AIR FRANCE Launches Domestic Business Class

From 04 February 2020, Air France will offer Business class on its domestic network, on departures from Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly and the French regions.

The same service will also be available on short-haul flights connecting the French regions to international destinations.

With this move upmarket, the airline’s Business class customers with long, medium or short-haul connections to or from the French regions will enjoy seamless Business class service at no extra cost throughout their trip.

On short-haul flights, Air France offers its Business customers a dedicated catering service including:

  • A savoury snack
  • A sweet snack
  • A selection of beverages such as wines and champagnes from the Air France Business class wine cellar.
  • An oshibori to freshen up.

Air France Business customers will benefit from special services such as SkyPriority channels at the airports which offer it:

  • Dedicated check-in and baggage drop-off
  • Priority lines at security checkpoint and passport control
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority at transfer desks during connections
  • Priority baggage delivery

Away from the hustle and bustle of the airport, customers will also benefit from access to the Air France lounges where they can enjoy something to eat, work, rest or ask for information. Lounges for short-haul flights are available at Paris-Charles de Gaulle (terminals F and G), Paris-Orly 1, Bordeaux and Lyon airports. The airline’s partner lounges are available at Paris-Orly (terminal 1A), Marseille, Nice, Toulouse, Montpellier and Mulhouse airports.

A more generous baggage allowance is exclusively dedicated to them. Business customers can take two pieces of baggage weighing 32kg each in the hold, as well as two carry-on bags and a cabin accessory for a total of 18kg.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you.

LONDON: The Vanderbilt Hotel from £180

We’re loving this brilliant offer from our friends at The Vanderbilt Hotel, South Kensington—starting from just £180 for a Double Bedded Room with guaranteed late check-out!

That late check-out is super beneficial for Australian travellers returning home from London on those late-evening flights.

Our ‘Exclusively London’ rates include:

  • Full English Breakfast for one guest.
  • Priority early check-in (subject to availability).
  • Late check-out until 4.00 pm guaranteed.
  • Complimentary WiFi.
  • Double or Twin bedded rooms.
  • Frequent Flyer Points awarded with partner airlines.
  • 20% discount on food (beverages excluded).
  • £15 daily credit on food and beverage on deluxe rooms and suites.

NOTE: Rates are exclusive of 20%-VAT, and subject to availability. Conditions apply.

The Vanderbilt is a 19th Century, heritage-listed townhouse in leafy South Kensington, close to Hyde Park and a number of museums.

Perfectly located for the Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall and the V&A along with the exclusive boutiques of Knightsbridge are only moments away. Gloucester Road tube station can be found conveniently opposite the hotel.

Thanks to the building’s history, and blend of historical features with modern design, the hotel’s bedrooms and Italian marble bathrooms all boast individual styles.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you.

QATAR AIRWAYS Network Updates

  • Doha-Dubrovnik flights commence on 18 May 2020
  • Announces codeshare expansion with Malaysia Airlines
  • Launches codeshare with Deutsche Bahn trains

Kicking off Dubrovnik

Qatar Airway new seasonal Dubrovnik flights will operate between 18 May and 23 October 2020, offering a one-stop journey between Australia and Croatia.

Commencing as a thrice-weekly operation, the Dubrovnik service increases to a 5-weekly frequency between 15 June and 04 October.

The Doha-Dubrovnik flights will be operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft, and will compliment the airline’s double-daily services between Doha and Zagreb.

CLICK HERE to see why we think these flights will be exceedingly popular in 2020.

Malaysia Airlines Codeshares

Qatar Airways has announced an expanded codeshare cooperation with Malaysia Airlines, commencing 27 January 2020.

With 10 Qatar Airways destinations covered by the airlines’ current codeshare arrangement, the expansion will allow Malaysia Airlines passengers to book travel to 20 additional Qatar Airways gateways in Europe, America, and Africa.

In turn, Qatar Airways passengers will benefit from access to four exciting new destinations in South East Asia, travelling on Malaysia Airlines’ flights to:

  • Sibu, Malaysia
  • Alor Setar, Malaysia
  • Medan, Indonesia
  • Surabaya, Indonesia.

This brings the total number of codeshare routes in Malaysia Airlines’ network to 24.

Codeshare with Deutsche Bahn

A new codeshare partnership provides seamless connection to/from eight destinations in Germany for Qatar Airways passengers within Deutsche Bahn’s railway network.

