Typhoon Jelawat to disrupt Japan flights

Mainland Japan is bracing for the approach of Typhoon Jelawat, which yesterday injured over 50 people on the island of Okinawa, according to AFP.

The arrival of the typhoon is expected to cause flight and transportation disruptions throughout the country. International flights departing and arriving out of Narita Airport this morning, however, appear to have experienced minimal disruption so far (see flight departure schedule here).

On Japan Airlines’ (JAL) website, the carrier states that Tokyo Haneda, Tokyo Narita, Nagoya Chubu and Osaka Kansai airports “may experience flight delays, cancellations, or diversions… Normal operation is expected for other airports.”

On September 30 and October 1, JAL flights will “experience irregular operations” due to the typhoon, it states, and the carrier advises passengers to keep a close eye on the status of their flight on the relevant carriers’ website. 

For more information, visit www.jal.co.jp or Japan Meteorlogical Agency at www.jma.go.jp/en/typh

Alex Andersson

Business Traveller Asia-Pacific Awards 2012

Business Traveller Asia-Pacific tonight held its much-anticipated annual awards ceremony, recognising those superstars who provide exemplary services to frequent travellers.

The always-well attended event was made extra special this year by the fact that the publication was celebrating its 30th anniversary. The night, therefore, looked back to the decade of the magazine’s birth with a glamorous 80s theme.

Held in the Conrad Hotel Hong Kong’s grand ballroom, the ceremony was attended by leading figures from across the travel industry. Adding extra sparkle to the evening were the guests of honour, famous Cantopop singer Frances Yip and acclaimed cellist Trey Lee.

To see photos from the evening, view them on Facebook and Google+

The much-coveted awards were given in 55 categories, with the winners voted for by Business Traveller Asia-Pacific readers in a poll conducted by the market research company Ipsos.

Many of last year’s winners succeeded in staying at the top, including IHG’s Intercontinental which took Best Business Hotel Brand in the World for the third year, and Best Business Hotel Brand in Europe for a fourth year. Another IHG brand, Holiday Inn, held on to the title of Best Mid-Market Hotel Brand in the World for an impressive twelfth year.

Also a standout was Asian brand Shangri-La which swept seven titles, including Best Business Hotel Brand in Asia-Pacific and Best Business Hotel in the World for Shangri-La Singapore.

The awards saw several first time winners, including Sheraton Seoul D Cube City Hotel, which took Best New Business Hotel in Asia-Pacific, and Lufthansa, which fought off competition to earn Best European Airline. Meanwhile, Mandarin Oriental beat a crowded field to win Best Business Hotel in Jakarta.

On the airline front, Singapore Airlines took three awards for Best Airline, Best Asia-Pacific Airline, Best Airline in Business and Economy, while Cathay Pacific won Best Airline First Class and the Best Frequent Flyer Programme. Qantas bagged Best Airline Premium Economy for a second year runningA new category introduced this year was Best Low-Cost Airline which went to AirAsia.

(To see a complete list of the winners scroll down)

The night also saw the announcement of the winners of the Business Traveller Anniversary Photo Competition, with awards attendees picking the most captivating photographs from a short list of twelve on display (see the winning photos here).

With these photos offering magical memories of travels past, and the awards highlighting services that helping to make new memories today, the evening was a glorious celebration of everything special in the world of travel.




