Marco Polo Club adds priority restaurant booking to Diamond benefits

Diamond members of Cathay Pacific’s and Cathay Dragon’s frequent-flyer programme, Marco Polo Club, can now get priority booking when reserving a table at Black Sheep Restaurants’ 13 restaurants and bars in Hong Kong.

The benefit came into effect yesterday and is currently set to continue for one year. Diamond members are the top-tier members of the Marco Polo Club, followed by Gold, Silver and entry-level Green.

Among Black Sheep Restaurants’ bars and eateries are Vietnamese kitchen and bar Chom Chom, New York-Italian restaurant Carbone, Parisian bistro Belon, and Argentinean steakhouse Buenos Aires Polo Club.

To see a full list of Black Sheep Restaurants’ F&B offerings, click here.

cathaypacific.com

Cathay Pacific passengers get 15 per cent off at Hyderabad Duty Free

Charminar, Hyderabad

Cathay Pacific passengers get 15 per cent off at Hyderabad Duty Free

The offer is valid at Hyderabad International Airport’s arrival and departure stores until December 15, 2017

Hyderabad Duty Free and Cathay Pacific have partnered to offer shoppers 15 per cent discounts at the duty free stores on presenting their Cathay Pacific boarding pass.

The offer is valid until December 15, 2017, and can be availed at the arrival and departure duty free stores at Hyderabad International Airport. The only catch here is that the 15 per cent discount is applicable for a minimum bill value of $150 in arrivals and $50 in departures.

Like most offers, this one too cannot be clubbed with any other offers or discounts.

Rajesh Menon, regional sales and marketing manager — South Asia at Cathay Pacific Airways said, “We are delighted to extend this offer to our customers. Hyderabad has grown into an important market for us and we are constantly undertaking initiatives to provide our customers a seamless experience not just while on board but through their entire journey. This promotion with Hyderabad Duty Free is a great way for [Cathay passengers] to enjoy their experience while at Hyderabad International Airport.”

cathaypacific.com

Cathay Pacific passengers get 15 per cent off at Hyderabad Duty Free

The offer is valid at Hyderabad International Airport’s arrival and departure stores until December 15, 2017

Hyderabad Duty Free and Cathay Pacific have partnered to offer shoppers 15 per cent discounts at the duty free stores on presenting their Cathay Pacific boarding pass.

The offer is valid until December 15, 2017, and can be availed at the arrival and departure duty free stores at Hyderabad International Airport. The only catch here is that the 15 per cent discount is applicable for a minimum bill value of $150 in arrivals and $50 in departures.

Like most offers, this one too cannot be clubbed with any other offers or discounts.

Rajesh Menon, regional sales and marketing manager — South Asia at Cathay Pacific Airways said, “We are delighted to extend this offer to our customers. Hyderabad has grown into an important market for us and we are constantly undertaking initiatives to provide our customers a seamless experience not just while on board but through their entire journey. This promotion with Hyderabad Duty Free is a great way for [Cathay passengers] to enjoy their experience while at Hyderabad International Airport.”

cathaypacific.com

Asia Miles partners with Taj InnerCircle

Asia Miles and Taj InnerCircle

Asia Miles, a travel and lifestyle rewards programme, which manages Cathay Pacific’s loyalty programme, has partnered with Taj InnerCircle, the loyalty programme of Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces.

Together, the brands have an ongoing Triple Asia Miles promotion valid until June 30, 2017.

To avail the offer, one must register with Asia Miles and Taj InnerCircle, and book a stay through tajhotels.com/en-in/asiamiles. During check-in at any Taj property worldwide, members must share their Asia Miles membership number to earn miles for the stay.

Through the promotion, Asia Miles members will be awarded triple of the usual miles earned for each night, and ten per cent off on the best available room rate at Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces properties.

Each night earns members anywhere from 250 to 500 Asia Miles, depending on the category of the Taj property. These are multiplied by three during the promotion.

