Japan Airlines plans daily Bengaluru flights starting summer 2020

Japan Airlines will be giving India’s southern city of Bengaluru its first non-stop connection to Japan in summer 2020 with daily flights between the Karnataka state capital and Tokyo.

The route will be Japan Airlines’ second to India after New Delhi and is aimed especially at providing travellers from North America more feasible connections to the Indian city, a growing IT hub sometimes dubbed the “Silicon Valley of India”.

Flights will operate daily; the departing flight will leave Tokyo Narita at 1825 and arrive at Bengaluru just after midnight at 0005 the following day, while the return leg will fly out of Bengaluru at 0245 and land back at Tokyo at 1455.

The service cuts out the need for a stopover in Kuala Lumpur and connecting onto services operated by fellow Oneworld alliance carrier, Malaysia Airlines.

Japan Airlines’ Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner will fly the route. The carrier has three configurations for this aircraft, and at this stage it is unclear which of these will be flying to Bengaluru.

Two of these feature the airline’s enclosed, fully flat JAL Sky Suite in the business class cabin. These seats are laid out in a 2-2-2 configuration, though due to the design of the seats all do technically provide passengers with access to the aisle without needing to clamber over their neighbours.

One of Japan Airlines’ three configurations for the 787-8 also offers a premium economy cabin – JAL Sky Premium – so it is possible this class of travel will be available on flights between Tokyo and Bengaluru.

Tickets have yet to go on sale for the new Bengaluru service. Flights and schedules are still subject to regulatory approval, and seats will go on sale “when plans are finalised”, the airline said in statement on its official website.

Tata Motors unveils the much-awaited Harrier

Tata Motors unveils the much-awaited Harrier

Tata Motors has unveiled its new SUV — Harrier, based on the concept of H5X, a glimpse of which was seen at the Delhi Auto Expo2018.

Featuring Tata Motors new Impact Design 2.0 language, Harrier is available in four variants — XE, XM, XT, XZ and in five shades — Calisto Copper, Thermisto Gold, Ariel Silver, Telesto Grey and Orcus White.

The SUV, built on Optimal Modular Efficient Global Advanced (OMEGA) architecture, is powered by the cutting-edge Kryotec 2.0 Diesel engine and comes with a multi-drive mode that allows the driver to wheel through different terrains.

Additionally, Tata’s new launch is loaded with safety features like the advanced electronic stability programme (ESP), six airbags and child seat ISOFIX anchor points.

Guenter Butschek, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Tata Motors, said “We showcased the H5X Concept at the Delhi Auto Expo 2018 with a promise to bring it to the Indian market in early 2019. Honoring the same commitment, I am elated to present to you the Harrier today.

“With this product, Tata Motors has rightfully entered the premium mid-size SUV segment. The Harrier is a strong proof point of our Turnaround 2.0 strategy and it will be a game changer in the market. I am confident that with the Harrier, Tata Motors Passenger Vehicle Business Unit will continue to win sustainably in the times to come.”

The company has also introduced a rewards programme for members of the SOUL programme of Tata SUV owners who can gather and redeem points to win gifts & souvenirs as they drive along in their Harrier.

Harrier will be available at a starting price of ₹12.69 Lakhs.

tatamotors.com

Prealene Khera

Tata Motors has unveiled its new SUV — Harrier, based on the concept of H5X, a glimpse of which was seen at the Delhi Auto Expo2018.

Featuring Tata Motors new Impact Design 2.0 language, Harrier is available in four variants — XE, XM, XT, XZ and in five shades — Calisto Copper, Thermisto Gold, Ariel Silver, Telesto Grey and Orcus White.

The SUV, built on Optimal Modular Efficient Global Advanced (OMEGA) architecture, is powered by the cutting-edge Kryotec 2.0 Diesel engine and comes with a multi-drive mode that allows the driver to wheel through different terrains.

