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GTM overcomes Italian airline’s failure

The financing issues of airlines are causing some headaches for passengers wanting to fly between the UK and Italy. But, at Global Travel Management, we can offer a huge range of choice, so if one airline ceases operations, we can continue to find the best-value, most efficient alternatives.

This week Air Italy announced that the airline will be placed into liquidation and that all passengers booked onto flights after 25 February will be refunded or booked onto alternative flights. The announcement confirmed also that flights until 25 February will be operated by other carriers.

Despite the loss of Air Italy, there are still hundreds of regular, scheduled flights between UK and Italian airports, all of which can be booked for customers of GTM. These include British Airways, Alitalia, easyJet and Ryanair.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of GTM said

It always a difficult time when a travel supplier goes into liquidation. We hope that the airline’s staff can secure positions with other airlines as soon as possible.

In the meantime, we continue to offer the widest possible choice of flights from the UK to Italy. In addition, our staff can even provide advice on how to travel between the two countries without flying, by making use of Europe’s high-speed rail network.

Passengers booking flights through GTM benefit from protections from national and international laws as well as industry organisations.

Paul explained:

If customers are concerned about their flight bookings, we encourage them to speak to their GTM Account Manager who can advice on alternative travel plans. And, if an airline were to go out of business, the Account Manager can provide information on which travel industry compensation schemes they can make use of, such as ATOL, EU261 and the Consumer Credit Act.

Please contact your GTM Account Manager when you next need to fly between the UK and Italy.

Uber partnership with Hyundai takes off

Uber and Hyundai Motor Company have announced a new partnership to develop Uber Air Taxis for a future aerial ride share network and unveiled a new full-scale aircraft concept at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Hyundai is the first automotive company to join the Uber Elevate initiative, bringing automotive-scale manufacturing capability and a track record of mass-producing electric vehicles. The air vehicle concept Hyundai released was created in part through Uber’s open design process, a NASA-inspired approach that jump-starts innovation by publicly releasing vehicle design concepts so any company can use them to innovate their air taxi models and engineering technologies.

In this partnership, Hyundai will produce and deploy the air vehicles, and Uber will provide airspace support services, connections to ground transportation, and customer interfaces through an aerial ride share network. Both parties are collaborating on infrastructure concepts to support take-off and landing for this new class of vehicles.

Jaiwon Shin, Executive Vice President and Head of Hyundai’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Division said:

Our vision of Urban Air Mobility will transform the concept of urban transportation. We expect UAM to vitalise urban communities and provide more quality time to people. We are confident that Uber Elevate is the right partner to make this innovative product readily available to as many customers as possible.

Eric Allison, Head of Uber Elevate said:

Hyundai is our first vehicle partner with experience of manufacturing passenger cars on a global scale. We believe Hyundai has the potential to build Uber Air vehicles at rates unseen in the current aerospace industry, producing high quality, reliable aircraft at high volumes to drive down passenger costs per trip. Combining Hyundai’s manufacturing muscle with Uber’s technology platform represents a giant leap forward for launching a vibrant air taxi network in the coming years.

Hyundai worked with Uber Elevate to develop a PAV (Personal Air Vehicle) model, S-A1, that utilises innovative design processes to optimise electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for aerial ridesharing purposes. The Elevate initiative based this process on NASA’s historical approach of putting design concepts out publicly to inspire innovation amongst multiple companies, spurring the development of common research models to investigate novel aerodynamic concepts and catalysing industry progress in wing design, noise, aerodynamics, and simulation verification.

As a result, Hyundai’s S-A1 model unveiled at CES reflects previous eVTOL designs Uber Elevate has released in the following ways:

  • It is designed for a cruising speed up to 180 mph (290 kmph), a cruising altitude of around 1,000-2,000 feet (300 – 600m) above ground, and to fly trips up to 60 mile (100km).
  • The Hyundai vehicle will be 100% electric and, during peak hours, will require about five to seven minutes for recharging.
  • Hyundai’s electric aircraft utilises distributed electric propulsion, powering multiple rotors and propellers around the airframe to increase safety by decreasing any single point of failure. Having several, smaller rotors also reduces noise relative to large rotor helicopters.
  • The model is designed to take off vertically, transition to wing-borne lift in cruise, and then transition back to vertical flight to land.
  • The Hyundai vehicle will be piloted initially, but over time they will become autonomous.
  • The cabin is designed with four passenger seats, allowing riders to board/disembark easily and avoid the “dreaded” middle seat with enough space for a personal bag or backpack.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

This is an exciting, new partnership between two of the biggest names in their industries. Uber has the experience knowledge of personal, on-demand transport and Hyundai’s long-term development of electric vehicles marks them out as an expert partner for this project.

