This Week in Travel News

Lufthansa Developing New Baggage Tracing System

German airline group Lufthansa will speed up the repatriation of delayed or mishandled bags to passengers after it launches easy-to-use baggage tracing technology jointly developed with global air transport IT specialist SITA. The new-generation WorldTracer® system provides Lufthansa agents access to a new, user-friendly desktop interface that makes it easy to record delayed baggage and trace the missing bags no matter where in the world they are.

Eurostar Considers London To Bordeaux Route
Eurostar is considering a new service from London to Bordeaux taking less than four hours. The rail company said the first-ever direct trains from London to the city in south-west France could follow its upcoming Amsterdam service. The new Amsterdam service is due to be available from 2017 following a new service to Marseilles, in the south of France, launched last summer.

JetBlue Announces Major Expansion At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport
JetBlue has announced it is further growing its presence at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) with plans to operate an average of 140 daily flights in the winter in the coming years. The expansion will result in roughly 75% growth from the carrier’s current size at its South Florida focus city. As part of JetBlue’s ongoing expansion the airline is adding new nonstop service to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) and increasing the number of flights to Nassau, Bahamas’ Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS). The airline will now operate nonstop flights to 46 destinations from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood.

White House Eases More Restrictions on Travel to Cuba
The Obama administration announced on Tuesday it would allow individuals to travel to Cuba for “people to people” educational trips and lift limits on the use of American dollars in transactions with Cuba, moving to wipe away stiff restrictions as President Obama prepares to make a historic trip to Havana next week to showcase a new era of engagement.

Delta To Fly Los Angeles To Beijng

Delta Air Lines plans to add nonstop service between Los Angeles and Beijing.Delta’s service would launch Dec. 16, pending regulatory approval. Delta would offer one daily round-trip flight between the cities on 291-seat Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. The jets are configured with 37 flat-bed seats in business class and 254 in coach. Of the coach seats, 36 are Delta’s extra-legroom Comfort+ seats. Delta says L.A. customers would be able to connect to 39 cities in China via connecting flights on SkyTeam frequent-flier alliance partners China Eastern and China Southern. Conversely, Beijing customers would be able to connect via LAX to about 40 of Delta’s destinations in North America.

Delta Grants Priority Boarding & Preferred Seating to Corporate Travelers
In February, Delta SkyMiles members whose companies have corporate sales agreements with Delta Air Lines gained Zone 1 boarding privileges and access to preferred seating as long as the corporation’s Delta corporate ticket designator is associated with the ticket.

Amazon To Build Its Own Cargo Network

The newest airline in the US is Amazon. Amazon, which has been quietly using 5 freighters as a test, is now deciding that it wants to be in the air cargo market in a big way. It will have 20 767s via ATSG to help build a backbone to make it easier for goods to move faster and cheaper to get to customers. Combine this with its last mile plans to use drones, and you can see how Amazon becomes a formidable logistics company (even more so than it is today).

Celebrity Acquires Two New Ships for the Galapagos

Celebrity Cruises will expand its presence in the Galapagos Islands from one to three ships with the acquisition of local tour operator Ocean Adventures by parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Following a January 2017 dry dock, Athala II, a 16-passenger catamaran, and Eclipse, a 48-passenger cruise ship, will join 98-passenger Celebrity Xpedition in providing cruisers with immersion in the highly protected Galapagos region. Based on the success of Xpedition’s land-and-cruise packages, new packages will also be available when booking both ships; this includes several nights’ hotel stay on the Galapagos Islands, a first for the line, as well as experiences providing interaction with locals These land-based pre- or post-cruise tours might include a trip to the Andes Mountains in Ecuador, or a less-discovered side of Peru.

Qatar Airways To Fly To Atlanta
Qatar Airways Chief Exec Ali Al Baker said a planned Doha-Atlanta route will “rub salt in the wounds” of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. In May 2015, Atlanta Business Chronicle reported Qatar Airways would begin daily nonstop service to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport from Doha, Qatar starting July 1, 2016, as past of its US service expansion. Doha-based Qatar Airways reported Atlanta will be airline’s third new route to the United States following Boston and Los Angeles. Speaking at a press conference in Berlin, Qatar Airways CEO Ali Al Baker said the move to add the Atlanta route could be painful for Delta, who reported in October it would stop its Atlanta-Dubai service starting Feb. 11, 2016 due to “overcapacity on US routes to the Middle East operated by government-owned and heavily subsidized airlines.”

United Airlines Makes History With Launch Of Scheduled Sustainable Biofuel Flights
United Airlines has made history by becoming the first US airline to begin use of commercial-scale volumes of sustainable aviation biofuel for regularly scheduled flights with the departure of United Flight 708 from Los Angeles International Airport last Friday. The launch marks a significant milestone in the commercial aviation industry by moving beyond demonstration flights and test programs to the use of advanced biofuels for United’s ongoing operations. United has agreed to purchase up to 15 million gallons of sustainable biofuel from AltAir Paramount over a three-year period. The airline has begun using the biofuel in its daily operations at LAX, storing and delivering it in the same way as traditional fuel.

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