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Emirates has tonight unveiled completely refreshed interiors for its Boeing 777 aircraft, including it new first-class private suites it says were inspired by Mercedes Benz and technology from Nasa.

The leather seat reclines into a fully flat bed and can be placed in a "zero-gravity" position inspired by Nasa technology, giving a feeling of relaxation and weightlessness, Emirates says.

To ensure all first-class customers have a view, Emirates is introducing what it says are the industry's first virtual windows for suites located in the middle of the cabin.

These virtual windows - which are used in some cruise ships - project the view from outside the aircraft using real-time camera technology. In the other suites, binoculars are available for customers who want to explore the sky outside their windows.

On the first day of the Dubai Air Show, the airline said the new suites with floor-to-ceiling sliding doors would be a "game changer". The unveiling comes just under a fortnight after rival Singapore Airlines revealed new first-class suites in its superjumbos that could feature double beds.

Emirates president Sir Tim Clark said Emirates pioneered the private suite concept back in 2003, and the airline continued to set the industry benchmark. The suites have nearly 4sq m of personal space and are arranged in a 1-1-1 configuration at the front of the 777s. Emirates' latest first-class product gives a nod to the design philosophy of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

"We are very excited about our new fully-enclosed suite which is a real game-changer in terms of privacy, comfort, and thoughtful luxury. This is the first time an Emirates product has been so influenced by another luxury brand, but it is a natural fit," said Clark.

Emirates has updated the most popular features of its private suites, including a personal minibar for drinks and snacks within each suite; and wireless controls to adjust seating positions, as well as to navigate the in-flight entertainment system.

The Boeing 777s don't have the showers that are aboard Emirates' A380s. All parts of the plane have had a multi-million-dollar upgrade.

"The in-flight experience is the heart of our brand and service proposition. features our latest fully-flat leather seats with personal minibars, economy-class seats have adjustable full leather headrests, and the in-flight entertainment system has been upgraded for all cabin classes." Passengers would see more modern and airy cabins, said Clark.

The latest Emirates 777 aircraft with the new features will enter commercial service on December 1, making its debut on flights from Dubai to Geneva and Brussels. Emirates uses A380s on its services out of New Zealand.

Source: NZ Herald

 

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Greater rewards for Marco Polo Club members

Earn more club points with Cathay Pacific wherever you fly from 8 December 2017

Cathay Pacific continues to improve the offerings of its loyalty programme - the Marco Polo Club – in response to members’ feedback. Effective 8 December 2017, all Marco Polo Club members will earn more club points on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights across all distance zones in selected fare classes.

In addition, the annual requirement for Green members will be reduced from 100 to 20 club points. With these enhancements, all members will find it easier to reach their status and continue to enjoy exclusive benefits that enrich their travel experience.

More club points to all destinations

Members travelling short or ultra-short haul to popular destinations such as Taipei, Shanghai, Japan and India with Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon will earn an additional 5 to 10 club points per sector across most fare classes in all cabins. While flights to Europe and the Americas will carry an additional 10 to 15 more club points in Economy and Premium Economy. In addition, 5 to 20 extra club points will be awarded to some discounted and promotional fares on almost all routes.

Complementing the increase in club points to all destinations, the threshold to maintain Green membership will be reduced, allowing our members to enjoy exclusive club benefits such as priority check-in and boarding, lounge access redemption amongst other privileges.

Cathay Pacific Head of Customer Loyalty Elaine Lee said, “We continue to improve our offerings to ensure the Marco Polo Club evolves to meet our members’ travel needs. The new club points will better reward our members so that their travel experience is enhanced and their loyalty recognised.” 

About the Marco Polo Club

The Marco Polo Club is the loyalty programme of Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, designed to reward its most valuable customers with benefits and services that enhance their travel experience. There are four tiers in the club – Green, Silver, Gold, and Diamond – and each offers its members a range of privileges and benefits that make every journey something to look forward to.

As your Mondo Travel Specialist for more information; simply call 0800 110 108

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Qatar Airways has announced it has acquired a 9.61% stake in Cathay Pacific. “QR is one of the world’s premier airlines,” says CX ceo Rupert Hogg, commenting on the share acquisition. “We already work together closely as fellow members of the oneworld alliance and we look forward to a continued constructive relationship.” CX and QR already collaborate together as oneworld alliance members.