It may be a few years before electric vertical take off and landing, on-demand, ridesharing becomes commonplace, but we will be watching developments closely.

Contact your GTM Account Manager, next time you need to ensure you have a ride to or from airports or hotels.

American Airlines and British Airways mark the official start of the JFK redevelopment plan

American Airlines and British Airways have joined New York Govenor Andrew Cuomo and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) in announcing the start of construction on a $344 million investment at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) Terminal 8 at the Association for a Better New York luncheon in Midtown.

Robert Isom, President of American said:

Our investment will put the 14 daily flights from JFK to London that we offer in partnership with British Airways in the same terminal and give customers premium check-in space, new joint lounges and a larger variety of retail and dining options

We will be adding more than 70,000 square feet to customer and operational spaces to create a truly world-class experience at JFK.

Additionally, airline team members who power the terminal operations will also benefit from closer, faster and easier connections to American’s joint business partner British Airways by the additional co-located long-haul aircraft gates and an enhanced baggage system.

Governor Cuomo said:

As we progress with the JFK modernisation project, we are giving Terminal 8 a new look and layout in line with the modern, world-class standards that will define the airport’s ultimate transformation

When this work is completed, Terminal 8 will accommodate more passengers who will be able to enjoy a better travel experience and will make the work of airport staff more efficient and more seamless.

American and British Airways are the first airlines to mark the start of the transformation of JFK into a state-of-the-art, global hub. The upgrades and additions at Terminal 8 will bring improvements in the overall customer experience, including the addition of five widebody gates and four adjacent widebody hard stands (ramp parking where customers are transported to/from terminal via bus), enhanced baggage systems, new lounges, premium check-in space and upgraded concessions and retail options.


American and British Airways offer the most flights between JFK and London’s Heathrow Airport, a route Business Traveller calls “the most important and lucrative route for business in the world,” in addition to up to 70 flights a day to London from 26 destinations in the United States.

Additionally, customers arriving in New York will enjoy the ability to connect more conveniently onto other American Airlines flights, and customers departing New York will gain the flexibility of 14 daily flights to London all departing from the same terminal.

Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

Alex Cruz, Chairman and CEO of British Airways said, “This is an exciting development in our move to Terminal 8, alongside American Airlines, our Atlantic joint-business partner. We are one step closer to offering an even better customer experience for passengers travelling to, from and through JFK. We look forward to our continued work with the Port Authority and American Airlines in order to build a world-class transatlantic travel experience”.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

New York is a key hub for American Airlines, with the airline serving three New York-area airports – JFK, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport. So passengers have a great choice of airports and onward destinations when flying with American.

British Airways passengers can take advantage of the fantastic facilities at Heathrow, where First, Club World, Club Europe, Gold and Silver Executive Club members can also take advantage of the six British Airways lounges that are available for them in Terminal 5, giving them the opportunity to work or relax as they choose.

As there is a huge range of options for passengers flying between London and New York, we always work hard to ensure the best fares and the most-appropriate itineraries are put together for our customers. So it’s great to see that American and British Airways are working together to enhance the passenger experience even further, by developing JFK.

The next time you need to fly to JFK, contact your GTM Account Manager.

New venture opens up China to BA passengers

British Airways has signed a joint business agreement with China Southern Airlines, for travel from 2 January 2020.

The agreement will benefit customers of both airlines by opening more destinations between the UK and China, with a greater choice of flights and enhanced frequent flyer benefits. It will allow the airlines to cooperate on scheduling and pricing, providing customers with more flexible flight options and an attractive range of fares.

British Airways customers will be able to travel more easily on a combined route network which will develop over time thanks to both airlines’ move to the new Beijing Daxing International Airport. The joint business will initially see the two airlines code-sharing on all direct flights operated on mainland routes between London and six Chinese cities. This will expand to both airlines’ extensive domestic networks.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said:

We are delighted to announce this joint business which will bring the UK and China closer together by providing British Airways and China Southern Airlines customers with a wide range of benefits. The agreement reinforces our commitment to boost tourism and business travel between the two countries and we look forward to strengthening the relationship further.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

This is an excellent opportunity for businesses travelling to the Chinese capital or to Shanghai, Guangzhou, Sanya, Wuhan and Zhengzhou. Because this arrangement between British Airways and China Southern will mean 31 direct flights a week between London and these six Chinese locations.

