British Airways debuts new lounge in San Francisco | News

British Airways has unveiled its new lounge in San Francisco.

The location becomes the third US lounge to benefit from the airline’s investment plan for its customers, following the recent opening of its first and club lounge at New York JFK’s Terminal 7.

The new contemporary lounge is spread across 665 square metres with views of the runway, thanks to floor to ceiling glass windows that run along the side of the lounge letting natural light flow in.

The airline has created a number of zones throughout the lounge to cater to its customers’ needs. 

For those wanting to unwind ahead of their flight, they can do so at the beautifully crafted granite feature bar, that forms the centre piece of the lounge.

Customers wishing to catch up on some work ahead of their flight will be able to use a new study area with wireless printing facilities.

In the main seating area there is a deli bar where customers can help themselves to a wide range of food and drink options.

For the airline’s customers traveling in first, there is a new exclusive boutique dining room, where customers can enjoy fine wines and menus inspired by some of world’s top chefs.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways director of brand and customer experience, said: “We know that lounges form an important part of the journey for some of our customers, so we’re delighted to be able to open this new space in San Francisco, the third lounge in the US to benefit from our investment program.

“We think customers will love the new look and feel. We have had such positive feedback from customers who have experienced our New York lounge and they both follow the same design concept.”

More Information

The airline has created a 360-degree interactive video of the lounge, that can be viewed here.

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Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois expands Four Seasons offering in Megève | News

After meticulous renovations and more than €10 million of investment, Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois, Megève, A Four Seasons Hotel will open their doors on December 13th.

Beautifully complementing the existing Four Seasons Hotel Megève, which opened in 2017, this new addition will extend the exceptional luxury offerings in Megève, marked by Four Seasons quality and service.

The sister properties are offered in partnership with Edmond de Rothschild Heritage.

“When we opened Four Seasons Hotel Megève, we knew we were creating something truly exceptional in a very special destination,” said Christian Clerc, president, worldwide hotel operations, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.

“With the addition of Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois, the guest experience will be enhanced even more with expansive, beautifully-appointed chalets as well as a Michelin-starred dining experience at Prima, now officially under the Four Seasons brand.

“Together with the Baroness Ariane de Rothschild, we have elevated the history, elegance and charm of Megève to extraordinary new heights.”

Ideally located at the foot of the ski slopes of Mont d’Arbois in the upper region of Megève, and only two kilometres from the existing hotel, Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois are named after Benjamin and Ariane de Rothschild’s first three daughters.

The main chalet, renamed Chalet Eve, was bought by Edmond de Rothschild in 1960 to host a celebration to inaugurate the renovation of the family’s very first hotel, Le Palace des Neiges.

Along with 25 rooms and suites, Chalet Eve also features the recently awarded Prima Restaurant by chef Nicolas Hensinger, which now boasts one Michelin Star, adding to the exceptional dining experiences in Megève.

Chalet Eve also features a spa with a beautiful indoor/outdoor pool for guests to enjoy the natural surroundings from indoors or outside.

Chalet Noémie was built in 1927 for baroness Noémie de Rothschild by French architect Henry Jacques Le Même, and was initially the family’s private chalet.

Its location offers the ultimate in privacy, yet features large windows from which to enjoy the idyllic surrounding scenery.

The chalet combines the charm of an old farmhouse with a modern twist.

Chalet Alice, built in 2005 as an extension to Chalet Noémie, is the most recent of the three chalets.

Both Chalet Noémie and Chalet Alice can be privately reserved for guests looking for more exclusivity during their stay, and are the perfect option for those travelling with a larger group of friends or family.

Baroness Ariane de Rothschild, deeply involved in the project and the destination, commissioned the renovation from Thierry Curty, under the artistic direction of Pierre-Yves Rochon, who was also the designer in each of the Four Seasons hotels in France.

Through successive renovation phases encompassing all the chalets and suites, Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois have been successfully modernised while conserving the charm of bygone eras.

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France unveils plans for new €180m aviation tax | News

France unveils plans for new €180m aviation tax

Officials have unveiled plans for a new tax on all flights from airports in France.

Branded as an ‘eco-tax’, the new levy is expected to raise around €180 million annually from 2020, according to transport minister, Elisabeth Borne.

The amount of the tax will depend on the type of ticket being bought.

Economy class tickets on flights within France or the EU will have a tax of €1.50 imposed.

Business class tickets for flights out of the EU will have the highest tariff, of up to €18.

A similar Air Passenger Duty is already in place in the UK.

The tax will only apply to outgoing flights and not to those flying into the country.

