Category Archives: Emirates

Travel News: Europe Reaches Peak Temperatures

Europe reaches peak temperatures

The countries of Austria / Belgium / Czech Republic / Denmark / France / Germany / Hungary / Luxembourg / Netherlands / Switzerland / United Kingdom / Italy are expected to experience high temperatures as a heat wave sweeps across Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Temperatures are expected to rise to 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) from central France to northern Spain, while temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius and above are expected across other European countries. Authorities have issued alerts across Western Europe and implemented measures, such as opening fountains, pools and mist machines, and limiting the circulation of vehicles in larger cities, as a means to combat the rise in temperatures. Bus and train operations in several countries have been disrupted due to malfunctioning air conditioning and due to the temperatures of the train tracks. Officials have warned of continued transportation disruptions and asked people to stay hydrated and avoid getting overheated. Hot air moving north from Africa caused the heat wave and is expected to continue to cause above average temperatures until 30 June.

Virgin Trains Break Ground On Orlando Track Expansion

Orlando Sentinal reports Virgin Trains, formerly Brightline, broke ground Monday to expand passenger rail service to Orlando in a $4bn effort, the nation’s largest privately funded infrastructure project. This will serve to transport travelers, including cruisers, between Orlando International Airport and South Florida. ‘Connecting Orlando and Miami, two of our nation’s greatest cities, will provide tremendous economic and environmental benefits that will be an asset to Florida for generations,’ Virgin Trains President Patrick Goddard said at a commemorative ceremony. Goddard noted the service will ‘effortlessly connect the “Tourism Capital of the World” to the “Cruise Capital of the World.”‘ Virgin Trains’ Virgin MiamiCentral hub is located near PortMiami, and the Miami-Dade County Commission is deliberating the feasibility of a station directly at PortMiami.

JetBlue Can Now Expand Europe Long-Haul Strategy With Airbus XLR Order

Skift reports JetBlue Airways’ European strategy became clearer when the airline committed to an airplane capable of flying not only from the US East Coast to London or Dublin but also from Boston and New York to south, central, and northern Europe. JetBlue became the third US carrier to say it plans to fly Airbus’ newest narrowbody jet, the A321XLR. Airbus introduced the single-aisle airplane, which should fly as far as 4,700 nautical miles,last week at the Paris Air Show. American Airlines committed to 50 earlier in the week, while Frontier Airlines said it would take 18. In April JetBlue announced it would fly from its Boston and New York focus cities to London by 2021. But JetBlue didn’t say where else in Europe it might fly, likely because it didn’t have the right aircraft for Continental Europe. For London JetBlue had committed to the A321LR, which has a 600-mile range gap compared to its XLR cousin. JetBlue said it will take 13 A321XLRs, with first delivery in 2023.

Emirates Is First Major Airline To Launch Basic Business Class Fare

Skift reports Emirates has fired the first salvo in the unbundling of business class fares. Now you can buy just the seat, with none of the other trimmings that travelers are used to with top-tier carriers. It’s a brilliant and pragmatic strategy, one that gives more choice to travelers. The tension will now be maintaining that great luxury brand halo and still letting the premium cabins do the marketing hard yards for the carrier. The airline industry has seen a lot in terms of unbundling of economy fares. For better or for worse, that segment of the market now has a ton of options for consumers. As Skift forecasted in our 2019 Megatrend that premium mediocre has gone mainstream, travel companies, hotels, tour operators, and yes, airlines too, are increasingly looking for new ways to sell average products at luxury prices. You can buy a deeply discounted, basic economy fare that doesn’t include any overhead space, or, if you want more perks, you can pay incrementally more for priority boarding and civil treatment. The same currently cannot be said for business class. Typically you’re all-in on the fare, sometimes as much as $7,000 from New York to Paris. In some cases it comes standard with extras, like chauffeur service and lounge access, and in other cases it comes with a sad meal in a preflight lounge and a non fully flat bed.

