News

From across the travel industry

BA Relief Flight to the Philippines

Following the devastating damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan, British Airways has offered aid agencies a relief aircraft to fly emergency aid and supplies to the Philippines. A Boeing 747 freighter with capacity for up to 120 tonnes of cargo is scheduled to fly out to the stricken country on Monday, November 18. It will be carrying much-needed aid from Oxfam, Save the Children, The Reina Sofia Foundation and UNICEF to provide relief to the worst affected regions of the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, which has devastated parts of the archipelago, leaving thousands dead and millions more affected by one of the most powerful storms ever recorded. Iberia, sister company to British Airways, both owned by IAG group today (November 15) flew six tonnes of medicines on behalf of The Reina Sofia Foundation from Spain to London to join the relief flight. The British Airways Boeing 747 freighter aircraft will fly from IAG Cargo’s base at Stansted, loaded with supplies from Oxfam, Save the Children and The Reina Sofia Foundation, to Billund in Denmark. Supplies from UNICEF will be loaded onto the aircraft, it will then collect further supplies from Sharjah in the UAE, before going on to its final destination of Cebu in the Philippines. Keith Williams, British Airways’ chief executive, said: “The impact of Typhoon Haiyan has had a devastating impact on the people of the Philippines and their situation is desperate. British Airways is providing a fully crewed Boeing 747 freighter to fly urgently needed supplies to help those most in need. “It’s vital we play our part to do what we can to support...

Muze Restaurant opens at MO DC

Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C. is pleased to announce the launch of Muze Restaurant on December 2, 2013.  The all-day dining restaurant, formally Sou’Wester, will highlight the hotel’s oriental heritage and feature approachable cuisine that blends the best of local bounty and produce with flavours from South East Asia. Developed under the direction of Executive Chef Didier Pouzier and new Chef de Cuisine Mark McDonnell, the menu will include an international collection of familiar and flavourful dishes presented with a distinctive Asian-inspired twist. “We are thrilled to debut Muze to our guests, local clientele and the dynamic DC food scene,” said General Manager Adriaan Radder.  “After much consideration, and in response to our guests’ preferences, we do believe that Muze will provide a diverse menu that showcases cuisine that reflects our ‘East West Kitchen’ concept, complemented by universal dishes that our leisure and business travelers can enjoy.” Menu highlights include: Confit Lamb Shoulder & Soy Roasted Sunchoke, Black Bean Veal Cheek & Heirloom Carrot, Ahi Tuna Crudo, Rockfish Miso Cauliflower & Dill Juice and Tempura Blue Prawns.  Hand-crafted cocktails and a diverse wine selection complete this engaging dining experience. “We are fortunate to welcome Chef McDonnell to help drive the new concept for Muze,” said Director of Food & Beverage Andreas Wieckenberg.  “I am confident that his creativity, leadership and international experience will further ignite the excitement for Muze among our colleagues and guests.” Chef McDonnell joined Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C. in mid-September 2013. Previously, he was the Chef de Cuisine at Rogue 24 in Washington D.C. and was instrumental in managing the day-to-day kitchen operations, menu creation and supervision of all off-site events,...

Heathrow noise table

Heathrow today launches its ‘Fly Quiet programme’, becoming the first UK airport to list airlines according to their noise performance. Every three months a Fly Quiet table will take the top 50 Heathrow airlines (by number of flights per quarter) and list them according to six noise related criteria. The airlines receive a red/amber/green rating for each criterion, as well as an overall score which allows airlines to understand how they are performing in relation to other airlines. If they are not meeting the minimum performance targets, Heathrow will work closely with them to improve their rating. Heathrow has some of the world’s toughest rules and regulations on noise. As a result, airlines use their quietest aircraft around 15% more on Heathrow routes. The aim of the programme is to ensure this trend continues by encouraging airlines to use the quietest aircraft available and to fly them in the quietest possible way. Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Sustainability Director, said: ‘We are at the forefront of international efforts to tackle aircraft noise and are committed to continuing to reduce the number of people affected by noise. The launch of the Fly Quiet programme signals our firm commitment to being transparent about aircraft noise and our progress in reducing its impact on local communities whilst still safeguarding the vital connectivity and economic growth that Heathrow provides.’ By publishing the table each quarter, Heathrow aims to recognise good performance, provide airlines with regular feedback, identify more specific areas to be targeted for improvement, establish minimum performance targets and provide further insight into airline performance. John Stewart, chair of noise campaign group HACAN said;...

