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Tue 28 Oct: 10 things you need to know today

We’ve done all the hard work, so you don’t have to! Read on for our top ten travel industry news stories of the day we think you need to know.

We’ve done all the hard work, so you don’t have to! Read on for our top ten travel industry news stories of the day we think you need to know.

1. Australian Open and Emirates serve up an ace multi-year deal

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Emirates cabin crew and Todd Woodbridge onboard an Emirates aircraft in Melbourne.

The Australian Open and Emirates Airline has announced a new Grand Slam partnership, launching a multi-year deal that will see the two global brands unite for the first time.

From this summer the series will be rebranded the Emirates Australian Open Series, with the airline to partner all five marquee events held ahead of the Australian Open: Hopman Cup (Perth), Brisbane International, Apia International Sydney, Hobart International and the World Tennis Challenge (Adelaide).

The agreement also includes sponsorship of the elite Australian Open Series, the official lead-in to the first Grand Slam of the year.

Tennis Australia, CEO Craig Tiley described the global airline as “a perfect fit” for Australia’s largest annual sporting event.

“Our new Emirates Australian Open Series partnership reflects the prestige reputation of these events, which draw the world’s top players to our shores each summer,” he said.

Read on for more.


2. Jetstar deal places airline in diabolical dilemma

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Beautiful Bali, not meant to be for many a bargain hunter.

In response to AirAsia’s $99 introductory deal for flights from Melbourne to Bali, budget airline Jetstar decided to offer a 48-hour special for flights to Bali.

The $(AUD)88 price tag sent a flurry of bargain hunters to their site to cash-in on the super deal.

Nonetheless, while the bargain attracted many a would-be traveller, the flood of interest was too much for the airline to bear, and booking systems seized up.

Those patient attempted to make a booking for as long as six-hours before conceding defeat.

A spokesman from the airline told news.com that the system had been placed “under stress” by the fare offer but was unable to provide further details of the crash.

Read on for more.


3. Overnight storm in Melbourne causes commuter chaos

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Image Source: ABC Melbourne.

An overnight storm caused commuter chaos in Melbourne this morning after a power surge caused by a lightning strike disrupted signals at Flinders Street Station.

At least five lines were suspended, including Glen Waverley, Upfield, Sandringham, Cranbourne and Pakenham and only two train lines were travelling through the City Loop for about 45 minutes from 6.45am. It took Geelong commuters about an extra hour longer than usual to get to Melbourne. Most lines had delays of up to 40 minutes.

PTV’s chief executive officer Mark Wild apologised to commuters who endured hours of train stoppages, line suspensions and slower services.

“First thing I would say is I am obviously very, very sorry for the inconvenience to our customers today, particularly on such a bad weather morning,” Mr Wild told ABC Melbourne.

“It is our job to get people in on the morning and we are clearly not doing a good job of that,” he said.


4. Qantas customer service gets thumbs up

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The results of the Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Awards for August are out, and leading the Domestic Airline category for the fifth consecutive month is Qantas.

Hot on its tail wings is Virgin Australia, followed by Qantaslink.

In the year to August 2014, more than 3.96 million Australians flew Qantas at least once, and a fraction over 82 per cent of them reported that they were satisfied with the airline. Virgin Australia scored a satisfaction rating of just under 82%, from almost 2.8 million passengers.

“In the year to August 2014, more than 7.6 million Aussies (or 40 per cent of the population) took at least one domestic flight. That is a huge number of customers for the airlines to keep satisfied, and for Qantas and Virgin to achieve satisfaction rates over 80 per cent is an impressive feat,”Angela Smith, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research said.


5. Virgin increases flights between Brissy and LA

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Virgin Australia this week increased services between Brisbane to Los Angeles, moving to a daily service from Sunday 26 October, 2014.
The Virgin Australia and Delta Air Lines trans-Pacific joint venture now offers two daily services between Sydney and Los Angeles and one daily service between Brisbane and Los Angeles.

The additional service will be flown by Virgin Australia’s three-class Boeing 777 aircraft, which offer seatback in-flight entertainment, award-winning service, premium food and beverages and luxurious fully-flat bed seats in Business Class.

“We are excited to commence daily services from Brisbane to Los Angeles this week as North America is an extremely important market for Virgin Australia,” Chief Commercial Officer Judith Crompton said.

“We have seen strong demand in the Brisbane market to Los Angeles so we are very pleased to be able to provide those customers with daily services.”


6. Eurostar’s celebrates 20th anniversary with travel deals

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In conjunction with its 20th anniversary, Eurostar is celebrating the occasion with 20 per cent off on its London – Paris and Brussels services. Agents can book the discounted journeys for their clients in Standard Class and Standard Premier for travel between Mondays and Thursdays.

