Qantas today announced the introduction or Bid Now Upgrades an invitation only Business Class Upgrade bidding system that will begin operation from this week. Bid Now Upgrades will allow Economy and Premium Economy passengers booked on both domestic and international Qantas services to upgrade to business if they receive the Bid Now Upgrade invitation email. See the sample Bid Now Upgrade invitation email below How will the system operate? After Classic Upgrade Reward seats have been allocated any additional seats will be available for Bid Now Qantas Loyalty CEO Lesley Grant said Bid Now Upgrades will provide greater opportunity for customers to travel in Qantas’ premium cabins. “As Australia’s leading loyalty program we are always exploring new ways for our Frequent Flyers to redeem their Qantas Points and we know that upgrading to a more premium cabin is something that many of our members aspire to,” she said. “This is designed for Frequent Flyers who don’t have a balance high enough to request an upgrade “For a member who doesn’t have enough points to submit an upgrade request for their whole family, Bid Now Upgrades offers an alternative chance to travel at the front of the plane with their spouse and children using a combination of money and points.” Ms Grant said Bid Now Upgrades will not change the process or priority for Frequent Flyers submitting classic Upgrade Rewards more than 24 hours out from their scheduled departure. “This new initiative will in no way impact the chances of members securing a Classic Upgrade Reward – these will always be confirmed first regardless of their Frequent Flyer tier and they remain the best value option,” she said. Important notes: Customers invited to participate in Bid Now Upgrades will receive an email, seven days before departure, enabling them to make an offer for an upgrade within a set range of points Minimums are from 3,000 Qantas Points for a domestic upgrade and from 5,000 Qantas Points for an international upgrade. A minimum dollar amount will also be required. Customers’ Bid Now Upgrades offer can be modified or cancelled at any time up until 24 hours before departure, but customers don’t see each other’s offers. Customers will be notified via email approximately one day before departure if their offer has been successful or not. If a customer is not successful, they pay nothing and keep their current seat. More information can be found here: http://www.qantas.com/bidnowupgrades
A closer look at the retro themed livery of Qantas’ latest Boeing 737-800 that will service domestic routes from next week
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.
Qantas has released a new iPhone app that will give customers more choice and options when planning, booking and managing their flights and accommodation, including the ability to view frequent flyer account balance and check-in The app is free and available for both the iPhone and iPad from the app store, for all Android users you will be pleased to know that Qantas are working on an app that is scheduled for release later this year. The main features of the new Qantas iPhone app include: Access new travel deals and discounts Search and book flights quickly and securely Search and book from your choice of over 100,000 hotels Create personalised sale alerts (with the option to be alerted by price preference and/or destination) Check-in for most domestic flights Locate lounges and search lounge facilities across the network Share deals and discounts with friends and family easily via social media Log-in as a Frequent Flyer to view points balance and next flight information at a glance Access up to the minute flight status information Get it from the Apple App store here Qantas iPhone/iPad app give the new app a try and let us know what you think in the comments section below
Qantas today opened a new Qantas lounge in Singapore to cater for the airlines ‘growing with Asia’ strategy. The new Singapore Qantas lounge which is open to all Business, Platinum One, Gold and Qantas Club members is a vibrant and chic space that celebrates the local environment and interiors reflect the heart of Singapore. Some of the features of the new Singapore Qantas lounge include: Seating for up to 460 Customers 20 Showers 80” televisions located throughout the lounge Barista Service Tech Pods to enable customers to work with-in the lounge zones Neil Perry Rockpool inspired/food philosophy meals Sofitel service offerings for Platinum One Frequent Flyers One of the stands out features of the new Singapore Qantas lounge is the Neil Perry Rockpool food philosophy and Spice Temple-inspired dishes that will see daily plates with locally influenced dishes, Live cooking stations, an extensive self-service buffet featuring a range of local and international influences. Qantas International CEO, Simon Hickey, said the new lounge showcased the experiences and cuisine of Singapore. “The Singapore Lounge has been designed to complement the destination: it’s vibrant and elegant, spacious and luxurious, and it’s the perfect environment for our customers to relax before their flight,” said Mr Hickey. “We’ve worked with our renowned Consulting Chef Neil Perry to design menus based on his Rockpool food philosophy and popular restaurant Spice Temple, with dishes inspired by regional cuisine and flavours.” Mr Hickey said the opening of the new lounge reflected the Qantas Group’s strategy of ‘growing with Asia’. “This multi-million dollar investment is part of our broader commitment to improve the experience we offer on services to and from Asia, including our A330 upgrades to begin next year,” added Mr Hickey. “It also complements our new Asia schedule, which promotes Singapore as a hub for the region. We now offer more dedicated capacity, better frequencies and improved connections from Singapore to other destinations across Asia.” All photos credit Paul Blackmore
