An A380 Airbus operated by Qatar Airways is one of the most visited aircrafts at the Paris Air Show.
DON’T MISS: QATAR AIRWAYS UNVEILS A380 FIRST CLASS
An A380 Airbus operated by Qatar Airways is one of the most visited aircrafts at the Paris Air Show.
DON’T MISS: QATAR AIRWAYS UNVEILS A380 FIRST CLASS
Qatar has knocked Cathay Pacific Airways from its perch to be named the world’s new favorite airline for 2015.
In a worldwide survey that polled about 18 million travelers, Qatar’s flagship carrier took the top spot in Skytrax’s annual World Airline Awards.
Results were announced at the International Paris Air Show Tuesday.
The award is a coup for an airline that officially launched in 1997 with only four aircraft.
Today, the luxury carrier boasts one of the industry’s shiniest and newest fleets with 158 aircraft averaging four years of age, in addition to a string of firsts and airline records.
In December, Qatar Airways became the global launch customer of the Airbus A350 XWB , a wide-bodied aircraft that seats nine passengers across and features the industry’s first lie-flat double bed, for which the airline has obtained proprietary rights.
The 80-inch flat beds feature in the business class cabin.
The delivery of the A350 XWB (pictured above) made Qatar the first airline in the world to operate every family member of Airbus’s airline portfolio.
First class flyers also receive the royal treatment, be it amenity kits filled with Giorgio Armani toiletries and sleeper suits, noise canceling headphones or fine dining meals developed by celebrity chefs Nobu Matsuhisa and Vineet Bhatia.
This year, the carrier launched new routes from Doha to Amsterdam, Durban, South Africa and Zanzibar, Tanzania.
In 2016, the network will also expand to Los Angeles, Boston and Atlanta.
Other big winners from the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2015
World’s best low-cost airline for 2015: AirAsia, Malaysia
World’s Best Airport Services: ANA, Japan
Best Inflight Entertainment: Emirates
World’s Best Aircraft Cabin Cleanliness: EVA Air, Taiwan
World’s Best Airline Alliance: Oneworld
Best Staff Service Asia: ANA, Japan
Most improved airline: Air France
Best economy class: Asiana Airlines, South Korea
Best business class: Singapore Airlines
Best leisure airline: Thomson Airways
Best Airline Transpacific: Cathay Pacific
Best Airline Transatlantic: Lufthansa
Best Staff Service North America: Virgin America
Check back at www.worldairlineawards.com/ for the full results.
A decision by LUFTHANSA to impose a 16 euro ($18) surcharge to tickets bought outside its websites and booking offices sparked anger Wednesday from travel agencies.
Lufthansa unveiled Tuesday a new commercial strategy and complained that the “global distribution systems” used by travel agents for ticket sales were more costly to it, while offering few of the benefits.
Amadeus, which operates the world’s leading reservation system, said today’s travellers were looking for consistency, transparency and choice.
But Lufthansa Group “have chosen to go in a different direction by introducing charges that will penalise travellers based on the shopping channel they use.”
It said Lufthansa’s introduction of the surcharge in September would make it harder for travellers to make comparisons and search for the best fares.
“Travellers will either pay more for the same service” or end up paying added IT costs of travel agents or ticket websites that modify their systems to access Lufthansa’s own website.
The European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations (ECTAA), which represents some 80,000 companies, called the Lufthansa surcharge “another hidden cost passed on to the consumer and an attempt to make fare transparency and comparison more difficult.”
ECTAA’s head Lars Thykier, said “the new cost charge will increase Lufthansa Group airlines fares in average by more than 5 percent.”
Lufthansa group includes Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Swiss.
Alitalia on Thursday unveiled a new look for its planes in a revamp initiated under the partnership with Etihad Airways that saved the Italian carrier from bankruptcy.
The green band that has adorned the fuselage of Alitalia jets for 46 years has been dropped along with the predominately green colour scheme in cabin interiors.
The tailfin retains the red, white and green of the Italian flag but has been made bolder and more distinctive with the addition of black lines through the red.
Greys and reds now dominate inside the plane with tan and brown leather touches in economy and full leather seats in business class that have been designed by Italy’s Poltrona Frau.
Wi-Fi internet access throughout planes, new menus and entertainment packages and Etihad-style on-demand dining in business class are also part of the makeover.
CEO Silvano Cassano said the strategy was to reposition the airline as representing the best of Italy in terms of style and hospitality and the high service standards set by Etihad.
