InTouch October / November 2011 – Issue 9
Welcome to the October/November issue of Intouch. In this edition, you'll find featured information regarding some of our valued air and land partners as well as articles of interest and the latest industry news. One of the key words we use to describe the Corporate Traveller offering is 'personal' and effective communication with our clients is a top priority for us. We understand that everyone has their own preference(s) as to how they like to receive information. So, to embracing the full range of communication channels, Corporate Traveller has entered the realm of social media.Feel free to follow us on Twitter @CorpTravellerUK, Like us on Facebook and Connect with us on LinkedIn.
November Airline Figures
This month's analysis of the OAG (Official Airline Guide) schedules database indicates that airlines worldwide will operate 2% more flights in November 2011 as compared to November 2010. The total number of scheduled flights operating in November 2011 is just under 2.5m but what is surprising is the 4% jump in seats offered (312m) giving an indication that the Airbus A380 introduction is beginning to have an impact.
Flights and offered seats to and from North America have increased by 5% and 3% respectively. However within that area there is a decrease of 3% in frequencies and 2% in seats. For Europe, services are down by 1% but seat capacity has increased by 1%. Within the Middle East the changes are positive, 5% and 4% respectively. The greatest change is within Asia Pacific where the growth is 8% and 7% but Africa is down by 6% and 5% respectively.
With both these areas the actual numbers are small when compared to US/Canada and Europe but Central and South America is moving ahead with flights increasing by 11% and capacity 14% as older, smaller aircraft are replaced. However the totals are only less than 10% of North America.www.oag.com
Airtrack-Lite to Heathrow
A proposal has been put forward that would see a half-hourly direct train service between Waterloo and Heathrow Airport perhaps using the redundant Eurostar platforms. The scheme is being promoted by Wandsworth Council and is based on BAA's Airtrack project. It would provide four trains an hour from Waterloo to Terminal 5 with stops at Clapham Junction and Putney. It avoids routing extra trains through level crossings in Mortlake and Egham. This was a key problem with the original scheme which was scrapped by BAA in April.
The new plan – called Airtrack-Lite – routes two trains an hour from Waterloo via the Hounslow loop which serves Brentford, Syon Lane, Isleworth and Kew Bridge stations. The two existing services on the Waterloo – Windsor line would split at Staines to provide a further direct link to Terminal 5.
Two services an hour would also come up from Weybridge to Heathrow – again without adding extra frequencies over level crossings at Egham. The new scheme would require a new station at Staines and the implementation of the track to Terminal 5 which has been provided for.
The Council is now discussing the case for Airtrack-Lite with the Department for Transport as part of the Wandsworth Travel Choices campaign.www.wandsworth.gov.uk
Heathrow introduces flight trials
A four-month trial that will make it easier for airlines to use Heathrow's two runways simultaneously has begun. Previously each of the parallel runways were restricted to take-off or landing, switching each afternoon.
One of the benefits is that congestion at the airport will be reduced meaning fewer late-running flights after 22:30 GMT. With a smoother landing (and take-off) pattern the overall working of airline schedules and time keeping should improve, reducing holding both in the air and taxiing with the resultant lower emissions. Overall noise should be reduced too.
BAA noted that Heathrow flights remain capped at 480,000 aircraft movements a year. At the present time the average arrival delay is 12 minutes.
The first trial finishes on 29 February while the second will run from 1 July 2012 until 30 September – coinciding with the London Olympics. The Civil Aviation Authority is monitoring the results on behalf of the Department for Transport.www.baa.com
Virgin expands on North American routes
Virgin Atlantic is planning to launch flights from Vancouver to London in time for the Olympic Games, and is adding capacity on flights to San Francisco.
The four times weekly service will start on May 24, 2012 and will initially be seasonal.
Edmond Rose, director of commercial and revenue planning, said under current plans the service will run until October 27, 2012.
"We've had lots of customers asking us to fly to Vancouver over the years, so we're delighted to launch this new route in response to customer demand," he added.
"The UK has the largest number of overseas visitors to British Columbia each year so it is a natural addition to our route network."
Flights will depart from London Heathrow on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 1300, arriving into Vancouver at 1510.
From Vancouver, flights will leave at 1950 on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, arriving into Heathrow at 1345 the following day.
The route will be operated using an A340-300 aircraft in a two-class configuration: 34 Upper Class seats, 35 premium economy seats and 171 in economy.
