Fly to Mumbai in a Suite for $38,000

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May 022016
 

American desis now have a fancy new way to burn their money.

For a mere $38,000, Indians can board an Etihad Airbus A380 at JFK International Airport in New York City, enter a three-room suite called The Residence and get pampered in a luxurious setting all the way to Mumbai.

Oh, the $38,000 is just for a one-way ticket for two people.

A round trip ticket for a desi couple from NYC to Mumbai and back should set them back a little over $72,000.

Etihad Airways is offering the A380 daily service in both directions between Mumbai and New York JFK International via a connecting flight at Abu Dhabi

NYC desis can book a seat to Mumbai on Etihad’s Residence via a travel agent or on the airline’s web site.

Knowing my people well, I cannot imagine a desi couple ever spending $72,000 for a trip to Mera Bharat Mahaan.

Not in a million years.

Residence Suite

So what do you get for $38,000?

Etihad is promoting the Residence as an ultra-private, three-room suite featuring a living room with a 32” LCD monitor, a bedroom with a double bed and a separate en-suite shower room with a toilet.

You also get a dedicated personal Butler trained at the Savoy Butler Academy in London (no less) to pamper you, bring your meals, polish your shoes etc.

The cabin also comes with a private chef ready to custom-create menus to order.

Not So Rich

For those too poor to afford a Residence on the A380 flight from NYC to Mumbai, there are nine ‘Apartments‘ in First Class.

Etihad’s ‘Apartments’ are billed as private living spaces with a flat-screen television, a chilled mini-bar, personal vanity unit, wardrobe and a ‘fully equipped’ shower room.

Don’t ask what’s a ‘fully equipped’ shower room but I’m sure it won’t include a tub.

If you can’t even afford an ‘Apartment’ on the A380, you can make do with a ‘Business Studio‘ on the upper deck of the A380. All Business Class seats offer direct aisle access and a fully flat bed.

There is a luxurious lounge located between the First Class and Business Class cabins with two sofas and a staffed bar.

Cattle Class

In what Indian politician Shashi Tharoor once famously called the cattle class, there are 415 Economy Seats on the main deck for the hoi polloi.

Ethihad’s A380 operates on one of the five-daily scheduled flights between Mumbai and Abu Dhabi.

Etihad Airways operates three flights and its codeshare partner Jet Airways operates two.

U.S. Airline Travel Agents Sink Further

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Apr 152016
 

There’s just no respite for American travel agents in their continuing battle for survival.

Ticket sales by U.S. travel agents in the first quarter of 2016 fell 3.4% (compared to the first quarter of 2015), according to the Airlines Reporting Corp, the financial settlement engine between airlines and travel agents.

Struggling

Consolidated dollar value of airline tickets sold by U.S. based travel agencies in Q1 of 2016 totaled $23.3 billion vs $24.1 billion in the same period last year.

The picture in March 2016 turned worse with ticket sales sliding 4.5% to $8.3 billion against the same month last year.

Lower airfares boosted ticket transactions 4.5% to 43.2 million in 2016 vs 2015.

Over the last seven years, hundreds of American travel agents have shut their doors.

Travel agents are now competing directly with airlines that sell directly to travelers through their web sites.

Airlines have also made a difficult situation for travel agents terrible by refusing to pay commission on sales of Economy class tickets.

Buy One, Get One Free on Malaysia Air

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Apr 122016
 

Buy One, Get One Ticket Free on Malaysia AirWow! Here’s a gift for travelers.

Malaysia Airlines has introduced a limited time Buy One, Get One Free promotion on First and Business Class tickets.

The promotion is valid for purchases through 18 April 2016 for immediate travel to 30 November 2016.

To get this promotion, customers can book their tickets via Malaysia Airlines ticket offices, travel agents or visit www.malaysiaairlines.com.

The promotion excludes codeshare flights.

Besides attractive fares, travelers get 50kg of checked baggage each for First Class and 40kg each for Business Class plus access to Malaysia Airlines’ Golden Lounge.

Now is the time to treat a companion to a complimentary journey and travel in style on Malaysia Airlines.