“Best Hotel in the World”

The legendary, 137-year-old Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok has been voted the “2013 Best Hotel in the World” by readers of The Times, UK, recently. Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok clinched the top spot for its “first-class service, elegant suites and sumptuous food” which is available at the hotel’s nine restaurants. “We are delighted to receive this accolade.  It serves to motivate and encourage our entire team to continue to strive for the service excellence for which we are renowned”, said General Manager Amanda Hyndman. To experience Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok’s exemplary service, rooms and dining, the hotel has launched a “Discover Bangkok Package” which comprises a carefully curated itinerary to make the most of the city while luxuriating in the hotel’s extensive amenities. In addition to two nights luxury accommodation the package includes alfresco breakfast at the Riverside Terrace, lunch at Sala Rim Naam Thai Restaurant and limousine airport transfers.  The package also offers a variety of “Journeys” tailored to individual interests and preferences ranging from cultural, heritage, artistic, to culinary and wellness and spa. All “Journeys” include an evening meal at the hotel and a 90-minute Thai massage at the award-winning Oriental Spa, itself a romantic...

MO introduce free internet

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group today announced that it will offer its exceptional high-speed internet service on a complimentary basis to guests who create an online profile and book published rates through the luxury hotel company’s website mandarinoriental.com. Creating an online profile ensures that guests’ preferences and needs are better met across the portfolio. Booking accommodation at rates published on mandarinoriental.com also benefits guests, as the Group promises that rates offered online are the best available anywhere. If a better rate can be found it will not only be matched, but guests will receive a further 10% reduction. In return, guests can enjoy complimentary access to exceptional on-line connectivity via superior bandwidths for up to six personal devices at every participating Mandarin Oriental hotel worldwide. “At Mandarin Oriental we pride ourselves on providing exceptional service, and in this digital age, we understand that fast internet connections are essential. With the added benefit of being able to seamlessly connect up to six devices in the comfort of their room, our guests can work comfortably and efficiently”, said Michael Hobson, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s Chief Marketing Officer. As an extension, guests who book Mandarin Oriental’s Best Available Rate via selected travel agency partners will also receive complimentary high-speed internet...

UK Weather Warning

The Met Office is currently forecasting heavy rain and high winds on the morning of Monday 28 October. Following consultation between the Met Office, air traffic control and airlines, all parties have agreed to reduce the number of flights operating tomorrow to ensure the safety of passengers and employees. These cancellations are being made to give passengers more advance information about their flight and to allow airlines the opportunity to re-book customers on alternative flights as soon as possible. We are sorry for any passengers whose journeys are affected. Passengers due to travel on Monday should check the status of their flight with their airline before travelling to the airport. Network Rail have also advised that track speeds will be reduced for Monday which means that the Heathrow Express will be operating a half hourly service until 1000. Q. Why does wind cause disruption to flights? A. Cross-runway winds of more than 30 miles per hour (25 knots) in wet conditions result in safety restrictions on the types of aircraft that are permitted to land or take off. Q. How many flights a day does Heathrow normally operate? A. 1288 flights on average a day. Q. How many flights will be cancelled? A. Airlines operating at Heathrow tomorrow are reducing their schedule as follows depending on their timetable and aircraft type:   around 20% between 06.00 – 11.00 around 10% between 11.00 – 16.00 around 5% for the rest of the day. For up-to-date information check with your airline British Airways Virgin...

BA’s Gig on a Wing

Supermodel Georgia May Jagger, fashion designer Alice Temperley MBE, and singer Leona Lewis came together last night (24 October), to fly the flag for Britain, at the ‘Gig on a Wing’ event to celebrate British Airways’ new A380 superjumbo operating to Hong Kong. Showcasing the best of British music, fashion, design and cuisine to an exclusive audience of local leaders in travel and entertainment, the event took place inside a hangar at Hong Kong International airport, with the A380 forming the centrepiece of the show. Georgia May Jagger, daughter of Rolling Stones legend Mick Jagger took to the stage with British Airways Chief Executive Keith Williams to close the evening, and said: “I’m so happy British Airways invited me to Hong Kong on their first A380 flight. The service, food and flat beds on the long haul flights are second to none and I always arrive feeling well rested. I love Hong Kong too and look forward to returning and spending more time in this great city”. Keith Williams, British Airways’ chief executive, said: “Today marks another milestone in our long and proud tradition of connecting Hong Kong and London – two truly global hubs. For over three quarters of a century, this city has been an important part of British Airways’ worldwide network, so we are extremely delighted to be operating the state-of-the-art A380 on the route, and to also be the first to fly it non-stop between Hong Kong and Europe.” British Airways’ ‘Gig on a Wing’ event launched with a glamorous fashion show by acclaimed British designer Alice Temperley MBE. Fresh from showing at last month’s...

