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A trendy pop-up restaurant is serving only airline food from Air New Zealand.

The temporary eatery in London's Soho opened on Monday after it was revealed a quarter of Brits think airplane food is worse than school dinners and hospital food, the Daily Mail reported.

A fifth of people believe bad cuisine is the worst thing about flying long-haul and more than half don't like the food served on planes.

The menu on offer at the pop-up, This Is How We Fly, was devised by Kiwi chef and restaurateur Peter Gordon to show off Air New Zealand's fare.

The airline opened the temporary restaurant and also commissioned the research of 1000 UK adults who have flown long haul.

Gordon said: "When you're sitting on an airplane you want food with fresh ingredients and great texture that's going to awaken your taste buds and really excite you.

"The food served on board Air New Zealand uses the finest, fresh ingredients that are simply bursting with flavour."

Nearly half of British flyers said they would enjoy airline food if it was made from fresh ingredients, while almost a quarter would like to see a range of cuisines offered.

And around a fifth said that a menu put together by a top chef would make airplane food more appealing.

Almost half of respondents believe airline food cannot better restaurant quality.

The biggest gripes people have about airplane food are its unappetising look, the freshness of the food and the portion sizes.

Jo Copestake, Air New Zealand General Manager UK and Europe, said, 'At Air New Zealand we make a virtue of flying long-haul so serving great food is just one element of the in-flight experience.

"The research findings are interesting but I suspect they just haven't travelled with us - flying should be enjoyed, not endured!"

When asked for their views on the food, one member of the public said: '"I couldn't believe it - the food was delicious and probably on par with what I would pay for in a restaurant.

"I had the lamb with minted peas, braised lettuce with bacon lardons and salt roasted crushed new potatoes with mint jelly - it was really good."

Another said: "I'm always interested in trying new foods and Soho is really good for that. In all honesty I never thought airplane food could be so nice."

Air New Zealand's This Is How We Fly runs from Tuesday 25 April to Wednesday 26 April at Unit London Gallery, 147 Wardour Street, London, W1F 8WD.

To try out the menu and register your interest in the pop-up visit: www.airnewzealand.co.uk/howwefly.

Jo Copestake, Air New Zealand General Manager UK and Europe, said: "People will have a chance to sample Air New Zealand canapes, created with the finest, freshest ingredients.

"They'll also be able to sample some of the best wines from New Zealand courtesy of winery Villa Maria and discover Auckland via LA in an immersive 4D experience."

Source - Daily Mail

 

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Malaysia Airlines is the world's first carrier to enlists SITAONAIR, Aireon and FlightAware for 100% Global Flight Tracking
Malaysia Airlines is the first to adopt joint solution for real-time, space-based alerting system for flight tracking

SITAONAIR, Aireon and FlightAware today announced that Malaysia Airlines will be the first SITAONAIR airline customer to benefit from a revolutionary flight tracking partnership. Under the agreement, all Malaysia Airlines aircraft will have access to minute-by-minute, 100% global, flight tracking data, delivered by SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM® FlightTracker. 
 
This solution will enhance the existing SITAONAIR AIRCOM® FlightTracker by adding Aireon’s space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data to the existing data from FlightAware’s multiple global sources, complementing active Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) Future Air Navigation System (FANS) activity data. 
 
By incorporating this data, Malaysia Airlines’ aircraft operations centre will receive real-time position updates of its airborne fleet globally. Aireon’s space-based ADS-B data will also resolve any existing data feed coverage gaps that remain, particularly over oceanic and remote airspace, where there is currently no surveillance. 
No new avionics or modifications are needed for aircraft to take advantage of this service.
 
“Real-time global aircraft tracking has long been a goal of the aviation community,” said Captain Izham Ismail, Chief Operating Officer, Malaysia Airlines. “We are proud to be the first airline to adopt this solution using space-based ADS-B data as part of SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM® FlightTracker.” 
 