Best Airline in the World

Singapore Airlines 1. Singapore Airlines
2. Cathay Pacific
3. Qatar Airways

Best Asia-Pacific Airline

Singapore Airlines1. Singapore Airlines
2. Cathay Pacific
3. Thai Airways

Best China Airline

Air China 1. Air China
2. China Southern
3. China Eastern

Best European Airline

Lufthansa1. Lufthansa
2. British Airways
3. Virgin Atlantic

Best North American Airline

United Airlines1. United Airlines
2. Delta Air Lines
3. Air Canada

Best Middle-East/African Airline

Qatar Airways1. Qatar Airways
2. Emirates
3. Etihad Airways

Best Low Cost Airline

AirAsia1. AirAsia
2. Jetstar
3. Cebu Pacific

Best First Class

Cathay Pacific1. Cathay Pacific
2. Singapore Airlines
3. Emirates

Best Business Class

Singapore Airlines1. Singapore Airlines
2. Cathay Pacific
3. Qatar Airways

Best Premium Economy Class

Qantas1. Qantas
2. Air New Zealand
3. Virgin Atlantic

Best Economy Class

Singapore Airlines1. Singapore Airlines
2. Cathay Pacific
3. Korean Airlines

Best Frequent-Flyer Programme

Cathay Pacific1. Cathay Pacific – Asia Miles
2. Singapore Airlines – Krisflyer
3. Malaysia Airlines – Enrich Miles

Best Airline Lounge in Asia-Pacific

Singapore Airlines1. Singapore Airlines – Changi Airport
2. Cathay Pacific – Hong Kong International Airport
3. Thai Airways – Suvarnabhumi Airport


Best Airport in the World

Singapore Changi1. Singapore Changi
2. Hong Kong International
3. Incheon International

Best Airport in Asia-Pacific

Singapore Changi1. Singapore Changi
2. Hong Kong International
3. Incheon International

Best Duty-Free in the World

Incheon International1. Incheon International
2. Singapore Changi
3. Hong Kong International


Best Business City in Northeast Asia

Hong Kong1. Hong Kong
2. Seoul
3. Tokyo

Best Business City in Southeast Asia

Singapore1. Singapore
2. Bangkok
3. Kuala Lumpur

Best Business City in the World

Hong Kong1. Hong Kong
2. Singapore
3. London

Best Leisure Destination in Asia-Pacific

Bali1. Bali
2. Bangkok
3. Singapore


Best Business Hotel Brand in the World

InterContinental1. InterContinental
2. Grand Hyatt
3. Four Seasons

Best Business Hotel Brand in Asia-Pacific

Shangri-La1. Shangri-La
2. Peninsula
3. Grand Hyatt

Best Business Hotel Brand in Europe

InterContinental1. InterContinental
2. Hilton Hotels & Resorts
3. Sheraton

Best Business Hotel Brand in North America

Hilton Hotels & Resorts1. Hilton Hotels & Resorts
2. Grand Hyatt
3. Sheraton

Best Business Hotel Brand in Middle East/Africa

Jumeirah1. Jumeirah
2. Hilton Hotels & Resorts
3. InterContinental

Best Mid-Market Hotel Brand in the World

Holiday Inn1. Holiday Inn
2. Courtyard by Marriott
3. Novotel

Best Business Hotel in the World

Shangri-La, Singapore1. Shangri-La, Singapore
2. Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong
3. Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

Best Business Hotel in Asia-Pacific

Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong1. Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong
2. Shangri-La, Singapore
3. The Peninsula, Hong Kong

Best Airport Hotel in Asia-Pacific

Regal Airport, Hong Kong1. Regal Airport, Hong Kong
2. Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, Singapore
3. Pan Pacific KLIA, Kuala Lumpur

Best New Business Hotel in Asia-Pacific

Sheraton Seoul D Cube City Hotel1. Sheraton Seoul D Cube City Hotel
2. The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong
3. The Fullerton Bay, Singapore

Best Resort Hotel in Asia-Pacific

W Retreat & Spa Bali - Seminyak1. W Retreat & Spa Bali – Seminyak
2. Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa
3. Banyan Tree Phuket

Best Boutique Hotel in Asia-Pacific

Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund1. Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund
2. The Upper House, Hong Kong
3. The Quincy Hotel, Singapore

Best Business Hotel in Bangkok

Mandarin Oriental1. Mandarin Oriental
2. Grand Hyatt Erawan
3. Shangri-La

Best Business Hotel in Beijing

Grand Hyatt Beijing

1. Grand Hyatt
2. Raffles
3. China World

Best Business Hotel in Guangzhou

Garden Hotel Guangzhou1. Garden Hotel
2. The Westin
3. Shangri-La

Best Business Hotel in Hanoi

Hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole1. Hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole
2. InterContinental Hanoi Westlake
3. Hilton Hanoi Opera