Additionally, Tata’s new launch is loaded with safety features like the advanced electronic stability programme (ESP), six airbags and child seat ISOFIX anchor points.

Guenter Butschek, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Tata Motors, said “We showcased the H5X Concept at the Delhi Auto Expo 2018 with a promise to bring it to the Indian market in early 2019. Honoring the same commitment, I am elated to present to you the Harrier today.

“With this product, Tata Motors has rightfully entered the premium mid-size SUV segment. The Harrier is a strong proof point of our Turnaround 2.0 strategy and it will be a game changer in the market. I am confident that with the Harrier, Tata Motors Passenger Vehicle Business Unit will continue to win sustainably in the times to come.”

The company has also introduced a rewards programme for members of the SOUL programme of Tata SUV owners who can gather and redeem points to win gifts & souvenirs as they drive along in their Harrier.

Harrier will be available at a starting price of ₹12.69 Lakhs.

tatamotors.com

Prealene Khera

Indian Hotels Company Limited launches new hotel in Nepal

Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) has announced the opening of Vivanta Kathmandu, thereby launching the hospitality brand’s second property in Nepal. The first IHCL hotel in the region is Meghauli Serai, A Taj Safaris Lodge in Chitwan National Park.

Located at a distance of 7.8 kms from Tribhuvan International Airport, Vivanta Kathmandu is set up in Jhamsikhel district. The 110-key hotel is spread across various accommodation categories that are packed with high-end amenities.

The F&B options include Akari for pan Asian cuisine, Koko-a rooftop bar serving bistro-style food, and Mynt-the all-day diner to try out the local food.

Rohit Khosla, Executive Vice President – Operations, North and West India, IHCL said, “We are thrilled to embark on this exciting new venture in Kathmandu which will complete the tourist circuit by providing a stopover to UNESCO listed Chitwan National Park.

“Nepal offers medieval cities and sacred sites to Himalayan peaks and wildlife safaris, catering to a multitude of experiences. We look forward to working with our partners, CG Group on this project, reiterating our commitment to the region.”

Owing to its endearing culture, fascinating architecture and scenic nature, Nepal is amongst the top tourist spots in the world but is lacking behind in attracting high-paying tourists. So, the launch of lavish properties like Vivanta Kathmandu may help the region in promoting itself as a luxury destination. tajhotels.com

Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) has announced the opening of Vivanta Kathmandu, thereby launching the hospitality brand’s second property in Nepal. The first IHCL hotel in the region is Meghauli Serai, A Taj Safaris Lodge in Chitwan National Park.

Located at a distance of 7.8 kms from Tribhuvan International Airport, Vivanta Kathmandu is set up in Jhamsikhel district. The 110-key hotel is spread across various accommodation categories that are packed with high-end amenities.

The F&B options include Akari for pan Asian cuisine, Koko-a rooftop bar serving bistro-style food, and Mynt-the all-day diner to try out the local food.

Rohit Khosla, Executive Vice President – Operations, North and West India, IHCL said, “We are thrilled to embark on this exciting new venture in Kathmandu which will complete the tourist circuit by providing a stopover to UNESCO listed Chitwan National Park.

“Nepal offers medieval cities and sacred sites to Himalayan peaks and wildlife safaris, catering to a multitude of experiences. We look forward to working with our partners, CG Group on this project, reiterating our commitment to the region.”

Owing to its endearing culture, fascinating architecture and scenic nature, Nepal is amongst the top tourist spots in the world but is lacking behind in attracting high-paying tourists. So, the launch of lavish properties like Vivanta Kathmandu may help the region in promoting itself as a luxury destination. tajhotels.com

 

This is what Singapore Airlines’ new Krisflyer award ticket changes mean for you

Singapore Airlines business class (B777-300ER)

Singapore Airlines has rolled out a suite of changes to its Krisflyer frequent flyer programme effective Thursday, January 24 that sees a mixed bag of positive quality of life changes and negative changes to the chart for award tickets.