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Singapore Airlines (SIA) has formally signed a firm order with Boeing for 20 777-9s and 19 787-10s, for additional growth and fleet modernisation through the next decade.

The signing took place today (23 October US time) at the White House in Washington DC, at a ceremony witnessed by US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong. It represents the finalisation of an agreement that was announced in February 2017 as a letter of intent.

Signing the agreement for SIA was CEO Goh Choon Phong, with Chairman Peter Seah. Signing for Boeing was Kevin McAllister, President and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, with Dinesh Keskar, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific & India Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The purchase agreement comprises 39 firm orders, as well as six options for each aircraft type - which if exercised will enlarge the deal to as many as 51 aircraft. The firm orders are valued at US$13.8 billion, based on Boeing’s published list prices.

“SIA has been a Boeing customer for many decades and we are pleased to have finalised this major order for widebody aircraft, which will enable us to continue operating a modern and fuel-efficient fleet,” said SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong.

“These new aircraft will also provide the SIA Group with new growth opportunities, allowing us to expand our network and offer even more travel options for our customers.”

The 777-9s are intended primarily for long-haul routes and are due for delivery from the 2021/22 financial year. The 787-10s are to be operated on medium-range routes and are due for delivery from the 2020/21 financial year.

SIA is due to take delivery of the world’s first 787-10 in the first half of 2018, from a 2013 order with Boeing for 30 aircraft.

“Boeing and Singapore Airlines have been strong partners since the airline’s first operations 70 years ago and we are thrilled to finalise their purchase of 20 777Xs and 19 additional 787-10 Dreamliners,” said Kevin McAllister, President and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

“Singapore Airlines’ order is a testament to the market-leading capabilities of Boeing’s widebody airplanes and we look forward to delivering the very first 787- 10 to them next year.”

SIA has more than 50 current-generation Boeing 777 aircraft in service. Subsidiaries SilkAir, Scoot and SIA Cargo also operate Boeing aircraft, with 737 MAX 8 and 737- 800, 787-8/9 and 747-400 Freighter types in service, respectively.

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Air New Zealand has beaten 157 other airlines to be named "Top Airline in the World" by US magazine Condé Nast Traveler.

More than 300,000 readers submitted ratings and comments for the awards which rank the best hotels, cities, islands, airlines, airports and cruise lines in the world.

Air New Zealand was singled out for seat comfort on its wide-body planes and the Economy Skycouch.

The lifestyle magazine also commended the airline for serving customers award-winning New Zealand wine.

Air New Zealand Chief Marketing and Customer Officer Mike Tod says it's terrific to be acknowledged.

"This latest award is a testament to the consistent hard work of our 11,800 staff right around the world."

Qatar Airways came second, with Singapore Airlines third.

In other awards Singapore Changi was named Best Airport, and Tokyo, Japan is Best City.

Source: Stuff.co.nz

 

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You can now be eligible to upgrade your flight

Cathay Pacific has now introduced Upgrade Bid, giving customers who have purchased Premium Economy or Economy Class tickets*, the opportunity to upgrade to the next cabin class.

World renowned for its outstanding service, dining and lounge experiences, Cathay Pacific are giving more passengers the chance to travel in luxury with this new offer.

Upgrade Bid allows passengers to bid for an upgrade at a price that they can afford, and depending on availability and other bidders, passengers will have the chance to move cabin class for an amount less than a regular ticket price.

Country Manager for Cathay Pacific Airways, New Zealand and Pacific Islands, Mark Pirihi, says this is part of the airlines aim to give passengers more choice and access to the best deals when flying with Cathay Pacific. “At Cathay Pacific we always put our customers first, as we strive to provide them with more personalised services, building loyalty and advocacy and delivering outstanding service from the moment they interact with us. As part of this customer-centric strategy, we are looking at new ways to provide our passengers with more choice and greater convenience at every stage of their journey with us.” 

How does it work?

Passengers need to check if their flight and fare class are eligible to make an Upgrade Bid. For flights booked on the Cathay Pacific website, Upgrade Bid eligibility notification will appear on the booking confirmation page. Passengers can also check their flight’s eligibility by entering their booking reference number and family name on the Upgrade Bid welcome page.

