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Global carriers embracing local culture to please customers

by amit.uniyal 18. December 2014 01:38

The global aviation industry has made great strides in enhancing passenger comfort and travel experience over the past decade. According to the new trend currently in vogue in the industry, international carriers are making a beeline to embrace the local culture to provide a distinct identity and enjoyable experience to the passengers.

Welcome

Etihad Airways is leading the trend by providing a local touch to its newly designed amenity kits, which it has introduced in 2014. The amenity kits have been fabulously crafted with the patterns based on designs that are traditionally used on the Bedouin tents, cushions and blankets in the UAE.

Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer of Etihad Airways, said that people who are visiting Abu Dhabi would always want to take along with them a souvenir back to their home reflecting the culture of that place. The amenity kits with traditional designs are aimed at providing the customers that exclusive and local feel of having visited the UAE.

Even the Taiwanese carrier China Airlines is not to be left behind in the race. The airline’s use of the local design on its new Ray Chen’s product recently aptly reflects the growing trend. To provide the local touch in its cabins, the airline hired the services of Mr. Chen, a renowned architect in Taiwan, who created the fascinating design utilizing the swaths of Persimmon wood veneer to make them unique. The finishes, fabrications and a coherent color palette together provide an amazing local touch to the cabins. The local Taiwanese culture is also beautifully showcased in the airline’s new “Sky Lounges”, which prominently feature walk-up bar offering Taiwanese teas and coffees, along with snacks and local dried delicacies.

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Tags: china airlines, etihad airways

Airline News

US Airways moves operations to Terminal 6 at LAX

by amit.uniyal 15. December 2014 07:53

US Airways has now shifted its flights operations to Terminal 6 at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The airline was until now operating out of Terminal 3.

All flights being currently operated by American Airlines’ merger partner US Airways have discontinued their operations from Terminal 3 and shifted entirely to Terminal 6. This includes operations related to customer service, baggage, check in, ticketing and gates.

US Airways

US Airways check-in and ticket counters will now be situated on the second level, while flight operations will be conducted out of four gates, including Gate No. 60, Gate No. 61, Gate No. 62 and Gate No. 63.

American Airlines flights will however continue its operations at Terminal 4. The connecting flights from here will be able to be accessed by the passengers through a service shuttle or an underground connector. The shuttle service will also be for the Remote Terminal for American Eagle-operated flights.

American Airlines has this year begun operating new nonstop flights to Tampa International Airport from LAX. The airline has also announced that it will start conducting a second daily flight to London Heathrow from Los Angeles airport starting from March 2015.

Apart from these destinations, the airline has started offering nonstop flights to San Antonio, British Columbia, Vancouver, Alberta and Edmonton from Los Angeles.

The airline is presently operating three lounges at Los Angeles airport, including a newly-opened Admirals Club located at the American Eagle terminal. The airline’s premium customers are eligible for dedicated check-in with Flagship Check-In Service as well as TSA PreCheck and Five-Star Service. The airline also offers its premium customers a complimentary luxury airport transfer to their connecting gate.

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Airline News

Emirates planning to offer free Wi-Fi on its international routes

by amit.uniyal 12. December 2014 07:48

Emirates Airline is planning to offer free Wi-Fi on all its flight services on international routes. The increasing uptake of the service and its growing popularity with international travelers has prompted the airline to give this a serious consideration.

Apart from Emirates, other international carriers such as Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways are already offering Wi-Fi to their restive customers for a fee. The speed may however be slow on international flights flying over the oceans as they use a satellite connection to transmit data.

Emirates

The customers booking flights on Emirates Airline are being currently provided 10MBs of data free of cost on most of its Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 aircrafts. The data offered is perceived to be sufficient for checking emails and other social media accounts. However, those who want more the airline provides additional 600MBs for a nominal cost of US$1 only.

According to a study in October this year, an average of 3500 passengers traveling on the Dubai-based carrier made use of the in-flight Wi-Fi service per day. An average of 28MB of data was used by each passenger, with the highest number of 153 customers using the service on a single flight on an Airbus A380 aircraft.

Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline, said that the airline is already making an investment of US$20 million every year to install and operate the in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity systems.

Clark hoped that in future the in-flight Wi-Fi service is ultimately going to become free just like other similar services such as in-flight entertainment and onboard refreshments that a standard customer usually expects.

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Airline News

Air France introducing new Economy Flex fare for business class

by amit.uniyal 11. December 2014 07:34

Air France has announced that it will be introducing a new “Economy Flex” fare for business class customers traveling on medium-haul flights. The tickets will be for sale from January 2015. The flights with the new fares will start operating in April. The tickets will be transferable in same booking class and refunds will be allowed without any extra charges.

Airfrance

Under this new fare, the customers will be able to take an earlier flight than the scheduled one, on the same day and without paying any additional charges. Other benefits that come along with this new fare include earning Flying Blue miles, get priority access to the airline’s fast-track Skypriority services and seat allocation at the front in the economy cabin.

A spokesperson of the airline also indicated that its medium-haul business class offering will also be upgraded. The new revamp will see the premium customers being offered breakfast in the morning comprising of pastries, bread, fruit juice, tea and coffee. During other times of the day the passengers will be served a cold meal or a snack.

