British Airways cancels one of its London City to New York all-business class services

British Airways A318

British Airways cancels one of its London City to New York all-business class services

Flight numbers BA3 and BA4 will be cancelled from the end of October 2016

British Airways will cancel the second of its London City to New York JFK all-business class services.

The flights were operated by an A318 aircraft and stopped at Shannon for refueling on their way to New York.

While this refuelling occurred, there is the opportunity for passengers to be pre-cleared for US customs, allowing them to enter the US as “domestic” passengers.

Originally this was for both outbound flights – BA1 and BA3, but in 2012 BA003 lost that benefit

BA003 New York service to lose US pre-clearance at Shannon

https://www.businesstraveller.com/news/2012/09/06/ba003-new-york-service-to-lose-us-pre-clearance-at-shannon/

A spokesperson for BA said:

“We will be flying up to 12 times a day from London to New York rather than the originally planned 13 times a day in the coming months.

“Any customers affected by the changes will be rebooked on to an alternative flight or offered a full refund.

“We constantly evaluate the commercial performance of our entire global network and will increase or reduce our schedules as we feel appropriate.”

There is no word yet on whether the A318 aircraft will be moved onto another route.

 

 

American carriers flying to Cuba

JetBlue lands in Cuba

 

Today JetBlue became the first US airline to make a commercial flight to Cuba in 55 years.

JetBlue flight 387 took off from Fort Lauderdale this morning and landed in Abel Santamaría Airport in Santa Clara, Cuba just after 11am local time.

The airline will continue to offer daily Fort Lauderdale-Santa Clara flights, with flights to Camagüey and Holguín to come this fall.

Though JetBlue is the first airline to schedule commercial Cuban flights, its competitors are not far behind; American is set to begin flights between Miami and four Cuban airports in early September, and six major US airlines are scheduled to begin service to Havana by early December.

Most airlines submitted applications to fly commercial to Cuba to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) this spring, and news of DOT approval has been trickling in throughout the summer.

Below are all scheduled commercial services to Cuba currently available for booking:

Not yet available to book, but also in the works: JetBlue services between Havana and New York JFK, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Southwest flights from Fort Lauderdale to Havana, Varadero and Santa Clara and from Tampa to Havana and Frontier services from both Denver and Las Vegas to Havana, as well as weekly flights from Miami to at least two other Cuban cities.

Travel between the US and Cuba is still restricted, and requires a Visa. According to the US Embassy in Havana:

“The twelve categories of authorized travel to Cuba are: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials; and certain authorized export transactions.”

Still, the newly available commercial flights are an important improvement for business and personal travellers alike.

Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City opens on Sheikh Zayed Road

The-Westin-Dubai,-Al-Habtoor

Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City opens on Sheikh Zayed Road

Largest Westin in Europe, Middle East and Africa opens with more than 1,000 rooms in 41-storey tower

The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City has opened on ahead of schedule on Sheikh Zayed Road. The new property is the largest Westin in Europe, Middle East and Africa with more than 1,000 rooms.

The hotel has a total of 1,004 rooms including 142 suites. The hotel’s lobby and interiors have been inspired by the region’s Hajar Mountains and feature stylised motifs of the Art Deco movement.

The hotel is in “soft-opening” and five of its six dining venues are open including: Cook Hall – a casual industrial-style American gastro pub; Il Capo Restaurant – serving hearty New York Italian dishes, the lobby lounge Daily Treats; Seasonal Tastes – serving global cuisine from its six live cooking stations, and Blinq – serving cocktails and snacks. Due to open later this year, Firefly is a poolside rooftop lounge and bar.

Also “opening soon” will be the hotel’s spa and gym. This will have 20 treatment rooms, which include separate male and female areas, a Hamman, steam room, sauna, hot tubs, whirlpools and specialty showers. The gym will have equipment from Technogym, a yoga studio and in total the property will have three rooftop swimming pools, including a splash pool for children at the Westin Family Kids Club.

