Wi-Fi demand takes off for US flyers

July 24, 2014 on 8:35 am | In Airlines, Mobile Apps | Comments Off



Demand for in-flight Wi-Fi is soaring for US flyers but so is the expectation of fast, reliable service “like at home or work,” according to a new survey.

A survey commissioned by Honeywell Aerospace and conducted by US market research firm Kelton, polled 1,000 US adults who had used Wi-Fi on a flight in the last year.

It said half of all travelers “would be willing to give up another convenience for Wi-Fi that is as fast as home”.

Also, 22% have paid a higher fare for a flight with Wi-Fi and 17% tried a different airline for the first time because of enhanced Wi-Fi service.

“Demand is so strong that 37% would be upset if they did not have Wi-Fi access on their next flight,” the survey concluded.

The results showed travelers are willing to endure other inconveniences in return for faster internet speeds in the sky.

One third would be willing to check in up to three hours before boarding and just under 45% said they “would endure airport security twice” for faster Wi-Fi.

Kelton’s research also showed at least 85% of travelers would make use of in-flight Wi-Fi if it was free.

“Customers are accustomed to easy access to Wi-Fi and they expect it to be fast and consistent like at home or work, and those expectations are expanding into the sky,” said Jack Jacobs, Honeywell Aerospace vice-president of product management and marketing.


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Lie-Flat Luxury Comes To A&K’s Private Jet Tours

July 23, 2014 on 7:31 am | In Adventure Travel, Airlines | Comments Off



Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowAbercrombie & Kent is taking the next step with its private jet tours by incorporating lie-flat adjustable sleeper seats on the aircraft on its departures this fall. The company is the first to introduce the sleeper seats on private jet trips.

A&K is using a chartered Icelandair Boeing 757-200ER with 50 custom-designed Italian leather seats for its private jet trips. Each aircraft is equipped with a personal massage system, four-way adjustable headrests, lumbar support and a lie-flat bed more than six and a half feet long when folded out.  http://www.icelandair.co.uk

The passenger area has an open bar, an on-board chef and a crew that travels with the group for the duration of the trip.

A&K will use the lie-flat seats first on its fall 2014 departure of the Around the World with Geoffrey Kent itinerary. The company will offer three private jet trips in 2014: Africa: Across a Continent by Private Jet Feb. 20-March 10, 2015; Islands, Savannas and the Amazon, Sept. 17-Oct. 10, 2015; and Wonders of the World by Private Jet, Octo. 12-Nov.6, 2015.

Historically the private jet tour model has used an aircraft reconfigured by removing the standard economy class seats and replacing them with a much smaller number of business class seats. The addition of lie-flat seats is a logical next step in the evolution of the product.

A&K is one of few tour operators to have ever offered private jet trips. Occupying a rarefied high-end market, the private jet product is in surprisingly high demand from a certain tier of high-end traveler because of the ease with which a private jet can access a diverse set of destinations on an itinerary in a relatively short time and with a high level of comfort. It’s also attractive to travel agents because of the high commissions, often in the $10,000 zone.

Pamela Lassers, A&K’s director of media relations, said the company’s new private jet trips are well suited for the entrepreneur who has devoted so much time to building up his business that he has not had the time for leisure travel. With one private jet trip, a traveler can knock several major destinations off his bucket list.

The few operators that have offered private jet tours besides A&K include Travcoa, TCS Expeditions, Intrav and Lakani World Tours.

Advantages of private jet tours include ease of transference through security and immigration checkpoints. Private jets can often streamline the security protocol to make it much simpler and faster. Passengers usually are able to bypass check-in lines. Private jets can also land in places where larger-capacity planes cannot.

Prices range from $50,000 upwards to $100,000 or more. A&K’s Wonders of the World trip is priced from $108,000. The Wonders of the World trip includes Machu Picchu, Easter Island, Samoa, Sydney, Angkor Wat, the Taj Mahal, Turkey and Morocco in a single 24-day itinerary.

A&K introduced its first private jet tour in 1989, the Royal Air Tour. The company offered private tours on the Concord for a while before the plane was taken out of service. The market ebbs and flows with economic conditions. It seems to be on an upswing again now. A&K’s recent Africa trip sold out in two months, prompting the company to offer a second departure. Its recent private jet offering hosted by Geoffrey Kent sold out in three weeks.


How to Score Cook Islands and Fiji Air Deals

July 23, 2014 on 7:21 am | In Airlines, Beachbooker, Cook Islands, Fiji Islands, Pacific Islands | Comments Off



Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowEveryone from Fletcher Christian to Paul Gauguin can tell you that while paradise in the South Pacific is well, paradisiacal, it can be hard place to get to. Well two South Pacific airlines, Air New Zealand and Fiji Airways, are making it easier to get to the Cook Islands and to get around the Fijian islands.