In other news from Virgin, the airline has also announced it will expand on the London-San Francisco route, with the addition of three flights a week.
New Courtyard by Marriott Hotel to Occupy Property in New York's Herald Square
Marriott International, Inc. announced the development of the 168-room Courtyard by Marriott New York Manhattan/Herald Square, under management agreement with owner 960 Associates, an affiliate of Hidrock Realty Inc., a New York City-based real estate company. The hotel, on the northeast corner of 6th Avenue and 35th Street, will occupy the former Atlantic Bank of New York building, constructed in 1928. Construction will begin this fall, with a completion date in early 2012.
The 17-story building will maintain its façade, with 5,000 square feet of leased retail space on the ground floor. The Courtyard signature lobby will be on the 3rd floor, complete with a "Table Concept" F&B. Guest rooms will occupy floors 4 to 17, with the Courtyard signature room.
"This will be our seventh Courtyard by Marriott hotel in New York City when it opens in 2012, and we are excited to be in this fabulous location, near Macy's and New York's Penn Station," said David Marriott, chief operations officer -- Eastern Region, The Americas. "We look forward to managing this hotel and incorporating all the hugely successful elements of the Courtyard brand."
"We chose the Courtyard brand based on its modern look and feel and on the basis of its performance in this market," said Abraham Hidary, president of Hidrock Realty Inc. "We think that it will be ideal for business and leisure travelers to New York, and the location is great."
The 168-room Courtyard by Marriott will offer the brand's signature "refreshing business" lobby, featuring bright contemporary design, innovative technology and flexible space. The redefined area allows guests more control and choice over their stay, with services and amenities that create a healthy balance between working and relaxing. A signature element of the new lobby is the exclusive GoBoard® technology, a 55-inch LCD interactive touch screen packed with local information, maps, weather, and news, business and sports headlines.
Etihad Airways wins 'Best Business Class' at 2011 Biz Travel Forum
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has won the award for "Best Business Class" at the 2011 Biz Travel Forum in Milan.
In its ninth year, the Biz Travel Forum is a travel trade exhibition, involving services and technology for business travel. The event is supported by Uvet American Express Corporate Travel.
Travel managers, human resource directors, facility managers, and travel buyers of medium and large companies involved in the Italian travel management field voted for the award.
The forum has become an important point of reference for all the sectors in the Italian transportation and travel industry, including airlines, hotel chains, car rental companies and those in the GDS booking system.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways' Chief Commercial Officer, said: "This is yet another wonderful recognition of how well our product strategy and service philosophy work for our guests and to win this award reinforces our ongoing commitment to excellence. It is great to see investments paying back and leading us to success in attracting more and more of the premium travel market in Italy."
Etihad Airways' Pearl Business Class features a seat that converts to a fully flat bed. New advanced Business Class seats have now been introduced, which are longer and wider, all with direct aisle access in a 1-2-1 configuration. The seats include larger meal and cocktail tables, luxurious leather headrests, armrests and ottomans upholstered by Poltrona Frau, ambient lighting with dimmer settings, more storage space and a state-of-the-art Panasonic eX2 inflight entertainment system with a 15.4 inch personal screen.
For an even more personalised service, the Pearl Business cabin also has a dedicated Food and Beverage Manager, providing expertise and guidance to guests on all culinary matters – a key winning component of the airline's inspired service concept.
Delta operates nonstop services from the UK to 6 US destinations: Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis and New York JFK. Offering departures from London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester, Delta makes it possible to cross the Atlantic in comfort and at the time that best suits you.
Delta offers 3 daily nonstop flights from London Heathrow to New York-JFK, in addition to nonstop flights from Heathrow to Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Miami and Minneapolis. Offering a full range of comfort for business fliers, all Delta operated Heathrow flights feature the new B767-400 luxurious full-flat beds, each with access to the aisle.
Your trip begins with a relaxing visit to our SkyTeam® Lounge, where you'll find everything you need to unwind and prepare for your departure. Once onboard, you'll be treated to celebrity chef food and world-class selections of wine. Best of all, when you fly BusinessElite®, you get a flat bed seat. So you'll rest comfortably while crossing the Atlantic and arrive ready to face the city that never sleeps. Upon arriving back in London, if you need to freshen up, you also have access to the Yotel*, which features everything you need to re-energize.
Travellers in BusinessElite can begin their journey by taking advantage of Delta's complimentary chauffeur service to/from London Heathrow and also to/from New York-JFK**.
