News: New SkyTeam Lounge, United Promises Better Wi-Fi & A Discount + Bonus Points At A New Andaz

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A round-up of some of the latest news items that didn’t really warrant a whole article each but that may well be of interest nonetheless. Includes details of a new Andaz in southeast Asia, news of the latest Sky Team lounge that just opened in Vancouver and an admission by United Airlines that its wi-fi hasn’t been up to standard.

SkyTeam Opens A New Lounge In Vancouver

SkyTeam has now opened its first North American lounge in Vancouver (it’s the alliance’s 7th lounge in total) and, at almost 5,700 square feet in area it’s a good size.

a room with tables and chairs

The lounge is located near Gate 53 in the airports’ new Duty Free area in hall “D” and is open to Elite Plus members as well as First and Business class travelers flying on a SkyTeam member airline.

According to the alliance:

Customers can enjoy the best that Vancouver has to offer at the airport:

  • A diverse buffet selection of hot and cold dishes comprising local produce including smoked salmon freshly caught in the waters off the West Coast
  • A noodles bar, for dishes cooked to order by the chef
  • A large choice of hot and cold drinks, including a selection of beers produced in local breweries and a selection of wines from local vineyards
  • Seating capacity for 126 customers, divided between two wings
  • A dedicated business area, together with a separate TV room for keeping up to date with the latest news
  • Shower stalls to feel refreshed before the flight.

a map of the world with different colored points

Vancouver joins Beijing, Dubai, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London (Heathrow) & Sydney in offering a SkyTeam lounge with more lounge openings expected.

United Airlines Promises To Improve Its Wi-Fi Offering

United Airlines has come out with an admission that the wi-fi it has been offering customers has been less than impressive and the airline says it plans to do something about it.

In a statement issued late last week the airline said the following:

United is an industry pioneer in offering satellite Wi-Fi and personal device entertainment (PDE), and we still have the largest fleet of satellite Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft worldwide.

In particular, our Panasonic Wi-Fi product, which is the streaming service on many of our Airbus, 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft, hasn’t been as reliable as we would like, and we are taking this opportunity to do better by making investments to improve this experience for our customers.

So what is United planning to do?

  • More connection points within all aircraft carrying Panasonic equipment – this will allow more passengers to connect to what the airline is describing as a “strong, steady connection”.
  • More bandwidth – United is installing new broadband controllers on all aircraft which it hopes will solve the issue of outages that have plagues the carrier to date. The new controllers will “increase throughout by over 20x and allow for much quicker connection speeds”.
  • More coverage – this isn’t something United is doing, it’s what the Wi-Fi supplier has said it will do. Panasonic has said that it will be adding more satellites to its network to offer better coverage, speed and bandwith…but no timeline has been provided for this upgrade.

United says that it completed planned upgrades to its 777 aircraft earlier this month (has anyone noticed a difference?) and it expects to complete upgrades to its Airbus fleet by January 2018 and the rest of its Panasonic equipped aircraft by May 2018.

Hyatt Opens The Andaz Singapore

a room with a bed and a tableImage Hyatt

The first Andaz property in Southeast Asia opened its doors in Singapore last week.

The property is located within the “DUO” complex which is composed of two skyscrapers of 176m and 180 m in height respectively. The complex is situated where Little India meets the Bras Basah Bugis arts district so, while it’s not all that convenient if you want to walk to the marina…..

a map of a city

….there is a lot going on in the surrounding area (I loved this area when I visited Singapore earlier this year).

Peer Hyatt:

Andaz Singapore houses 342 contemporary guestrooms, including 26 suites, with floor-to-ceiling windows framing stunning views of the city.

As with all Andaz hotels, guests can enjoy a complimentary minibar with locally sourced snacks and non-alcoholic drinks that are replenished daily, complimentary Wi-Fi and all-day complimentary refreshments at Sunroom.

Visitors have a wide variety of food and beverage options to choose from. Alley on 25 brings Singapore street dining to hotel guests by offering seven alleyway “shop houses” on one floor, from a platter of barbecued snacks from Smoke & Pepper to a steaming bowl of noodles from Auntie’s Wok & Steam or a refreshing shaved ice from Icehaus; 665°F, specializing in premium meat and sustainable seafood; and Mr Stork, a rooftop bar offering teepee-hut seating and an observatory corner to enjoy a breath-taking 360-degree view of the city.

a large room with plants and a large windowImage Hyatt

Right now Hyatt is offering a 20% discount on all guest rooms + a bonus 3,000 World of Hyatt points per stay with a minimum of 2 nights required to trigger the discount and bonus.

The stays must be booked by 31 January 2018 and travel must be complete by 30 April 2018.