Rajesh Menon, Regional Sales & Marketing Manager – South Asia, Cathay Pacific Airways, said, “We are delighted to introduce this sizzling promotion launched by Asia Miles and Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces to our valuable customers. With this exciting opportunity, our customers can earn Asia Miles not only on their flights on Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon but also during their stay at Taj Hotels. On the other hand, the miles earned can be used for various rewards including Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon flights, upgrades and extra baggage allowance.”

Additionally, the top three spenders at any Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces property will get a chance to earn 1,00,000 Asia Miles.

asiamiles.com

tajhotels.com 

Asia Miles and Taj InnerCircle

Asia Miles, a travel and lifestyle rewards programme, which manages Cathay Pacific’s loyalty programme, has partnered with Taj InnerCircle, the loyalty programme of Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces.

Together, the brands have an ongoing Triple Asia Miles promotion valid until June 30, 2017.

Cathay Pacific financial woe continues

Cathay Pacific Airline

Cathay Pacific (CX) has announced it will let go of 600 members of staff by the end of the year.

The harsh round of cuts will see 190 management staff cut immediately, with a further 400 non-management positions to be dissolved over the coming months.

No frontline employees, pilots or cabin crew will be affected by the current round of redundancies.

The announcement is the first tough call to come under new chief executive Rupert Hogg, who took over from Ivan Chu earlier this month.

Hogg said: “We greatly appreciate and respect our people’s dedication, hard work and achievements. However, we have had to make tough but necessary decisions for the future of our business and our customers.

“Changes in people’s travel habits and what they expect from us, evolving competition and a challenging business outlook have created the need for significant change.

“As we look to the future we will have a new structure that will make us leaner, faster and more responsive to our customers’ needs. It is the first step in the transformation of our business.”

The job losses come after the airline’s disastrous financial results posted in March.

Other recent clues that have pointed towards the company’s economic strain include confirmation the airline will run ten-across seating on B777s and a recent joint-venture with Lufthansa to combat competition from Chinese carriers and the Gulf.

cathaypacific.com

Cathay Pacific launches seven-day sale for UK travellers

Hong Kong skyline

Cathay Pacific today launched a new seven-day sale aimed at travellers flying from the UK to destinations in Asia-Pacific.

The promotion includes flights from the UK to Hong Kong, China, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Australia.

Return economy flights between the UK and Hong Kong and China start at £429 (US$554), and to Singapore from £439 (US$566).

Premium economy seats between the UK and Hong Kong, meanwhile, begin at £889 (US$1,147). The same class between the UK and Australia starts at £1,879 (US$2,424). A return business class ticket to Sydney starts from less than double that, at £2,879 (3,715).

It should be noted that economy class tickets to Australia are not offered as part of the promotion, however.

Cathay Pacific currently operates 43 non-stop flights from Hong Kong to the UK per week.

In related news, Emirates earlier this week launched a promotion for flights between Hong Kong and destinations in Europe.

Meanwhile, tickets for Qantas’ March 2018 non-stop “Kangaroo Route” from Perth to London went on sale yesterday.

In-flight wifi on Asia-Pacific airlines: what you need to know

Cathay Pacific business class

Air New Zealand

Wifi?
Launching second half of 2017

Pricing
Expected to be announced in first half of 2017

In October last year, Air New Zealand announced it would begin introducing inflight wifi on board its flights starting from the second half of 2017. Flights between New Zealand and Australia are set to be the first to receive the service, with wifi progressively being made available aboard its Tasman, Pacific Island and long-haul jet fleets from the end of 2017. Domestic flights will the last to get the service, with introduction set for 2018.

