British Airways just made it easier to get to the Plunhof Hotel

Jun 22, 2016

British Airways has just made it easier to experience the Plunhof Hotel & Spa in the South Tyrol. From the 4th December British Airways customers will be able to enjoy the best of scenic Tyrol region with flights to Innsbruck Airport from Heathrow.

This winter skiers will now be able to fly to the former Winter Olympic city from two UK airports as the airline already operates direct flights from Gatwick to the Tyrolean capital.

Flights will operate four-times-a-week during winter and twice-per-week during the summer season, with return fares starting from £88 in Euro Traveller and £338 in Club Europe.

Neil Cottrell, British Airways’ head of planning, said: “We’ve launched 15 new routes already this year but now it’s time to turn our attention to the ski season.”

Plunhof food

“We are sure the new route from Heathrow to Innsbruck will prove popular with those looking to hit the slopes this winter as it offers ideal access to some of the very best ski resorts in Europe, including Mayrhofen, Alpbach and Niederau.”

Fly to Plunhof Hotel Tyrol Innsbruck Airport with BA

“Innsbruck is also a popular tourist destination for non-skiers and the service will launch just in time for the picture-perfect Christmas markets.”

And for the best place to stay once you have arrived at Innsbruck then look no further than the Plunhof Hotel. This family run hotel and spa offers a great location for a break in the Tyrol at any time of the year. And they are always happy to help arrange any transfers for their guests from any airport in the region.

Along with the luxury facilities at Plunhof, the hotel also offers amazing cooking classes with Chef Egon and Peter are conducted several times a year. They are appropriate to the season and reflect the gourmet specialty weeks and culinary events in the area. For those that enjoy wine there is an amazing wine cellar to experience. The hotel’s wine experts, Günter and Erwin, will guide you through our wine cellar, which features masonry of natural stone. It is well stocked, and is sure to delight you.

Plunhof Wine Cellar Experience

Wine Cellar Experience Plunhof Hotel

Flights will depart from Terminal 5 and the route will be served by a two-class cabin A320 aircraft.

Those choosing a ‘Plus’ or ‘Plus Flex’ fare can check their ski equipment in for free as part of their 23kg baggage allowance, as well as the hand luggage allowance of one cabin bag and a handbag or laptop bag per person.

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Hainan Airlines becomes first carrier in China to operate 787-8 and 787-9

Jun 16, 2016

Hainan Airlines has became the first carrier in China to operate both Dreamliner variants, the 787-8 and 787-9. Boeing delivered the first 787-9 Dreamliner to China’s first operator of both the 787-8 and 787-9 variants last week.

Hainan Airlines, the largest privately owned airline in China, leased the aircraft through an agreement with Air Lease Corporation (ALC). The delivery is also the first 787-9 Dreamliner to ALC, which has 15 additional 787-9 airliners on order.

“The 787-9 Dreamliner will be a great addition to our long-haul fleet,” said Mou Weigang, Vice Chairman, Hainan Airlines.

Hainan Airlines 787

Hainan Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

“The 787-9’s super efficiency, capability and in-flight experience will accelerate our market position internationally.”

As the largest 787 operator in China, Hainan Airlines already has 10 787-8 jets in service and plans to deploy its first 787-9 Dreamliner on a new route from Beijing to Las Vegas to begin in September.

“We are honored to celebrate this milestone delivery with both ALC and Hainan Airlines,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing Commercial Airplanes senior vice president of Northeast Asia Sales.

“The 787-9 will complement Hainan Airlines’ existing 787-8 fleet, enabling the airline to open up new nonstop services for continuous global expansion.”

The 787-9 complements and extends the 787 family. With the fuselage stretched by 20 feet (6 meters) over the 787-8, the 787-9 will fly over 40 more passengers an additional 280 nautical miles (520 kilometers) with the same exceptional environmental performance – 20 percent less fuel use and 20 percent fewer emissions than the airplanes it replaces.