Borne said the money raised by the tax will be invested in in less-polluting transport, such as rail.

The International Air Transport Association was quick to condemn the move.

“This tax is misguided,” read a statement from the trade body.

“Since 1990, airlines have reduced carbon emissions per passenger 50 per cent, and from 2020 will be paying to offset all the growth in emissions.

“A tax will not help the industry to invest in cleaner fuels and technology.

“It will also damage €100 billion that aviation generates for the French economy, and 500,000 new jobs are at risk from the lack of competitiveness of French aviation.”

Some 81 per cent of French people don’t trust their government to spend environmental taxes on environmental action, IATA added.

The airline industry is also introducing its own initiatives to try and reduce pollution.

The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation requires airlines to monitor and report their emissions from this year.

The full scheme will start in 2021.

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Carnival Corporation joins battle against single-use plastics | News

Carnival Corporation will seek to significantly eliminate its purchase and consumption of non-essential single-use plastics by the end of 2021.

The effort to reduce single-use plastics across its nine global cruise line brands is part of an expansion of Operation Oceans Alive.

Carnival Corporation and its cruise line brands already have plans under way, including initiatives to reduce or eliminate plastic straws, cups, lids, and bags, among other single-use items.

The brands are also working to potentially eliminate individual servings of select packaged food items and other single-use plastics or decorative items used in food and beverage service as well as in staterooms.

The company is immediately focusing on reducing single-use plastic items not used for sanitary or public health-related purposes.

As part of the company’s stringent health, environment, safety and security policy and to comply with national and international regulations governing cruise ship operations, there are some single-use plastic items that cannot be completely eliminated, including plastic trash can liners in common areas and sanitary gloves, among others.

“We recognise that to be a responsible global organisation, a good corporate citizen and the environmental leader our guests expect us to be, we need to continue to take proactive measures to ensure sustainability is ingrained in all aspects of our operation across our nine global cruise brands,” said Bill Burke, chief maritime officer for Carnival Corporation.

“Our Operation Oceans Alive platform and this initiative to dramatically reduce single-use plastics across our global fleet are just some of the ways we are committed to continuously enhancing our operations and focus on environmental compliance and excellence.

“Along with the support of our more than 120,000 dedicated employees, most of whom live and work at sea, we will do our part to preserve and protect the oceans, seas and destinations we visit around the world.”

Introduced in January 2018, Carnival Corporation launched Operation Oceans Alive as an internal effort and call to action to further ensure all employees receive proper education, training and oversight, while continuing the company-wide commitment to protecting the oceans, seas and destinations in which it operates.

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Explore Palm Jumeirah with new Emirates discounts | News

Emirates has partnered with world-renowned hotel providers to offer its passengers travelling to and through Dubai attractive summer rates in some of the UAE’s most prestigious hotels.

Customers who purchase an Emirates ticket and travel from now until September 30th can enjoy exclusive summer hotel rates in any of the properties within Accor, Armani Hotel Dubai, Emaar Hospitality Group and Marriot during their stay in the UAE.

Visitors can take advantage of up to a third off best available rates provided by Accor – a world-leading hospitality group with a diverse brand portfolio to suit all budgets.

Armani Hotel Dubai – a landmark hotel that exclusively occupies eleven floors of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa – is offering Emirates passengers up to 35 per cent off on best available rates.

The hotel conveniently provides visitors direct access to the world’s largest and most visited shopping and entertainment destination, the Dubai Mall.

Marriott boasts a diverse brand portfolio and the hotel chain is offering Emirates passengers up to 25 per cent off selected best available rates at any of its properties across the UAE.

Emaar Hospitality Group – which is home to esteemed brands including the Address Hotels & Resorts, Vida Hotels & Resorts and Rove Hotels, is offering Emirates customers up to 35 per cent off best available rates.

Customers who book in Address Downtown, Address Boulevard, Address Dubai Mall or Palace Downtown can also complimentary access to Dubai Aquarium, Underwater Zoo and VR Park.

Dubai is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with an eclectic mix of offerings including impressive architecture, world-class shopping, and fine dining restaurants.

Visitors will enjoy exploring the city and its many attractions including iconic landmarks such as the Palm Jumeirah, fantastic beach and spa resorts with pool access, as well as indoor entertainment activities across various locations. 

Passengers must present a copy of their Emirates flight ticket or boarding pass at the time of check-in.

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IATA urges reform of UK aviation sector | News

The International Air Transport Association has warned that up to 120,000 jobs supported by air transport could be at risk from an erosion of UK air transport competitiveness.

