IMPORTANT CHANGES TO Air New Zealand CHECK-IN
From 1 July 2019, all passengers on domestic Air New Zealand flights, including those without checked baggage, are now required to check-in through the airline’s app or at a kiosk. Online check-in is available for all customers 24 hours prior to departure via the mobile app and on the Air New Zealand website. Final check-in completion time is 30 minutes prior to departure. This also means customers travelling on Flexitime and Flexidate fares will be unable to change to any flights departing within 30 minutes.
Changes New Zealand visa requirements
From 1 October 2019, Australian permanent residents will need a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) to enter New Zealand. Australian citizens will continue to be able to travel to New Zealand visa-free. Citizens from 60 visa waiver countries will also be required to apply for a New Zealand eTA (Electronic Travel Authority) before travelling to the country. This includes individuals transiting through New Zealand on the way to their final destination. The full list of eTA New Zealand eligible countries can be found here. The eTA for New Zealand is valid for multiple visits for a total of 2 years and can be obtained from 1 July 2019 by using the New Zealand Immigration app or completing the form on their website.
Qantas updates the Frequent Flyer program
Qantas has announced ” the biggest overhaul to the airline’s loyalty program in its 32-year history.” The overhaul will see more than 1 million extra rewards seats, a change in the points required for reward seats on domestic and international flights and the introduction of Lifetime Platinum status! For more information on the program’s updates click here.
Emirates trial ‘passport-free’ travel on Australia – London flights
Emirates have announced that a trial will take place on selected flights between Australia and London later this year. Patrons will be able to go through the check-in desk and passport control counters using a biometrics system labelled ‘One ID’. This will include Dubai Airport as well as airports in Australia and London taking part in the trial. The airports in Australia that are participating in the trial are yet to be confirmed.
American Airlines opens baggage pre-pay
American Airlines will allow customers to pre-pay for checked baggage online or on its app 24 hours to 4 hours prior to departure. Passengers can check their bag at the curbside, self-service kiosk, or counter at the airport.
Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines sign MoU
Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines have confirmed a new Memorandum of Understanding, which could see a “significant expansion of codeshare flights”. The two rivals are planning to explore a wide-ranging strategic partnership, which expands their existing deal to provide codeshare flights between both countries.
Jetstar cancels Christchurch service
From the middle of October 2019, Jetstar will suspend its five times weekly Christchurch-Sydney service following a review of its Tasman operations. Passengers booked on the route from 15 October 2019 will be rebooked onto Qantas services on the same day or can request a full refund. From 15 October Jetstar will also retime its Auckland-Gold Coast service to the morning, in order to offer options from Auckland to Japan (Narita) via the Gold Coast.
Qantas removes change fee for regional Australia residents
Effective from 27 June 2019, Qantas has removed the $99 change fee for return bookings made through its discounted fares programme, to provide regional residents with greater flexibility and further savings.
Qantas brings Dreamliner on Auckland route
Qantas plans to introduce a 787-9 Dreamliner on its Sydney to Auckland route from 1 December 2019 until 28 March 2020. The equipment change, subject to government approval, will fly as QF141/144.
Qantas to boost Perth- Geraldton flights
Four additional weekly return flights between Geraldton and Perth have been announced by Qantas to begin in mid-August 2019. The services, to be operated by QantasLink’s Fokker 100 aircraft, will offer 800 seats on the route each week in addition to QantasLink’s existing twelve return weekly services. The services will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with the fourth additional service commencing in September to take advantage of school holidays.
Changes for Air China Sydney service
Air China will make changes to the deployment of its aircraft on its Beijing to Sydney route from October 2019, lasting until the end of March 2020. Between 27 October 2019 and 9 January 2020, it will offer a two-class 777-300ER, followed by a three-class 777-300ER between 10 January and 19 February 2020, before reverting to the two-class 777-300ER from 20 February to 28 March 2020.
Air New Zealand resumes Sunshine Coast service
Air New Zealand has resumed its seasonal four times weekly Auckland-Sunshine Coast service from 5 July 2019. The international service will operate until 27 October 2019 offering customers a direct route across the Tasman in just under four hours.
Upgraded sleep service for Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific will provide its business class passengers with an upgraded ‘sleep service’ on long-range flights, including mattresses, slippers and refreshed amenity kits. First class passengers will additionally be treated to a mattress topper as part of the changes expected to be launched in October 2019.
Christchurch Airport launches driverless vehicles
Christchurch International has introduced New Zealand’s first Smart Shuttle as part of an ongoing Autonomous Vehicle (AV) trial within the airport boundary. The vehicle is fully electric powered and autonomous, with no steering wheel or driver. They are designed to operate on predetermined repetitive routes and carry up to 15 adults.
Delta Airline trials Apple Message to help with customer service
Delta Airlines have announced plans to trial the Messages app via Apple Business Chat with select passengers from summer 2019. The app will allow passengers to message a live Delta representative from an iOS device and receive live assistance or a Delta Virtual Assistant to receive a quick response to frequently asked questions. Delta has plans to integrate the mobile assist tool into the Fly Delta app for all passengers from Autumn 2019.
