United unveils Newark Polaris lounge

United Polaris Lounge at Newark Liberty International airport

United has unveiled its redesigned Polaris Lounge at Newark Liberty International airport, as the carrier continues to roll out its Polaris concept across its lounges and business class cabins.

Business Traveller is at today’s unveiling (and add more details to this article in due course), with the lounge officially opening to guests from June 4.

The redesigned space features 15 different types of seating across a total of 455 seats, with 570 power outlets and 450 USB ports.

There are four private phone rooms, ten private daybeds with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, ten shower suites, a personal valet service for steam cleaning of garments, a private dining area with table service for up to 48 guests, as well as a bistro buffet and bar with cocktail menu.

According to the press release “When visitors first enter, they will be greeted with a vibrant lighting fixture created by Brooklyn-based art and design laboratory Richard Clarkson Studio that is meant to mimic the constellations of the 12 zodiac signs”.

The lounge is located in Terminal C at the Newark Liberty International, between gates C102 and C120, and joins the recently opened Polaris Lounge at San Francisco, with facilities at Houston and LA to follow later this year.

United unveiled the Polaris premium concept in 2016, encompassing the carrier’s lounges and inflight business class product. The airline says it plans to add one aircraft featuring the new United Polaris seat every ten days on average, through to 2020.

united.com

Gulf Air B787 interiors revealed

Business class seat on Gulf Air's B787 Dreamliner

Design agency Tangerine has released images and a walk through video of the interiors of Gulf Air’s new B787 Dreamliner.

The newly designed economy and business class seats coincide with a revamped “smart with heart” brand identity created by brand consultants Saffron.

According to Tangerine features of the redesigned Rockwell Collins business class seat include:

  • raised privacy panels to the suites to divide the business class cabin on the B787, creating more private, intimate zones
  • these panels feature a 3D sculpted surface, “inspired by the iterative geometric forms found in Bahraini architecture”, which cast shadows when cabin lighting strikes and surface, “dappling the light to create an intimate and relaxing suite”
  • suites “defined by a sweeping almond gold trim, that draws the eye, and subtly echoes the falcon wing tip developed by Saffron for the branding”
  • a “dramatically improved entrance way” to window seat, incorporating a flip-down foot rest, which “significantly improves the bed space for the window side passenger”
  • a stacked armrest and central console, as well as a modified shape of the back-shell which “significantly improves the armrest space compared to competitor airlines using the same standard seating product”
  • Rich brown leathers, evocative of a falconry glove, are used on the seat headrests, arm caps and the business class footstool

Commenting on the revamp Matt Round, Tangerine’s chief creative officer said:

“The new cabin design carves a distinctive place for Gulf Air in the market, elevating the customer experience to new heights.

“We curated the design carefully across multiple seating products and aircraft, including the B787, A320 and A321, to ensure that a cohesive brand and customer experience is established across every touchpoint of Gulf Air’s service.

“The result is a completely updated flying experience that is elegant, sophisticated and quintessentially Bahraini.”

Last month Gulf Air unveiled its new livery which is debuting on the carrier’s B787 aircraft – as previously the Dreamliner will serve Gulf Air’s Bahrain-London route from June 15, although note that according to a report by industry website routesonline.com the airline will initially only serve one of its two daily flights with the B787.

gulfair.com

British Airways launches half price Avios redemption offer

British Airways B747 at Heathrow airport

British Airways has launched a half price Avios redemption offer for World Traveller tickets to over 90 long-haul destinations.

The promotion is valid for redemption bookings made before June 17, for travel between September 1, 2018 and May 31, 2019.

The discount also applies for redemptions made under the Avios part payment system.

No registration is needed for this offer – the discounted Avios rate will automatically appear when booking eligible rewards flights.

The carrier has highlighted a number of discounted redemption rates, including return flights to Bermuda for 13,000 Avios, the Seychelles for 16,250 Avios, and Hong Kong for 19,500 Avios (all based on off-peak rates).

Note that taxes, fees and carrier charges are still payable at the normal rate, and BA says that reward tickets on certain routes including Sydney, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, San Jose (Costa Rica), Grenada, Cancun, Lima and Male “may be very limited or not available at all”.

