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Travel

Covid 19 coronavirus : Lufthansa flight makes low pass over Auckland as it takes Germans home

The German airline Lufthansa bid a fond farewell to New Zealand today with a low pass over Auckland as its A380 left Aotearoa to take German citizens back home.

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• Coronavirus: Asian airlines set to lose $44b as demand shrivels
• Air NZ boss on coronavirus: ‘Not all airlines will survive this’

Aucklanders were treated to the rare sight of the massive plane travelling low over the central city and Waitemata Harbour just before 10am today, with many heading outside to capture the rare event on photo and video.

They are on their way home, nice touch with the fly over Auckland.. pic.twitter.com/ssdyFpLdUT

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Travel

Behold the hotel voted as 'the world's most Instagrammable'

The world’s most Instagrammable hotel voted as Nizuc Resort & Spa in Cancun – and these jaw-dropping pictures show why

  • The five-star hotel is set on a 29-acre beachfront estate that overlooks the turquoise Caribbean Sea
  • It boasts multiple infinity pools, a swim-up bar, two private beaches and stunning Asian-Mexican furnishings
  • The accolade was bestowed upon the resort by Luxury Travel Advisor after a knockout-style round of votes 

Dust down the bucket list and put this luxury lodge on it. 

The five-star Nizuc Resort & Spa in Punta Nizuc, Cancun, Mexico has been voted ‘Most Instagrammable Hotel in the World’ – and these mesmerising images show why.

Scroll through them and feast your eyes upon the resort’s most drool-worthy attributes – private beaches, lush landscaping, stunning infinity pools, swim-up bars and architecture that fuses Asian forms with Mexican materials and Mayan iconography.

The five-star Nizuc Resort & Spa in Punta Nizuc, Cancun, Mexico has been voted ‘Most Instagrammable Hotel in the World’ 

The accolade was bestowed upon Nizuc Resort by Luxury Travel Advisor after over 400,000 votes were cast by its readers around the world during six knockout-style rounds involving 63 posh properties

Nizuc garnered a whopping 219,794 votes in the final of the knock-out voting contest

The accolade was bestowed upon the resort by Luxury Travel Advisor after over 400,000 votes were cast by its readers around the world during six knockout-style rounds involving 63 posh properties, with Nizuc garnering a whopping 219,794 votes in the final.

Second place went to Vietnam’s Melia Ho Tram Beach Resort, which amassed 183,303 votes. 

The hotel, which is situated on a 29-acre estate and features 274 suites and villas, said in a statement: ‘We’ve always known that Nizuc offers something special to our guests, and we’re thrilled that Luxury Travel Advisor’s readers agree.

‘From our picturesque infinity pools and turquoise waters to our stunning spa and unique design, anyone looking for that perfect picture won’t be hard-pressed to find it at our resort.’

The Caribbean Sea resort is located on a secluded area once used by Mayan astronomers and as a presidential retreat for world leaders. 

Nizuc’s architecture fuses Asian forms with Mexican materials and Mayan iconography

Nizuc provides a secluded beachfront escape surrounded by sugar-white sands, protected mangroves and lush tropical foliage

The hotel overlooks the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef – the second-largest coral reef in the world

The hotel has a live beach cam, so you can tune in and pretend you’re not on lockdown

Now Nizuc provides a secluded beachfront escape surrounded by sugar-white sands, protected mangroves and lush tropical foliage.

It also overlooks the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef – the second-largest coral reef in the world.

If all of this is proving rather frustrating during these times of lockdown, the hotel has you covered: you can tune in to a live beach cam while you sip on a homemade margarita and take in the sublime sunsets.

For more information and bookings visit www.nizuc.com.

The hotel said in a statement: ‘We’ve always known that Nizuc offers something special to our guests, and we’re thrilled that Luxury Travel Advisor’s readers agree’

The resort is located on a secluded area once used by Mayan astronomers and as a presidential retreat for world leaders 

The hotel boasts a lux 30,000-square-foot spa, 274 suites and villas and six ‘world-class’ restaurants 

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Categories
Cruises

Travel Leaders Network cancels 2020 conference

Travel Leaders Network has
canceled its 2020 EDGE conference.

The conference was originally
going to be held June 6-9 at the Universal Orlando Resort.

The network plans to host its
EDGE 2021 conference in May at the same venue.

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Categories
Travel

Airbnb Just Launched Online Experiences — Including Virtual Hangouts With Goats and Cooking Classes


Since its launch in 2016, Airbnb Experiences have become a beloved part of our travel journeys. It’s taken us all to new places to try new foods, learn new skills, make new friends, and see the world in a whole new way. Though the spread of the Coronavirus has brought our in-person adventures to a halt, Airbnb is still committed to helping everyone explore the world. That’s why it’s now offering many of those same — and brand new — experiences online.

a screen shot of a dog: These virtual experiences are perfect for the whole family — especially kids.

