For week ending 10 March 2017
Luxury was a theme last week with Qatar Airways sharing the design of their revolutionary new QSuites, Qantas unveiling its new Domestic Business Lounge at Brisbane Airport and THAI Airways revamping its in-flight business class service.
All this and more in our weekly news round-up brought to you by FCM Travel Solutions.
Qatar Airways revolutionary new QSuites
Qatar Airways has unveiled its new business class suites (see photos). QSuites feature privacy doors, middle seats that convert into a double bed and the first-ever ‘party of four’ seating configuration. The suite allows travellers to lower privacy panels creating a four-person private room, with aisle access for all - ideal for strategising an upcoming business meeting while in the air. The existing 'dine on demand' service, will now feature a selection of snack ‘sharing dishes’ and an Express Breakfast option has been added for those who want to sleep a little longer. QSuites will roll out on new B777-300ER aircraft from June and will operate on the Doha-London Heathrow route. They will also feature on the carrier’s brand new A350-1000 and will be retrofitted on existing Boeing 777s. A modified version of the QSuite will be offered on B787 and A380 aircraft.
New Qantas Domestic Brisbane Lounge
Qantas has unveiled its new Domestic Business Lounge at Brisbane Airport. Top tier frequent flyers and business class travellers will enjoy Premium Lounge Entry, with exclusive check-in area, bag drop, security screening and escalator with direct access to the new Lounge Precinct. Thirty percent larger than before, the new business lounge seats 350 guests and offers Neil Perry dining options including a cantina serving Mexican dishes. Set to open next week, the domestic lounge follows the opening of the carrier’s new International Lounge at the airport in October last year.
Cathay Queensland focus
Cathay Pacific plans to rejig flights between Hong Kong and Queensland. Brisbane will offer 11 non-stop flights to Hong Kong each week, while Cairns will benefit from a new non-stop thrice weekly return services to Hong Kong. The new flights replace existing one-stop services from Hong Kong to Brisbane via Cairns.
Air NZ boosts Buenos Aires
Air New Zealand is boosting service on its Auckland-Buenos Aires route. Effective 6 November, the carrier will offer four weekly services between the two cities, with a temporary fifth seasonal service added on 9 December.
Cathay expands SFO
Cathay Pacific is boosting flights between Hong Kong and San Francisco. From 29 October, the carrier will offer three flights a day to San Francisco while service to LA will drop from 28 to 21 per week. San Francisco services will operate on new A350-900 aircraft featuring fresh business, premium economy and economy cabins.
Holiday Inn Sydney Central
InterContinental Hotels Group plans to open a new property in Sydney CBD. The 305-room Holiday Inn Sydney Central will be located on Pitt Street close to Central Station and China Town, with light rail access to the new International Convention Centre Sydney. It is set to open in 2020.
Brisbane trials facial recognition tech
Brisbane Airport is trialling new facial recognition technology. The new SITA Smart Path uses a biometrics process allowing travellers to use self-service check-in kiosks for international travel. They can then complete the boarding process without presenting a boarding pass, passport or travel documents. Air New Zealand passengers will be the first to participate in the trial, which will be expanded to other airlines in coming months.
New Royal Silk Service
THAI Airways has revamped its in-flight business class service. The “New Royal Silk Service” will cater to individual requirements with all-day dining and new menu options that reflect the county’s cuisine. The all-day dining menu is available on all flights from Bangkok to Europe, and on daytime flights from Bangkok to Australia.
SQ MEL aircraft switch
Singapore Airlines is switching aircraft on its Singapore-Melbourne route. Effective from 1 April, A350-XWBs will replace the current B777-200ER aircraft used on flights SQ207/208.
New Eurostar business lounge in Paris
A new Business Premier lounge has opened at Paris Gare du Nord train station. The relocated lounge can be found on the top floor of the building and is available to those travelling in Business Class on the Eurostar high-speed, cross-channel train.
Hyatt Algeria debut
Algeria is set to welcome its first Hyatt-branded hotel. The 326-room Hyatt Regency Algiers Airport will be located directly opposite Houari Boumediene Airport’s new terminal and will be the only terminal-linked hotel. The property will feature dedicated airline lounges, a Regency Club lounge, an all-day dining restaurant and a rooftop swimming pool as well as 460sqm of meeting and event space. It is due to open in late 2018.
Papua New Guinea DFAT update
Smartraveller has advised travellers that tensions in Papua New Guinea may escalate in the period surrounding the national election in late June/early July.