Travel industry brings Lunar New Year cheer to guests

5 Feb 2013

With the Lunar New Year just around the corner, the travel industry is gearing up to welcome the expected influx of Chinese travellers, sometimes with out-of-the-box measures ranging from impromptu dim sum tasting in the airport's departure hall to a feng shui chart detailing the luckiest time to fly and best seat to choose.

London’s Heathrow Airport has rolled out a special programme that will last until February 29 to feature dragon dance performances throughout the day, as well as taster classes in the art of zhezhi – Chinese paper folding. Furthermore, a number of the airport's customer service officers who are fluent Mandarin speakers will don traditional Chinese outfits as well as name tags that also indicate the languages they speak. Some of them will be walking around with steamers of dim sum for passengers to sample.

According to a statement from the airport, Chinese passengers account for 25 per cent of luxury expenditure at the duty free retail outlets of the airport yet only represent 0.7 per cent of total passenger volume, thus making them “commercially important.”

“While Chinese passengers represent a relatively small proportion of our total passenger volume, these customers are extremely important to us and have very definite ideas about their luxury brand experience which we are delighted to provide at Heathrow,” said Murial Zingraff, retail director at Heathrow. 

But of course, you do not have to be Chinese to enjoy the dim sum and festivities. Signage will be put up to direct people to these special Lunar New Year events.

Jetstar, on the other hand, is going the extra mile to ensure that travel during the Year of the Snake is as auspicious as possible with the invention of the Feng Shui of Flying calculator. The carrier has invited feng shui master David Tong to conduct an analysis of the carrier’s fleet of A320 aircraft in order to analyse the plane’s “energy flow and how passengers can encourage various symbolic well wishes when flying.”

Tong’s general findings indicate the following: 

  • Men travelling for good health should pick seats in rows 9, 19 or 29
  • Women looking for wealth should sit in rows 1, 11 or 21
  • Auspicious travel times fall within two windows – between 0500 to 0700 and 1900 to 2100

Furthermore, a dedicated microsite has been built, and passengers can input their date of birth, gender and reason of travel to generate personalised readings based on Tong’s findings. Other than when to fly and where to sit on the plane, the calculator can also suggest destinations for you.

For more information on these initiatives, visit or

Alisha Haridasani

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