On Thursday, Airbnb launched Online Experiences, a “new way for people to connect, travel virtually, and earn income during the COVID-19 crisis,” the company explained. “With communities around the world staying home to protect their own health and the health of others, people can’t pursue routine activities like going to work, exercising or pursuing a passion.”

So Airbnb worked with hosts around the world to find a solution. “One of the most consistent requests [from hosts] was to be able to continue hosting online,” Catherine Powell, Head of Airbnb experiences told Travel + Leisure. “So we dedicated a team to work around the clock to help ensure that they could transfer the magic of their real world Experience to the digital world.”

a dog looking at the camera: Airbnb

That magic includes online experiences like meditation with Buddhist monks, virtual visits with the dogs of Chernobyl, cooking with a Moroccan family, and even spending time with a few goats in the Catskills.

That last one — the goats — was a virtual experience we got to try out for ourselves before the official launch. It included plenty of up-close shots with the adorable creatures, lots of new facts about the animals (did you know goats have a 312-degree field of vision) as well as a question and answer time with their owner, Meagan. In all, the experience lasted about an hour, cost just $10, and would make for an excellent afternoon (and educational) activity for kids, or those curious about the creatures.

“It’s so important for us to preserve the human connection that is at the core of Airbnb Experiences, and guests can continue to expect this connection with our new offering, globally and virtually,” Powell told T+L.

food on display: Airbnb

Want more? How about learning the secrets of magi, making coffee with a professional coffee taster, or even bartending with experts? Want to use this time to get in shape? Log on for a HIIT workout, learn about nutrition with a Bobsledder, or go on a virtual bike tour while riding your spin bike.

The best part is that while you and your family get a meaningful experience, you’re also helping provide an income to people who have lost much of theirs as we practice self-isolation. “In a time where so many people are being impacted financially, we wanted to do our part to provide an opportunity for our hosts to continue to earn some money while they are sheltering at home to stay safe,” said Powell.

Airbnb is also taking the extra step to help some of our most vulnerable find human connection in these uncertain times using virtual experiences. “Millions of elderly people are isolated and are at greater risk to their health due to the current crisis. We’ve partnered with local organizations around the world — like SAGE in the United States, Associazione Nazionale Alpini – Sezione di Milan in Italy, and Amigos de los Mayores in Spain — to provide Online Experiences to their communities for free so they are able to find human connection, and maybe even learn a new skill,” said Powell.

Bookings are available for more than 50 virtual Airbnb Experiences right now on Airbnb, with thousands more expected to come online in the coming months. All online Experiences will be hosted on Zoom. Airbnb will be providing Hosts access to Zoom for free along with personalized support services for curating, capturing, and sharing their online Experience. Check out all the classes now and sign up to learn a new skill or two (or three, or four).


  • a small boat in a body of water with a mountain in the background

    2021 cruise bookings are on the rise despite coronavirus chaos
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  • a large ship in the water

    Coronavirus-hit cruise ships able to dock in Florida
    Two Holland America cruise ships with coronavirus patients aboard were finally allowed to dock at a port near Fort Lauderdale, resolving a days-long impasse that drew the attention of President Donald Trump. Jillian Kitchener has more.

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    Reuters – US Video Online

  • a group of people swimming in a body of water

    A 60-second virtual vacation in the Bahamas
    Find out why this stunning archipelago is a diver's paradise.

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Categories
Transport

JetBlue Temporarily Consolidates Service From Five US Cities

JetBlue will temporarily consolidate operations in five major metropolitan areas within the U.S. this spring amid unprecedented low demand for air travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

From April 15 through June 10, JetBlue will consolidate its operations in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C., with flights operating at one or, in some cases, only two airports in each region.

In New England, JetBlue will temporarily suspend service from Rhode Island’s T.F. Green International Airport, consolidating service at Boston’s Logan International Airport.

Service will also be temporarily suspended at Hollywood Burbank Airport; Ontario International Airport; LaGuardia Airport; Westchester County Airport; Stewart International Airport; San Jose International Airport and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

The carrier announced that it will consolidate service at Los Angeles International Airport and Long Beach Airport in Southern California and John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport in New York City.

“We face new challenges every day and can’t hesitate to take the steps necessary to reduce our costs amidst dramatically falling demand so we can emerge from this unprecedented time as a strong company for our customers and crew members,” said Scott Laurence, JetBlue’s head of revenue and planning.

JetBlue said that it also intends to file an exemption request with the U.S. Department of Transportation to temporarily suspend flying at other airports where current demand does not support service.