The 787-9 leverages the visionary design of the 787-8, offering passenger-pleasing features such as large windows, large stow bins, modern LED lighting, higher humidity, a lower cabin altitude, cleaner air and a smoother ride.

Hainan Airlines, headquartered in Haikou, is one of only seven airlines, and the first in China, to be rated as a five-star airline by Skytrax, which surveys international travelers to rate and review airlines and airports. Boeing airplanes make up more than 85 percent of Hainan’s current fleet, which serves 500 domestic and international routes.

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Air Austral takes delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner

May 25, 2016

Air Austral has taken delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The newest addition to the airline’s long-haul fleet touched down at Roland Garros Airport in Saint-Marie, Reunion Island following a 10,500-mile (16,898-kilometre) delivery flight. The flight originated from the Boeing Everett Delivery Center in Everett, Washington.

Air Austral 787

“The state of the art 787 Dreamliner’s unique capabilities enable us to launch the Dzaoudi to Paris Charles de Gaulle route,” said Marie-Joseph Male, executive chairman and chief executive officer, Air Austral.

“This airplane is the most advanced in the world, with superior operating economics all while providing our passengers an unrivalled on-board experience.”

The 787 is a family of technologically advanced, super-efficient airplanes with new passenger-pleasing features. In addition to bringing big-jet ranges to midsize airplanes, the 787 will provide the airline with unmatched fuel efficiency and environmental performance, using 20 to 25 percent less fuel and with 20 to 25 percent fewer emissions than the airplanes it replaces.

“It is an honor to deliver the first 787 Dreamliner to Air Austral, a first for a French operator,” said Van Rex Gallard, vice president sales Latin America, Caribbean and Africa, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

“The Dreamliner will complement Air Austral’s growing long-haul fleet, made up of 777s and now a 787, as well as its trans-continental network to Europe and Asia.”

Air Austral announced an order for two 787-8 Dreamliners in 2015. The airline was founded in 1975 and currently operates a fleet of nine aircraft to over 10 destinations worldwide.

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Alligator spotted as British Airways Orlando flight departs from Gatwick

May 25, 2016

British Airways passengers flying from Gatwick Airport this week had to do a double-take at what appeared to be an alligator, more at home in the waters of Florida rather than a UK airport, which had appeared on the runway.

In reality what they were seeing was an optical teaser as the ‘alligator’ was in fact three models who had been painstakingly painted over five hours by a specialist artist to resemble the large reptile, with the aim of helping the airline to promote great deals to Florida.

Click to compare flights to Orlando 

Johannes Stoetter, body painting artist, said: “I love a new challenge and when British Airways asked me to create an alligator I couldn’t wait. I normally paint and photograph my artwork in a studio, so to see my artwork in front of one of the airline’s planes on a runway was a truly great experience and possibly one of the most challenging yet.”

Alligator spotted as British Airways Orlando flight departs from Gatwick

Adam Daniels, British Airways’ chief commercial officer, said: “British Airways has some fantastic deals to Florida available for customers to snap up as we fly to both Tampa and Orlando from Gatwick and to Miami from Heathrow. For those wanting to see some real alligators, customers can book an experience through British Airways Holidays and head to the Everglades National Park!”

British Airways is offering holidays from just £479 per person including flights to Orlando and accommodation.

The airline flies from Gatwick to Orlando 13 times a week and to Tampa seven times a week and from Heathrow to Miami 14 times a week.

The airline’s flights include a generous free cabin baggage allowance, free on-line check-in, seat allocation and complimentary food and drink on board. Customers can also hold a flight for up to 72 hours for just five pounds and reserve a break away with British Airways Holidays from just £150.

For reservations visit Special Offers on Flights and Holidays with British Airways

Orlando – British Airways Holidays offers seven nights at the 3* Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista, from £479 per person, travelling January 4 – January 30. Includes World Traveller return flights from Gatwick and accommodation. Book by June 5.

