For week ending 9 September 2016.
There is plenty of activity happening in the travel industry around the world as we move through September. In Airline news, Virgin Australia have announced changes to how status credits will be earned, whilst Qantas have launched a new coffee app for Domestic lounges. In Hotel news, Albury will see a new Mantra property open in 2018. Finally, Uber users in Brisbane may be pleased to learn that new "safe wait zones" will be opened for those using the ride share service to get around.
All this and more in our weekly news round-up brought to you by FCM Travel Solutions.
Cathay Pacific seals meal deal
Cathay Pacific is planning to introduce new in-flight meal options. Designed in collaboration with Hong-Kong based Chinese fine dining restaurant Mott 32, the new menu items will be offered to travellers in all classes on selected long-haul routes from Hong Kong, including Australia, Europe and North America. Meanwhile, the carrier is also upgrading its operations to Melbourne, with daily wi-fi enabled A350 flights from 1 February next year as well as switching to a B777- 300ER on the second of its three daily Melbourne services from 1 March.
Qantas Samsung charge ban
Qantas is currently banning in-flight charging of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones. The move is a safety measure following a global recall of the device, with fears that devices containing the faulty battery could catch fire on board.
New InterContinental Shanghai
InterContinental Hotel Group has opened its latest China property. The 536-room InterContinental Shanghai NECC is located in the heart of the city’s National Exhibition and Convention Centre and features a choice of dining venues and lounges and more than 2200sqm of flexible meeting and event space.
The Mantra Group has announced it will manage a new hotel in Albury, NSW. The 158-room Mantra Albury Hotel, which is due to open in early 2018, will feature a restaurant, executive lounge, fitness centre and a range of conference and meeting facilities.
Aloft Saudi Arabia
Starwood Hotels & Resorts has opened its first Aloft-branded hotel in Saudi Arabia. The 281-room Aloft Riyadh features a restaurant, 24-hour snack bar and two cafes as well as five meeting rooms catering for up to 250 people.
Emirates all A380 to Sydney
Emirates is boosting capacity on its Sydney-Dubai route. From 30 October, all three of its daily flights will operate on A380s, including flight EK412/413 that connects through to Christchurch.
Qantas Club coffee app
Qantas has launched a new coffee-ordering app for use in its lounges. The ‘Skip’ app allows users to order barista coffee without queuing in Qantas Clubs and Business Lounges at Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth domestic airports.
Velocity status credit changes
Virgin Australia has rejigged its Status Credit earning tables for Velocity loyalty program members. Effective from 30 January 2017, domestic travellers will earn more Status Credits in most fare classes, while international travel earning rates will remain the same. The only exception is those travelling in L class, who will earn Status Credits at a Discount Economy rate.
Hotel Jen Beijing
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts plans to open a new Hotel Jen-branded property in Beijing. Set to open in January next year, the 450-room Hotel Jen Beijing will be part of the China World Trade Centre development in the city’s Chaoyang CBD. The property will feature a gastro pub, fitness centre, indoor swimming pool and meeting and event space for up to 300 guests.
New Home2 Suites by Hilton
Hilton Worldwide has opened a new US property. The 96-key Home2 Suites by Hilton Dallas Grand Prairie is located near Arlington, Dallas and Fort Worth. The all-suite hotel offers a choice of spacious studio, one-bedroom or two-bedroom suites, with communal swimming pool, fitness centre and laundry facilities.
Cathay A350 Gatwick-bound
Cathay Pacific has launched its new Hong Kong-London Gatwick route. The four-times weekly service will operate on the carrier’s new A350 aircraft, which features business, premium economy and economy class seating options.
China Eastern adds new Sydney route
China Eastern Airlines plans to add new thrice-weekly direct services between Hangzhou and Sydney. Launching on 16 November, the new service links to Beijing and will complement the carrier’s current route from Sydney to Beijing via Nanjing, by operating on alternate days of the week.
UberX at Brisbane Airport
Passengers arriving at Brisbane airport now have the option of using Uber instead of taxis to get to their destinations. New signage will be installed at both the domestic and international terminals highlighting designated “safe wait zones” for rideshare clients and drivers.