For more information and to book visit ba.com/reward-flight-sale.

ba.com

Westin to open first London property

Westin London City

Westin Hotels and Resorts has confirmed plans to open its first property in London in 2020.

Business Traveller first reported on the possibility of the former Starwood brand (now part of the Marriott stable) debuting in the capital almost three years ago, but it has taken until now for the development to be officially confirmed.

The 220-room Westin London City will be located on the site of the redeveloped Queensbridge House on the North Bank of the River Thames, opposite the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

Marriott says that the site “stretches from Queenhithe Dock – the oldest in London – and runs north to south, bridging across Upper Thames Street and giving it a prominent position over one of the primary arterial routes through the City of London”.

The hotel will feature a riverside bar and restaurant which will open onto a new public walkway with views across to the South Bank, as well as an indoor swimming pool, fitness centre, spa, business centre and 830sqm of events space including four meeting rooms and a Junior Ballroom.

According to Marriott, the hotel’s design will be “fluid and sculptural with a biophilic-focus, suggesting that a connection to nature enhances well-being”. Known for its wellness focus, the hotel will offer the brabd’s signature Run Westin programme, with three and five mile jogging routes along the riverfront, and the ability for guests to borrow New Balance shoes and clothing during their stay.

The Westin portfolio includes over 200 hotels and resorts in over 40 countries and territories, with recent and upcoming openings in Australia, Malaysia and the Maldives.

There are currently no Westin properties in the UK – the majority of the brand’s European locations are in Germany, Italy and Spain, and the 172-room Westin Dublin opened over a decade ago at College Green on Westmoreland Street.

marriott.com

ANA unveils design of Honolulu lounge

ANA LOUNGE Honolulu

ANA unveils designs of Honolulu Lounge

 

Premium passengers can get onboard the A380 aircraft directly from the facility

 

ANA has unveiled details of its new lounge in the Daniel K Inouye International Airport in Honolulu.

 

Opening in spring 2019, the lounge will be located on the third floor of Terminal 2 above gate C4. Lounge users will be able to access the aircraft directly to their seats on the upper deck of the A380 without leaving the lounge. This also means that passengers can relax in the lounge until final call.

 

There are two lounges in the facility, included a comparatively larger ANA Lounge with family area, and a smaller ANA Suite Lounge.

 

The design of the lounge will reflect a fusion of Japanese and Hawaiian essences, decorated with Japanese traditional coffered ceiling as a motif created with Hawaiian wood.

 

ANA Suite Lounge will have a calm atmosphere and ANA Lounge will have a design of the sea, sky, and trees symbolising Hawaiian nature on the floor, walls, and ceilings. Passengers will find themselves relaxing in the Hawaiian atmosphere with the warmth of Japanese hospitality.

 

Passengers who can use the facility include:

 

ANA Suite Lounge First class passengers with one additional guest
Diamond Service members with one additional guest
ANA Lounge First class passengers with one additional guest
Business class passengers
Premium economy passengers
Diamond Service members with one additional guest
Platinum Service members with one additional guest
Super Flyers members with one additional guest
Star Alliance Gold members with one additional guest

 

The carrier’s first A380 had rolled out of assembly hall this month, expecting to take delivery in next spring. The four-class aircraft will have eight first class, 56 business, 73 premium economy on the upper deck, and 383 economy seats on the lower deck.

 

ana.co.jp/en

 

 

 

Virgin Atlantic announces direct service from Manchester to Los Angeles

Virgin Atlantic A330

Virgin Atlantic announces direct service from Manchester to Los Angeles

 

New three times weekly flight from May 2019 and added frequencies to Boston and Las Vegas.

 

Virgin Atlantic has announced a new three times weekly direct service from Manchester to Los Angeles.

 

In addition to the three times weekly Los Angeles route commencing May 26, 2019, there will be four weekly services to Las Vegas (up from twice weekly) from March 31, 2019 and the summer season Boston route will see a further service becoming three times weekly for the summer 2019 (from May 25, 2019).

 

Virgin also operates a partnership with FlyBe ensures customers from across UK regions have opportunity to connect through Manchester, truly securing the airport as a significant Virgin Atlantic base.