NYC Pak Travel Agent Charged with Fraud

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Apr 082016
 

Brooklyn Travel Agent Junaird Mirza ArrestedBrooklyn Travel Agent Junaid Mirza Arrested
(Photo Courtesy: NY Post)

Pakistani-American travel agent Junaid Mirza (50) of Brooklyn has been charged with swindling Pakistani immigrants and Hajj pilgrims of over $350,000.

Junaid Mirza and his companies, Pearl USA Travel Inc., d/b/a Pearl Travel, of 1064 Coney Island Avenue, in Midwood, and Travel Treat, Inc. , formerly located in the Empire State Building, in Manhattan, was arraigned April 7, 2016 before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew Sciarrino on a 31-count indictment.

Mirza is charged with two counts of first-degree scheme to defraud, one count of second-degree money laundering, eight counts of third-degree grand larceny, six counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, 10 counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, and four counts of issuing a bad check.

Brooklyn DA’s office alleges that Mirza stole amounts ranging from about $1,075 to $14,000 from his victims.

To gain the trust of his mostly Pakistani immigrant customers, Mirza spoke in Urdu to them.

Low Fare Trick

Mirza’s modus operandi was to guarantee low fares in exchange for payment by cash or check, which he would deposit the same day, but failed to provide airline tickets, or in some instances provided victims with receipts and printouts that he claimed were tickets.

In one instance, Mirza purchased only a one-way ticket leaving his customers stranded at a Pakistan airport.

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said that, according to the indictment, between July 2011 and September 2015, Mirza at various times, owned and operated travel agencies, doing business as Travel Treat and Pearl Travel, that specialized in the sale of travel packages to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and airline tickets to Pakistani immigrants.

Mirza is said to have advertised discounted trips and tickets in popular Urdu language newspapers such as Pakistan Post and Urdu Times, and in pamphlets distributed in mosques.

The Pak-American travel agent faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

People who believe they were cheated by Mirza may call the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Action Center at 718-250-2340.

Miza must be presumed innocent until and unless he’s convicted in a court of law.

Alliance Air Links Bengaluru, Vijayawada

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Apr 082016
 

Bengaluru-Vijayawada Flight Launched

Air India subsidiary Alliance Air has launched a new Bengaluru – Vijayawada flight using the smaller ATR 42-320 aircraft.

The inaugural flight AI-9507 took off from Bengaluru for Vijayawada on Friday, April 1, 2016.

The ATR 42-320 is a 48-seat twin engine plane with a 2×2 seating configuration.

Five Flights

The new service will operate five days a week, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,Thursday and Friday.

Flight AI-9507 will depart from Bengaluru at 1600 hours and arrive at Vijayawada at 1730 hours.

On the return leg, service AI-9508 departs Vijayawada at 1750 hours and reaches Bengaluru at 1920 hours.

The new service will help flyers from Vijayawada to connect to several domestic and international destinations via Bengaluru.

Also, passengers arriving into Bengaluru from the Gulf, Europe and North America and domestic destinations will now be able to connect to Vijayawada through the new service.

Qatar Airways Doubles NYC Flights

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Apr 082016
 

Qatar Airways Adds 2nd Daily Flight to NYC JFK

Popular Gulf airline Qatar Airways has added a second daily non-stop flight between John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) in New York City and Hamad International Airport (DOH) in Doha.

The new daily QR Flight 704 leaves JFK airport in NYC from Terminal 7 at 11:15 hrs and lands at Hamad International Airport in Doha at 06:45 hrs local time (Qatar).

On the return trip, QR Flight 703 will arrive in JFK’s Terminal 7 at 09:15 hrs, providing convenient access to the city and connecting flights across the U.S.

Qatar Airways is using the A350 plane for the new Doha-NYC-Doha flights.

Doha-NYC-Doha Flight Details

QR Flight 701 Doha – New York 08:15 15:15 Terminal 8 Boeing 777-300ER
QR Flight 702 New York – Doha 22:00 17:35 +1 Terminal 8 Boeing 777-300ER
QR Flight 703 Doha – New York 02:25 09:15Terminal 7 Airbus A350-900
QR Flight 704 New York – Doha 11:15 06:45 +1 Terminal 7 Airbus A350-900

Besides New York, Qatar Airways currently operates flights to Philadelphia and Boston.

Qatar Airways will start flights from Atlanta on June 1, 2016.