Archive for December, 2014

One-on-One with Markus Ruediger, Star Alliance, Media Relations Director

Mark Ruediger, media relations director, star allianceIn this month’s One-on-One blog, ExpertFlyer talks with Markus Ruediger, Director of Media Relations at Star Alliance, about the global reach and perks that airline alliances, such as Star Alliance, bring to air travelers.

With 27 participating air carriers, the Star Alliance Network brings together networks, lounge access, check-in services, ticketing and dozens of other services to improve the travel experience for customers, wherever they are in the world.

Star Alliance member airlines fly to more destinations than any other airline alliance in the world – which means easier travel and quicker connections. Airline members are conveniently located closer together in airports and “connection teams” are installed for faster transfers and smooth traveling. Common airport facilities, coordinating schedules and a range of new technologies are frequently shared among Alliance members..

“Alliances in the travel industry will continue to exist for the simple reason that no single airline or entity could possibly offer the expanded benefits enjoyed through a network.”

— Markus Ruediger, Director Media Relations, Star Alliance

What are some of the recent changes/improvements that have occurred within the Star Alliance and what distinct value does the network bring to travelers as compared to oneworld and SkyTeam?

2014 saw a variety of developments at Star Alliance. In terms of network, we welcomed Air India in July, improving access to one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world.

The highlight of this year was no doubt the completion of a major airport infrastructure, London Heathrow’s Terminal 2 – the Queen’s Terminal – our new home at Britain’s premier hub.  The combination of a state-of-the art terminal and having all member carriers located in the same building, has vastly improved our customer proposition.

During the course of this year we also made further investments in our Star Alliance branded lounges. The Paris – CDG lounge was refurbished and in addition to providing more space, it now sports many of our new design features, while having a Parisian flair. At Sao Paulo Guarulhos Airport we opened a new lounge which was designed by Brazilian architects and features mainly materials from Brazil. Continue reading →

“Did you know…American offers bonus miles for premium travel?”

(Via BusinessTraveller)

American Airlines recently announced a new year-long promotion in which premium travelers will earn bonus rewards as part of the company’s AAdvantage and US Airways Dividend Miles programs.

first class air travel

According to a report from BusinessTraveller.com, in 2015, American Airlines will reconfigure its frequent flyer program to reward members travelling in first and business class.

The promotion will see AAdvantage and US Airways Dividend Miles members earn miles based on a combination of distance flown, the fare purchased and elite status level. This is the first time that American has taken ticket price into consideration and hasn’t awarded miles based solely on distance flown.

Read the full article here:

http://www.businesstraveller.com/news/101150/american-offers-bonus-miles-for-premium-travel

The All-Travelers Guide to a Perfect Hawaiian Holiday

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Hawaii is one of those idyllic travel destinations that has something to offer everyone at any time of year.  No wonder 8 million people visit the Aloha state every year. Because there is so much to see and do, we asked the good folks at the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau  to help us create a quickie all-travelers guide.

To keep things interesting, we’ve broken down the top picks for things to do and the islands to do them on by traveler type.

Hawaii.cat

Once-in-a-lifetimer

dolphin pod

  • Swim with dolphins or manta rays – Get up close and personal with these amazing marine creatures in their own natural environment. Embark on a morning sail off Oahu’s quiet Waianae Coast for a water encounter with Hawaiian spinner dolphins; or suit up for a nighttime dive off the Kona Coast on Hawaii Island to swim with the manta rays.
  • Conquer your fears – Take your vacation to new heights on an adrenaline pumping skydive or zipline in the Hawaiian Islands. Whether you’re taking the plunge out of a plane above Oahu’s picturesque North Shore or soaring over Kauai’s lush rainforest or  the 250-foot Akaka Falls (Hawaii Island) by zipline, don’t forget to enjoy the incredible views along the way.
  • Vacation on Hawaii’s lesser-known islands – Away from crowds and the hustle and bustle of everyday life are the islands of Lanai and Molokai. Lanai is known for its peaceful seclusion, high-caliber golf courses, and enthralling sights for explorers. On Molokai, you can seemingly travel back in time, feeling the mana (power) of the Hawaiian culture and enjoying outdoor adventures ranging from sports fishing to mule rides.

Honeymooners

o-HAWAII-BLACK-SAND-BEACH-570

  • ​Get out of your comfort zone – Trying something new together will spark romance and create memories that will last a lifetime.
  • Splurge a little – Upgrade to an ocean view room or tack on a few extra days and visit multiple islands for a very rich and diverse experience. Many hotels put together specialized offerings such as private beach dinners and ocean-side couples massages that would make for a memorable experience.
  • Savor Hawaii’s cuisine – From  shave ice to sashimi, everything tastes better in Hawaii. The culinary scene in the islands has evolved to be incredibly fresh, local, ethnic, inspiring, and ono (delicious). Given the variety of food trucks, new and tried and true restaurants, and culinary  festivals in Hawaii, avid foodies will find plenty to do and taste.

Family Spring Breakers 

  • ​R​egions that offer a range of accommodation options and ​are within close proximity to a variety of activities, shopping and dining outlets tend to be the most popular for family/multigenerational travelers, including:
    • ​Poipu, Kauai – ​Family-friendly beaches, conveniently located near shopping, dining and golf
    • ​Waikiki, Oahu – Nightlife, shopping, variety of dining and entertainment options, history, arts and culture, family-friendly attractions
    • Kaanapali, Maui – Great beaches, outdoor ocean and land activities, golf, shopping and dining
    • Kona, Hawaii Island​ – Culture, national parks, museums, shopping and dining
  • Hawaii’s outdoor activities, historical attractions, agritousim experiences, evolving culinary scene, and cultural festivals continue to be extremely popular with family travelers. Travelers enjoy the variety and diversity of experiences found on each island.  On Hawaii Island, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains at the top destination for hiking, exploring the Thurston Lava Tube, and the awe-inspring experience of visiting Halemaumau Crater.
  • Take the road less traveled – After witnessing a magnificent sunrise on Haleakala, Maui’s highest peak, take the road less traveled and bike down the crater. Cycling down world’s largest dormant volcano may seem daunting, but the ride is surprisingly relaxing  and one that the whole family will always remember.