Paul Gibson, Portfolio Director, AIRCOM®, at SITAONAIR, said: “With the addition of the AireonSM data, via FlightAware, to SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM® FlightTracker, combined with our active monitoring and automated alerting capabilities, Malaysia Airlines will be at the cutting-edge of real-time flight-tracking technology. With access to up-to-the-minute reporting, Malaysia Airlines will know the location, heading, speed and altitude of all aircraft in its fleet, at all times, and be alerted of any exceptions.” 
 
In November 2016, Aireon, FlightAware and SITAONAIR announced a new partnership to deliver Aireon data via FlightAware to SITAONAIR customers. FlightAware provides a combination of global air traffic control data, aircraft datalink information and terrestrial ADS-B data through a secure streaming data feed. Once the Aireon system is operational, expected in 2018, airlines already using SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM® FlightTracker will automatically begin seeing the new Aireon data appear in their systems, without the need for costly modifications. 
 
“In addition to not requiring any new avionics or modifications to their aircraft, Malaysia Airlines will seamlessly gain real-time flight tracking ability of its fleet, even in areas where regional Air Navigation Service Providers do not have full surveillance,” said FlightAware Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Baker. “The result will be that Malaysia Airlines will have greater visibility of its aircraft’s exact location.” 
 
Aireon Chief Executive Officer Don Thoma added: “Malaysia Airlines has taken a lead role in the industry since the tragic events of 2014. Real-time, global flight tracking, anywhere on the planet will further its safety goals, by allowing Malaysia Airlines to track its aircraft anytime, anywhere." Aireon’s space-based ADS-B system will offer a global solution that works for all ADS-B Out equipped aircraft everywhere. ADS-B Out mandates have been passed by ANSPs and industry governing bodies around the world, resulting in operators automatically knowing that their aircraft are properly equipped. 
 
The Aireon service will be operational in 2018, shortly after the completion of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. On January 14, 2017, the first ten Iridium NEXT satellites carrying the Aireon ADS-B hosted payload were successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. In total, the constellation will consist of 66 operational low-earth-orbit satellites providing global coverage. The service will also provide Air Navigation Service Providers with global aircraft surveillance capability, and is expected to help reduce fuel costs, increase safety and enable more efficient flight paths.

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American Airlines will suspend its Auckland-Los Angeles service from 7 August until 6 October. When the flights resume, they will be operated by the carrier's 787-9 Dreamliner.

The suspension is in line with American Airline's peak season in North America, the carrier says.

Introducing the 787-9 will bring the airline's new Premium Economy service to the route.

As reported by Travel Today.

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Emirates introduces tablet loan service to USA

Emirates has introduced another service to mitigate the inconvenience of the recent ban on electronic devices on board US-bound flights. First and Business Class passengers will now be able to borrow tablets on board Emirates’ US-bound flights from Dubai allowing them to continue working during their flight.

The new service is in response to the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) directive which requires all passengers travelling on non-stop flights to the US from Dubai to check-in their laptops, tablets, and other personal electronic devices larger than a smart phone.

As part of this latest service, Emirates’ premium customers will have Microsoft Surface tablets equipped with Microsoft Office 2016 available for loan on board. Customers can download their work on to a USB which can be brought on board and plugged into the devices to continue working seamlessly.

The service is complimentary and will be available on all non-stop flights from Dubai to Emirates’ US destinations. Emirates provides connections at Dubai from its five daily A380 services from New Zealand to the US.

For customers who prefer to stow away their personal devices and simply enjoy the award winning inflight entertainment and service on board, Emirates had introduced a laptop and tablet handling service for US-bound customers. This complimentary service has been made available to passengers in all cabin classes since 25 March 2017, which was when the new TSA rules took effect.

This service allows customers to retain and utilise their personal devices until just before they board their US-bound flights. Passengers must then declare and hand over their laptops, tablets, and other banned electronic devices to security staff at the boarding gate, who will pack and tag each device to be stored in the aircraft hold and returned to the customer at their US destination.

