Today's news in brief:
Taj Qmin service now live in Hyderabad
Hyderabad is the latest city to join Qmin - the in-home dining service from the Taj hotels group.
The service - which we recently reviewed in comparison with its ITC competitor - brings your favourite dishes from the group’s restaurants direct to your door.
Initially available in Mumbai (where you could order treats from hotels including the iconic Taj Mahal Palace), Qmin is live in Bengaluru, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and now Hyderabad (dishes from the Adaa and Celeste restaurants at Taj Falaknuma Palace).
For full details and menus, visit the Qmin website. An app is also available, though currently only serving outlets in Mumbai.
Qantas sending its Dreamliners to the desert
Oneworld airline Qantas has a very pessimistic outlook when it comes to the resumption of its international services and has accordingly decided to send most of its fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners to the Californian desert for long-term storage.
The Australian carrier has already sent Airbus A380 super-jumbos to the Victorville Southern California Logistics Airport, where more than 200 jets belonging to airlines around the world are parked up.
A Qantas spokesman told Executive Traveller: "In June we said around 100 of our aircraft would be stored for up to 12 months, some for longer, and our 787 fleet is part of that. The humidity in California is much lower than in Australia, so it’s much better for long-term storage of aircraft – the same reason why we’ve moved our A380s there. All of the aircraft will be looked after by our Los Angeles-based engineering team."
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce believes his international network will not restart "in any real size" until July 2021. The fuel-efficient Boeing 787-9 is expected to become a workhorse for Qantas, flying to the US, Europe and Asia when demand recovers.
Air India’s latest status extension
Star Alliance member Air India has announced another status extension (after earlier saying that status and points would be frozen until August 31, 2020).
The latest move means Flying Returns points won’t expire until January 1, 2021 and will remain valid even if they were due to expire before then.
Furthermore, members of the Maharaja, Golden Edge and Silver Edge clubs will retain their memberships and status benefits until December 31, 2020 (even if there is no flight activity in your Flying Returns account, your status will be maintained).
Star Alliance members have also created an online Travel Information Hub, to help you plan your next journey. Information is available on entry and exit restrictions in place for various countries, as well as the hygiene and safety measures being implemented by airports and airlines on your route.