Birmingham Airport offers new flight update service via Facebook messenger

Birmingham Airport has announced the introduction of its new flight update service – Flight Smart – for departing passengers via Facebook messenger.

The Flight Smart flight update service was originally offered via Twitter, having launched in summer 2017. Following the success of the programme, Birmingham Airport will now add Flight Smart to Facebook messenger as well. Passengers can send their flight number to the Flight smart messenger page and instantly receive live flight updates direct to their mobile and tablet devices.

Jo Lloyd, Business Development Director – Birmingham Airport said: ‘In this digital age we live by our mobiles, so to be able to see where to check in, what gate to use and which restaurant to choose from, all from your phone or tablet, takes the stress out of travelling. The twitter Flight Smart has been heavily used by our passengers since its inauguration, but we were conscious that not everyone uses twitter, with the addition of Facebook messenger Flight Smart all passengers can have up to date information on their journey at their fingertips.

Paul Brugger, C.E.O of TIC said: ‘Birmingham Airport has been running BizTweet under the Flight Smart brand for eighteen months, due to its phenomenal success they will be launching our complementary Facebook Messenger service. At a touch of a button the airport will be able to provide even more passengers with real-time, high personalised operational and customer service messages directly to passengers via these two platforms.’

Facebook messenger also offers more detailed content, allowing passengers to access maps and directions, information about restaurants and contact details, enabling them to plan ahead of their trip. Flight Smart was developed in collaboration with Cork -based technology company, TIC for Facebook Messenger.

Passengers using Flight Smart on Facebook messenger may type @flybhx into the search tab on the Facebook app or the Birmingham Airport facebook page to get live updates. This service helps passengers get constant flight updates until departure and also allows family and friends to track the flight, the airport said.

Ryanair launches complete package holiday service

Irish low-fares airline Ryanair has announced the launch of its package holiday service, ‘Ryanair Holidays’, offering its customers flights, accommodation and transfer packages on the Ryanair.com website.

Ryanair has partnered with Spain-based tour operator Logitravel and accommodation provider World2Meet to create ‘Ryanair Holidays.’ The service is being offered in the UK, Ireland and Germany starting December 1 and in other markets in 2017.

Commenting on the launch, Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said: ‘Ryanair’s low fares transformed air travel in Europe and now we’re going to transform the package holiday market with the launch of ‘Ryanair Holidays’, offering our customers the unbeatable combination of Ryanair’s low fares, a wide range of accommodation options and transfers – all on the Ryanair.com website and all at the lowest prices.

‘Consumers have been paying too much for package holidays for years and more and more want to put their own packages together themselves. Ryanair customers already enjoy the biggest route network in Europe and with ‘Ryanair Holidays’ can choose from a fantastic range of 3, 4 and 5 star hotels throughout the Mediterranean and Europe’s capital cities, ideal for last minute getaways, summer family holidays, winter sun or city breaks.

‘Following the launch of Ryanair Car Hire and Ryanair Rooms, even more customers are coming to Ryanair for services and products other than flights, and this is another significant step on our journey to becoming the Amazon of air travel. ‘Ryanair Holidays’ offers full consumer protection, is fully ATOL bonded and insured, and won’t be beaten on price. So before you go on holiday, you only have to visit one place – Ryanair.com.’

Logitravel’s Tomeu Bennasar said: ‘Our team has worked hard to develop the package holidays application for Ryanair and we are very satisfied with the result – a usable interface with a wide range of hotels and vacation products to be booked seamlessly with the flight, under one price and which is 100% customisable by each customer. Without a doubt, this will be a new Ryanair service that its clients will enjoy using.’

World2Meet Chief Commercial Officer, Mark Nueschen, said: ‘For us, the partnership agreement is excellent news. We are convinced that our extensive experience in destination assistance and hotel contracting will be a fundamental part of the success of this project.’

‘Ryanair Holidays’ comes after the introduction of Ryanair Car Hire and Ryanair Rooms and is the latest digital innovation delivered by Ryanair Labs under the ‘Always Getting Better’ programme, the airline said.

Gatwick Airport launches luggage transfer service

London Gatwick has recently announced the launch of a luggage transfer service by AirPortr, a London-based travel tech start-up, at the airport.

With the new service, Gatwick passengers will have a same-day, on demand luggage service that provides bag-free travel to and from their home, workplace or holiday destination within London, Gatwick and surroundings.