Before enjoying the onboard amenities, at Heathrow BusinessElite customers will be invited into our multi-level SkyTeam lounge at Terminal 4 for some hours of relaxation prior to boarding*. The SkyTeam co-branded lounge is located within Terminal 4, opposite Gate 10 and provides a unique, high-end, multi-cultural experience reflective of SkyTeam's personality.
The lounge features a Wellness Centre with showers, full body massage chairs, complimentary food and beverage service.
Sleep is not a perk
On board, Delta's Boeing 767-400s sport 40 seats that recline to a fully-flat, 78-82-inch-long bed in a one-two-one configuration giving every BusinessElite customer direct aisle access.
Additionally, the experience features a full-size pillow with quilted duvet comforter and Delta's on-demand digital entertainment with hours of music, videos, TV programming and games shown on a 10.6 inch screen.
Airfrance and KLM
AIR FRANCE and KLM offer passengers more choice and flexibility enabling them to depart from and arrive into, either London Heathrow or London City Airport, for their trips into - and beyond Amsterdam.
All information subject to changes without notice. Information correct at 11.04.11. Week of reference 28.11.11. Flights from London City can be booked on KLM code as well.
1 Services operated by KLM and partners including multi-stop routings.
2 Available on selected aircraft.
3 Applies when travelling with hand baggage only.
Click Here for additional information.
Change of Plans? Why pay for it? Save over £120 on flexible Economy fares
If you are travelling on business in Economy then it's time to try our premium economy class that offers you extra advantages and a new way of travelling with SAS, Economy Extra.
Economy Extra allows you to change your travel plans by offering fully flexible fares with no restrictions. With our Economy Extra fare being £125* less than BA's equivalent fare this means freedom of choice without having to pay for it.
Economy Extra also offers you Business class check-in, Fast Track security control** at the airport and on board seating in a dedicated area between Business and Economy where you will receive a complimentary meal with drinks.
Further details can be found by visiting. www.flysas.co.uk
A new Business class fare Heathrow – Scandinavia
SAS has introduced a new Business class fare on its routes from Heathrow to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo and Gothenburg.
The new lead-in prices for Business class will be fully flexible with no restrictions.
Welcome to the Hidden fee Finder
Compare us against other airlines, we have nothing to hide. Click here
Take a look at the other airlines flying to the Scandinavian capitals, and see for yourself how we compare when it comes to credit card, baggage and seat allocation charges.
Check-in via your mobile
With our mobile solutions, customers are now able to check-in, choose their seats and obtain mobile boarding passes via their mobile phone.
SAS Mobile Site Check-in service is on the following address : mobile.flysas.co.uk
Find out more on how you can save time, visit our mobile travel solutions page : www.flysas.co.uk
*Savings based on comparison of a standard return Economy Extra between London Heathrow and Stockholm and the cheapest standard fully flexible BA economy fare on the same route. Comparison based on fares as of 06 Oct. Economy Extra fares are subject to availability.
**At selected airports
Marriott International and AC Hotels Sign Agreement to Form Hotel Joint Venture and New Co-Brand "AC by Marriott"
The Spanish hotel group AC Hotels, chaired by Antonio Catalan, and Marriott International, Inc chaired by J.W. Marriott, Jr., have formed a joint venture that will manage and franchise a new lodging co-brand across Europe and Latin America – "AC by Marriott".
The new co-brand will combine the strengths of AC Hotels and Marriott International. "AC by Marriott" will incorporate the concept and business model of AC Hotels' urban-style four-star hotel product, characterized by a unique blend of quality, comfort, design and technology, with Marriott International's global systems, distribution, and sales platforms, particularly Marriott Rewards, one of the world's largest hospitality loyalty programs with 33 million members. The combination will permit Marriott's customers access under the Marriott Rewards program to a portfolio of Spain's leading business and urban-leisure hotels, enable AC's guests to earn Marriott Rewards points for travel at Marriott branded hotels around the world, and provide both companies with a platform for future growth.
"AC by Marriott" will focus on becoming a market leader in Europe and Latin America in the urban, four-star hotel category. At the launch of the joint venture, more than ninety (90) existing AC hotels in Spain, Italy and Portugal are expected to be re-branded "AC by Marriott" and enter into long term management or franchise agreements with the joint venture. The hotels will continue to be owned by affiliates of AC Hotels and other third parties.