Traditionally low satellite service quality across oceanic areas (over which many of Air New Zealand’s flights travel) has meant the airline has held back on introducing an inflight wifi offering until a service of suitably high quality became available. The airline’s wifi will be provided by Inmarsat’s global GX satellite constellation, and integrated with the Air New Zealand’s Panasonic Avionics system.

airnewzealand.com

ANA

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
B777-300ER, B767-300ER (only those configured with 202 seats), B787-9, B787-8 (only those configured with 240 seats), A320neo

Pricing
B777-300ER and B767-300ER:

US$4.95 – 30 minutes, 15MB limit
US$8.95 – one hour, 30MB limit
US$19.95 – full flight, 100MB limit

B787-9, B787-8 and A320neo:

US$6.95 – 30 minutes
US$16.95 – three hours
US$21.95 – full flight (max 24 hours)

All Nippon Airways’ (ANA) inflight wifi offering gives access to functions such as web browsing and email functions. Video streaming is not supported, and image loading is likely to burn through your data quite quickly.

For travellers flying on ANA’s B777-300ER and B767-300ER, the service is only available when flying over transoceanic airspace and countries that permit the use of satellite activity, while B787 and A320 inflight connectivity is available in all airspaces.

ana.co.jp

Cathay Pacific

Wifi?
Yes

Aircraft
A350

Class
Available to all classes

Pricing
US$9.95 – one hour continuous use on all flights
US$12.95 – flights of six hours or less
US$19.95 – flights of six hours or more

Cathay Pacific currently offers wifi only on its fleet of A350s, the first of which it deployed to Auckland in October 2016. A few services are available complimentary – including the airline’s own website, its duty free catalogue, and destination information – though for functions such as general web browsing and email, a fee is required.

cathaypacific.com

China Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Classes
Available to all classes

Aircraft
B777-300ER, A350

Pricing
TW$350 (US$11.6) – one hour
TW$500 (US$16.5) – three hours
TW$650 (US$21.5) – 24 hours

Inflight wifi on China Airlines has no data limit and while the overall speed may make certain functions difficult, this does provide reassurance for those that tend to quickly eat through data that they won’t be prematurely cut off from the service.

Purchasing wifi can be done on the flight or ahead of time via the airline’s website.

china-airlines.com

Eva Air

Wifi?
Yes

Classes
Available to all classes

Aircraft
B777-300ER (select aircraft)

Pricing
US$11.95 – one hour
US$16.95 – three hours
US$21.95 – 24 hours

It is worth noting that Taiwan-based Eva Air’s service provider is currently applying for an operating permit with the Chinese Government, however until then internet connectivity gets temporarily disconnected when flying over mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau with the carrier.

On the plus side, however, for longer journeys across multiple segments, travellers can re-connect to Eva Air’s wifi network using the same account information, provided the ensuing leg is also operated by an Eva Wifi-enabled aircraft.

evaair.com

Garuda Indonesia

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes (complimentary for first class passengers)

Aircraft
B777-300ER, A330-300, A330-200

Pricing
US$11.95 – one hour, 30MB limit
US$16.95 – three hours, 50MB limit
US$21.95 – 24 hours (whole flight on A330-300 and A330-200), 100MB limit

Garuda Indonesia’s wifi offering is provided on a time-based system with varying caps depending on the duration. In addition to the service being complimentary to all first class passengers, those in other classes travelling on Garuda’s wifi-equipped Airbus aircraft are able to get 15 minutes’ free wifi connectivity.

While the service is suitable for social media as well as general web browsing, regular image loading will likely drain your data quite quickly.

garuda-indonesia.com

Japan Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Aircraft
B777-300ER, B777-200ER, B767-300ER, B787

Class
Available to all classes (complimentary for first class passengers)

Pricing
US$10.15 – one hour
US$14.40 – three hours
US$18.80 – 24 hours

Japan Airlines offers inflight wifi based on overall duration used, with its 24-hour offering also including connecting flights for 24 hours from the initial log in. Data caps are also not present regardless of payment category.

A full list of the routes on which Japan Airlines offers wifi can be found here, with many only being available until and from certain dates. The airline’s fleet of B787s is also not fully equipped with wifi, so connectivity is not guaranteed, though travellers on these aircraft can check whether inflight wifi will be available on their flight the day before they travel.

jal.co.jp

Korean Air

Wifi?
No

Korea’s national carrier currently doesn’t offer inflight wifi across any of its aircraft, and has not issued plans to do so in the forseeable future.