 

Enhancements to the flying programme, which will commence in Summer 2019, include;

 

Shai Weiss, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented;

 

“We’ve always said that Manchester is an important base for Virgin Atlantic and this latest expansion really cements that.  We’re delighted to be able to provide the best possible service to the USA by welcoming a new route to Los Angeles and doubling the amount of flights to Las Vegas.  By putting our aircraft on our New York, Atlanta, Boston and now Los Angeles flights, we can really maximise connectivity through our partner Delta, allowing even more customers to take advantage of over 200 US connections.”

 

Julian Carr Aviation Director at Manchester Airport said:

“It’s pleasing to see Virgin Atlantic continuing to grow from Manchester Airport and we are delighted to see the carrier launch a service to Los Angeles.

“The airline’s commitment and growth clearly demonstrates the role we play at connecting the North to key global destinations and  the demand to fly direct from Manchester. I am sure the extra services and new route will prove incredibly popular with the 22m passengers in our vast catchment area.”

 

Virgin Atlantic flies to destinations across the USA and the Caribbean from Manchester, including Orlando, New York and Barbados and flies Airbus A330-200 along with the Boeing 747.  All cabins enjoy complimentary food and drink, with a full Wi-Fi offering on board.

 

 

 

Vistara introduces “RADA” robot for assisting travellers at airports

Vistara introduces “RADA” robot for helping travellers at airport

Vistara has launched RADA – a robot – for assisting travellers on-ground. Starting July 5, RADA will be stationed at Vistara’s signature lounge at Delhi airport’s Terminal 3.

From scanning boarding passes, giving information on the terminal, departure gates, weather conditions of the flight destination, flight status, providing details on Vistara products and services, entertaining passengers with multimedia content like songs and videos are some of the features of this Vistara robot.

Designed and build by the Tata Innovation Lab, RADA is equipped with four wheels for unrestricted movement and three in-built cameras for effective interaction, and voice technology.

Leslie Thng, Vistara’s chief executive officer said, “Innovation is one of the core values ingrained in the DNA of Vistara’s culture, which we have fostered within the organisation in many ways. RADA is a manifestation of this endeavour. Vistara has disrupted the market through several innovations with the sole objective of redefining air travel in the country while making its processes more robust and resources more effective. With RADA, we aim to change the way people interact and fly with an airline. We will be developing ‘RADA’ based on customer feedback and equipping it with the most effective features in the time to come. Our steadfast focus remains to be on delighting customers across all touch-points, and we’re confident that ‘RADA’ will help us take the ‘new feeling’ to the next level.”  airvistara.com

Vistara has launched RADA – a robot – for assisting travellers on-ground. Starting July 5, RADA will be stationed at Vistara’s signature lounge at Delhi airport’s Terminal 3.

From scanning boarding passes, giving information on the terminal, departure gates, weather conditions of the flight destination, flight status, providing details on Vistara products and services, entertaining passengers with multimedia content like songs and videos are some of the features of this Vistara robot.

Designed and build by the Tata Innovation Lab, RADA is equipped with four wheels for unrestricted movement and three in-built cameras for effective interaction, and voice technology.

Leslie Thng, Vistara’s chief executive officer said, “Innovation is one of the core values ingrained in the DNA of Vistara’s culture, which we have fostered within the organisation in many ways. RADA is a manifestation of this endeavour. Vistara has disrupted the market through several innovations with the sole objective of redefining air travel in the country while making its processes more robust and resources more effective. With RADA, we aim to change the way people interact and fly with an airline. We will be developing ‘RADA’ based on customer feedback and equipping it with the most effective features in the time to come. Our steadfast focus remains to be on delighting customers across all touch-points, and we’re confident that ‘RADA’ will help us take the ‘new feeling’ to the next level.”  airvistara.com

Singapore Airlines to reclaim crown for world’s longest flight

SIA A350-900ULR

Singapore Airlines (SIA) will relaunch the world’s longest commercial flight on October 11, 2018, with a non-stop service to New York’s Newark Liberty International Airport.