Future hotels would be added to the portfolio under both management contracts and franchise agreements. The joint venture will be led by Antonio Catalán and his current team from AC Hotels headquarters in Madrid, with support on key functions from Marriott's team in Europe, headed by Marriott's European President Amy McPherson.
Autograph Collection now accepting reservations in Europe
The first four Autograph Collection hotels in Europe are the:
- AC Santo Mauro, Madrid, Spain
- AC Palacio del Retiro, Madrid, Spain
- AC Palacio de Santa Paula, Granada, Spain
- AC Baqueira Hotel & Spa, Baqueira, Spain
The four hotels were selected to join Autograph Collection due to their rich history and unique style as part of a recently announced joint venture with AC Hotels.
The new Autograph Collection hotels include:
The AC Santo Mauro in Madrid, which occupies the premises of an elegant late nineteenth-century building, once the residence of the Duke de Santo Mauro.
Including 50 luxurious guestrooms, the stunning 50-room AC Palacio del Retiro is housed in a twentieth century building and preserves the original moldings, woodwork and stained-glass windows of the original noble residence.
The luxurious 75-room AC Palacio de Santa Paula is a true restoration masterpiece, located in the historic center of Granada and is housed in the premises of what used to be the Santa Paula Convent, a Moorish house and a Spanish noble house, all fused into one magnificent building within walking distance of La Alhambra.
The charming 102-room AC Baqueira Hotel & Spa will be the first ski resort in Marriott International's portfolio in Europe, located in Baqueira-Beret ski station looking over the impressive landscape of the Pyrenees.
Three tiers of personality Best Western announces major brand enhancement.
Great Britain's largest group of independent hotels, Best Western, has today announced a change to the structure of its 276 hotels.
Today Richard Lewis, newly appointed CEO of Best Western, launched three hotel tiers; Best Western, Best Western Plus and Best Western Premier, in a move that sees the company embark upon a nationwide brand enhancement strategy.
The move aims to give consumers more choice and clarity easing their decision making process, something that travel customers are increasingly searching for.
The three tiers have been developed on extensive guest feedback and build on the strict quality standards that all Best Western hotels have to adhere to.
Across Great Britain there are now ten Best Western Plus hotels, nine Best Western Premier hotels and a strong base of 257 Best Western hotels in Great Britain.
Best Western Premier
Best Western Premier is the finest of the group's hotels with a focus on luxury, style and outstanding service. These hotels are specifically chosen for their memorable quality, design and impressive facilities and consist of nine British hotels and 134 globally.
Best Western Plus
Best Western Plus Hotels are everything you would expect from a Best Western hotel with extra style, comfort and service. This includes bigger beds and top quality bedding, extended breakfast range with local specialities, little treats on arrival 24 hours a day, bathrobes, additional complimentary toiletries and increased comfort and technology to make working and relaxing in the room even more enjoyable.
Best Western remains the backbone of the group, and showcases what the brand represents – a group of hotels with their own personalities, offering quality standards, comfort, personal service and great value.
Richard Lewis, Best Western hotels' newly appointed Chief Executive Officer, said: "As a group of hotels we are proud of our independent nature and personality, we celebrate the fact that each hotel is individual. In addition, we need to make it easier for consumers to differentiate between these properties."
The launch of the brand enhancement is supported by the 'hotels with personality' TV advert, which airs for the first time tonight incorporating the three tiers message.
Best Western has properties throughout the country ranging from country manors, castles and coaching inns to stylish town houses, super modern retreats and sumptuous secluded getaways, there is a hotel to suit every personality and type of UK break. We look forward to welcoming you to our hotels soon.
Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces
Established in 1903, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is one of Asia's largest and finest group of hotels, comprising 83 hotels in 42 locations across India with an additional 16 international hotels in the Maldives, Malaysia, Australia, UK, USA, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Africa and the Middle East. From world-renowned landmarks to modern business hotels, idyllic beach resorts to authentic Rajput Palaces, each Taj hotel offers an unrivalled fusion of warm Indian hospitality, world-class service and modern luxury. The Taj, a symbol of Indian hospitality, has completed the centenary of its landmark hotel, The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Mumbai. Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is part of the Tata Group, India's premier business house.
Hotel Updates & News
The Taj Mahal Palace: A Mumbai Icon: Following an intensive renovation and restoration program, this iconic landmark has raised service to a level that is unparallel. Welcoming dignitaries, business leaders and heads of state like President Obama, amongst various new innovations in service design the few key elements that our guests have most admired are:
- A new exclusive reception and a concierge desk
- The exclusive Palace Lounge with Complimentary Internet Workstations
- 24 hours butler service for all guests staying in the Palace.
