Singapore Airlines has become the first Asian carrier to participate in the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) PreCheck programme.
TSA PreCheck enables low-risk known travellers to enjoy expedited processing at airport security checkpoints across the US. PreCheck members have access to separate security screening lanes, where they do not have to remove jackets, belts, laptops, liquids and shoes.
Enrolment in the TSA PreCheck programme is open to US citizens and lawful permanent residents. However, non-US citizens can also enjoy the benefits of the programme through various Customs & Border Protection (CBP) trusted traveller programmes, such as Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI. Singapore citizens are eligible to apply to join the Global Entry programme for a fee.
Successful applicants of the TSA PreCheck programme or other CBP trusted traveller programmes receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) which may be provided to the airline during booking or check-in. Once the customer’s KTN is recognised, the TSA PreCheck logo will be printed on their boarding pass, indicating that their KTN has been captured in their booking record.
Travellers can now provide their KTN across Singapore Airlines’ various check-in or booking channels, including its call agents, online reservations system, and online check-in via the airline’s website or app, in addition to checking in at the airport counter.
As a partner airline under the TSA PreCheck programme, Singapore Airlines will also be able to offer customers travelling to and from the US the option of having a self-printed boarding pass and/or mobile boarding pass.
| A Future Travel Experience Release || May 30, 2017 |||
Construction on the new NZ$36m (US$25.5m) hotel at Wellington Airport is underway following a groundbreaking ceremony at the site, with an expected opening in late 2018.
The four-star 134-bed hotel at the northern end of the airport will be managed by Rydges and is to include a restaurant, bar and conference facilities. It will be fully integrated with the main terminal building, constructed above the international terminal and accessible from inside a newly redeveloped passenger lounge.
Steve Sanderson, Wellington Airport’s chief executive, said, “The hotel is part of the airport’s wider efforts to improve the experience of everyone who has to catch an early ﬂight or arrive on a late one. Many travelers utilize these international ﬂights and the airport’s particular focus is on improving its role as the gateway for central New Zealand.
“Grabbing a room and getting a good night’s rest will be a smart option for those that need to travel a fair distance home. We expect the airport hotel to be hugely popular with business travelers, families and those travelling internationally.”
Wellington Airport’s international market has experienced exceptional growth in recent years, welcoming new services from Singapore Airlines, Fiji Airways and Jetstar. International passenger numbers have more than doubled in the last 15 years to nearly 900,000, with the total passenger numbers traveling through Wellington Airport reaching almost 6 million.
According to the Australian Business Traveller, the airline’s own-brand credit card will be a new Platinum-grade MasterCard, and will display the Qantas brand alone.
ABT reported that 35 per cent of all credit card spending in Australia is already happening through co-branded Qantas credit cards, in partnership with banks, American Express, and retailers like David Jones and Woolies.
Now, with Qantas not co-branding with any other company, Qantas is likely to steal a bigger slice of the profits.
It comes as Virgin Australia’s own Velocity program conducted research that found that Australian credit card use is motivated by loyalty rewards, with more than two thirds of respondents saying they will make a decision to buy an item based on whether they will receive points.
It also found that the most appealing loyalty rewards for Australians are frequent flyer points and store vouchers.
The credit card launch coincides with Qantas’ 30th anniversary of its frequent flyer program, which now boasts almost 12 million members down under.
So why should we care? Well, a few extra frequent flyer perks could be in store for Qantas members, with ABT reporting the airline has hinted at higher earning rates for its members, “exclusive travel benefits” like airfare deals and lounge access, and something Qantas is calling “uncapped earning potential”.
AccorHotels New Zealand announce that Mercure Auckland will rebrand to the Grand Mercure Auckland from June 1, following an extensive NZ$22 million refurbishment, the second Grand Mercure announced this month for the region.
The hotel’s stunning transformation makes it an even more attractive base for exploring the adjacent Britomart precinct and nearby thriving Viaduct Harbour. Boasting 207 guest rooms and suites in total, all room types have been fully refurbished in harmonious textures and botanic shades. A new library, richly decorated with warm gold tones and leather, provides the ideal venue to relax and read from a collection of some of New Zealand’s finest literature. With a variety of indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, the Grand Mercure Auckland offers the largest event space of any hotel in the Britomart area with capacity for 350 cocktail style.
On street level, a new alfresco social eatery has been added, Custom Lane, which transforms from café to bar as day shifts to night, capturing a sense of the lively Britomart through eclectic street art and creative design elements. Take the lift to the hotel’s rooftop Vue Restaurant & Attica Bar, which boasts unobstructed views of Auckland’s skyline and harbour, matched by fine cuisine showcasing New Zealand’s outstanding produce and wines.
