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Business Traveller magazine: relevant articles

Business Traveller magazine: relevant articles

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Old May 20, 05, 7:17 am
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Originally Posted by QF WP
Gee, Aisle Seat H, you were up late tonight (your time) to get these in before me...I had to trawl through the 150 German web site emails before I found the BT one...
Was up past 4am mate, far too much work on, far too much ! No rest for the wicked...
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Old May 26, 05, 10:57 am
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Latest offerings....

As already widely discussed on the BMI Forum (we are NOT happy)...

Bmi downgrades product on Heathrow flights

26 May 2005


Bmi is turning its London Heathrow services into a low-cost operation from August 1, scrapping business class on almost all domestic and international routes, simplifying fares and charging economy class passengers for in-flight food and drinks.

Nigel Turner, Bmi's CEO, claims the move is in response to market pressure and it will save the carrier £30 million a year. "Over 50% of our passengers are travelling on business but most of these now do so in the back of the plane. Now we're getting back in sync with what our customers want. We're giving them the choice of paying for what they need."

Bmi is retaining business class on routes from Heathrow to Mumbai, Brussels, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast City.

But Bmi's move may not go down well with premium ticket passengers making long-haul connections at Heathrow. Bmi is a Star Alliance member and feeds passengers to over a dozen member airlines including United, ANA, Thai and Varig.

Says a spokesman for Star Alliance: "Yes, first and business class passengers will no longer get separate seating on many routes, but Bmi has assured us that frequent flyer benefits will stay and so too will the lounges. Bmi's move shows that member carriers are adapting to market needs."

Bmi will announce details of fares and catering in mid-June. www.flybmi.com
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Old May 26, 05, 10:59 am
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Indian airline joins the battle

26 May 2005


Jet Airways has become the latest carrier to enter the London-Mumbai route.
The privately owned Indian carrier was established 12 years ago and until now has been a major domestic carrier.

This is its first European service and will be a daily flight from Heathrow, operated with Airbus A340s (configured with 38 business and 231 economy class seats).

"We are looking at adding flights to cities elsewhere in the UK and mainland Europe, particularly those places which are not currently served by Air India," says chairman Naresh Goyal.

What sets Jet Airways apart from its rivals (Air India, BA, Bmi and Virgin Atlantic) is that it offers both lie-flat seats and the advantage of an extensive domestic network.

Says UK general manager Dan Brewin: "Our seats recline to 180 degrees. They are fully lie-flat. Our overnight flight from London connects with over 40 domestic Indian destinations and we provide through fares and through check-in."

According to chairman Naresh Goyal: "We want to challenge other leading Asian airlines for service and reputation. Our crew and in-flight catering are multi cultural."
Regarding pricing, Goyal says: "We have no intention of getting involved in a price war. Our tickets will be priced according to market demand."

Return fares from London currently start at around £470 for economy and £2,100 for business class.

www.jetairways.com
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Old May 26, 05, 11:00 am
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Virgin Atlantic Upper Class sale

26 May 2005


Virgin Atlantic is following in the footsteps of Air France and British Airways by launching a summer business class seat sale to cities in the US and Asia.

During a time when many executives are not travelling, Virgin Atlantic hopes to fill the empty seats by discounting Upper Class (its brand name for business class) seats by 50%. Between July 15 and August 31, a London-New York return will cost £1,599 as against £3,679 normally, a London-Los Angeles ticket is priced at £1,900 (usually £6,161) while London-Tokyo is offered for £2,099 (usually £4,060).

Other destinations included in the seat sale are Boston, Washington DC, Miami, Mumbai, Delhi and Hong Kong. Return fares to these cities range from £1,599 to £1,911.

Tickets must be booked by May 31. A Saturday night stay is required.

www.virgin-atlantic.com
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Old May 26, 05, 11:01 am
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What does this mean though in the last article "During a time when many executives are not travelling" ? Is this a travel fact that the industry are adjusting to, or an assumption of the journo ?
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Old May 26, 05, 11:02 am
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More regional flights to New York

26 May 2005


Continental continues to make the Big Apple more accessible from the UK regions by launching daily flights from Bristol and a new service from Belfast.
Until now both cities have had no direct flights to New York.

The US carrier is operating Boeing 757 twin jets in a two-class (business and economy) configuration. All flights operate to and from New York's Newark airport.
Services depart Bristol at 1100 arriving Newark at 1400. The inbound overnight service leaves Newark at 2055 to reach Bristol at 0855.

