New travel agent benefits from Hahn Air and an upgraded, family-friendly “Sky Couch” from Air New Zealand lead this week’s air travel news to keep on your radar.
Hahn Air reports that it has expanded its benefits for travel agency partners, including VIP flights onboard its aircraft and discounts on courses from the Hahn Air Business School. Agents who register with the airline can get a VIP journey from Dusseldorf to Luxembourg on a Hahn Air bizjet aircraft at 50 percent of the official Product Experience Program (PEP) rate. That’s in addition to the airline’s current benefits for travel agents, which include insolvency insurance, a 14-day refund guarantee, a GDS ticketing assistant, a free waiver for one Agency Debit Memo (ADM) per rolling year and the ability to use the airline’s e-payment solution.
In family travel news, Air New Zealand has upgraded its “Economy Skycouch” with the addition of an infant harness and belt, allowing infants to remain lying down throughout the cruise phase of flight. Previously infants were required to be seated on a guardian’s lap when the seatbelt sign was on. A new infant pod also provides additional comfort and protection for the airline’s youngest Skycouch customers. The Skycouch is a row of three Economy seats that convert into a flat, flexible surface that the airline first introduced in 2011.
Following last week’s budget travel news, Virgin Atlantic is introducing its own cheaper, baggage-free fare option. The airline has revamped its economy offerings into three levels, Delight, Classic and Light, the lowest of which, Light, includes only hand luggage.
In flight news, St. Vincent and The Grenadines is getting its first nonstop flights from New York on Caribbean Airlines. The airline will offer the new, weekly service beginning March 14 between JFK Airport and the destination’s new Argyle International Airport (SVD).
In Asia, Cathay Pacific and Cotai Water Jet have signed a new codeshare agreement that will provide seamless air-sea transfers to Macao for passengers flying to Hong Kong. As part of the partnership Cathay Pacific will add its CX code on Cotai Water Jet services operating between Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) and Taipei Ferry Terminal, the main access point to Sands Resorts Macao’s four Cotai Strip resorts: The Venetian Macao, The Plaza Macao, Sands Cotai Central and The Parisian Macao.
Another codeshare agreement by Cathay Pacific with Kazakhstan flag carrier Air Astana will allow the airline to place its CX code on nonstop flights between Hong Kong and Almaty, as well as on connecting services between Almaty and Astana, the Kazakh capital. Cathay Pacific will also codeshare on Air Astana’s five weekly services between Bangkok and Almaty (going daily starting March 25) and four weekly services between Seoul and Almaty. Air Astana will place its “KC” code on select Cathay Pacific flights operating between Hong Kong and Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Singapore.
In Turkey, Turkish Airlines is adding a new stopover service for transfer passengers departing from all nine of its gateways in the United States and flying to Africa, Eastern Europe and the Balkans, Southern Europe, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Russia, Iran and Kazakhstan. Passengers flying to these destinations who have more than 20 hours of connection time in Istanbul can receive complimentary accommodations to explore the city. Economy class passengers will receive a one-night stay at a four-star hotel in Sultanahmet, while business class passengers will get a two-night stay at a five-star hotel in Taksim.
Air Canada is launching a number of new routes, including new service to Kauai on its new mainline Boeing 737 MAX-8 fleet. The airline will also be doubling the frequency of its flights from Western Canada to Hawaii, and all flights from Western Canada to Honolulu, Maui and Kona, and other popular sun destinations will feature Air Canada's new 737 MAX aircraft. The airline is also introducing the new aircraft on routes to Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos.
Other new flights from Air Canada this week include daily, seasonal service between Calgary and Palm Springs, and between Edmonton and Las Vegas starting October 28. The new Calgary to Palm Springs, and Edmonton to Las Vegas flights will be onboard Air Canada A320 and Air Canada Rouge A319 aircraft, respectively, both offering premium and economy cabins.
On Delta, starting July 9 passengers flying out of Chattanooga (CHA) will be able to enjoy new, six times weekly nonstop service to New York’s LaGuardia airport (LGA). CHA – LGA flights will operate Monday through Saturday, while LGA – CHA flights will operate Sunday through Friday.
Also this week Southwest Airlines announced it is extending its bookable flight schedule through November 3. Starting October 3, the airline will add new daily nonstop service between Houston (Hobby) and Columbus, Ohio; between Houston (Hobby) and Louisville, Kentucky; and between Denver and Memphis, Tennessee. Starting October 7, the airline will add weekly nonstop service between Oklahoma City and Nashville, and between Denver and El Paso, Texas.
Finally, Sabre signed two important deals this week. In addition to extending its longstanding agreement with Aeromexico, the company also signed a long-term distribution agreement with another Mexico-based carrier, Interjet.