United Airlines & Virgin Australia Group | December 14, 2021
United and Virgin Australia Group announced today a new partnership that will enhance the travel experience between Australia and the Americas. This partnership will add more benefits for both MileagePlus and Velocity Frequent Flyer members as well as access to more one-stop connections to cities across the United States, Australia, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. The agreement, which is subject to government approval, is set to roll out starting in early 2022.Australia has always been a key part of United's network as demonstrated by United being the only carrier to maintain passenger service between the U.S. and Australia throughout the pandemic. In addition, United offers more flights to Australia than any other U.S. carrier and now extends its presence by adding Virgin Australia Group's comprehensive network.
"The United States and Australia share a special bond and I'm especially proud that United was the only airline to maintain a vital link between these two countries throughout the pandemic,Looking ahead, Virgin Australia is the perfect partner for United. Our partnership provides considerable commercial value for both airlines and a shared commitment to offer the best travel experience for our customers."
-United CEO Scott Kirby.
United currently offers daily direct flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Sydney, while other services including flights from Houston and direct services to Melbourne are expected to resume later in 2022. Under this new partnership, United's customers will now have access to top Australian destinations including Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
In addition to the ability to redeem and earn points/miles, eligible premier MileagePlus and Velocity members will also receive the following benefits when flying on United and Virgin Australia worldwide:
Priority baggage delivery and additional baggage check allowance
Priority security clearance
The partnership will also triple Virgin Australia's reach into the U.S., with customers accessing United's vast domestic and international network, connecting at United's multiple Australian gateways.
The partnership is another significant customer enhancement for the relaunched Virgin Australia, that will also see the airline resume the sale of codeshare flights at virginaustralia.com, starting with United services in early 2022, followed by the airline's other international partners. Virgin Australia first paused the sale of codeshare flights on its website at the height of the pandemic, and today's announcement will open a new gateway for travel between Australia and the U.S. and beyond.
"We are grateful to have such a strong partner in United,They have proudly been one of Australia's most loyal and long serving aviation partners and their market strength both to Australia and in the United States brings great value to our guests. We look forward to innovating together on behalf of our guests to ensure they have the very best travel experiences to over 90 destinations in the U.S."
-Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka.
Committed to Ensuring a Safe Journey
United is committed to putting health and safety at the forefront of every customer's journey, with the goal of delivering an industry-leading standard of cleanliness through its United CleanPlus SM program. United has teamed up with Clorox and Cleveland Clinic to redefine cleaning and health safety procedures from check-in to landing and has implemented more than a dozen new policies, protocols and innovations designed with the safety of customers and employees in mind. To manage entry requirements in different destinations, and find places to get tests, customer can visit United's Travel Ready Center.
United is more focused than ever on its commitment to customers and employees. In addition to today's announcement, United has recently:
Launched an ambitious plan to transform the United customer experience by adding and upgrading hundreds of aircraft as well as investing in features like larger overhead bins, seatback entertainment in every seat and the industry's fastest available Wi-Fi.
Announced a goal to create 25,000 unionized jobs by 2026 that includes careers as pilots, flight attendants, agents, technicians, and dispatchers.
Announced that United will train at least 5,000 pilots by 2030 through the United Aviate Academy, with the plan of at least half being women and people of color.
Required all U.S. employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
Became the first airline to offer customers the ability to check their destination's travel requirements, schedule COVID-19 tests and more on its mobile app and website.
Invested in emerging technologies that are designed to decarbonize air travel, like an agreement to work with urban air mobility company Archer, an investment in aircraft startup Heart Aerospace and a purchase agreement with Boom Supersonic.
Committed to going 100% green by 2050 by reducing 100% of our greenhouse gas emissions without relying on traditional carbon offsets, including a recent agreement to purchase one and a half times the amount of all of the rest of the world's airlines' publicly announced Sustainable Aviation Fuel commitments combined.
Eliminated change fees for all economy and premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S.
