US Travel news October 2019

15 Oct 2019 4:15 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

Airline update 

LATAM currently operates popular daily flights from Sydney via Auckland to Santiago, however from 27 October three of the flights each week will overfly Auckland to provide the airline a non-stop Sydney to Santiago service.  The rationale is that together with One World partner Qantas they secure one-stop services between SE Asia and South America through the Qantas hub in Sydney.  This LATAM flight is very popular with our business traveller clients and now with only 4 flights each week from Auckland it is critical that you plan and book much earlier than in the past. Clients will often use this flight when combining business in North and South America due to the very good LATAM airfares available on that circuit. 

  • Fiji Airways has achieved the 4-Star SkyTrax rating putting them alongside neighbours Qantas and Air New Zealand. This rating is quite an achievement for this small regional airline to have gained. SkyTrax ratings are the most authoritative benchmark for airlines and allows us to assess an airline as to its suitability, service standard and safety ratings.  Fiji Airways operates beyond Nadi to both Los Angeles and San Francisco. The airline also receives two new Airbus A350 aircraft next month, an aircraft which has gained popularity for its cabin spaciousness, noting that the A350 has a slightly wider and taller cabin that the 787 Dreamliner.  
It can cause travellers a lot of angst, but demystifying lounge access rules between partners United Airlines (UA) and Air New Zealand (NZ) once you hit the US comes with some explaining and multiple scenarios are possible!  Here’s some facts related to the most common scenarios:  
  • Fundamental to everything is the fact that United Club’s are largely based upon a membership programme and not the class of travel you fly  
  • If flying stand-alone Domestic First/Business Class within the US, no US domestic lounge access, unless you join United Club (some locations offer single entry access for US$59) 
  • If flying NZ flight numbers to the US and transitting onto domestic First/Business on United metal (on a UA or NZ flight number), no US domestic lounge access 
  • If flying UA flight numbers to the US and transitting onto domestic First/ Business, lounge access is available  
  • If you are a Star Alliance Gold Frequent Flyer, lounge access is possible irrespective of your class of travel and whether you are in transit or taking a stand alone flight  

For your next staff Quiz Night these are the world’s top 10 busiest routes by departing aircraft. Having the world’s busiest airports, you’d expect US city pairs to be the busiest, but this is not the case. The information is compiled by CAPA (Centre for Aviation): 

  1. Jeju to Seoul (684 weekly aircraft departures)
  2. Sydney to Melbourne (552)
  3. Delhi to Mumbai (428)
  4. Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi (421)
  5. Tokyo Haneda to Sapporo
  6. Fukuoka to Tokyo
  7. Bogota to Medellin
  8. Jeddah to Ryadh
  9. Sydney to Brisbane 
  10. Los Angeles to San Francisco 

Hotels

California has banned hotels from giving guests small, plastic shampoo and soap bottles. A new law banning hotels from providing guests with small plastic bottles containing shampoo, conditioner or soap means that hotels would have to install reusable dispensers or use glass instead. The ban will apply to the more than 515,000 hotel rooms in California. The new law takes effect in 2023 for hotels with more than 50 rooms and 2024 for hotels with less than 50 rooms. 

Travel better! At ATPI New Zealand we’re a member of the prestigious US-based Virtuoso, an invited group of the world’s leading travel agents and where we can achieve benefits over and above any other travel agent or booking site for our clients. For a similar level as any advertised rate included 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 Wi-Fi
  • Often some other kind of personalised in-room amenity
  • Take a look at www.virtuoso.com or call one of our BWT Travel Advisors

Take a stopover on your way back from your heavily scheduled week of business with a layover near San Francisco in wine country! And when wine country beckons, Carneros Resort and Spa is the answer. This uniquely styled retreat is one of our Virtuoso partner hotels and has 94 individual guest cottages and suites, three full-service restaurants including renowned ‘Farm’ and a top-rated spa. The cottages themselves are heaven-sent, with cozy fireplaces, spacious patios with teak furnishings, and private outdoor spaces. Spend an afternoon at the inspired spa; treatments are based on local flavours, from rosemary and olive to quince and honey. Take to bikes for a ride through the vineyards. Then cap off a memorable day with a dinner of fresh local ingredients at FARM. We have a special offer for Amcham Members giving a 4th night free which is in addition to the usual Virtuoso amenities   – ask one of our team! 

It's kick-off time in London.  Some of America’s top NFL teams return to London this month for four games, a couple of which are at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the first purpose-built NFL stadium outside the USA. On 13 October the Carolina Panthers played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Wembley Stadium hosts the final two games, with the Los Angeles Rams hosting Cincinnati Bengals on 27 October, and the Houston Texans playing the Jacksonville Jaguars on 3 November.

In line with California removing plastic bottles from hotels, our international travellers will also notice a change to our travel documents. Gone are the less fashionable plastic ticket wallets (never single use we’re assured!) and we’ve developed an ATPI cardboard ticket wallet. We look forward to your feedback on the new ticket wallets. Actually our timing with California is only coincidental! 

Reminder: Your international visitors to New Zealand may require an electronic travel authorisation to land in New Zealand NZeTA. There is essentially two parts to this – the basic electronic visa required for relevant nationals and the IVL – International Visitor Levey – which is the NZ$35 payable for us to build smarter facilities in National Parks (hopefully potentially more than that!). Have your visiting colleagues look at https://nzeta.immigration.govt.nz/.  As with the US ESTA site it’s likely that many copycat sites will show up and charge more than is necessary. The best source is our website noted below – refer to the Traveller Resources section for the correct websites. 

ATPI New Zealand     NZ wide: 0800 508 580  

www.atpi.co.nz