Virgin Australia has unveiled details on the interior re-design of its Boeing 777 fleet that will to appear across their fleet from 12 April 2012 with the entire fleet to be completed throughout this year. The redesign is mainly aesthetic with re-design of seat fabrics, carpets and curtain dividers, however seats in Business, Premium economy and Economy have been given improved to increase comfort as well as new fabrics and head rests. Virgin Australia Group Executive of Product and Guest Services, Martin Daley said the redesigned international fleet would deliver exceptional style and comfort for guests along with a fresh and ontemporary look and feel renowned across Virgin Australia domestic aircraft. “Virgin Australia’s cabin refresh of the Boeing 777 has been designed by experts in their fields. The redesign provides guests with a fresh interior, plus the comfort and style found across all our aircraft, whilst maintaining the service and inflight experience suited to all guests,” Mr Daley said. Virgin Australia’s Boeing 777 cabin refresh will feature: Newly designed custom fabric covers for Business, Premium Economy and Economy Seats Fabrics manufactured by world renowned fabric manufacturers Rohi, in Munich, Germany. All seat covers feature enhanced cushioning for extra comfort Newly designed Curtain dividers New carpet throughout cabin The Virgin Australia Boeing 777 cabin re-design has been led by the companies’ creative director Hans Hulsbosch and is inspired by the ceiling and flooring leaf designs found in Virgin Australia’s lounges
Virgin Australia launched its trial of airlines future in-flight entertainment system based on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, passengers lucky enough to be travelling in Business Class on select Boeing 737 and Embraer E90 flights will have the chance to trial the enhanced inflight experience the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will deliver. Virgin Australia Group Executive Product and Guest Services, Martin Daley, said the trial signalled the beginning of an enhanced inflight experience for guests. “The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has developed a reputation as a leader in the tablet space. This state of the art device will provide guests with a wide range of pre-loaded movies, television and audio programs, delivered with high resolution graphics and superb sound.” “It also represents a step closer to Phase Two of our in-flight entertainment plans, which is the roll-out of the leading Wi-Fi system developed by Lufthansa Systems, scheduled to take place later this year.” “This Wi-Fi system will allow guests to stream video and audio directly to their own personal electronic devices, Wi-Fi enabled laptops or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.” “This latest product release, combined with our new Business Class and Economy Class cabin environment, will allow us to offer a first-rate travel experience to guests”, Mr Daley said. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 device features include: The 16:9 screen aspect (which means that the Galaxy is one of the best devices to view movies); Excellent screen sharpness with 149 pixels per square inch; and Easy to hold, lightweight (565g) and slim design (8.6mm thick). The second instalment will begin in May 2012 with full commencement from June 2012 upon which Galaxy Tab 10.1’s will be offered to Flexi Fare guests travelling on flights over 3 hours, where available. In addition, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be offered to Economy guests for a fee for flights over 3 hours, subject to availability.
Qantas will commence trials of its inflight internet connectivity solution from tomorrow, on six of its Airbus A380 aircraft that service Sydney/Melbourne to Los Angeles routes, as reported here back in December (Qantas to trial Inflight Wi-Fi Internet from Feburary 2012) the the OnAir’s solution which piggybacks off of Inmarsat’s SwiftBoadband. Qantas Executive Manager Customer Experience Alison Webster said customers will be able to access the Internet via their Wi-Fi enabled laptops and personal electronic devices, such as iPhones, iPads and BlackBerrys, on Qantas for the first time. “The eight week trial will give customers the opportunity to access the Internet in exactly the same way as a terrestrial Wi-Fi hotspot in which customers can pay with their credit card and surf the Internet, including the use of email,” Ms Webster said. “Qantas is the first airline in the world to trial this service on direct flights between Australia and the US. “Over the past week Qantas has conducted some preliminary testing and is pleased to now trial the service with customers flying between Australia and Los Angeles.” The connectivity service, provided by OnAir uses Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband and global satellite based connections to transfer data between the passengers in the aircraft to the ground. The trial will initially be available to customers travelling in the First and Business cabins and will form part of Qantas’ ongoing strategic evaluation of connectivity options, including the review of next generation technology platforms.
