June 21, 2013 6:18 pm

Short cuts: Travel news and inspiration

A change in the fortunes of Indonesia’s national airline, a hotel within Chicago’s IBM building and Easyjet’s new air routes
The IBM building, Chicago

The IBM building, Chicago

Indonesia

The dramatic change in the fortunes of Garuda, Indonesia’s national airline, was underlined last week when it was named among the world’s 10 best airlines. During the 1990s and early 2000s the airline became a byword for poor service and suffered a series of crashes – in 2007 it was banned by the EU from flying into any European countries on safety grounds. The ban was lifted in 2009, and the airline announced a new logo, livery and an ambitious five-year plan called “Quantum Leap” which included a doubling in fleet size. At a ceremony at the Paris Air Show last week, Garuda was named 8th best airline, as well as winning the best economy class category, in the Skytrax World Airline Awards, an annual competition based on online surveys of 18m passengers. Meanwhile another aviation website has published a less positive league table – www.airlineratings.com has produced a list of the least safe aircraft, based on the number of fatal crashes during the past decade. www.worldairlineawards.com

US

The Langham Hospitality Group have announced that their latest hotel, within Chicago’s IBM building, will open on July 10. The company says the 316-room hotel will “embrace the splendour and elegance” of the original Langham in London, which opened in 1865 and claims to be the birthplace of the tradition of taking afternoon tea. Design-watchers are eager to see how Victorian English aesthetics will fit inside the 52-storey Chicago skyscraper, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and completed in 1972. As well as 316 bedrooms, the new hotel has a restaurant, bar, ballroom and “Pavilion Lounge” for afternoon tea. Brett Bucher, the chief executive, says the building is the “perfect match for The Langham”. Double rooms from $475; www.langhamhotels.com

UK

Two of England’s best-known seaside resorts have been linked for the first time by a new air route. On Thursday last week, EasyJet launched services between Southend-on-Sea in Essex and Newquay in Cornwall; flights will operate three times a week. In the same week the airline began flights to Bergen, its first services to Norway, and to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, as well as announcing a deal to acquire 135 new planes from Airbus. www.easyjet.com

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