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October 30, 2017

Air Travel: New Airport Security Measures, United’s New Zealand Service

airport security
Photo by MariusLtu/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

New airport security measures, United’s newly resumed seasonal service between San Francisco and New Zealand, and expansion by Finnair and Hawaiian Airlines lead this week’s air travel news affecting the meetings and events industry. 

Get Ready for New Airport Security Measures

New security measures on flights to the United States rolled out Thursday as part of an agreement to end this past summer’s ban on laptops and other large electronic devices in airplane cabins, our partner publication Travel Agent reports. After the end of the ban, airlines had 120 days to implement new security measures designed to mitigate the threat of terrorists smuggling explosives aboard concealed inside large electronic devices, as well as other emerging threats. That period ended Thursday.

The new new measures include pre-screening interviews for passengers, as well as expanded checks on electronics. The interviews could take various forms, ranging from being questioned by an airline employee to filling out a written form, and could take place before check-in for passengers with checked luggage, or at the departure gate for travelers who are flying with hand luggage only. Air France, Cathay Pacific, EgyptAir, Emirates and Lufthansa all said they would start implementing the new interviews Thursday, while Royal Jordanian said it had received permission from U.S. authorities to delay implementing the new measures until January.

United Resumes Seasonal Service From San Francisco to New Zealand

In flight news, United Airlines (UAL) resumed seasonal service between San Francisco (SFO) and Auckland, New Zealand (AKL), on Sunday, October 29.

United Airlines and Star Alliance partner Air New Zealand have also launched a new microsite, available at united.com/airnz, that provides information on both carriers as well as destination inspiration and tips related to travel to New Zealand and the U.S. United will operate its SFO-AKL route six days per week from October 29 through December 17 and then daily through March 22, 2018.

Finnair’s Expansion Reaches All-Time High With New Winter Flights

Finnair is continuing its expansion into the winter season with new routes opening to India, Mexico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. The Finnish airline will also increase its capacity to Lapland by 20 percent to meet growing demand for travel to the largest region in Finland.

Routes are opening to Goa, India on November 1, to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on November 5, to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, on November 30, and to Havana, Cuba, on December 1. With these new destinations, Finnair has entered its largest expansion in its 94-year history.

Finnair’s heavy expansion to Lapland will result in new non-stop flights to Lapland airports from London Gatwick, Paris, and Zurich. It will also increase its capacity from Helsinki airport to several Lapland airports for the entire winter season, offering a total of 430,000 seats to five of Lapland’s airports. Overall, Finnair will have flights to 20 intercontinental destinations and over 100 destinations in Europe this winter.

Hawaiian Airlines Takes Delivery of First A321neo Aircraft

Finally, Hawaiian Airlines has announced that it has taken delivery of its first Airbus A321neo narrow-body aircraft. The airline’s A321neo fleet of 18 aircraft will be used primarily to expand the carrier’s U.S. West Coast network, with a focus on adding non-stop flights to the neighbor islands.

Hawaiian will launch the following daily non-stop service: Portland and Kahului (Maui) on January 18; Oakland and Lihue (Kauai) on April 11; and Los Angeles and Kona (Hawaii Island) next summer. Additional routes will be announced as Hawaiian welcomes the A321neo fleet through 2020.

Meanwhile, a code share agreement between Hawaiian Airlines and Japan Airlines, signed at a ceremony in Tokyo, is set to take effect March 25, 2018 (subject to government approval). The agreement provides for extensive code sharing, lounge access and frequent flyer program reciprocity.

As part of this comprehensive partnership, the two carriers also intend to establish a joint venture designed to provide even more choices, convenience and enhancements to the traveling public to/from Japan and beyond to multiple Asian markets.

In the near-term, JAL guests will have unlimited access to Hawaiian's vast neighbor island and Japan-Hawaii network, including non-stop flights between Sapporo and Honolulu.

Hawaiian Airlines will have full access to JAL's domestic network, which includes Nagoya, Fukuoka, Sendai and Aomori.

Hawaiian's Japan-to-Hawaii flights will be offered as new options within Japan Airlines' wholly owned subsidiary, JALPAK, a high reputable package tour operator in Japan.

JAL Mileage Bank and HawaiianMiles members will be able to earn miles on the codeshare flights. Further opportunities for accrual and redemption of mileage will be expanded at a later date.

Guests will have access to both airlines' lounges, and when Hawaiian has completed its planned relocation to Terminal 2 at Tokyo Narita Airport, guests of each airline will be able to transfer between each carrier's networks.

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