British Airways launches new app for Executive Club members

British Airways has announced the launch of a new app for members of its Executive Club.

The new Reward app will help Executive Club members in finding new ways to collect and spend Avios and look at personalised ways to spend Avios based on the Avios balance. The Executive Club Reward app will be in addition to the current British Airways app, which is designed to assist all British Airways customers book and service pre- and post-travel needs.

The app will help members access and make purchases through the British Airways Avios eStore. Customers can also see different ways they can spend their Avios including a tool which updates the Avios needed for booking reward flights to different destinations. In addition, customers can see the latest Avios deals, view their last five transactions, and buy Avios, view account details and access their statement via different links.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience, said: ‘We want to offer members more choice in how they interact with the British Airways Executive Club.

‘The app is a great way that members can manage their balance and stay up-to-date with the latest ways to collect and spend Avios anywhere in the world. And with handy tools like the ability to see how many Avios are needed to book reward flights, we hope it’ll help members make the most of their balances.’

Members of the British Airways Executive Club can now collect and spend Avios with more partners, including flights with British Airways, Iberia and an additional 11 Oneworld and partner airlines including American Airlines, Qantas and Japan Airlines. Subject to applicable terms and conditions, members can also choose to cut the cost of British Airways and some American Airlines flights using Avios part payment.

Besides saving on flights, members can spend Avios with 60,000 additional partner hotels and on 50,000 extra tourist locations around the world. Through the British Airways Executive Club, members can also collect Avios on everyday spending with more partners across retail, travel and credit cards and continue to collect with several retailers on the British Airways Avios eStore.

The app can be downloaded for free through the App Store or Google Play. Members will need their Executive Club details to log in. Over the next months, more features will be added to the app to further enhance the benefits to members, British Airways said.

Uber launches car pool service in London

Taxi app Uber has launched a new service for Londoners, allowing them to share journeys and cut costs as well as emissions.

The new car-pooling service, UberPOOL, allows Uber users to share lifts with other people using the app. UberPOOL will allow up to three people to share a car, with each passenger saving up to 25 per cent of the standard fare.

Besides the financial benefit of share- taxi rides, the service is also designed to cut down on inefficient journeys by reducing road mileage and vehicle emission. The company also believes the idea will help reduce the number of cars on the road, reducing congestion.

‘We could materially reduce the cost for riders, help cut mileage and emissions and – as the cost of convenient, reliable, on-demand transport comes down – ultimately take cars off the road by making the need to own your own car a thing of the past. Not only that but UberPOOL means drivers have more fares, more of the time – so everyone benefits. That makes it the best choice for your driver, your wallet and your city,’ Uber said in its statement.

The UberPOOL scheme was first launched in San Francisco, where it now accounts for more than half of all Uber trips in the city.

According to Jo Bertram, Uber’s general manager in the UK, the pool service is a potential ‘game-changer for a city where a million people still drive to work each day with nobody else in the car’ – The Telegraph cited in a report.

The service was launched in London on Friday, December 4. The UberPOOL service will initially only be available for journeys that start in central London or at Heathrow.

The move comes as Transport for London (TfL) is considering new regulations for private-hire cars. The proposals put forward by TfL in September include a compulsory five-minute wait time after ordering a car, the ability to book a ride a week in advance, and set fares before the journey, among others.

TripAdvisor launches ‘Travel Timeline’ on mobile app

Leading travel site TripAdvisor has announced the launch of a ‘Travel Timeline’ feature for its mobile app that will enable travellers to log and share experiences from their trips.

The Travel Timeline feature automatically chronicles the places visited and photos taken on a trip, and allows travellers to recall and review sites and share their travel timeline with friends. The feature will operate without an Internet connection, helping travellers avoid data and roaming charges.

‘Travel Timeline is a useful and valuable tool for chronicling travel experiences and conveniently capturing moments to remember,’ said Adam Medros, senior vice president, global product, TripAdvisor. ‘TripAdvisor not only helps travellers plan and book their trips, but with Travel Timeline we help our community document and share them too.’

To activate Travel Timeline, users may log on to the TripAdvisor mobile app and opt-in to the feature. Upon activation, it will automatically create a timeline of the places that the travellers have visited and the photos they’ve taken at each location, which can be viewed in chronological order or as a route on a map.

While the timeline is private to the user on their TripAdvisor app, travellers can edit their timeline and share it with family and friends. It will register the points of interest that the user has visited in a running timeline, allowing them to rate and review hotels, restaurants, or other attractions visited.

Travel Timeline uses the phone’s GPS and motion sensors to predict the places of visit. Travel Timeline will be available through the free TripAdvisor mobile app only on iOS in 28 languages worldwide. Users may turn the feature off at any time.

According to TripAdvisor, TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, reaching 350 million unique monthly visitors with more than 290 million reviews and opinions covering 5.3 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. The sites operate in 47 countries worldwide.

 

easyJet launches ‘lowest fare finder’, enhances flight tracking

UK-based airline easyJet has said that it will add two new features on its website, easyJet.com.