Belfast flights depart at 0900 arriving Newark at 1125, with the inbound service at 1955 landing in Belfast at 0730.

For travel from now until the end of June economy class passengers pay rates starting at £302 return from Bristol and £299 from Belfast. These deals expire at midnight tonight (May 26) but other offers are expected to take their place.

Business class passengers pay discounted rates starting at £1,169 return from Bristol and £1,129 return from Belfast. They are valid for travel between now and August 31 and you can book until July 30.

Other UK regional airports served by Continental are Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh. From London, the carrier operates from Gatwick.

www.continental.com
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Old May 26, 05, 11:03 am
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Second Park Inn for London

26 May 2005


Rezidor SAS Hospitality takes over the management of the Gresham Hyde Park London on June 1 and will re-launch it under its mid-market Park Inn brand.

The 188-room Park Inn Hyde Park, in Lancaster Gate, will be the group's second Park Inn property. The first is the Park Inn Heathrow.

Kurt Ritter, president and CEO, Rezidor SAS Hospitality, said: "London is a key destination for Rezidor SAS and it is no secret that we have been looking for the right opportunity to expand Park Inn, our fastest growing brand, into central London. With our aim to have 700 hotels by 2012, the Park Inn brand is key to Rezidor's growth and we hope to have 150 hotels in operation and under construction by the end of 2006, with London being a significant success in targeting strategic destinations across Rezidor's area of operation."

The Park Inn Hyde Park, London has a restaurant, bar and a 24-hour fitness centre.
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Old May 26, 05, 11:05 am
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Doubt many of you will give a damn about this, bit seeing as I'm posting the articles, might as well post this one...

Miles go further

26 May 2005


SkyMiles for qualifying stays at the global hotel chain.

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels will award five miles for every US dollar or equivalent value in pounds or euros spent on room rates at their worldwide hotels and resorts.

To celebrate the launch of the partnership, Millennium properties in North America will offer SkyMiles members an additional "summer bonus" of five miles per US dollar or equivalent spent, for a total of 10 miles per dollar, on qualifying stays from June 1 until August 31.

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, PLC, the London-listed international hotel arm of the Hong Leong Group Singapore, owns and operates 88 hotels in 16 countries.
Delta's marketing alliances allow customers to earn and redeem frequent flier miles on more than 14,000 flights offered by SkyTeam and other partners, including Air France, Korean Air and Czech Airlines.
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Old May 26, 05, 11:35 am
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Originally Posted by Aisle Seat H
What does this mean though in the last article "During a time when many executives are not travelling" ? Is this a travel fact that the industry are adjusting to, or an assumption of the journo ?
It's a travel fact. It's the summer holiday period - a well known down period for premium class travel.

For the same reason, driving around central London is a dream during the same period.
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Old May 26, 05, 11:50 am
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Originally Posted by Globaliser
It's a travel fact. It's the summer holiday period - a well known down period for premium class travel.
Ah, ta, I see now what it meant... I misunderstood it as suggesting that generally at the moment there is a drop in business related travel, espec. in J and F, but "during this time" is as you say a referrence to travel during the hols period.

As for London around this time, I know, its a dream isn't it !
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Old Jun 4, 05, 12:49 am
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This weeks' articles

Lead story (IMHO):

Star and One World to expand

The leading global airline alliances, Star and One World, are adding airline members.

Star Alliance has this week announced that it is adding Swiss International Air Lines, while rival One World is making steps to integrate Malev Hungarian Airlines. The announcement from Star Alliance was anticipated, following the acquisition by one of the alliance's leading carriers, Lufthansa, of Swiss in March this year.

The deal means Star Alliance members will eventually be able to enjoy reciprocal frequent flyer programme and lounge benefits with Swiss. They will also be able to interline between Swiss and other alliance carriers, i.e. book a multi leg trip under one ticket and check-in luggage to their end destination in the event of an indirect flight.

The decision by Budapest carrier, Malev, to join One World will boost the alliance's global reach by four countries (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Slovenia) and add 11 new airports. But first Malev must present a business plan and ensure it offers service in line with One World specifications.

Malev chief executive Janos Gönci said membership of the alliance was crucial for the carrier. "In the current state of the airline industry there is no chance of sustainable earnings for a mid-sized network carrier without partners," he said.

Report by Ginny McGrath


Eurostar adds first class value

Eurostar is reorganising and simplifying its offering for first class passengers travelling between London, Lille, Brussels and Paris.