Air New Zealand is making a trip to the Cook Islands much easier this fall and winter with an early bird fare of $838 in coach and $1,998 in business from Los Angeles. The ticket must be purchased by July 31 for travel beginning between Aug. 14 and Jan. 25. For Canadians, it’s $1,098 Economy class or $2,898 in business. It’s a nine-hour overnight flight from LAX to Rarotonga. The Cooks are comprised of 15 islands with Rarotonga being the gateway and capital as well as the country’s main resort island. Aitutaki is a 45-minute flight from Rarotonga and is known for having “the most beautiful lagoon in the world.”

Even among the peaceful islands of the Pacific, the Cooks are known to be laid back. No hotel is higher than a palm tree and visitors spend their time paddleboarding, diving, taking hiking tours and swimming in lagoons. There are only 15,000 Cook Island people and most of them live on Rarotonga in and around the Avarua District. About 7,500 Americans and Canadians make it to the Cooks per year.

Convenience has come to another Pacific Island paradise as Fiji Airways has introduced its Paradise Pass that allows travelers to fly within Fiji on as many flights and segments as they want for $179. Using the pass, visitors can fly to Vunisea on Kadavu Island, Nadi and Nausori on Viti Levu, Savusavu and Labasa on Vanua Levu, and Matei on Taveuni Island. Users must first purchase a Fiji Airways international ticket.

The Paradise Pass may be purchased until Sept. 30. The Paradise Pass booking must be made prior to international travel and is based on availability. The pass is available via Fiji Airways’ domestic carrier Fiji Link.


Now You Can Watch ‘Adventure Time’ at 40,000 Feet

July 23, 2014 on 7:18 am | In Airlines, Webbandstand | Comments Off



Cartoon Network has an integrated presence on the ground at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas that works pretty well, so why not try it in the air?

Southwest Airlines and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. announced today it will add Cartoon Network to the carrier’s inflight entertainment portal, which streams free live television programming to passengers’ Wi-Fi-equipped personal electronic devices.

Content from Cartoon Network’s programming such as Adventure Time, Regular Show, The Amazing World of Gumball, and Ben 10 Omniverse is now available for inflight viewing. Cartoon Network is the airline’s first complete child-centric programming being offered onboard all Southwest Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft, representing nearly 80 percent of the airline’s fleet.

The streaming TV service is provided by connectivity partner Global Eagle Entertainment Inc.

“The addition of Cartoon Network to our breadth of programming is a big win for Southwest and our Customers,” Kevin Krone, Southwest Airlines Chief Marketing Officer, said in a statement. “This partnership with Turner and GEE continues to drive customer value for our brand and even more choices for entertainment onboard.”

“We’re thrilled to partner with Southwest Airlines to offer some of our most popular programming from Cartoon Network to its passengers,” said Debbie Cooper, president of Turner Private Networks. “Being the first children’s network to be added to their TV lineup speaks volumes about the value of Cartoon Network and the importance of offering child-friendly content inflight as a viewing option for families during travel.”

Read more travel news at www.travelpulse.com

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And The World’s Best Airline Is…

July 22, 2014 on 12:01 pm | In Airlines | Comments Off



Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowCathay Pacific became the first airline to earn the prestigious World Airline Award as the Best Airline four times, as it was named the 2014 winner at the Farnborough International Air Show in England.

The awards, run by the British aviation consultancy and research firm Skytrax, are one of the most respected and high-profile in the aviation industry. They are based on surveys of more than 18 million airline passengers in 100 countries.

Cathay Pacific previously won the Best Airline title in 2003, 2005 and 2009. It was sixth in the Skytrax rankings last year.

“We are extremely proud, for both Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong,” airline CEO Ivan Chu said in accepting the award.

U.S.-based airlines were shut out of the Top 20 as carriers from Asia and the Middle East dominated the Top 10.

BEST AIRLINES 2014
1. Cathay Pacific Airways
2. Qatar Airways
3. Singapore Airlines
4. Emirates
5. Turkish Airlines
6. ANA All Nippon Airways
7. Garuda Indonesia
8. Asiana Airlines
9. Etihad Airways
10. Lufthansa

Ironically, Etihad last month said it would not participate in the awards because of a dispute with that way Skytrax compiled the rankings. But Skytrax said there was nothing to withdraw from – the ratings are based on objective public surveys, not its own subjective choosing.

“An airline cannot be withdrawn from the World Airline Awards, since these results are directly decided by customers,” the company said in a statement. “Skytrax do not exercise control over which airlines are nominated in the survey ratings, and to subsequently try and conceal the results of a public vote would be unacceptable.”

Singapore Airlines won the World Airlines Award for best First Class cabin, Qatar took to the crown for best Business Class and Korea’s Asiana was named best Economy Class.

Read more travel news at www.travelpulse.com


German Rail Pass ‘Sit and Save’ Promotion

July 22, 2014 on 8:10 am | In Airlines, Germany, Rail Tours | Comments Off



Book your seat and take advantage of savings with your German Rail Pass purchase

Purchase your German Rail Pass between June 15th and September 30th, 2014 and save up to 25% off the regular retail price. To take full advantage of the ‘Sit and Save’ promotion you must also present a seat reservation with your pass when using long distance and high speed trains, night trains or IC bus services on routes in Germany.

