News, views and information for Amcham’s Business Travellers from Grant Bevin, ATPI Business World Travel - August 2018

14 Aug 2018 2:16 PM | Creative Agency Secrets Ltd (Administrator)

Upgraded credit card regulations have been launched by IATA – affecting all airlines and travel agents around the world. Our industry has done a lot of work specifically around PCI (payment card industry) credit card protection in particular noting that airlines suffer significant volumes of credit card fraud; they are keen to reduce this problem. This affects ATPI Business World Travel and our clients in that a change will occur when communicating your credit card number to us. For most clients we have your credit card saved in our secure Traveller or Company Profile system and so nothing changes in this instance. This usually only needs human intervention when your card’s expiry date is adjusted or you want to change your card on file. For ‘one off’ or new card numbers we will now email you a secure link to complete the card details and return to us. We are not permitted to take credit card numbers over the phone or by email. In the interests of improving your credit card security, we appreciate your understanding.

Airline Update:

  • Singapore Airlines has won the coveted Skytrax Best Airline in the World Award for 2018. Singapore won the Best First Class Award and was in the top 3 airlines for Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class and so the top award was deservedly theirs for the taking. Best Business Class was Qatar Airways (then Singapore and ANA All Nippon), Premium Economy Class went to Air New Zealand followed by Qantas and then SQ, Economy Class top airline was Thai Airways followed by SQ and then Qatar. Disappointingly local airline Air New Zealand no longer feature in the top 20 airlines for Business Class. They were 19th in the world for Economy Class but the star of the show, Air NZ’s Premium Economy kept them in the game with that category’s ultimate Award.
  • Airlines are ‘back to the future’ and bringing back the retro rule from days gone by of a surcharge for flying on peak days. Quite a few international airlines have adopted a surcharge for flying Thursday to Sunday. One airline charges an additional $60 Economy and $300 Business Class for flights on those peak days.
  • Hawaiian Airlines already offers a very useful connecting flights schedule beyond Honolulu to around a dozen US mainland destinations. Their newest will be Long Beach(LGB) and this offer provides a very tidy connection to and from Auckland, completely avoiding the mayhem of LAX. Long Beach Airport is a 20-25 minute drive to Disneyland so this will be great for our leisure clients as well – a few days with the family in Disneyland with Honolulu on the way home!

Hotel update:

Iconic brand Regent Hotels has been partly sold to IHG – Inter Continental Hotels, which will take a 51% stake. A boutique brand, Regent Hotels can be found in around 10 locations in Asia and Europe. More mature clients will fondly remember The Regent Auckland (now the Stamford Plaza) which was the first luxury hotel in Auckland, introducing a new standard to the country. IHG will develop the Regent brand as its top tier luxury brand and will build this to around 40 hotels over the next few years. The iconic harbour-side Inter-Continental Hong Kong will revert back to the future with its original brand as the Regent Hong Kong.

One of our San Francisco favourites the Inn at Union Square has undergone a tip to toe renovation. Located right in the heart of Union Square this boutique property has some snug rooms but one of the best locations! Pitched at the four-star market the Inn offers a complimentary continental breakfast as well as wine tasting in the evenings.

Travel better! At ATPI/Business World Travel we’re a member of the prestigious US-based Virtuoso, an invited group of the world’s leading travel agents and where we achieve benefits over and above any other travel agent or booking site for our clients. For the same as any advertised rate including on the hotel site, Bookings.com or Expedia you’ll receive:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily Breakfast for two
  • Food & Beverage or Spa services credit usually around US$100
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wifi
  • Often some other kind of personalised in-room amenity
  • Take a look at www.virtuoso.com or call one of our BWT Travel Advisors

Executive Leisure and Private Clients:

Toy Story Land has just opened at Disney World in Florida. Toy Story Land puts you right into Andy’s backyard, shrinking you down to the size of a toy as you explore the universe from the three Pixar movies. (You’re considered an honorary toy the minute you walk in). There’s a lot to see, from the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster to the Alien Swirling Saucers teacup-style ride and Toy Story Mania. The new park within a park has taken over 4 years to create and is a part of a major transformation for Disney World. Next up in 2019 is a significant Star Wars attraction.

We’re urging Hawaii-bound clients planning a visit to Oahu’s Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve this week to check for updates before heading to the spot, famed for snorkelling. The beach was closed recently following a sudden spike in jellyfish stings before 0900. The park is routinely shut on a Tuesday. Reports say it will depend on the ocean conditions. The upper portion of Hanauma Bay, including its visitor center and scenic overlook will be open.

General:

Wellington now has an alternative to taxis or rental cars – introducing Mevo which is a unique car sharing service offering Audi A3 e-tron electric vehicles. Whilst there is an airport pick up station available the system works well in the central city grid. Basically if you see a car is available you use your Mevo APP to open it and take it to your next appointment. Through a special arrangement with Wellington City Council you can also park the car anywhere in the city. Look at www.mevo.co.nz

Northside Aucklanders now have a public transport link to Auckland Airport. The new North Harbour Express SkyBus leaves Albany Westfield every 30 minutes from 0400hrs stopping enroute at Smales Farm and Akoranga Drive. Return first bus departs from the Domestic Terminal at 0500hrs and from International at 0505hrs. NORTH HARBOUR EXPRESS is $24 one way, $44 return or $210 for a 10 trip card.

Travellers heading to the US from any airport in the world should allow 3-hours for advance check in. Passengers are randomly selected for the second check and on some flights it might be 6 passengers and others up to 100 need to go through the second screening and an interview. A reminder that your electronic items (phone, laptop, camera etc) must be charged and working. Remember clients, Honolulu is in America and the 3-hours applies!

Powder has now joined the liquid/gels hand luggage screening ‘no-no’ list. International travellers from New Zealand and Australia will notice changes to the way airport security screening takes place – all powders you are carrying in your hand luggage have to be separately screened. This will also apply to baby formula you might be taking on board.

For more details and bookings contact your BWT consultant on 0800-508 580 or 09-5293700