Carry On: Extra comfort to Hawaii, Qantas cancels A380s, superjumbos to India and more

Premium economy seats for an extra $122
Travellers on Hawaiian Airlines will be able go in “Extra Comfort” premium economy seats for $US100 ($122) extra one way on flights between Honolulu and Auckland from August. The airline says the seats are available to buy now on North American and international routes operated by its A330 fleet.

The new class of seats offers travellers more legroom and a bundle of other amenities at a nominal cost to enrich the Hawai‘i travel experience. “We are excited to offer this new premium economy seating, giving travellers the option to choose the product offerings they value most for their inflight experience,” says Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines’ executive vice president and chief commercial officer.

“Every customer flying with us will continue to enjoy our award-winning service and Hawaiian hospitality.” The Extra Comfort seats available in rows 11-14 and 33-34. They have an extra 5in (13cm) of legroom  and 36in (92cm) of seat pitch). Also included in the deal are priority boarding at the gate; complimentary on-demand in-seat entertainment; and a personal electrical power outlet. On international routes, a souvenir pillow and blanket set are also provided.

Low demand forces A380 flight cancellations
Qantas is cancelling three Airbus A380 superjmbo return services on its Melbourne-Dubai-London routes over the next two months because of slow demand. The affected flights are QF9 and QF10 on February 17, March 11 and March 24. "These cancellations represent 1.5% of our total services to London in February and just over 3% in March," a spokesman said. Qantas axed Singapore as its transit hub to Europe last year and began flying to London from Melbourne and Sydney via Dubai as part of its alliance with Emirates.

Lufthansa to fly A380s to India
German airline Lufthansa says it will begin flying Airbus A380 superjumbo jets on routes to India later this year. This follows the lifting on Monday of an Indian government ban on the aircraft at the country’s four main airports. "We are interested to use the A380 also for the major Indian markets," says Christoph Franz, chief executive of Deutsche Lufthansa.

He says Lufthansa definitely plans to use the jet in India but notes the launch would be later in the year, since its fleet of 10 A380s is already committed by current schedules. "We will likely make it for the winter flight schedule of 2014-15," he says. Under India's new rules, A380s will be allowed to land at New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, all of which are now equipped to handle the planes.

A380s can carry more than 800 passengers in a single-class configuration and the government had banned their use because of concern that foreign airlines would dominate the market for international travel.

Chinese tourists decline as cheap tours end
Tourism New Zealand says the drop in the number of Chinese tourists will not hurt the industry as it will gain more financial rewards from visitors getting a better experience. The numbers have dropped for three straight months since the start of October when a new Chinese travel law banned tour operators subsidising prices by packing itineraries with selective shopping destinations.

This has had the effect of a 25-30% rise in the retail price of New Zealand tours promoted in China, Tourism NZ chief executive Kevin Bowler says. As a result, Chinese tourists who do visit are staying longer and travelling more widely, with the South Island outperforming the rest of the country in terms of Chinese visitors, he says.

"The absolute numbers are down, but the quality of the outcome is up," he says. "If it wasn't for the law change that trend would have come about but over the next few years. This has brought it on quickly." Chinese visitor arrivals dropped 12% in October, followed by a 16% decline in November and an 11% fall in December.

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Am I the only traveller to already have a greater emotional link with Hawaiian Airlines than I have had with Air NZ in a decade now....and I have yet to fly with it.
Of course, the new generation of know it all (self-promotion largely....and the current one is a retailer, for Heaven's Sake) CEOs at Air NZ, the geniuses who charge for every gram over 23 kgs to get cash now, before they move on, would sneer at the additional legroom at a reasonable price, for the older market, from yet another competitor showing up their cash-obsessed drives (luggage and legroom being the obvious ones Emirates, Etihad, Qantas and now Hawaiian are exploiting).
Interestingly, the word is that the retired market -- that segment that appreciates extra space for older limbs at a reasonable price -- is abandoning Air NZ in droves. Having given loyal patronage for years, they are sickened by the hard-arsed 'retailing' that now pervades.
If corporate is your game, don't pretend to serve the other markets for PR purposes.

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