five major Japanese cities.Jetstar Japan’s first base will be at Tokyo Narita Airport, with an initial fleet of three new Airbus A320 aircraft flying to Osaka, Sapporo, Fukuoka and Okinawa.

Fares and schedules have not been announced at this stage, but Jetstar Group ceo Bruce Buchanan said the airline was on track to be the first low cost carrier to fly domestically from the Japanese capital.

Jetstar’s focus on the Japanese market has also been reflected in extra international capacity, with more than 36 additional weekly international flights to and from Japan added by the Jetstar Group since the start of 2012.

Emirates:

Emirates will launch Barcelona as its second passenger gateway into Spain from 3rd July, after doubling frequencies to Madrid from 1st July.

Cathay Pacific:

Cathay Pacific re-opens Wing Business Lounge at Hong Kong Airport http://www.ausbt.com.au/cathay-pacific-re-opens-wing-business-lounge-at-hong-kong-airport

Hong Kong Airlines:

Hong Kong Airlines flights between Australia and London incorporate its new all-business class service between Hong Kong and London Gatwick.

The daily service will debut 07 Mar, using dedicated A330-200 aircraft configured to seat just 116 passengers in two cabins – 34 in Club Premier with fully flat bed suites, and 82 in Club Classic cradle seats. Passengers in both cabins are offered lounge access in Hong Kong and London, while Club Premier passengers have a limousine transfer option too.

Delta Airlines:

Delta begins full flat-bed seat installations on Boeing 747-400 aircraft

Delta Air Lines is renovating its Boeing 747-400 aircraft fleet to include full flat-bed seats in the BusinessElite cabin and new “slim line” seats offering more personal space and individual in-seat entertainment throughout the Economy cabin. The airline already has taken delivery of the first modified aircraft, which operated its first flight on Jan. 26, 2012 from Tokyo-Narita to Detroit. As modifications are completed throughout 2012, customers will increasingly see the upgraded aircraft on various routes across the Pacific and Atlantic. Customers will experience the new interiors on each 747 flown by Delta by October, 2012.

If you would like to learn more about Delta’s renovation please contact your Client Relationship Manager for further information.

United Airlines:

United rebrands premium cabins, upgrades food, entertainment, amenities

United Airlines has announced the company is upgrading its premium-cabin services to offer customers new food and beverage options, additional choices in in-flight entertainment, and – on long-haul international flights – new amenity kits, pillows and blankets.

United is also rebranding its international, long-haul premium-cabin services, introducing:

United Global First, the international first-class experience on three-cabin aircraft.
United BusinessFirst, the international business-class experience on two-cabin and three-cabin aircraft.
United Global First, United BusinessFirst

Beginning March 3 on long-haul international flights and many flights within Asia and the Pacific, first-class customers on three-cabin aircraft will experience United Global First, with a higher level of privacy and comfort, a flat-bed seat, priority airport services and more-personal attention.

On most of United’s three-cabin aircraft, United Global First suites offer flat-bed seats, laptop power, USB ports, individual audio and video on demand with noise-reduction headsets, additional storage compartments and a multi-course meal with complimentary wines.

The rebranding and expanded menu options come as United continues with plans to invest more than $550 million to upgrade aircraft interiors. The airline has installed Economy Plus seating on dozens of Continental aircraft. When fully deployed, United will offer customers more extra-legroom economy-class seats than any other airline in the world.

United continues to upgrade its widebody fleet with new premium cabins, with more than 130 aircraft outfitted with flat-bed seats. Once completed in early 2013, United will offer more premium-cabin flat-bed seats than any other airline.

Beginning later in 2012, customers will see additional improvements, including larger overhead bins on Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft – increasing the available carry-on storage space by approximately two-thirds – and satellite-enabled inflight internet service. United is also introducing on-demand entertainment on its popular transcontinental p.s. service, along with an expanded premium-cabin service with flat-bed seats.

Qatar:

QR Heathrow lounge

Qatar Airways has opened a new Premium Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 4, dedicated to the carrier’s First and Business Class passengers. The facility is Qatar Airway’s only Premium Lounge located outside of its hub in Doha, and resembles a boutique hotel or private member’s club, the airline says.

Malaysia Airlines:

Malaysia Airlines oneworld alliance

Malaysia Airlines is moving closer to full participation in the oneworld alliance, with the carrier’s network added to the Global Explorer round the world fare. Qantas is sponsoring MH into the alliance, and effective immediately the full global schedule of flights offered by Malaysia Airlines will add almost 20 additional cities in South East Asia to the oneworld network.

Singapore Airlines Airline, Scoot:

Singapore Airlines’ low-cost long-haul offshoot Scoot will operate five weekly flights to the Gold Coast from 12 June this year. Flights will go on sale in coming months.

Royal Brunei:

Royal Brunei Airlines has just announced an increase in flights from Melbourne, with the current four times per week services increasing to daily from March 2012.