Krisflyer members doubtless will be frustrated by the increases to the number of miles required to redeem premium cabin award tickets – they’re not all huge, but they’re enough to make redeeming premium economy, business and first class award tickets that bit more difficult, especially on the airline’s longer routes.

That being said, there are a few quality of life improvements, such as more flexibility with viewing available award tickets and less uncertainty when it comes to being on the waitlist for an award ticket, that are accompanying these changes. These aren’t enough to make the changes overall a positive for Krisflyer members, but they help cushion the blow and are likely to be welcomed by members regardless.

Here’s our rundown of what these changes entail.

The good

There are a few things Singapore Airlines has introduced that travellers will appreciate.

Among these is a change that came into effect from January 3 – the ability to upgrade from economy class straight to business even on flights that offer a premium economy cabin. Previously, upgrades could only be made one class at a time – economy to premium economy; premium economy to business; business to first – and the only way to upgrade direct from economy to business was to choose a flight operated by an aircraft that didn’t have a premium economy cabin.

The number of miles required to upgrade from economy straight to business will be the same regardless of whether the aircraft has a premium economy cabin.

Members on the waitlist for flight redemptions will also now be informed 14 days before their flight, so you should have an idea of whether you’ve been successful or need to book alternative flights at an earlier date.

This doesn’t affect those on the waitlist for upgrades, however, and these will continue to be offered up to the flight’s departure.

Another positive change that Krisflyer members won’t see until January 31 is the flexible travel dates for award bookings, giving members the ability to view available award tickets across seven days at a time – three days before and after the selected travel date. This should make it easier to search for availability around the time travellers wish to fly.

Meanwhile, fans of the airline’s Krisflyer Spontaneous Escapes offering, which offers discounts on Saver redemption rates to select destinations the following month, will become a permanent fixture of the rewards programme from next month. More details of the February edition’s redemption offers will be made available on February 15 at singaporeair.com/kfescapes.

The bad

Rewards ticket costs for first, business and premium economy have largely gone up, and while the increases aren’t all massive they’re still disappointing. Economy class Saver Award and Advantage Award levels remain unchanged, however.

For instance, a one-way Saver Award ticket from Singapore to Tokyo used to cost 32,500 miles for premium economy, 43,000 miles for business and 65,000 miles for first class. Now, these cost 34,500, 47,000 and 70,000 miles, respectively

Here are a few other examples of popular routes:

From To Cabin class Miles cost before Jan 24 Miles cost after Jan 24
Singapore Hong Kong Premium Economy 22,500 24,500
Singapore Hong Kong Business 27,500 30,500
Singapore Hong Kong First 37,500 40,500
Hong Kong San Francisco Premium Economy 60,000 63,000
Hong Kong San Francisco Business 82,000 89,000
Hong Kong San Francisco First 92,000 104,000
Singapore London Premium Economy 62,500 64,500
Singapore London Business 85,000 92,000
Singapore London First 115,000 125,000
New York Singapore Premium Economy 70,000 73,000
New York Singapore Business 92,000 99,000
New York Singapore First 120,000 132,000

For one-way Advantage Awards, the cost increases appear to have been limited to just first class award tickets. Singapore to Sydney, for example, now costs 155,000 miles, up from 150,000 miles.

A full rundown of the new Award Chart as of January 24 can be viewed on here, and the Upgrade Chart as of January 24 can be viewed here.

Uber debuts loyalty programme

Uber

Uber Rewards, the ride-sharing company’s new frequent-traveller program, was launched this week in San Francisco and several other US cities.

The loyalty program will reward members for spending on Uber and Uber Eats. It will have four tiers of membership: Blue, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. Base perks will include $5 in Uber Cash for every 500 points earned.

As members move up in rewards categories, they also become eligible for flexible ride cancellations, priority support, price protection for frequently used trips, and priority airport pickup.