High speed trains in Germany are among the most advanced and comfortable trains in Europe, with cozy seats, entertainment systems and amazing panoramic views on select cars. Travel in First class to sample delicious meals and drinks served at your seat and also gain access to the DB lounges in cities like Berlin, Hamburg and Munich.

Book your seat reservations today, then sit back and enjoy your journey as you realize savings on your German Rail Pass, German Rail Twin Pass in First and Standard Class or German Rail Youth Pass in Standard Class. You can travel with your promotional pass between July 1st and October 31st, 2014.

Promotional passes sold during the German Rail Pass ‘Sit and Save’ Promotion are non-exchangeable and non-refundable.



Halifax airport the first in North America to fully automate checkin

July 22, 2014 on 8:00 am | In Airlines, Canada, Nova Scotia | Comments Off



Canada’s Halifax Stanfield International has become the first airport in North America to offer a complete self-serve check-in system for all air travelers.

Now, all passengers select their own seats and tag their own luggage regardless of the airline they are traveling with after the new system officially went live on Friday.

Airport officials said it took 18 months to fully install the $45million project.

Michael Healy, vice-president of infrastructure and commercial development at the airport says other airports in Canada are planning fully automated check-in systems similar to Halifax.

“It’s the wave of the future,” Healy said.

“Trials are going on in several of the other airports now and Calgary is building a new terminal which will use a similar model when they open in 2015.”

Healy also responded to some travelers’concerns that the automated system will lead to job cuts and fewer passenger service staff on duty.

“My understanding from talking to airlines is their staffing levels haven’t changed much and agents are assisting the passengers with the process more so than sitting behind desks.”

Travelers departing from Halifax are being asked to print tickets in advance to make the check-in process as simple and speedy as possible.

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No room for Qantas Club members in the LAX lounge

July 22, 2014 on 7:59 am | In Airlines, Australia, Los Angeles, New South Wales, Northern, Queensland, South Australia, Sydney, Tasmania, Victoria, Western | Comments Off



Australian Business Traveller (http://www.ausbt.com.au) reports that Qantas Club members are being turned away from the airline’s new Los Angeles Business Lounge during peak periods due to overcrowding.

Instead, $400-per-year Qantas Club members are handed a US$50 voucher for buying food and drinks at the terminal’s retail outlets.

While allowing that this “is not the case in general… during recent peak periods when the Lounge has been at full capacity, some Qantas Club members and other eligible Lounge visitors have been offered vouchers in lieu of entry,” a Qantas spokeswoman confirmed to Australian Business Traveller.

“Current peak period capacity constraints will be further relieved with the opening of the new First Class Lounge early next year,” the spokesperson said.

“Between now and then, we will continue to welcome Qantas Club members into the Los Angeles Business Lounge when capacity allows.”

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Gatwick gets family friendly accolade

July 22, 2014 on 7:58 am | In Airlines, London, United Kingdom | Comments Off



Gatwick has become the first airport to win ‘family friendly’ status for improving the family passenger experience.

The airport has been awarded Family Friendly UK accreditation by the Family and Childcare Trust due to various services including free pushchairs, family assistance lanes, play areas and family friendly restaurants.

It also recognised the support Gatwick gives to its staff in relation to childcare and flexible working.

Anand Shukla, chief executive at the Family and Childcare Trust, said: “Gatwick has shown an ongoing and genuine commitment to improving the travel experience for families and to supporting its staff.”

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Turkish Airlines best in Europe

July 22, 2014 on 7:48 am | In Airlines, Turkey | Comments Off



Turkish Airlines has been chosen “Best Airline in Europe”, “Best Airline in Southern Europe” and awarded “Best Business Class Onboard Catering”, “Best Business Class Lounge Dining” in 2014 Skytrax World Airline Awards.

As a world recognized brand associated with air travel excellence in 21st century by providing unique products to the world airline and airport industry through professional Audit and Service Benchmarking programmes of airlines, airline alliances, airports and related air transport product and service suppliers across the globe, Skytrax had become the world leader in ranking aviation offers. With no outside sponsorship, advertising or influence, it is the most respected global airline passenger study in the industry.

This year’s awards were based on the results of over 18 million passenger surveys, with more than 105 nationalities participating, covering 245 airlines. Turkish Airlines scored a resounding success at the 2014 Skytrax World Airline Awards, with air travellers voting the airline as the “Best Airline in Europe”, the fourth year running.

The results of the 2014 World Airline Awards were announced today in Hampshire, Farnborough Airshow. “Best Airline in Europe”, “Best Airline in Southern Europe”, “Best Business Class Catering” and “Best Business Class Lounge Dining” awards were presented to Turkish Airlines’ CEO, Temel Kotil Ph.D. by CEO of Skytrax, Edward Plaisted. The survey operated over a 10-month period, and more than 105 nationalities from over 160 countries around the world participated in the survey.

The awards mark a continued period of success for the airline which has seen passenger numbers rise by 16.8% so far in 2014 compared to the same period last year. This follows the airline being ranked as a 4-star airline in 2007 and joining Star Alliance in 2008. While keeping its 4-star airline title again in 2008, Turkish Airlines was named “Best Airline in Southern Europe”.


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