From September 1, the high-speed train company will offer a two-tier first class service - Business Premier and Leisure Select, with passengers seated according to the price and type of their tickets. The new tow tier first class will replace the existing Premium product (available only for London-Paris).

The advantages to business travellers are clear. Until now first class passengers were seated together irrespective of ticket price. On off-peak services in particular, this might lead to smartly-dressed executives being seated next to happy holidaymakers who have been upgraded to first class as part of a package deal. "Our research has shown that travellers want specific business and leisure classes," says a Eurostar spokesperson. "Whereas business travellers want to be as productive as possible on the journey, leisure passengers called for greater indulgence."

First class carriages will retain the same comfortable three-across (1-2) seating, but the revised product will see Eurostar designating different coaches for each passenger group. Full fare passengers will be seated in Business Premier and will benefit from a 10-minute check-in, lounge access, free meals and drinks (including an express breakfast option) and at-seat power sockets.

Passengers buying first class excursions will occupy the Leisure Select carriages. They will get the same first class seating and meal service (minus the express breakfast) but check-in time is extended to 30 minutes and they can't use the lounge.

Tickets for the revamped classes go on sale from June 3 for travel on and after September 1, but the price of tickets look set to drop from the top price for the existing Premium product of £560 to a new top price for a flexible Business Premier ticket of £430 (Leisure Select will be priced from £149). Go to Eurostar website

Report by Alex McWhirter


More private jets for Lufthansa

Lufthansa is extending its private jet service to Frankfurt following positive uptake of the product at Munich.

The private jets were launched from Munich on a trial basis in March, offering short-haul connections across Europe. The jets can be booked for flights to over 1,000 European destinations at a time that suits the passenger, rather than being confined by Lufthansa's schedule.

Another benefit is that customs, baggage, immigration and security are expedited. Lufthansa hopes this will encourage premium passengers arriving at or leaving Frankfurt on long-haul flights to book the jets for a short-haul connection that suits their schedule.

But passengers using the private jet service from Frankfurt will need to add up to 30 minutes to the trip because the jets are being operated out of nearby Egelsbach Airport, a quieter airfield. Complimentary chauffeur to Egelsbach is included in the cost of hiring the jets.

Passengers are also offered a complimentary chauffeur to Lufthansa's new First Class Terminal at Frankfurt, which includes a lounge and business area, a la carte restaurant and luxurious bathrooms.

The aircraft used by Lufthansa have a seating capacity of seven passengers. The price you pay is for the entire aircraft, plus up to 300 euro per additional passenger. A fare structure for Frankfurt private jets is still being devised but example fares from Munich are from 4550 euros for Munich- Lugano or 9,530 euros for Dublin-Billund.

Private jet flights can be booked up to 24 hours ahead. Go to Lufthansa website or call the dedicated call centre, +49 18 02 99 33 00.

Report by Ginny McGrath


Shanghai flights up

British Airways launched flights to Shanghai this week.

The service operates five times a week between London Heathrow and the Chinese city. It competes directly with Virgin Atlantic, which operates five weekly frequencies to Shanghai.

The Shanghai service is the first new longhaul route launched by British Airways for over two years. The move by BA follows an agreement made between the UK and Chinese authorities to allow more flights between the two countries. Flights were previously limited to six per week to Beijing, which are operated by BA, and four to Shanghai, operated by Virgin.

The agreement will enable 25 passenger flights between China and the UK each week, allowing BA to launch to Shanghai and Virgin to boost frequency to the city to five a week, which will increase to six a week from mid June and seven a week from October.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic's return fares both start at £505 to Shanghai. The other carrier operating direct flights between London and Shanghai is China Eastern Airlines.

Virgin has also this week announced plans to fly to Dubai and Jamaica. The carrier will launch services between London Heathrow and Dubai from April 2006 and services from Gatwick to Montego Bay, Jamaica from July 2006. It also plans to increase Mumbai flights from three a week to daily from December 2005.

Report by Ginny McGrath
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Old Jun 4, 05, 1:43 am
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Originally Posted by QF WP
Eurostar adds first class value

Eurostar is reorganising and simplifying its offering for first class passengers travelling between London, Lille, Brussels and Paris.

From September 1, the high-speed train company will offer a two-tier first class service - Business Premier and Leisure Select, with passengers seated according to the price and type of their tickets. The new tow tier first class will replace the existing Premium product (available only for London-Paris).
I think this article is slightly misleading. There is already a "top tier" first class called Premium which has a separate carriage with enhanced service. And then there is effectively the "second tier" First Class. There are many business passengers who don't buy the fiendishly expensive Premium tickets but just one of the normal First Class tickets, and who therefore end up in the carriages which may also have leisure First Class passengers.