- Guest facilitation and Airport assistance for all guests
- Taj Club Rooms with a myriad of exclusive benefits
- New Collection of Authentic and Themed Grand Luxury Suites
Travel + Leisure, USA 'it' List Editors' Choice Awards - Spin-Off Brands - Vivanta by Taj: At the Taj, we have been recreating our offerings to make them more meaningful & relevant to specific customer groups. This endeavour saw us launch The Gateway Hotel brand about two years ago.
In September 2010, a number of our Premium Hotels were brought under a bold new brand: “Vivanta by Taj – Hotels & Resorts”. Vivanta by Taj is created specially for the global bon vivant who appreciates style and spirit; who is cool and comfortable and loves being touched by small surprises. At Vivanta we have created a series of touch-points, in appreciation of this lifestyle. An outcome of a comprehensive study of customer understanding, we have devised the perfect set of experiences: vital, vivacious & vivid that will make your guests return time again to be reinvigorated and inspired.
Taj Hotels in USA Introduce "Business Edge" With this special package at our luxurious hotels, your guests can relax and unwind in the hearts of three great American cities - San Francisco, Boston and New York. With our legendary Taj personalized attention, five-star room and guest services, and a multilingual Les Clefs d' Or Concierge team all needs of your guests can be met on request. Package Includes:
- Daily Continental breakfast at the Hotel restaurants for two
- High-speed Internet access – Wi-Fi and hard-wired
- One suit pressing (2 pieces)
- Valid Till 31st March, 2012 at Taj Boston, Taj Campton Place and The Pierre, New York.
- Book Now under Chain Code "LW"
Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces wins the top award for loyalty at the international frequent traveler award: The Company recently added another proud feather to its cap when the Taj InnerCircle was announced the 'Hotel Program of the year' - Asia, Middle East and Oceania at the very first annual Frequent Traveler Awards in Houston on November 4th 2010. The Frequent Traveler awards are an offshoot of the prestigious 'Freddies' awards that recognized the best in frequent flier programmes. Over 1.2 million votes were cast by frequent travelers from across the world.
Flat Out Wonderful
Relax in the privacy of our Executive First® Suites. Designed to provide you with your own personal space that's ideal for a good night's sleep, each Executive First Suite reclines into a fully flat bed at the touch of a button. Work or relax undisturbed in your own private retreat, complete with aisle access, premium dining and a personal touch-screen TV with over 300 hours of on-demand entertainment.
Lufthansa Business Class
In Business Class, you will find ideal opportunities for working, relaxing or sleeping during the flight. Our Business Class seats are equipped with a unique 'shape system' and an integrated massage function. The seat can also be converted into a two-metre long bed at the touch of a button. You therefore arrive at your destination rested and ready for business meetings or private activities.
Flat bed seats from 6 UK airports
Get ready to experience new levels of comfort in business class. All United flights operated by Continental Airlines from the UK to New York and Houston now feature new state-of-the-art 180° flat bed seats providing 6'4''- 6'6'' sleeping space, a 15.4'' LCD monitor with touch-control on-demand entertainment, iPod™ connectivity, universal power outlets and a USB port. For more information, visit continental.com/flatbed.
Flat out from Heathrow
London Heathrow is one of the first cities to receive United's new, state-of-the-art First and Business Class products. The new premium product is now available on all 767 and 747 aircraft and is being rolled out on the 777 aircraft. United flies from Heathrow to Chicago O'Hare, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C. For more information visit suitedreams.united.com.
United Continental Holdings, Inc. is the holding company for both United and Continental. The two airlines will operate separately as they begin to integrate key customer services, marketing activities and airport processes during this year.
Milan city guide
Milan, regarded as one of the fashion and design capitals of the world, is also the financial powerhouse of Italy with all the main national banks as well as the stock exchange located there. In fact, some 80% of foreign multinationals operating in Italy choose to base themselves in and around Milan.
Milan is served by two large airports. In general, flying into Milan, Italy tends to be a relatively hassle-free experience. Milan Malpensa Airport, which handles mainly international flights is within easy distance of Milan city centre. The Malpensa Express train whisks passengers from Terminal 1 to Cadorna station in Milan in around 40 minutes. The train departs every half hour.
