Window on Europe
Virgin Atlantic Airways has become the latest airline to join The Great Escapade, an around the world ticket partnership between Air New Zealand, Ansett Australia and Singapore Airlines (SIA).The Great Escapade provides excellent value for money with tickets on sale from August 23 and fares starting from £969 ($1,417) in economy. "This venture will enable passengers to fly around the world at a very competitive price enjoying the quality, comfort and hospitality of four award winning airlines," Virgin's general manager for sales, Paul Wait, said. Virgin Atlantic has also announced a code-share agreement with Singapore Airlines beginning October 1. The deal is a non-reciprocal partnership and will offer passengers three times daily services in economy class on SIA's London-Singapore-London service. Sabre and Compaq announced an agreement under which Sabre will begin migrating its mainframe applications to Compaq's NonStop Himalaya server and database environment to create the "next generation" travel technology. Compaq's technology will enable Sabre to address customer demands more efficiently and make travel shopping, planning and managing easier and faster. Once Sabre's dynamic air shopping application is fully integrated onto the Compaq NonStop platform, airlines and travel consolidators will be able to update their fares in the Sabre system faster and with greater frequency and reliability than with any other e-commerce system in the industry. Updating airfare changes and seat availability through the NonStop platform will provide the most accurate, up-to-the-minute information without interruption. Over a third of all airline passengers have cause to complain about the service they receive but only one in four of them register their complaint, according to a survey carried out on behalf of certification organisation, SGS United Kingdom Ltd. The Air Transport Users' Council (AUC) revealed it had received record numbers of written and telephone complaints from disgruntled passengers last year. While delays headed the list of written complaints to the AUC, the SGS survey found that the lack of information about delays and cancellations was more of an irritation to passengers. The study, conducted for the global quality assurance firm by Template Surveys, relates to data collected from responses to 5,000 questionnaires circulated by email to airline travellers throughout the UK. Primary data about the needs and wishes of consumers will be used to develop its proprietary certification scheme, known as Qualicert. It aims to give service providers, such as airlines, a visible means to demonstrate their commitment to providing customer satisfaction while enabling consumers to instantly recognise those companies, which have been independently assessed. Marriott hotels in the UK have gained the best year-on-year results in the 2001 Meetings Market Survey conducted by BDRC, the definitive market research survey for the UK hotel meetings industry. Around 201 corporate organisers and 100 agents/venue finders were interviewed between June and August 2001 to find out what they knew of and thought about 34 major hotel chains in the UK. The survey found that Marriott hotels, operated by Whitbread Hotel Company in the UK, scored the highest amongst agents when asked to name 'one of the best chains' and one that they would recommend. "We have put in place a number of initiatives in the past year to improve our profile in the conference and meetings market and they are obviously starting to pay off," said Guy Parsons, Whitbread Hotel Company sales and marketing director.