Diamond members also can earn complimentary upgrades, pickups by top-rated drivers, premium support, and free delivery on Uber Eats orders.

Members earn 1 point per dollar spent on Uber and Uber Eats, 2 points on spending for UberX, Uber XL and Uber Select, and 3 points for spending on Uber Black and Black SUV.

The initial rollout of the program is in 25 U.S. markets, but company officials said Uber Rewards will be available nationwide soon.

Lyft beat Uber to the punch in announcing its planned loyalty program, but Uber is first to market. The rollout markets are Boston, Dallas, Orange County, Houston, New Orleans, Kansas City, Indianapolis, LA, SF, Fort Collins, Rockies, Pittsburgh, Lehigh Valley, Gettysburg, Erie, Western Massachusetts, Miami, Denver, Tampa, New York, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Diego, and New Jersey.

Last day for British Airways’ 100 long-haul seats for £100 promotion

British Airways A380

British Airways is launching a new promotion at midday today (January 21) offering 100 seats on long-haul services to the US for just £100 each way.

The offer will run for four consecutive days (January 21-24), covering two US destinations each day, with the discounted tickets being offered on a first-come, first-served basis each day from 1200 GMT.

More details will become available here once the promotion goes live at midday.

Meanwhile BA’s winter sale runs until January 31, with with deals in economy and premium classes to destinations including the US, Asia and Australia.

ba.com

Mandarin Oriental to enter Middle East with Dubai property

Mandarin Oriental Dubai

Luxury hotel chain Mandarin Oriental will make its Middle East debut when it opens a property in Dubai this year.

Scheduled to open before the end of Q1, Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai (a reference to the location, not to be confused with hotel brand Jumeirah) will have 178 rooms and 78 suites.

Rooms have been designed by Jeffrey Wilkes in bright blues and earthy tones, while outside, fourteen bronze metal trees with 900 lights lead down to the beach.

It will host restaurants Tasca, led by Portuguese chef José Avillez; Netsu, a Warayaki-style Japanese steakhouse; and The Bay, a brasserie-style restaurant.

Light refreshments will be available at Noor Lounge, The Mandarin Cake Shop – which serves cakes, pastries and Arabic sweets – and poolside bar/restaurant Sun Vibe. Guests in Club rooms and suites will get access to Club Lounge, with views across Dubai.

Facilities include a gym, kids’ club and a 2,000 sqm spa, with signature Mandarin Oriental treatments plus local additions.

mandarinoriental.com

Air France wants to go upmarket

Air France business class fully flat bed B777-300ER

Air France wants to boost revenue by targeting premium rather than economy class passengers.

In an interview with La Tribune, Canadian Ben Smith (Air France’s new CEO) intends to remodel the cabins on its long-haul fleet to entice more high revenue travellers.

The idea is to offer a more consistent long-haul product for premium travellers. At the same time the number of less lucrative economy class seats will be reduced.

La Tribune notes, “Focusing on a “high contribution” customer base makes it possible to stick with the high-end image reflected by the Air France brand. It is hoped that the increased revenue will offset Air France’s high cost structure.”

“It means Joon has no place [within Air France] and [therefore] it will disappear.”

Earlier this month Business Traveller reported Air France’s plans to close Joon, with the carrier stating that “the brand was difficult to understand from the outset for customers, for employees, for markets and for investors”.

Ben Smith laments “We are currently the only major company that does not yet offer a consistent product like fully-flat beds in business class.”

Says La Tribune, “Out of 101 long-haul planes [in the Air France fleet] only 51 [44 B777s and seven B787s] have the latest business class seats providing direct aisle access.”

The others have what La Tribune describes as “toboggans” without full aisle access.

And it’s noteworthy that even Air France’s A380 fleet (which the carrier intends to halve in size) retains the older angled lie-flat seating in business class.

In addition to the business class improvements Air France intends to drive revenue by increasing the seat count in its premium economy cabins.