In an interview with the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), Korean Air’s senior innovation technology manager, Dante Dionne, shed some light on why this is the case: “In Korea, the wireless infrastructure is so advanced (significantly faster than the US average) that in-flight internet services based on existing commercial satellite technology would be disappointing to them. That is a primary reason why Korean Air has not implemented in-flight internet.”

koreanair.com

Malaysia Airlines

Wifi?
No

Malaysia Airlines also doesn’t offer inflight wifi on its flights at present. That said, the airline plans to introduce the service onboard its new A350s, the first of which it is expecting to take delivery of this year. Auckland is currently scheduled to be the first long-haul route served by its new A350. Details of the inflight wifi service have yet to be announced.

malaysiaairlines.com

Philippine Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
Select aircraft on international flights

Pricing
US$10 – 35MB/one hour
US$40 – 150MB/flight duration

Up until February 28, 2017, Philippine Airlines offered the first 30 minutes of inflight wifi (limited to 15MB) free of charge to all passengers. The hourly rate and data offered is also reasonably priced, compared to other airlines in Asia-Pacific.

The full-flight bracket, however, is particularly expensive. While it does offer 150MB of data (caps for full-flight/24-hour purchases typically stand at 100MB), the US$40 price is noticeably more expensive than most other carriers in the region.

Purchases can be made either by credit card or by purchasing a scratch card from cabin crew.

philippineairlines.com

Qantas

Wifi?
Domestic trials began April 7, 2017

Class
Available to all classes on domestic flights

Aircraft
One wifi-enabled B737-800 aircraft; to be rolled out to 80 aircraft by end of 2018

Pricing
Free

Qantas launched a beta mode of its new Viasat and Nbn’s Sky Muster-enabled inflight wifi service earlier this month. Outfitted on a single B737-800 aircraft that will be flying domestic routes during the trial phase, the high-speed wifi is being offered free of charge for travellers on board the aircraft (due to likely last-minute changes, the specific routes the aircraft will be flying are subject to change, and passengers won’t be able to select a flight on board the wifi-enabled aircraft at this time).

Perhaps the most notable two features of Qantas’ new wifi offering are its speed and its price. Qantas claims that the new offering will be ten times faster than conventional onboard wifi, enabling functions such as video and music streaming (services such as Netflix, Spotify, Stan and Foxtel will be available through partnerships). The other is that the airline aims to keep the service included as part of the ticket fare.

Qantas expects to roll out wifi across 80 of its aircraft, for completion by the end of 2018. The airline is also currently in discussions with suppliers to develop a product for its international fleet.

qantas.com.au

Singapore Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Aircraft
A380, A350, B777-300ER (progressively)

Class
Available to all classes

Pricing
Volume-based (all A380 and select B777-300ER)

US$6.99 – 15MB
US$12.99 – 30MB
US$19.99 – 50MB

Time-based (All A350 and select B777-300ER)

US$11.95 – one hour
US$16.95 – three hours
US$21.95 – 24 hours

Singapore Airlines has a somewhat confusing pricing structure regarding its inflight wifi, owing largely to its partnership with two different providers, Onair and Panasonic. As such, price plans come in two variations, depending on provider and the type of aircraft – volume based or time based.

Prices tend to be more expensive than the majority of other Asia-Pacific airlines – most notably its highest-volume 50MB bracket offering about half as much data as that offered by most other airlines’ top bracket (100MB), but still costing a similar price.

