Virgin Australia is adding an additional six flights per week to Bali Indonesia from the east coast of Australia. The additional flights that will go into operation from 19 December will see an additional three flights from Melbourne, two flights from Sydney and an extra weekly flight from Brisbane. All flights will be operated on Virgin Australia’s new two class (Economy and Business) Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Virgin Australia Chief Commercial Officer Judith Crompton said: “Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to adapting our schedule to meet the demand of travellers. “Bali is one of Australia’s most popular international leisure destinations, visited by over 2.8 million Australians each year. By adding more than 1,000 seats per week, we will be able to support increased demand to this region. “We have also invested in a number of product and service enhancements on our services to and from Bali, to enhance the travel experience for our customers. We are now pleased to offer inclusive hot meals and choice of beverages and, by the end of the year, our innovative new wireless in-flight entertainment system will be available on all flights to and from Bali”, Ms Crompton said.
Air New Zealand have announced that they plan to put the world first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the Auckland to Perth Route. The world’s first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner route will begin operation on 15 October 2014 and as we wrote earlier internally the aircraft will feature three classes Business Premium, Premium Economy, and Economy with some economy dedicated to their Skycouch seating. The Airline has also revealed they plan to put future Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners on their Auckland to Tokyo and Shanghai as well as Christchurch to Tokyo services, not exact dates for these additional services but their website says by the end of 2014. Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon made the announcement at the official opening of the airline’s Customer Innovation and Collaboration Centre in Auckland today. A feature of the centre is the only Boeing 787-9 full cabin interior outside the factory in Seattle. “The 787-9 is going to be a game changer for Air New Zealand and is a key element in delivering on our Go Beyond growth plan. Not only is the 787-9 around 20 percent more fuel efficient than the aircraft it’s replacing, it also sets a new benchmark for passenger comfort,” Mr Luxon says. “Our new Customer Innovation and Collaboration Centre will give us a venue to showcase the on board experience before the world’s first 787-9 to enter commercial service joins our fleet in the middle of next year. We’ll have a busy programme of hosting customers, trade partners and stakeholders at the centre over the coming months. We are confident they will be as excited as we are about the future of air travel.” Mr Luxon says the Customer Innovation and Collaboration Centre will also be the hub for further innovation from Air New Zealand. “We are determined to deliver step changes in customer experience and to work with our trade partners to crack business issues and seize opportunities together. This centre provides a focal point to bring to life the best of Kiwi ingenuity and we are going to make it available as a venue for other like minded Kiwi businesses to use.” Mr Luxon also unveiled the cabin layout and configuration details for Air New Zealand’s 10 new Boeing 787-9 aircraft at the centre’s opening. You can read about and see the seat photos Air New Zealand 787 Dreamliner Seats Revealed Photos and see the seat map here Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Seat Map Diagram Released
Following on from Delta, JetBlue and American Airlines, United Airlines is the next Airline to gain approval from the US FAA to allow Personal Electronic Device (PED) use by passengers during take-off and landing. As with other airlines Wi-Fi, Bluetooth enabled devices must be switched to flight mode during take-off and landing or below 10,000 feet. “I want to thank the FAA and Administrator Huerta for working with us so quickly to offer this great benefit to our customers,” said Jim Compton, vice chairman and chief revenue officer at United. “Safely expanding the use of portable electronic devices is one of the many ways United is working to deliver a more user-friendly travel experience for our customers.” Currently, only United customers traveling on mainline flights arriving or departing within the 50 United States may operate portable electronic devices below 10,000 feet. However, the airline is working with its regional partners to extend the benefit, and expects to allow customers gate-to-gate use of their electronic devices across all United Express flights operating within the 50 United States by the end of the year as well. Passengers may still be asked to turn off their electronic devices in certain situations, such as low-visibility operations, and are reminded to carefully follow crew member instructions at all times. Voice calls from cell phones or VoIP-enabled devices are also still prohibited during taxiing, takeoffs, landings and while the aircraft is in flight. The full media release from United Airlines can be read here: United Airlines Begins Offering Electronics-Friendly Cabins