The new pair of products replaces the old pair of products, not just Premium.

You could therefore read this as Eurostar wishes, namely "we're doing something extra for business passengers", or as I suspect, namely "Premium is a flop as not enough business passengers are buying it, so we're dumbing it down a bit and making it cheaper".
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Old Jun 4, 05, 7:27 am
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Originally Posted by Globaliser
You could therefore read this as Eurostar wishes, namely "we're doing something extra for business passengers", or as I suspect, namely "Premium is a flop as not enough business passengers are buying it, so we're dumbing it down a bit and making it cheaper".
Premium First was always more popular with extravagant Americans and celebs than with business travellers. The price of a Premium ticket has gone up so much in the past few years that now even Americans cannot justify the cost of this extravagance for a 2-hour 40 min journey. At weekends the whole Premium coach (24 seats) was nearly always empty, give or take a couple of seats on some services on a Saturday morning. With First being much busier at peak times, often to full capacity, I think they've realised they could free up these otherwise vacant seats (more than 200 extra seats a day) and make them available as normal First.
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Old Jun 9, 05, 6:38 pm
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This weeks' articles

Airlines look to replace Concorde

Two airlines are planning to launch transatlantic carriers that revisit the luxury, but sadly not the speed of Concorde. Both airlines are backed by industry veterans who believe there's a gap in the market left by the withdrawal of Concorde from service in 2003.

Eos plans to launch flights from Stansted to New York JFK from September and has been founded by ex-British Airways executive David Spurlock. Other members of the executive team include past employees of Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Northwest Airlines. They have secured $185 million in funding.

The service will be operated by a Boeing 757, which usually seats 200 passengers, but will be refitted with 48 luxury seats. Tickets will be priced at less than a standard schedule business class fare between New York and London, according to sources from the airline.

The in-flight service will include 21 square-feet of space per customer, a healthy meal that can be taken at any time, in-seat light and laptop outlet and a quality blanket. The launch of Eos is still subject to regulatory approval. Go to EOS Airlines.

A second carrier, Fly First, also plans to launch a premium-only transatlantic service, but will fly from Luton to New York Newark.

Fly First hopes to launch in November, operating Boeing 757-200 aircraft with 48 seats. The carrier would use the private jet terminal at Luton, allowing for a speedy check-in. According to reports, flights would leave at 6.45am, arriving in New York at 9am.

It is being spearheaded by former Eurostar chief executive, Hamish Taylor, who previously worked at BA. Fares have not yet been disclosed but are expected to be between £3,500 and £4,000.

Report by Ginny McGrath


W's little sister

The company that launched W hotels has unveiled plans to launch a cheaper alternative to the fashionable brand. Dubbed "Project XYZ", the new hotels from Starwood Hotels and Resorts are scheduled to start opening in 2007 in US cities, with Tampa, Minneapolis and Palo Alto cited as possible locations.

Starwood has confirmed the emphasis will be on design, with 90-180 loft-style bedrooms, trendy public spaces including a lounge, outside space and a 24-hour kitchen area serving food and drinks. The hotels will offer a pared-down service that is suitable for longer stays or guests on a budget.
Bedrooms will have oversized windows, large working spaces, large bathrooms with Bliss Spa products, and the entire property will be wireless internet enabled.

The properties will also feature a gym and swimming pool, plus meeting facilities and "business booths" where guests can use a computer, print documents and check emails. Starwood says XYZ is a working title and may not be the final brand name for the properties.

A spokeswoman told Businesstraveller.com that the two brands were targetted at different types of customer, XYZ being less pricey than W hotels.

With the two brands not in competition, it's possible they could open in the same cities, although a spokeswoman could not confirm whether this would happen. However, a statement issued by Starwood said it had received interest in the XYZ concept from developers in cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and San Diego, which are all locations for existing W properties.

Report by Ginny McGrath


Lounges for Easyjet

Easyjet is adding airport lounges in a bid to woo business travellers.
The low cost carrier is making a break from the traditional no-frills model by offering the lounges to its passengers at an extra charge.

At a cost from £12 per passenger, the lounges offer complimentary drinks including wines, beer and spirits, snacks, newspapers and magazines. Business facilities include phone, fax, computers with internet access and printers, and some lounges have showers.

