Mike Yardley Travel on Newstalk ZB with Jack Tame. Jan 12.
This week’s feature topic – Trains & Planes, the Big Travel Trends of 2013.
On the aviation front, has the proliferation of airline fees and surcharges reached saturation point?
Pretty much. All of the low hanging fruit, like seat selection charges, has been picked off. Here in New Zealand, our airlines haven’t started stinging travellers for carry-on baggage, like many US carriers, but that could be just a matter of time.
What is the forecast for international airfares this year? Is pricing heading up?
IATA and other international tourism authorities are forecasting steady growth in air travel loadings this year, which would suggest cut price airfare specials won’t be necessary, to fill planes. So if you see a good deal, grab it, while you can – particularly to Europe.
For travellers to Hawaii, Air New Zealand now faces direct competition on the Honolulu route, with the arrival of Hawaiian Airlines, which will result in much better fare deals.
What about airports? Are they becoming destinations in their own right, with dramatic revamps, and the enhanced range of services and facilties?
This is all the rage around the world. The main focus is on posher-nosh, with big-name chefs now launching dining experiences in airport terminals.
What about getting from NZ & Australia to Europe?
From Down Under to Europe, the massive new trend expected to spiral is for Aussies and Kiwis to increasingly choose the Middle East as the European stopover, rather to Asia. It’s the transit lounge battle of the titans with Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha becoming just as familiar to Kiwis, as Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok.
The big benefit of the Middle East hubs, is that once you touch down there, its only a six hour hop to Europe.
What about new planes?
Comfort in the skies is on the up, with more new aircraft being rolled out by all airlines. US carriers are splashing huge cash on new aircraft. The new rockstar of the skies is the 787 Dreamliner, which has had a very rough week with a slew of electrical problems. Boeing claims they are merely teething problems.
Air New Zealand is the launch customer of the 787 extended version, which is scheduled to enter service in 12 months time.
What about new direct routes?
This is one to watch in 2013.The hot money is on Air New Zealand planning new direct routes to South America and India.
The new 787 has enormous range, and I wouldn’t be surprised if an Indian airline also announces direct services to New Zealand. Christchurch and Auckland Airports have both been actively courting the airlines in India.
What about rail travel?
Rail is enjoying a renaissance with high-speed trains spreading like wildfire.The need for speed is driving the trend, with new high-speed rail routes opening up in Europe, Russia and Asia.
The UK and the US continue to drag the chain, badly, on high-speed rail.
By the way did you know, after China, it’s Spain that has the most high-speed rail tracks. Perhaps that’s why they are broke.
But the exciting new high-speed rail trips worth a ride this year? Beijing to Guangzhou. ( Eventually it will connect with Hong Kong.)
And if you want to explore India by train – the three points of India’s Golden Triangle, Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, are now all
connected by high-speed services.