Emirates customers flying to the US can find out more about how the new TSA rules impact them at emirates.com/electronicsban.

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Auckland Airport launches Strata – revamps lounge, wifi

A renamed and extended Emperor’s Lounge, plus upgraded wifi are among the changes complementing Auckland Airport’s launch of its new Strata Club.

The club is a new app-based loyalty type programme designed to recognise travellers’ choices with personalised services and benefits. Strata Club benefits are offered in tiers based on a customer’s purchases over a year, and are available to all international and domestic travellers, regardless of their airline and class of travel, as well as to everyone visiting Auckland Airport’s international and domestic terminals.

The Emperor Lounge, the international premium lounge owned and operated by Auckland Airport, is being renamed Strata Lounge. It is being expanded and refurbished and will open in a new location by August 2017. Strata Club Members will collect Strata Points and accrue tier spend when they book their lounge visit online and 24 hours in advance.

The first stage of wifi infrastructure and services for customers is also complete and complements the launch of the club. Improvements include offering customers a choice of time allowances and data volumes according to their needs and Strata Club tier.

Jason Delamore, Auckland Airport’s general manager – marketing and technology, says Strata Club is one of the ways the airport is investing in getting to know its customers better so they can be provided with more personalised services and benefits.

Examples of benefits include longer access to free wifi, parking upgrades and discounts, and special offers from participating retailers (such as duty free and food and beverage outlets).

Thanks to: Travel Inc Memo

 

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Air New Zealand is introducing a new economy class layout that could make the middle seat more appealing – or at least slightly less unappealing.

The new slimline seat design, which was unveiled this week at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, will feature wider seats across the entire row. But the middle seats will be a full 3cm wider than at present, compared to a 1cm expansion for the aisle and window seats.

The new seats will be wider than previous versions

Air New Zealand said this was aimed at “ensuring a better sense of personal space across the row”.

The airline’s general manager for customer experience, Anita Hawthorne, revealed that the new seat design was created in response to customer feedback.

“The slightly wider middle seat helps balance out the fact that window and aisle seat customers enjoy a greater sense of space. We currently have many customers who state a preference for window or aisle seats and it’s possible the new design may see the middle seat get a boost in popularity,” Ms Hawthorne said.

“We believe what we’ve co-designed is not only practical from an operational perspective but importantly a more comfortable and spacious experience for our customers,” she added.

The new economy class seats, which were created by Acro Aircraft Seating, will be introduced on the airline’s single-aisle fleet, including its existing Airbus A320s and new A320neos. Air New Zealand has ordered 13 A320neo series aircraft, including the larger A321neo model, to replace its current A320 fleet.

As seen on : Travel Daily Media

 

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Cathay Pacific introduces Betsy Beer – the world’s first hand-crafted bottled beer brewed to be enjoyed at 35,000ft 

By using a combination of science and traditional brewing methods, Betsy Beer is a high-quality craft ale that has travel in its DNA

The quality of the inflight dining experience has always been an important focus for Cathay Pacific and to that end Hong Kong’s home carrier is delighted today to announce the launch of Betsy Beer, the world’s first hand-crafted bottled beer specially brewed to be enjoyed at 35,000 feet.

It isn’t a secret that cabin pressure and altitude affects passengers’ taste buds, but by using a combination of science and traditional brewing methods Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Beer Co have created a brew with the necessary ingredients, aroma, and carbonation to taste great both in the air and on the ground. 

The inclusion of “Dragon Eye” fruit is a unique characteristic of the beverage. Known for its aromatic properties, the fruit adds to the round, rich, textural properties that make the beer distinctive. This flavour is enhanced further by the inclusion of a small component of New Territories’-sourced honey in the  brewing process, giving the beer agreeable floral notes. The use of Fuggle, a revered hop and a mainstay of traditional British craft ales, also lends it a pleasingly earthy and full-bodied flavour. 