AccorHotels’ Senior Vice President Operations, New Zealand, Fiji and French Polynesia, Gillian Millar said: “Following an extensive transformation and the exciting addition of Custom Lane to tap into Britomart’s social scene, Grand Mercure Auckland redefines the upscale brand in Australasia.”
“Grand Mercure is an internationally recognisable brand name in the upscale hotel space, and we saw an opportunity to further leverage the brand’s presence in New Zealand while elevating our guests’ experience.” Grand Mercure Auckland is located at 8 Customs Street, Auckland CBD, New Zealand and joins a network of over 40 Grand Mercure hotels in the Asia-Pacific Region.
Experience the newly rebranded Grand Mercure Auckland from just $204 including breakfast. Read more at http://www.etbtravelnews.global
There’s something about the crisp smoky air in Hanmer.
There’s no other place like it. In winter, it is heaven...strolling to the thermal pools in the still cold atmosphere and, after an hour of blissful soaking, ambling back up the hill, taking in the dizzy aroma of the smoke from many of the burning house fires. Our ‘home’ on St James Ave is toasty when we talk inside. We rack open a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and put our feet up by the fire. We feel so relaxed and make plans for things to do tomorrow.
During a yummy Powerhouse Café cooked breakfast we considered going mountain-biking, jetboating, horse trekking, quad biking through forests, rafting, golfing or fishing but instead choose the easy way out with a simple round of mini golf.
Skipping too much junk food recreation, we decide to walk to the summit of Conical Hill. It starts off steep but it is a breeze and so peaceful, taking 20 minutes or so through the giant conifer trees, Oregon and pine, listening to the constant whistle of bellbirds till we get to the lookout at the top. It’s a stunning view.
With the air cooling down fast on our return, we headed back to the pools and slipped into our private thermal pool looking out to the native ferns. The water temperature was 40°C...divine.
Shut your eyes. Imagine lazing in the giant hot tub with your partner. The sun is setting over picture postcard snow-capped mountains. Not a sound can to be heard but the occasional native bird chirp. Mmmmm.
We found out the iconic award-winning attraction sees more than half a million visitors annually. It has an array of thermal pools to suite all desires; aqua therapy, atmosphere, heat or adventure and boasts a luxurious spa with 12 treatment rooms, including a couples’ rooms.
In a bizarre dichotomy of experiences we’re shifted from moments of blissful relaxation to pure intense adrenaline as we head to the hydro slides. Hanmer has the South Island’s only SuperBowl ride which offers a cool two-person tube experience for those keen to share the rush.
It’s thirsty work relaxing so we quaffed down a pint of lager at Monteith’s Brewery Bar and munched on a tray of chips, sweet bay scallops and tiger prawns.
On our final night we enjoyed the best restaurant in town – Malabar. They say it’s a restaurant that’s broken rules because it embraces Asian and Indian cooking. They say people first eat with their eyes and then their mouth – this is what Malabar is trying to achieve.
The quality of the food and service at Malabar was first rate and we had the most pleasurable and most authentic Murgh Makhani (butter chicken) we’ve ever tasted in New Zealand. Front-of-staff Gurjeet as extremely polite, helpful, passionate and both a credit and asset to the restaurant. We will return.
Hanmer, this tiny slice of NZ paradise is a popular tourist area or get-away resort because it’s largely a place to blob out and wash away any of life’s pressures. Leafy Hanmer – hot in summer and sometimes snowy in winter – is a place for lovers, for romantic weekends and a place to unwind.
Air New Zealand has today opened the doors to its new lounge at Palmerston North Airport.
Situated on the first floor of the terminal, the spacious new lounge offers seating for more than 100 guests, which is almost double the capacity of the previous space. It also offers views out onto the runway and a choice of seating areas from a business zone to quiet spaces and a café area with self-service food and drink stations.
Air New Zealand General Manager Customer Experience Anita Hawthorne says, “The new lounge has been designed to enhance the regional flying experience and we look forward to welcoming customers travelling out of Palmerston North to enjoy this new facility.”
The new Palmerston North lounge forms part of Air New Zealand’s four year $100 million programme to develop its network of lounges and follows the opening of lounges in Auckland, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Nadi, Wellington, Queenstown, Hamilton and Invercargill.
Dubai, UAE, 22 May 2017 – Emirates announced today that it will be introducing a second daily A380 service between Dubai and Birmingham, beginning 29th October 2017.
Second A380 introduced due to the immense popularity of the iconic aircraft
New A380 service allows for additional A380 to A380 connectivity via Dubai
Birmingham growing in popularity as a tourism destination
Flight EK39/40, currently operated by a Boeing 777, will now be operated by the iconic and highly popular Emirates A380, adding to the existing daily A380 already operating on the route.