Bookings must be made by 17 November and travel completed between 7 November 2014 and 31 March 2015.

For itineraries expanding from France to Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium, agents can pass on to their clients Thalys’ winter promotion where one-way ticket bookings made between 11 November and 14 December start at under (AUD)$40. Travel must be completed between 6 January and 28 February 2015.

For the popular routes between Brussels and Paris or Marseille and between Paris and Geneva, Lausanne, Bern, Basel or Zurich, agents can pass on more than 70 per cent off their 1st and 2nd class travel. Bookings must be made by 3 December 2015 and travel completed within 90 days of booking date.

Agents are reminded that Rail Europe tickets are distributed by Rail Plus, Rail Tickets, CIT Holidays and Infinity Rail in Australia, and Rail Plus and Go Holidays in New Zealand. For contact information on any of these, visit the Australasia section.


7. Abu Dhabi kicks off biggest cruise season yet

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Abu Dhabi Ports Company Zayed Port has welcomed the first cruise ship of the 2014/2015 season which will see a total of nearly 100 arrivals as the emirate’s cruise tourism sector continues to grow.

The MS Rotterdam which called on Saturday is the first of 93 ships and 220,000 passengers to visit Abu Dhabi during the coming season.
This first arrival demonstrates a growing confidence in Abu Dhabi as a regional cruise destination, according to Sultan Al Dhaheri, acting executive director tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.

“The start of a new cruise season is always a highly anticipated event, especially for what is set to be our busiest to date, and one marked by the return of a luxury vessel from one of the world’s most respected cruise lines,” he said.

“Our priority is to convince the local travel industry and hospitality providers of the merits of this expanding sector, and having recently completed a successful multi-city regional travel trade roadshow with our Cruise Arabia partners, welcome this interest from our local travel industry partners.”


8. Air Canada slashes price of business class

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Air Canada is cutting the price of a Business Class ticket to Vancouver and Toronto by up to 33 per cent in a new Companion Fare sale.

Prices for a Sydney-Vancouver Business Class ticket start from $4497 per person (plus taxes) – a saving of more than $2200 on the standard published 90-day advance purchase fare.

The cost of a Sydney-Toronto Business Class fare starts from $5897 per person, a reduction of more than $2080 per person on the standard 90-day advance purchase fare.

Both discount fares are based on two people travelling together in Business Class, with travel between 2 December 2014 and 31 January 2015.

“We are putting our competitive, award-winning international business class service within reach of a broader audience of holiday-makers and SME travellers,” Air Canada General Manager Australia and New Zealand Paul McLean said.

“Once they try our product and our extensive network I am confident they will return to Air Canada’s business class on their next corporate or leisure trip to Canada and beyond.”

Travellers will need to be quick with the special offer expiring on 29 October 2014.


9. Trafalgar takes travellers through the great unknown

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The Harbour at Colon, Panama.

Having identified a gap in the market for intimate travel in less visited destinations, Trafalgar is offering guests even more choice with the addition of Hidden Journeys to its 2015 programmes.

Unique properties and places are showcased through 11 Hidden Journeys of Europe and Ireland, Canada, Panama and Asia that cater to a maximum of 26 guests and feature in a standalone brochure, as well as within each destination programme for 2015.

“From sampling wines at boutique estates to staying in distinct Ryokan accommodation, these Hidden Journeys visit amazing destinations in harder to reach places that are often best suited to smaller sized groups.” Matthew Cameron-Smith, Managing Director, Trafalgar Australia said.

“With this in mind, we’ve designed these itineraries primarily for those guests who like to travel in a more intimate setting, while still enjoying the peace of mind in travelling with an expert Travel Director and discovering exclusive Insider Experiences.”

Featuring in Trafalgar’s 2015 Europe & Britain brochure, are six Secrets of Italy, Ireland, France, Greece, Switzerland and Turkey Hidden Journeys. Trafalgar has also added Hidden Journeys to its 2015 USA & Canada, South America and Asia brochures.


10. Singapore Grand Prix packages now on sale

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After a very successful 2014 Singapore GP, KPT have released early bird packages for next years’ event. Packages start at $975pp* based on twin share and include three nights accommodation with breakfast and a Bay Grandstand seat for the entire duration of the Grand Prix.

Four night packages include a Pre-race function and start from $1,675pp based on twin share. The first 50 clients that book a 4 night package with KPT have the chance to win a Singapore Flyer trip.

The Singapore Grand Prix is one of the highlights in the F1 Calendar, a spectacular track around the Marina Bay Sands circuit is set against a backdrop of heritage buildings, iconic architecture and a glowing city skyline.

The 2015 race starts on 18-20 September.

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