Emirates Lounges across Australia will be serving gourmet dishes from the critically acclaimed Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa, with Emirates travellers being offered a different dish each month. The menu will consists of starter, main course and dessert menu options, designed by Wolgan Valley’s Executive Chef Anston Fivaz that will refresh and delight the most discerning palates. I have personally stayed at Emirates Wolgan ValleyResort and Spa back in 2009 and can testify to the superb quality and taste of the dishes on offer at Wolgan Valley, Emirates Airlines passengers will be in for a re111al treat, another great reason to fly Emirates. Picture 1: Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa Yabbie Asparagus and Fennel Starter to be Served in Emirates Lounges Across Australia Picture 2: Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa Beef Fillite with Leek Fondue Baby Turnips and Asparagus Main Picture 3: Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa Apple & Mascarpone Trifle Dessert to be Served in Emirates Lounges Across Australia “Emirates has always been very attentive in delivering a dining offering on the ground and in the air that meets the highest standards in quality – ensuring an extraordinary culinary experience while maintaining the authenticity and seasonality of the products,” said Mr Mohammed H Mattar, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Airport Services. “Choosing Wolgan Valley, its luxury Australian conservation-based property and first hospitality development outside Dubai, to design some of the dishes offered in the lounges was a natural decision for Emirates,” concluded Mr Mattar. “We’re thrilled to extend our gourmet cuisine from Wolgan Valley to Emirates lounges and showcase our seasonal, regional and organic food philosophy,” said Joost Heymeijer, General Manager, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa. “We look forward to delivering a uniquely Wolgan Valley gourmet experience for travellers.” A selection of the gourmet dishes include appetizers such as yabby salad, with shaved baby fennel, broad beans, pea puree, with asparagus spears; main courses including E Beck lamb rump, ratatouille, roasted tomato coulis, with candied basil leaves; and desserts of apple trifle, made with mascarpone cream, apple puree, caramelised apple, roulade sponge, and crème patisserie.
Virgin Australia will be adding additional surcharges to tickets in response to European and Australian Carbon Pricing schemes, which will see an average increased per sector of $3.00 for its domestic services, the domestic surcharge will be added to tickets purchased from 1 March 2012 for flights on or after 1 July 2012. Virgin Australia will use the following Zone/Distance Surcharge table to calculate the appropriate surcharge: Zone Dinstance KMs Surcharge AUD 1 1-900 Km $1.50 2 901-2000 Km $3.00 3 2001+ Km $6.0 For Virgin Australia code share services that operate into and out of Europe via codeshare partner Etihad a European surcharge will apply Therefore from 1 March 2012, there will be a surcharge of USD$3.00 per passenger for all Virgin Australia codeshare flights into and out of Europe, which will apply to flights on/after 1 March 2012. The surcharge is applicable on flights into and out of EU countries only and includes Athens, Brussels, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, London, Manchester, Munich and Paris Note these prices may change from time to time as the above prices are based on an estimated carbon usage and because carbon prices fluctuate
Cathay Pacific today announced that the airline has received its first Boeing 777-300ER fitted with Premium Economy and its new Economy Class product. Speaking at the delivery ceremony at the Boeing factory in Seattle, Cathay Pacific Chief Operating Officer Ivan Chu said: “This is an important development for Cathay Pacific – another big step in our commitment to provide outstanding products and services to our passengers. We’re confident that both these new products will be winners, especially when combined with the famous Cathay Pacific service.” As well as introducing a totally new seat and entertainment system, Cathay Pacific has designed the entire customer experience to be more special for its new Premium Economy Class passengers. To begin with, the new Premium Economy experience features a quieter, more spacious cabin than the traditional Economy Class with between 26 and 34 seats per aircraft. The seat pitch is 38 inches – six inches more than Economy Class – and the seat itself is wider and has a bigger recline. It has a large meal table, cocktail table, footrest, a 10.6-inch personal television, an in-seat power outlet, a multi-port connector for personal devices and extra personal stowage