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Mon 29 Sep: 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. Unlimited holidays for team Virgin

NTK - richardbranson- virgin-karryon

In a bid to boost employee morale, King of the runway Richard Branson, will offer his UK and US employees unlimited annual leave.

Branson revealed on his blog that Virgin Group employees in the UK and US will have no limits on their time off, as long as they feel up to date on every project and their absence will not harm the business.

“It is left to the employee alone to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off, the assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel a 100% comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business – or, for that matter, their careers!” Read on for more

2. Etihad launches new look

Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad has rolled out its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (B787) aircraft, featuring the brand’s new livery, as it seeks to up the battle in the luxury stakes and continue its rapid growth.

The new paint work, the aesthetically pleasing ‘facets of the desert’, first appeared on the airline’s jumbo A-380 that was launched in Hamburg last week.

However, it is said that the 787-9 Dreamliner will be the first to operate with the new livery on revenue flights from 1 December.

“With the economics of the aircraft, the 787-9 will be one that will be very, very central to our flying and future expansion,” Etihad chief commercial officer Peter Baumgartner said at the 787-9 livery unveiling at Boeing’s facilities in Everett, Washington. Read on for more.

3. Ipad man shuts down Sydney airport

Qantas passengers were evacuated at Sydney airport after a man walked into the terminal without passing through security screening.

A Qantas spokeswoman told AAP a man bypassed security screening by walking through an exit passage into terminal three on Saturday morning.

Qantas says the man was concentrating on his iPad and did not realise where he was going.

“The man disembarked a flight and left. They said. “It appears he wasn’t paying attention, was looking at his iPad, forgot something and walked back past [the security area].” The spokeswoman said all passengers were moved out of the terminal and underwent screening again as a precaution.

No other domestic or international terminals were affected.

4. Air France strike,  c’est fini


Image Source: Ria Novosti.

Despite failing to reach an agreement, the 14-day strike over a labour dispute has come to an end.

The strike had forced the carrier to cancel more than half of its flights. It has cost the airline roughly $(US) 25 million a day.

Air France welcomed the end of what it called a “costly and damaging” strike. However, this may not be the last of the conflict with the SNPL, the country’s main pilot’s union, claiming that it intends to continue discussions with management away from media scrutiny.

5. Europe joins the in-flight mobile party

Airline passengers traveling on European airline flights will be able to leave their mobile phones and other connected e-gadgets on throughout the entire flight, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said Friday.

European airlines can allow any kind of electronic devices such as tablets, laptops and smartphones to remain switched on for the entire trip without having to use the airplane mode. Switching to airplane mode was mandatory until now.

However, to ensure safety on board, passengers will likely be asked by the cabin crew to stow their devices during taxi on the runway and take-off, an EASA spokesman said, adding that airlines can still set rules on when devices can be used.

6. Qantas celebrates milestone with new A380 services

Qantas customers will now enjoy the luxury of the world’s largest passenger aircraft on the world’s longest route, with non-stop A380 services between Sydney and Dallas/Fort Worth launched today.

“Today, Qantas is leading the way again with the introduction of the world’s largest passenger aircraft on the world’s longest route, Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth, with a flying time of almost 16 hours,” Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said.

This new service comes in wake of the the 60th anniversary year of Qantas services between Australia and the US. In 1954, Qantas operated a Super Constellation from Sydney to San Francisco – its first trans- Pacific route to North America.

To celebrate the milestone, Qantas painted its A380 aircraft operating the route with a special livery; the kangaroo on the tail features a traditional Stetson hat with a neckerchief in the American-stars print, with a “G’Day Texas” emblem next to the forward doors.

With the change in aircraft, Qantas has introduced a new schedule to offer more seats and greater options for customers flying to and from the US. Qantas will operate the new A380 service six times per week (every day except Tuesys).

7. P&O banishes buffets on-board

In one of the biggest transformations in Australian cruising, P&O Cruises has announced a food revolution that will see buffets banished from its latest cruise ships.

As part of a major overhaul of dining at sea, the cruise line has revealed that both Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden will feature its largest ever array of restaurant offerings when they join its fleet in November 2015 – including a market place of fresh food outlets replacing the traditional cruise buffet.

To be known as The Pantry, the new area will offer a variety of food outlets including a gourmet delicatessen, fresh fish and chips and modern cuisine restaurants. Guests will able to enjoy their meals in a stylish setting featuring high tables, communal benches and comfortable banquettes.

“It will be a haven for food lovers, with a contemporary relaxed vibe as guests indulge and discover what’s in The Pantry,”

P&O Cruises Senior Vice President, Tammy Marshall.

8. MTA earns National Elite Agency Award


Pictured: MTA co-managing director, Karen Merricks and managing director, Joost Timmer.

Mobile Travel Agents (MTA) spent the evening of the High Achievers Awards dinner in high spirits by, once again, picking up the National Elite Agency accolade.

This is the second year running MTA has received such a prestige, with just six other agency groups having been awarded National Elite Agency status by Insight Vacations.

The company also picked up a second award to mark its achievement in becoming one of Insight Vacation’s top three best product sellers.

MTA Members Lisa Murphy and Marian Stanley also scored Insight Vacations 2015 tours for two as part of the wholesaler’s latest national product launches in Adelaide and Melbourne, respectively.

9. Queen Mary celebrates her 80th

Eighty years ago, on the banks of the River Clyde, a giant hull 1019 ½ feet in length slid down the ways and touched water for the first time. The historic event was celebrated again on the 80th anniversary of the launch aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California.

On 26 September the public was invited to board the ship free of charge. At 4:00pm, members of the press and the first 1,000 guests to arrive were invited down to the Grand Salon, formerly the First Class Dining Room on R-Deck for a very special commemorative ceremony. Entertainment began with a talented troop of all-female singers and dancers called The Satin Dollz, performing period songs.

Honorary Commodore Everett Hoard delivered the opening remarks saying: “The Queen Mary has a lot of friends sitting in this room. This is a great day; this is truly a great day.”

The star of the day was treated to an enormous cake replica of the Queen Mary built of flour and frosting instead of wood and steel.

10. Air China falls in love

Air China’s aircraft, sporting the “Air China loves China” colour scheme, arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport on September 28. Today marks the day of its maiden flight CA1501 Beijing – Shanghai.

The new slogan is a nod to the joyous celebration of China’s National Day. It aims to convey a message of national unity to those of Chinese descent around the world.

It also aims to be symbolic of the airline’s prosperity. According to the airline, Air China’s development in the past 60 years has been nothing short of a microcosm of the growing prosperity of the nation.
The aircraft will be operated on routes Beijing-Shanghai/Guangzhou after its inaugural flight.

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