The city centre is easy to navigate on foot but it is useful to know that Milan has an efficient subway, bus, tram, and trolley-car service.
In general, Italians dress smartly and appearances in business settings are very important. Both men and women wear suits, and even when not at work, Italians enjoy dressing up, particularly for trips to the theatre or restaurant.
Best bet is to head to the Navigli area to the south of the centre, where there's a superb selection of bars, many serving free "aperitivo" buffets of antipasti with the drinks between about 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. And with plenty of restaurants and clubs, this area is also a good option if you want to make a night of it.
RISTORANTE CRACCO (CRACCO PECK)
International fine dining
Address: Via Victor Hugo 4, 20123 Milan, Italy
Area: Piazza del Duomo
Phone: +39 02 876 774
Masterchef and owner Carlo Cracco pampers his guests with the typical Italian flair and great Foie gras; please note that the restaurant is closed on Sunday the whole day and on Monday for lunch as well as the obligatory closing for 3 weeks in august.
Address: Via Gastone Pisoni 1, 20121 Milano, Italy
Area: Centre / Montenapoleone
Phone: +39 02 7231 8645
Located in the "Armani building"; dining room on the first floor; casual bar area on the ground floor where you can eat as well; unique for Milan: smoking allowed! Models and football players of INTER and AC frequent this place; fusion Japanese-European food; Japanese alternative is "FINGERS" at Porta Romana in Via San Gerolamo Emiliani 2 (+39 0254 122675 ); perfect lunch alternative is "PAPER MOON" (Via Bagutta 1, +39 02 796 083); during Milan fashion week an absolute must!
Il RISTORANTE TRUSSARDI ALLA SCALA
Address: Piazza della Scala 5, Milan, Italy
Phone: +39 02 8068 8201
Attractive, casual and elegant, just like the style of Trussardi 1911, Il Ristorante Trussardi Alla Scala embodies outstanding interior design and top-flight cuisine. Through the talent and dedication of Andrea Berton, its Executive Chef since 2006, Il Ristorante Trussardi Alla Scala has made a name for itself as one of the most interesting establishments on the international culinary scene, earning the prestigious rating of two Michelin stars in just two consecutive years.
Safe and Sound
Thinking of booking airport valet parking next time you or one of your business travelling colleagues take off? Then make sure you ask your Corporate Traveller account manager to arrange meet and greet services with our preferred supplier Purple Parking. A chauffeur will meet you at the terminal building at the designated area to collect your car, then drive it to a secure parking compound nearby. When you return from your trip, the chauffeur returns your car to you at the terminal.
Unlike the company recently featured in BBC Watchdog's programme on "Rogue Traders" when a company called Secure Park Heathrow Limited proved to be far from secure. Customers returned from trips to find their cars damaged, parts missing, or even stolen. BBC Watchdog fitted hidden cameras to three cars and discovered that the vehicles were kept on council owned recreation grounds, parked on residential streets, and even used to ferry staff to and from Heathrow.
It goes to show how important it is to book with our preferred valet parking supplier. Purple Parking's service is convenient - step straight from your car into the terminal - and also cost effective - no time consuming transfers to and from the airport. But above all, the company aims to provide maximum security for its customers and their cars. Procedures are evaluated annually and each year Purple Parking has been awarded the AA/Police Gold Award for security.
Turtles on the runway and has anyone seen the pilot? 6 unusal reasons for flight delays.
BAD weather, strikes and IT glitches may cause most major flight disruptions, but escaping animals, lovesick turtles and missing pilots are also grounding their share of planes. While records show that most flights will take off as scheduled, unexpected events sometimes arise to disrupt normal flight patterns throughout the world. Corporate Traveller has scoured the archives to compile a list of the most unusual reasons that have been blamed for recent flights delays or cancellations.
1) Where's my pilot?
Last week, the Times of India reported that two Air India flights had to be cancelled at Chennai airport after the airline's pilots didn't turn up for duty. One pilot reportedly refused to fly because he had completed his shift, while the replacement did not show.
2) Here kitty, kitty
In December last year, a cheetah delayed a Qantas domestic flight in Australia. Handlers were reportedly concerned about the pallet being used to transport the big cat, named Tokoloshe, and called for reinforcement.
3) Otters on the loose
Not to be outdone, two sea otters escaped from their cage on a Continental domestic flight in the United States in December 2009. In this case, the otters made their way out of the cargo hold and on to the runway, delaying the flight by 80mins.