Cathay Pacific General Manager Marketing, Loyalty Programme & CRM Julian Lyden said: “We know that when you fly, your sense of taste changes. Airlines address this for food in certain ways. But nobody has ever tried to improve the taste of beer at altitude. That seemed like a great opportunity for us to help our beer-loving passengers travel well.”

Named after “Betsy”, Cathay Pacific’s first aircraft, a Douglas DC-3 which flew passengers around the region in the 1940s and 1950s, Betsy Beer will be first served to First and Business Class passengers onboard flights between Hong Kong and destinations in the United Kingdom – Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester – from 1 March until 30 April 2017.

In addition to Cathay Pacific flights operating on routes to the UK, Betsy Beer will be available at ground level at the airline’s lounges in Hong Kong and Heathrow as well as a select number of Swire-owned restaurants in Hong Kong, including Mr & Mrs Fox, Café Gray Deluxe, Plat du Jour, Public, Sugar (Bar.Deck.Lounge) and The Continental for a limited time. 

It will also be available for online purchase through deli-delight.com, the exclusive retailer for Betsy Beer during March and April.

www.cathaypacific.co.nz

 

Originally found at: Let's Travel Magazine

 

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Air New Zealand's Boeing 767 makes its final journey

It has carried everyone from the Pope to the Rolling Stones but on Friday, Air New Zealand's last Boeing 767 will make its final commercial flight.

The 230-seat aircraft's pending retirement was announced last August by the airline. It will be replaced by Airbus A320s and Boeing 777 and 787-9s. Its final job is the Auckland to Sydney return flight, taking off at 4.05pm and touching back down on New Zealand soil just before midnight – all going according to plan.

"It was the first aircraft of its type to have TV screens," senior fleet manager captain Greg Liddy said. "It led the field of technology."   Liddy said the aircraft hasn't changed too much in the 32 years since Air New Zealand started flying it, but said the "rest of the world has moved on".

"Pilots, engineers and crew have all got some kind of emotional attachment to aircraft, especially this one," said Liddy, who has spent 11 years on the 767. 

The first Boeing 767 in Air NZ's fleet arrived in 1985; that Boeing 767-200ER was followed by the 767-300ER in 1991.

It was an Air NZ Boeing 767 that took off on a scenic Southern Lights spotting trip from Dunedin last Thursday. That flight sold out to 130 Aurora Australis hunters and was the first commercial flight of its kind. In 2016, the aircraft was retired from its four-times-weekly Honolulu service, replaced by the bigger 302-seat Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. It began flying Air NZ's new, direct Vietnam route in mid-2016.

AIR NEW ZEALAND'S 767 FACTS:

- The first 767 joined Air New Zealand in September 1985.

- Air New Zealand has flown both types of Boeing 767 – the 200 and 300 variants.

- The victorious Team New Zealand America's Cup crew flew home on a 767 in 1995.

- A 767 charter flight carried Pope John Paul II between Christchurch and Canberra in November 1986.

 Reported by Stuff - Click to watch video

 

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Tahiti Tourisme is celebrating 50 years of overwater bungalows, the striking over-the-water accommodation that helped put the Islands of Tahiti on the map.

In 1967, Tahiti became the first destination in the world to take accommodation into uncharted waters, building suites over its islands’ beautiful blue lagoons in a move that cemented the Society Islands as one of the world’s most sought-after holiday destinations.

View more at Let's Travel magazine.

 

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Singapore Airlines has announced it will increase its flights to and from Christchurch next summer.

The additional services will operate from 30 November 2017 through to 16 February 2018 to meet demand over the peak season, including Chinese New Year.

The airline celebrated 30 years of flying into the South Island city in 2016, while Wellington also welcomed its first long-haul service in September. 

"The additional flights will provide greater opportunities for New Zealand tourism and will also help to bring more international visitors to places like Kaikoura and Marlborough," Singapore Airlines NZ general manager Simon Turcotte​ said.

The 10 round-trip flights per week will add 8130 seats on the airline's fleet of 777-200ER aircraft.

"We've flown to Christchurch for over 30 years, and we remain committed to our relationship with the Garden city and the wider South Island community, " Turcotte said.

