One in ten passengers have experienced a flight “blighted” by disruptive behaviour this year

Passenger airplane taking off at sunset (iStock)

A new Which? Travel survey had revealed the extent of disruptive behavior on flights, with one in ten passengers reporting that they had experienced a flight “blighted by shouting, drunkenness, verbal abuse or other obnoxious behaviour”.

The issue would seem to be most prevalent on flights operated by low-cost and leisure carriers, with nearly one in six Ryanair passengers (17 per cent) stating that they had been on a flight with a disruptive passenger in the last year.

The Irish airline was followed by Thomas Cook (15 per cent), TUI (14 per cent) and Easyjet (13 per cent).

Which? highlighted two incidents reported in the survey, including “an enraged fellow passenger had to be ‘wrestled to the floor’ by an off-duty policeman when they were refused more alcohol after downing four vodkas”, and “a flight from Newcastle to Alicante where a drunken stag party tried to set fire to a seat cover”.

According to data from the Civil Aviation Authority, there were 417 incidents of disruptive passengers on flights in 2017, significantly up from the average of 186 per year between 2012 and 2016.

Which? said that while airlines “have acknowledged there’s a problem”, it had received “numerous complaints of already drunk passengers being served more alcohol on-board”.

“People should be able to take a flight without having to worry about their trip being disrupted or journey diverted by rowdy passengers who have had one too many,” said Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor.

“Airlines need to take more responsibility for preventing passengers having too many drinks, and incentivising cabin staff to flog more gin and tonics isn’t the right way to do that.

“Many of us like to enjoy a drink when heading off on holiday, and any measures taken by the aviation industry – and airlines in particular – should be aimed at those who go too far.”

Which? surveyed a total of 12,459 members during September and October 2018, about their experiences of disruptive passengers when flying with an airlines from the UK.

which.co.uk

Abu Dhabi rolls out one of world’s fastest airport wifi networks

Terminal 1 of Abu Dhabi International Airport

Abu Dhabi International Airport has upgraded its Wifi network to offer download speeds of up to 200 megabits per second.

The airport has installed what it calls ‘Super-Fi’ in all three of its terminals.

Full access to the network is free in arrival and departure areas.

The move makes it one of the best airport Wi-Fi offerings in the world.

Last year Dubai International Airport rolled out ‘WOW-Fi’ with 100mbps download speed.

Boarding gates at Hong Kong International Airport boast speeds of up to 400 mbps, though not through the whole terminal.

JFK offers free, two-click Wifi at 50mbps, while travellers at Heathrow must pay or join Heathrow Rewards to access speeds of up to 10mbps.

Abu Dhabi Airports CEO Bryan Thompson said: “Access to fast internet is a crucial factor that makes a big difference for our travelers. Providing our customers with enhanced connectivity services is in line with our vision of becoming the world’s leading airports group.

“Technology is at the heart of our digital transformation strategy, and this improved internet infrastructure will open the door to further smart services and connected solutions.”

London flyers least satisfied with travel experience

Sad passenger waits with suitcase for plane on runway (iStock)

The latest survey by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) shows that air passengers based in London are the least satisfied with their overall travel experience of flying from the UK.

Just 76 per cent of those living in London expressed themselves satisfied when surveyed this autumn, down from 80 per cent this spring.

This compares to 87 per cent of Northern Ireland residents (up from 78 per cent), and 86 per cent of those living in the North East and North West of England.

The CAA did however note that the finding in Northern Ireland and the North East were drawn from a low base size, and so “should be treated with caution”.

Overall levels of consumer satisfaction across the UK have dropped over the last couple of years, from 90 per cent in 2016, to 82 per cent this autumn.

The survey also shows that the time spent waiting at the boarding gate is the low-point of travellers’ pre-flight journeys, with only 74 per cent stating they were satisfied with the experience.

The proportion of flyers reporting being satisfied with how complaints are handled by an airport or airline stands at 64 per cent, a rise of over ten per cent from last year, but companies should note that 60 per cent of passengers said they would think twice about booking with an airline again, where they were dissatisfied or neutral about the handling of a complaint.

Commenting on the news the CAA’s Policy Director Tim Johnson said:

“Our research helps to build a picture of how people across the UK view flying. Every six months, we track changes in consumer sentiment by region, providing a detailed picture of how well consumers feel they are served.

“While the numbers show a positive story overall, it is important for the industry to continue to improve in areas where consumers are less content, such as complaint handling.

“This is particularly important given new findings in this survey showing how poor complaint handling can make many consumers think twice about flying with an airline again.”

caa.co.uk

Star Alliance to open branded lounge at Guangzhou airport

Guangzhou - iStock

Star Alliance is set to open a new branded lounge at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in 2019.