4) Lovesick turtles
In June this year, an annual display of "turtle romance" temporarily disrupted normal services at New York's JFK airport. Each year, the turtles reportedly make a slow overland trek across the airport's runways en-route to their breeding grounds.
5) Broken toilets
In August, a Delta Airlines flight in the US made an emergency landing because of an overflowing toilet. The incident attracted additional headlines after a high profile passenger, former Guns n' Roses guitarist Slash, used social media to share the story with the world.
6) Airspace violators – Lawnchair Larry
One of the most unusual disruptions to flight schedules occurred in the United States almost 30 years ago when Lawrence Richard Walters literally "floated" into Los Angeles International Airport airspace.
In 1982, the truck driver, who became known as "Lawnchair Larry", caught a bird's eye view of LA from the comfort of a patio chair that was attached to 45 helium weather balloons.
Larry, who took off from a house in San Pedro California, reportedly intended to hover just above ground level but ultimately reached an altitude in excess of 4,000 metres.
His in-flight survival kit included sandwiches, a CB radio, beer and a pellet gun, which he intended to use to gradually shoot the balloons and descend slowly back to terra firma.
He managed to shoot several balloons before dropping the gun. Fortunately, Larry's flight ended safely after his balloon eventually lost altitude and became tangled in wires, which caused a black-out in parts of Long Beach.
Evaluating the hidden cost of DIY web bookings
Corporate Traveller provides expert solutions for companies keen to maximise productivity.
A recent Corporate Traveller study shows that a single booking made over the internet can take almost 20 minutes to complete. Make a change to that booking and the completion time jumps to almost 30 minutes. Complete the same process for two bookings and your employee would have spent almost one hour booking travel online.
Booking travel over the internet may seem like it's a quick and easy process. But any experienced travel booker knows that once you factor in a price comparison search for airfares, complete the booking process for accommodation and car hire and then make any changes to bookings, the amount of time spent on a single booking can become lengthy.
If staff members are spending a few hours each week booking travel or running online price comparison searches, the time spent focussing on items which do not directly relate to your core operation will really start to impact on your business's bottom line.
"From experience we have found that more cost-conscious corporates are now asking whether employee time is better spent concentrating on company core business rather than researching cheaper air tickets on line," Corporate Traveller brand leader Graeme Milne said. "A business's travel booker also has the responsibility of keeping track of flight changes, printing out and updating itineraries, looking after visa requirements and managing records and receipts for budgeting purposes. If you're booking your business travel ad-hoc over the internet, you're at risk of incurring substantial 'soft' costs in lost time and productivity."
Graeme said that when businesses made the decision to invest in a dedicated travel manager, they were automatically investing in their business's long term travel savings.
"One phone call to your travel manager takes two minutes and you're given three options including best Fare of the Day. You travel manager can arrange airfares, accommodation and car rental all at once while adhering to your business's travel policy," Graeme said. "This reduces time as well as unnecessary expenses such as internet booking fees, change and cancellation fees."
If you want to make your business travel more cost and time efficient speak to one of our experienced travel managers about what strategy is best suited to your business travel needs.
Business travellers are bookworms
Business travellers still like to stick their noses into a good book whilst on a trip, rather than play with latest gadget.
A recent online poll conducted by Corporate Traveller asked "What do you always take with you when you travel?" Given the choice between iPad, Kindle, or book a staggering 94 per cent of respondents opted for the traditional dead tree page turner. Only six per cent chose a Kindle, and absolutely no one went for the iPad.
Here at Corporate Traveller we have been asking ourselves why a good old-fashioned book is still so popular and this is what we came up with
- a book is a physical object – there is something satisfying about flicking through the pages that a Kindle can't match.
- the Kindle is flimsy, the iPad seems fragile, and both are expensive. If you drop either on the floor, or throw it carelessly into your bag, you'll crack the screen. There's no chance of that happening with a book.
- The bath tub factor - if you read a paper book in the bath, the worst that might happen is the pages will get a bit damp, of if the book slips out of your fingers, it will cost under £10 to buy another one. But if you drop your Kindle in the tub, that's a pricey electronic device you will be looking to replace
- a Kindle or an iPad is yet another screen - and in the world of work we all spend too much time looking at screens
- Cabin crew will tell you to turn off your Kindle on take off and landing. They don't understand that it's epaper and uses no current. You'll never be asked to "turn off" a book.
