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December 2014 Travel & Industry News

01 December 2014

FCm leaders to speak at ACTE

FCm General Manager James Kavanagh and National Sales Leader Melissa Elf will be taking part in the upcoming Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) event. FCm leaders will be talking about the latest industry trends and will also have a booth at the forum for networking. As one of the key sponsors of the event, FCm will be using the event to showcase their latest technology developments and talk to clients about what products are best in market for areas such as user experience, travel risk management and pre-trip approval. FCm General Manager James Kavanagh and National Sales Leader Melissa Elf will be taking part in the upcoming Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) event. FCm leaders will be talking about the latest industry trends and will also have a booth at the forum for networking. As one of the key sponsors of the event, FCm will be using the event to showcase their latest technology developments and talk to clients about what products are best in market for areas such as user experience, travel risk management and pre-trip approval. 

Hotels implement new cancellation policies

Starting 1 January 2015, Marriott International will adopt a stricter reservation cancellation policy than what is currently in place at most of its properties. Hilton Hotel group is also updating their global cancellation policy. The new rules mean travellers can no longer cancel rooms at either of these hotel groups on the day or arrival without being charged a penalty fee. Under the new policy guests will have until 11:59pm the day before arrival (local time) to cancel their reservations without financial penalty. It is expected other hotel chains will follow Hilton and Marriott. 

Change fee increases for Qantas Red-e-Deal fares

From 3 December 2014 Qantas will increase the fee for ticket changes to Red-e-Deal fares. Tickets issued or changed on/or before 2 December incur a $77 fee, while tickets issued or changed on/or after 3 December will incur an $88 fee. This new fee will also apply to subsequent reissues of existing tickets purchased on/or before 2 December and which are reissued on/or after 3 December 2014. For the first change on a domestic ticket, the change fee charged is the fee that was applicable on the date of the original ticket issue. For subsequent changes on a domestic ticket, the change fee charged is the fee that was applicable on the date of the most recent issue. FCm is advising travellers to request any Qantas Red-e-Deal ticket changes before 3 December 2014 to avoid the increase in the change fee. 

Air NZ relocates at LAX

Air New Zealand is relocating its LAX operations to the new Tom Bradley International Terminal. The move takes effect 3 December and will provide travellers with better connectivity and more streamlined processing within the US. 

Express pick-up at CBR

Canberra Airport now boasts a free 10-minute passenger pick-up option. Drivers can now wait for passengers in the Red Outdoor Park, just a two-minute walk from the terminal. 

New Pullman parks in Melbourne

There is a change in the air in Melbourne, as the Hilton on the Park is set to be rebranded as The Pullman Melbourne. The 419-room hotel will officially bear the Pullman name from 1 January 2015. Located at the eastern end of the CBD, the property will be the brand’s 13th hotel in Australia and its second in Melbourne. 

Gourmet choices in Qantas economy

Qantas is now offering a new Economy class menu on international flights. The menu features a wider choice of meals and 50% larger servings. The new meal choices will include a healthy option, ‘comfort food’ and a dish inspired by the destination. In addition, the airline will offer self-serve snacks - such as Weis ice-cream bars, Maltesers and Muesli bars. The Australia-Dubai-London routes is the first to benefit from the new menu, closely followed by the carrier’s Tasman routes. US routes will get the new menu from December, while services to Singapore and Hong Kong will have the new meals early next year. The roll out is expected to be completed by March 2015, when Qantas’ Select on Q Eat online service is also set to expand - allowing economy passengers the option of pre-ordering their meal online. 

InterContinental Double Bay opens

After a multi-million dollar renovation the 140-room InterContinental Hotel Double Bay has opened.  The former Ritz Carlton hotel is the only five-star property outside of the CBD and offers a number of function and meeting spaces as well as a stunning rooftop pool and lounge. 

Rex launches CNS-TSV

Regional Express is introducing a direct service from Cairns to Townsville 3 January 2015. 

Entry visa for Indonesia scrapped

Australian visitors will get visa-free entry to Indonesia from January under a plan announced by Indonesian government. The $US35 visa-on-arrival requirement now applying to visitors from Australia, Japan, China, South Korea and Russia will be waived in a move to boost inbound tourism from those markets.  

More details required for US visa-waiver

Effective immediately, Australian travellers completing the US online visa-waiver application form must disclose additional details as part of enhanced screening measures. These include more passport details, possible alternate names and contact information.  

Emirates offers free wi-fi

Emirates is offering passengers on wi-fi equipped services, 10MB of free data. An additional 600MB is available for just US$1. Wi-fi is currently available on all Emirates A380 and B777 aircraft. The carrier also has a retrofit program underway that will eventually see its entire fleet covered. The airline’s aim is for passengers to have unlimited free access to wi-fi once technical limitations and cost are addressed. 

QantasLink axes regional route

QantasLink plans to suspend its Brisbane-Port Macquarie route. The last flight on the route will operate 5 January 2015. The carrier’s 31 return weekly services from Sydney remain unaffected. 

SQ revamps cabins

Singapore Airlines is revamping its fleet of B777-300ER aircraft across all classes. The updates include seat upgrades and improved entertainment options. The refurbishment is due to be completed by September 2016, but the revamped cabins will feature on the carrier’s daily SQ222/231 services from Sydney and six weekly SQ228/227 services from Melbourne from 27 November. Travellers can expect bigger in-flight entertainment screens (24 inches in first class and 18 inches in business) as well as 80 to 82-inch fully-flat beds in first class, 79-inch fully-flat beds in business class and a new seat design in economy that provides more legroom. 

Healthwise takes out prestigious national award

Corporate health and wellness company Healthwise, a Flight Centre Travel Group sister brand of FCm, has taken out the Australian Human Resource Institute Award for 'Best Health and Wellbeing Company in Australia'. The award recognises companies that have developed and deployed outstanding initiatives and strategies in workplaces to promote the health and wellbeing of employees. FCm's Healthwise division offers services for injury management, personal and group training and active travel teams. Healthwise also runs a fitness academy.

As a client of FCm your business would have access to all Healthwise services. Please contact FCm for more information.