Uniglobe has been named 11th largest Travel Management Company in the latest issue of Buying Business Travel; with total sales of £234m, it’s been another year of solid growth. UK based companies particularly are realising the power that our premium analytics capability can provide them.

The response to our information driven philosophy has been phenomenal; our clients fully subscribe to the idea that better data yields better information, which allows for better decision making.

Our interactive tool allows simultaneous high and low level data on a global view which is quite simply stunning; allowing us to deliver advanced global cost controls to our clients. Uniglobe “Interactive BI” has been developed by our in-house analytics team in conjunction with our global partners to ensure sophisticated business analytics.

Following on from last month’s debacle, United Airlines has announced a policy change which they say is a “turning point”. According to the new policy, United Airlines will now offer passengers up to $10,000 to give up their seats on overbooked flights, note the “up to”.

Oscar Munoz, UA Chief Executive, who was much criticised for his initial handling of the incident, said the new policy signalled a cultural shift to becoming a better, more customer focused airline.

I am sure this statement (together with an undisclosed financial settlement) is much comfort to Dr David Dao who lost two front teeth and suffered a broken nose when he was forcibly removed from the Chicago to Louisville flight by law enforcement officers last month. Having seen the treatment of an un-customer focused airline, we look forward with baited breath to the great delights of a United crew, with United smiley faces, working to soothe each paying passenger’s stress and worries away - no United pun intended!

QANTAS Airlines, which incidentally stands for, “Queensland And Northern Territory’s Aerial Service” (not a lot of people know that!) recently announced a new non-stop London to Perth service, the flying time will be about 17 hours, with daily flights beginning on March 25th, 2018, and a lead in price for a return trip of £1,095.

The new service will be operated by QANTAS’s new Boeing 787 Dream Liner which has been designed specifically for comfort on long haul routes. Alan Joyce, QANTAS’s group chief executive commented, “We are conscious that this is a long flight, it’s the kind of route the Dream Liner was created for because of its built-in features to reduce jetlag and improve the overall travel experience. We’ve added a lower seat count than most competitors and we are making tweaks to our in-flight service designed to help customers enjoy the journey more.” QANTAS is also building a new transit lounge at Perth airport to enable smooth transition with international and domestic flights arriving and departing from the same terminal with dedicated customs and immigration. QANTAS will also open a new lounge at Heathrow’s Terminal Three later this year, although return Business Class fares to Perth starts at £4,240, the airline expects the economy price to drop below £900 return for deal periods.

You’ve survived check-in, your bag has gone via the conveyor belt into the murky world from where bags sometimes never reappear, you manage to get on the plane, you are sitting in your desired seat, hand luggage stowed overhead relatively close to you. Take off goes smoothly, the cabin crew are courteous and smiling, they serve the in-flight meals (even if you have to pay extra for them, you get some shut eye, maybe watch a film, landing goes smoothly, then into the snaking passport queue where you see the same faces slowly passing you 34 times. You are given the passport stare, your biometrics are checked, you receive the stamp of approval, finally you arrive, feeling somewhat relieved, at the nerve-wracking luggage carousel of death.

Here somebody has taken great pains to not only indicate the correct distance to stand from the carousel by floor markings, but also put up signs of instruction, which are always ignored. As this figure-of-eight luggage monster slowly comes to life, we all feel the same. Why has that undeserving passenger managed to retrieve their case from the carousel, clearly I am more worthy and should have had my case before them, after all I even put on my priority stickers.

As more cases spin past you, there is still no sign of yours, anxiety mounts, you even start to feel aggression towards people who waltz past you complete with bag and a smug look.

The reverse side to this is, on one occasion, when I was in Mexico’s City’s airport. My case was the very first item onto the carousel, I smugly picked it up gliding past all my fellow passengers with a big smile on my face, only to be immediately stopped by security to check if I’d nicked somebody else’s case.

Well, as I reported about 18 months ago the carousel (United sponsored) anxiety we currently feel will hopefully soon be an experience of the past.

I invite you into the superior world of IATA’s Baggage Tracking Resolution 753, the purpose of which is, and I quote, “Each IATA registered airline shall maintain an accurate inventory of baggage by monitoring the acquisition and delivery of baggage” in other words “Don’t Lose My Sodding Bag”.

IATA has decreed that it should be official airline policy not to lose their clients luggage effective June 2018. So it is with a smile on my face that I report that Qatar Airways are ahead of the game as they have achieved compliance with IATA’s resolution 753 at its hub in Hamad International airport, Doha.

Qatar Airways informed me that passengers can now use the airline’s website and app to access a Track My Bag feature, allowing them to see where their bag is from check-in to retrieving it from the baggage carousel. As yet it is unclear if this information is real-time, but I believe it’s only a short time before real-time luggage information is available to all at the tap of a screen. However, expect to pay extra for this service.

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