The mammoth journey will cover a distance of roughly 16,700km (9,000 nautical miles) and take up to 18 hours and 45 minutes – vastly surpassing the current title-holder Qatar Airways’ 17-and-a-half-hour service (14,535km) from Doha to Auckland.

The flights will be operated by the new Airbus A350-900ULR (ultra-long range), of which Singapore is the launch customer, with the first aircraft due to be delivered in September.

Mercifully, perhaps, SIA’s first A350-900ULR will not feature an economy class cabin, with the aircraft configured in a two-class layout comprising 67 business class seats and 94 premium economy class seats.

With just 161 seats in total, SIA claims the new A350-900ULR will offer customers “a more comfortable travelling experience”.

Aircraft features will include: higher ceilings, larger windows, an extra wide body and lighting designed to reduce jetlag. Its carbon composite airframe will also allow for improved air quality due to better cabin altitude and humidity levels.

The premium cabin configuration is reminiscent of when SIA first served the Singapore Newark route with 64 Raffles Business Class seats and 117 Executive Economy Class seats. This service was dropped in 2013 after the gass-guzzling A340-500s operating at the time proved economically unviable.

The route will initially operate three times a week, departing Singapore on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Daily operations will commence from 18 October after an additional A350-900ULR aircraft enters service.

Flight details are as follows:

Northern Summer (to 27 October 2018)
Flight Number Days of Operation Time of Departure Time of Arrival
SQ22 Daily 2335 0600 (+1)
Singapore-Newark
SQ21 Daily 1045 1730 (+1)
Newark-Singapore
Northern Winter (28 October 2018 to 30 March 2019)
SQ22 Daily 0040 0530
Singapore-Newark
SQ21 Daily 0945 1715 (+1)
Newark-Singapore

Tickets will be made available for sale progressively across the various booking channels, starting from tomorrow.

“Singapore Airlines has always taken pride in pushing the boundaries to provide the best possible travel convenience for our customers, and we are pleased to be leading the way with these new non-stop flights using the latest-technology, ultralong-range Airbus A350-900ULR,” said Singapore Airlines’ CEO, Goh Choon Phong.

“The flights will offer our customers the fastest way to travel between the two cities – in great comfort, together with Singapore Airlines’ legendary service – and will help boost connectivity to and through the Singapore hub.”

Singapore Airlines currently serves New York JFK daily via Frankfurt. Other US destinations include Houston (five times weekly via Manchester), Los Angeles (daily via Seoul and daily via Tokyo), and San Francisco (daily non-stop from Singapore as well as daily via Hong Kong).

Non-stop Singapore-Los Angeles flights are also planned with the A350-900ULR, details of which will be announced at a later date.

Singapore Airlines currently has 21 A350-900s in its fleet, with 46 more on order including seven of the ULR variant. The first A350-900ULR is due for delivery in September, with all seven due for delivery by the end of the year.

singaporeairlines.com

 

SpiceJet adds Kanpur to its network

SpiceJet adds Kanpur to its network

SpiceJet has announced the addition of Kanpur to its network.

As a part of the regional connectivity project UDAN, SpiceJet will be operating daily direct flights between Delhi and Kanpur July 3 onwards.

Flight Schedule:

Flight No. Departure Arrival Time of departure Time of arrival Frequency Effective
8745 Delhi Kanpur 1210 0115 Daily July 3, 2018
8746 Kanpur Delhi 0135 0255 Daily July 3, 2018

SpiceJet will be deploying its Bombardier Q-400 aircraft on this route. With this new addition, the low-cost airline operates 15 flights under the UDAN scheme including Mumbai-Porbandar, Mumbai-Kandla-Mumbai, Hyderabad-Puducherry-Hyderabad, Jaipur-Jaisalmer-Jaipur, Delhi-Adampur-Delhi, Chennai-Hubli-Chennai and Hyderabad-Hubli-Hyderabad.

Shilpa Bhatia, chief sales and revenue officer, SpiceJet said, “SpiceJet is delighted to announce the launch of its much-awaited flight services from Kanpur – a city which we firmly believe has tremendous potential for air travel. With the launch of this flight, Kanpur will be connected with multiple domestic and international destinations on our network that will immensely benefit both business and leisure travellers.” spicejet.com

SpiceJet has announced the addition of Kanpur to its network.