“Alitalia wants to be a premium airline,” Cassano told reporters in a hanger at Rome’s Fiumicino airport, where the first redesigned Airbus A330-200 was unveiled.
The plane, named Artemisia Gentileschi after a 17th Century Italian artist, will make its first flight from Rome to Etihad’s Abu Dhabi hub on Friday.
James Hogan, the Australian CEO of Etihad, said Alitalia had benefited from 1.76 billion euros of investment since Etihad acquired a 49 percent stake at the end of last year.
“Alitalia has huge potential,” he said. “It is a legendary brand of aviation but one which has suffered from a lack of direction over many years.”
Hogan said 1,000 Alitalia staff had already been for training in Abu Dhabi with the aim of fostering “a performance culture in which promotion and recognition are based on performance not on who you know.”
That was a pointed reference to the airline’s past reputation as a bastion of nepotism and cronyism that contributed to the high costs which brought it to its knees.
Cassano said the new Alitalia would be operated on strictly commercial lines, free from political interference.
The latest in a long line of quirky in-flight safety videos comes from Delta, which has packed a multitude of internet memes into its six-minute clip.
The “Internetest safety video on the Internet” includes nods to double rainbow guy, “Charlie bit my finger,” doge, Nyan cat and many, many more. The video will be seen on Delta aircraft starting May 25.
Just as airlines have been enlisting Michelin-starred chefs to design in-flight menus, carriers have also been turning to the runways of high fashion for decades when it comes to seeking sartorial inspiration.
The latest high-powered collaboration? Zac Posen and Delta Air Lines.
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In 2018, flight attendants, pilots and airport staff will sashay down aisles and airports in uniforms created by the designer-to-the-stars. Here’s a look at other airline and fashion designer collaborations in the skies.
Virgin Atlantic asked British designer Vivienne Westwood to reimagine their signature red uniforms.
Qantas uniforms by Martin Grant
Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr unveils new Qantas uniforms designed by Martin Grant.
Virgin America teamed up with retailer Banana Republic for their uniforms in 2012.
Air France uniforms are designed by Christian Lacroix.
Korean Air tapped Italian designer Gianfranco Ferre to update its image in 2005.
One of the oldest, most longstanding and recognizable airline uniforms? Singapore Airlines, where flight attendant uniforms have changed little since 1972 when the ‘Singapore Girl’ was created. The iconic uniform consists of a floor-lenth ‘sarong kebaya.’
United Airlines has tapped a group of top chefs from popular restaurants across the US to develop its summer in-flight menu.
Alumni chefs of the shuttered Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago who formed the Trotter Project have collaborated to create new premium-cabin and economy class meals for the airline.
The Trotter Project is a nonprofit group that mentors young culinary students and was created to pay homage to the late chef Charlie Trotter.
Collaborating chefs have collectively worked at Spago Beverly Hills, Per Se and Moto. The new menu items will roll out on flights from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco in the coming months.
All Nippon Airways has unveiled plans to paint one of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in a Star Wars livery that features the likeness of R2-D2.
The cockpit and front half of the white fuselage are painted with blue panels in the shape of those on the little droid.
The legend “Star Wars”, in the movie’s distinctive font, adorns the body of the plane behind the wing, while the tail is in ANA’s normal livery.
News of the aircraft, which ANA says will ply an international route in the autumn, comes as fans got their first look at a new teaser trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, the seventh installment of one of the most successful movie series of all time.
British Airways is to promote meditation techniques on its new transatlantic flights as part of a bigger focus on passenger well-being.
A collaboration with the Mindfulness Institute, the new initiative will launch on BA’s new services between San Francisco and London.
As well as instructional fliers, the Mindfulness for Travel series will include a series of specially created on-board videos designed to help people relax at each stage of a journey — pre-flight, mid-flight and arrival.
Sean Doyle, Americas Executive Vice President, British Airways, said, “At British Airways we design the flying experience to maximize our customers’ time, whether they want to work, rest or be entertained.”
“Introducing mindfulness practices allows customers and our employees to be at their best and be ready for the next part of their journey.”
French national carrier Air France has continued its revamp with the release of a fresh in-flight safety demonstration video, with a twist.
Following the launch of the new advertising film ‘France is in the air’, Air France has confirmed it will debut a new in-flight safety demonstration video across its flights from April.
The revised style of the video attempts to offer its customers a humorous take on its in-flight safety measures, with safety instructions narrated by an Air France hostess and played out by five female ‘passengers’, dressed in Air France colors.
Despite its light side, Air France confirmed the video meets regulatory requirements and has been designed in cooperation with the Air France flight safety division and the French Civil Aviation Authority.