Best Business Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City

Park Hyatt Ho Chi Minh City
1. Park Hyatt

2. InterContinental Asiana Saigon
3. The Caravelle

Best Business Hotel in Hongkong

Island Shangri-La1. Island Shangri-La
2. Four Seasons
3. InterContinental

Best Business Hotel in Jakarta

Mandarin Oriental1. Mandarin Oriental
2. Shangri-La
3. Grand Hyatt

Best Business Hotel in Kuala Lumpur

Hilton1. Hilton
2. Mandarin Oriental
3. Grand Hyatt

Best Business Hotel in Macau

Grand Hyatt1. Grand Hyatt
2. Mandarin Oriental
3. Hotel Okura

Best Business Hotel in Manila

Makati Shangri-La1. Makati Shangri-La
2. The Peninsula
3. Crowne Plaza

Best Business Hotel in Melbourne

Park Hyatt Melbourne1. Park Hyatt
2. Grand Hyatt
3. The Langham

Best Business Hotel in Mumbai

The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower1. The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower
2. Grand Hyatt
3. The Oberoi

Best Business Hotel in New Delhi

The Oberoi1. The Oberoi
2. The Taj Palace
3. The Leela

Best Business Hotel in Osaka

Hyatt Regency Osaka1. Hyatt Regency
2. The Ritz-Carlton
3. Hilton

Best Business Hotel in Seoul

Lotte1. Lotte
2. Grand Hyatt
3. Shilla

Best Business Hotel in Shanghai

Pudong Shangri-La1. Pudong Shangri-La
2. Grand Hyatt
3. Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund

Best Business Hotel in Shenzhen   

Futian Shangri-La1. Futian Shangri-La
2. Grand Hyatt
3. JW Marriott

Best Business Hotel in Singapore

Grand Hyatt Singapore1. Grand Hyatt
2. Shangri-La
3. Fullerton Bay

Best Business Hotel in Sydney

InterContinental Sydney1. InterContinental
2. Shangri-La
3. Hilton

Best Business Hotel in Taipei

W Taipei1. W Taipei
2. Le Meridien
3. Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza

Best Business Hotel in Tokyo

Park Hyatt Tokyo1. Park Hyatt
2. Mandarin Oriental
3. ANA InterContinental

Best Serviced Residence in Asia-Pacific

Ascott Raffles Place Singapore1. Ascott Raffles Place Singapore
2. Ascott Jakarta
3. Parkroyal Serviced Suites Kuala Lumpur

Best Serviced Residence Brand in Asia-Pacific

Ascott1. Ascott
2. Oakwood
3. Marriott Executive Apartments



Anniversary photo competition winners


Corinne Faulkner, UK

Florida was such a fun time visiting Disneyland, although I got swallowed up by Jaws.

(Florida, US, 1988)

Duccio Alabiso, Italy

We were camping in Italy.

(Tuscany, Italy, 1985)

Grace Lam, Hong Kong

The people dressed in simple mono colour clothing in front of the colourful Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

(Beijing, China, 1985)

Matthew Slutzkin – Australia

Where have all the rickshaws gone? The photo was taken in Middle Road, behind The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong.

(Kowloon, Hong Kong, 1981)

Pamela Lui, Hong Kong

I was standing in front of Space Shuttle Challenger located in Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 1984. Challenger was the workhorse of the early days of the Shuttle fleet, setting numerous records and leaving behind a legacy of education, inspiration and safety. Challenger was disintegrated after launch during its 10th mission in 1986 killing all seven astronauts on board. It was a memorable tragedy!

(Florida, US, 1984)


Richard Russell, US

This was taken at the centre of Shenzhen 30 years ago. Shenzhen has now been transformed into a modern cityscape and become one of the 13 emerging megalopolises in China.

(Shenzhen, China, 1980)

Sammi Meng, China

I was enjoying my day by the West Lake in Hangzhou, China.