As a part of the regional connectivity project UDAN, SpiceJet will be operating daily direct flights between Delhi and Kanpur July 3 onwards.

Flight Schedule:

Flight No. Departure Arrival Time of departure Time of arrival Frequency Effective
8745 Delhi Kanpur 1210 0115 Daily July 3, 2018
8746 Kanpur Delhi 0135 0255 Daily July 3, 2018

SpiceJet will be deploying its Bombardier Q-400 aircraft on this route. With this new addition, the low-cost airline operates 15 flights under the UDAN scheme including Mumbai-Porbandar, Mumbai-Kandla-Mumbai, Hyderabad-Puducherry-Hyderabad, Jaipur-Jaisalmer-Jaipur, Delhi-Adampur-Delhi, Chennai-Hubli-Chennai and Hyderabad-Hubli-Hyderabad.

Shilpa Bhatia, chief sales and revenue officer, SpiceJet said, “SpiceJet is delighted to announce the launch of its much-awaited flight services from Kanpur – a city which we firmly believe has tremendous potential for air travel. With the launch of this flight, Kanpur will be connected with multiple domestic and international destinations on our network that will immensely benefit both business and leisure travellers.” spicejet.com

Jumeirah Group to open Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort in November

Jumeirah Group to open Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort in November

Jumeirah Group will be launching Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi on November 11, 2018. Located at a distance of 20 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport, this luxury beach resort is in close proximity to the cultural and artistic spots like Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The 293-key hotel will feature eight villas with private pools, and 70 suites, offering a picturesque view of the sea.

Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort includes F&B outlets like White for buffets and live cooking stations, Mare Mare for Italian cuisines, Tean for meze and grills, and Al Majilis for refreshments. The Lounge, Offside, and the Pool Bar serve snacks and a fine range of spirits.

Guests can enjoy Moroccan Hamman inspired spa treatments at this Jumeirah property. 14 treatment rooms, hydrotherapy pools, a steam room, a salt room and a traditional Arabic Rasul (ancient Arabic bathing ritual) room are some of the facilities available in this spa. In addition, the hotel also provides meeting and event spaces spread across 600 sqm of the area.

Linda Griffin, general manager, Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort said, “This resort is a place like no other, located footsteps from one of the most beautiful protected beaches in the Arabian Gulf. Every aspect of the resort’s design and intended guest experience has been influenced by the beauty of this location. Guests can embrace sunrise yoga, find a secluded spot to watch the sunset, or relax in one of three infinity swimming pools that merge into the sand dunes and, during the turtle nesting season, there will be a special opportunity to see the Hawksbill ‎turtles on the 9km sweeping beachfront. This will be island life at its best.” jumeirah.com

Jumeirah Group will be launching Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi on November 11, 2018. Located at a distance of 20 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport, this luxury beach resort is in close proximity to the cultural and artistic spots like Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The 293-key hotel will feature eight villas with private pools, and 70 suites, offering a picturesque view of the sea.

Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort includes F&B outlets like White for buffets and live cooking stations, Mare Mare for Italian cuisines, Tean for meze and grills, and Al Majilis for refreshments. The Lounge, Offside, and the Pool Bar serve snacks and a fine range of spirits.

Guests can enjoy Moroccan Hamman inspired spa treatments at this Jumeirah property. 14 treatment rooms, hydrotherapy pools, a steam room, a salt room and a traditional Arabic Rasul (ancient Arabic bathing ritual) room are some of the facilities available in this spa. In addition, the hotel also provides meeting and event spaces spread across 600 sqm of the area.

Linda Griffin, general manager, Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort said, “This resort is a place like no other, located footsteps from one of the most beautiful protected beaches in the Arabian Gulf. Every aspect of the resort’s design and intended guest experience has been influenced by the beauty of this location. Guests can embrace sunrise yoga, find a secluded spot to watch the sunset, or relax in one of three infinity swimming pools that merge into the sand dunes and, during the turtle nesting season, there will be a special opportunity to see the Hawksbill ‎turtles on the 9km sweeping beachfront. This will be island life at its best.” jumeirah.com