JetBlue today announced a new partnership with Cruising Store that deploys the power of artificial intelligence to help travelers customize their vacation experience and add flights and other offerings, all in one place.
Through JetBlue’s new cruise booking and planning platform, customers are able to bypass the often-confusing process of finding the right cruise and the traditional model of contacting a travel agent to book.
“AI is changing how we travel and our goal is to be at the front of the curve,” said Marty St George, executive vice president, commercial and planning, JetBlue. “We’ve already incorporated artificial intelligence into vacation planning and now our partnership with CruisingStore means customers will quickly be able to find the cruise that’s right for them and book their flights all in one place.”
One of the hardest parts of the traditional process is finding cruises to the destinations a traveler wants to see, on the dates they want, and for the budget they have in mind. JetBlue has joined with CruisingStore to introduce a new platform that helps travelers make informed decisions when selecting a cruise. The ‘intelligence engine’ technology takes JetBlue’s already robust cruise travel site to a new level, identifying cruise vacations that meet a customer’s budget, destination preferences, and other activities. Over time, the platform will evolve to further evaluate what matters most to travelers, providing even more customized options.
Officially launching in January 2018 in tandem with the JetBlue partnership, CruisingStore aims to innovate the cruise vertical with a more advanced, customer-focused and supplier-friendly cruise shopping experience. The results are unique cruise experiences at competitive prices.
CruisingStore is led by co-founders and cruise industry veterans whose combined leadership experience includes more than 30 years of experience at some of the world’s leading travel companies – including Dwain Wall, chief executive officer; John Henderson, chief technology officer; Tom Grasse, chief marketing officer; and Jill LaBarre, executive vice president of agency operations.
"We are incredibly excited to announce a partnership with JetBlue, who has been an innovator in the travel space for many years,” said Dwain Wall, chief executive officer of CruisingStore. “We have worked hard to create a solution to the many long-standing and intractable execution challenges facing the cruise and airline industries and with CruisingStore.com, we are pleased to have that solution now readily available.”
JetBlue provides customers booking cruise-centric vacation packages with a simplified booking experience. JetBlue’s partnership with CruisingStore is the latest in the airline’s evolution to offer more personalized trip experiences. Combining technology with JetBlue’s award-winning customer service, JetBlue seeks to create a one-stop vacation shop and seamless travel journey.
Cathay Pacific Airways has announced that it will begin a four-times-weekly nonstop service from Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. to Hong Kong on September 16, 2018. It will be the longest nonstop air route to both Hong Kong and the Washington, D.C. region, and the longest flight in Cathay Pacific’s global network, at 7,085 nautical miles (8,153 miles). This service will bring Cathay Pacific’s first Airbus A350-1000 to the region (the airline’s A350-900 began service to San Francisco and Newark on October 28, 2017).
Washington, D.C. will become Cathay Pacific’s seventh passenger service gateway in the U.S. and ninth in North America. The airline, which launched nonstop service from North America in 1983, flies to Hong Kong and beyond over 100 times per week from Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, New York (JFK), San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver. This is the latest gateway for Cathay Pacific in the Americas since its launch of nonstop service from Boston to Hong Kong in 2015 – upgraded from a four-times-weekly to a daily operation in March 2017.
“Dulles International is an ideal destination for our next US gateway, with its ease of access to the D.C. Metropolitan area. Cathay Pacific is pleased to be the first air carrier offering nonstop flights from Washington, D.C. to Hong Kong,” said Philippe Lacamp, Senior Vice President, Americas, Cathay Pacific. “Washington, D.C. has special meaning for Cathay Pacific. When the airline was co-founded over 71 years ago by American Roy Farrell and his Australian partner, Sydney de Kantzow, they had dreams of growing beyond a regional Asian airline, even including ‘Pacific’ in the name in the hopes that one day it would expand across the ocean. Farrell would have been proud to see the airline serve his country’s capital.”
“Today we celebrate a new bridge between Asia and Virginia, and we look forward to welcoming all of the international travelers this new air service will bring to the Commonwealth,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. “Virginia has made a significant commitment to growing our relationship with Asia in recent years and we are proud to be a new United States market with nonstop service from Hong Kong. With its convenient schedule, this new Cathay Pacific air service provides connections to destinations around the globe and will help us continue to grow the new Virginia economy.”