The hotel has 15 meeting rooms  and two additional outdoor spaces will open soon. The 1,450m2 Al Joud ballroom has a separate entrance, pre-function hall and can host events with up to 1,200 guests.

The Al Habtoor City development features two other Starwood hotels: The St. Regis Dubai, which opened last November, and the recently opened W Dubai – Al Habtoor City. The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City is the third and final hotel to complete the Al Habtoor City Hotel Collection.

“Together with Al Habtoor Group, we are excited to deliver Westin’s well-being promise to guests at Starwood’s largest hospitality project in the Middle East,” said Michael Wale, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “This opening reaffirms Westin is on track to double its presence in the Middle East in the next three years.”

www.westindubaialhabtoorcity.com

 

 

 

 

Dubai Opera opens tonight with Placido Domingo concert

Dubai-Opera-Auditorium

Dubai Opera opens tonight with Placido Domingo concert

The 2,000-seat auditorium will offer a diverse year-round programme of concerts and events

Dubai Opera opens tonight with Placido Domingo concert with The Barber of Seville following September 2-4 performed by The Giuseppe Verdi di Trieste Opera House, Dominic Ellis, Editor, Business Traveller Middle East, reports.

The outside welcome area is large with escalators and lift up to the higher floors, where there will be bars, and in time, a rooftop restaurant. Plentiful wood, from the slatted ceiling beams to the large spotlight-ridden fixtures above and boxes flanking the sides, augment the nautical theme within the striking dhow-shaped building, which lies in the shadow of Burj Khalifa. The crimson-coloured leather seats in the auditorium provide a warmth, complementing all the brown and adding that touch of Dubai style.

The stage is deep and wide and the ‘surtitles’ above the stage, in English and Arabic, enable you to follow the story easily.

Chief executive Jasper Hope said his team, while working on the project for three years, are now focused on the next phase and looking at how its programme “can inspire the next generation.” “There won’t be less than 200 events in the first year,” he said. “I expect it will be higher but that depends on a lot of things.”

While he said there was no strict code, he hoped guests would dress up as it was a “special” venue, and in respect for the performers and UAE culture.

From today, concert goers will be able to access the Opera House directly from the boulevard, and choose between valet, plaza and boulevard parking.

Ginger Hotels opens in Bhubaneswar

Ginger Hotels

Tata’s low-budget hotel chain, Ginger Hotels has opened in Bhubaneswar this month. The 160-key property is about 8kms from the Biju Patnaik International Airport.

Rahul Pandit, MD and CEO at Ginger Hotels says, “We are proud to introduce the largest hotel inventory in Odisha — a centre of economic and religious importance in Eastern India. Ginger is the pioneer and the largest chain of branded budget hotels in India with a resilient promise of safety, cleanliness, relaxing sleep experience, refreshing shower experience, a hearty breakfast and seamless wifi. We assure travellers of a consistently pleasant experience with us.”

Free wifi is available to all guests of Ginger Bhubaneswar. All rooms have a work desk, free water bottles, LCD television, tea/coffee maker and a shower. On the property are also a gym, a 24-hours coffee shop, and conference hall with a capacity for 45 people.

gingerhotels.com/bhubaneshwar-hotels/

Tata’s low-budget hotel chain, Ginger Hotels has opened in Bhubaneswar this month. The 160-key property is about 8kms from the Biju Patnaik International Airport.

Rahul Pandit, MD and CEO at Ginger Hotels says, “We are proud to introduce the largest hotel inventory in Odisha — a centre of economic and religious importance in Eastern India. Ginger is the pioneer and the largest chain of branded budget hotels in India with a resilient promise of safety, cleanliness, relaxing sleep experience, refreshing shower experience, a hearty breakfast and seamless wifi. We assure travellers of a consistently pleasant experience with us.”