The alliance has signed a memorandum of understanding with the airport, in which it has “agreed on space allocation to facilitate the establishment of a Star Alliance branded lounge at the airport”.

The move is part of plans to develop co-located check-in, gate facilities and connections services within Guangzhou’s Terminal 1, for use by the ten Star Alliance member carriers which use the airport (Air China, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Egyptair, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Thai Airways).

Star Alliance recently opened its seventh branded lounge at Rome Fiumicino, joining existing locations at Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Nagoya, Paris CDG, Rio and Sau Paulo.

Commenting on the news Jeffrey Goh, CEO of Star Alliance, said:

“Lounge access is continually rated as a key Alliance benefit by our premium customers. Soon being able to provide our own dedicated premium customer facility in Guangzhou is great news for our member carriers’ passengers. Furthermore, it enhances our position at one of our key hub airports in China.

“In addition to rolling out our digital strategy, Star Alliance is also investing in its lounge product. Following the successful opening the Rome lounge in 2018, Amsterdam and Guangzhou will feature new Star Alliance Lounges in 2019, with refurbishments planned for our existing properties in Nagoya and Paris.”

staralliance.com

IndiGo takes delivery of its first longer range A321neo aircraft

IndiGo takes delivery of its first longer range A321neo plane

IndiGo has taken the delivery of its first longer range Airbus A321neo aircraft.

On December 28, IndiGo’s maiden A321neo (VT-IUA) arrived at the terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport (Delhi), where it was welcomed by a grand water salute.

Following this, the low-cost carrier becomes the first domestic airline to receive the aircraft type.

IndiGo will be deploying this aircraft on its medium-long haul international routes.

Earlier this month, IndiGo became the first Indian airline to have 200 aircraft on its fleet. With this new addition, the airline now has a total of 204 aircraft on its fleet — one A321neo, 65 A320neos, 126 A320ceos (current engine option), and 12 ATRs.

Meanwhile, IndiGo recently signed a codeshare deal with Turkish Airlines, thereby enabling both the carriers to offer better connectivity on sectors between India and Istanbul. goindigo.in

IndiGo has taken the delivery of its first longer range Airbus A321neo aircraft.

On December 28, IndiGo’s maiden A321neo (VT-IUA) arrived at the terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport (Delhi), where it was welcomed by a grand water salute.

Following this, the low-cost carrier becomes the first domestic airline to receive the aircraft type.

IndiGo will be deploying this aircraft on its medium-long haul international routes.

Earlier this month, IndiGo became the first Indian airline to have 200 aircraft on its fleet. With this new addition, the airline now has a total of 204 aircraft on its fleet — one A321neo, 65 A320neos, 126 A320ceos (current engine option), and 12 ATRs.

Meanwhile, IndiGo recently signed a codeshare deal with Turkish Airlines, thereby enabling both the carriers to offer better connectivity on sectors between India and Istanbul. goindigo.in

Virgin Trains highlights “18,000 lost toilet hours per year”

Virgin Trains pendolino

Virgin Trains has revealed a list of items flushed down its onboard toilets, which it says costs the operator over £180,000 in annual repair bills.

The list ranges from the usual suspects of wet wipes and nappies to the somewhat more bizarre, including glasses, wedding rings, a lady’s bra and a Manchester United scarf (presumably before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over as caretaker manager).

Virgin said that on average around four toilets are taken out of service each day as a result of “inapproporiate use”, equating to over 18,000 lost toilet hours and a repair bill of over £182,000 per year.

Over 90 per cent of blockages are caused by wet wipes being flushed, and the operator is urging customers to follow the “3Ps of flushing”.

Virgin also uses humorous onboard messaging to try to encourage passengers to think before flushing inappropriate items, including this printed above the toilet seat:

“Please don’t flush nappies, sanitary towels, paper towels, gum, old phones, unpaid bills, junk mail, your ex’s sweater, hopes, dreams or goldfish down this toilet.”

There are over 480 toilets in service on Virgin trains each day, with each one being flushed eight times per hour on average.

Commenting on the issue Michael Jacks, Head of Fleet and Engineering at Virgin Trains, said:

“It did make us smile when we found the bra as it’s not something you would expect to find.

“But it does highlight a very serious issue, and one that greatly impacts on our customers. Bins are provided, and we would remind our customers to follow the 3Ps of flushing. Only pee, poo and paper should be flushed down any toilet.”

virgintrains.co.uk

Air France reveals Michelin-starred chef partnerships for 2019

A dish created by Guy Martin for La Premiere customers in 2017

Air France has released details of the chefs which will design its business class and La Premiere (first class) menus in 2019.