Easyjet passengers can book the lounges online at www.easyjetlounges.com and use the lounge for up to three hours before their plane departs.
The lounges are operated by Servisair/Globeground and will be available in 33 Easyjet airports in Europe, although Belfast, Basel and Paris Orly airports do not have lounges.

Customers wearing shorts, football shirts or baseball caps will be turned away according to the rules stated on the website and some lounges don't allow children under the age of 12.

This is not the first business traveller-friendly initiative undertaken by Easyjet. Earlier this year the airline trialled a scheme to offer passengers the chance to board the aircraft first for a fee of £10, allowing them to take the seat of their choice. A second trial at a UK airport is being considered.
Easyjet last year trialled self-service check-in machines at Nottingham East Midlands Airport, and consequently rolled them out at Nottingham East Midlands, Geneva and Berlin airports, with other airports under consideration.

Report by Ginny McGrath


Airport currency exchanges slammed

Waiting until the airport to change currency leaves travellers out of pocket according to a recent survey, which named the UK's worst offending airports.
Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster was named the worst airport for currency exchange rates by the report. Researchers asked to change £100 at the airport and were quoted a return of 130 Euros or $160. This compares to an average return of 141 Euros or $174 from an independent high street travel agent, according to the report.

Businesstraveller.com checked the rates of exchange online on Thursday June 9, and found the Post Office would return $175 for £100 and Travelex $179, for currency ordered online, which can then be picked up at the airport.
Other airports which fared poorly in the survey were Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool and Leeds Bradford.

The survey was carried out by Co-op Travel, a group of independent high street agents in the UK.

Report by Ginny McGrath


Comfort downgrade

A comfort downgrade is in prospect for Club World (business class) passengers flying British Airways to Tel Aviv this month. One of BA's two daily flights from London Heathrow will be operated by a short-haul version of the 767 up to and including June 30. The flights in question are BA165 from Heathrow at 0840 and flight BA164 returning from Tel Aviv at 16.55.

It means that business class passengers on this five hour flight will find the sort of seating normally offered on a 90 minute service to Frankfurt even though their ticket may have cost more than £1,400. Although the configuration remains six across (2-2-2), the seats are not quite so wide while legroom is cut from 50 to 34 inches.

Says a BA spokesperson, "The problem was caused by an engineering overrun for major maintenance which has made us short of 767s. We will continue to offer the normal Club World service with the exception of the seat. Passengers can either opt to transfer to one of our other flights or take a downgrade payment of £200 in travel vouchers or £150 in cash for a return flight."

The two flights which retain the normal Club World seating are BA163 from Heathrow at 22.30 and BA162 from Tel Aviv at 08.05. See BA website


Losing FFP points

BA Executive Club members booking transatlantic flights with American Airlines continue to lose FFP (frequent flyer programme) miles and points because of government restrictions.

Reader Clive Whittall, a member of British Airways' Executive Club, discovered the hard truth when he recently booked first class flights from San Jose (Costa Rica) to London via Miami.

His travel agent selected American Airlines because of the latter's convenient connections. But this decision cost Clive Whittall his FFP benefits for the Miami-London sector. BA told him that "it does not authorise the credit of miles or points for American transatlantic flights."

According to American Airlines, "We can't co-operate or co-ordinate transatlantic services because the US and European governments haven't given ourselves or BA anti-trust immunity. It means we can't enter into reciprocal commercial agreements."

A BA spokesman agreed with American. "Only four carriers [two UK and two US] can operate from Heathrow to the US and there are very strict guidelines under which we can operate. There is nothing in the pipeline which suggests the system will change."

According to Ravindra Bhagwanani of FFP consultancy Global Flight Management, "The BA and American is the only partnership of any of the three alliances to share such a restriction." Bhagwanani suggests that travellers get round this by signing up to the FFPs of other Oneworld members like Finnair, Iberia or Cathay Pacific.

Report by Alex McWhirter
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Old Jun 10, 05, 7:01 am
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Originally Posted by QF WP
Airport currency exchanges slammed

Waiting until the airport to change currency leaves travellers out of pocket according to a recent survey, which named the UK's worst offending airports.
The authors seem to have overlooked the BAA price promise which applies at its airports. These include LHR, LGW and STN. As a condition of their leases, outlets at the airport promise to charge no more than at their normal shops.

Surprise, surprise, none of the airports named in this piece are BAA airports. Typical slanted reporting designed to mislead.
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