According to the airline, the service to be offered on longer flights will be similar to those being provided to passengers on long-haul flights. The passengers will be served liqueur, gourmet coffee, wine, hot meals, crusty bread, warm pastries and a welcome drink.

The service in economy class will also be upgraded. The airline will be offering a hot meal on longer flights, while a choice of savory or sweet items and larger croissants, or gourmet sandwiches will be served on medium-haul flights.

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Airline News

Free amenities by U.S. domestic carriers – A Brief Overview

by amit.uniyal 10. December 2014 04:15

Over the past few years the commercial aviation industry in the United States has undergone significant changes, particularly on the domestic front. There were times when the cost of certain "a-la-carte" services were included in the airline ticket and sometimes it also seemed that the airlines were charging a fee for almost everything, especially the low-cost carriers.

Amenities

But in the present competitive times when there is a mad scramble among the airlines to attract customers in a big way, things have been changing rather fast. Whether you travel frequently or once a week or once a year, are you aware that there are still some free amenities being offered on domestic flights.

Here are some of the free amenities offerings by leading U.S. carriers on domestic routes. These carriers include American Airlines, Virgin America, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines.

As part of its in-flight entertainment, American Airlines is offering drop-down TV screens from the ceiling broadcasting a movie. The new aircrafts deployed on select routes are offering in-seat personal entertainment with some free programming.

The in-flight entertainment currently offered by Virgin America is undoubtedly the best being offered on U.S. domestic routes today. This exclusive in-flight entertainment system is called “Red”. It is provided to all passengers offering free satellite TV, video games and music.

The passengers on most domestic flights are not provided blankets. However, Delta Air Lines still continues to offer blankets to its  customers booking flights on domestic routes. These are also being provided by the airline’s regional partner airlines. Delta Air Lines also provides a wide choice of peanuts, pretzels or cookies to the domestic flyers. Free snacks are also provided on shorter flights as well.

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Airline News

Virgin Australia introduces Pre-Christmas Festive Favorites

by amit.uniyal 9. December 2014 02:21

Virgin Australia is ready to delight its customers with pre-Christmas offerings. The airline is sprinkling Christmas joy in flights and domestic airport lounges with traditional delicacies of the season.

The travelers coming to the airport lounges of the airline will get to savor Christmas puddings with spices, vine fruits, stout and brandy flavors.

Virgin Australia

The Sydney lounge of the airline started serving the puddings designed by Luke Mangan on December 5. The pudding will be served on the lounges in Melbourne and Brisbane on December 10 and December 19 respectively. The airline will serve mince pies on domestic business class cabins and short-haul international flights between December 17 and December 25. The Economy class passengers will also savor mince pies on triangle routes (Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney) on Christmas. On December 25, the airline will serve Christmas lunch with all the trimmings in Business class aboard international and domestic flights.

The Group Executive of Virgin Australia, Danielle Keighery expressed delight and said that thousands of domestic and international passengers fly on the airline during Christmas and New Year and the airline is pleased to offer special Christmas food options during these busy times.

Chef Luke Mangan also commented in a statement that the festive season is an opportunity for the airline to delight customers with unique Christmas treats and recipes while they travel. He also added that he is very happy to work with Virgin Australia to offer pop up treats for the customers.

The airline also recently launched a new menu in Business class created by the Chef including coral trout fillet with coconut broth and spanner crab, king prawns with mango and floating islands dessert with a smack of berries, figs and crème anglaise. The carrier has also launched 'The Pantry' which offers premium snacks free of cost for the duration of the flight. The service is available on flights up to 6 hours and 30 minutes.

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Airline News

Air Canada and Air China announce new partnership

by amit.uniyal 8. December 2014 02:08

Air Canada and Air China have signed a new partnership agreement saying that they are entering into a joint venture to boost traffic growth between Canada and China. The MoU was signed in Beijing during a recent official visit of the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to China. The joint venture between the two national carriers is expected to become effective by the end of 2015 after regulatory approvals.

Both Air China and Air Canada are members of Star Alliance, a leading global airline alliance. The agreement is likely to benefit passengers traveling between the two countries in terms of pricing and additional services. The two carriers will also be enhancing their cooperation in the areas of airport operations, marketing and sales.

Air Canada

The partnership pact will now enable Air China to place its flight code on Air Canada-operated flights to be conducted from Vancouver to Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton. Similarly, Air Canada will also be permitted to put its flight code on Air China-operated services from Beijing to Xi’an, Wuhan, Shenyang, Chengdu, Chongqing and Guangzhou.

Air Canada is presently operating up to 28 weekly services between China and Canada. The flights are being conducted from Vancouver and Toronto to/from Shanghai and Beijing. Air China is providing up to 11 flights services every week between Vancouver and Beijing.

Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO of Air Canada, said that the cooperation between Air Canada and Air China will enhance revenue earnings and offer a seamless travel experience to the customers of both the carriers.

According to a study, the air travel market between Canada and China has shown an appreciable growth on average by nearly 11 percent annually over the past five years. The trend is likely to remain strong in the future as well.