By contrast, employment could rise by 200,000 if the UK invests in a cost-effective runway expansion, abolishes or reduces Air Passenger Duty and improves visa processes.

A new report published by IATA, United Kingdom Air Transport Regulatory Competitiveness Indicators, reveals that while air transport’s contribution to the UK economy is currently significant, supporting 1.56 million jobs and contributing £89 billion to UK GDP, there is a risk that employment could fall to 1.44 million by 2037 unless policies are adopted to facilitate continued growth of aviation.

The study suggests three key recommendations for air transport to continue its growth trajectory and generate even more value in the UK:

  • London Heathrow operates at over 99 per cent capacity, and Gatwick is also approaching full capacity as the world’s busiest single-runway airport. Cost-effective development of additional airport capacity in the south-east of England is therefore an urgent priority, IATA argued.
  • The UK ranks last out of 148 nations for the level of passenger and airport charges and taxes. These high costs are a drag on the viability of new connections. In particular, the UK should abolish or at a minimum, reduce APD, IATA said.
  • The visa and border experience acts as a deterrent to travel to the UK, and must be improved. As a non-Schengen member, the UK requires a separate visa application, but this process is costly, complex and time-consuming.

“As an island, the UK is uniquely dependent on air transport in order to connect itself to the world.

“It is no coincidence that the UK ranks very highly for the strength of its route network.

“But this network – and the 1.6 million jobs that depend on aviation – cannot be taken for granted.

“If the industry is not nurtured, as many as 120,000 jobs could be lost.

“On the other hand, the tremendous economic and social benefits of aviation could be enhanced if the government adopts policies to strengthen the industry’s competitiveness.

“The chief priorities must be to increase airport capacity, cut APD, the world’s highest air passenger tax, and improve the visa and border process,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA regional vice president for Europe.

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Hilton Garden Inn opens at London Heathrow Terminal 2 | News

Hilton Garden Inn London Heathrow Terminal 2 has opened its doors to guests.

The 369-room hotel, located at Europe’s busiest airport, is the latest addition to the growing Hilton Garden Inn portfolio.

Operating under a franchise agreement with Arora Group, the hotel becomes the eleventh property to be added to the Arora Group portfolio.

Hilton Garden Inn London Heathrow Terminal 2 features runway views and is the first and only hotel at Heathrow Airport to provide guests with direct access to the Queen’s Terminal via a walkway, allowing them to reach departure gates in minutes.

“More than 80 million people pass through Heathrow every year, and we are delighted to offer guests a great accommodation option to make their travel journey that much smoother,” said Simon Vincent, executive vice president and president, EMEA, Hilton.

“Hilton pioneered the concept of the airport hotel back in 1959, so we are proud to be opening the doors to our second Hilton Garden Inn property at Heathrow as we celebrate our 100th anniversary.”

The 14-floor property features 369 comfortable guest rooms, including 23 family rooms and ten suites offering an adjoining seating area with a sofa bed and a 55-inch HDTV.

Arora Group founder and chairman, Surinder Arora, commented: “This hotel is special, not just for us but for the Heathrow market too.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Hilton Garden Inn and delivering the service, excellence and passion of Arora Group, while based at the convenience of Heathrow’s Central terminal area.”

Guests can indulge at the hotel’s main restaurant, the Apron, and enjoy a hearty breakfast, lunch or dinner.

After a long flight, guests can visit the Runway Bar on the hotel’s rooftop (opening in August), and enjoy a range of cocktails and small plates while overlooking 360º views of Heathrow’s runway.

The hotel is within proximity to frequent transport links, allowing guests to reach London in just 15-minutes using Heathrow Express.

There are also several convenient and nearby attractions including, the picturesque Windsor Castle and Thorpe Park for thrill seekers.

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The joys of sending letters and postcards while on holiday | Focus

The joys of sending letters and postcards while on holiday

There once was a time where every holiday, trip, and weekend away was marked with a postcard and a letter home for loved ones. Those days are gone for many, but in a world racked with social media, smartphones, and constant connectivity, more and more people are returning to the humble letter or postcard. It’s not hard to see why.

A heartfelt letter or postcard, posted with an envelope from, is an ideal way to make any holiday or trip feel that little bit more special. Whether it’s a journey of ten miles, or ten thousand, mark it with a postcard.

The personal touch
Virtually everyone of every generation has a smartphone now. It’s so easy to text your friends and family with up-to-the minute snaps of your holiday and real-time commentary, the humble letter or postcard home has fallen out of favour. But it’s starting to become more popular again, as many are starting to feel technology encroaching too far into their downtime.

