United launches new flights to Amsterdam, Naples and Prague

Naples (iStock)

United has announced three new nonstop routes between the US and Europe.

The carrier will launch a year-round daily service from San Francisco to Amsterdam, United’s fifth route to the Netherlands (joining flights from Chicago, Houston, Newark and Washington) and the only nonstop flight between the two destinations by a US airline.

The route will launch on March 31, 2019, with flights departing San Francisco at 1455, landing into Amsterdam Schiphol at 1020 the following day. The return leg will leave the Dutch capital at 1450, arriving back into the US at 1650. Flights will be operated by B787-9 aircraft.

United will also launch two summer seasonal routes from Newark to Naples (operating between May 22 and October 4, 2019) and Prague (operating between June 6 and October 4, 2019).

The carrier will be the only airline offering nonstop flights between the US and Naples, with daily flights departing Newark at 1725, arriving into Naples at 0805 the following day. The return leg will leave the southern Italian city at 1010, landing back into the US at 1405. Flights will be operated by B767-300 aircraft.

Daily flights to Prague will depart Newark at 1805, landing into the Czech capital at 0825 the following day, with the return leg leaving Prague at 1010, landing back into Newark at 1330. lights will be operated by B767-300 aircraft.

Rival US carrier Delta recently announced plans for transatlantic expansion, including a new route between Tampa and Amsterdam.

united.com

Crossrail opening significantly delayed

Elizabeth-Line train

News has just emerged that Crossrail’s opening has been put back by nine months.

The new east-west rail line, costing over £15 billion,  was supposed to open this coming December but only between the East and Central London.

By the end of next year it was planned to extend services West to Heathrow airport.

Crossrail (also known as the Elizabeth Line) will operate between the capital’s Eastern suburbs, through Central London, and continue to Heathrow airport and to Reading in the West.

It is understood that more time will be needed to complete the stations and test the infrastructure.

It now means that the first section will not now open until the autumn of 2019. And one wonders whether or not the next extension to Heathrow airport will be delayed too.

Heathrow-bound travellers may have to rely on existing (and often more costly) rail services for longer than expected.

crossrail.co.uk

Laudamotion unveils new livery

The new Laudamotion livery

Low-cost carrier Laudamotion has unveiled a new livery which it says reflects its “Austrian heritage”.

The move follows the completion of Ryanair’s purchase of a 75 per cent stakeholding in the company.

Ryanair said that Laudamotion would take delivery of nine Airbus A320 aircraft in times for next summer, enabling the carrier to grow “by at least 20 per cent” next year to five million passengers.

Earlier this year the airline launched a new website, and an initial route network covering Mediterranean holiday destinations including Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Malaga, Santorini, Kalamata and Crete, from airports in Austria (Graz, Innsbruck, Linz, Salsburg and Vienna), Germany (Berlin Tegel, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hanover and Stuttgart) and Switzerland (Basel and Zurich).

The carrier operates economy and premium classes (the latter on selected routes only), with economy offering buy on board and food and drink and seat selection at the time of booking from €9.99, and premium class featuring empty middle seats, free food and drink and seat selection.

Laudamotion was formed by ex Formula 1 driver Niki Lauda following the purchase of the assets of grounded carrier Niki from bankrupt parent company Air Berlin. The Laudamotion brand has in fact eaxisted since the early 2000s, but previously only operating charter services.

In June BA’s parent company IAG announced plans to launch short-haul services from Vienna under its low-cost Level brand – the move followed the group’s unsuccessful attempts to purchase Niki.

laudamotion.com, ryanair.com

GoAir to introduce international operations from October

GoAir to introduce international operations from October

October onwards, GoAir will be launching international flights to Phuket in Thailand and Male in the Maldives. The low-cost carrier will be connecting Phuket with Mumbai and Delhi October 11, 2018. Additionally, the airline will also be operating a second international service connecting Mumbai and Delhi with Male, which will commence from October 14, 2018.