Tampa – British Airways Holidays offers four nights at the 3* The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk, from £569 per person, travelling January 4 to January 30. Includes return flights from Gatwick and accommodation. Book by June 05.

St Pete/Clearwater – British Airways Holidays offers seven nights at the 4* Holiday Inn & Suites Harbourside, from £619 per person, travelling January 4 to January 30. Includes return flights from Gatwick and accommodation. Book by June 05.

Fort Lauderdale – British Airways Holidays offers seven nights at the 3* Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale A Dt By Hilton, from £679 per person, travelling November 1 to December 12. Includes return flights from Heathrow and accommodation. Book by June 5.

Kissimmee – British Airways Holidays offers seven nights at the 3* Ramada Hotel Gateway, from £479 per person, travelling January 4 to January 30. Includes return flights from Gatwick and accommodation. Book by June 5.

Naples – British Airways Holidays offers seven nights at the 3* Naples Grande Beach Resort, from £679 per person, travelling November 1 to December 12. Includes World Traveller return flights from Gatwick and accommodation. Book by June 5.

Sarasota – British Airways Holidays offers seven nights at the 3* Residence Inn Sarasota Bradenton, from £689 per person, travelling November 1 to December 12. Includes return flights from Gatwick and accommodation. Book by June 5.

Kissimmee – British Airways Holidays offers seven nights at the 3.5* Disney Area Executive Homes, from £439 per person, travelling January 4 to January 30. Includes return flights from Gatwick and accommodation. Book by June 5.

Fly-drive Orlando – British Airways Holidays offers seven days, from £449 per person, travelling January 4 – January 30. Includes World Traveller return flights from Gatwick and an economy car. Book by June 05.

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Lufthansa celebrates 60 years of flights from Manchester Airport

May 24, 2016

Lufthansa is celebrating 60 years of flights from Manchester reaching new heights with passenger figures for the first four months of 2016 showing four per cent growth compared with the same period last year.

The figures were released by Christian Schindler, Lufthansa Group Regional Director for the UK & Ireland, when he visited Manchester to join in the diamond anniversary celebrations.

“This continued growth confirms the hub airlines in the Lufthansa Group (also including SWISS, Austrian and Brussels Airlines) continue to be among the leading carriers at Manchester”, says Christian Schindler.

“We are on target to hit the one million passengers a year mark at Manchester for 2016. It proves once again that the majority of air travellers value the long standing commitment Lufthansa Group has to our North West passengers along with our reliable full service offering. Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian and Brussels Airlines will all continue to be attractive for business and leisure travellers. They cherish the option to start their travel directly at Manchester airport on one of our 91 flights a week, avoiding the longer transfers to airports in the London area. And, as always, customers can be assured of the top-notch service, the high quality and the reliability of our airline group.”

Lufthansa celebrates 60 years of flights from Manchester Airport

Christian Schindler, Lufthansa Group Regional Director for the UK & Ireland (third from right) and Rad Taylor, Operations Director, Manchester Airport join a rousing celebration of Lufthansa’s 60th anniversary at Manchester Airport.

“The inaugural service started from Hamburg and then called at Düsseldorf on its way to Manchester. On leaving Manchester the Lockheed L-1049 G Super Constellation aircraft then crossed the Atlantic to Montreal and finally continued on to Chicago. Bert Trautmann, Manchester City’s German goalkeeper at the time, cut the ribbon just days before his heroic performance in the FA cup final where he played the later part of the match with a broken neck.”

Lufthansa 60 Years of flying from Manchester Airport

Passengers departing from Manchester during the 60th anniversary celebrations were entertained by a traditional German oompah band while they enjoyed Lufthansa branded cupcakes and sparkling wine.

Stephen Turner, Commercial Director for Manchester Airport, said: “I’d like to congratulate Lufthansa on reaching 60 years of operating from Manchester Airport. It’s a fantastic achievement and the airlines of the Lufthansa group continue to offer the 22 million people in our catchment area direct flights to key European cities and also great onward connectivity from their hubs at Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Vienna and Brussels.”

