TSA Fees, Free Iberia Miles, Etihad Launches SFO-AUH & More
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Here’s a recap of points, miles and travel industry news from the past week:
Reminder that TSA fees go up on Monday, July 21: In news I shared earlier this month, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will soon more than double – and no longer cap – the mandatory security fee they charge most airline passengers. On July 21, 2014, this fee will be uncapped and raised to $5.60 for each leg of a flight. Be sure to see Jason Steele’s post on how to minimize these fees on your next flight.
Get 50 Free Iberia Avios Miles Before August 31: Iberia has launched a contest called The Great Avios Conquest that asks you to correctly answer four questions in order to get 50 Iberia Avios miles, and automatically enters you in a drawing to win 30,000 British Airways Avios. This helps new Iberia Avios account holders (or those who might otherwise have a zero balance) to transfer BA Avios to Iberia and avoid fuel surcharges. To claim your 50 Iberia Avios, enter The Great Avios Conquest before August 31, 2014.
Etihad Launches San Francisco-Abu Dhabi Service on November 18: Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, announced that they’ll be launching nonstop daily service between San Francisco (SFO) and Abu Dhabi (AUH) as of November 18, 2014. This new route, Etihad’s fifth within the US, will be flown on a 777-300ER with eight first class seats, 30 business class seats and 308 economy class seats. On December 3, 2014, the airline will launch its sixth US route with flights between AUH and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). (h/t One Mile at a Time)
Airbus Beats Boeing in Sales at the Farnborough Airshow: Held 34 miles south of London, England each summer for the past 100 years, the week-long Farnborough Airshow kicked off this past Monday, and so far the big news from this huge aviation industry event is that Airbus beat rival Boeing in sales by a ratio of more than 2 to 1. Airbus scored orders and commitments for 496 aircraft, valued at $75 billion, with special demand made for its “new engine option,” the A32oneo. Boeing, meanwhile, secured orders and commitments for 201 aircraft, worth $40.2 billion. (h/t USA Today)
Uber Launches in Hong Kong and Beijing: This week, Uber officially launched service in Hong Kong and Beijing. It has as yet received no public opposition from local taxi drivers in Hong Kong, where ordering an Uber Black will result in a Mercedes Benz S-class, but Chinese transport/technology companies like Hangzhou-based Kuaidi Technology Co. (who have been developing Kuaidi Taxi and Kuaidi ONE, respectively a high-end car-booking service and app that cater to several Chinese cities, including Beijing) and the Beijing-based, Uber-esque Yongche.com are poised to give Uber a competitive run for its money. (h/t Skift)
Cathay Pacific Named the World’s Best Airline: Based on responses from 18.9 million customer surveys, the results of Skytrax’s 2014 World Airline Awards were released this week, and Cathay Pacific was named Airline of the Year. Rounding up the rest of the top 10 in order are Qatar, Singapore, Emirates, Turkish, ANA, Garuda Indonesia, Asiana, Etihad and Lufthansa. (No North American carriers cracked even the top 20.)