Starting from June, the airline’s lowest fare finder tool will allow customers to search for its lowest price fares quickly and easily within the month of travel. The move comes after the airline launched an Inclusive Fare for corporate passengers and travel bookers looking for one-step transactions last year.

easyJet has also enhanced its Flight Tracker tool via a partnership with website Flightradar24. This will enable passengers as well as friends and relatives to see real time plane movements and progress on a map.

Peter Duffy, easyJet’s Group Commercial Director (Customer, Product & Marketing), said: ‘Our new lowest fare finder will help customers see our range of great value fares in an easy to use graphical format and is another example of how we’re making travel easier.

‘Our passengers like to have as much information as possible at their fingertips and we are confident that being able to track your plane in real time, coupled with improvements to our Flight Tracker tool will prove popular with our passengers.’

In addition to up-to-the-minute flight times, the airline connects its Operations Control Centre at Luton directly with customers through updates appearing in real time on a customer’s device. Flight Tracker is accessible from easyJet.com, the mobile website, as well as its iOS & Android apps.

The airline has also recently launched push notifications enabling customers with iOS devices to receive automated messages on updates about their flights at key stages.

Since its launch in December, over 8.6m million people have downloaded the easyJet app. easyJet.com is the third most searched for airline website globally and has almost 400 million visits per year, the airline said.

easyJet carried 12m business travellers in the 12 months to the end of March 2014 – the first time the airline has reached that milestone.

 

easyJet to enhance passenger experience with mobile technology advances

easyJet, one of the UK’s leading airlines, is looking to enhance its customer experience with the launch of push notifications for users of the airline’s free app on iPhone.

Starting April 22, 2014, customers who opt to receive notifications will receive real time updates with information such as the time when online check-in for their flight is open and when travel documentation needs to be added to a booking, as well as alerts which will keep them posted on the status of their flight.

Peter Duffy, easyJet’s Group Commercial Director, Customer, Product and Marketing said: ‘The use of push notifications will transform the way that we communicate with our passengers. It’s yet another way in which easyJet is using technology to keep our passengers informed.

‘We’ll be providing them with targeted messages and helpful reminders at various steps of their easyJet journey to make things even easier for them when they’re on the move. It’s all part of our plan to make travelling with easyJet as easy as it is affordable.’

The notifications will also ensure that more customers are aware of easyJet’s Flight Tracker and provide direct access to the tool, which is available via easyJet.com and the easyJet mobile apps.

Launched in 2013, easyJet’s Flight Tracker provides users with up to the minute information on all flights in the easyJet network. It will now also be possible to receive push notifications, which will direct users straight to the Flight Tracker when their flight is delayed by more than 15 minutes or a live update direct from easyJet’s control centre is posted.

easyJet carries more than 61 million passengers annually, of which 11 million are travelling on business. The airline flies over 200 aircraft on more than 600 routes between over 130 airports and over 30 countries.

 

easyJet launches ‘Inspire Me’ app for iPads

easyJet has started offering European travellers access to its popular and innovative ‘Inspire Me’ tool through a dedicated iPad application.

Using the simple and free map-based application, customers can generate a list of appropriate holiday destinations and recommended flights across the network by simply entering their preferred holiday type, budget and departure point.

‘Inspire Me’ claims to give customers looking for any last minute holiday inspiration, ideas on where to go, help in seeing how far their budget can take them or for locating the right destination for their trip, all displayed on a map of Europe. Available in 14 languages, ‘Inspire Me’ also allows passengers to save up to ten flights on a wish list so that they can compare details and select the best option.

‘Inspire Me’ is available as a dedicated iPad app and via easyJet’s website.

With easy to identify symbols, the ‘Inspire Me’ section gives customers the option to select and narrow down their choice of trips on a map by price and style of break, such as cultural, romantic or beach. Each destination includes a link to easyJet’s booking process or to newly created destination guides for further destination specific information.

Peter Duffy, director of marketing for easyJet, commented: ‘We know our customers value accessing our services via our free apps – with over 5.6 million having downloaded the easyJet mobile apps to date. The latest addition, our the Inspire Me iPad app helps people who don’t know exactly where or when they wish to travel by recommending our lowest price fares and showing possible destinations on a map of Europe.’

At the launch of ‘Inspire Me’ in 2012, Duffy said: ‘Our aim with easyJet.com is always to make it as easy as possible for our 400m annual visitors to the site, to find what they are looking for. We know that around 40 percent of customers coming to easyJet.com know that they want to travel, but are unsure exactly where to. This simple, yet innovative feature means they can search our 600 destinations more easily to find fantastic places to explore – many of which they might never have thought about!’

App allows travellers international phone usage at no extra charge

Travellers can now make and receive phone calls in foreign countries at no extra charge with the installation of a new app.

Users of i-pod touch, smartphones and tablets will be able to access free roaming after downloading the i-mobb app, which is available at http://www.i-mobb.com. Once the app has been installed, the user’s device makes and receives calls as if it was operating in its home country.