Deutsche Bahn, one of the largest railways operators in Europe, will provide Qatar Airways passengers with connections to eight key cities within DB network like Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Hannover, Leipzig, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Munich, and Hamburg via Qatar Airways’ Frankfurt gateway in Germany.

Qatar Airways currently operates 35 weekly flights between Doha and Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin. Two daily flights from Frankfurt and Munich, and one daily flight from Berlin.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you.

JUST BACK FROM: Madrid

The Travel Authority Group’s Managing Director, Peter Hosper, recently returned from a visit to Madrid, and he stayed in one of the city´s best kept secrets—The Principal Madrid hotel.

Situated on one of the city’s most iconic avenues—the Gran Via—The Pricipal Madrid features 76 elegantly-appointed rooms, and a stunning rooftop Terraza with what may well be the best views in Madrid.

“I am very picky about where I stay in Madrid, and I absolutely loved my stay at The Principal Madrid,” said Peter.

“The hotel is represented in Australia by our friend Sarah Whitty and her team at The Hotel Connection and, without a doubt, I have found my new home away from home in Madrid at their fabulous property. It delivers exceptional service, all the bells and whistles of a grand hotel, yet you feel like you are at somebody’s fabulous home,” he added.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you.

FINNAIR Opens New ‘Nordic’ Lounges

Following on from the opening of its new Platinum Wing Lounge in 2019, Finnair has now unveiled the final phase of its non-Schengen lounge expansion with the launch of its new Business Class Lounge.

A showcase of contemporary Nordic design, the lounge offers new spaces to explore and upgraded food and beverage options.

“Together, the new combined lounge complex provides 200 additional seats over the lounges they replace,” said Karim Al-Soufi, Vice President of Ground Experience at Finnair.

The aesthetic of the new lounge complex marks the emergence of Finnair’s new design language which centres on ‘Nordicness’: simplicity, clean lines, natural materials and texture for a warmer, more ‘human’ experience.

A fresh Nordic menu tailored to international tastes features the best seasonal local produce prepareed in a new open kitchen connected to a dedicated dining area.

A new full-service bar will offer an enhanced range of beverages including premium alcohol and specialty coffees. In adition, several drinks stations are dotted throughout the lounge, and there’s a ‘quick coffee” area at the front of the lounge for those in a hurry.

The new lounge is broken up in a variety of smaller ‘pockets’ aligned to different customer needs and activities. The deeper you go into the lounge, the quieter and more private it becomes.

There are power outlets at almost every seated position. Soundproof phone booths and printing facilities are also available. For those wishing to freshen up, five shower suites stocked with L:a Bruket cosmetics can be booked with a touchscreen reservation system.

The Business Lounge is available to all Finnair Business Class customers, Finnair Plus Gold and oneworld Sapphire members when the departure flight leaves from the non-Shengen area and is operated and marketed by a oneworld airline. All other customers can purchase lounge access for off-peak hours either in advance or at the lounge reception. The Lounge fits 600 customers.

The lounge is open daily from 5:30am to 12 midnight.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you.

QANTAS Heads Back to Byron Bay

Qantas has announced the resumption of flights from Sydney to Ballina-Byron Bay Airport for the first time in 15 years.

Ballina is Qantas’ 12th destination in NSW after Sydney, Albury, Armidale, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Lord Howe Island, Moree, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Tamworth, and Wagga Wagga.

A daily return flight will commence from 29 March 2020 adding more than 36,000 seats on the route each year, and complimenting existing Jetstar services to/from Sydney and Melbourne.

“We’re really pleased to see Qantas returning to Byron Bay after such a long hiatus,” said Sarah Bush, Director of The Travel Authority Group.

“The new services will be very appealing to our events and conferencing partners, as well as our corporate clients when they’re considering a holiday or a bit of Hemsworth-spotting in Byron Bay,” she added.

The new Qantas flights will be operated by a 50-seat Q300 aircraft.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you.

WE KNOW: The Value of Planning

We are great planners and ‘details’ people, and we know both are fundamental ingredients in our success.

And it’s a good thing, as ours is pretty much the planning industry.

Importantly, we don’t just plan for clients, we like to turn the focus inwards and take a good, hard look at ourselves as we embark on each new year together—applying our own planning processes on ourselves.

As a business, we recently sat down together off-site to reflect on 2019, and shine a light on what we can do differently in 2020.

From that gathering came some fresh thinking in three key areas:

Technology

Specifically, deeper engagement with technology, communications and tech-led on-site experiences.

The Social Space

Making smarter use of social platforms to showcase our experience and knowledge.