Christchurch Airport chief aeronautical and commercial manager Justin Watson described the announcement as a "win-win". "The 30 double daily services over next summer will bring people here to see the South Island and help South Islanders get to the places they want to see."

Mondo Travel offers you a range of flights and holiday options in Singapore ... have a browse through this SEARCH OPTION.

 

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"This is how the journey begins: slowly, cautiously, as though the bones of this train are old and must be treated with great care.

And it continues so, a gentle, unhurried voyage through the flushed-with-life landscapes of Malaysia and Thailand."

If you've been considering a trip on the Eastern & Oriental express, have a read of Catherine Marshall's firsthand account of her jouney ... (READ MORE).

And if that's whet your appetite, then head on over and have a look at this deal ... (GET MORE INFO).

 

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Banksy hotel without a view opens to guests in Bethlehem

Guests began arriving at the Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem on Monday, the quirky guesthouse created by British street artist Banksy that stands a few feet away from Israel's towering security barrier in the occupied West Bank.

The three-storey hotel, its low-lit bar and restaurant decorated like a British colonial clubhouse but with ironic works by the artist covering the walls, was unveiled two weeks ago but has only now opened to overnight stays.

There are 10 rooms, ranging from a budget barracks-style accommodation for backpackers to a presidential suite that can sleep six. None of the rooms has a view -- all of them look out on Israel's five-metre, graffiti-covered concrete wall.

The Bristol-based artist, who has become a global phenomenon over the past decade but whose real identity is a closely guarded secret, has described the guesthouse as having "the worst views of any hotel in the world".

That has not deterred guests.

"I came because I heard Banksy opened a new hotel and I was curious," said one visitor arriving from Melbourne, Australia. "I wanted to check it out and check out the West Bank, too.

"The hotel with the worst views, that's quite interesting. It's unique."

Manager Wissam Salsa, who kept the project secret for more than a year as building work was completed and local staff were trained, said the hotel was fully booked until June.

"We are expecting 18 guests to arrive this afternoon from different parts of the world, from the United Kingdom, the United States, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia and Finland," he said.

The mayor of Bethlehem said that while the town where Jesus was born already attracted a large number of tourists to sites like the Church of the Nativity, the Walled Off added an extra dimension.

"(It's) a very significant addition to the entity of Bethlehem as a touristic city," said Mayor Vera Baboun.

"Having Banksy putting all his paintings in the hotel, it has significant political messages," she said, suggesting it would draw attention to Israel's occupation of the West Bank, which began in June 1967, after the six-day Middle East war.

Bedroom partitions and hallways are embellished with the Banksy's stencil graffiti work. One reveals an Israeli soldier and masked Palestinian youth having a pillow fight, and a statue of a chimpanzee bell-boy stands on the entrance, garments falling out of the suitcase he holds. 

As reported by Reuters. Video and more images on Stuff.

 

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Dubai Airports has unleashed the world’s fastest free wi-fi connection at an airport to millions of passengers who travel through DXB each month.

Aptly named WOW-Fi, the service provides internet connection up to a staggering 100mbps, surpassing all other airports.

This follows Dubai Airports’ launch of an upgraded free unlimited high-speed Wi-Fi connection across Dubai International (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC) in December last year.

Michael Ibbitson, Executive Vice President of Technology and Infrastructure at Dubai Airports said, “As the biggest international airport in the world, we are at the heart of many journeys across the globe. To support these travellers, late last year we launched unlimited free high-speed Wi-Fi across our airports but our goal was to offer something they have never experienced at an airport before. With WOW-Fi passengers will get a speed of up to 100mbps to enable them to quickly download or upload emails, pictures, videos and social media updates and then get on with enjoying the airport or connecting to their friends and family across the world.”