space. Complementing these features, passengers will also benefit from: On the ground: Priority check-in at dedicated counters and priority boarding before Economy Class passengers. An increase in baggage allowance from 20kg to 25kg (weight system) or two pieces of baggage from 23kg to 25kg each (piece system). In the air: Premium Economy Class seats offer a higher level of comfort with more living space in a separate cabin before the Economy Class zone. Passengers will receive an environmentally friendly amenity kit with dental kit, socks, eyeshade and earplugs for use during their journey. Larger pillows and noise-cancelling headsets will be provided to enhance the onboard experience. Premium Economy passengers will be welcomed aboard with juice and champagne, and enjoy an enhanced onboard meal selection. Each passenger will also receive a personal bottle of water and additional snack choices to include more fresh fruit, an energy bar and dessert. Passengers can book the Premium Economy seats for flights departing from 1 April onwards which will initially be featured on some of the selected flights on the Sydney (CX101/100), Toronto (CX826/825/828/829), Vancouver (CX888/889), and New York (CX830/831/ 840/841/888/889) routes. In May, Premium Economy will be featured on some of the selected flights on the London route (CX252/255). As the number of aircraft fitted with these new cabins increases, priority will be given to achieving daily availability on these routes. Additional markets will come online later in the year including Adelaide, Los Angeles, Melbourne and San Francisco in August, Frankfurt in September and Brisbane and Mumbai in October. More continental Europe and long-haul routes will be gradually introduced beyond that. By end of this year, Cathay Pacific will have 48 aircraft installed with the new product. By the end of 2013, 87 aircraft in the airline’s long-haul fleet will feature Premium Economy. […]
As confirmed several months ago on this site Vietnam Airlines has now taken the majority stake in Jetstar Pacific, along with Qantas increasing its stake in the airline from 27 to 30 precent. Vietnam Airlines will take the majority share in Jetstar Pacific, currently held by the Vietnamese State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC). Separately, the Qantas Group’s existing 27 per cent share in Jetstar Pacific has now increased to 30 per cent in-line with long-term commitments. Chief Executive of the Qantas Group, Alan Joyce, said the new partnership with Vietnam Airlines would represent an extension of the dual brand strategy pioneered by Qantas and Jetstar, in one of the world’s fastest growing aviation markets. “This partnership brings together the proven low cost model of Jetstar with the unique local knowledge and existing networks of national carrier, Vietnam Airlines,” said Mr Joyce. “We are confident this partnership between a low cost carrier and a full service airline in Vietnam can replicate the success of our Qantas and Jetstar strategy in Australia, and follows our recent partnership with Japan Airlines to form Jetstar Japan.” Chief Executive of the Jetstar Group, Bruce Buchanan, said the strategic partnership with Vietnam Airlines would strengthen Jetstar Pacific’s ability to create new travel demand in the third most populous nation in Southeast Asia. “Across Asia we are seeing the positive impacts of introducing a new generation of customers to air travel, including Vietnam where the penetration of low cost carriers is still relatively low,” said Mr Buchanan. “The strength of our low cost model and the tremendous potential for growth provide a unique opportunity for Jetstar in Vietnam. Our partnership with Vietnam Airlines will help develop this.” Through the new partnership, Jetstar Pacific will receive an initial capital injection of AUD$25 million, including $7.5 million from the Qantas Group. This will be directed towards fleet renewal, with the carrier’s current Boeing 737s replaced with new A320s from mid-2012. The shareholders support Jetstar Pacific’s fleet to grow to 15 A320s within the next few years. Jetstar Pacific’s existing CEO and Chairman were representatives of former shareholder, SCIC. The Jetstar Group and Vietnam Airlines expect to announce a new CEO and Chairman in coming weeks. Mr Buchanan said Vietnam remained key to the Jetstar Group’s expansion plans across Asia Pacific, where it is the region’s fastest growing low fares carrier as well as the largest by revenue. “Jetstar continues to leverage the exceptional economic growth across Asia through strategic expansion of our network and fleet,” he added. According to International Air Transport Association (IATA), Vietnam will become the world’s second fastest growing aviation market for domestic passengers by 2014.