- Kindle's and iPads contain a battery. Remember they are both mortal and will die on you if you don't have your charger. A book never dies.
Gadget geeks reckon that reading e books on Kindle or iPad is the biggest thing since the invention of the printing press. But is it? Only time will tell. There's just something about a dead tree book isn't there? It's nice to pop into WH Smith or Waterstones at the airport and pick up a novel. It just is.
Japan starts to return to business as usual
From Ross Leggett, General Manager Japan Airlines, UK, Ireland and Italy
In the months immediately following the Great East Japan Earthquake, many companies placed a total freeze on travel to Japan, and the number of group tours and inbound visitors fell sharply. Japan Airlines threw its maximum support behind the relief operation by operating some 2,000 extra flights, and carrying at our own cost approximately 136 tons of relief goods and around 7,300 aide workers to the stricken area. At the same time, we took swift action to offset the drastic drop in demand, by temporarily reducing flight frequencies and by using smaller aircraft on several international routes between April and June.
Quick action, combined with the positive effect of rigorous restructuring last year, enabled our leaner, more resilient airline to effectively weather the aftermath of this terrible event. In the first half of FY2011, the six month period from April to September, we managed to post a net profit of 97.4 billion yen (£777 million equivalent). Though a full recovery from the devastation caused in the North East of Japan will take time, it is now very much business as usual throughout the rest of the country. We have had clear signals that business travel is starting to pick up after the initial falloff. Demand has started to return and load factors are on the up.
As Japan's leading international carrier with a network serving some 200 destinations and 30 countries worldwide, and a member of the world's leading airline alliance oneworld, we are well-positioned to play a key role in Japan's recovery and future growth. We hope that our continued commitment to the highest quality of service, safety and reliability will strongly appeal to those who plan to travel over there. Being named FlightStats most punctual major global airline for the second-year running; and the addition of the state-of-the-art 787 Dreamliner aircraft to our fleet at the beginning of next year, are just a couple of examples of our commitment to the needs of the international business traveller.
Justin Penny | Business Development Manager| Corporate Traveller
1. How long have you been working with Corporate Traveller (or within the travel industry)?
I have worked in travel for 15 years. I joined Corporate Traveller one year ago, prior that I spent three years with our parent company Flight Centre UK.
2. What do you consider to be the most significant event in the travel industry within the last year?
It would have to be the massive disruption caused when Heathrow airport closed as a result of heavy snow in December 2010. It was unprecedented. Thousands of passengers were stranded, planes were frozen to the stands, and even when the airport re-opened there was a huge backlog of flights.
3. Where are the up and coming hubs in business travel? Have you noticed any unusual travel trends within the business world?
Brazil is definitely a growing destination for business travellers. We are also seeing a lot more travel to the "stans" - countries such as Kazakhstan.
4. Why would you recommend Corporate Traveller to your clients?
We don't lock clients into contracts or insist on minimum spends. That means the only reason why our clients book with us is because we offer them the best service and lowest prices every time.
5. Do you have any insider travel tips to share? Never buy your currency at the airport! The exchange rates for selling currency to you at the airport are much higher meaning you'll get a lot less for your pounds. Always buy in advance of travelling
6. If you could add anything to First and Business class cabins, what would it be and why?
It would be great to have access to the internet. The time would fly by (forgive the pun!) if you could be online as well
7. What has been your proudest moment while working with Corporate Traveller.
During the snow crisis last December, I helped man the phones in our out of hours department - it was really hard work but very rewarding. You could see the difference you were making to people who were stranded abroad, trying to get home for Christmas.
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United – Unrivalled access to the U.S. from 8 UK & Ireland airports
The new United, formed by the merger of United and Continental Airlines, offers nonstop flights to its hubs at Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark Liberty, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., from London/Heathrow, as well as to New York/Newark from Belfast, Birmingham, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Shannon* – providing transatlantic services from more UK and Ireland cities than any other airline. From its U.S. hubs, the new United offers onward connections to over 300 cities across the Americas. On transatlantic flights, United offers business class 180-degree flat bed seats, allowing you to lie completely flat to sleep in comfort and privacy**.
United Continental Holdings, Inc. is the holding company for both United and Continental. The two airlines will operate separately as they begin to integrate key customer services, marketing activities and airport processes during this year.
* Transatlantic flights operated by Continental Airlines, Inc. and United Air Lines, Inc.
** Flat bed seats are available on all 747, 757, 767 aircraft and being rolled out on 777 aircraft.