Following the suspension of one of its flights to Birmingham, Emirates has decided to operate the new A380 - the world’s largest passenger aircraft, which features 615 seats. This means that from October, the airline will operate a twice-daily, all-A380 service to the Midlands.
Emirates’ decision to use a double-daily A380 service was in part driven by huge demand from passengers to travel on the iconic aircraft. Since the first A380 service from Dubai to Birmingham launched on 27th March 2016, over 300,000 passengers have already flown on the aircraft between the two cities.
The A380’s popularity is partly due to the fact that it features the widest individual in-seat Economy Class screens in the industry, measuring in at 13.3 inches and offers over 2,500 channels on inflight entertainment system, ice. As with the current A380 used on the route, the aircraft will operate in a two class configuration, featuring 58 flat-bed seats in Business Class and 557 spacious seats in Economy Class, as well as Emirates’ popular Onboard Lounge.
And with Emirates offering A380 services to a number of key destinations in the East such as Auckland, Bangkok, Beijing, Perth, Singapore and Sydney, passengers travelling beyond Dubai have an increased opportunity to fly on the A380 on both legs of their journey, experiencing all the benefits that it offers. As with the current service, travellers also enjoy connectivity to Emirates' wide network of 31 destinations in the Indian Subcontinent and Africa.
In 2016 alone, Emirates launched new passenger services to places including Cebu and Clark in the Philippines, Yinchuan and Zhengzhou in mainland China, Yangon in Myanmar and Hanoi in Vietnam. On 1st July 2017, Emirates will also start flying daily to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Emirates started flying to Birmingham on 18 December 2000 as a daily service to Dubai, operated by a 278-seat Airbus A330. Since then, Emirates has carried over 5.2 million passengers between Dubai and Birmingham. An important segment on this route are the international students who travel to Birmingham every year to attend its prestigious schools and universities.
Emirates’ flight EK39 departs from Dubai at 07:25hrs and arrives in Birmingham at 11:25hrs. The outbound flight, EK40, departs from Birmingham at 13:30hrs and arrives in Dubai at 00:35hrs the following day.
A city to discover:
Birmingham is packed with cultural attractions, from historic sites such as the Grade I listed Jacobean mansion Aston Hall, to Villa Park – home of Aston Villa Football Club, and Cadbury World. Travellers can also enjoy the world-class acoustics of Symphony Hall and the Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Hippodrome Theatre. It also has acres of green spaces and miles of rejuvenated canals leading to the stunning new Library of Birmingham and the modernist structure of the Selfridges building at the iconic Bullring shopping centre. In fact, Birmingham is known for its world-class shopping, with an eclectic retail scene that ranges from the renowned Jewellery Quarter to its exclusive mall, The Mailbox. Another point of interest are medieval villages spread across the rolling hills of the Cotswolds.
Birmingham is also a great foodie destination with a diverse dining scene that reflects the city’s cosmopolitan population; there’s everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to a vibrant street-food culture.
Connectivity to cities across the UK:
Emirates’ codeshare agreement with Flybe enables passengers to seamlessly connect to cities such as Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey and Newquay. All codeshare flights operated by Flybe connect with Emirates flights from Dubai to Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham.
The best airline in the world:
This year, Emirates was recognised as the ‘Best Airline in the World’ at the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for airlines. The award was based on thousands of reviews Emirates received from the TripAdvisor community over the past twelve months. Emirates was the most positively reviewed airline in the industry over that period of time.
Passengers travelling in Business Class also enjoy access to a dedicated lounge at Birmingham Airport as well as Emirates’ convenient Chauffeur-drive service to and from the airport within a 70 mile radius.
On 1 November, The Langham Auckland, one of New Zealand’s leading hotels will be rebranded as Cordis, Auckland. Cordis Hotels and Resorts is a new generation of selected upper upscale modern hotels by Langham Hospitality Group that is devoted to the guests’ needs and well-being, catering to both business and leisure travelers.
“Our hotel in Auckland fits the Cordis brand perfectly,” says Robert Warman, chief executive officer of Langham Hospitality Group. “It is well located in the vibrant part of the city, a top-of-mind venue for meetings and events, a favourite for special occasions amongst the locals, and we have experienced colleagues who provide warm and friendly service from the heart.”
“The addition of Cordis, Auckland to our portfolio is a significant milestone for the group as it will be the first Cordis hotel in the Pacific. Our plan is to introduce and grow the Cordis brand in this region, which is seeing increasing numbers of leisure and corporate travellers year on year. Each Cordis is individual in style, architecture and design, all of which will be reflective of its location, local culture and is tailored to the requirements of our guests, from corporate travelers, honeymooners and families,” adds Warman.