This deal builds on British Airways’ move to Beijing Daxing Airport – for more about this, see our news story here.

Customer benefits will include greater opportunities to collect frequent flyer points, the ability to book through both airlines’ web or app-based platforms, enhanced lounge access and access to high-quality Chinese and British products and services on board and on the ground.

If you’re looking to fly to any of these six locations in China, contact your GTM Account Manager to find and book the best fares.

British Airways invests millions on reimagined and improved menus on flights from Gatwick

British Airways has made a multi-million pound investment in its catering on flights from London Gatwick, with “reimagined and improved” food across its short- and long-haul cabins.

Now available on all flights, the catering brings in new menus featuring new dishes and recipes as part of the airline’s £6.5bn investment for customers. The new food has a focus on provenance with the provider, Newrest, working closely with suppliers in the south of England to source the best quality ingredients.

Customers can enjoy the benefits across all long-haul cabins – World Traveller (economy), World Traveller Plus (premium economy), Club World (business) and First – as well as Club Europe (business) on short-haul. 

A range of Marks & Spencer products continues to be on offer to Euro Traveller customers.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience, said:

This is the latest development in continuously improving our catering. We’re incredibly proud of this new offering, and we hope our customers enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed developing it.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

British Airways flies to more than 70 destinations from Gatwick, offering a variety of routes to suit both business and leisure travellers. So it’s great to see an improved selection of great, locally-sourced food being served on routes from London’s second airport.

As part of its £6.5bn investment for customers, British Airways has refreshed its Boeing 777 fleet at Gatwick. So, as well as Panasonic in-flight entertainment on 10″ (World Traveller) and 12″ (World Traveller Plus) screens, offering more choice of movies, television and audio programmes, British Airways passengers now have choices from superbly-improved menus.

If you’re flying on business from London Gatwick, contact your GTM Account Manager.

United Airlines aims to put and end to jet lag… with an app

United Airlines customers now have a new, scientific way to battle jet lag through a first-of-its-kind partnership with Timeshifter, an app that outlines the best time to see and avoid light, sleep and enjoy caffeine to adjust quickly to a new time zone.

All MileagePlus members receive access to a free Timeshifter jet lag plan and Premier 1K members receive a complimentary subscription with unlimited plans. The app is targeted at customers flying across three or more time zones and will be a helpful tool for them to manage their jet lag as they travel throughout United’s global route network.

Vice President of Loyalty and President of MileagePlus, Luc Bondar said:

We want to do everything we can to help improve the experience of travelling across time zones, whether it’s a business trip to Tel Aviv or a vacation to Tahiti, our customers should arrive feeling fresh and ready to hit the ground running.

Timeshifter takes all the guesswork out of avoiding jet lag and instead uses science and algorithms to design a customised, step-by-step trip across time zones. I was a believer the first time I used the app and I think our customers will love it too.


Timeshifter was developed by top researchers in sleep and circadian neuroscience and is aimed at customers crossing three or more time zones. The app uses an algorithm to customise plans for customers based on a number of factors including normal sleep pattern, flight details and individual preferences, creating a personalised jet lag alleviation plan.

MileagePlus members will receive a free jet lag plan for a flight plan of their choosing in addition to the complimentary trial Timeshifter offers customers for a total of two free flight plans. MileagePlus Premier 1K members will be able to sign up for complimentary annual subscriptions for unlimited access to jet lag plans when they travel.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

One of the worst aspects of travelling on business is the horrendous effect of jet lag. United Airlines’ partnership with Timeshifter is a great way for passengers to prepare for and to mitigate and reduce the effects of jet lag.

I would encourage any Global Travel Management customer flying on United with the appropriate MileagePlus membership level to try out the app. Jet lag is worth avoiding!

United flies some of the longest routes in the world, including the two longest flights operated by US carriers; and this month, United will become the only airline to fly direct between North America and Cape Town. I will be interested to see how well our United customers alleviate jet lag on long haul trips using Timeshifter in the coming months.

If you’re planning to fly on United, speak to your GTM Account Manager to secure the best fares and we will make sure your Miles are accrued directly to your MileagePlus account.