The carrier will partner with a total of seven Michelin-starred chefs on long-haul flights departing Paris, who will “help design the menus, choose the products and create the recipes”.

In La Premiere, passengers will be offered dishes by Michel Roth – two Michelin-starred chef and owner of The Bayview Restaurant in Geneva – between January and March.

These will be followed by creations by the late Joel Robuchon from April to June, who died in August 2018, as Air France honours the memory of “a visionary and virtuoso chef”.

From July to September LA Premiere customers will be offered dishes by Regis Marcon, owner of the three Michelin-starred restaurant Le Clos des Cimes in Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid in the Haute-Loire.

Finally between October and December first class passengers will be treated to dishes by the three Michelin-starred Emmanuel Renaut, founder of Flocons de sel in Mégève in the Haute-Savoie.

Meanwhile in business class three Michelin-starred Anne-Sophie Pic – who opened La Dame de Pic London at the Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square in 2017 – will create dishes between January and March.

This will be followed by menus by three Michelin-starred Arnaut Lallement between April and June, and Guy Martin of Le Grand Véfour in Paris from July to September, before Michel Roth then creates dishes for the business class cabin between October and December.

airfrance.co.uk

JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar diversifies its “shaadi” food offering

JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar diversifies its “shaadi” food offering

In keeping with Marriott International’s massive wedding initiative “Shaadi by Marriott”, the group’s hotels across the country are stepping up their MICE offerings to cater to the wedding market. A case in point is the ritzy JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar, which has established itself as one of Mumbai’s most popular wedding destinations.

JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar is stepping up its food and beverage offering like never before, adding diversity of cuisines and focussing on freshness. Hackneyed chaffing dishes of the traditional buffet have been replaced by live kitchens and fresh ingredients are in focus.

The hotel’s F&B team offers unique wedding food experiences like live jalebi counters, desi chai stalls, Marwari royal cuisine, Thai salad counter, sushi bar, appam counter among many others. There is active participation from the hotel’s Italian restaurant, Romano’s — voted by many as the best Italian kitchen in Mumbai — which offers a comprehensive Italian menu for wedding functions as well. marriott.com

In keeping with Marriott International’s massive wedding initiative “Shaadi by Marriott”, the group’s hotels across the country are stepping up their MICE offerings to cater to the wedding market. A case in point is the ritzy JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar, which has established itself as one of Mumbai’s most popular wedding destinations.

JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar is stepping up its food and beverage offering like never before, adding diversity of cuisines and focussing on freshness. Hackneyed chaffing dishes of the traditional buffet have been replaced by live kitchens and fresh ingredients are in focus.

The hotel’s F&B team offers unique wedding food experiences like live jalebi counters, desi chai stalls, Marwari royal cuisine, Thai salad counter, sushi bar, appam counter among many others. There is active participation from the hotel’s Italian restaurant, Romano’s — voted by many as the best Italian kitchen in Mumbai — which offers a comprehensive Italian menu for wedding functions as well. marriott.com

Jet Airways in talks with State Bank of India for loan

Jet Airways in talks with State Bank of India for loan

According to a report in PTI, Jet Airways is said to be in talks with State Bank of India (SBI) for a short-term loan of ₹1500 crore to meet its working capital requirement and other payment obligations.

Etihad Airways, which currently holds 24 per cent stake in the debt-laden airline, is likely to offer a guarantee for this finance. However, there is no official confirmation on this.

Interestingly, this news comes at a time when SBI has ordered EY (Ernst & Young) for a forensic audit of Jet Airways accounts between 2014-2018, following a complaint of alleged financial irregularities.

At present, Jet Airways has a debt of over ₹8000 crores on its books and has reported losses for three consecutive quarterly losses of over 10 billion each since March. Besides, the credit rating agency ICRA has downgraded the full-service carrier’s long-term ratings.

Amidst all this, the additional 1500 crore load may lead to further financial strain for the airline. jetairways.com  

According to a report in PTI, Jet Airways is said to be in talks with State Bank of India (SBI) for a short-term loan of ₹1500 crore to meet its working capital requirement and other payment obligations.

Etihad Airways, which currently holds 24 per cent stake in the debt-laden airline, is likely to offer a guarantee for this finance. However, there is no official confirmation on this.

Interestingly, this news comes at a time when SBI has ordered EY (Ernst & Young) for a forensic audit of Jet Airways accounts between 2014-2018, following a complaint of alleged financial irregularities.

At present, Jet Airways has a debt of over ₹8000 crores on its books and has reported losses for three consecutive quarterly losses of over 10 billion each since March. Besides, the credit rating agency ICRA has downgraded the full-service carrier’s long-term ratings.

Amidst all this, the additional 1500 crore load may lead to further financial strain for the airline. jetairways.com