To enter the auction, passengers can visit Cathay Pacific’s Upgrade Bid page to place a starting bid. If the offer is accepted as the winning bid, passengers will receive an email notification confirming the upgrade two to three days before departure. There is still the possibility for customers to change or cancel the bid up to 50 hours before flight departure.

Once an upgrade is confirmed, winners will enjoy the many benefits of travelling in Cathay Pacific’s award-winning Business Class or Premium Economy.

What are the benefits of upgrading?

Premium Economy

Passengers who purchased an Economy Class ticket will have the opportunity to upgrade to Premium Economy and get the chance to experience priority boarding privileges and special boarding attention from cabin crew (including a welcome drink on arrival, hot towel, amenity kit, and noise-cancelling headphones). Travelling Premium Economy will also offer passengers extra comfort thanks to the extra-wide seats showcasing a generous recline and specially designed footrests.

Business Class

Passengers who purchased a Premium Economy ticket will be able to upgrade to Business Class. This will be an incredible opportunity to experience the comfort and ease of the award-winning Business Class, enjoying a seat that adjusts for both sitting and sleeping – fully reclining into a comfortable flat bed – and a gourmet menu. Flying Business Class also gives access to Cathay Pacific’s premium lounges around the world.

Notes:

Terms and conditions for use of Upgrade Bid

Route availability

*Upgrade Bid is not currently available between Hong Kong and any destinations in India, or Japan; or between Taipei and Japan (Tokyo Narita Intl, Osaka, Fukuoka, Nagoya).

Please note that, currently, bookings made in China or India are excluded from participating in Upgrade Bid due to technical limitations.

When upgraded extra baggage allowance will not be included in the upgrade.

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One year in the making, Singapore Airlines’ Book the Cook service is winging its way to Auckland, with LSG Sky Chefs curating and producing the vision.

Book the Cook gives First Class, Business Class and Premium Economy guests leaving Auckland the opportunity to book a main course from a curated fine dining menu, up to 48 hours before flying with the airline.

Already available at 17 other ports for First Class, 23 ports in Business Class and 19 ports for Premium Economy, Auckland’s menu is available for departures starting 30 October – the same date that the airline’s A380 comes back into rotation.

Simon Turcotte, general manager, Singapore Airlines NZ says the menu aims to keep things local, sustainable and with a Kiwi touch. ‘We really try to be sustainable and to choose fresh products we can use year round,’ he says. ‘Maybe after a year we’ll have a look at what the most popular dishes are and do a refresh, we want to be adaptable and cater to needs and demands.’

Kiwi highlights on the menu are the New Zealand Lobster Thermidor, Southern King Salmon and New Zealand Lamb Loin.  

 

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Singapore Airlines has today committed to significantly enhancing sustainability practices in its in-flight food and beverage offerings. Under the new initiative, a “From Farm to Plane” concept will be introduced to promote environmental sustainability and support local farmers’ communities.

Current efforts in Singapore Airlines’ sustainability strategy include using fish from fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council for their sustainable fishing practices, and obtaining produce from local farms in countries the Airline serves.

With the “From Farm to Plane” concept, Singapore Airlines intends to use more sustainable and meatless ingredients, as well as local produce, in its in-flight meals. The Airline will work with partners overseas and in Singapore to source for such ingredients.

In addition, Singapore Airlines’ International Culinary Panel (ICP) of world-renowned chefs will create in-flight menus using more sustainable ingredients and local produce from farms at the Airline’s destinations, such as cherry tomatoes, pumpkins, green beans and lettuce. The new menus will initially be introduced to Suites customers on selected routes from later this year, and will progressively be made available to customers travelling in other classes. 

The enhanced sustainability plan for Singapore Airlines’ food and beverage offerings was unveiled today at its World Gourmet Forum in Singapore, organised in collaboration with Kranji Countryside Association 1.

All eight ICP Chefs were present for the World Gourmet Forum, where they shared how they are using local produce in their meal creations. Singapore Airlines’ Wine Consultants were also at the event to introduce an organic French Shiraz wine, which will be available to Business Class customers on selected flights from early next year.