Naturalist & Wildlife Explorers

Bird of paradise flower

  • ​Hiking – Waterfalls, lush rainforests, native plants and breathtaking ocean views are just a few of the sights to look forward to on one of Hawaii’s many trails. A variety of hikes with various length and difficulty are available for every skill level.  Just remember – the harder the climb, the more rewarding the view.
  • Stand-up Paddle Boarding (SUP) – Experience the sport that is taking Hawaii by storm. While SUP looks deceptively easy, the popular activity delivers a full body workout and has become a popular cross-training activity. The best part about SUP? The spectacular view unlike any boring gym—a clear blue horizon teeming with ocean life.
  • Restore a taro patch –  Spend the morning at one of Oahu’s most beautiful off-the-beaten-path locations and join a community workday at Kakoo Oiwi. Clearing invasive vegetation, weeding and maintaining existing taro, or building auwai (irrigation ditch) for new taro will give you a new appreciation for Hawaiian culture, farming, and ecology.

The (mature) Fun & Mellow Wanderer

grand hyatt kaui

  • ​Attend one of the many cultural festivals and events as it enables you to mingle with locals, sample local fare, and participate in historic traditions. One example is the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, co-founded by chefs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong. Through the support of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Hawaiian Airlines and other tourism industry partnerships, this event has gotten bigger and better each year. It started out on Oahu and in four years is now represented on three islands: Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island. More than 80 renowned chefs, culinary personalities and winemakers come to Hawaii for this week-long event, and it sells out every year.
  • Check out some of Hawaii’s farmers’ markets to sample local food products and buy made-in-Hawaii gifts. For a more intimate experience, book a farm or agricultural tour.
  • Pamper yourself with treatments incorporating the locally grown, sourced, or harvested ingredients like Spa Grande’s Alii Honey Facial using honey from the Grand Wailea’s rooftop apiary (Maui) or a body treatment utilizing Hawaiian noni, coconut, kukui, volcanic clay, and ti leaves at Anara Spa at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa (pictured). Give yourself the ultimate treat, and book an oceanfront massage for an unforgettable experience.​​

 

ExpertFlyer Top Tweets

ExpertFlyer Top TweetsRECENT TWEETS PEOPLE ARE READING FROM @EXPERTFLYER

Holiday Trinkets for the Travel Junkie

~*~ ExpertFlyer’s Favorite Gifts for Travel Junkies ~*~

Stumped on what to you get for the travel addict in your life?  We’ve got some suggestions!

Techie Traveler

4 in 1 adapterThe Flight 001 4-in-1 Adapter — 4 plugs + 1 adapter = power in 150 countries! A set of color-coded plugs that allows you to easily adapt to over 150 countries, the Flight 001 4-in-1 Adapter is the first product utilizing the JA/C READY Adapter system, a color-coded world adapter system that makes finding the right plug for your trip as simple as matching the colors.

popscopePop Scope, an innovative device that attaches to almost any smart phone, helps you extend your reach to get pictures you never thought possible. This is the newest way take the perfect “selfie” on your travels!

What do you do with a smartphone that’s brimming with colorful countries and cultures? Share them in an Artifact Uprising Postcard Pack. Help your travel weary loved ones show off their great vacation shots using an easy online tool that enables you to upload and edit photos into richly designed postcard packs, photo books, even a wooden calendar made from reclaimed Colorado pines.

Nature and Outdoor-lovers

From the Appalachian Trail to Yellowstone National Park, camping is a nature-lovers dream.  Sleeping on the damp, cold and buggy ground — Not so much. Checkout the Nube from Sierra Madre Research — this awesome shelter envelopes your camping hammock in a wind and water-proof cocoon.  Priced at $275, the Nube is big enough to cover two hammocks and your gear.

Along with their Nube, adventurous travelers can  keep their most valuable gear both secure and easily accessible with MindShift Gear’s rotation180° Travel Away.

rotation180 travel away

With the rotation180° Travel Away’s patented rotation technology, travelers can keep their documents (e.g. passports, purses, wallets), electronic devices (e.g. phone, iPad Mini), and travel gear (e.g. guidebooks) safe from prying eyes and hands.

With a simple twist, the lower belt pack rotates to the front for quick access and then rotates back under the main backpack into a secure, locked channel.  No longer do women have to hug their purses close to their sides or men keep a protective hand on their wallets and passports in their pockets.  And, when they want their guidebook or binoculars, no longer do they need to take off their backpack to get them.

The backpack retails for $199.99.  Read more here.

Children

Have you lost count of the number of times junior has begged to go to Disney World or on a Nickelodeon cruise?  So, you’ve finally decided to go all out and book the trip of your kids’ lifetime — in July.  Hey, no problem, you can still take holiday credit for it — wrap up a surprise that represents the destination, like a Disney Princess for a Disney trip or a tent and sleeping bag for that long-awaited camping adventure.

If you’re staying put, but want your children to start wondering about the world and different cultures, get them a subscription to Little Passports, a box filled with all the fun gear and activities your children need to explore new lands.  Parents can select from three Little Passports Adventures subscriptions: Early Explorers (for 3-5 year olds), World Explorer subscription (Best for kids 5-10), and a USA Edition (best for 7 -12 year olds).

For more information visit www.littlepassports.com.