Franz Mascarenhas, managing director of The Langham, Auckland says “I am confident Cordis, Auckland will succeed and continue to be the social centre of Auckland, hosting major events, conferences, international delegations and the city’s most glamourous weddings. We look forward to the continued support of the local community.
” Cordis derives its name from the Latin term meaning “heart”. The brand’s concept focuses on the core pillars of innovation in hospitality, genuine service, elegance in design and captivation of the senses.
Following the recent renovation of the banquet venues and the hotel’s Eight restaurant, The Langham Auckland will undergo refurbishment from 11 July for all 411 rooms and suites, lobby lounge and the exclusive Club Lounge. The refurbishment will ensure the hotel continues to provide the best facilities for guests in the market. The facelift is scheduled to be completed by Feb 2018.
To ensure there will be minimal disruption, the room renovations will be carried out in phases where guest floors will be closed off entirely and refurbishment works will be isolated to the designated areas only. Guests staying in the rooms or attending events at The Langham, Auckland will not be inconvenienced at any time during the refurbishment period.
In terms of design, guests may expect contemporary rooms and spaces that are reflective of the Cordis brand and local culture. The award-winning New Zealand based design firm, Space Studio, is the appointed interior designer for this refurbishment project.
In addition, to Cordis, Auckland, other Cordis properties in the brand’s portfolio are in Hong Kong, Shanghai (Hongqiao), Ningbo, Dongqian Lake (2018), Shanghai, East Bund (2019), Hangzhou (2019) and Bali (2018). Read more at http://www.etbtravelnews.global
Given Air NZ’s CEO Christopher Luxon thinks the airline is the best in the world, it probably doesn’t hurt to listen when he says travel agents are important.
Speaking to Travel Weekly at the 2017 TRENZ conference in Auckland recently, Luxon said travel agents are an absolutely essential part of the travel industry.
“For us the channels haven’t changed tremendously. Yes, over the last 15 years there’s been a drive to more direct channels through our own direct services or through OTAs, but the reality is, there’s always going to be a need for travel agents,” he said.
“And for a business like ours that want to understand customer needs better, the high-touch people like travel agents are fantastic.
“It’s just about education, I think travel agents can better serve their customers with more knowledge, and with that ‘high-touch’ that many customers are prepared to pay for; to be able to have that anxiety removed and to have the expertise of a travel agent to help them.”
Travel agents are a key focus area for their educational campaigns, which also hope to inform Aussies of the routes Air NZ flies beyond the Tasman.
“It’s really about educating Australians, because while they think we’re that really cool airline that flies between the Tasman and maybe domestically in NZ, seven out of 10 have no idea we fly beyond NZ into North America, South America, China, Southeast Asia, and all across the place,” Luxon explained.
“So if you want to get to America and you live in Adelaide, why not come through Auckland and it’s very easy to transfer onto services going to Houston, Buenos Aires?
“In fact 40 per cent of our traffic going into Buenos Aires is Australian now.”
Aussies recently voted Air NZ the number one for Corporate Reputation in Australia, beating out the homegrown carriers of Qantas and Virgin Australia.
On this honour, Luxon told TW, “It’s just awesome that Australians think so highly of us.
“We’ve been flying to Australia for 77 years, that’s how our company started, flying from Auckland into Rose Bay, and really it’s been a continuation of that journey.”
Air New Zealand is giving travellers a sneak peek into what the future of inflight service could look like.
The airline has been working with information technology service provider Dimension Data on unique software for Microsoft’s augmented reality (AR) viewer HoloLens that could support cabin crew as they carry out their inflight duties by aggregating and displaying key customer information directly in front of them.
Data such as a customer’s preferred meal and drinks choice, onward travel and loyalty membership details could be displayed. The programme is even sophisticated enough to detect the emotion of the customer by picking up on visual and audio cues.
Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer Avi Golan says the airline has fostered a strong culture of experimentation with new and emerging technologies such as the HoloLens.
“This software is a great example of us collaborating with other partners and exploring how technology could enhance the way our people work as well as the experience they deliver to our customers through greater personalisation,” says Mr Golan.
The technology could also allow the airline’s cabin crew to move to a paperless inflight system presenting added environmental benefits.
Air New Zealand has developed a global reputation for innovation having worked with a range of technology partners and introduced a number of customer innovations to enhance the customer experience in recent times. These include auto bag drops to speed up the check-in process with face-to-passport recognition and Airband™, a wristband for children travelling unaccompanied embedded with technology that allows parents and guardians to track each step of their young ones’ journey. Airband™ was named Innovation of the Year at the 2016 CAPA Asia Pacific Aviation Awards.
Click here or on the image below to download video of Air New Zealand trialling the Microsoft HoloLens.