Weekly Travel Round-up December 2nd

Travel News 02 Dec 2016

For week ending December 2nd

While we enter into December and officially welcome the Christmas season, the world of travel seems to be offering loads of news to catch up on. We see Qatar Airways starting to operate flights between Doha and Dublina, Flybe signing a new codeshare agreement with Singapore Airlines and Alitalia and United flying to Havana..  Find here all the travel news from Ireland and the rest of the world!

Qatar confirms plan to launch new Dublin-Doha route

Qatar Airways has confirmed it will operate flights between Dublin and Doha from next year. The airline owns 20pc of IAG, the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling. Earlier this year, Aer Lingus chief executive Stephen Kavanagh said that either the Irish airline would begin flying to Doha, or Qatar Airways would launch the service. "Now we have not just a shareholder, but also a partner, with a competitive network in Qatar," he said in June.

Airport Parking and Hotels  designs the airport of the future: Biometric tickets, virtual assistants and fast molecular security scanners

Airport parking operator and retailer Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) has high hopes for the future of airports – which include biometric tickets, virtual assistants and fast molecular security scanners.  It has designed a model of what it believes an international airport would look like in 25 years, and it sure is impressive. Tiresome check-in queues will be no more, as manned desks will be phased out completely to be replaced with online check-in and self-service desks.

Flybe signs codeshare agreement with Singapore Airlines

Flybe and Singapore Airlines have announced a codeshare agreement: the deal means passengers using Flybe’s services from five UK airports can book onward flights to more than 100 Singapore Airlines destinations. The codeshare also opens up additional connections via Paris Charles de Gaulle and Dusseldorf.

Best Western opens serviced apartments property in Africa

The Executive Residency by Best Western Nairobi will be offering 48 serviced apartments with one and two-bedroom suites. Amenities include a fitness centre, heated indoor swimming pool and a meeting room for up to 60 guests. The Grove rooftop restaurant serves local and international cuisine and cocktails with city views.

Hilton opens Brooklyn property

Hilton has opened its latest property in New York, located in Brooklyn’s Boreum Hill area. The Hilton Brooklyn New York features 196 rooms, fitness and business centres, a grab and go pantry, and 210 sqm of meeting space. The hotel’s design includes a rope motif which “pays tribute to the Schermerhorn rope factory that previously occupied the site in the 19th century, braiding rope for New York’s shipbuilding industry”, as well as murals of vintage neighbourhood maps lining the walls.

Historic Stafford hotel in London renovates Carriage House suites for understated opulence

The historic Stafford hotel, which was formerly a Kempinski, will be revamping its Carriage House suites by next spring. Located in St James’s, in Mayfair, the Stafford has appointed New York-based company Champalimaud Design to transform its 13 Carriage House suites over the next few months. The design firm intends to create “an eclectic take on the hotel’s British heritage with designs that offer a contemporary twist on traditional English furnishings”. For many, it will be reassuring to know that the property’s Grade II Listed annex won’t be stripped out and overly modernised. The changes promises “understated opulence”.

Shangri-La and Taj Hotels form loyalty alliance

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has entered into an “industry-first” alliance with Mumbai-based luxury hotel group Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces. The partnership will implicate the integration of Shangri-La’s Golden Circle (GC) loyalty scheme with Taj’s Inner Circle (TIC) programme. The alliance will include automatic tier-matching status for all six million (and future) members

United and Alitalia launch flights to Havana

United Airlines and Alitalia have launched non-stop services to Havana. United flights depart daily from New York’s Newark Liberty International airport and every Saturday from Houston Bush Intercontinental airport, both served by a B737. Alitalia flights from Rome Fiumicino airport will depart Tuesdays Saturdays, returning from Havana on Tuesdays and Saturdays using a B777.

Qatar Airways introduces Apple Pay

Qatar Airways introduces Apple Pay to its list of payment options, allowing passengers to book journeys securely on their mobile phones or tablets. Available on iOS compatible devices, Apple Pay lets users book journeys through Qatar Airways using passcode or fingerprint technology linking directly to their debit or credit card. To use the service, registered customers must select the Apple Pay option on the summary page when booking online or through the airline’s app.

Liverpool airport begins £4 million improvement works

Liverpool John Lennon airport has started work on a £4 million project to refurbish and upgrade the upper floor of its departures lounge. Improvements include new seating, new washroom facilities, large flight information screens and a reconfigured retail area.

British Airways launches Facebook messenger bot

British Airways has launched a Facebook “BOTler”, offering London-bound customers a “best of the best” guide to the capital. The Facebook messenger service is initially launching in Germany, France, India, Singapore, Japan and the UAE, and provides travellers with live updates on exclusive deals and personalised recommendations on top attractions and experiences tailored for individual users.

Qatar Airways adds routes to Canberra, Dublin and Las Vegas

The carrier has announced new routes for 2017-18, including its fifth Australian destination and 11th US route. Qatar Airways add eight new routes to Canberra, Dublin, Las Vegas, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago de Chile, Medan (Indonesia), Tabuk and Yanbu (Saudi Arabia).

Marriott opens four new Mexico hotels

Marriott International announced four new properties in Mexico under the Renaissance, AC Hotels, Westin and Aloft brands. Features will include a spa, fitness centre, swimming pool, and innovative dining venues that will provide a variety of healthy culinary options.