New American Airlines mobile app feature uses secure passport chip technology for faster international boarding

American Airlines passengers now have a simpler way to check in for international flights as the airline has introduced passport scanning to its mobile app.

American Airlines claims to be the first airline to offer passport chip scanning that securely transmits passport information directly from the NFC chip embedded in the passport. This allows passengers to head directly to the gate for international flights, without having their passports rechecked by a customer service agent.

American Airlines’ mobile app now enables passengers
to scan their passports by NFC to speed the check in process

Maya Leibman, American Airlines’ Chief Information Officer said:

We are continuously adding features to our app to make travel easier and worry-free for our customers. Mobile passport scanning removes a time-consuming step, providing our customers with a smoother check-in experience for international flights.

Currently, customers departing on international flights who check in on the app, have their passports rechecked at the airport. This step is required even if the customer has uploaded a photo of their passport via the mobile app. With this new enhancement, the customer will be prompted to enter their passport information and then scan their passport with an iOS or Android device. The app provides easy-to-follow instructions for the process.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

This is a great use of new technology by American Airlines and fixes one issue: wasted time at airports waiting to check in. American Airlines’ 130,000 global team members serve more than 200 million customers annually. So any technology that speeds up the process and removes hassle for passengers has to be a good idea. I am looking forward to trying it out soon.

Mobile passport scanning is the latest in a long line of new customer features American Airlines has implemented to the airline’s app to make travel easier for customers. Other recent introductions include boarding notifications, Siri shortcuts and a dark mode option. American has also rolled out additional services to improve the travel experiences, including biometric international boarding, virtual 3D aircraft tours online, a redesigned self-service kiosk menu that simplifies the check-in process and an improved family seating approach, which ensures adults and kids under 14, when travelling together on the same reservation, are seated together.

Contact your GTM Account Manager next time you need to fly on American Airlines.

British Airways rolls out First Contact Resolution Programme worldwide

British Airways is rolling out its First Contact Resolution Programme across every airport it operates to, following its successful launch at Heathrow last year.



British Airways is extending its First Contact Resolution programme to colleagues around the world following a successful roll out at Heathrow

First Contact Resolution empowers airport hosts to use their expertise, initiative and judgement to solve customer queries on the spot, without waiting for management approval. This allows them to provide instant solutions and peace of mind for customers and send fewer issues to Customer Relations colleagues. 

All staff worldwide are now being further empowered to use their skills and initiative to do the right thing for any customer at that moment.

Sumer Adlakha, British Airways’ Customer Service Manager in Delhi, Mumbai & Maldives said:  

The new approach has been welcomed by the whole of our airport team and our customers. It gives us the ability to own and resolve a problem without having to ask customers to call or email our Customer Relations team which is time-consuming for them. They’ve told us they love that our agents are using their own knowledge and skills to resolve issues and particularly enjoy the personal touch we are able to give in each situation.

Tom Stevens, British Airways’ Head of Airport Operations said: 

We’ve seen a fantastic response to the First Contact Resolution programme at Heathrow, which is about going back to basics and emphasising the age-old concept of ‘treating others as you would want to be treated’.  The roll out worldwide will provide consistency for our customers, giving everyone the unique and personal attention that they deserve, wherever they are in the world.



First Contact Resolution enables staff to assist and resolve any customer issue at the airport rather than refer travellers to Customer Relations teams

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

From time to time, travel plans go wrong. GTM is always on hand to help if plans need to be changed at the last minute. But sometimes passengers need the kind of immediate assistance that can only be provided at the airport. So it’s great that passengers know they can rely on the knowledge and skills of British Airways staff and that First Contact Resolution is being rolled out, worldwide.

The roll out of First Contact Resolution is a part of British Airways’ £6.5 billion investment in customer experience over five years. This includes taking delivery of 73 new aircraft including A350s and 787s, refurbishing long-haul aircraft with new cabins, introducing new, redesigned lounges, new dining across all cabins, new bedding and amenity kits for First, Club World and World Traveller Plus, best quality on-board WiFi for every aircraft and access to power at every aircraft seat.

The next time you need to fly on British Airways, contact your GTM Account Manager.

Neymar, Lewandowski and Cafu star in Qatar Airways’ new football-themed safety video

Qatar Airways has turned a pre-match team-talk into an entertaining safety video that will be shown on board flights before the end of the year. Featuring football legends past and present, the video delivers important safety information with the help of personalities from the airline’s ongoing partnerships with AS Roma, Bayern Munich and FIFA.