Qantas have commenced the pilot of its inflight entertainment streaming system called Q Streaming which allows passengers to stream entertainment options to Qantas supplied iPads. At the moment the initial pilot is being ran only on a dedicated Boeing 767-300 with aircraft registration VH-OGH and offers over 200 hours of entertainment. Durin the pilot the Q Streaming inflight entertainment solution developed by Lufthansa systems will only be available to Qantas supplied iPads, however a Qantas spokesperson said that from mid feburary the Q Streaming system would be available for passengers personal Laptops, smartphones, iPads and iPhones. To Q Streaming on a passengers device you will either need to download the Qantas Q Streaming app from the Apple App Store or for PCs ensure that Microsoft Silverlight is downloaded prior to take-off. Executive Manager Customer Experience Alison Webster said the trial which commenced in mid-January has been exceptionally popular with Qantas customers. “The Q Streaming trial has been well received by our customers and the feedback from the trial has been overwhelmingly positive. Customers have enjoyed the flexibility and ease of use of the Q Streaming programming and the wide range of content available,” said Ms Webster. Olivier Krüger, SVP Regional Management Asia-Pacific at Lufthansa Systems, said Qantas is one of the world’s most experienced and innovative airlines and is taking Lufthansa System’s BoardConnect wireless IFE system to the skies. “We are proud to work with Qantas to bring to market such a unique passenger experience,” Mr Kruger said. Q Streaming utilises cutting edge wireless technology that enables customers to connect to the Qantas on demand IFE system, with their WIFI devices, providing Qantas customers with a greater variety of choice from a wide range of content. Given the great customer feedback received to date, from the end of February, Qantas will continue to enable customers to access the Q Streaming content via their own WIFI enabled devices on the dedicated B767-300 whilst finalising plans to extend its application across the wider fleet.
Qantas Inflight WiFi Internet connectivity trials will be kicked off on six of its Airbus A380 aircraft from February 2012, the pilot will only be on select flights between Sydney/Los Angeles and Melbourne/Los Angeles, and will allow passengers to access the internet and other online services from Wi-Fi enabled personal devices such as iPads, iPhones, Blackberrys and personal laptops. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said “From February next year our customers travelling between Australia and Los Angeles will have the opportunity to participate in our inflight connectivity trial and communicate online from the 35,000 feet,” Mr Joyce added “Our customers will be able to access the Internet via their Wi-Fi enabled personal electronic devices, such as iPhones, iPads and BlackBerrys, on Qantas for the first time.” Qantas will piggyback off of the OnAir inflight connectivity solution which uses Inmarsat’s SwiftBoadband to transfer data between the from the ground to satellite and then to the passengers aircraft, this solution is already being used by a host of mainly European and Asian airlines, see our Airline In-flight Wi-Fi Internet Connectivity Guide for more information. The trial will initially be available to customers travelling in the First and Business cabins and will form part of Qantas’ ongoing strategic evaluation of connectivity options, including the review of next generation technology platforms. Earlier this year Qantas also announced it would commence a trial in which it will deliver over 200 hours of inflight entertainment options to passengers via iPads provided in each seat of a dedicated B767-300 aircraft. Customers travelling on the dedicated B767 will also be able to watch Qantas’s in-flight entertainment on their laptop computer, smartphone, tablet or other WIFI enabled device later in the latter part of the trial. Q Streaming utilises cutting edge wireless technology that enables customers to connect to the Qantas on demand IFE system, with their WIFI devices, providing Qantas customers with a greater variety of choice from a wide range of content. The trial is set to commence mid January. We are excited and proud to be the first airline worldwide to pilot this ground-breaking technology. Following the trial, Qantas will assess opportunities for the application of Q Streaming across both the domestic and international fleet.
