KrisFlyer adopts blockchain
Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer loyalty program plans to launch a blockchain-based airline digital wallet. The first of its kind, it is expected to roll out in the next six months. The new digital wallet will allow members to use ‘digital KrisFlyer miles’ as payment for point-of-sale transactions at participating retail merchants, with initial retail partners based in Singapore.
Etihad bag policy rejig
Etihad Airways has updated its baggage policy. Baggage allowances will now be based on weight rather than number of pieces, with the exception of US and Canada flights, which will remain unchanged. Travellers on Economy Deal fares will be entitled to 23kg baggage, Economy Saver and Classic fares will have an allowance of 30kg and Economy Flex fares 35kg. Business Class guests will be allowed up to 40kg, First Class 50kg and The Residence guests, four 32kg pieces. Excess baggage fees between Australia and Europe will rise from US$85 for 2kg up to US$1,365 for 35kg.
QF Dreamliner JFK start
Qantas plans to launch daily Dreamliner flights from Brisbane to Los Angeles from 1 September, replacing the B747-400 currently operating the route. The Dreamliner will then continue on to New York’s JFK airport as flights QF11/12. The carrier will offer up to three additional weekly B747 flights between Brisbane and Los Angeles from September to December to meet season demand. A second Dreamliner will replace these flights by the end of 2018, operating four times weekly year-round.
Qantas adds new Bali service
Qantas is launching new daily non-stop B737- 800 services between Melbourne and Bali from 23 June. It will complement existing year-round daily services from Sydney.
China Eastern offers free layover
China Eastern Airlines is offering travellers complimentary overnight accommodation when transferring via Shanghai, Kunming, Xian and Beijing. The offer is extended to passengers flying from Australia or NZ, when the carrier does not offer a same-day connecting flight to their onward destination. Applications need to be made at least seven days prior to the departure flight.
Etihad partners with Mercedes-Benz
Etihad Airways has signed a partnership deal with Mercedes-Benz to offer premium transfers at Abu Dhabi International Airport. The service will be offered to passengers travelling in first and business class as well as The Residence. First class passengers will enjoy air-side chauffeur services between the gate and aircraft in both directions if the aircraft is at a remote stand, as well as return land-side transfers between the airport and their hotel.
Lounge upgrade at Abu Dhabi
Plaza Premium has reopened its lounge at Abu Dhabi International Airport following a revamp to boost capacity. The lounge now accommodates up to 300 guests, nearly double its previous size. The facility operates 24 hours a day, with first or business class travellers flying on any airline eligible for free entry, while other passengers can make use of the lounge for a fee of AED200 for two hours or AED350 for five hours.
Qantas and British Airways codeshare expansion
Qantas has extended its codeshare deal with British Airways to include Marseille and Belfast. The deal will also see a rise in frequency on a number of existing codeshare routes, including Berlin, Basel, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, with all flights accessed via London. Eligible travellers on all routes will have access to either airline’s lounges and Qantas Frequent Flyer members will also earn more Frequent Flyer points and status credits when travelling on the QF code.
Emirates non-stop to Newark
Emirates is axing one of its four daily services between Dubai and New York’s JFK Airport. Flight EK207/208 will cease effective from 25 March, replaced with a non-stop Newark Airport service from 1 June, which will operate on B777-300ER aircraft.
New Adina Canberra
TFE Hotels will take over management of the Aria Hotel Canberra from 1 March. On that date the property, which features 128 studio and one-bedroom apartments, will rebranded as the Adina Serviced Apartments Canberra Dickson.
South African Airways trims London
South African Airways is reducing the frequency of its Johannesburg-London route. Effective from 19 April, the twice-daily service will drop to a single daily service.
Embassy Suites Toronto Airport
Hilton Worldwide has opened its first Embassy Suites in the greater Toronto area. The all-suite Embassy Suites by Hilton Toronto Airport is located just three kilometres from Pearson International Airport and offers a free 24-hour shuttle service to and from the airport. In addition to 255 suites, the property also features a fitness centre, parking, a guest laundry and meeting and event space for up to 100 people.
AccorHotels has added a new property to its regional New South Wales portfolio. The Hotel on Olive in Albury, will be rebranded as the Mercure Albury in April, offering 60 rooms as well as onsite dining and conferencing facilities.