Overall, JetBlue has reduced flying network-wide by 80 percent per day in April in response to COVID-19.

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Categories
Travel

Travel agents breaking the law by refusing to refund holidaymakers, says Which?

Travel agents that are refusing to refund customers for cancelled holidays are breaking the law, according to a Which? investigation.

Holidaymakers have been in touch with the consumer champion to report that some travel firms are insisting they accept a rebooking or future travel voucher, rather than returning their money, after trips were derailed by the global coronavirus pandemic.

The Package Travel Regulations mean those who have booked package trips including accommodation and travel are entitled to a full refund within two weeks of a cancellation by their agent or tour operator.

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But several companies have been flouting these rules, claim customers.

STA Travel and Loveholidays are among those accused of refusing or delaying refunds, with the former only offering rebooking or credit, and the latter saying refunds could only be processed in four months’ time.

Both firms told Which? they were basing their terms on Abta guidance.

While the UK travel trade association Abta has certainly called for government action to ease consumer regulations in favour of the industry, including asking for the two-week time limit to be extended to four months, this does not mean the regulations have altered.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak began, there have been no changes to consumer protection or companies’ legal requirement to offer refunds to customers in full for trips that are no longer going ahead.

Kane Pirie, founder and managing director of Vivid Travel and a former Abta board member, told The Independent that it was a “disgrace” that firms were denying holidaymakers refunds.

“A lot of travel companies are really short of cash,” he said. “I get that. But a lot of customers are really short of cash as well. And they want their money back.

“It’s a disgrace that parts of the industry are thinking now is the time to tell customers, ‘No, I know you’ve got a legal entitlement to this money but I’m not going to give it to you’.”

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, called travel agents’ refusal to pay people back “unacceptable”, adding that customers may “desperately need the money themselves due to financial pressures caused by coronavirus.”

STA Travel told Which?: “Abta is highlighting that customers may be offered a Refund Credit Note instead of an immediate cash refund, which can be used to book another holiday at a later date and, in the meantime, it is protected by Abta / ATOL.”

Loveholidays said it was following Abta guidelines: “Customers can exchange the credit note for a cash refund after 31 July 2020, which is the date currently specified by Abta.”

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Categories
Transport

Delta Reducing Passengers, Blocking Middle Seats to Combat COVID-19

Delta Air Lines is implementing new policies in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Starting April 13 through May 31, Delta will reduce the number of passengers on each flight; block middle seats in Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+ and Delta Premium Select across all of its flights and pause automatic, advance Medallion Complimentary Upgrades, the carrier announced on Wednesday.

“Customers who want to practice responsible social distancing can explore options via the Fly Delta App or at Delta.com. Customers who prefer to be seated directly next to travel companions and family members or needing additional assistance should contact reservations ahead of travel or talk to a Delta agent upon arriving at the gate,” the airline stated.

The temporary changes come on the heels of the new Delta Clean standard established for the long term, which includes efforts to streamline food and beverage service onboard all flights to decrease touchpoints between customers and crew; boarding customers 10 at a time; helping passengers find new seats while complying with weight-and-balance restrictions at 10,000 feet and extending travelers’ ability to plan, re-book and travel for up to two years.

Delta added that customers still need to be seated within the same class of service and within three rows, whether in front or behind, their assigned seat to ensure a balanced distribution of weight inside the cabin for safe aircraft operation.

The airline also recently donated 200,000 pounds of food to hospitals and community food banks

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Categories
Transport

Some Flights Are Flying With Just One Passenger Each

Arguably the busiest metropolitan area in the world with three major airports, flights to and from New York City are almost always full.

In this time of the global coronavirus pandemic with travel restrictions, lowered demand for travel, severe cutbacks in service by the airlines and, specifically, major cuts in service to New York, the epicenter of the virus, it’s not surprising to see planes nearly empty.

But this is still shocking to hear.

On Sunday, April 5, a spokesperson for American Airlines confirmed to Fox News that the carrier flew nine flights out of New York City that had just one passenger on each plane.

Airlines are required to maintain a minimum service schedule as part of the CARES Act bailout stimulus package offered by the federal government, but that is still a surprising number.

In fact, according to Fox, American’s busiest flight from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport only had 27 passengers on board a plane with 172 seats, and at JFK International Airport, the busiest flight from the airline had 49 passengers.

It wasn’t any better a day later, as American Airlines said Monday that the busiest flight from LaGuardia only had 35 passengers, while the busiest flight from JFK had 25 passengers.

American announced last week it was joining other airlines in cutting back flights in and out of New York. It will only operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the three major NYC airports and will not have overnight crews working.

