Category: Travel industry changes

Heightened security: what to expect

In the wake of the latest London and Manchester terror attacks, security has understandably become an even bigger issue for people planning travel.

Although neither of these horrific incidents occurred at an airport or onboard a plane, aviation is still right at the forefront of heightened security measures.

Laptop and device restrictions

For example, soon after the latest attacks, increased security was announced for passengers flying direct to Australia from the Middle Eastern airports of Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

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The new measures, which are being implemented at boarding gates, include random explosive trace checks on electronic devices, but stopped short of a complete ban on carrying such devices in cabin luggage – at this stage.

We stress …. ‘at this stage’.

A much more strict carry-on ban – on laptops, e-readers, cameras and almost any other electronic device that is not a phone – has been introduced on many flights into the US and U.K.

In fact, these are probably the most significant restriction on air travel since liquids of more than 100ml were banned from carry-on luggage.

At the time of writing this, the US and UK bans involved eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Unfortunately, the selection of certain airports And not others has only increased the inconsistencies from one country to another that have become the bane of a traveller’s life.

IMG_2361However, life everywhere changed dramatically after the World Trade Centre attacks in New York City and often-frustrating security checks at airports and elsewhere are just one result.

As Australian travellers, we keep a close eye on our Federal government’s website smarttraveller.gov.au when on the move and planning a trip.

Check airline and airport websites

It’s also wise for all travellers to check the websites of airports that they will be using as well as their airlines.

Often important security information is posted on these sites, as well as sudden changes in procedures and rules.

Of course, travellers won’t only encounter heightened security at airports.

They should also be prepared for strict checks at places such as other transportation hubs, big shopping centres, tourist attractions and public events.

Air travel: think broadly

Are many people missing the boat when it comes to air travel?

We ponder this question each time someone seeks advice – yet asks about traditional airlines only.

Don’t misunderstand us: we love to get e-mails, comments and questions – especially when we are able to help. They make our day – and help us understand the type of products that you want to see reviewed.

But, it’s a little disconcerting that there are now more air travel opportunities than ever, yet the scope of it may not be fully understood.

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Photo courtesy Pexels

Travel boom(ers)

Baby boomers, in particular, are experiencing a golden age of travel.

Over the next 20 years, the number of seniors is expected to double – and research shows that travel is right at the top of their ‘to do’ list.

A study last year by ARRP Research found that an astonishing 99% of surveyed seniors intended to travel for leisure over the following 12 months.

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Photo courtesy Pexels

This is all part of a dramatic shift in global consumer trends that officially came of age in January 2011, when the first baby boomer turned 65.

Things have really changed up there

And, this surge in travel coincides with a massively changed airline landscape.

Almost half the air journeys in Western Europe and the United States are now on low-cost airlines.

These airlines have become such a fixture of the travel industry that it’s hard to remember the airline market as it once was – hampered by government regulation, lack of competition and ever-growing costs.

The planes have changed too

The rise of the low-cost carriers has also been accompanied by the emergence of eye-opening new aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, designed to operate efficiently on long-haul routes.

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These new-generation planes have certainly helped low-cost carriers compete on markets that were once the preserve of the legacy airlines.

And, the accompanying changes in travel attitudes have been nothing short of remarkable.

More choice than ever

Many travellers of all ages have embraced the concept of travelling light rather than paying for baggage; using wifi rather than in-flight entertainment; storing tickets on mobile phones; and paying only for the onboard food and drink they want.

Whether this is exactly you or not, the bottom line is that there is now an unprecedented array of choices for the traveller, irrespective of age.

And, that’s exactly what we tell readers.

Think outside the square

As well as advice on things like when to travel, what to see, how to book and where they can get seniors or youth discounts, we stress the wisdom of having an open mind to low-cost airlines, road coaches; commuter trains; and accommodation services like Airb&b.

It’s a vastly different world out there – and it is changing almost daily.

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Photo courtesy Pixaba

When planning international travel, don’t just do things the way you’ve always done them: you may be missing so much.

We’re testing it – watch for our reports

In September and October, we’ll road test a new Scoot Airlines service between Sydney, Singapore and Athens, Greece – to see how it all works, especially for senior travellers.

If you’re planning to head to Europe in the near future, join us on Memorable Destination and a range of social media channels for a detailed, step-by-step review of this new travel corridor.

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An exciting step

It’s rare, but every now and then a significant and far-reaching moment occurs in travel.

One such event happened with the opening of a new Asia-Europe air corridor, thanks to Singapore-based carrier, Scoot Airlines.

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Already a prominent player in Asia and reportedly planning to tackle the giant US market, Scoot has started a new service between Singapore and Athens, Greece.

By linking with Scoot’s existing large network, the new service opened up another channel between Europe and centres in Australia and across Asia.

For us, this development was exciting on several counts:

  • Scoot’s status as a low-cost carrier means that flights between Asia and Europe entered a whole new era of affordability.
  • The flights showcase the game-changing nature of the fuel-efficient and wide-bodied Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
  • More attention is now focused on Singapore’s strategic position as a key airline hub and vibrant Asian destination.
  • The new corridor can also only enhance recent marketing of Athens as an international tourism destination.

