Skill up on all you need to know with bite sized travel news designed specifically to help you, the Travel Agent, be your best today and tomorrow.

1. ‘Dragging’ incident prompts changes to United policy

United Airlines

United Airlines is upgrading its policy on last minute staff seats after receiving public backlash over a viral video in which a passenger was seen dragged from the plane in order to make room for cabin crew.

Announced over the long weekend, the update will require flight crew to allocate staff seats on fully booked services at least one hour before departure.

The carrier said the change will improve customer service. It also gives the airline enough time to approach any affected customers prior to boarding and organise a re-booking deal in private.

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2. Etihad pilot aborted takeoff to reunite grandparents with dying grandson

In the current climes of airline controversy and questionable service it’s always great to hear a good news story that restores your faith in humanity and reminds you that ‘caring’ is contagious.

A year ago Etihad Airways were highly praised for literally going “above and beyond” when a plane was turned around at Manchester Airport to allow an elderly couple to visit their dying grandson.

The English couple, who were preparing to fly to Australia via Abu Dhabi found out about their grandson’s tragic situation only after they had boarded the flight.

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3. Investigations underway into Bellagio blaze


Investigations are underway into the origin of a fire at Las Vegas’ Bellagio Resort, which is believed to have caused more than $400,000 in damages to the iconic property.

Employees and guests cleared out of the property late last week when a blaze broke out over the retail annex, leaving severe damage over stores primarily Starbucks.

Fire officials were called in to tackle the fire, which Clark County Fire described as “extremely difficult” due to its location.

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4. VOTE NOW for your favourite Visit California STAR

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Did your colleague make the cut? What about your favourite famil buddy? Or how about that woman who was really sweet and welcoming to you that that one time your ‘events entourage’ ditched you?

The finalists Visit California’s “STAR Search” video competition have been revealed and voting is now open to decide which Agents will become the faces of its new digital training platform, California STAR.

Fifteen “STAR Search” competition candidates have been shortlisted across five different categories based on their top suggestion to sell California. Each category represents one of Visit California’s five experience pillars; Culinary, Luxury, Entertainment, Outdoor and Family.

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5. Viking’s $1,000 saving for Aus & Indonesia itineraries


Viking Ocean Cruises is offering couples a $1,000 saving on a 17-day cruise visiting Australia and Indonesia.

Stopping at 11 ports, including Bali, Komodo, Darwin and the Whitsundays, the itinerary will give guests the chance to witness the colourful traditions of Lombok Island and explore Komodo National Park before experiencing the charms of Darwin with a local and uncover the cosmopolitan culture of Brisbane with a welcoming guide.

The $1,000 per couple saving on the Komodo and the Australian Coast ocean cruise is valid until 30 June 2017 and is priced from $7,495 for 30 November 2018 departure.


6. Carlson Wagonlit Travel appoints new Chief Marketing Officer


Carlson Wagonlit Travel announced the appointment of Simon Nowroz as Chief Marketing Officer, with immediate effect. Reporting to Patrick Andersen, Chief Strategy and Commerce Officer, he will be based in Minneapolis.

Simon joins from Anderson Capital Advisors, a specialist advisory firm he co-founded to focus on maximising customer returns from creative digital strategies, independent of market directions. Prior to that he was Head of New Ventures with Travelport for two and a half years, and he was President and Managing Director APAC with the firm for nine years before that.

He has over 25 years’ travel industry expertise covering consultancy, distribution, car hire and air. Simon has lived and worked in France, Hong Kong, the UK and the U.S. and is a graduate of Insead, Stanford and TVU.


7. Helloworld for Business’ recent agency re-signs


Helloworld for Business (HWFB) has confirmed the re-signing of significant agencies to the network group including Travel Tree, Acland Travel, Motive Travel, Travel Together, New England Travel and the Donna Barlow Travel Group.

Travis Smith, Owner and Director of Travel Tree in WA commented that the Helloworld for Business value proposition and the benefits offered to its network members deliver substantial value to his company and was instrumental in his commitment to the network for a further five years.

Donna Barlow, Owner and Director of Donna Barlow Corporate Travel in NSW, also echoed their support and re-signed for a further term.


8. Windstar Cruises is returning to Alaska

Glacier Bay in Mountains, Alaska, United States

Windstar Cruises has announced a return to Alaska sailings in its northern Spring/Summer 2018 ports of call also taking in British Columbia.

Windstar’s Alaska features voyages starting at 11 days, which include scenic cruising in both Canada’s and Alaska’s famed inside passages – where guests can look for orcas, bears, and bald eagles from the comfort of their elegant ship.

Star Legend will sail Misty Fjords National Monument and Kenai Fjords National Park, experiences usually booked via a shore excursion because the ‘big ships’ do not go there.

Each Windstar Alaska itinerary includes sailing through Tracy Arm Fjord – so close that noise of the ice breaking and falling into the water during glacier calving will surprise. Enthusiastic park rangers, scientists, glaciologists, geologists, and other experts will be aboard each cruise to provide education, perspective, one-on-one discussions, and ample opportunities for individual discovery in America’s ‘last frontier’.

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