CHECK-IN EASY

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - TRAVEL NEWS - ROWENA RYAN AND MELINDA BROWNING

Vir­gin Aus­tralia cus­tomers fly­ing to lo­ca­tions in Aus­tralia and New Zealand are now able to check in their bags re­motely at two of Syd­ney’s biggest cruise ship ter­mi­nals. The newly launched pop-up bag­gage check-in ser­vice is aimed at dis­em­bark­ing cruise pas­sen­gers, how­ever, any­one fly­ing with Vir­gin to des­ti­na­tions in Aus­tralia and New Zealand is wel­come at the counter. The ser­vice cre­ated by Off Air­port Check-In So­lu­tions uses cloud technology to re­motely link up with Vir­gin’s travel sys­tems, al­low­ing the air­line to se­curely trans­port and track bag­gage from check-in counter to ter­mi­nal. The new ser­vice is avail­able at the Overseas Pas­sen­ger Ter­mi­nal and the White Bay Cruise Ter­mi­nal; and Vir­gin plans to roll the sys­tem out at con­fer­ence venues, ho­tels and sport­ing events. “It’s geared more for peo­ple who don’t want to be car­ry­ing their bags around dur­ing the day and there is no easy so­lu­tion to store them,” Vir­gin Air­lines Aus­tralia group ex­ec­u­tive Rob Sharp said.

HOT FOR HONKERS

Hong Kong’s thriv­ing arts scene will be on dis­play from March 1-30 for Hong Kong Arts Month. The cel­e­bra­tion will fea­ture ac­claimed events, neigh­bour­hood ex­hi­bi­tions and com­mu­nity per­for­mances through­out Hong Kong Is­land and Kowloon. Hong Kong Arts Fes­ti­val will be the pre­mier event to kick off the month and will fea­ture more than 1700 in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal artists across 130 per­for­mances. High­lights in­clude the Na­tional The­atre of Great Bri­tain’s The Cu­ri­ous In­ci­dent of the Dog in the Night-Time and Amer­i­can Bal­let The­atre’s Whipped Cream.

Art Basel Hong Kong, a renowned art fair in its sixth year, will be held March 29-31 fea­tur­ing 248 gal­leries from 32 coun­tries, with 28 ex­hibitors from re­gions in­clud­ing Asia-Pa­cific, Europe and the Amer­i­cas par­tic­i­pat­ing for the first time.

DISCOVERHONGKONG.COM WHAT’S UP, DOC?

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi – the world’s first ever Warner Bros. branded in­door theme park, due to open mid-2018, has re­vealed the rides and characters of two of its six themed lands – Me­trop­o­lis and Car­toon Junc­tion. Me­trop­o­lis will trans­port guests to a mod­ern cityscape known as “The City of To­mor­row”, a Man­hat­tan-like sky­scraper city that will be pro­tected from vil­lains by DC Su­per He­roes like Su­per­man and other mem­bers of the Jus­tice League. Rides will in­clude Green Lan­tern: Galac­tic Odyssey – a 4D fly­ing the­atre ex­pe­ri­ence. Car­toon Junc­tion will fea­ture characters from Looney Tunes and Hanna-Bar­bera, such as Tom and Jerry, Scooby-doo and Bugs Bunny. Rides and at­trac­tions will in­clude Tom and Jerry Swiss Cheese Spin coaster and a haunted ride through Scooby-doo: The Mu­seum of Mys­ter­ies. Once com­pleted, the park lo­cated on Yas Is­land will of­fer 29 rides, in­ter­ac­tive fam­ily-friendly at­trac­tions and live en­ter­tain­ment across six im­mer­sive lands.

COM­PLAINTS OMBUDSMAN

Con­sumer group Choice is call­ing on the Fed­eral Govern­ment to es­tab­lish an air­line ombudsman funded by the in­dus­try as re­search shows travellers are in­creas­ingly fed up with un­re­solved com­plaints.

The lat­est data from Choice’s flight de­lays and can­cel­la­tions tool, com­plane.com.au, found Jet­star was the worst of­fender when it came to leav­ing pas­sen­gers stuck at the gate, with 40 per cent of to­tal com­plaints. Qan­tas made up 26 per cent, while Vir­gin Aus­tralia had 20 per cent.

“The data also found that 30 per cent of pas­sen­gers who com­plained weren’t given a rea­son for the de­lay or can­cel­la­tion, or weren’t sure why they were left grounded,” Choice head of me­dia Tom God­frey said.

Choice iden­ti­fied numer­ous is­sues with air­line com­plaints han­dling, in­clud­ing re­stric­tions on con­sumers’ abil­ity to seek reme­dies when some­thing went wrong. And if they did want to pur­sue their com­plaint, con­sumers would have to take fed­eral court ac­tion, fac­ing thou­sands of dol­lars in fil­ing fees.

“The air­line in­dus­try is fail­ing to keep travellers griev­ance free,” God­frey said.

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