The video now also features a section aimed at increasing awareness of the fire risk involved in transporting lithium batteries.
The video will be progressively integrated onto all long-haul and some medium-haul flights from next month.
Australian actress Nicole Kidman has been tapped as the new face and global ambassador for Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways.
Kidman will appear on TV and computer screens around the world, fronting the luxury carrier in their new ‘Flying Reimagined’ brand campaign shot aboard the airline’s flagship Airbus A380, home of their three-room apartment called ‘The Residence.’
Described as a game changer in the luxury airline industry, the private, onboard suite comes with an en-suite shower, double bed and Savoy-trained personal butler and is the first of its kind in commercial aviation.
Shot in Abu Dhabi, Marseille and Prague, the video shows Kidman leafing through a book at the Strahov library; sipping on champagne; relaxing in the living room; and falling backwards onto the double bed, her strawberry locks landing in perfect disarray on the pillow.
The concept was conceived by M&C Saatchi Australia.
The Airbus A380 operates flights between Abu Dhabi and London, and Etihad will launch their Abu Dhabi – New York route December 1.
Qatar Airlines is currently in negotiations to buy three hotels situated in North America and in the UK.
The company’s chief executive Akbar Al Baker, confirmed the news during a press conference at the ITB Berlin travel and trade show.
The new acquisitions would give the flag carrier a fledgling chain of four hotels, having recently taken over the Sheraton Skyline Hotel at London’s Heathrow airport (pictured below).
Meanwhile the Virgin Group, which counts airlines among its many businesses, also recently opened its first Virgin Hotel in Chicago, with other locations planned for Nashville and New York.
Australian carrier QANTAS has topped a list of the world’s safest airlines for boasting a clean, fatality-free safety record for more than 60 years.
The latest safety index published by Airlineratings.com comes after a tragic year in aviation history. While 2014 saw the lowest number of fatal airline accidents — 21 — two of the crashes from Malaysia Airlines were unprecedented, claiming 537 lives, editors note.
In 2014, a total of 986 lives were lost — higher than the 10-year average.
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For the index, editors look at safety audits from aviation bodies such as the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), government audits, the airline’s operational history, operational performance and incident records.
A total of 449 airlines were surveyed.
World’s safest airlines in alphabetical order:
Air New Zealand
Cathay Pacific Airways
World’s safest low-cost carriers, in alphabetical order:
AirBerlin is giving travelers a chance to experience all the comforts of business class at a reduced price.
Economy class customers can simply state how much they are willing to pay for an upgrade, and any unsold business class seats will go to the highest bidder.
Under the new AirBerlin Exquisite program, travelers who have purchased economy class tickets on long-haul flights are invited to submit their bids up until 72 hours before takeoff.
Available business class upgrades will then go to the highest bidders, who are informed of the change 12 hours before departure.
Naturally, while all bidders are required to enter their credit card information, only the winners of the auction are charged.
AirBerlin offers the new service exclusively on select long-haul flights where business class seats are still available.
The German carrier is not the first company to launch this type of service. Cathay Pacific, Austrian Airlines and LOT Polish Airlines also give passengers the opportunity to bid on ticket upgrades.
Read More: Get ready for a double bed in business class
QANTAS is partnering with Samsung to trial the use of Gear VR headsets for a more immersive in-flight entertainment experience.
First class travelers on select Airbus A380 services between Australia and Los Angeles will be able to experience 360° virtual tours of select destinations and other specially developed content as well as accessing the usual selection of Hollywood blockbuster movies.
SEE ALSO: QANTAS OFFERS PASSENGERS THEIR OWN IPAD
“Whether the user wants a virtual tour of our new Los Angeles First Lounge or to experience an A380 landing from the tarmac, this technology gives us a completely new way to connect with our customers,” said Qantas Group Executive, Brand, Marketing & Corporate Affairs Olivia Wirth.
“From an inflight entertainment perspective, it’s an industry first. Qantas is committed to being at the forefront of innovation to give our passengers the very best and latest in-flight experiences.”
During the initial three-month trial VR headsets will also be made available to customers using Sydney’s or Melbourne’s International First Lounge.
Qantas is confident that virtual reality is something that really can add a new dimension to in-flight entertainment and has already started partnering with organizations to develop original content.
Qantas plans to start equipping its Sydney and Melbourne International First Lounges with the headsets in mid-February, while the in-air trial will begin in March.
A video posted by a disgruntled BRITISH AIRWAYS flyer has gone viral for capturing the “disgusting” conditions of his pricey first class seat.