“We hope that we are part of the continued growth here at Manchester Airport and celebrate many more milestones to come with us!”

The summer timetable for 2016 sees the airlines of the Lufthansa Group – Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Lufthansa and SWISS – offering Manchester passenger’s access to one of the most comprehensive networks of air services in the world, with 91 weekly flights that are complimented by 33 weekly flights of Eurowings, the point-to-point carrier of the Lufthansa Group. In addition passengers departing from Manchester can connect through the Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Vienna and Brussels hubs to 316 destinations in 101 countries (compared to 321 destinations in 103 countries in Summer 2015).

This vast range of services are further supplemented by over 18,000 codeshare flights offered in collaboration with 30 partner airlines to provide their customers with a virtually worldwide air travel network.

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BA to increase direct routes to Middle East and use 787-9 to Abu Dhabi

May 13, 2016

British Airways are changing Abu Dhabi flight services later this year and the airline is to begin direct flights to Doha and Muscat from Heathrow  Airport – Terminal 5.

At the moment passengers flying to these Middle Eastern cities have to stop off in Abu Dhabi en route to Muscat and Bahrain en route to Doha. These new direct routes will begin on the 30th October which will reduce the journey time to both cities by approximately two hours.

The flights between Heathrow and Abu Dhabi, Doha and Bahrain will be operated daily by British Airways and the airline will be flying a new five-per-week service between Heathrow and Muscat.

Abu Dhabi Flights on BA 787-9

Passengers travelling direct to Abu Dhabi will be able to fly in the airline’s brand new 787-9 Dreamliner. The 787-9 includes a new First cabin which has just eight seats in comparison to the 14 seats available on other British Airways long-haul aircraft, giving even more exclusivity and privacy to customers.

To celebrate British Airways has sale fares on offer until the 17th May with return fares between London and the four cities starting from £349 in World Traveller and £599 in World Traveller Plus.

The sale runs until the 17th May, 2016 and is valid for travel between 30th October and 8th December 8, 2016 and 9th January and 21st March, 2017. To check fares click here

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Air New Zealand to increase Buenos Aires flights with 787-9 Dreamliner

May 12, 2016

Kiwis and Australians will soon have another reason to travel to the Argentinean capital of Buenos Aires with the announcement this week that Air New Zealand will begin using the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the Auckland – Buenos Aires flights from 30th October 2016.

Air New Zealand 787-9 Buenos Aires Flights

The airline will also step up frequency over the peak summer period offering an additional weekly service between Auckland and Buenos Aires from 12 December 2016 to 27th February 2017, bringing the total to four weekly return flights.

Air New Zealand launched the Auckland and Buenos Aires flights in December 2015, and has seen the demand go from strength to strength.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon made the announcement today at New Zealand’s premier travel trade event, TRENZ, saying the new route has performed very well in its first six months of operation.

The airline’s Chief Sales and Commercial Officer Cam Wallace says the new route has opened doors to Argentineans visiting New Zealand and Kiwis and Australians looking to explore Buenos Aires and beyond.

“Forward bookings originating from both New Zealand and Australia, and Argentina, are looking very positive and the additional peak season service will give customers more flexibility. The Auckland–Buenos Aires flights average 12 hours which makes the route well suited to the Dreamliner and customers will enjoy the benefits of the higher humidity and lower cabin altitude to help them arrive feeling more refreshed.”

The updated schedule from 30th October is as follows:


FlightDateFrequencyDeparture Time (local)Arrival Time (local)


Auckland to Buenos Aires

30 Oct – 11 Dec 2016Wednesday, Friday, Sunday20:0515:45
12 Dec 2016 – 27 Feb 2017Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday20:0515:45


Buenos Aires to Auckland

30 Oct – 11 Dec 2016Wednesday, Friday, Sunday23:5905:15 +2
12 Dec – 27 Feb 2017Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday23:5905:15 +2

From 28th February 2017, the service will return to three times per week (Wednesday, Friday, Sunday).