Recentl Air France improvements for premium travellers have included new catering and inflight amenities.

airfrance.co.uk

IHG launches 30 per cent off “Pay Day Sale”

Voco St Davids Cardiff

IHG is offering 30 per cent off stays at selected properties in a flash promotion dubbed the ‘Pay Day Sale’.

The offer runs from January 28 until February 1, for stays between January 31 and April 30.

It’s not clear exactly which properties are taking part in the promotion, but IHG has highlighted three UK hotels which will offer discounted rates:

  • Holiday Inn Manchester City Centre – rates from £80 (reduced from £110)
  • Holiday Inn Express Glasgow Theatreland – rates from £65 per night (reduced from £89)
  • Voco St Davids Cardiff – rates from £72 per night (reduced from £139)

The example rates above are for stays taken on February 8 and 9.

The group says that brands including Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza and Staybridge Suites will participate in the offer.

For more information and to book, visit ihg.com/flashsale.

Does your nationality impact your travel preferences?

Does your nationality impact your travel style?

Booking.com recently commissioned a research study which determined whether the nationality of travellers influence their travel preferences. The survey was independently conducted with a sample of 53,492 respondents across 31 markets. Amongst the participants, 1852 were Indian.

The travel stimulant that ranked highest among most nationalities was “giving myself time to relax”. However, on comparing the results between different nationalities, it became apparent that people from around the globe had varying preferences.

Amongst Indians, the top motivation to travel was to give themselves time to relax and unwind (88 per cent). Other factors that were on top of the list were influenced by nostalgia, experiencing a simpler lifestyle, getting away from home and discovering places.

Top 5 Motivations to Travel – Global Travellers Top 5 Motivations to Travel – Indians
Give myself time to relax Give myself time to relax
Taking time to mentally unwind Seeing as much as possible
Having experiences, I could not have at home  Experiences I couldn’t have at home

 

Seeing as much as possible Experience new / different lifestyles
Being free to act how I feel Finding thrills and excitement

Besides motivation, nationality also had an impact on the choice of destination. For Indians, the top five factors that they took into consideration before narrowing down on a location were- personal safety, cleanliness, outstanding natural scenery, tasty local food/cuisine and quality beaches.

Additionally, accessibility was also crucial in understanding travel behaviour. Individuals are more likely to choose destinations that are easier to reach. Out of the top 10 places Indians travelled to in 2018, Bhutan was a steady first.

booking.com

Prealene Khera

Booking.com recently commissioned a research study which determined whether the nationality of travellers influence their travel preferences. The survey was independently conducted with a sample of 53,492 respondents across 31 markets. Amongst the participants, 1852 were Indian.

The travel stimulant that ranked highest among most nationalities was “giving myself time to relax”. However, on comparing the results between different nationalities, it became apparent that people from around the globe had varying preferences.

Amongst Indians, the top motivation to travel was to give themselves time to relax and unwind (88 per cent). Other factors that were on top of the list were influenced by nostalgia, experiencing a simpler lifestyle, getting away from home and discovering places.

Top 5 Motivations to Travel – Global Travellers Top 5 Motivations to Travel – Indians
Give myself time to relax Give myself time to relax
Taking time to mentally unwind Seeing as much as possible
Having experiences, I could not have at home  Experiences I couldn’t have at home

 

Seeing as much as possible Experience new / different lifestyles
Being free to act how I feel Finding thrills and excitement

Besides motivation, nationality also had an impact on the choice of destination. For Indians, the top five factors that they took into consideration before narrowing down on a location were- personal safety, cleanliness, outstanding natural scenery, tasty local food/cuisine and quality beaches.

Additionally, accessibility was also crucial in understanding travel behaviour. Individuals are more likely to choose destinations that are easier to reach. Out of the top 10 places Indians travelled to in 2018, Bhutan was a steady first.

booking.com

Prealene Khera