“Although New York is one of the current COVID-19 hotspots in the U.S., all of us have an incredibly important role to play as we ensure the safety of our colleagues, communities and loved ones as we work to contain the virus,” American said in a memo to employees obtained by Fox News. “I am proud of the way our team has pulled together during these exceptional times and shown commitment to caring for each other. By working together, and taking aggressive steps to protect our team and manage our network, we can continue providing safe, efficient air travel, and be ready to step up when America and the world are ready to move again.”

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Categories
Destinations

Villa Mercedes Petit Hotel in Puerto Vallarta offers 65 percent discount

Boutique hotel Villa Mercedes Petit Hotel, located in Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Romantica, is offering 65% discounts on their standard rates, valid on any future reservation for bookings through April 30.

Dates are 100% flexible, meaning if you book a specific travel date but need to change it, there will be no issue. Dates can be changed as many times as needed with no penalty.

To book, visit their website and use the promo code PVLOVERS.

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Categories
Travel

Chicago, Los Angeles and more airports shutter gates, runways as coronavirus halts travel


Some of the nation’s busiest airports have shuttered concourses, gates and runways in the last month to cope with a significant decline in travel during the coronavirus pandemic. 

A passenger looks on near a Southwest Airlines plane at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Airport officials say reducing operations has become a cost-saving measure as airlines slash flights and federal officials urge Americans not to travel internationally.

There are no federal bans on domestic air travel. However, many states have issued stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders. 

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Photos of nearly-empty terminals and flight cabins have also circulated on social media. 

One of the biggest shutdowns happened at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport when it closed all gates at two concourses this week in response to declined air traffic.

“As passenger activity has declined, McCarran officials are continually evaluating the airport’s infrastructure and operations to identify ways to maximize efficiencies and implement cost-savings measures,” officials said in a news release Wednesday.

Other countries are also taking drastic measures. 

London’s Heathrow Airport is temporarily transitioning to single runway operations starting April 6. The airport plans to alternate which runway it uses on a weekly basis, a spokesperson said. 

A spokesperson added that while the airport is seeing fewer flights, Heathrow will remain open so it can continue its role in securing vital medical goods and food for the nation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Major airports have also consolidated TSA checkpoints along with reduced staff for efficiency since there are fewer travelers. Additionally, some airline ticket counters have been closed. 

Here is a look at more specific measures taken at some of the nation’s major airports. 

Atlanta 

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has closed one of its runways to allow airlines to park unused planes there. The airport also closed its domestic north and south TSA checkpoints, and all travelers are going through the main domestic checkpoint.

Officials at the airport, the nation’s busiest, said flights are down 60% from the daily average. 

The airport has about 2,700 arrivals or departures on an average day, but now there are about 1,100, airport spokeswoman Elise Durham said in an email. 

Los Angeles 

At the Los Angeles International Airport, Delta Air Lines is consolidating all operations from Terminal 3 into Terminal 2, and United Airlines is discussing potential consolidation in their terminals, Los Angeles World Airports spokesman Heath Montgomery said.

San Francisco 

The San Francisco International Airport has consolidated all flights in the International Terminal to a single concourse through the end of May. 

Dallas

The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport has closed eight TSA checkpoints, and American Airlines has closed ticket counters in Terminals A and C. 

Phoenix 

In Phoenix, Sky Harbor Airport expects a 50% decline in flights in May for American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, which are its top carriers. 

“April continues to see daily cancellations as the airlines didn’t have a chance to formally change schedules in advance,” airport spokeswoman Krishna Patel said.

The airport has closed its B and D security checkpoints in Terminal 4. 

Denver 

The Denver International Airport closed its north TSA checkpoint and is directing travelers to the south checkpoint. 

Chicago 

At Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Air Traffic Control operations have been consolidated into one Federal Aviation Administration tower. Two runways have been closed. 

Contributing: Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY; Ed Komenda, Reno Gazette Journal


  • a small boat in a body of water with a mountain in the background

    2021 cruise bookings are on the rise despite coronavirus chaos
    The cruise line industry has taken a major beating due to covid-19, still analysts say the number of bookings for 2021 cruises have increased since this time last year.

    Veuer Logo
    Veuer

  • a large ship in the water

    Coronavirus-hit cruise ships able to dock in Florida
    Two Holland America cruise ships with coronavirus patients aboard were finally allowed to dock at a port near Fort Lauderdale, resolving a days-long impasse that drew the attention of President Donald Trump. Jillian Kitchener has more.

    Reuters - US Video Online Logo
    Reuters – US Video Online

  • a group of people swimming in a body of water

    A 60-second virtual vacation in the Bahamas
    Find out why this stunning archipelago is a diver's paradise.

    CNN Logo
    CNN


USA TODAY Logo
Source: Read Full Article