AirPortr’s team of concierges and drivers will collect and deliver passengers’ baggage between their location and the airport. Passengers can now travel bag-free, enabling faster and hassle free journeys. Departing travellers can be free to make the most of their time on departure day, as they do not have to factor in extra time carrying their luggage. Arriving passengers can offload their bags with the AirPortr team when they land and travel straight to their destination.

Priced as an ‘affordable luxury,’ AirPortr’s service charges £30 for two bags of any size or weight delivered to or from the airport into Central London.

Gatwick Product Manager for Premium and Business Services, Toby Tait, said: ‘Gatwick is always striving to make our passengers’ travel through our airport quick, convenient and hassle-free.

‘The arrival of AirPortr now means that the convenience our passengers experience at the airport extends to their travel to and from Gatwick. Carrying heavy bags on the journey to and from the airport can now be a thing of the past for our passengers.’

Chris Walsh, Head of Customer Experience at Portr, said: ‘Of course we are in the business of same day luggage delivery and ensuring your bags travel when and where you want them, but really AirPortr is all about the time and convenience aspect of the service that we in reality aspire to deliver.

‘More time to do what you want and need to do versus having your luggage inconveniently dictating your itinerary i.e. what we like to think is truly travelling with ‘Luggage Freedom’.’

The luggage delivery service has been formally launched at Gatwick South Terminal and will be operational in Gatwick North Terminal later this year. The service can be booked in advance or on the day of travel at www.portr.com.

Heathrow introduces helper service

Heathrow, the UK’s hub airport, is trialling the next generation of passenger service – Heathrow Helpers.

The new team of trained helpers will be on hand to assist with every passenger demand including such services as providing destination advice, weather updates, sun bathing advice, sports news, games for children, assisting anxious flyers, charging of technology and basic language support. The initiative has been implemented as the airport has been receiving the strangest passenger requests over the past 10 years, ranging from absurd travel directions through to language faux pas.

Located throughout the airport, passengers will be able to identify the crew by their purple uniforms and special tool belts. Each tool belt will contain the necessary accessories to respond to the most popular passenger requests, including cuddly toys for young children and technology chargers for business travellers.

With a combined experience of 264 years in assisting passengers, the team covers over 38 languages between them. Heathrow Helpers have been selected based on their exceptional skill sets, from being tourism specialists to proficiency in sign language.

Normand Boivin, Chief Operating Officer at Heathrow, said, ‘At Heathrow, we see a wide range of passengers travelling through the airport daily, and with this comes a variety of needs and demands that must be catered for. That’s why our latest trial highlights Heathrow’s endeavour to provide a unique and bespoke service to everyone using the airport. Our Heathrow Helpers will be present all week, providing passengers with that extra special treatment.’

As the next level of personal service, especially for VIP travellers, Heathrow is set to launch a tailored service – Heathrow Upgrade. Upgrade service will provide passengers with their very own Heathrow Helper for the duration of their journey, and a Heathrow Porter to carry bags.

 

Air China Offers Fast Track Immigration Desk at London Heathrow

Air China, the China-based, state-owned airline company, is offering a fast track immigration service at London Heathrow Airport for its VIP passengers.

The airline is currently offering this facility to its First Class and Business Class passengers and PhoenixMiles Platinum members, on flights from Beijing to Heathrow London airport. On arriving at Heathrow airport, the passengers may proceed to the ‘Fast Track’ location and provide their credentials in order to benefit from the service.

Passengers will be offered an exclusive express immigration and passport control clearance service at Heathrow, with much shorter waiting periods and greater travel comfort. The offer is valid for individual VIP travellers who do not hold UK passports or the passports of any other European Union member countries.

Currently the offer is available at eight overseas airports, including Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport in Australia, Melbourne Airport, in Australia, Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport in France, Narita International Airport, Tokyo, Japan, Rome Fiumicino Leonardo Da Vinci’ International Airport in Rome, Italy, Milan Malpensa Intercontinental Airport in Milan, Italy, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand, and London Heathrow Airport.

Previously, in May 2012, the airline launched its new service from London Gatwick Airport to Beijing International Airport, four times a week, in a bid to obtain a greater share of the services to the city of London.

Air China is currently the 10th largest airline by fleet use in the world, with a fleet of 330-200 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, operating on 289 routes, serving a total of 143 cities.