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Airline News

Airlines are now offering Healthier Food Options for Travelers

by amit.uniyal 6. December 2014 08:14

At 40,000 feet in the air, the dining options are pretty limited if you are not flying first class or business class. Earlier, the food served was high on calories when the passengers could not even walk it off while traveling. However, the airlines are improving their food menu and adding more low on calorie food items as per a public health expert in New York.

Airline Meals

This assessment was done by a public health expert who had been studying airline food trends for the past fifteen years. The expert ranked the food of several airlines including Virgin America, Delta, JetBlue, Hawaiian Airlines, Frontier and Spirit Airlines. As per the analysis the biggest growth was seen by Delta Airlines, which jumped to first position sharing screen space with Virgin America, from its 8th position last year. Delta’s jump has created a stir in the market, ensuring that other carriers also follow this trend soon.

Virgin America topped the list as it has replaced the high on calorie granolas with Autumn Veggie Wraps and Salmon Soy Ginger Salad.

Delta Airlines has improved markedly as the airline offers Luvo packaged food items including vegetable and hummus wraps for lunch and supper while hard-boiled eggs and fruits are available for breakfast.

According to an expert nutritionist, Hawaiian Airlines scored the lowest as its average meal has 1056 calories which is more than double the calories on Virgin America meals. Upon asked for a comment, the airline stated that it offers local Hawaiian cuisine specially made for visitors.

The expert also ranked Frontier, Spirit and Allegiant Air in the lower ranks for limited food options with high calorie intake.

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Airline News

Air New Zealand Wins Airline of the Year for the Second Time

by amit.uniyal 3. December 2014 06:59

The airline which features the Middle Earth and its denizens in its advertising campaigns and holiday vacations has been selected as the Airline of the Year by a popular airline rating agency. Air New Zealand has scooped this award for the second successive year. An Australia-based agency awarded the top rank to the airline for its trendsetting in-flight advancements, operational safety, in-flight technology enhancements and focus on the environment. The airline was also praised for the staff motivation and their outstanding efforts.

Air Newzealand

The 75-year-old national flag carrier of New Zealand has also been conferred with the Best Premium Economy Class Award. Geoffrey Thomas, Editor-in-Chief for the ratings website applauded the airline for its excellent customer service and fiscal management. He commented that Air New Zealand is an epitome of the airline offerings despite its location and the size of the country. The editorial team of the agency also heaped praise on the two award-winning seat designs for long-haul flights, Spaceseat for Premium Economy and Skycouch for Economy Class Passengers.

Christopher Luxon, CEO of Air New Zealand praised the 11,000 staff members for their "outstanding efforts" to bring this airline to its top position.

Qantas also received multiple awards for Best Catering, Best Domestic Service and Best Lounges. The airline also received an honorable mention for its safety record.

Etihad Airways received the second rank followed by Cathay Pacific. Etihad won the Best First Class award while Emirates on 5th rank received the Best In-Flight Entertainment award. Cathay Pacific received the Best Business Class award while the winner for Best Economy Class was Thai Airways. Virgin Australia received two awards for the Best Cabin Crew and inaugural Best New World Carrier.

The agency conferred Etihad for Middle East/Africa, Lufthansa for Europe, EVA Air for Asia/Pacific and Lan Chile for Americas with the Best Long Haul Airline award.

The Best Low Cost Airline also has multiple winners including JetBlue for Americas, Kulula for Middle-East/Africa, Scoot for Asia/Pacific and Norwegian Air for Europe. These airlines received this award for best value proposition.

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Airline News

Top U.S. Carriers Compete for the Coveted Edinburgh-New York Route

by amit.uniyal 2. December 2014 09:07

United Airlines and American Airlines are at a neck-to-neck competition for Edinburgh-New York flight routes. United Airlines will start offering flights between Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Edinburgh Airport (EDI) from summer 2015. The carrier will operate two daily flights on this route.

On the other hand, American Airlines will also commence its daily service between John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and EDI from May 7, 2015. This route will replace the airline’s six months old Edinburgh-Philadelphia route.

Round Trip Flight

The customers traveling from the Scottish capital will be pleased with the three daily nonstop services connecting Edinburgh and New York. They will also have better access to the numerous onward destinations from New York. Currently, there is only one daily nonstop service offered by United. Travelers from the United States visiting Edinburgh during summers will have better accessibility to the city as they come to attend the Edinburgh International Festival.

American as well as United Airlines will deploy Boeing 757 narrow body twin jets on the routes. The aircraft will only have Business and Economy classes. American Airlines’ flights will depart from EDI at 9.15 am and arrive in JFK at 11.50 am local time. The return flight will leave from JFK at 7.25 pm and arrive in EDI at 7.15 am the following day.

United Airlines flights operate twice daily with departures from EDI at 9.25 am and 12.05 pm. The flights will arrive in EWR at 12.10 pm and 2.50 pm local time respectively. The return flights will leave Newark at 7.55 pm and 9.45 pm and arrive in Edinburgh at 7.55 am and 9.45 am the following day respectively.

The passengers are sure to witness some changes in fares as the time of launch approaches.

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