The unlimited free Wi-Fi at DXB connects with just one click and offers speed that sets a new benchmark for airports globally. To ensure the speed and reliability, Dubai Airports is investing in more than 6,000 new Wi-Fi access points to upgrade the entire wireless network infrastructure across both airports. Dubai Airports also enhanced the internet links to 5Gbps each to provide the required bandwidth and resilience, while new web applications have also been specially developed for each terminal and concourse to improve information for passengers.

 

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Qatar Airways has unveiled a new Business Class suite it says will revolutionise travel in the premium cabin.

QSuite, which has many First Class features, will be introduced on aircraft flying the Auckland-Doha route from the middle of next year.

The airline's chief executive Akbar Al Baker told a packed press conference at the ITB travel Expo in Berlin that his airline was ''raising the bar" in air travel. He said the airline was also working on new Economy Class seats.

The airline said QSuite features the industry's first-ever double bed available in Business Class, with privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room. Adjustable panels and movable TV monitors (which are 57cm wide) on the centre four seats allows workmates friends or families travelling together to transform their space into a private suite, allowing them to work, dine and socialise together.

Al Baker joked that ''quiet please" signs maybe needed for couples travelling together, later saying ; ''I'm sure people in the air will behave themselves."

The airline had patented the suites.

''Not only have we developed something of a revolution but we have patented it so none of my competitors will be able to copy as in the past when we raise the bar they then follow us." He said it was ''way above" what anybody else would ever attempt and would change the way that people travel in Business Class.

The first of the retrofitted planes would be operating between Doha and London by June and rolled out across existing Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 planes during the following 18 months. The airline - which started flying to New Zealand just over a month ago - will have the suites installed in new model 777s and A350s as they start to enter the fleet.

He would not reveal the cost of QSuite programme but it is another shot in the fierce fight at the top end of the market being fought by Gulf carriers.

At the other corner of the exhibition hall Emirates was showing off its new lounge bar while in the middle of the room Etihad was exhibiting its three-room residences.

Pricing has not been released for the Qatar suites but they will not take up more space on the aircraft than existing business class seats. Typically if they have to take up much more space for new products fares will go up accordingly. Al Baker said the suites in business would not cannibalise its First Class offering because they would be in different aircraft types than the A380 double decker the airline operated.

They will be installed in a 1-2-1 configuration which will be welcomed by Business Class passengers on the airline's existing 777s who are two abreast against the windows.

The suites will be manufactured by BE Aerospace and the seats fold down to fully flat 2m-long beds. ITB is one of the world's biggest travel expos. Over the course of five days more than 10,000 companies from 184 countries will be represented on 1092 stands - including 15 New Zealand operators.

Grant Bradley travelled to Berlin courtesy of Qatar Airways
As reported in NZ Herald

 

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Have you ever wondered which airline offers the best in terms of legroom. According to the NZ Herald, who got the info from the Daily Mail, it's Qatar ... by a long leg!

Here's the full story to save you clicking on yet another link....

BEST VALUE AIRLINES FOR LEGROOM

1. Qatar Airways
2. Air India
3. Delta Air Lines
4. Etihad Airways
5. Turkish Airlines 
Source: Seatguru

Qatar Airways has been crowned the best value airline for legroom in 2017.

A new study reached the finding based on two factors: which airlines offered the most space between rows on long-haul flights, and how much (if at all) is charged for extra legroom.

Qatar came out on top in terms of overall value for money, closely followed by Air India, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways and Turkish Airlines, the Daily Mail reports.

Legroom, which is known in the industry as seat pitch can be defined as the distance between a single point on an aircraft seat and the identical point on the seat in front.

Qatar boasts a pitch of between 31 and 33 inches and doesn't charge extra for passengers wishing to select a seat that offers more, for example an emergency exit seat.

And as the airline currently operates the world's longest flight from Auckland to Doha - clocking in at 14,535km and 17 hours plus in the air - so the extra inches are bound to be appreciated by economy travellers.

The Skyscanner study also took into account that Turkish Airlines and Air India do charge for extra legroom, $8.72 and $10.05 per centimetre respectively, but comparatively less so than other companies.