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At more than 10,000 kilometres, the Singapore-Athens flights dramatically boosted Scoot’s reputation as a medium-haul carrier. In fact, Scoot says the flight is the longest operated by any low-cost airline.

Affordable service catches attention

The new Singapore-Athens link particularly caught our attention, as Australians are accustomed to paying hefty airfares to and from Europe.

Even with low-cost carrier fees added, the new flights are still particularly reasonable and open up the possibility of a European visit to more of the Australian population.

Aussies of all ages, including senior travellers, who may have only dreamed of seeing the ruins of Ancient Greece and Europe beyond, will now have an opportunity – thanks to Scoot.

The Dreamliner factor

It’s no coincidence that the new Asia-Europe link followed Scoot’s world-first conversion to an all-Boeing Dreamliner fleet.

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The quieter, roomier, lighter jet with the amazing range, striking cabin lights and elegant looks has changed the industry markedly, opening up areas that were once the domain of big four-engine giants.

We are yet to fly on a Dreamliner, but can’t wait to give a first hand review of this plane that is widely said to have redefined the travel experience.

The vibrant Singapore hub

Scoot’s Asia-Europe flights  also highlight the further development of Singapore as a central air travel hub of the Asia-Pacific region.

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Fresh from marking its 50th anniversary of statehood, Singapore, its airlines and its Changi Airport continue to grow in stature.

At the other end of the new service, Athens is also boosting its presence in the international tourism market as a lot more than just a stopover on the way to the Greek Islands.

Flights from Singapore to Athens, initially, are  every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday – departing at 2am – while flights back from Athens are the same days, departing at 12pm.

Our reviews

Scoot Airlines has kindly invited ‘Memorable Destination’ to review the new service in September-October.

Join us in counting down to this memorable experience;  watch for more previews; and then check here and on social media for our first hand reviews of this development in the travel industry.

 

Jumbo jet retirements reflect industry changes

For decades it was the Queen of the skies and the workhorse of modern air travel, but a recent announcement means there will be far less jumbo jets in the skies.

In what has been described as “a  bittersweet milestone”, the big US carrier, United Airlines, has announced plans to fly its last Boeing 747 jumbo late this year – 12 months ahead of schedule.

At the same time, United will purchase an additional 25 current-generation Boeing 737-700 aircraft, following its earlier order of 40.

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The company says it will take delivery of the aircraft from the end of the year.

United’s decision marks the end of an era for that particular airline, which has flown the four-engine, double-decker jumbo since 1970.

Fundamental change

However, it also reflects a fundamental shift in the industry toward smaller, twin-engine planes.

Aircraft like Boeing’s 777 and the Airbus A350 are able to haul almost as many people over vast distances as the four-engine giants – but with greater fuel-efficiency.

United Airlines, together with its associated United Express, operates an average of almost 5,000 flights a day to 342 airports across six continents.

As befits the jumbo’s iconic status as the plane that revolutionised air travel and shrunk the world, United is apparently planning a big retirement for its 747’s.

Planes reduce jet lag

It’s correct: increasingly, modern aircraft are designed to help prevent jet lag.

That claim – in our recent column about the jet lag blues – sure caught the attention of travellers, even though the subject has been widely discussed for some time.

Some readers contacted us to suggest that it was merely hype from aircraft companies. Others were keen to know which aircraft we were talking about.

Either way, the reaction prompted us to do some digging.

As mentioned in our earlier article, we are yet to actually test the jet lag claim for ourselves. Until we are able to test this cutting-edge technology, we are relying on the word of others.

But we do know from experience that the issue is still generating quite a lot of interest among the travelling public.

plane lighting

So, what are these new-age aircraft that are said to be revolutionising the way we feel after a long haul flight? And, does it all come down to  LED mood lighting, as shown above.

If this sounds too good to be true, the Atlantic CityLab publication recently examined the subject in an article about the new Airbus A350.

It says there’s plenty of science to back up the claim of airline technology helping reduce jet lag.

With this science in mind, the LED lights on the Airbus A350 produce 16.7 million shades of color that simulate different times of day.

Conde Nast Traveler also had this to say about the AirbusA350

However, the new Airbus isn’t the only new-age player on the block.

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The acclaimed Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a long-range, wide-bodied plane that has caused buzz of excitement among travellers, airlines and aviation enthusiasts, is also said to use technology to reduce jet lag.

This is from Boeing’s website:

an experience like none other in the air, with more comfort and less fatigue.

And Conde Nast Traveler again – this time a review of the Dreamliner

So, that’s the story so far. In our next instalment, we’ll examine how smartphone apps are also helping people avoid flight fatigue and jet lag.

Related article: What is jet lag and how else can it be reduced.

Photo credit: main pic courtesy Cynthia Drescher, Conde Nast Traveler