“In Washington, D.C., we are happy to host millions of tourists every year, and with the addition of these nonstop flights, we look forward to welcoming more travelers and business from Hong Kong and across Asia,” said Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. “Tourism plays a vital role in supporting local businesses and creating jobs for our residents, and it has helped make D.C.’s economy one of the strongest local economies in the country. These flights are a tremendous opportunity to build on our progress and expand our reputation as the greatest city in the world.”
According to Destination DC, the official marketing organization for Washington, D.C., Asian visitation to the District increased six percent in 2016 over the previous year, accounting for 32 percent of the District’s overseas visitors (source: Travel Market Insights Inc).
“As the international gateway to Washington, D.C., Dulles International Airport is excited to welcome Cathay Pacific and its passengers to the capital,” said Jerome L. Davis, executive vice president and Chief Revenue Officer for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. “Cathay Pacific’s reputation for quality service and an exceptional passenger experience offer travelers through Dulles International a valuable, new nonstop link to Hong Kong and the growing Asia-Pacific region.”
CX861 will depart Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday mornings at 1:15 a.m., arriving in Hong Kong the following day at 5:10 a.m. This early morning arrival allows passengers to connect with every Cathay Pacific flight across Asia – including Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and over 22 gateways in mainland China – without a lengthy layover in Hong Kong. The return flight, CX860, will depart Hong Kong at 6:35 p.m. (local time) on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, arriving in Washington, D.C. at 10:20 p.m. (same day).
The wide body, twin-aisle Airbus A350-1000 brings together the very latest in aerodynamics, design and advanced technologies to provide improved fuel efficiency and a state-of-the-art travel experience for customers. Quietest among the aircraft types in its class, Cathay Pacific has taken this environmentally-friendly aircraft a step further, with its in-flight carpets and passengers’ blankets made from recycled plastic, including salvaged fishing nets and plastic bottles.
Cathay Pacific already has one of the youngest long-haul fleets in the sky – and with the arrival of the first of its 20 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft in the spring of next year, the fleet is only going to get younger.
Like the A350-900, the longer A350-1000 takes the passenger travel experience to a new level. The design of many of the cabin features has been carefully considered to give passengers the best sleeping experience, the best entertainment and even more control over how they want to use their individual space, whether for working or relaxation. With its extra wide body, the aircraft offers more space and comfort, panoramic windows and LED mood lighting, contributing to a more comfortable and relaxing journey in all cabin classes.
The Cathay Pacific A350-1000 will feature a three-class cabin comprising a refreshed Business Class cabin as well as new Premium Economy Class and Economy Class seats. The A350 Business Class seats build on the success of the airline’s award-winning long-haul Business Class product to create a memorable experience. Alongside a fully-flat bed, new features includes extra stowage space within easy reach and the personal service offered by a “Do Not Disturb” and “Wake-up Call” function in the entertainment system. The Premium Economy Class and Economy Class seats also come with exclusive power outlets and USB ports for every passenger. Each Premium Economy Class seat has a fully integrated leg rest, which, together with the ergonomically designed seat, allows more flexibility to adjust for optimal comfort.
The new A350 inflight entertainment system is inspired by the airline’s latest design philosophy. The interactive user interface is contemporary and sharp. It is equipped with some impressive new interactive features, which gives passengers even more choice than before, as well as a wider screen in all classes. Connectivity is installed, allowing passengers, for a fee, to browse the internet, send and receive emails and connect on social media. Access to the Cathay Pacific website, a number of partner websites and three live TV news channels are available free of charge.
As a part of its growth strategy, Finnair will open new routes between its Helsinki hub and Bergen and Tromsø in Norway in May 2018, connecting the regions to Finnair’s extensive Asian network, the airline said in a statement.
Both Bergen and Tromsø are ports for the popular Hurtigruten cruises along the Norwegian coastline and the first name port serves as its southern terminus. It is also serves a turnaround port for other lines.
The routes will be operated by Norwegian regional airline Wideroe, and the flights are sold and marketed by Finnair. The onboard service will be based on the Finnair dual class service concept.