BA Winter Schedule

British Airways’ winter 2013 schedule starts this weekend (October 26), with a new winter sun route and increased frequencies to a selection of destinations. The airline will launch weekly flights from Heathrow to Gran Canaria from October 26. British Airways Holidays packages to the island include seven nights at the 3* Club Maspalomas Bungalows from £299 per person for travel in January, including return flights from Heathrow and accommodation on a self catering basis. Alternatively, there’s seven nights at the 4* Paradise Lago Taurito Hotel from £459 per person for travel in January, including return flights from Heathrow and accommodation on an all-inclusive basis. Seven nights at the 5* Lopesan Costa Meloneras Resort is also available from £589 per person for travel in January, including return flights from Heathrow and accommodation only. Lynne Embleton, director of strategy, said: “Gran Canaria is a fantastic destination for holiday makers, especially families, with over a half a million people from Britain visiting every year. “We’ve had a really positive response to the destination since it went on sale, which we attribute to great prices on our British Airways holidays and the fact this is the only direct flight from Heathrow to the island.” Other changes to the winter schedule, from that of summer 2013, include increases from Heathrow to Chennai (five to six per week), Seattle (from seven to 10 per week), Miami (from 14 to 18 per week), Rio de Janeiro (from six to seven per week), Mexico City (from three to four per week), Tripoli (from three to four per week) and Freetown (from three to four per week). Gatwick...

Heathrow Reducing Carbon

For the fourth year running, Heathrow has achieved accreditation for its exemplary progress in managing and minimising CO2 emissions as it continues to work towards reducing carbon emissions by 34 per cent by 2020*. The ‘Optimisation’ accreditation – the highest level of performance achievable without offsetting emissions – has been certified to Heathrow Airport by Airport Carbon Accreditation, the only independent institutionally endorsed carbon certification standard for airports. The accreditation specifically acknowledges the significant achievements Heathrow has made in working with a wide range of stakeholders to minimise CO2 emissions. Stakeholders include those on site such as airlines, ground handlers, catering companies and air traffic control as well as off-site such as road and rail authorities. Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Sustainability Director, says: ‘We are committed to running Heathrow responsibly, but we can’t do it alone. That’s why we are delighted to have been recognised once again for our commitment to working with a multitude of stakeholders to achieve stretching carbon emission reductions.’ Dr. Andy Jefferson, Programme Director at Sustainable Aviation, says: ‘This certification for Heathrow is much deserved. It also recognises the enormous efforts the airport invests in working collaboratively across the aviation industry to reduce its impacts whilst maintaining the significant benefits it provides to passengers and the UK economy. It is exactly this type of approach which the Sustainable Aviation CO2 and Noise Road-Maps envisage will ensure UK aviation grows in a sustainable way.’ The latest certification by Airport Carbon Accreditation recognises the airport’s work in several areas. Heathrow encourages the cleanest types of transport at the airport, operating the largest fleet of electric airside vehicles in Europe and one...

BA Trials Digital Bag Tag

Customers travelling with British Airways through Terminal 5 have begun to test the personalised digital bag tag being developed by the airline. Employees from Microsoft have been chosen to take part in the month-long trial, using a specially adapted version of the British Airways app, to provide essential feedback that will help shape the final product.   The digital bag tag, which contains all a customer’s baggage details, could eventually do away with the need for a new paper tag every time you fly. Comprehensive testing of the tag has already taken place to make sure it works in a live airport environment and can stand up to the rigours of airport baggage systems and everyday travel. Glenn Morgan, British Airways’ head of service transformation, said: “The customer trials take us another step closer to making the personalised digital bag tag a reality for our customers. We’re grateful for Microsoft’s support during the trial, which will help us shape the future of checking in for flights. “British Airways has a long history of innovation. The digital bag tag is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to developing new technology and holds the promise of making checking in for flights even quicker and smoother.” Anand Krishnan, general manager, developer and platform group, Microsoft Ltd, said: “Working with British Airways to help shape the future of one of the company’s key customer experiences is something we’re very proud to be involved in. “With Windows Phone at the heart of the project we look forward to learning more about how our mobile devices and services can be part of this innovative trial...