What’s also worth noting here is that volume-based plans are only valid for the leg on which they are purchased. An onward journey, even if it is on the next sector of the same flight, requires another purchase. Time-based purchases, however, can be transferred across multi-sector flights.

singaporeair.com

Thai Airways

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
A350-900XWD, A380-800, A330-300

Pricing
US$4.99 – 10MB
US$8.99 – 20MB
US$12.99 – 30MB
US$34.99 – 100MB

Thai Airways offers inflight wifi on a number of its aircraft, with its A350s powered by Panasonic and its A380 and A330s provided by Sitaonair. The airline’s six wifi-enabled A380s currently operate flights to Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo Narita, London and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile its seven wifi-enabled A330s fly to Tokyo Narita, Taipei-Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei, Yangon, Beijing, Hanoi, Dubai, Ho Chi Minh City, Tokyo Haneda, Kuala Lumpur and Fukuoka.

The airline’s data-based rather than duration-focused pricing structure may confuse some flyers less familiar with average data-consumption rates. As a rough guide, 10MB will likely get you through roughly 30 minutes of general web browsing and email. Similarly to Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways’ prices are also quite expensive compared to many other Asia-Pacific airlines, with its US$34.99 for 100MB top-tier price being noticeably pricier than most other carriers’ highest wifi brackets.

thaiairways.com

Virgin Australia

Wifi?
Domestic trials began April 20, 2017

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
One wifi-enabled B737-800; to be rolled out across B737-800s, A330s and B777s

Pricing
To be confirmed after trial period completes

Less than two weeks after rival Australian carrier Qantas began trialling a new domestic inflight wifi offering, Virgin Australia launched its own domestic three-month testing period using the same aircraft, a B737-800. During the testing period, passengers will be able to use the wifi free of charge, though the final pricing of the service has yet to be announced and will be determined following customer feedback during the trial.

As with Qantas’ wifi offering, Virgin Australia’s will support video and music streaming, notably through Netflix, Pandora and Stan. Unlike Qantas’, however, Virgin Australia’s wifi is expected to be rolled out across its fleet of B737-800s, A330s and B777s for both domestic and international flights.

virginaustralia.com

Cathay Pacific launches HK24 promotional package

Cathay Pacific HK24 promotional campaign

Cathay Pacific has introduced a new “HK24” campaign that offers travellers from Australia, the US and Singapore one night’s free stay when the book a minimum of three nights (Australia and the US) or two nights (Singapore) at select hotels. Travellers from these three international markets can redeem the free night at select Cathay Pacific hotel partners by booking through its website, cathaypacific.com for travel between April 18 and June 30, 2017.

In addition to the complimentary one night hotel stay, the campaign also provides a free round-trip Airport Express train ticket between Hong Kong International Airport and Hong Kong Station, along with a day’s complimentary pocket wifi device and discounts at participating Hong Kong restaurants.

“There is no other city in the world quite like Hong Kong, which is why we’re giving travellers the opportunity to spend more time to explore and enjoy our unique home through our HK24 promotion,” said director of sales and marketing, Dane Cheng.

“Cathay Pacific strongly believes that service excellence and wide-ranging travel offers are important factors in boosting Hong Kong’s appeal as a tourism destination and we are committed to working hard to elevate the city’s standing and global reputation yet further,” he added.

The promotion comes as the Hong Kong carrier looks to drum up travel numbers to the city, as increased competition from mainland Chinese, Gulf and low-cost carriers and a weaker regional economy have played havoc with the airline’s profit margins. Earlier this month, Cathay Pacific reported a loss of HK$575 million (US$74 million) in its annual financial result statement for 2016.

Meanwhile earlier this week, the oneworld alliance carrier announced it would begin cooperating with rival Star Alliance carrier Lufthansa, as part of efforts to better compete with the Gulf carriers.

cathaypacific.com

Cathay Pacific begins Tel Aviv service, increases frequency

Cathay Pacific's inaugural Tel Aviv A350 flight

Cathay Pacific’s inaugural Tel Aviv flight arrived at Ben Gurion Airport yesterday (March 26) morning, marking the Hong Kong carrier’s newest addition to its international network. The debut CX675 departed Hong Kong at 0100 and arrived in the Israeli city at 0753 local time.

The new route was originally planned to operate as a four-times-weekly service when it was announced last October. However, due strong demand with advance bookings, the carrier will be adding a fifth weekly flight from September 1 to November 17, 2017.