Virgin Australia today revealed the first phase of its inflight connectivity roadmap which will see the use of inflight Wi-Fi to deliver various inflight entertainment options to passenger’s Wi-Fi enabled laptops and personal hand-held devices. Martin Daley Group Executive for Product and Guest Services said that Virgin Australia new Inflight entertainment system known as BoardConnect will be produced and installed in collaboration with Lufthansa Systems. So we will we see BoardConnect on the first Virgin Australia aircraft? Martin Daley says we can expect the first systems to be installed by mid 2012. “This system, considered to be at the leading edge of inflight entertainment technology, provides guests with a wide range of products including video and audio streaming delivered on demand to personal entertainment devices or Wi-Fi enabled laptops. “Our new entertainment system will provide guests with more options than ever before to tailor their inflight entertainment experience to their personal tastes along with the freedom to choose how and when they access inflight entertainment. “This latest product release, combined with our new Business Class and Economy Class cabin environment, further enhances the inflight experience,” he said. Virgin Australia’s BoardConnect is expected to provide the following features to passengers: Ability to control and view content from personal entertainment devices (PEDs) and WiFi enabled laptops; Extensive range of movies, television and audio content; On demand controls to start, stop, rewind, fast forward and pause content; Selection of games for adults and children including arcade style games in future releases; and Service and Product information including destination / airport guides, travel offers and Velocity information in future releases. Which services will be the first to see the BoardConnect system? It’s a little too early to expect comment on which services will be the first to see the BoardConnect system, however our bets are on the longer domestic and international services, such as Sydney to Perth and Sydney to LAX
Jetstar today denounced claims that Vietnam based Jetstar Pacific was to be absorbed by the country’s flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, it seems that some media outlets were reporting that the airline would be wholly taken over by Vietnam Airlines. Earlier in the year we reported (in the following article Joint Qantas Vietnam Airlines Venture in Negotiations) that Vietnam Airlines and Qantas was in negotiations for possible transfer of the majority 73% stake which Vietnamese State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) has in Jetstar Pacific to Vietnam Airlines effectively making Qantas (a oneworld alliance member) and Vietnam Airlines (a SkyTeam alliance member) unlikely partners Jetstar’s CEO Bruce Buchanan said “Vietnam Airlines would be welcomed as a partner in Jetstar Pacific and it remained committed to the Vietnamese market as part of its broader pan-Asian strategy.” If anything today’s announcement by Jetstar confirm that a possible Qantas Group Vietnam Airlines partnership in Jetstar Pacific is highly likely and very imminent.
Virgin Australia today announced that the company has now officially started the rebranding of V Australia and Pacific Blue which will see these two airlines fly under the Virgin Australia brand and livery. The re-branding of the V Australia and Pacific Blue will see: New Virgin Australia signage at key international ports; New-look travel documents; One Guest Contact Centre number for both the domestic and international operations; and One consolidated Virgin Australia website for both the domestic and international operations. Virgin Australia group of airlines CEO John Borghetti said that having both the domestic and international airlines operating under the Virgin brand was one of the company’s most significant achievements this year. “The Virgin Australia name enables us to tap into the huge power of the Virgin brand around the world – a brand that signifies style, innovation, quality, value for money and the best service. “The new identity has been designed with a clean and contemporary look and feel that encapsulates our company’s repositioning as the airline of choice for all market segments. “Now that our international airlines are all operating under the Virgin brand, our focus is on redesigning the product in the air to ensure a first-rate travel experience across all of our airlines. We look forward to revealing the new designs in the first half of 2012”, Mr Borghetti said. Virgin Australia will be implementing directional signage and putting on extra Ground Crew to assist guests during the transition period. There will not be any changes to guest travel bookings as a result of the launch of the new brands. The Virgin Australia brand was launched back in May this year which saw Australian low cost carrier Virgin Blue transformed into a full service airline, by June the rebranded airline had introduced Business Class services on its Sydney to Perth service.