The increase will come just a year after the route was launched, with Melbourne now Royal Brunei’s only Australian destination.

The daily flights will link via Brunei to Melbourne’s top two long-haul markets, the UK and China, and the increase sees the addition of almost 89,000 extra seats a year.

Hotel News

Royce: Melbourne’s 5 Star Designer Boutique Hotel

Developments: In 2011 the hotel completed an extensive renovation to their lead in rooms. The hotel reduced their internet charges, now offers 1 hour free internet access in all public areas, and all guest rooms have high speed & wireless internet access at a cost of $7.50 for the first two hours or a maximum daily charge of $19.95 (max download of 1000mb).

Day Delegate Special: $69 per person per day inclusive of arrival tea/coffee, morning tea, working style lunch, afternoon tea, room hire, pens, pads, mints, iced water and standard AV equipment (1 x Whiteboard,1 x Flipchart, 1 x OHP or Slide Projector & 6 foot Tripod Screen). Valid until 31 March 2012. Terms & conditions apply – contact groups@voyagertravel.com.au

Accor A|Club app

Accor has launched a new application for its loyalty A|Club members that will allow them to earn bonus points via Facebook. A|Club Places allows members staying at a participating hotel to check in using the app and they can unlock badges that rewards people with points and vouchers.

To download the app see – http://on/fb.me/AClubPlaces.

** A|Club will be rebranded as Le Club Accor Hotels in March.

Hilton growth rate

Hilton Worldwide has laid claim to being the fastest growing major hotel chain globally, adding more than 950 hotels since Jun 2007, lifting its portfolio by 29%. Last year Hilton opened 170 hotels, adding more than 29,400 rooms, and signed management or franchise agreements on more than 320 other properties.

1st DoubleTree Jakarta

Hilton Worldwide will launch the DoubleTree by Hilton brand in the Indonesia capital in 2014. The 261-room urban-resort complex, is to be built near the ‘Golden Triangle’ commercial zone, and will be targeted at business and leisure travellers.

Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Refurb

Starwood Hotels and Resorts has signalled a strong focus on the Australian four-star hotel market, with a major makeover for Sydney’s Four Points by Sheraton as well as the imminent announcement of the first Australian property under its funky Aloft brand.

The $15m renovation of the Four Points would see all 630 rooms upgraded, along with public spaces and despite the scale of the project it’s expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Starwood moving to 24 hour room stays

Starwood hotels including Sheraton, Westin, W, St. Regis and Le Méridien is moving to 24-hour room stays with check-in and check-out at any hour of the day (or night) for top-tier members of the Starwood Preferred Guest programme.

Under the Your24 scheme, Starwood says it will abolish set check-in and check-out times in favour of ‘around-the-clock’ service.

This is a boon for business travellers who often find that flight schedules don’t match up with hotel arrival and departure times.

This includes early arrivals which see you landing at 6am, but unable to get into your room until the early afternoon, and of course late-night flights where you have to check out of the hotel long before your 11pm departure.

Starwood’s Your24 scheme also allows a full 24 hour room stay: if you check-in at 8am on a Monday, for instance, you’ll have the room through until 8am Tuesday.

It’s available to Starwood Preferred Guest members with Platinum status who spend 75 or more “eligible nights” at Starwood hotels.

Rydges SYD underway

Work has commenced on the building of Sydney Airport’s $68m Rydges hotel at the International terminal, slated to open in 2013.

QT Sydney in Design

Design Hotels has confirmed the addition of its first Sydney and only Australian-based hotel, QT Sydney, which is preparing to open in August this year. The property is set within the historic Gowings department store and heritage-listed State Theatre on Market Street in Sydney’s central business district. The 200-room hotel will feature 12 room styles, ranging in size from 36 to 42sqm and will include some of the historic building elements within each room, including the original floor boards.

Quality Hotel Homestead Overlander – Roma

Has been completely flooded and is estimated to be inoperable for at least 6 months.

Rendezvous Hotel Name Changes

Effective from 1st February, 2012the Rendezvous properties listed below have changed their property names:

Rendezvous Hotel Brisbane – Clarion Collection to RENDEZVOUS HOTEL BRISBANE ANZAC SQUARE – CLARION COLLECTION.

The Marque Brisbane – Clarion Collection to RENDEZVOUS STUDIOS BRISBANE ON GEORGE – CLARION COLLECTION

The Marque Sydney – Clarion Collection to RENDEZVOUS STUDIOS SYDNEY CENTRAL – CLARION COLLECTION

Rendezvous Hotel Auckland – Clarion Collection to RENDEZVOUS GRAND HOTEL AUCKLAND – CLARION COLLECTION

Rendezvous Stafford Hotel – Clarion Collection to RENDEZVOUS HOTEL SYDNEY THE ROCKS – CLARION COLLECTION

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.