The app is currently available to users based in eight countries: U.S.A., Germany, France, U.K., Italy, Canada, Japan, and Netherlands. It assigns the user with a number in their country of origin and then provides unlimited calls to that country. Users can also register a phone number from the country that they are visiting.

i-mobb contracts can be as short as one week, and once the user has customised their own plan they receive an e-mail with all of the relevant information, including their new local phone number, access to a local voicemail inbox, and download instructions for their particular device. Users have control of their contact lists and can access incoming messages while travelling.

The company’s CEO, Bernard Drai, said, ‘Staying in touch with friends and business contacts while travelling is more important than ever in today’s world, but roaming charges and poor service can make communication difficult. i-Mobb’s convenient and affordable plans are the perfect solution to this problem. Customers can download our app before a major trip and travel with peace of mind. With i-Mobb, they’ll be able to make and receive any calls using a Wi-Fi connection, thereby avoiding roaming charges completely.’

The service is reliant on a wi-fi connection.

British Airways Offers Windows 8 App Mobile App

British Airways (BA), a premier UK airline, has recently introduced an app for its customers using a device on the brand new Windows 8 platform.

The new airline app, the first one in Europe for Windows 8, will allow customers move from one feature to other, access destination reviews, view local news for the destinations, search locations through interactive maps, as well as search and book airline flights at www.ba.com.

The app has been designed keeping in mind the unique features of Windows 8, including search and share functionality that allows users to access and share content across the social media platforms.

Richard Bowden, the digital marketing innovation manager for British Airways, said, ‘Our relationship with Microsoft continues to excite, because of our shared desire to innovate and use technology to explore new ways to improve the customer experience.

We believe our new integrated app delivers an exciting experience to users of Windows 8, giving British Airways customers a new way to explore and book the destinations we fly to every day.’

The app also features easy to use navigation, interactive maps, the latest fares and travel snippets from customers with ‘insider advice’ from destinations they’ve flown.

John Richards, the senior director of Windows App Marketing for Microsoft, said, ‘The new British Airways app is a great example of the innovative and engaging apps available in the Windows Store.

We are pleased the British Airways app takes advantage of the unique features of Windows 8, such integration with the Search and Share charms and automatic updates through tiles.’

Holiday Inn Introduces Windows 8 App

The Holiday Inn brand of hotels, owned by UK based InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), has released a travel application for the newly launched Windows 8 operating platform-based range of PCs and tablet devices.

The new app will allow the brand’s customers to search and book accommodation at any Holiday Inn hotel globally.

Michael Menis, the vice president, web and interactive marketing, for the company, said, ‘Holiday Inn has transformed the hospitality industry with its innovative and modern approach to guest services, and has a rich heritage of firsts in the industry, so it was a natural fit for our first app for Windows 8 to be rolled out with this industry-leading brand.

Developing an easy-to-use e-commerce app furthers our commitment to identifying and leveraging emerging technology to drive satisfaction for our guests, while optimising revenue delivery for our hotels.’

John Richards, senior director of Windows App Marketing for Microsoft Corp, said, ‘Microsoft app developers have always provided rich functionality and value for our shared customers, and Windows 8 gives them the platform to deliver. The re-imagining of Windows keeps our app developers ahead of the competition and gives our shared customers flexibility and choice.’

In 2011, the brand offered its Priority Club Rewards app for Windows Phone, and is currently offering apps for its hotel brands for iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, and Kindle Fire.

The Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands have around 51 properties in the UK, and around six of them in or around the city of London. The brands claim that in many ways they have been pioneers in the industry, introducing new hotel experiences to guests, including TVs, in-room telephones, air conditioning, complimentary parking and a full service restaurant on the premises, for the first time in the industry. The Holiday Inn brand also remains one of the first to offer complimentary accommodation and food for children, when accompanied by paying adults.

Hot Hotels Hotel Booking App Launched in UK

A new app by Hot Hotels is expected to alleviate the problem of occupancy in UK hotels, and will be able to match the guests with available rooms for the same evening, for a lowered price.

The new app is expected to help hotels fill in their vacant rooms at the last minute for increased revenue, at a decreased price.

The Hot Hotels app, which was initially launched in Spain in March of 2012, has so far been fairly successful, with around 50,000 download. It can be downloaded complimentary on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry operating platforms.

Conor O’Connor, the co-founder of the Hot Hotels app, said, ‘We’re incredibly excited to be launching the Hot Hotels app here in the UK, and having already proven so popular with hotels over in Spain, we’re looking forward to helping hotels in cities around the country fill unoccupied rooms.

The fact remains that one in four hotel rooms in the UK goes unoccupied every night, whilst many consumers can’t fork out the premiums often associated with booking rooms at the last minute. We aim to help both parties benefit- taking the headache away of trying to fill empty rooms and encouraging consumers to stay through reduced rates at the same time.’

According to recent research, the average price of a hotel room in the UK is £82, while usually one in four hotel rooms remain vacant each night. The new app is expected to cater to this market and reduce the number of available rooms in UK hotels.