Carry On: News for business travellers
Qantas upgrades to chaffeur class
Qantas is launching a chauffeur service for first and business class travellers as part of its new global airline partnership with Emirates. Chauffeur Drive will start in April 2013 and be available on flights longer than 12 hours. The service includes Qantas customers travelling from Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington to Australia for their trips.
Passengers will be collected in a luxury vehicle and driven to the airport to meet their flight. On arrival at their destination, they will be met by another chauffeur service and driven to their hotel, office or home.
The service is available on these long-haul flights to and from Australia: London, Dubai, Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, Santiago and Johannesburg. The service to Frankfurt has been dropped as part of the new deal with Emirates and the move of the “Kangaroo route” hub of Singapore to Dubai.
Wifi for longest air trip
Travellers on the world’s longest scheduled commercial flight, the 18-hour trip between Newark Liberty International in New York and Singapore Changi airports, will soon have wi-fi, Singapore Airlines (SIA) says. The move is part of a broader airline programme to equip 14 of its long-haul aircraft with wireless internet. While passengers can send and receive emails and text messages, the airline hasn't yet switched on voice calling for cell phones. SIA also announced this week it had taken delivery of its 19th and last Airbus A380, leaving it with no jumbo jets on order for the first time in 30 years. The airline has said it will build its future growth around smaller long-haul planes. It has firm orders for 20 Airbus A350s, 20 Boeing 787s, 15 A330s, and eight B777s.
LAN gets its first Dreamliner
The Chilean carrier has become the fourth customer to take delivery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, joining ANA, JAL and Ethiopian Airlines. LAN says it will launch commercial flights “over the next few months,” with planned routes including Buenos Aires, Lima, Los Angeles, Madrid and Frankfurt. The aircraft is fitted with 217 economy seats and 30 fully-flat seats in business class.
Skyteam nets Aerolineas Argentina
The South American carrier has become the 18th member of the alliance and the third airline to join this year following after Saudia and Middle East Airlines. Aerolineas is the first South American airline to join Skyteam, and will add 40 new destinations to the alliance’s network. The carrier is based in Buenos Aires and serves European cities, including Barcelona, Madrid and Rome, as well as Sydney. Others to join Skyteam in the past couple of years are Vietnam Airlines and Romanian carrier Tarom in 2010, China Eastern and China Airlines in 2011, and Middle East Airlines in 2012. Still in the pipeline are Xiamen Airlines and Garuda Indonesia.
Making out in the Maldives
Flight Centre features the Indian Ocean’s Maldives, a string of coral islands, in a new holiday offering. The Maldives are noted as a luxurious destination with cobalt blue waters, bright blue skies and all year sunshine – making them perfect for honeymooners, sunlovers and divers or snorkellers. Return airfares, seven nights four-star accommodation, breakfast and dinner daily, a meet and greet on arrival, one sunset cruise and return speed plane transfers are available from $3,849 ex Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch (per person, twin share basis on sale until sales until September 17 for travel from March 1-23, 2013.
New route of the week
Hong Kong’s Dragonair will launch a scheduled service to Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province in north-central China, on January 8, 2013. The daily service will be operated by Airbus A320 aircraft. Zhengzhou has seen rapid economic growth, particularly in the manufacturing and high-technology sectors. It is one of China's eight ancient capitals and its tourist attractions include the famed Shaolin Temple. Since April, Dragonair has resumed or launched scheduled services to the Chinea (Xi’an, Guilin, Jeju), Taichung (Taiwan), Clark (in the Philippines) and Chiang Mai (Thailand). It will relaunch flights to Haikou (China) on October 28 and start a new Kolkata (India) service on November 2.