The business of travelling for work
Fees that frustrate
THE GLOBAL Business Travel Association has compiled a list of ancillary fees that have appeared in recent years and are sure to get up your nose. Suppliers are trying to increase revenue by offering only very basic services as standard and making money from add-ons.The fees at issue are airline fees for soft drinks, headsets, movies and food, and car rental fees for tolls, one-way drop-offs, fuel recharging and late returns. Biggest gripes with hotels are fees for internet use and parking. Try reclaiming these and more often than not you won’t have receipts.
High oil prices take shine off record-breaking April
WORLDWIDE PASSENGER air traffic in April increased by 6.1 per cent, year on year, according to the International Air Transport Association. Strong demand for air travel with limited capacity expansion pushed load factors to 79.3 per cent, which is a record high for April load factors.
Passenger demand in Europe was less than the global average at 5.9 per cent, and load factors topped out at 80.7 per cent. However, this was a decline of 0.3 per cent on March, despite Easter being in April. Demand in Africa increased by 7 per cent and it was the only world region to have a capacity expansion (8.5 per cent) which outstripped demand.
“The growth in passenger markets is encouraging, but it comes against an environment of continuing high oil prices and growing economic uncertainty. So translating the stronger demand into profits will be difficult.” said Tony Tyler, IATA director general.
Hotel rates on the up
WHILE THE airline industry had a record month in April, so too did the hotel industry in North America, where rates for business travellers surged by 9.3 per cent, bringing them almost to pre-recession levels.
Pegasus Solutions, a Dallas-based technology firm for the hotel industry, predicts the rate increases are likely to continue for the rest of the year. The average US hotel rate in August 2008 was $107.01 and then fell for 18 straight months. The tide has turned and it has now reached $105.71, and is still climbing.
Virgin’s new departure
THE FIRST film to be made at 35,000 feet premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival on Monday and uses Virgin Airlines as an organic cast member.
Filmed in three countries and four cities over eight days, Departure Date, a 30-minute movie, is a love story in the air.
Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America and Virgin Australia were all involved in the global project that saw passengers becoming extras in the romantic story of Jake and Violet as they cover 28,000 miles and find love. The movie stars Ben Feldman and Nicky Whelan and will be shown on Virgin flights. You can see a trailer on FlyVirgin.com.
Heathrow to Guangzhou
Last week China Southern Airlines began flights from Heathrow to China’s third largest city, Guangzhou. The three-times-a- week service will use Airbus 330-200s with a four-class configuration – luxury first, first, premium economy and economy.
In September, Singapore Airlines will increase its three-times-daily service from Heathrow to four per day using a Boeing 777-300ER. Singapore has been waiting since 1998 to gain the extra slot at Heathrow, and the new service will mean two late-night flights east, ideal for business travellers heading to Australia and the Pacific region.