Points, Miles & Martinis blog is reporting that domestically in the US Delta are drastically reducing first class seating numbers on Boeing 757-200 aircraft. The article which is referencing a flyer talk post confirms that the normal 24-26 first class seat count will reduce down to only 20 seats. The post goes on to say that this will greatly reduce the number of seats available as for reward or upgrade, however there is an upside to the story Delta plan to boot first class seating on its A320 aircraft from 14 to 16 seats. You can read the full post here: Delta Drastically Reducing Number of First Class Seats on 757′s
With the US’s air travel regulator the FAA last week easing rules to allow the use of personal electronic equipment during take-off and landing, there’s been a flurry of airlines rushing to get approval. Delta and JetBlue were the first to get it and as of yesterday American Airlines joined the club. Here’s some additional helpful information about PED use on American and American Eagle Airlines: When the aircraft doors are closed for departure, devices will need to be in airplane mode. Wi-Fi access on equipped aircraft will be available shortly after takeoff. Customers need to secure their handheld devices by holding them or placing them in a seatback pocket. Previously, these devices needed to be stowed under a seat or in an overhead bin during taxi, takeoff and landing. Because the safety of our customers and people is always our top priority, customers should listen to all safety briefings and comply with crewmember instructions. Our crewmembers don’t like to interrupt our customers’ productivity, but always want them to be safe. This change doesn’t apply to larger items such as laptops. These items will still need to be stowed during taxi, takeoff and landing. Some American Eagle flights won’t allow the expanded use of PEDs until later this year. It’s important to note that even though PEDs can be operated during takeoff and landing units that have wifi, cellular or Bluetooth capability are required to be switched into flight mode during take-off and landing/below 10,000 feet and calls are not allowed at all during the flight. The full FAA media release is here: American Obtains FAA Approval to Allow Extended Use of Handheld Portable Electronic Devices So what does it mean for us here in Australia? Australia’s regulator CASA is closely watching developments however David Flynn from Australian Business Traveller recently reported here in Australia there is no specific rule in regards to the use of PEDs inflight rather as reported by ABT “The issue is covered by rules which require aircraft operators to ensure safety is maintained at all times” “If the airlines wish to change the current restrictions they would have to show there was no risk to safety.”
Looks like Paris CDG is the next Emirates destination to be serviced by only A380 aircraft. At present Emirates operates three return services to Paris with two daily A380 services and a 6X week 777-300ER service, from 1 June 2014 the 777 service operating on EK 71/72 will switch to the Emirates A380 Superjumbo. As well as slightly increasing capacity it will add more Business and First Class seats on the route. The new time table is as below: Flight Number From Depart To Arrive Frequency EK071 DXB 04:30 CDG 09:40 m,tu,w,f,s,su EK073 DXB 08:20 CDG 13:30 Daily EK075 DXB 15:00 CDG 20:05 Daily EK072 CDG 11:20 DXB 19:50 m,tu,w,f,s,su EK074 CDG 15:35 DXB 00:20+1 Daily EK076 CDG 21:50 DXB 06:20+1 Daily Thanks to Kevin over at Ghetto IFE for the find Emirates Prepare to Take Paris to A380 Operation Only
Star Alliance is currently running an online quiz in which participants can win a full 12 months of Star Alliance Gold The online interactive quiz is open to all Star Alliance Frequent flyer members worldwide and tests the player’s knowledge and observation skills correctly pack a virtual suitcase and match the aircraft tailfins to the correct cabin crew uniforms, In addition players will have a limited time to complete the quiz, with penalties for incorrect answers The top two players from each Star Alliance Frequent Flyer program with the fastest time will win the Gold Status prize. To enter the competition head over to http://www.staralliancegoldgame.com/
Virgin Australia announced today that the airline had added an additional five Indonesian destinations through an expansion of it code share arrangement with SilkAir. The additional five destinations will increase to ten the number of Indonesian destinations which Virgin Australia codeshares on. The new destinations which include Bandung (BDO), Balikpapan (BPN), Lombok (LOP), Palembang (PLM) and Solo (SOC) will operate via Singapore on 2 Class Airbus A319 and Airbus A320 Aircraft. Virgin Australia Chief Commercial Officer Judith Crompton said: “Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and one of Australia’s most important trading partners, with over eleven billion dollars’ worth of trade between the two countries in 20121. “We now have Virgin Australia marketing code on ten destinations across Indonesia that can be accessed on one ticket from all Virgin Australia serviced airports across Australia and New Zealand. “SilkAir offers a high quality business and economy class product with a strong emphasis on customer service, ensuring the best possible travel experience for our customers”, Ms Crompton said.