Following this, GoAir will increase its operations by 28 flights to a total of 1680 flights per week.

International Flight Schedule:  

Departure Arrival Time of
Departure
Time of
Arrival
Days of
Operations
Effective
Delhi Phuket 1310 0725 Thursday,
Sunday
October
11, 2018
Phuket Delhi 0830 1155 Wednesday,
Saturday
October
13, 2018
Mumbai Phuket 0125 0725 Monday,
Wednesday,
Saturday
October
13, 2018
Phuket Mumbai 0830 1200 Tuesday,
Friday,
Sunday
October
12, 2018
Delhi Male 1330 1550 Tuesday,
Friday,
Sunday
October
14, 2018
Male Mumbai 1650 2000 Tuesday,
Friday,
Sunday
October
14, 2018
Mumbai Male 1245 1620 Wednesday,
Saturday
October
17, 2018
Male Delhi 1720 2210 Wednesday,
Saturday
October
17, 2018

Cornelis Vrieswijk, CEO of GoAir said, “It is with great pride that we announce the commencement of our maiden international operations. Phuket and Male are the key tourist destination and hold a lot of promise. As an LCC, we have always strived to offer the best value for money to our customers and now we extend this proposition to the international traveller as well. The international schedules have been planned to allow quick and convenient connections for customers and is a reflection of our continued journey towards excellence.”

GoAir will soon be connecting the two international destinations with Bengaluru as well. goair.in

October onwards, GoAir will be launching international flights to Phuket in Thailand and Male in the Maldives. The low-cost carrier will be connecting Phuket with Mumbai and Delhi October 11, 2018. Additionally, the airline will also be operating a second international service connecting Mumbai and Delhi with Male, which will commence from October 14, 2018.

Following this, GoAir will increase its operations by 28 flights to a total of 1680 flights per week.

International Flight Schedule:  

Departure Arrival Time of
Departure
Time of
Arrival
Days of
Operations
Effective
Delhi Phuket 1310 0725 Thursday,
Sunday
October
11, 2018
Phuket Delhi 0830 1155 Wednesday,
Saturday
October
13, 2018
Mumbai Phuket 0125 0725 Monday,
Wednesday,
Saturday
October
13, 2018
Phuket Mumbai 0830 1200 Tuesday,
Friday,
Sunday
October
12, 2018
Delhi Male 1330 1550 Tuesday,
Friday,
Sunday
October
14, 2018
Male Mumbai 1650 2000 Tuesday,
Friday,
Sunday
October
14, 2018
Mumbai Male 1245 1620 Wednesday,
Saturday
October
17, 2018
Male Delhi 1720 2210 Wednesday,
Saturday
October
17, 2018

Cornelis Vrieswijk, CEO of GoAir said, “It is with great pride that we announce the commencement of our maiden international operations. Phuket and Male are the key tourist destination and hold a lot of promise. As an LCC, we have always strived to offer the best value for money to our customers and now we extend this proposition to the international traveller as well. The international schedules have been planned to allow quick and convenient connections for customers and is a reflection of our continued journey towards excellence.”

GoAir will soon be connecting the two international destinations with Bengaluru as well. goair.in

Six new hotels in Asia-Pacific

Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland

Dive into subterranean luxury at the new Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland, opening in the next few months. The 18-storey hotel is set in the disused Shenkeng quarry, with 16 floors below ground level including two floors underwater. The 337 guest rooms and suites will all boast balconies with views of waterfalls cascading from the surrounding cliffs. Facility highlights are reported to include extreme sports such as rock climbing and bungee jumping, plus an underwater restaurant, aquarium and extensive environmental features. The unusual architectural project is located about 50km from Shanghai city centre and 30km from Hongqiao airport.
ihg.com