Indeed, the same study found that a third of all travellers cited this as being the thing that most annoys them on a plane, with one in ten angered by being charged to have more.

The survey also revealed that over half of people found it annoying when the person in front of them reclined their seat.

The debate as to whether this is acceptable social conduct or not, however, rages on.

 

 

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Qantas closed its dedicated lounge at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport in late 2015 but with new lounges from Oneworld partners Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines, along with Qantas' own global alliance partner Emirates, travellers have a surprising amount of choice before waving bye-bye to BKK.

Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge: The first lounge on our list is one we suggest you skip, unless you're a Qantas Club member – in which case it's the only airport lounge at Bangkok that'll let you through the door.  The Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge at Concourse G (near gate G2) is the lounge to which Qantas steers all eligible passengers ahead of flight QF24. That includes business class passengers; Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers; Qantas Club members, and travellers holding Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire status with any other Oneworld airline. The Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge is better than having no lounge access at all, but it's more about function than flair. At least it has hot meals and showers, the latter of which can be very welcome after a day in Bangkok. 

Cathay Pacific lounge: Also located in Concourse G is a superb little Cathay Pacific lounge. Opened in 2015, it shares the same Ilse Crawford design as Cathay's most recent lounges.  This is where we suggest that Qantas' business class travellers make tracks for, along with Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers – all of whom have access to the lounge under the terms of the Oneworld alliance to which both Qantas and Cathay Pacific belong. Cathay Pacific's Bangkok lounge has a great set of dining options, starting with the airline's signature Noodle Bar and its selection of freshly-prepared Asian noodles including wonton noodle soup, Dan Dan noodles, dim sum and pad Thai (plus a separate vegetarian menu). There's also a cafe-style area with lighter snacks, sandwiches, salads, yoghurt and desserts such as creme caramel and pandan cake. Finally, the tended bar has a wide selection of cocktails and mocktails.

Japan Airlines lounge: From March 1st 2017 there's another Oneworld lounge available for the consideration of Qantas passengers – this is the revamped Sakura Lounge of Japan Airlines. Located on the same floor as the other lounges, but down from the intersection of the E, F and G gates, JAL's upgraded lounge –like the Cathay Pacific one – boasts AC and USB power sockets by at every seat.  There's even a smoking area if you need a last pre-flight gasper. The new menus provided by Japanese restaurant chain NIPPON-TEI include beef curry (below) and Japanese appetisers. As Japan Airlines is a Oneworld member, the same lounge access rules apply as for Cathay Pacific: Qantas business class as well as Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers are all entitled to pop into the JAL lounge.

Emirates lounge: Head towards the D gates for the Emirates lounge, which is open to Qantas business class passengers and Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers as part of the Qantas/Emirates alliance. (It's not widely known, but the Qantas/Emirates alliance includes frequent flyer access to Emirates lounges across Australia, Europe, Asia, North Africa and the Middle East, when you'e flying either Qantas or Emirates.) It's a typically Emirates lounge: spacious, an upmarket 'international' design with a good selection of food and wine (including champagne) plus shower suites. 

Thanks to David Flynn, Australian Business Traveller

 

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Cathay Pacific has just confirmed plans to launch a new direct seasonal service between Christchurch and Hong Kong in December 2017, operated by one of its high-tech A350 aircraft.

The new thrice-weekly service will link the two cities for the first time, operating over the seasonal peak 1 December to 28 February, and see Cathay and Air New Zealand extend their services between the two countries.

The flights will depart Hong Kong on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday; and ex Christchurch on Monday, Thursday and Saturday (subject to regulatory approvals).

Cathay Pacific's New Zealand manager Mark Pirihi says the airline is 'delighted' to connect South Islanders with the carrier's global network. "Travellers now have more choice with a one-stop service from Christchurch to a multitude of destinations across Europe and Asia via our global transport hub of HKG," he says.

The Cathay Pacific/Air New Zealand strategic alliance agreement on services between New Zealand and Hong Kong have been extended for five more years, through to 2022, subject to regulatory approvals.