Today Qantas has increased Airbus A380 Services into Hong Kong from Sydney, the increase will see Qantas switch one of its Boeing 747 return services to the Airbus A380 superjumbo. The increase will see the airline move from four to five return services per week increasing capacity by 5% on the route. In August this year Qantas CEO Alan Joyce had the following to say about the increase in this service “The Qantas Group is serious about Asia and we’ve already increased capacity to Hong Kong by 10 per cent this year. As well as adding almost five per cent more seats per week on this route, the aircraft swap will increase the amount of flying done by our flagship A380 fleet into Asia” Qantas A380 services from Sydney to Hong Kong operate under QF127 with the return flight QF 128. QF 127/128 is a daily service however only Thursday through Monday flights will operate on the A380 with the remaining Tuesday Wednesday flights still operating from their Boing 747. Last week Qantas announced that it would be opening an upgraded single class/status Qantas International Lounge Hong Kong from March 2014 the new Qantas Hong Kong Lounge will be similar to what the airline opened in April this year in Singapore.
Oneworld has a new member Qatar Airways joined the alliance on 31 October increasing the oneworld alliance membership to 13 and making the airline the second middle eastern oneworld carrier. To celebrate oneworld membership a Qatar Airways Boeing 777 in oneworld livery became the first aircraft to land at the soon to be open Hamad International Airport. Qatar Airways joined one year after receiving its invitation to join the alliance, which is no mean feat as most new member airlines take 18-24 months to comply with oneworld’s membership requirements. Qatar Airways, which serves more than 130 destinations in 70 countries across the Middle East, Europe, Africa, North and South America, Asia and Australasia, is oneworld’s second member airline based in the Middle East. It makes oneworld the leading alliance in one of the world’s fastest growing regions for air travel demand. Frequent Flyer Benefits and Double Frequent Flyer Mile Offer For a limited time Qatar is offering all oneworld frequent flyers double frequent flyer miles when flying on Qatar Airways between 15 November and 31 January (except between 20 December and 5 January). Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club loyalty are eligible for oneworld frequent flyer benefits when travelling with any oneworld member airline around the world Privilege members will earn and be able to redeem Qmiles on any oneworld flight, they will receive double Qmiles award miles when flying on Qatar Airways’ oneworldpartners between 15 November and 31 January (except between 20 December and 5 January) as an additional sweetener double tier status is also being thrown in. Privilege Club Platinum cardholders will have Emerald status in the oneworld programme. Privilege Club Gold will be equivalent to oneworld Sapphire and Privilege Club Silver will be oneworld Ruby. Privilege Club Platinum and Gold members will be able to access more than 550 airport lounges worldwide offered by oneworld member airlines when they fly with one of the alliance’s carriers – five times more than they can use up until now. Qatar Airways’ First and Business Class passengers will also be able to make use of oneworld partner airline lounges. As oneworld Emeralds, Privilege Club Platinum cardholders will be able to use First Class lounges, where available – and receive an additional baggage allowance and access fast tracks through departure security at select airports. Also from midnight tonight, the 140 million members of the established oneworld airlines’ frequent flyer programmes will be able to earn and redeem awards and tier status points and receive all other oneworld benefits when flying on Qatar Airways. A set of Qatar Airways Oneworld ceremony photos can be seen in the gallery below:
Qantas today shed some more light on the two international lounges it will open in Hong Kong and Los Angeles in 2014. The lounges which Qantas plans to set the standard in high-end travel by extending some of the service found in the air on board Qantas into the lounge. The example given was for overnight flights giving passengers the option to dine in the lounge before the flight so that more of the in-flight time could be used for sleep. Qantas says their two new lounges will feature local elements in the design of the lounge as well as the wine and food served. The first lounge to go live will be the Qantas Hong Kong International Lounge from March 2014 offering passengers “an exciting new experience with stylish and contemporary interiors reflecting the colour, vibrancy and luxury of Hong Kong.” The new Qantas Hong Kong Lounge will offer: Yum cha trolleys serving dumplings throughout the lounge Customers the opportunity to dine at our Spice Temple BBQ Bar A tray around and a buffet style offering similar to our International Business Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne featuring a range of fresh and enticing food Panoramic views across the airport overlooking Qantas gates from a feature bar where customers will be able to enjoy signature cocktails, wines, spirits and barista service A Family Zone The new Qantas Los Angeles lounge that will be jointly owned by Qantas, Cathay Pacific and British Airways but managed by Qantas will open in phases from April 2014 until completion in late 2014 and will see the current capacity of the existing lounge double to almost 600 seats. In addition the Qantas Los Angeles First Class lounge will get a makeover with an opening date also around late 2014. The Los Angeles Business Lounge will offer: Menus inspired by a mix of local West Coast US and Asian flavours. A dining area with view into the kitchen offering fresh regional food A wine bar offering signature cocktails and bar snacks, and a barista service. A circular internal fireplace to relax and socialise around. And seating surrounding a central glass atrium. Are you a regular traveller to Hong Kong or Los Angeles with Qantas any new features you would like to see? Leave your thoughts and comments below.