Tim Clark, CEO of Emirates, told Skift when asked of the prospect of discounting business class: “You might just say, ‘OK, I’ll give you a special price, just for the [business-class] bed. I won’t give you the incentives. I won’t give you ground. You’ll get the business product in the air only, and that’s it.’ No chauffeur drive, no business-class lounge, no expedited [security] search. No uplifting your baggage allowance, et cetera. You just pay for the bed. I’ll give you a price for that. Maybe, if you’ve got business class seats going begging, that’s the easy way to go, rather than create a completely new product, which is going to upend the distribution systems, upend service delivery, and upend the logistical management on the operational side.” Emirates has rolled out what they hinted at two years ago. With a new slate of fares, dubbed “special fares,” customers are essentially just buying the seat. There’s no lounge access (unless you qualify with status), there’s no chauffeur-driven car, there’s only selecting a seat when check-in opens, and predictably, there is reduced mileage earning. Not only has Emirates rolled out this basic business-class seat but in 2020 the airline will also launch premium economy, thereby offering two different stepping stones for flyers ready to upgrade. Emirates is testing out the special fares on select routes and appears to be rolling them out slowly.

Passport Agency Boosts Minimum Routine Application Wait Time By 50%
WaPo reports just after news broke about the possibility of longer lines at airport security checkpoints, information now emerges about longer waits for international travelers before they get to the airport. The State Department’s Passport Services agency has increased the processing time for routine service to six to eight weeks. Until May 31, the interval between application and delivery was four to six weeks, meaning the new timeline is a 50% increase for the minimum wait. For those who can’t wait, expedited service is available at a cost. “Customers who need their passports more urgently than our routine processing time allows may request expedited service for an additional $60,” said a State Department official who requested anonymity. “For expedited service, processing time remains two to three weeks door-to-door.” Once they get inside the airport door, international and domestic passengers could face longer security lines. Earlier this week we reported that the Trump administration requested a 2.5 percent increase in airport checkpoint screeners for fiscal 2020 but expects a 4.5 percent increase in airline passengers. That’s a recipe for long lines. The department official declined to answer several basic questions about the longer wait, including the reasons for it. But the department did provide information indicating short staffing is the cause. In each of the past two years, more than 21 million passports and passport cards were delivered, “all-time record numbers,” according to the State Department. About 18.6 million applications are expected this fiscal year. In fiscal 2018, 137.5 million citizens had valid passports, representing a growth of almost 100 percent over the past decade. “To address high passport workload levels this summer,” he said, “the Department is leveraging all available resources to ensure processing times do not rise further and that they return to lower levels by September.” Leveraging includes temporarily assigning employees to assist with increased demand and setting up two satellite passport units with employees from other parts of the department.

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On the Ground in Dubai!

Last January 2013, WIT Agent Pam Davis took the nonstop flight from Seattle on Emirates Airlines to the luxury city of Dubai. With the airline expanding new ports all over the world, it’s not uncommon that your trip to Russia or Africa is going to have a forced overnight in Dubai! Why not attach an extension on your trip to explore the Arab World? Check out the details in our On the Ground with Pam.

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Dubai is a fascinating destination. The country is part of the United Arab Emirates—there are seven different emirates which have banded together. The largest of these are Abu Dhabi, the capital, and Dubai. Abu Dhabi has more oil resources while the economy of Dubai is based more on business and tourism.

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Dubai is a country of superlatives. They have the largest shopping mall in the world (complete with an indoor ski slope!), and the Burj Khalifa which is the tallest building in the world (I went to the top in the fastest elevator in the world – it took 30 seconds to climb 125 floors to an observation tower). Everything seems over-the-top. Hotels are opulent, and Dubai 962construction seems to be going on everywhere. I stayed at the Atlantis Hotel, located at the top end of Palm Island,a man-made series of sand islands that jut out into the gulf and from the air look like a palm tree. Even the public transportation is luxurious—the metro line has first and second class cars; the first class cars have leather seats, and each train has a separate car designated for women and children only. There are special pink taxis with women drivers, also designated for women and children.

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The population of the emirate is now 75% expatriate—local citizens represent only 25% of the population. Most of the people are workers who come from India and the Philippines, with some Europeans and Americans who work for foreign companies. The locals have some extraordinary benefits— free housing (and it looks very nice), free education (even at foreign schools), and no income tax. No wonder they love Sheik Mohammed, the hereditary ruler. While the resort hotels accept Western-style dress, much of the country is still somewhat conservative. Men wear traditional white robes, and women wear black burkas which are basically robes covering street clothing when out in public. Inside the shopping malls are uniformed women who patrol the corridors, passing out dress code requests for women whose skirts or sleeves are deemed too short.