United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." In 2019, United and United Express® carriers operated more than 1.7 million flights carrying more than 162 million customers. United has the most comprehensive route network among North American carriers, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. For more about how to join the United team, please visit united.com/careers and more information about the company is at united.com. United Airlines Holdings, Inc. is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL".
About Virgin Australia
Virgin Australia Group is a major Australian airline operating scheduled domestic and short-haul international flights, charter and cargo services, and the award-winning loyalty program Velocity Frequent Flyer.The Group has been a competitor in the Australian aviation landscape for more than 20 years, carrying tens of millions of passengers in that time and operates three seating choices; Economy, Economy X (extra leg room Economy) and Business Class.Virgin Australia is now embarking on an exciting new chapter. In September 2020, US private equity firm Bain Capital acquired Virgin Australia and relaunched it as a mid-market carrier with a renewed focus on its heartland customer. Since that time the airline has simplified its fleet structure to an all-Boeing 737 fleet and has made significant investments in technology and customer experience. Virgin Australia is focussed on creating great experiences and has won many awards over the years including Best Cabin Crew, Best Domestic Airline and Best Economy Class. Velocity Frequent Flyer has also scooped a wealth of prestigious gongs including the Freddie Awards Best Program of the Year and Best Redemption Ability for Asia/Middle East and Oceania.+
KAYAK and Babbel | November 11, 2021
Travel ranks among the top three reasons Americans want to learn another language, according to a recent survey from KAYAK, the world's leading travel search engine. One quarter (almost 24%) said they simply feel more comfortable visiting a country where they can speak the local language, while nearly the same (23%) want to avoid the embarrassment of mispronouncing a word.
To help Americans travel like a local while speaking like one too, KAYAK and Babbel are teaming up to launch linGO - a one-stop-shop for travel planning and language learning. Focused on where to go, when to book, and top phrases to consider as restrictions ease (like how to ask for directions or for the check at dinner), linGO pulls together both travel and language hacks to make the most of your next trip.
As more countries open up their borders to travelers, KAYAK data reveals the best time to book an international trip for a good price is five months in advance - more than enough time to get conversational in a new language. And, with international travel searches over the last two months continuing to increase weekly, now is the best time to get that trip on the books.
To help get you started, KAYAK curated travel hacks for its top trending destinations, based on Babbel's most popular languages (Spanish, French and Italian), to provide data-driven pricing insights for flights, stays and rental cars so you can easily plan and budget for your next trip.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, is seeing a 170% increase in search share compared to 2019; the best time to l book your flight is three months in advance
Consider traveling to Nice, France, in January when median flight prices hover around $472 - a 36% decrease from flight prices in December - and average rental car prices are around only $36 per day!
Celebrate the holidays in Florence, Italy, where you can snag a stay in December for as little as $133 per night - the cheapest stay of KAYAK's top- trending italian destinations
Budget conscious travelers looking for an international getaway should consider Cancun, Mexico, where flight prices come in under $500 roundtrip
"KAYAK's survey revealed nearly half of Gen Z (46%) have attempted to learn a language in preparation for an upcoming trip,By teaming up with Babbel, KAYAK is giving travelers access to even more tools to personalize and uplevel their travel experience with language content tailored for transit, dining and connecting with locals."
- Matt Clarke, VP of NA Marketing at KAYAK
When traveling wasn't an option, we still saw that one of the biggest reasons for Americans to learn a new language was preparing to travel," said Julie Hansen, US CEO, Babbel. "This shows that being able to communicate when visiting another country plays a big role in planning a trip. This is why we're partnering up with KAYAK to give travelers the best experience possible, from the time they decide on a destination to the adventures they have in their new language while away.
Nearly half of Americans (46%) revealed that learning a language would positively impact their travel experience by making them more confident when traveling. So, KAYAK and Babbel are giving travelers the extra confidence boost they need by giving away 15 lifetime language subscriptions to Babbel via a holiday sweepstakes. And, three of those lucky few winners will receive the ultimate vacation experience which includes one lifetime subscription to Babbel and a $2,800 gift card to be used for a 7-night vacation to one of KAYAK's top trending destinations.
