Week in Review: Travel Industry News

Woman waiting at airport
Travel News 06 Jun 2016

For week ending 3 June 2016.

This week's wrap up is jam packed with industry updates. Read all about planned upgrades to Sydney's T1 which are currently underway. United Airlines have unveiled their new business class offering "United Polaris" and Etihad have boosted services to Australia including opening up The Residence to travellers between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne.

All this and more in our weekly news round-up brought to you by FCM Travel  Solutions.

Qantas Tasman business meals

Qantas has introduced new Rockpool-inspired business class meals designed by chef Neil Perry on fights between Australia and New Zealand. Menu selections will change weekly with seasonal dishes added throughout the year.

New United Polaris class

United Airlines has unveiled its new business class offering. Dubbed United Polaris, it will launch on international flights from 1 December. In the air, the suite-like pods feature 180-degree lie-flat seats and HD entertainment screens, a pull-out table complete with tablet holder and charging points and coat and bag storage. Custom bedding has been designed by Saks Fifth Avenue and includes doonas, pillows and blankets. On the ground, United Polaris travellers will have access to nine United airport lounges that offer sleep pods, private daybeds, showers and hot meals. The first lounge opens at Chicago O’Hare on 1 December to coincide with the launch of the new business class product, withmore lounges to follow in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Newark, Washington Dulles, Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong and London Heathrow airports.

Hyatt health focus

Hyatt hotels has teamed up with 'Be Well' by Dr Frank Lipman to offer healthy hospitality. Park Hyatt hotelsin New York, Chicago and Washington DC will offer healthy refreshments on arrival, a wider range of fitness offerings and more nutritious menu options.

KrisFlyer Elite change

Membersof Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer loyalty program will no longer accrue Elite Miles on Virgin Atlantic flights between the Americas and Europe from 1 July.

SYD Terminal one upgrades

The next stage of upgrades to Sydney Airport’s Terminal 1 is underway. Once complete, travellers can expect  improved navigation through the terminal as well as enhancements to gate lounges. The Marketplace will be a new retail and dining precinct within the departures area, offering a variety of street food-inspired dining options.

Etihad boosts Australian routes

Etihad Airways is boosting capacity to Australia. The carrier has switched one of its B777-300ER services to Melbourne with the larger A380. This move represents a 26% increase in seats as well as the introduction of the luxurious ‘The Residence’ option to the route. Etihad is also upgrading the Airbus A320-200 used on the Abu Dhabi-Perth route with the larger B787-9 Dreamlimer aircraft resulting in a 14% rise in overall capacity and a 27% jump in business class seating.

New menu for JAL

Japan Airlines has a new in-flight menu. Created by Chef Jun Kurogi, the Japanese fare will we available on a range of international routes, including services to Australia.

Rio visa waiver launch

From now until 18 September, select travellers can enter Brazil without a visa for a maximum number of days. The three and a half month visa waiver program, introduced for the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics, is available to Australia, Canada, USA and Japan passport holders.

Etihad opens new First Class Lounge

Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Terminal 3 is now home to Etihad’s new flagship lounge.The First Class Lounge & Spa is 1700sqm in size and features 16 different zones, including an a la carte restaurant, bar, cigar lounge, TV room, fitness room, Six Senses Spa, Style & Shave hairdresser, relaxation room, children’s play room and more. The facility is open to Etihad First Class travellers, Guest Exclusive and Guest Platinum members as well as partner airline First Class guests, ‘Invitation only’ members and equivalent Platinum members.Those travelling in‘The Residence’ have their own private lounge, dining area and shower as well as the service of a dedicated Savoy-trained Butler. Meanwhile, the carrier will also open a new First and Business Class Lounge at Los Angeles LAX airport in the coming months.

Delta and Virgin trade routes

Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic are switching services on two US routes in 2017. Virgin Atlantic will fly the daily Seattle-London Heathrow route from 21 March as well as the daily nonstop New York (JFK)-Manchester route from 25 May, which it will hand back for winter 2017. From 26 March, Delta will take over Virgin’s daily Detroit-London Heathrow service, raising Delta’s frequency on the route to twice daily, and from 25 May will take over Virgin’s daily Atlanta-London Heathrow service, raising frequency to three times daily.

New Cathay lounge

Cathay Pacific has opened a new lounge at Vancouver International Airport. Guests can expect to find the carrier’s signature dining concepts The Pantry and the Noodle Bar.

New Abu Dhabi tax

Travellers to Abu Dhabi are now subject to a new hotel tax. From 1 June, a 4% municipality fee will be added to any hotel charge, including accommodation, food and beverage and incidentals. This is in addition to a new flat fee of AED15 per room per night, a 6% city tax and a 10% service charge.

Qantas changes to Canada pricing

Qantas has introduced ‘Day of Week’ pricing across all cabins on flights between Australia and Canada. The new fare rules mirror those recently introduced on select USA routes.

Accor adds three in Nanchang

AccorHotels has opened three new hotels in Nanchang, China.The 403-room Pullman Nanchang Wanda,481-roomNovotel Nanchang Wanda and 508-room Mercure Nanchang Wanda are all part of a single complex, Nanchang Wanda Cultural Tourism City, which also features four restaurants, three bars and 1310sqm of banqueting and meeting space.

Sheraton leaves Noosa

Sheraton Hotels & Resorts will no longer manage the Sheraton Noosa Resort & Spa on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The change comes into effect from 13 June and means that reservations after this date will no longer attract Starwood Preferred Guest membership benefits nor be eligible for award redemption or accrual.