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Dubai is on the edge of the desert, and while there I was able to go 4-wheeling in the desert dunes, a Dubai 935popular pastime for tourists and a good contrast to the city and beaches. The service on Emirates Airlines was excellent, and they have an extensive route system connecting their Seattle gateway with the Middle East, Asia and Africa. They also have some good stopover packages—with a 3 or 4 night stay en route to another destination, you can experience much of what Dubai has to offer.

WIT Agent Pam would love to share with you more of her firsthand tips from Dubai! Call her at 503-224-0180 for more information on Dubai or Emirates. 

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Video: Ker & Downey Promo

Willamette Intl Travel books clients with Ker & Downey for unforgettable experiences in Asia, Africa, and worldwide. Call us now for details. 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

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Dubai

This weekend our agent Pam is in Dubai, escorted and hosted by the world-renown airline Emirates. She’s coming back next week, and we can’t wait for her report! Today we’re taking a closer look at the popular city-state.

photo by Shenli Leong, Creative Commons

Dubai has boomed as a major destination in the past 10 years, and these days draws tourists and business travelers from all across the globe. There’s a plethora of sights, enchanting landscapes and luxury attractions for every type of traveler to enjoy. Here are some top sights:

–         Experience the old Bastakiya Quarter and cultural centers: the Al Fahidi Fort, the Dubai Museum, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, and the Jumeirah Mosque

–         Head over to the Abra Dock and ride in a wooden boat taxi for a memorable cruise

–         Wander the souqs, marketplaces of spices, textiles, perfumes and jewelry

photo by Emmanuel Eragne, Creative Commons

–         View the Dubai Fountain, in Burj Khalifa Lake. The fountain, designed by the creators of the Fountains of the Bellagio, shoots water up to 500 feet!

–         Visit the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, which stands at 2,722 feet.

–         Fancy a break from the desert? Head over to the Dubai Mall of the Emirates, to Ski Dubai, the world’s third largest indoor ski slope. Complete with trainers, a chair life and t-bar, ski down 6,000 tons of snow to your heart’s delight.

–         Head out of the city and enjoy sandy beaches, striking deserts, water slides, golf, and a hot air balloon ride. Who knows—you may be able to catch a camel race in the winter.

–        Ride on the sand with professional guides and go dune-bashing

photo by Robert Young, Creative Commons

Interested in a vacation to Dubai? Whether you’re a luxury or adventurous traveler, we can help you plan your ideal vacation. Just passing through? Emirates connects the world with top destinations in Africa and Asia. Willamette Intl Travel regularly books tourists heading to safaris in Kenya or conferences in Hyderabad.

Emirates flies a nonstop from Seattle and other major U.S. hubs to Dubai. Call Willamette Intl Travel for the best times/dates to fly! Call 503.224.0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

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WIT Agent off to Dubai, UAE

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Our agent Pam is heading out tomorrow to Dubai on our vendor Emirates. She will depart on January 31 from Seattle on the nonstop to Dubai, and return on Feb 4.

Her outbound and return flights will be on the Boeing 777-200LR, and will be approximately 14 hours and 30 minutes. There are private suites in first class, and lie-flat seats in business class. All seats feature ice, the award-winning inflight entertainment system, offering up to 1,200 channels. We regularly book our clients in first and business class, and recommend these highly.

Emirates is currently the fastest-growing Middle Eastern airline. They stirred up some excitement for travelers when they announced a direct flight between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Dubai on March 1, 2011. Emirates flies to more than 100 destinations from Dubai, including Islamabad, Delhi, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh, Manila, Nairobi, Seychelles, Johannesburg and Dakar.

Pam will do three nights in Dubai with her Emirates hosts, seeing beautiful Dubai, the world’s tallest building, and learning the ins and outs of the airline and the city. She’ll travel with a local guide and discover this urban jewel of the Arabian desert, and it’s world-class service and attractions.

This is a terrific opportunity to see the inside workings of an airline—so stay tuned for her report!

Willamette Intl Travel can connect you with contract fares on Emirates to hot destinations in Africa, Arabia and Asia! We work side by side with our Emirates representatives to ensure you have an exceptional travel experience. Traveling first or business class? Emirates offers some incredible high-end classes at low-end rates! Call us today at 503.224.0180 or email info@witravel.com.

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Filed under Airlines, Emirates, Middle East, UAE, Vendors, Where in the World is the WIT Agent?