Located in the heart of Jakarta’s vibrant downtown district, the new midscale Best Western Senayan Hotel opened this month and is surrounded by multinational headquarters, upscale shopping malls, the Jakarta Convention Centre and Gelora Bung Karno Stadium – the main sporting arena for the 2018 Asian Games. The hotel will feature 137 rooms, an international restaurant and six meeting rooms.
bestwestern.com

Tokyo’s Akihabara district, home of Japan’s famous otaku culture (anime and manga) and electronics shops, is set to receive a new Best Western property in October. The new hotel will feature 80 contemporary rooms, equipped with comfortable beds and cutting-edge facilities. Daily buffet breakfast will feature a selection of Japanese and international dishes plus high quality coffee. The property is located less than 400 meters from Suehirocho Station and Naka-Okachimachi Station on the Tokyo Metro, and just 17km from Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport.
bestwestern.com

The first Southeast Asian property from Best Western’s newest brand – the BW Signature Collection by Best Western, takes the form of a gorgeous lakeside resort in Prachinburi, Thailand. Located about 160km from Bangkok, the lush rural retreat features 199 rooms and suites and an international all day dining restaurant. Extensive leisure facilities include a tropical outdoor pool, spa, karaoke rooms, fitness centre and outdoor activities including golf, tennis and badminton. An 800-person convention hall and function rooms also provide meeting facilities.
tawaravadeeresort.com

Opening on September 9, the new mixed-use property from Oakwood features 144 hotel rooms and fully furnished apartments. Located on the Indonesian island of Java, the property offers easy access to premium shopping malls and a variety of entertainment and dining options. Facilities include a semi-indoor swimming pool, fitness centre and two food and beverage outlets – Spice Restaurant and Deckside Lounge and Café.

An opening offer of 30 per cent off Best Flexible Rates is available for bookings made by November 9 for stays until December 8, 2018. Use promotion code PROOPEN.
oakwoodasia.com

Located within the 60-storey Magnolias Ratchadamri Boulevard complex, the iconic luxury Waldorf Astoria brand has made its debut in Southeast Asia. Set in the heart of the Thai capital, by the vibrant Ratchaprasong intersection, the hotel features 171 guest rooms designed by renowned architect Andre Fu. The top three floors are dedicated to three distinctive dining outlets including Front Room, which is headed by acclaimed chef Rungthiwa Chummongkhon, or Chef Fae, offering a blend of “new Nordic” and Thai flavours. An outdoor swimming pool offers stunning views over the Royal Bangkok Sports Club.
hilton.com

 

Scooters and bikes best for short trips, says Uber CEO

Jump

Uber customers looking for a short ride in the city would be better served by an electric bike or scooter than a car, the company’s CEO says.

Business Insider reports that Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told the Financial Times:

“During rush hour, it is very inefficient for a one-tonne hulk of metal to take one person ten blocks. We’re able to shape behaviour in a way that’s a win for the user. It’s a win for the city.”

Uber recently acquired bike and scooter startup company Jump and has been offering two-wheel rides via its app. Rivals include such companies as Bird, Jump, Spin, and Lime.

“Short-term financially, maybe it’s not a win for us, but strategically long term we think that is exactly where we want to head,” said Khosrowshahi.

The Uber CEO said there has been some resistance from drivers about perceived competition from the bikes and scooters, but, “The second impression after the conversation is, oh, I get a longer ride where I can make more money? Sign me up,” he said.

uber.com

British Airways launches latest world sale

Barbados (image supplied by British Airways)

The latest British Airways World Sale until September 25, with discounts on flights and holidays from its bases at Gatwick, Heathrow and London City.

The carrier is highlighting discounts including up to 40 per cent off Club Europe seats from Heathrow, as well as nonstop Club World flights to Lima and Bangkok from £1,795, and return flights to Florida from £319.

Holiday packages include from £399 for flights to New York and three nights accommodation at the two and a half star Marrakech Hotel, and £389 for flights to Dubai and three nights at the four-star Doubletree by Hilton Ras Al Khaimah.