(Hangzhou, China, 1987)

Tracey Duggan, UK

This is a picture of me and my boyfriend around 1983. We were on Stanley Beach on the south side of Hong Kong, which was little more than a run-down old Chinese fishing village at the time. Today there is no more beach on this side of Stanley – in its place there is a huge concrete breakwater, a wide promenade and lots of expensive restaurants and bars, as well as the relocated Murray House that used to be in Central.

(Stanley, Hong Kong, 1983)

Runners Up

Kang Ween Lian, Malaysia

It was not just a camel ride, but great family fun!!

(Perth, Australia, 1989)

Lau Hui Hua, Malaysia

Everyone loved to take picture of the airport during old days.

(Manila, Philippines, 1982)

Kris Leung, Hong Kong

Pilatus is the name of the mountain (2132 meters high) not far from the Chapel Bridge.  It was a popular tourist spot at that time!

(Luzern, Switzerland, 1989)

Ricky Wong, Hong Kong

Time can tell: In 1989 Gorbachev, the leader of USSR allowed other political associations to coexist with the Communist Party, it ended into dissolution of the Soviet Union.

(Moscow, Russia, 1989)

Belgian national strike set to disrupt Eurostar services

Eurostar is advising customers planning to visit Brussels on October 3 to change their travel dates, with a national strike set to take place in Belgium next Wednesday.

The rail operator says that if the industrial action does go ahead it will not run services to and from Brussels from 2200 CET on October 2, until 2200 CET on October 3. Services will terminate and start at Lille during this period.

The operator says that “As a precaution, Eurostar strongly recommends that passengers planning to travel to or from Brussels on Wednesday October 3 (or on the 1904 departure from London on October 2) should exchange their tickets for travel before or after”.

Eurostar said it will offer refunds or exchanges free of charge regardless of ticket conditions, but subject to availability on alternative services, and advised customers wishing to re-book their travel to contact their original point of sale, or Eurostar on one of the following numbers: 

  • UK 08432 186 186
  • Belgium 02 40 06 731
A revised timetable will be in operation to and from Lille, and Eurostar advises passengers “to refer to the special timetable which will be published on eurostar.com early next week to find their new departure times and how this may affect onward travel”.
For more information visit eurostar.com.
Report by Mark Caswell

Emirates secures naming rights for Glasgow’s Commonwealth Arena

Emirates has signed a ten-year agreement with Glasgow City Council to sponsor the city’s new 6,500-seater indoor arena which will form a key part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The £113 million Emirates Arena will open on October 5, and will host Scottish, European and world level sporting events ahead of the Commonwealth Games in the summer of 2014.

The arena will host badminton events during the Games, and will have a capacity for 6,500 spectators when set up for sporting events, while the adjacent velodrome has permanent seating for 2,500 spectators.

The facility will also create a legacy for the city, becoming Scotland’s national training centre for athletics, basketball, netball, track cycling and volleyball.

It’s the latest in a series of high profile sponsorship agreements by Emirates in the UK, including Arsenal Football Club’s Emirates Stadium in London, its A380 model situated on the roundabout approaching Heathrow 1,2 and 3 (see online news July 24, 2008), and the recently launched Emirates Air Line cable car service over the Thames (see online news June 19).

Emirates currently flies twice-daily between Glasgow and Dubai – for more information visit emirates.com, emiratesarena.co.uk.

Report by Mark Caswell

Business Traveller October edition now live

Subscribers to the print version of Business Traveller can access the edition online before everyone else.

All of our special reports and destination features are uploaded to businesstraveller.com each month, and the October 2012 edition has now gone live.

Subscribe to Business Traveller today, and as an added bonus you’ll receive up to 2,000 Avios, as well as a 20 per cent off subscription rates. For more information click here.

