September 2013 Travel & Industry News

01 September 2013
Hertz Toll Day Pass

Hertz has introduced a new easier option for toll payment. The new Hertz Toll Day Pass covers all your toll charges under one flat fee. The rate is $9.90 (including GST) per rental day for passenger cars. Heavy vehicles will incur a higher variable toll charge per rental day.

For Gold Plus Rewards members with profiles that currently accept Hertz’ previous toll payment option, as of 15 September this is no longer an option. Instead, members can opt for the new toll product at the rental counter, exit booth or when returning a vehicle.

The charges will continue to be processed as per your preferred method of payment however travellers need to opt in personally for the Toll Day Pass during the rental period.

Virgin Australia time changes

Virgin Australia is adjusting the timing of some of its international services. From 27 October, flights will either depart 20 minutes earlier than the current schedule or up to 2 hours later, with flights to Los Angeles and Nadi the main routes affected. The aim is to improve connectivity between domestic and international services. Passengers with existing bookings that result in poor onward connections with the global Virgin Australia network are able to switch to the next best connecting flight free of charge.

Malaysia Airlines Australia focused

Malaysia Airlines is adding more services to Australia. The carrier will operate an additional direct flight between Perth and Kota Kinabalu from 27 October and raise frequency on the Kuala Lumpur - Perth route to 14 services weekly from 23 November. Meanwhile, from 5 February next year, all Malaysia Airlines’ Australian services, excluding flights to Darwin and the Kota Kinabalu - Perth route, will operate on the airline’s brand new A330 aircraft.

Meanwhile, the airline is also increasing the number of direct flights between Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur. Effective 21 November 2013, the carrier will introduce an additional flight to its existing double-daily services, bringing the total to 21 flights per week. Operated on an A330-300 aircraft, the new flight will depart Kuala Lumpur at 7.50pm, arriving in Melbourne at 6.45am the following day, with the return service departing Melbourne at 8.55am and arriving in Kuala Lumpur at 2.15pm the same day.

Qantas link upgrades B717s

QantasLink is introducing business class to its B717 aircraft. The aircraft, which are operated by Cobham on routes from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to Canberra, will also feature improved in-flight entertainment via iPad units made available to all passengers

Free fast wi-fi at SFO

San Francisco International Airport has upgraded to a new, faster wi-fi system. The system is free and available to all passengers.

Rebrand for Quality Hotel Hobart Airport

Toga Hotels group is taking over the operation of the Quality Hotel Hobart Airport and rebranding the property under its Travelodge banner. The 78-room property will become the Travelodge Hotel Hobart Airport from 1 October. The 4-star hotel first opened in 2009 and is located 500 metres from the airport terminal.

Qantas changes in Perth

Selected Qantas services within Western Australia will operate from Perth Airport’s Terminal 3 from 26 August. Travellers with onward connections from Terminal 4 will have their baggage transferred automatically.

Qantas reveals A330 makeover

Qantas’ A330 aircraft are undergoing a makeover. The plan is to roll out new interiors from the end of next year. New Marc Newson-designed Business Suites will make Qantas the only carrier in Asia to offer business class seats that can stay reclined during take off and landing. Laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, all seats will offer direct aisle access, while a large console will allow travellers to work while they eat. The aircraft will also feature Panasonic in-flight entertainment and Q-Streaming technology, allowing travellers to stream content to mobile devices. There will also be a far wider choice of entertainment content, up from 300 hours to 1500 hours of options. International economy seats will feature more legroom, footrests and multidirectional headrests.

Korean Air raises fuel surcharges

Korean Air has raised fuel surcharges on all its international routes. The change means surcharges on flights from Seoul to Sydney and Brisbane have increased by US$9 per sector.

Cathay increases fuel levies

Cathay Pacific has increased fuel surcharges on its long-haul sectors by US$4.90. The increase affects flights between Hong Kong and Southwest Pacific, North America, Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent. Short-haul sectors including flights to and from Japan, itineraries originating from Korea as well as flights between New York and Vancouver have seen a fuel levy increase of $2.20.

China Southern goes daily to Brisbane

China Southern plans to fly daily between Guangzhou and Brisbane from 21 November 2013. Although the three additional weekly flights are initially slated for peak travel periods, if demand is strong they may become permanent. Otherwise, frequency will scale back the current four or possibly five weekly flights around March next year. All China Southern flights to Brisbane operate on A330 aircraft, which feature flat beds in business class and seat-back entertainment in all cabins.

New VIP terminal

Abu Dhabi International Airport will open a new VIP terminal later this year. Services on offer include expedited immigration, baggage handling and security along with a separate drop-off area, complete with new access roads. Departing passengers can access the VIP facilities for a pre-set fee. Welcomed on arrival, guests will then be escorted through check-in, luggage drop and immigration procedures before being transported to their aircraft via a limousine service.

United B777 Australia-bound

United Airlines is changing aircraft on its daily flights from Sydney and Melbourne to San Francisco and Los Angeles. The switch from its current B747 to the slightly smaller B777 will take place on 1 April 2014. The B777 features lie-flat beds in its first and business class cabins and seatback entertainment in economy and economy plus. Wi-fi will also be available on long-haul international flights.

Accor to operate Qantas Clubs

Accor will soon operate the Qantas Club and Qantas Domestic Business Lounges at six domestic airports. The Melbourne lounges will be the first to change to Accor management, in November this year. Other lounges, including those in Sydney and Brisbane, will follow in December and January. Accor already operates the Qantas First and Business Class lounges in Sydney and Melbourne as well as the new Qantas Lounge in Singapore.

Singapore Airlines lounge upgrade

Renovation works are underway at Singapore Airlines’ SilverKris lounge at Sydney Airport, where a brand new design concept will make its global debut. The lounge will be closed until November, but suite, first and business class travellers as well as PPS Club and KrisFlyer Elite Gold members can use Star Alliance partner Air New Zealand’s lounge at International Terminal 1 until works are completed. Conditions will apply to Virgin Australia Velocity platinum and gold members travelling in economy wishing to use the facilities.