Today Qantas and Emirates celebrated the start of the airlines partnership between Australia and London by conducting a joint flyover in formation by each of the airlines Airbus A380 aircraft. The flyover that started at 10:30 am flew over Sydney’s iconic Opera house and harbour bridge is the first time two commercial Airbus A380 aircraft had flown in such close formation, at times flying as low as 1500 feet. Both aircraft took off from Sydney International at 9:20am, then flew north to Longreef, then south and slightly out to sea, and then turned to come into Sydney Harbour over Watson’s Bay, positioned to the north side of the Harbour, passing the Sydney Opera House and flying over the Sydney Harbour Bridge at 10.30am. Finally the aircraft flew out to the Gladesville Bridge, and turned around and came back in the same formation. The Qantas plane lead at a height of 1500ft with the Emirates aircraft to the right and higher. Qantas photographs of the flyover can be seen below: Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Alan Joyce, said the partnership would make long haul travel more seamless – and faster – for millions of Australians. “From today, our customers from Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney have one-stop access to 65 destinations in the Middle East, North Africa, the UK and Europe via the joint Qantas and Emirates network. “By travelling through Dubai, Qantas customers can connect to the extensive Emirates network into Europe and the UK and fly directly to their destination,” said Mr Joyce. “Before today, the Qantas network offered five one-stop codeshare destinations into Europe and the UK with our partners. From today, we offer access to more than 30 destinations in Europe on the combined Qantas and Emirates network. “The new network will cut average journey times by more than two hours from Melbourne and Sydney to the top 10 destinations in Europe,” added Mr Joyce. Combined the two airlines will offer 98 flights a week between Australia and Dubai. Qantas will continue to operate its A380 services from Sydney and Melbourne through to London. President of Emirates, Tim Clark, said no other aviation partnership offered customers a coordinated premium airline experience like Emirates and Qantas. “The strength of this partnership stems from the fact the Emirates and Qantas brands are an excellent match. Emirates customers using a Qantas lounge or taking a Qantas flight will experience a level of service that is on par with what they expect from Emirates,” he said. “Our two airlines offer the largest joint fleet of Airbus A380s and passengers will be welcomed through the world’s only all-A380 terminal at DubaiInternationalAirport, which is the geographical centrepiece of the partnership. “A major benefit is the range of products we are offering frequent flyers. Customers of either airline can leverage many of their privileges when they fly on the joint network, including earning points, redeeming flights and accessing lounges,” added Mr Clark.
Along with details of Qantas and Emirates reciprocal frequent flyer benefits Qantas also announced changes to its checked baggage limits that will see the airline move from a weight and piece limit back to a weight limit, on all international services except for the Americas. The Qantas switch back to a weight only limit will allow the airline to align with Emirates and provide passengers of both airlines a seamless experience. It was not that long ago (May 2012) that the airline first introduced a piece and weight limit on international services. These new limits will take effect from 31 March for all tickets issued on or after 26 February, and excludes An analysis of the before and after changes will see economy class passengers with no status move from a single piece 23kg allowance up to a 30kg multiple piece allowance, unfortunately it looks like passengers travelling in higher classes with no or high status will be the losers after these limits take effect. For instance a Qantas Platinum / Platinum One member flying in business class today can check 4 pieces weighing up to 32kg each or a whopping 128kg in total, after 31 March this limit more than halves down to a maximum of 60kg over multiple pieces. Again it is important to restate that these changes only apply to International Flights and do not apply to services to/from the Americas. Checked baggage limits on services to from the Americas will still operate under a piece and weight system. A full comparison table of the changes can be seen below: Cabin Tier Current Allowance New Allowance Economy Non FF, Bronze 1 pc up to 23kg 30kg Qantas Club, Silver 2 pc up to 23kg each 42kg Gold 2 pc up to 32kg each 46kg Platinum / Platinum One 3 pc up to 32kg each 50kg Premium Economy Non FF, Bronze 2 pc up to 23kg each 40kg Qantas Club, Silver 3 pc up to 23kg each 52kg Gold 3 pc up to 23kg each 56kg Platinum / Platinum One 3 pc up to 32kg each 60kg Business Non FF, Bronze 3 pc up to 32kg each 40kg Qantas Club, Silver 3 pc up to 32kg each 52kg Gold 3 pc up to 32kg each 56kg Platinum / Platinum One 4 pc up to 32kg each 60kg First Non FF, Bronze 3 pc up to 32kg each 50kg Qantas Club, Silver 3 pc up to 32kg each 62kg Gold 3 pc up to 32kg each 66kg Platinum / Platinum One 4 pc up to 32kg each 70kg Infants NA 1 pc up to 10kg + 3 infant items 10kg + 3 infant items Children NA As per adult allowance + 2 children’s items As per adult allowance + 2 children’s items Are you a higher than bronze QFF or travel in Premium, Business or First, how will these changes effect you?
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.
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.