Writing a letter or a postcard is an intimate, personal experience – it shows that thought, consideration, and time has been put into the activity rather than just thirty seconds of a thumb tapping a screen.

When someone sits to write a letter or postcard, it gives them the opportunity to digest their experiences. Technology allows everything to be instant, but that means the actual enjoyment of the experience is often lost. Many prefer to take their time, truly appreciate what they’ve done, then write it down.

Writing a postcard or letter also allows the sender to think a little longer about how they want to express themselves. Texts are so quickly sent that they can often be poorly worded or misleading. With a letter there is time to think about what really needs to be said – and remember that a beautiful postcard is a keepsake in its own right.

Choosing the right envelope
A piece of heartfelt communication needs the right envelope to make sure it arrives at its destination safely, and that it has the best possible impact. Envelopes are not created equal, and it never does a heartfelt letter or postcard justice to be sent in a standard white or brown envelope – as if it were nothing but a standard bill.

Put a little more consideration into choosing a high-quality envelope with a pleasing colour scheme, or maybe even a custom design. It makes sending a letter/postcard a truly memorable experience for both sender and recipient.

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Cameron returns to lead Huvafen Fushi, Maldives | News

Cameron returns to lead Huvafen Fushi, Maldives

Huvafen Fushi has welcomed Noel Cameron back to the position of general manager, nine years after his first appointment.

With an impressive track record in the hospitality industry, including leadership roles with some of the world’s most exclusive luxury hotels and hospitality brands, he brings exceptional creativity and expertise to the role.

Cameron will guide the resort on its transcendent journey to a bold, sophisticated future back under the management of Universal Resorts.

Originally conceptualised by Universal Resorts over a decade ago, Huvafen Fushi was the first of its kind in the Maldives; an icon that inspired and defined the generation of luxury resorts that followed.

Having navigated many challenges and changes through the intervening years, Huvafen Fushi recently returned to the Universal Resorts fold.

Back at the helm as general manager, Cameron will drive the collective vision to redefine this Maldivian paradise once again, retaining its intriguing allure and sense of natural wonder whilst creating a renewed sense of sophistication.

An international hotelier with extensive luxury hospitality experience, his exposure to various markets and his in-depth understanding of the industry translates into a proven track record of delivering positive business results.

Overseeing all aspects of the resort, Cameron will be responsible for the strategic direction and day to day operations of Huvafen Fushi, including its 44 enrapturing villas; the world’s first and only underwater spa; sumptuous dining options including the Maldives’ first underground wine cellar; and a programme of curated guest experiences.

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Air Arabia launches new Kuala Lumpur connection from Sharjah | News

Air Arabia has launched its direct flight between Kuala Lumpur and Sharjah.

The seven-hour flight between the two cities is the first direct flight by a low-cost carrier connecting Malaysia with the United Arab Emirates.

The inaugural flight landed at KL International Airport at 08:50 and was received by an official delegation.

Commenting on the inaugural launch of the route, Adel Al Ali, group chief executive officer of Air Arabia, said: “We are delighted to be the first low cost airline to connect Kuala Lumpur with the UAE and GCC.

“We are confident this new service linking the two cities will further strengthen the trade and tourism ties between both nations, while providing our customers with a great value-for-money option to travel between both countries and beyond.

“We thank Malaysia Airports and Tourism Malaysia for their warm welcome and continuous support.”

The seven-hour flight operates daily.

Flights on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays depart KLIA at 03:35 arriving Sharjah International Airport at 06:50.

The return flights depart Sharjah International Airport at 14:55 arriving in Kuala Lumpur at 02:25.

According to YB Datuk Mohamadin Ketapi, Minister of tourism, arts and culture for Malaysia: “This year, our target is to have 337,100 tourists from west Asia region, and I believe that the establishment of Air Arabia’s Sharjah-Kuala Lumpur route will certainly help with increasing tourist arrivals from this region.

“The flight couldn’t have come at a better time as we are also aggressively promoting Malaysia in the run-up to our Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign.”

Flights operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays depart KLIA at 09:55 hours local time arriving at Sharjah International Airport at 13:10.

The return flights depart Sharjah International Airport at 21:20 arriving in Kuala Lumpur at 08:50.

Encapsulating all that Asia has to offer in just one city, Kuala Lumpur, is a modern metropolis dominated by the tallest skyscrapers in south-east Asia including the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, inspiring blend of cultures, countless eateries, and spectacular sites and monuments.

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