Etihad Airways today announced that from tomorrow the airline will make live TV available via its inflight entertainment system e-box. The new live TV channels will include BBC World News, BBC Arabic, euronews and Sport 24, which are available from November 1. CNBC, Japan’s NHK World Premium, and CNN, will be introduced during November; and Sky News Arabia will follow All of the above live TV channels will be available initially on 21 of its wide body aircraft and will be expanded to 37 aircraft by the end of 2014 Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We are delighted to broadcast this weekend’s Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on many of our aircraft, ensuring that passengers who are flying on race day won’t miss any of the action from Yas Marina Circuit.” In addition to the Formula 1, passengers can also watch a wealth of live top sporting action this November including the ATP World Tour Finals, English Premier League and German Bundesliga matches, and Euroleague Basketball. The major sports coverage continues in 2014 and includes the Australian Open, French Open and US Open tennis championships, the Winter Olympics, the Masters from Augusta and Ryder Cup golf, and the FIFA World Cup from Brazil.
Vietnam Airlines recently the airline has selected General Electric Next Generation (GEnx) propulsion System for its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet that is expected to go into operation from the beginning of 2015. Vietnam Airlines has committed to purchasing 8 Boeing 787 Dreamliners to help position the airline at the forefront of Aviation in the region. The agreement contractual signing which occurred on 28 October 2013 sees the airline buy and lease 40 new jet engines from GE. The GEnx propulsion system provides a fuel saving of up to 15 percent compared to previous system in addition to being the quietest engines in the Sky.
In June 2013 I flew from Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam Airlines Business Class, as a regular traveller to Vietnam with 1 or more trips per year and also having worked there you would be surprised to hear I have never flown from Sydney to Ho Chi Minh city direct with Vietnam Airlines, usually opting to fly via Singapore or Darwin with Qantas or Jetstar so I was very eager to fly this route for the first time and in Business Class. To jump to any section of this review click on the below links Check-in and Boarding | Vietnam Airlines Business Class Meal Service | Vietnam Airlines Business Class Seat | Inflight entertainment and Tech | Final Thoughts and Verdict Check-in and Boarding Arriving at the check-in counter around 45 minutes before they opened there was already around a 50 meter long line of eager passengers in the in the queue who must have had the same idea as me check-in early then relax, my immediate thought, this is going to be a very long day then I remembered I was booked in Business Class and immediately started to relax. When check-in opened I headed straight for the Business Class counter and was fairly quickly checked-in, phew check-in done. I don’t normally like check-in at the best of times but check in to Vietnam Airlines Business Class was quick, efficient and pleasant. Boarding was called and I headed for the Business Class line where I boarded instantly and went straight to my allocated seat 3H. Vietnam Airlines operate Airbus A330 300 on the Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City route and on boarding my first impressions was how spacious the Business Class cabin was especially leg room. The business class cabin consists of 36 seats laid out in a 2-2-2 seating configuration, lucky for me and other solo travellers Business Class was only half full which equated to a vacant seat next to each of us, a welcome a bonus and great when doing a review flight or a flight I that I need to work on, as it gives me somewhere to quickly place and access my laptop and full frame camera during meal service without needing to pack everything away. Not long after being seated I was offered a warm refresher towel and the obligatory sparkling wine, orange juice or sparkling water. As normal I went with the sparkling wine, at the same time I was handed the menu, which allowed me to get my dining decisions out of the way before take-off. VN772 departed a few minutes late due to the normal backlog of flights departing from Sydney’s domestic and International airports at this time of the morning then once we were in the air and within minutes of the fasten seat belt sign turning off I was asked if I would like to place my lunch order. Vietnam Airlines Business Class Meal Service For lunch I had decided on the Hungarian […]
Airbus has announced that final assembly on Asiana Airlines first Airbus A380 is underway in its Final Assembly Line (FLA) in Toulouse France. Asiana Airlines will take delivery of this Airbus A380 toward the middle of 2014 making Asiana the 12th airline to operate the aircraft. The airline has a total of six Airbus A380 aircraft on order which they plan to operate mostly on services from Seoul to the United States.