British Airways recently announced a relaunch of their Executive Club Frequent Flyer program and has also added a new Bronze tier, which in the BA Executive Club hierarchy will sit in between BA Executive Club Blue and Silver. Along with the British Airways Executive Club re-launch and new Bronze tier the airline has totally re-designed all Executive Club Membership cards. The new British Airways Executive Club Membership Cards are as below: The new Bronze tier has been created to reward frequent flying blue members who will be promoted to Bronze with just half the tier points they would need for Silver membership Executive Club members Bronze members can expect the following benefits from this new tier: Business class check-in Seat selection at seven days before departure Earning a 25 per cent tier bonus – that’s 1.25 Avios for every mile flown Dedicated telephone number (UK & US) Bronze tier luggage tags Frank van der Post, British Airways’ managing director for brands and customer experience, said: “The re-launch of our award-winning Executive club reinforces the huge importance we place on customer loyalty and emphasises that customers are at the heart of everything we do. “We have created a new Bronze tier and stylish new identities to bring a greater range of rewards and increased recognition. “The re-launch of the British Airways Executive Club, which now has over seven million members worldwide, is part of a massive £5bn investment we are making across the whole airline on new aircraft, lounges, and technologies for our customers.” Full details of British Airways Executive Club membership benefits at each tier level are as follows: BENEFITS Oneworld equivalent tier Blue Bronze Silver Gold Collect Avios Priority waitlist Seating preference stored and delivered where possible Meal preference stored and delivered where possible Household Account Collect Avios with Executive Club partners Purchase Avios Gift Avios Transfer Avios Combine Avios Reward Flight Saver Mobile apps Priority check-in at business class desks Free seat selection (*excludes exist rows) 24 hours before departure Seven days before departure At time of booking At time of booking Priority boarding Additional baggage allowance Reservation assurance Avios Tier bonus 25 per cent 100 per cent 100 per cent Lounge access when flying with British Airways or our partner airlines Use of British Airways First and other oneworld first class check-in desks No booking or service fees on reward flights, hotel stays and car rental Additional reward available in economy Gold upgrade for two Silver Partner […]
If you like Qantas premium boarding on international services you will be pleased to know that the airline has now introduced premium boarding lanes in Perth, with Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to follow before the end of the year. Qantas Domestic Premium boarding will give Business Class, Chairmans Lounge, Qantas Platinum Frequent flyers as well as oneworld Emerald frequent flyers the ability to board the aircraft via a dedicated express boarding lane, which will cut down the time waiting in the boarding queue and also allow boarding from the moment the first boarding call is made. Qantas says that domestic premium boarding was introduced in response to feedback from premium and top tier frequent flyers. “From this month business class customers, Chairmans Lounge members, oneworld Emerald members and Platinum Frequent Flyers will have the option to use a dedicated lane when boarding Qantas flights in Perth with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to follow shortly after”’ Qantas Executive Manager Customer Experience, Alison Webster said. Virgin Australia introduced premium “Priority” boarding earlier in around the middle of this year.
Qantas has received the first of its brand new Qantas 737-800 aircraft that includes a new Domestic Business and Economy seat as well as the Boeing Sky Interior, and a new Panasonic on demand in-flight entertainment system. We got to see the first Qantas 737-800 at the recent Qantas 91st birthday come Qantas 787 Dreamliner event in Sydney last week, and I was fairly impressed with what I saw. Qantas 737-800 Boeing Sky Interior The Boeing Sky Interior on board the Qantas 737-800 is the same that is seen in the big brother 787 Dreamliner. Sky Interior incorporates LED mood lighting (with 6 different lighting moods) which Qantas say will enhance the sense of spaciousness on your journey, as well as the mood lighting the aircraft has enlarged window surrounds, 787 Dreamliner style overhead cabin bins and LED reading lights. Qantas 737-800 Business Class The Qantas 737-800 features 12 newly designed Recaro seats with Marc Newson designed leather seat covers. Business Class seats have a 37 inch (93.9 cm) seat pitch and are 22 inches (55.8 cm) wide. The 12 seats are spread out over 3 rows with seats configured in a 2-2 seating configuration. Qantas 737-800 Economy Class The Economy Class the next generation Qantas 737-800 features 156 seats each with have a 30 inch (76.2 cm) seat pitch, 5 inch (12.7 cm) recline and 17.2 inch (43.68 cm) seat width. The seat back In-flight entertainment LCD screen measures 9 inches (22.86 cm) and is fully touch screen Both Business and Economy seats feature PC power as well as USB ports for charging iPhones/iPads and other USB type devices. Qantas have 24 Boeing 737-800 on order which will operate both Tasman and domestic routes