Free wifi is available to all guests of Ginger Bhubaneswar. All rooms have a work desk, free water bottles, LCD television, tea/coffee maker and a shower. On the property are also a gym, a 24-hours coffee shop, and conference hall with a capacity for 45 people.

gingerhotels.com/bhubaneshwar-hotels/

InterContinental Hotels Group to debut in Kolkata

Holiday Inn

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) will launch its mid-market brand, Holiday Inn near Kolkata Airport in the last quarter of this year. It will mark IHG’s entry in West Bengal’s capital.

The hospitality group has partnered with city-based real estate developer, Jain Group for the project.

“It is positioned very close to the city airport and is expected to attract travellers in business and leisure segment. We are hopeful to attract tourists in the festive season this year as it is the first hotel from the airport while entering New Town,” says Rishi Jain, the executive director at Jain Group.

He goes on to reveal that the IHG-Jain partnership has led to signing a deal for the launch of two more hotels in the state — in Durgapur and Siliguri. Their opening dates haven’t been confirmed yet.

All 137 rooms and suites at Holiday Inn Kolkata Airport will have an iron and ironing board, black-out shades, minibar, tea/coffee maker, free water bottles, a LCD television, iPod docking station, and a work desk.

For business meets, the property has 605 sqm of banqueting space, a meeting room and a business centre with a printer, scanner and copy machine.

An outdoor pool and a gym are the leisure facilities on the property. Wifi is free for IHG Rewards Club members.

“IHG has a strong sales and marketing initiatives utilising both technology as well as people to people contact. With the hotel’s location advantage and marketing initiatives, we are optimistic that there will not be any issues with occupancy,” says Kenneth Scott, general manager at Holiday Inn Kolkata Airport.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport is a ten-minute drive to the hotel, and within proximity to one of the IT hubs of Kolkata.

ihg.com

New World Millennium Hong Kong reveals a fresh face

The Lounge

New World Millennium Hong Kong Hotel has unveiled its refurbished guestrooms, lounge and meeting facilities.

Most of the 464 guestrooms have had their facelift, and now sport a contemporary décor with an emphasis on simple lines and earthy tones. This is a steep contrast to the rooms’ old look, which feature traditional themes with oriental flair.

Room sizes, which range from 30 to 156 sqm, are identical as those offered previously by Hotel Nikko Hong Kong before its subsequent rebrand into the New World Millennium Hong Kong Hotel.

While the interiors of the new rooms are fairly consistent with one another, those staying on the Residence Club Floor will notice that their rooms feature brighter tones, courtesy of the lighter carpeting and additional lighting.

In terms of amenities, each guestroom comes standard with a handy smartphone that offers guests unlimited local and international calls to the USA, UK, Germany, Australia, Japan, Singapore and China, as well as 3G mobile internet access. All bathrooms are also equipped with bathtub facilities, while rainshower is available in most of the rooms. Guests staying in the hotel’s suites will also have access to Nespresso coffee makers.

Meanwhile, the Event Room on the Lower Ground floor has also been fully renovated. This 192 sqm space, which can be partitioned into five separate meeting areas, has been retouched and now sports the same contemporary look found in most of the hotel’s guestrooms. Refurbishment of the hotel’s other meeting facilities is ongoing but no completion date has been released.

Finally, “The Lounge” on the mezzanine floor is the newest space in the hotel to be renovated. Featuring a modern yet cosy “living space”, The Lounge has a distinct residential style décor that is clearly evident with the addition of creamy-toned bookcases, plush couches and round tea tables.

For more information, visit newworldmillenniumhotel.com/en/ 

Clement Huang

Shangri-La launches new F&B loyalty programme

Shang Palace at the Shangri-La Paris

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has launched a new F&B loyalty programme that will complement its Golden Circle loyalty scheme.

“The Table” rewards members who dine and drink at Shangri-La properties around the world through achievable redemptions and access to signature food experiences, exclusive events and special offers.

In developing the loyalty programme, the Hong Kong-based hotel group commissioned consumer research which surveyed Golden Circle members, hotel guests and local residents on their attitudes towards dining, restaurant preferences and loyalty.