Fly-drive packages are also available, including from £429 for flights to Los Angeles and seven days car hire, and from £379 for flights to Miami and seven days car hire.

Advertised sale prices are discounted from the lowest price available in the 29 days before August 29, 2018, for selected travel dates.

ba.com

Priority Pass to increase lounge visit fee

Virgin Atlantic's Clubhouse at Washington Dulles

Lounge and airport experience provider Priority Pass is to increase its fees for chargeable lounge visits later this year.

Customers currently pay £15 per visit over and above their inclusive membership plan, a rate which will increase to £20 from October 1.

The group said it had been ten years since it last increased its fees, adding that during this time “we have done all we can to absorb the rising costs of providing airport lounge access to our Members”.

“We have unfortunately reached the point where we need to make an adjustment to our prices to maintain the quality offering of Priority Pass,” the group said.

Priority Pass stressed that the number of complimentary visits included in individuals’ membership plans will not change. For instance Standard Plus membership offers ten free visits, and Prestige membership offers unlimited free visits.

But those members on the Standard plan will have to pay the new £20 fee for visits after October 1, and all guest visit fees will be charged at the new rate from this date.

The group passed 1,200 facilities worldwide earlier this year, expanding beyond the traditional lounge offering with new dining, spa and relaxation experiences.

Subscribers to Business Traveller can receive up to 20 per cent off Priority Pass membership.

prioritypass.com

British Airways announces sponsorship deal with England Rugby and Twickenham Stadium

New British Airways partnership with England Rugy and Twickenham Stadium

British Airways has announced a new partnership with England Rugby, which will see the carrier become the Official Airline Partner to the national men and women’s teams.

The multi-year agreement will also see BA become the Principal Partner to Twickenham Stadium, the home test ground of the national rugby union team.

BA will enjoy “exclusive stadium branding” including on the building’s roof, which the carrier says is “an iconic landmark on the flight path and is seen by the thousands of travellers flying in to Heathrow every day”.

The top space of the redeveloped East Stand will be named the British Airways Rose Garden, offering “a modern relaxed environment for guests featuring live music and a mix of open cooking stations”, and BA will work with England Rugby to develop a new stadium app and e-ticketing technology.

Commenting on the news Alex Cruz, chairman and CEO of British Airways, said:

“We’re getting behind England Rugby and looking forward to supporting the Men’s and Women’s squads, by delivering them ready to win on their travels all over the world. Twickenham Stadium also sits on the flight path in to Heathrow, so our partnership with the home of England Rugby will be visible to British Airways customers from the skies.”

The partnership was launched with a bespoke pitch design captured by an aerial camera.

ba.com

British Airways to launch LCY-Rome route

Rome (image supplied by British Airways)

British Airways is to add a new year-round route between London City and Rome this winter, the first of a number of new destinations and extra frequencies from the airport.

The carrier will base four additional Embraer E190s at LCY in during 2019, bringing BA Cityflyer’s fleet to 26 aircraft at the airport and adding 20 per cent more seats.

The move will allow the airline to launch new destinations, the first of which will be a six times weekly service to Rome Fiumicino airport from November 11.

BA recently opened a new lounge at the airport, featuring a centre-piece granite-topped bar, and artwork from the carrier’s collection including pieces from Patrick Caulfields’s 1973 series “Some Poems of Jules Laforgue”.

The carrier will also add a fifth daily weekday service to its Zurich route, also from November 11.

BA said that Rome “is the first of a number of new routes and extra flights to be announced for next year”.

Commenting on the news Luke Hayhoe, general manager commercial and customer, said:

“It is very positive to continue the year-on year-expansion at London City Airport. We added 13 per cent more capacity in 2018 and will add nearly 20 per cent in 2019.

“The new route to Rome will increase the number of British Airways’ destinations from London City Airport to 33.”

BA’s sister carrier Aer Lingus this week announced plans to launch flights between LCY and Dublin, with the service being operated by Cityjet under an ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance) agreement.

ba.com