In four days, a short 30-second clip posted by British TV presenter Owen Thomas has garnered more than 871,600 hits on YouTube, showing viewers “…what first class in BA is really like.”
“It is absolutely filthy,” says a livid Thomas in the clip. “…You see the stains down here. It’s when you open your seat that the real horror begins. This is first class. This is British Airways first class. It’s disgusting.”
According to his brief YouTube description, the offending flying conditions were suffered during a flight from London to St. Lucia on January 17.
Thomas is all the more livid given that he and his travel companion saved and scrimped in order to fly first class, he said.
It was reported that Thomas’ first class flight with British Airways cost around £9,000, but he told The Independent via email, “The flights were certainly not £9,000. We bought them as part of a holiday package and used points to upgrade to first from Club on one ticket and paid for the other – certainly several thousand pounds.”
BA said: “We have contacted our customer to apologise. We are very sorry that on this occasion we have fallen short of our usual high standards.
“We pride ourselves on delivering a relaxing and pleasant experience in First, and are taking immediate action to address this issue.”
QATAR AIRWAYS is rolling out lie-flat seats equal to the size of a double bed for business class flyers on their latest aircraft.
At a press conference in Doha this week, the carrier showcased the new features of the A350 XWB, their latest fleet acquisition that includes exclusive 80-inch flat beds to which Qatar has obtained proprietary rights.
The new cabin innovation is Qatar’s answer to rival Etihad, which threw down the gauntlet in luxury air travel when it launched its onboard apartment concept last year, a three-room suite that comes with shower and personal butler.
Qatar calls its latest double bed offering unrivalled in the industry and claims it could shake up traditional cabin configurations by making first class redundant.
On the A350 XWB, for instance, the airline has eliminated a first class cabin and kept the configuration to economy and business.
The double beds will be offered at business class fares.
The maiden commercial service will roll out on a sold-out flight from Doha to Frankfurt on January 15.
A computer glitch at Etihad has helped up to thousands of airfare watchers nab tickets for flights from New York to Abu Dhabi for as low as $190.
First spotted by TheFlightDeal.com on Christmas morning and mistakenly interpreted as a major holiday seat sale, fares posted were as low as $187 from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to Abu Dhabi.
Likewise, long-haul trips from the US to destinations like Johannesburg, Manila, India and Hong Kong were being advertised at half their normal rates, with fares as low as $600.
A flight from JFK to Seychelles was also listed as $588.
An Etihad spokesperson confirmed to Forbes magazine that the ‘sale’ was in fact a systems glitch, but that the airline would honor the deeply-slashed fares.
DON’T MISS: ETIHAD AIRWAYS UNVEILS A LUXURY SUITE
Meet Gino Bertuccio, the Miami-based businessman who’s purchased a first ticket to fly Etihad Airways’ over-the-top, onboard hotel suite.
On December 27, Bertuccio will board the carrier’s inaugural A380 flight from Abu Dhabi to London and be the first flyer to experience the world’s only private, three-room suite aboard a commercial aircraft.
The Residence features a living room, a double bedroom and an ensuite shower and comes with a Savoy Academy-trained butler.
Bertuccio is a millionaire who heads a personal hygiene and cosmetics company, and an aviation buff, making him the ideal guest of The Residence, a game-changer in luxury air travel.
In 25 years, the Miami resident has flown on 22 inaugural — and final — flights in premium class cabins, and he owns a collection of airline memorabilia that includes 2,000 model airplanes.
“For the first time in my flying experience, I really don’t know what to expect but I do know that flying in the Residence by Etihad will be a truly unique adventure, the top of luxury,” he said in a statement.
“I have huge expectations. My only wish is that the flight was longer.”
Polish carrier LOT is playing Cupid this holiday season by hanging sprigs of mistletoe on cabin ceilings to create a bit of “love in the air”.
LOT has made the job of in-flight flirting easier, by strategically placing mistletoe twigs onboard — what they dub the “highest place in the world” — to break the ice.
Traveling with your loved one over the holidays? Snag a quick snog and join the mile-high kissing club.
Though the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe is a relatively new concept for Poles, the cheeky stunt caters to their international flyers — romantic and otherwise.
Lore has it that the mistletoe also has the power to mend longstanding feuds and disputes and strengthen friendships.
It’s not the first time airlines have tried to spark a little romance onboard and turn flights into potential meeting places for singletons.
Virgin America’s in-flight entertainment system allows passengers to order a drink for their onboard crush.
The airline’s KissaLOT will run through January 6, 2015.