The film stars Brazilian footballer Neymar Jr, Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski and AS Roma legend Cafu, who are led through the in-flight safety routine by a comedic double act of coach and kitman played by British television regular Jason Thorpe and comedy actor Ross Hatt.

Directed by Peter Lydon, who co-wrote the script with award-winning creative agency 180 Kingsday, the six-minute film is designed for Qatar Airways’ global, family audience. Mirroring the airline’s latest advertising campaigns, the film seeks to add a playful spin to a vital part of the in-flight experience.

Qatar Airways Senior Vice President Marketing and Corporate Communications, Ms Salam Al Shawa, said:

At Qatar Airways, safety is priority one and we want to ensure everyone, including our most frequent travellers, watches our safety briefings. The wonderfully creative concept from 180 Kingsday will capture our passengers’ attention whilst providing a fun, light-hearted video to get the in-flight entertainment underway. The level of quality and attention to detail in this video is paramount and I am sure the content will both inform and amuse our global passengers of all ages.

Kalle Hellzen, Executive Creative Director at 180 Kingsday, said:

Humour has been shown to increase memory, so there seems to be no better way to communicate such important information than by making it fun. As always, the world of Qatar Airways enchants.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management, said:

In-flight safety videos aren’t always the most entertaining or interesting.  But Qatar Airways has produced a great video, especially for football fans.  When you next fly on Qatar, look out for some of the world’s best-known football stars. 

And, while you’re on-board, check out Oryx One, Qatar Airways’ in-flight entertainment system.  It offers passengers up to 4,000 entertainment options from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games and much more. Passengers flying on Qatar Airways flights served by its B787, B777, A350, A380, A319 and select A320 and A330 aircraft can also stay in touch with their friends and family around the world by using the airline’s on-board Wi-Fi and GSM service.

Qatar Airways was recently named ‘Airline of the Year’ for the fifth time by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named ‘World’s Best Business Class’, ‘Best Business Class Seat’, and ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’.

Please contact your GTM Account Manager to book flights on Qatar – whether you’re travelling on business, or just for the football…

New name revealed for West Coast Main Line rail company

Avanti West Coast will be the name of the new InterCity West Coast rail franchise, FirstGroup and Trenitalia have revealed.

From 8 December 2019, FirstGroup and Trenitalia will take over the operation of InterCity West Coast rail services. The service will link London to cities and towns across England, North Wales and Scotland, serving as a “vital economic artery bringing cities and people closer together”.

The Avanti West Coast logo, created by design agency forpeople, is a bright orange triangle, symbolising the geographic extent of the 400-mile long route that serves cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow as well as London and North Wales.



Avanti is Italian for “Forward!”

Under the new West Coast Partnership, First Trenitalia is committed to delivering a range of passenger enhancements for InterCity West Coast services and passengers will benefit from more trains, more seats, simplified fares and more frequent services.

56 Pendolino trains will be completely refurbished with 25,000 brand new seats, more reliable Wi-Fi and improved catering. By 2022, there will be 263 more train services every week to more places and a fleet of new trains introduced.

Fares and ticket types will be simplified with mobile tickets and smartcards introduced. Stations will be improved with refreshed waiting rooms, better customer facilities, more car parking spaces and greater accessibility for those who need it. 

Speaking at the launch of the new brand, Steve Montgomery, Managing Director of First Rail, one of the UK’s most experienced rail operators, said:

We’re looking forward to taking over the franchise and we are very pleased and proud to be working with Trenitalia, a strong partner who is committed to playing an increasing role in UK rail and has many years of expertise in the high speed sector in Italy.

We are committed to our customers and over the next few years, we will work with our industry and local partners not only to invest in, and improve, rail services on the route, but also to attract more people to rail and connect communities across the country.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management, said:

These exciting investment plans on the West Coast Main Line will be a huge benefit to a lot of passengers.  And, with improved Wi-Fi and better catering, rail will become an attractive option for business travel between London, the north west of England and Scotland.

At Global Travel Management, we are looking forward to the feedback our clients give us on this new rail operator and we are excited to be able to add Avanti West Coast to the range of domestic and international rail services we provide.

You can book rail journeys on GTM Online or by contacting your GTM Account Manager.