Oneworld offers round-the-world bookings via tablets

Oneworld has begun offering booking facilities for multi-airline round-the-world trips via digital tablets – and is the first airline alliance to do so.

The move comes as part of a series of upgrades to the alliance’s online booking engine for its flagship Oneworld Explorer service. The scheme allows passengers to book flights on any of Oneworld’s member airlines or affiliates and is available for flights in Economy Class, Premium Economy where available, Business Class or First Class. In total, the alliance services almost a thousand destinations in 150 countries.

The online booking engine is now clained to be easier to use and enables compatibility with the iPad and Android-powered tablet devices. The service is also available for desktop and laptop computers.

oneworld vice-president Commercial, Stephen Usery, said: ‘oneworld was the first alliance – and indeed the first in the travel industry – to offer multi-airline round-the-world tickets for sale online with the launch of our original booking engine five years ago. Now we are the first to offer the facility via tablets – which are increasingly the computers of choice for the frequent international travellers who are oneworld’s prime target market.’

Oneworld Explorer round-the-world booking charges are based on the number of continents visited (three to six), instead of the usual criteria of mileage flown, making travel planning simpler. Customers can simply type a city name or click on destinations displayed on an interactive map. The system will automatically check for flight availability on selected routes and dates, and display the results. The price for the trip is instantly quoted.

On deciding the itinerary, which may cover up to 16 sectors, customers can save and print out all the details. The e-tickets for the entire trip are then sent to the customer by email.

The only alliance with a carrier based in Australia, Qantas, oneworld is set to expand its global reach with the addition of Qatar Airways and a member based in the Indian subcontinent, SriLankan Airlines. Other members include the Latin American airline group, LAN, and soon its LATAM Airlines Group partner, TAM, as well as Russia’s S7. American Airlines, British Airways, airberlin, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Royal Jordanian and some 30 affiliates are also part of the alliance.

oneworld developed the on-line booking engine in association with Innovata, a travel report company, and Amadeus, the global distribution system, which also supports nine of oneworld’s airlines.

Business Travellers Prefer Tablets to Laptops while on the Move

Business travellers from the UK are opting to travel with more than one type of device to keep them connected with their work environment.

A recent survey of UK business travellers by Four Points by Sheraton hotel brand, revealed an increased use of tablet devices such as iPads on business trips, instead of laptops.

The hotel brand surveyed 1,000 business travellers in six markets, the UK, Germany, US, China, India and Brazil, and has reported that 67 percent of UK travellers prefer to carry tablets rather than laptops when taking a business trip.

The research also suggested that around 73 percent of British travellers believe that technology definitely makes their travelling on business much simpler and more convenient, as was the case with 60 percent of business travellers surveyed worldwide.

British travellers also use their devices more for web browsing and social networking than those in other countries. 89 percent of UK respondents said this was their primary use of mobile technology, compared to an overall average of 75 percent.

Almost 67 percent of business travellers use video chat or conferencing to converse with family and friends, while around 47 percent of the respondents only use a telephone to make a call, and 37 percent use text messaging.

Brian McGuinness, the senior vice president of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, the parent company of Four Points by Sheraton, said, ‘The Four Points study contains compelling results, including evidence that trends such as staying in touch with family via video chat – preferred even over email, text and phone – are accelerating.

While hotel business centres remain important, the study affirms that the Four Points brand is meeting a continued need by offering complimentary Wi-Fi or in-room internet access, and by continuing to expand bandwidth throughout the portfolio.’