KAYAK, part of Booking Holdings (NASDAQ: BKNG), is the world's leading travel search engine. With billions of queries across our platforms, we help people find their perfect flight, stay, rental car, cruise, vacation package. We also support business travelers with KAYAK for Business, our free corporate travel solution and are transforming the in-travel experience with our app and new hotel and accommodation software. For more information, visit www.KAYAK.com.
About Babbel Boilerplate
Babbel is driven by a purpose: Creating mutual understanding through language. This means building an ecosystem of language learning offerings that helps people connect across cultures. Babbel, Babbel Live and Babbel for Business provide users with the most effective solution to be able to communicate with real people, in real situations. The key is a blend of humanity and technology. More than 60,000 lessons across 15 languages are hand-crafted by 180+ linguists, with user behaviours continuously analysed to shape and tweak the learner experience. And it works: Studies with Yale University, City University of New York and Michigan State University prove its effectiveness. From headquarters in Berlin and New York, 750 people from more than 65 nationalities represent all the differences that make humans unique. Babbel is the most profitable language learning app worldwide, with more than 10 million subscriptions sold. For more information, visit www.babbel.com or download the apps in the App Store or Play Store.
About YouGov Methodology
This survey has been conducted using an online interview administered to members of the YouGov Plc panel of individuals who have agreed to take part in surveys. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1190 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27th - 28th October 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).
Upaway | December 24, 2021
New travel company Upaway is setting out to tackle Trip Chaos with the official launch of its on-demand support in time to service holiday travelers. Founded by Twitter alumna and DE&I thought leader Kayla Glanville, Upaway aims to disrupt the outdated consumer travel industry and make typically out-of-reach, premium travel support accessible and affordable to tackle travel stress.
To help people navigate today's uncertain travel landscape and avoid Trip Chaos, the company offers free travel advice and on-demand (human) trip support — without the high prices or hidden fees — available directly via +1 (213) 545-0903 (text or call) or Direct Message (DM) on Twitter and Instagram. App (iOS) is expected to launch in early 2022.
Upaway Concierge is a team of travel professionals who go above and beyond traditional booking services to make every trip a stress-free experience. From assisting travelers with bulky items (like gifts and carseats) and temperature-sensitive items (like medications or breast milk) to handling flight cancellations or re-bookings, Upaway Concierge offers travelers an on-demand alternative to waiting on hold with their hotels' or airlines' customer service lines.
Upaway saves travelers time, money, and energy by tackling the Trip Chaos facing so many travelers every day — and securing credits and refunds for things like flights and accommodations when things go awry. With an uptick in impacted holiday travel and COVID-19 variants on the rise, Upaway is supporting travelers who have historically been stuck to handle issues on their own and provides them with peace of mind as well as real-time Travel Risk Intelligence data for their destination, powered by Riskline.
"Between being a mom and working full time, planning a family trip wasn't in the cards. With one text, Upaway stepped in and took the stress of planning off my plate and now we have two family trips booked for 2022,"
-Upaway customer Katie P. of Portland, Oregon
Upaway's goal is to revolutionize the consumer travel industry by providing genuine, helpful customer service that large travel corporations have lacked for years. "While working on a consumer product like Twitter and helping airlines, hotels, and destination marketing organizations (DMOs) create relationships with their customers, it became clear that stellar service is often reserved for frequent business travelers," founder Kayla Glanville says of her time working at Twitter with the world's largest travel brands. She was particularly struck by the stark inequity between the business and everyday traveler experiences. "The result is dismal service, stress, and chaos for everyday folks. With Upaway, we're aiming to change that.
Upaway is travel app and SaaS platform based in California, founded by a queer woman, with an intersectional team working remotely around the world. Founded by former tech executive Kayla Glanville, Upaway offers free travel organization tools and connects travelers with on-demand (human!) travel concierge when they need it. It is currently in service via phone and text at +1 (213) 545-0903 and through Direct Message on Twitter and Instagram with a projected general launch of early 2021.