By Louise Driscoll, Terminal U
20 December 2012 | These days you can find a themed hotel to suit any interest – from stylist fashion hotels to Vegas’s mega-resorts that pay homage to world cities.
We’ve seen plane-themed hotels before, but now a budget airline plans to take the idea further by opening hotels based around the flight experience.
Spanish airline Vueling is working with hotel chain Hoteles Catalonia (HC) to open its first themed hotel in downtown Barcelona next year.
But instead of showcasing a few plane models in the lobby for novelty value, the hotel will make guests feel that they’ve just boarded a Vueling flight. Artist impressions of the hotel show a reception area that will recreate an airport check-in counter and a bar-restaurant inside a mock aircraft cabin.
The themed experience doesn’t stop there. A breakfast area will be made to look like it’s inside an airport terminal, with overhead information screens.
Vueling’s yellow and grey brand colours will also play a big part in branding the experience, from the seat back covers in the restaurant area to the throws on the guest beds. The airline even plans to name each room after the destinations it serves.
But Vueling will leave its partner, Hoteles Catalonia (HC) to operate and manage the hotel chain, under the “Vueling by HC” brand. The first hotel, ‘Vueling BCN by HC’ is expected to open in March 2013. (BCN stands for Barcelona airport). More hotels openings are planned in destinations that Vueling serves, the hotel chain said.
11 June 2010 | Departing the traditional low-cost carrier business model which emphasizes point-to-point routes instead of transfers at hubs, Vueling Airlines will start connecting passengers through its base at Barcelona El Prat Airport from July 5, 2010. Passengers will have to buy only one ticket when booking the flights, and Vueling will connect baggage at no additional charge.
Vueling said that although the new hub model would result in new costs such as luggage handling and transfer counters at the airport, the additional costs are in line with its low cost base ethos. Says Vueling CEO Alex Cruz, “There will be no changes to our scheduling. We remain fundamentally a point-to-point airline. As a ‘new-generation carrier’ we won’t stop implementing ‘traditional’ products/services as long as we don’t break our main premise that a short-haul operation cannot survive today without obsessing on having the lowest cost structure.”
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Picture courtesy of Matt Hintsa
28 October 2009 | The economic crisis and fierce competition from low-cost carriers and high-speed rail are forcing European network carriers to think about structural changes in their short-haul operations. One of the hardest hit airlines is Spanish flag carrier Iberia which has lost some of its most lucrative domestic routes to Spain’s expanding high-speed train network, while low-cost carriers (Ryanair, Easyjet) have hit its European services. In what Iberia calls nothing less than a ‘paradigm shift’, the airline has announced plans to replace its domestic and European operations with a new lower-cost feeder airline and focus the main Iberia operations on profitable long-haul sectors, mainly to Latin America.
Iberia said previous measure taken, including cuts in staff and capacity and the grounding of aircraft, had proved insufficient and that the current situation is unsustainable, saying: “We have a structural problem in our domestic and European operations. Thus we are proposing a total different model, with markedly lower operating costs and no ‘legacy’ work practices, which will allow us to compete with other carriers and the high-speed train.” As part of its restructuring plan Iberia will also lay off all flight attendants above the age of 55, and wages are frozen for two years for all employees.
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