This month’s packed issue includes:

  • A report on the challenges facing disabled travellers
  • Cutting the cost of meetings
  • A round-up of gadgets to help you make the most of your waking hours
  • A look at BA’s new Leeds route
  • Four hours in Chongqing
  • A look at Doha’s plans to become a must-visit destination
  • Our frequent traveller develops a fear of flying
  • A look at the first class products on offer on UK and European rail services
  • A round-up of new serviced apartments in London
  • The lowdown on etiquette in the Asia-Pacific region
  • A look at meeting options in Cancun
  • Golfing around Johannesburg
  • A gastronomic tour of Belgium’s capital

Plus we review Cathay Pacific’s new premium economy and business class products, as well as Royal Jordanian’s business offering.

If you are already a subscriber to Business Traveller, simply log in here (using the email address attached to your subscription), then click on the archive button on the navigation bar for full access.

If you are unsure of your log in details, or have any problems accessing the archive as a print subscriber, click here to send us an email.

Bmi’s Diamond Club to wind down from October 27

Bmi’s Diamond Club loyalty scheme will effectively close at the end of October, following the integration of the carrier into BA’s Heathrow operations.

From October 27, members will no longer be able to earn or spend destination miles on Bmi or partner airline flights, nor will they earn miles with partners including hotels, BAA Worldpoints, etc.

Buying destination miles will also no longer be possible, nor will upgrading using miles, and members will no longer earn status miles on flights.

In fact the only Diamond Club benefits that will remain, for now at least, are access to BA’s Heathrow T5 lounges for existing elite tier members who haven’t already opted to status match with BA’s Executive Club, and the ability to earn miles through the Bmi credit card, for transferral into Avios (click here for more information).

From October 28 members will need to visit diamondclub.org to check their balances. All non-UK members will need to transfer their Diamond Club miles into Avios by December 31, at which point their accounts will close and what’s left of the scheme will become UK-only.

The exception is for members living in Australia and New Zealand, who will see their accounts “frozen”. Bmi says it is “currently reviewing options” for customers in those countries.

The October 28 date is significant as it signals the start of airlines’ winter schedules, and it is also when the newly-independent Bmi Regional is due to officially launch (see online news September 18).

For more information visit flybmi.com.

Report by Mark Caswell

Earn 15,000 bonus Flying Club miles by joining Hilton HHonors

Virgin Flying Club members can earn up to 15,000 miles by joining Hilton HHonors before December 31.

Registration for HHonors is free and can be done at hhonors.com/FCstaymore. In order to accumulate miles you must select Virgin Atlantic Airways in your HHonors profile as the preferred airline, prior to booking your Hilton stay.

Until December 31 any stay at a participating hotel within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio will earn bonus miles, up to a maximum of 15,000. Each stay will accumulate 1000 bonus miles on an upward sliding scale, up to the fifth stay, which will earn 5,000 miles. So the second stay will earn 2,000 miles, the third 3,000 and the fourth 4,000, making a total of 15,000 once five stays have been completed during the promotional period.

HHonors members earning Fixed Miles will earn bonus miles on top of the standard 10 HHonors base points per eligible U.S. dollar spent, plus 1,000, 200 or 100 airline miles (as applicable) per stay. Make sure to ask at the time of booking for details of the fixed points awarded at the chosen hotel.

Members collecting Variable Miles will earn the bonus miles on top of the standard 10 HHonors base points plus two Flying Club base miles per each US dollar spent.

For more information visit hiltonhhonors.com.

Report by Scott Carey

Jet Airways suspends Chennai to Brussels flights

Jet Airways is suspending its daily service between Chennai and Brussels from November 15 due to the ongoing economic downturn in Europe.

“In view of the current global economic scenario, including the ongoing Eurozone Crisis, Jet Airways has announced a redeployment of assets on its existing route network,” said a spokesperson for the airline.

“As part of the airline’s ongoing network rationalisation, Jet Airways will temporarily suspend its existing operations on the Chennai-Brussels sector.”

The airline launched the route in October 2007. It has developed Brussels into a hub connecting flights from India with onward destinations in North America.

The spokesperson said Jet Airway’s routes from Mumbai and Delhi to Brussels and onwards to New York (Newark) and Toronto would continue to operate as scheduled.

For more information, visit www.jetairways.com

Nicholas Olczak