As of May 15, 2018, Wideroe will operate the Finnair flight from Bergen to Helsinki daily, with a brand-new Embraer 190-E2 aircraft. The flight’s schedule will connect to Finnair’s Asian flights as well as to Finnair’s European network. Finnair also continues to fly to Bergen via Stockholm. Bergen is the second largest city in Norway, located by the Atlantic coast and surrounded by seven mountains. The city is known for its small-town charm, breathtaking scenery and ideal opportunities for exploring the beautiful fjords of Norway.
The flight between Tromsø in northern Norway and Helsinki takes place once a week on Saturdays, with the schedule connecting to Finnair’s Asian flights as well as European flights. Tromsø is situated 350 kilometers north of the Arctic circle, and is famous for its artic nature, the northern lights and a wide variety of outdoor activities ranging from hiking to whale watching.
“We are excited to offer new direct flights to Bergen and Tromsø,” says Juha Järvinen, Chief Commercial Officer for Finnair. “The Nordics are attracting more and more travelers, and we believe our Asian customers will appreciate these additions to our extensive network. The new flights also offer our customers in Norway new connections to our network of 19 Asian cities and 100 European destinations via our Helsinki hub.”
Qatar Airways will launch direct flights to Penang, the airline’s second Malaysian destination, on 6 February 2018, as part of its ambitious global expansion plans.
In addition to its beautiful sandy beaches and stunning natural scenery, Penang is considered to be the gourmet capital of Malaysia. From street food to fine dining, visitors will be spoilt for choice with the variety of dishes available, with influences ranging from Malay to Chinese; Indian to European.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Malaysia has long been one of our most sought-after destinations, and as such, we are delighted to launch a new direct service to Penang, offering our passengers a second gateway into the country. With three weekly flights between Doha and Penang, we are sure travellers to this exotic holiday destination will be enchanted by both Penang’s magnificent natural scenery and our unrivalled five-star onboard service.”
Qatar Airways will fly three times a week to Penang with its state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which features 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class, with spacious cabins and specially-designed interiors. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner also offers lower altitude-equivalent pressure, improved air quality and optimal humidity, enabling passengers to arrive at their destination feeling refreshed. Passengers will be also able to enjoy the airline’s superior in-flight entertainment system, offering a multitude of entertainment options.
The airline first launched service to Malaysia in December 2001, and currently operates a triple-daily service to Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital.
As part of its continued expansion in Asia, the airline also recently announced the addition of extra services to the Thai city of Krabi, as well as to the Vietnamese cities of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, to commence in December 2017 and January 2018, respectively.
In December, Qatar Airways will launch service to Thailand’s Chiang Mai, its fourth destination in Thailand, to meet increased demand for Southeast Asian destinations from holiday-makers.
Qatar Airways will be adding many more exciting destinations to its network in 2017 and 2018, including Canberra, Australia; St. Petersburg, Russia and Cardiff, UK, to name a few.
The national carrier of the State of Qatar is one of the fastest-growing airlines operating one of the youngest fleets in the world. Now celebrating its twentieth year of operations, Qatar Airways has a modern fleet of more than 200 aircraft flying to business and leisure destinations across six continents.
MedCruise member port of Barcelona plays a leading role in advancing discussions on how to best link aviation and cruising, during the BCN World Route event to be held in Barcelona 23-26 September. Santiago Garcia Mila, Deputy Executive Director, Port of Barcelona will be among the key participants at the round table "Cruise and Aviation 2020", that will discuss how to make the most of the cruise growth opportunity, what is the best way for airlines and cruise companies, airports and port authorities to work together to create the best customer journey and the most efficient and cost effective working practices.
The other members of the panel are Kyriakos Anastassiadis, CEO, Celestyal Cruises & Chair, CLIA Europe, and Oscar Oliver, General Director of CETMO and Former Commercial Director, Aeroports de Catalunya.
"MedCruise and its membership have already worked with airport executives in the examination of how ports and airports working together with all stakeholders can create a robust cruise supply chain approach the can achieve desirable, and sustainable growth. We worked earlier this year with cruise airport executives that gathered in Athens and we are now excited to further this work in Barcelona. Discussions on the theme are also expected to emerge during the forthcoming 51st MedCruise General Assembly to be held in Toulon, 11-14 October 2017," says Thanos Pallis, MedCruise Secretary General.