December 2013 Travel & Industry News
Brindabella Airlines suspends services
Brindabella Airlines (FQ), which services regional NSW and Brisbane, has suspended its services. The airline, which has now gone into receivership, ceased operations 13 December after a number of its aircraft were grounded by the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA). Headquartered in Canberra, Brindabella Airlines serves 12 destinations including Brisbane, Canberra, Cobar, Coffs Harbour, Moree, Mudgee, Narrabri, Newcastle, Orange, Snowy Mountains, Sydney, and Tamworth. For more information please contact your travel manager.
Qantas suspends Brindabella codeshare
Virgin Australia LAX changes
From 1 December, Virgin Australia services from Los Angeles to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will fly from the new Tom Bradley International Terminal. Passengers connecting from Delta Air Lines, Virgin America or Alaska Airlines services should have their luggage checked through and boarding passes issued prior to arrival, but those travelling from LA or connecting from other airlines should allow extra time to check-in at Terminal 3 before walking the ‘short distance’ to the new terminal.
Qantas fare structure changes
Qantas has introduced new international tariff structures and fare conditions. The changes impact all tickets issued in Australia for travel on Qantas-operated flights to the Americas, South Africa, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Indonesia, New Caledonia and the Philippines. The move aims to streamline fare families and ticketing time limits and simplify stopover, change and cancellation fee conditions. New fare levels apply to tickets for travel on/after 16 February 2014.
QantasLink B717 upgrades
The first refitted QantasLink B717 is now in service. The aircraft features a business class cabin and Q-Streaming seat-back iPad entertainment for all passengers. It will operate on services from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Canberra, with four more reconfigured B717s to follow in the near future.
Marriott mobile check-in
Marriott Hotels has rolled out its smartphone check-in system to 20 more hotels, including the Sydney Harbour Marriott at Circular Quay. Available to Marriott Rewards members, the service allows travellers to check-in from 4pm the day prior. They are then notified when the room is ready and keys can be collected from an expedited mobile check-in desk in the lobby. The hotel group plans to complete the global rollout in the first half of next year. It will also expand the service to include check-out functionality.
Qantas changes upgrade rewards
Qantas plans to up the number of frequent flyer points needed for domestic flight upgrades. From 14 January 2014, travellers will need 25% more points to upgrade from discount economy to business class. The current points levels will apply to any upgrades confirmed before 14 January, irrespective of the date of travel.
Peppers Docklands Melbourne
The Mantra Group is adding a new-build apartment hotel to its Peppers brand portfolio. The 5-star Peppers Docklands Melbourne will be located in the new M Docklands precinct adjacent to the Etihad Stadium on LaTrobe Street. Construction on the 68-room property is expected to begin early next year with completion scheduled for 2015.
Singapore Airlines lifts baggage allowances
Singapore Airlines has raised its checked baggage allowances. Effective immediately, all classes will be entitled to an additional 10kg of checked baggage. This equates to 50kg per person for those travelling suites and first class, 40kg in business class and 30kg in economy. KrisFlyer Elite Gold and Star Alliance Gold members will be entitled to an additional 20kg regardless of class of travel. Services to and from the USA, which operate on a piece system, will see suites, first and business class travellers entitled to two pieces of luggage of up to 32kg each, up from 23kg each.
EU liquid changes
Europe authorities are planning to ease liquid, aerosol and gel restrictions. This means travellers on connecting flights can carry on larger containers of duty-free liquids obtained at EU airports or on board aircraft. The goods must be in security tamper-evident bags with proof of airside purchase. It is the first step towards a potential lifting of restrictions in 2016.
US mobile restrictions lifted
US mobile restrictions have been lifted. The rule change comes after the Portable Electronic Devices Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) found that most commercial aircraft are unaffected by their signals. Once airlines have sought the necessary approvals, passengers can use their devices from gate-to-gate provided they are in airplane mode or with call connections disabled. Wi-fi can be used if the aircraft is wi-fi enabled, but passengers are still not allowed to make phone calls.
Toga manages Rendezvous
Toga Hotels has expanded its joint venture with Far East Hospitality. Toga will assume management of the Rendezvous Grand Hotel Perth Scarborough, Rendezvous Studio Hotel Perth Central, Rendezvous Grand Hotel Melbourne and Rendezvous Grand Hotel Adelaide properties as well as providing consultancy to the remaining seven Rendezvous Hotels in Australia and New Zealand.
Virgin Australia LAX changes
Virgin Australia services from Los Angeles to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane now fly from the new Tom Bradley International Terminal. Passengers connecting from Delta Air Lines, Virgin America or Alaska Airlines services should have their luggage checked through and boarding passes issued prior to arrival, but those travelling from LA or connecting from other airlines should allow extra time to check-in at Terminal 3 before walking the ‘short distance’ to the new terminal.