“[This] reaffirmed that the emotion attached to a dining experience is far more appealing than the functional benefit of discounts and points,” said Shangri-La’s chief marketing officer Steven Taylor. “Loyalty programmes must adapt to this trend and become increasingly more experiential.”

The Table is fully integrated with the Golden Circle loyalty scheme, but there are certain differentiators that set the dining programme apart from others. These include:

  • More rewards – members can now earn Golden Circle award points by dining and drinking at the 500-plus restaurants and bars found in Shangri-La, Hotel Jen, Kerry and Traders properties globally when they are non-paying guests.
  • Instant dining rewards – allow members to earn and redeem Golden Circle award points on the spot – with no pre-planning or vouchers required.
  • Elite rewards – Jade- and Diamond-tier members receive bonus earnings and more value on redemptions for dining transactions.
  • Golden Circle points are awarded to members on all qualifying transactions, including discounts.

Taking a leaf out of successful online restaurant guides, The Table website caters to the different needs of customers, showcasing the range of culinary experiences available through immersive stories and videos that spotlight the Shangri-La artisans behind the food and drink that appears on guests’ tables.

In particular, F&B outlets are categorised under five different “moods” – elegant, intimate, upbeat, chill and adventurous – to help customers make the correct dining choice for their situation and personal state of mind.

“Incredible dining and drink experiences at our hotels play a large part in creating memorable moments for guests,” said Shangri-La vice president for partner and loyalty marketing Wee Kee Ng. “By elevating Golden Circle benefits and introducing moments of surprises via one platform, ‘The Table’ brings instant guest recognition and rewards to life.”

For more information, visit shangri-la.com 

Five airports with major new retail offerings

Emporio-Armani-store-opens-at-Sydney-Airport's-T1-International-terminal

Sydney Kingsford Airport

A new luxury precinct in Terminal 1 has just opened its doors, with brands such as Max Mara and Tiffany & Co. having already set up shop. Another 11 global designer brands – many of them debuting in an Australian airport for the first time – are scheduled to open at the airport this year, including Hugo BOSS, Emporio Armani, TUMI, Fendi, Kate Spade New York and Michael Kors.

Meanwhile, Sydney Airport’s duty free partner HEINEMANN Tax & Duty Free unveiled the final section of the world’s largest standalone airport duty free store back in May. The company now boasts five stores in T1, with a sixth due to open later this year.

sydneyairport.com

Singapore Changi Airport

Last May saw Changi Airport’s Terminal 3 open a one-of-a-kind, duplex wines and spirit store. The 1050 sqm space – the largest by the DFS Group – features individually-designed mini boutiques that showcase products by nine notable brands: Absolut, Dom Pérignon, Glenfiddich, Hendrick’s, Hennessy, Johnnie Walker, The Macallan, Martell, and Penfolds. Rounding things up is a long bar experience by Raffles Hotel, where travellers can sample the famous Singapore Sling cocktail.

changi-airport.com

Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport celebrated the opening of the Midfield Concourse (MFC) earlier this year – a 105,000 sqm space spread across five levels. While the number of retail outlets here may pale in comparison to those located at Terminal 1, high-profile brands such as Pandora, Longines and Bossini.

hongkongairport.com

Dubai International Airport

Among the most recent developments at Dubai International Airport was the opening of Concourse D in February, which is capable of serving up to 100 international airlines and 18 million passengers annually. The new concourse features a spacious retail space that is centrally located, and situated close to a range of restaurants and departure gates.

Another highlight is the launch of two Apple stores, which are located at Terminal 3 near B15 and A12. Covering a space of 86 and 70 sqm respectively, the two stores are the largest Apple outlets in travel retail, and offer the complete Apple ecosystem and services.

dubaiairports.ae

Seoul Incheon Airport

Renovation of the shops at Terminal 1 has nearly completed, with only a few boutique stores left – these will be completed by the end of the year. As a second passenger terminal is scheduled to open in 2017, Incheon Airport is planning on developing a full suite of concessions at Terminal 2, which will cater to Korean Air as well as its fellow Skyteam partners.

airport.kr