Global Traveler: Congratulations on the 20th anniversary of Asiana Airlines. What measures has Asiana taken to celebrate this great achievement?
Jooan Kang: It has been 17 years since our first flight to Los Angeles, and to celebrate our 20 years in flight, we have decided to give back to those who helped us by sharing our success and gratitude with our customers, shareholders, suppliers, dealers, employees and society.
We will host a number of events such as inviting selected VIPs to fly our upgraded and newly introduced airplanes as our guests. We will award prizes to our customers and sales agents who have supported us the past 20 years. Asiana will also take part in events such as inviting underprivileged children to meet Asiana’s honorary ambassador, Yeon-Ah Kim, a figure skater and teen idol.
GT: How has Asiana upgraded its aircraft and services to benefit the North American premium traveler?
JK: To continue offering the best quality of service, we have been working on selecting new aircraft models as well as upgrading existing ones. In the case of the Boeing 747, the aircraft we fly to Los Angeles and New York, we just completed a massive renovation; we improved all of the seats and equipped every seat with the audio-visual-on-demand system. The spacious seating arrangement, including increased seat pitch of three to 10 inches, will offer passengers a more comfortable flight experience. We plan to invest more than $37 million in upgrading 16 airplanes flying mainly international routes.
Along with upgrading cabin facilities, we continue to upgrade our in-flight service. Asiana’s customers will enjoy using the newly designed Rosenthal tableware to indulge in high-class meals such as Korean Royal Table d’Hote and ssambab. Last October we introduced cuisines from world-renowned restaurants Do-Lim, La Cucina and Din Tai Fung in our first-class meal menus. We received the Best Airline Onboard Service and Flight Attendants award from Global Traveler, and we are well known for our innovative in-flight initiatives such as our charming service, in-flight magic shows, in-flight fashion shows and onboard chef services. We plan to introduce onboard sommeliers in the near future.
GT: Asiana took the lead regarding environmental decision-making policies within the airline community. What have some of these decisions entailed?
JK: In the European Union there is a movement that authorities include the airline industry in the Emission Trade Scheme. In order to comply with that, we are analyzing the amount of greenhouse gases our airplanes emit and estimating the cost for purchasing emission rights. Also, in cooperation with the government, we are discussing the effects of global warming and the changing culture.
Meanwhile, as an eco-friendly company, we try to retain our certificate by preventing possible contamination and administering self-audits concerning environmental issues. We also publish a sustainability report annually to promote and build awareness of environmental issues.
GT: What do you see as your biggest achievement during your service with Asiana?
JK: During my term as president of Asiana, the biggest achievement has been the first payment of dividends to our shareholders. Asiana showed a profit even though the industry was unfavorable.
Also, Asiana was given 5-star airline status by Skytrax last year. When Asiana began as a small company, our competitors were armed with more aircraft, better networks and solid reputations. We chose to focus on safety and services, and since our foundation we have learned a lot from the competition by benchmarking and improving those services. Now as a 5-star airline, we are looked up to by other airline companies trying to accomplish the same, and I am proud of that.
Mövenpick, Accor’s premium Swiss-born hospitality brand, officially launched its first property in New Zealand. Situated in Auckland, Mövenpick Hotel Auckland sets a new standard in the world of hospitality with unique and exciting amenities and a warm, contemporary design found throughout the property.
There’s no better time to plan the vacation you’ve been missing. Step aboard with your better half, your friends or the whole family and reconnect, reunite and rejoice with 25 percent off cruise fares for all guests. We’ll also help everyone get there with 25 percent off airfare from 20 major gateways across the country or $100 savings per person on flights from all other gateways when you book your air travel using Flights by Celebrity.*
Turkish Airlines offers premium travelers something new. After signing an agreement with fashion brands Coccinelle and Hackett, the carrier introduced redesigned premium amenity kits for its business-class passengers flying eight hours or more on long-distance flights. The new kits were introduced April 29.
Lisbon’s popularity has soared in recent years, but within an hour’s drive of Portugal’s capital city, lots of quiet towns and interesting regions that are still somewhat off-the-beaten path await.
Global business travel is making its way back, even as the pandemic and other world events continue to challenge its return. In a recent poll from the Global Business Travel Association, more than four in five respondents (86 percent) from across the industry said they feel more optimistic than they did at the beginning of the year. Business travel bookings, the need to travel to do business and employee willingness to travel are all on the rise.
Saudi Arabia is currently undergoing a bit of a transformation, repositioning itself as a tourism destination and debuting new developments and attractions. While perhaps not a “development” or “attraction” per se, NEOM is one of these new initiatives — but one beyond many of our wildest dreams. NEOM, a special economic zone within the country of Saudi Arabia, has been dubbed “a vision of what a new future might look like” and “a city of the future.”
California invites visitors and locals alike to experience some of Hilton’s newest hotel openings and renovations this year. Set to debut this fall, Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach, Curio Collection by Hilton lies between Malibu, and Santa Barbara, in Oxnard, California. Following a multimillion-dollar renovation and conversion, the resort will accept reservations beginning Oct. 1.
ISN’T IT TIME? It's time to treat yourself to the vacation you deserve, and Celebrity Cruises® offers the perfect escapes. With an award-winning fleet of ships that sail to more than 300 destinations around the world, Celebrity will take you almost anywhere you want to go in style. Enjoy stunning staterooms and suites, culinary experiences imagined by Michelin-starred chefs and intuitive service. Celebrity makes sure your vacation is effortless from the start, which is why drinks, WiFi and tips are Always IncludedSM on every sailing.
City Experiences recently announced its first U.S. food tour offered exclusively by the award-winning, international tour provider Devour Tours. This addition sees City Experiences further expand its offerings in New York City.