 

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Emirates, Skytrax’s World’s Best Airline 2016, will launch a series of new cabin products and enhancements in 2017 for both its A380 and Boeing 777 fleet. 

The multi-million dollar cabin interiors upgrade programme includes an enhanced Onboard Lounge for its flagship Airbus A380 aircraft.

Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said: “The A380 Onboard Lounge is hugely popular with our customers, and has become an iconic feature of Emirates’ A380 offering.  Particularly on long-haul flights, our customers tell us they appreciate the opportunity to stretch their legs and mingle in the relaxed, yet classy lounge area.

“Since we first launched the product in 2008, our A380 Onboard Lounge has gone through small but successive enhancements in line with customer feedback to increase the amount of space for our customers to interact in the lounge. In our latest revamp, we have taken inspiration from private yacht cabins, and amongst other thoughtful touches, we have increased the seating space, and also made it more intimate and conducive for our passengers to socialise or enjoy our lounge service.”

The new Emirates A380 Onboard Lounge will make its first public appearance at the Emirates Infinite Possibilities stand during ITB Berlin, one of the world’s largest tourism trade fairs. It is currently being installed onto one of Emirates’ brand new A380 aircraft at Airbus’ facilities, and will make its operational debut in July 2017. 

Enhanced Emirates A380 Onboard Lounge Features

While retaining the trademark horseshoe-shaped bar, Emirates’ latest A380 Onboard Lounge will offer more seating space with a new seating arrangement along the windows on both sides of the bar. Inspired by private yacht cabins, each seating area will have a table and window view. Overall, the lounge can comfortably accommodate up to 26 passengers at a time, including 8 seated.

The new Onboard Lounge will also feature an airier look and feel. Lighter champagne colours will be used in the cabin and lounge seating, accented by a glossy dark wood trim.

Emirates will also introduce soundproof curtains to partition the Onboard Lounge area from the other cabins, put in additional soft ambient lighting options, new window blinds with integrated LED mood lighting, and subwoofers for surround sound. The lounge also features a 55 inch LCD screen so customers can view the latest flight information, or enjoy live TV broadcasts of the latest news or sports updates.

All of Emirates’ 93 A380s currently in service feature the Onboard Lounge. The enhanced lounge product will be similarly located on the upper deck of the aircraft, for First and Business Class passengers.

At the lounge, customers can enjoy gourmet canapés, handpicked wines from around the world and limited edition fine spirits, as well as signature cocktails prepared by the bartender.

Aside from the Onboard Lounge, the Emirates A380 is also renowned for its industry-leading First Class Private Suites and Shower Spas; luxurious lie-flat Business Class pods with personal mini-bars; spacious and quiet cabins; onboard Wi-Fi; and Emirates’ multi-award winning ‘ice’ Digital Widescreen with more than 2,500 channels of movies, TV programs, music and podcasts.

Emirates flies the A380 to 46 cities on 5 continents. It is the world’s largest operator of the A380 aircraft with 93 of these double-decked aircraft in service, and a further 49 on order. Testimony to the popularity of the aircraft amongst travellers, Emirates has carried nearly 70 million passengers on its flagship aircraft since 2008.

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Sichuan Airlines will begin three direct flights per week between Auckland and Chengdu from 13 June 2017.

The new schedule will feature an A330-200 aircraft, with Business and Economy Class configuration and operate initially on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The flight will take 13 hours direct from New Zealand to the Southwest part of China. The flights will depart Auckland at 20:30 to reach Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport around 06:00, with a 01:55 overnight return leg arriving into Auckland at 18:45.

Sichuan Airlines Company was founded on 19 September 1986. Currently it has more than 215 routes, a well-operating network integrating main, secondary, international, regional and branch routes, contributing to the transportation system of the regional comprehensive transportation hub. 

The new services mean there will be up to 75 flights a week between New Zealand and China, including Hong Kong and depending on the season.

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