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Etihad Airways opens new premium lounge at Melbourne airport

May 10, 2016

Etihad Airways has opened its spectacular new Premium Lounge at Melbourne Airport, offering guests a stylish, comfortable environment in which they can relax, re-energise, dine, work or be entertained pre-flight.

A natural light filled space with floor-to-ceiling glass, it offers expansive views across the runway. At more than 800m2 with seating capacity for up to 133 guests, it is the airline’s largest Premium Lounge outside Abu Dhabi. The centrepiece for passengers is the intimate 26-seat dining area. Here guests will enjoy the airline’s signature hospitality with restaurant-style a la carte dining and an international buffet.

The kitchen prides itself on making everything in-house. Professional chefs prepare each dish on site using the freshest, locally sourced, seasonal produce. This includes bread – fresh-baked twice daily – grissini breadsticks; dips such as hummus, baba ghanoush and muhammara; pickles; labneh; cookies; and even ice-cream.

Cheeses, fruits and vegetables are sourced from Victorian suppliers and coffee is from a Melbourne-based roaster.

Another striking feature is the sculptural showcase bar. Here guests can enjoy a selection of refreshments with names like Flight Path Spritzer, Controlled Airspace, Winglet and Nacelle. Like the food on the lounge menu, these one-of-a-kind, bespoke beverages are all handmade by specially trained mixologists, using syrups and garnishes that are made in-house.

From an interior design perspective, the principles of style, space and serenity are complemented by Etihad Airways’ distinctive ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’ branding. With its geometric patterns and colour palette inspired by the UAE landscape, it is the ultimate expression of 21st century Abu Dhabi modernism.

The Etihad Airways’ Melbourne Airport Lounge

Etihad Airways new Premium Lounge at Melbourne Airport

Custom furnishings – by Boss – offer lounge guests a choice of seating styles, each designed for maximum comfort while dining, working and relaxing.

With the commencement of A380 services from 1 June, guests in The Residence will enjoy the exclusivity of a private lounge – discreetly located adjacent to the main entry. With custom-made arm chairs upholstered in Poltrona Frau Italian leather, plush soft furnishings, its own restroom and separate entry, it embodies the bespoke luxury and personalised service that is synonymous with the airline’s most exclusive hospitality experience.

Other amenities in the main lounge include separate male and female restrooms with shower facilities and Scaramouche + Fandago products, dedicated male and female ablution and prayer rooms, a children’s playroom, and a luggage room.

High-speed Wi-Fi connectivity is complimentary and multi-zone electric and USB power outlets are conveniently located throughout the area.

Shane O’Hare, Etihad Airways’ Senior Vice President Marketing, who cut the ceremonial ribbon with Melbourne Airport CEO Lyell Strambi at today’s official opening said:

“The new Premium Lounge at Melbourne Airport is in a class of its own, totally reimagined. Blending the best of a fine dining restaurant and a chic city cocktail bar, it is a showcase of intelligent design and sophistication where guests will enjoy the highest levels of comfort and luxury, complemented by our world-class hospitality, culinary innovation and cutting-edge beverage technology.”i

“At the same time, it has a strong local feel with the freshest produce, cheeses and wines – sourced from growers, makers and suppliers throughout the state of Victoria – offering our guests a tantalising taste of the state’s renowned culinary culture. The opening of this remarkable new facility and the launch of our flagship A380 services on 1st June, offer travellers on the Melbourne-Abu Dhabi route our most compelling guest experience proposition ever.”

Guests in The Residence, First Apartments and Business Studios will be invited to visit the lounge pre-flight. Platinum, Gold and Silver members of Etihad Guest and eligible members of Etihad Airways Partners and partner airline loyalty programs will also be able to use the facilities when travelling in Economy Class. Guests must be booked on an Etihad Airways-operated flight on the same day.