Mackay preferred for Qantas pilot school
Qantas is looking to make Queensland’s Mackay the location for the second Qantas Group Pilot Academy site. Last year, Toowoomba was revealed as to be the first location of the airline’s Pilot Academy.
Air NZ offers zero-alcohol cocktail
After receiving customer feedback on its Auckland-San Francisco service, Air New Zealand has introduced alcohol-free cocktails for business premier passengers to coincide with Dry July. According to the airline, 11% of passengers do not drink alcohol, with a further 10% reporting they do not drink alcohol on board to avoid dehydration. An alcohol-free gin from local distiller, Ecology & Co will be offered instead for the cocktails until 31 July 2019.
Accor launches Sebel brand in ACT
Accor added 144 luxury serviced apartment style rooms to Canberra’s hotel market with the recent opening of The Sebel Canberra Civic. The property, located in the heart of the CBD, offers 126 studio rooms with kitchenette facilities as well as 9 one-bedroom suites and 9 two-bedroom suites with full kitchen facilities across 11 floors. It joins a network of over 28 hotels across Australia and New Zealand and is the first Sebel branded hotel to open in the Australian Capital Territory.
AVANI Adelaide Residences opens
Adelaide has welcomed the latest offering from Minor Hotels in the city with the opening of the Avani Adelaide Residences, located on Franklin Street. The property offers 76 stylish suites with heated pool, golf simulator, rooftop area, full laundry facilities and complimentary WiFi.
Mantra Epping opens
A new-build $80 million, Mantra-branded hotel offering 214 contemporary rooms has opened in Epping, just 18km north of the Melbourne CBD and 15 minutes from the airport. Guests can choose from spacious one-bedroom apartments with kitchen facilities, European laundry and the flexibility to adjoin with a Hotel Room to create a spacious two-bedroom. The hotel also provides several onsite food and beverage amenities including the Trader Café, Restaurant and Bar and the Beer Republic brewhouse. Business travellers can enjoy state-of-the-art conference and meeting facilities, a fully-equipped gym and 24-hour reception with open-air secure car parking.
Oaks Toowoomba for Queensland expansion
Toowoomba has been announced as the next location for the Oaks Hotel network. The nine-storey complex will house 102-rooms and will further progress Toowoomba’s CBD modernisation. It is expected to be open to guests from the first quarter of 2020. The rooms will be self-contained with a kitchenette, along with access to a lap swimming pool, fitness centre, café and ample meeting facilities.
Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach refurbishment
Set to be complete in October, Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach is undergoing a full refurbishment. The refurb will see the addition of ten new hotel rooms, a redesign of the 209 existing rooms including an upgrade to the beds, carpets and drapes as well as a new colour scheme to reflect the ocean and beachside lifestyle. The meeting rooms will also see a technology upgrade. Operations will remain as normal throughout the refurbishment, with hotel facilities limited in their opening hours in order to minimise disturbance to guests.
Rydges Gold Coast Airport
Located at the southern end of the Gold Coast Airport terminal, the 192-room hotel is set to open in mid-2020. The seven-storey property will feature a rooftop bar and viewing deck of the runway and airport, and a plaza development will connect the hotel to the terminal to create easy access between the two.
Batman’s Hill on Collins room upgrades
Quality Hotel Batman’s Hill on Collins has completed its six-month $1.75 million renovations. Highlights of the upgrade include new art-deco hanging light and wooden detailing in the bedrooms and living space, as well as black fittings throughout the bathroom. Environmentally-friendly initiatives have been installed at the hotel, including shower timers, and a house credit of $10 per room for guests who decline the daily housekeeping service.
Hayman Island officially opened
The first guests have begun checking into the newly-opened Hayman Island by InterContinental, almost two years after it devastated by tropical cyclones. At a refurbishment cost of $135 million, the luxury resort is an iconic private island located at the northmost point of The Whitsundays. Each of the property’s 166 rooms offers guests breath-taking views of the Coral Sea and is accessible only by luxury catamaran, helicopter or seaplane.
Kambri adds new spaces to Canberra
The Kambri cultural precinct has opened in Canberra boasting a variety of fully equipped conference and event spaces, along with a host of outdoor venues. A lobby bar is also available for pre-function drinks and cocktails events, while Ambush Gallery’s newest exhibition space can also be utilised. Other non-traditional spaces are also available for corporate events, including an amphitheatre with tiered seating and a range of outdoor options including University Avenue, The Lane and The Lawn.
Avis introduces a split card option
Avis has added a ‘Split My Bill’ feature to its mobile app allowing customers to divide payments between two different credit cards or any other forms of payment. This is especially targeted at bleisure travellers who may need to reconcile travel expenses between corporate and personal credit cards while on the road. A recent survey has found that almost 87% of travellers are likely to mix business and leisure during a corporate trip, particularly if they are millennials.