“We have been highly encouraged by the overwhelming reception that our new Tel Aviv service has received,” said Paul Loo, director of corporate development and IT. “Increasing the frequency of our operations to five times a week will provide greater convenience to business and leisure customers travelling between these two great cities – and give passengers from Israel easier access to destinations in Southwest Pacific and across Asia through our hub in Hong Kong.”

The service is Cathay Pacific’s latest route to be served by its Airbus A350, which it configures in a 38 business (1-2-1), 28 premium economy (2-4-2) and 214 economy class (3-3-3) layout.

Cathay Pacific currently has 12 A350s in its fleet, with a further ten expected to be received by the end of this year. The airline deployed its first A350 on its Hong Kong-Auckland route back in October last year.

cathaypacific.com

Cathay Pacific to deploy A350 to Perth and Brisbane

Cathay Pacific A350

Having launched its first Australia Airbus A350 flight less than two months ago to Melbourne, Cathay Pacific has announced it will be further expanding its deployment of the aircraft in the country, on its daily Perth service.

The equipment change on the CX170/CX171 route will come into effect starting October 2017, along with a second Melbourne A350 service (its third is served by a Boeing 777). Meanwhile, the airline is set to begin its daily Brisbane A350 flights next week.

“We’ve been flying into Perth since 1970 and we’re thrilled to be introducing our newest aircraft on our direct services to and from Hong Kong,” said Cathay Pacific general manager Southwest Pacific, Nelson Chin. “It not only means a bigger aircraft, it also offers more comfortable cabins and more seats using our very latest designs.”

Cathay Pacific configures its A350s in a three-tier set up, with 38 business, 28 premium economy and 214 economy class seats. The change from its existing A330 on the Perth route will average out to approximately 406 additional seats per week.

The Hong Kong airline’s Australasia enhancement comes following a reported HK$575 million (US$74 million) loss in its 2016 annual financial result statement, announced last week. Speaking about the loss and Cathay Pacific’s response to it, chairman John Slosar noted that the airline would be “increasing our passenger capacity by 4-5 per cent per annum, at least until the third runway at Hong Kong International Airport is open”.

The airline will also be introducing new destinations, increasing frequencies on its most-popular routes, and adding new more fuel-efficient aircraft to its fleet, Slosar added.

Cathay Pacific flew its first A350 in October last year, to Auckland, and late last month announced it would be launching direct A350 flights between Hong Kong and Christchurch. February also saw the announcement of an added fifth weekly flight on the carrier’s Adelaide service, which is expected to take effect starting July 5, 2017.

In related news, Virgin Australia earlier this week confirmed that its new A330-200 service connecting Hong Kong with Australia would fly from Melbourne. The carrier’s first service to Greater China, the Melbourne-Hong Kong route is also expected to begin on July 5.

cathaypacific.com

Cathay Pacific upgrades online booking system

Cathay Pacific upgrades online booking service

Cathay Pacific has unveiled a new online booking experience on its website, cathaypacific.com, that the airline describes as delivering “a faster experience by streamlining the booking process”.

The new booking system reportedly has been optimised for use across multiple devices, including desktop computers and handheld devices, and has been developed to minimise the amount of resizing, panning and scrolling required. Added features also include an upgraded seat map display that features “realistic aircraft seating layouts”.

“We are always looking for ways to improve our passengers’ experience at every stage of their country, and that includes at the very beginning,” said Toby Smith, the airline’s general manager sales and distribution. “The new system’s improved flow and extra functionality make it simpler for customers to search for flights and make bookings, whether they are at home, at work or on the move.”

Travellers across all of Cathay Pacific’s worldwide markets will be able to use the new online booking system.

Starting March 29, regional subsidiary Cathay Dragon will also be moving its website to cathaypacific.com as part of its rebrand from Dragonair last year. The Cathay Dragon website is currently separately hosted on dragonair.com.

cathaypacific.com