Located in Terminal 2 adjacent to gate 10, the lounge will open approximately three hours prior to the departure of Etihad Airways twice daily Melbourne-Abu Dhabi flights. The new facility adds to the airline’s expanding portfolio of premium facilities in Sydney, Abu Dhabi, Dublin, Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Manchester, Paris, Washington DC and New York.

Etihad Airways commenced daily flights to Melbourne in March 2009. Today, it operates double daily, non-stop flights to Abu Dhabi and beyond to the GCC, Africa and Europe. It is the only airline offering double daily non-stop flights between Melbourne and the United Arab Emirates. The UAE flag carrier will introduce its flagship Airbus A380 to Melbourne from 1 June 2016 bringing to the route The Residence, the world’s only private three-room cabin on a commercial aircraft.

In addition to double daily services to Melbourne, Etihad Airways operates daily flights to Brisbane and to Perth and 11 weekly services to Sydney. Its equity partner airline, Virgin Australia operates an additional three weekly services between Sydney and Abu Dhabi.

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Thai Air Asia launch Paint the Sky with Amazing Thailand design contest

May 10, 2016

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is partnering with Thai Air Asia to launch the “Paint the Sky with Amazing Thailand” design contest. This latest competition follows the success of last year’s co-branding partnership in which the airline wrapped its newest Airbus A320 aircraft with the logo of the 2015 Discover Thainess campaign and decorated its interior with images of the “12 Hidden Gems” destinations.

Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Executive Director of the Advertising and Public Relations Department of TAT said, “Last year’s co-branding partnership between TAT and Thai Air Asia proved highly popular with visitors while adding a unique colour to airline’s fleet. Under this year’s Paint the Sky with Amazing Thailand design contest, we look forward to seeing great designs that will help inspire more travellers from around the world to want to visit Thailand to discover the many amazing travel stories here by themselves.”

Thai Air Asia Paint the Sky Competition

The “Paint the Sky with Amazing Thailand” design contest is open for designers, artists and members of the public. They are invited to submit their entries under two categories: Amazing Thailand – Amazing Culture, to promote Thai culture, hospitality and lifestyles, and Amazing Thailand – Amazing Destination, to promote Thailand’s tourist attractions, be they cultural, natural, architectural or concerned with Thai festivals and leisure. Any region of Thailand can be represented, giving artists a great deal of freedom when coming up with creative designs.

Mr. Banyat Hansakul, Director of Engineering for Thai AirAsia said, “As one of the world’s largest low-cost carriers, Thai Air Asia is responsible for bringing tourists into Thailand and showing them its wonders, so we are proud to work with TAT again and further promote the kingdom via the livery of our aircraft.”

The winning designs in both “Paint the Sky with Amazing Thailand” concepts will be painted onto two of Thai Air Asia’s Airbus 320-200 aircraft, which operate on both domestic and international routes. The first aircraft with the winning design will be launched in August 2016, and the second one around a month later, and will be available for at least 11 months.

To enter the competition just visit the Air Asia page here.

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United Celebrates 30 Years at Washington Dulles Airport

May 10, 2016

In May 1986, United Airlines commenced hub operations at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) with 58 departures serving 24 destinations. Today, United celebrates three decades of serving the airport as a hub and more than 50 years serving the capital region, connecting customers to 83 global destinations with more than 200 departures, including capital-to-capital service to nearly 40 airports worldwide.

30 Years at Dulles

“Over the last 30 years, United has employed nearly 17,000 dedicated employees at IAD who have helped connect more than 500 million people through Washington Dulles to destinations around the globe,” said Jon Roitman, senior vice president of airport operations for United.


“We are committed to providing our customers at IAD and throughout the world with an elevated travel experience, and we look forward to delivering unmatched service from the national capital region for decades to come.”

United remains focused on adding service to the places customers want to fly at the times they want to travel, and will launch two new daily seasonal routes from IAD to Barcelona and Lisbon on May 25. Additionally, United recently applied to serve Havana from Dulles – the only airline that would offer direct flights to the Cuban capital from the Washington, D.C. market.

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