We Know Experience

Enhancing the customer service experience for both our clients and supplier partners.

We’ve jumped into January with enthusiasm and a solid set of team goals, and look forward to working with everyone in 2020.

Let’s do this.

AVALON WATERWAYS Conference & Incentive Cruises

We’re always seeking conferencing, event and incentive opportunities with a difference, and we’re thrilled to see Avalon Waterways present precisely that kind of experience.

Not sure what the Avalon Waterways experience is like? Take a look at the short video below.

The Avalon Waterways Difference

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Avalon Waterways offers European river cruise itineraries from 3 to 12 nights on all-suite ships.
  • Charter groups up to 128 (6 vessels) or 166 (7 vessels) passengers can be accommodated.
  • Larger groups can take advantage of tandem, multi-ship cruises.
  • Pricing is in Australian dollars—fixed costs for groups—and include meals and beverage packages.
  • Itineraries can be tailored.
  • There are branding opportunities for the entire ship.

On-board conferencing set-up.

Avalon operates one of the youngest fleets on European waterways offering the largest staterooms, most innovative technologies, inspired designs and remarkable service possible.

Panorama Suites

Avalon ships boast the renowned Avalon Panorama Suites which are 30% larger than the industry standard, and river cruising’s only open-air balcony suites.

Beds face the view with the widest-opening, wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows in river cruising.

On Shore

From the Eiffel Tower to Vienna’s Belvedere Palace and stunning castles, Avalon Waterways’ on-shore conferencing and event options are equally extensive and exceptional.

The new “Gustave Eiffel Reception Room” at the Eiffel Tower seats up to 130 guests.

Contact us now to discuss and quote for your 2021 incentive or conference itineraries.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you.

FAIRMONT SINGAPORE’S Urban Aquaponics Farm

Fairmont Singapore and Swissôtel The Stamford have launched a worlds-first urban aquaponics garden to meet rising guest demand for fresh quality produce and to support Singapore’s goal of producing 30% of its nutritional needs locally by 2030.

It’s the result of months of research, looking at the best possible way to meet demand for fresh food, optimise farming space, to save water and minimise waste.

Aquaponics combines aquaculture – the growing of fish and other aquatic life – with hydroponics, which is growing plants without soil. It is a sustainable, pesticide-free solution to traditional methods.

How does it work?

Aquaponics is a sustainable process which can produce ingredients for a full meal in just one system. Fish and vegetables grow together in an integrated system – fish waste is converted to nitrates which is used as fertiliser for the vegetables; while the plants filter and clean the water for the fish, lowering the consumption of water compared to conventional gardening.

It is expected that it will supply 30% of vegetable and 10% of fresh fish produce across the hotels every month.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you.

QANTAS Makes ‘Project Sunrise’ Aircraft Decision

After detailed evaluation of Boeing 777X and Airbus A350 aircraft, Qantas has announced that Airbus’ A350-1000 is the preferred aircraft for its proposed ultra long haul ‘Project Sunrise’ routes.

Having said that, it’s worth noting that regulatory support for the new routes is still pending, and discussions with Qantas pilots are ongoing.

No aircraft orders have been placed yet, but Qantas will work closely with Airbus to prepare contract terms for up to 12 aircraft ahead of a final go/no-go decision by the Qantas Board in March 2020.

“Qantas’ Project Sunrise planning is really exciting,” said The Travel Authority Group’s Managing Director, Peter Hosper.

“New aircraft, new in-flight experience, and new ultra long haul city-pairs mean exciting new opportunities for our business and our clients. We look forward to adding them to our service and expertise mix as they roll out”

Peter Hosper, Managing Director of The Travel Authority Group.

Trialling in-flight menus for Qantas’ ultra long-haul ‘Project Sunrise’ services.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the airline’s support for Project Sunrise was stronger than ever, particularly after the success of recent ‘dry run’ research flights.

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, aboard the airline’s non-stop London to Sydney test flight.

“Between the research flights and what we’ve learned from two years of flying Perth to London, we have a lot of confidence in the market for direct services like New York and London to the east coast of Australia.

In-flight exercises aboard Qantas’ recent non-stop ‘Project Sunrise’ test flight between London and Sydney.

“The A350 is a fantastic aircraft and the deal on the table with Airbus gives us the best possible combination of commercial terms, fuel efficiency, operating cost and customer experience.”

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce.

If things go to plan, the first commercial Project Sunrise flights will take to the air in the first half of 2023.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you.