“Our food and beverage sustainability efforts will further demonstrate and reinforce Singapore Airlines’ ongoing efforts to help reduce our carbon footprint and ensure a greener environment. While we continue to deliver a quality in-flight dining experience, we would also like our customers to know that we are playing our part in ensuring sustainability,” said Mr Marvin Tan, Singapore Airlines’ Senior Vice President Product & Services.

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From March 2018, Emirates will stop flying from Melbourne and Brisbane to Auckland and instead focus on its non-stop Auckland-Dubai service. Emirates will retain its existing daily A380 flights from Dubai to Christchurch via Sydney, and the airline is also evaluating potential new direct services between New Zealand and Dubai.

At the same time, to provide greater choice across the Tasman, Qantas will increase the frequency of its services between the two countries, adding seven new return flights per week between Melbourne and Auckland and an extra two return services per week between Brisbane and Auckland. Some of these services will be up-gauged from a 737 to a wide-body A330.

Qantas’ new trans-Tasman services will carry Emirates code and will connect seamlessly to Qantas’ London services via Perth or Singapore and Emirates’ services between Australia and Europe via Dubai.

Customers flying between Australia and New Zealand, particularly business travellers, will benefit from the improved schedule choice.

The changes also enable Emirates to reschedule its Australia flights to create a better spread of departure times throughout the day, offering customers more choice when connecting and arriving in to the 38 European and 28 Middle East and North African destinations served by the airline’s popular A380 and 777 aircraft. The changes are included in the airlines' application to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and New Zealand Minister of Transport for the extension of authorisation for the airlines' joint business for another five years.

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Air New Zealand has started trialling its new inflight Wi-Fi service on a long-haul Boeing 777-300 aircraft.

The airline is joining a growing list of carriers offering connectivity in the air and those on board will be able to access email, social media channels, websites and go shopping. It is still working out what it will charge for the service once it is rolled across the fleet.

The 777-300 aircraft mainly fly transtasman, US, London and some Pacific Island routes. Following the trial Air New Zealand will begin installing equipment in all of its seven Boeing777-300s.

Air New Zealand will use Inmarsat's global GX satellite constellation and has partnered with Panasonic Avionics as the onboard technology supplier.

Air New Zealand chief digital officer Avi Golan said it was trialling Wi-Fi initially in order to gather customer feedback and ensure it met their needs before it was rolled out across the international jet fleet. 

"The trial will not only test the technical aspects of the service, it will also gather feedback on pricing options. Going forward, customers will be able to choose to sign up for different timeframes and have the ability to pay in a variety of ways," he said.

This would include spending airpoints earnings.

Golan said new content could include links to Air New Zealand's chatbot, Oscar, to help passengers resolve any travel-related questions during their journey.

Last year the airline's chief executive Christopher Luxon said the airline had been patient over Wi-Fi.

"Given Air New Zealand operates some of the longest flights in the world, and in oceanic areas where there has historically been poor quality satellite service, we have patiently worked with partners until comfortable that a service which meets the high expectations of our customers is available," he said.

Airlines with Wi-Fi now serving New Zealand include Emirates and Cathay Pacific.

 

Source: NZ Herald

 

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The first of Air New Zealand's new-look Boeing 787-9s has arrived in Auckland, with a freshly configured interior offering more premium seats.

The airline says this is in response to growing demand for premium travel and the aircraft will be used on its Auckland-Houston route from December, the first time a Dreamliner has been used regularly on North American services.

Airlines make their best returns per seat in premium cabins. Increasing numbers of leisure travellers are sitting up the front of planes to and from New Zealand as fares drop amid hot competition.

Air New Zealand's four new Dreamliners will have 27 Business Premier seats, up from 18, and 33 Premium Economy, up from 21.

Air New Zealand was the first airline in the world to take delivery of the 787-9 aircraft in 2014 and this latest arrival takes the airline's fleet to 10 Dreamliners. The aircraft, which arrived on yesterday, is also the airline's first from Boeing's facility in North Charleston, South Carolina.

The airline's other aircraft have come from Boeing's manufacturing base in Seattle, Washington state.

Air New Zealand chief marketing and customer officer Mike Tod said the airline was expecting the new cabin layout to be popular with customers.

Air New Zealand's premium economy section in the new-look Dreamliner.

"Increasing the size of these cabins on our new 787-9 Dreamliners will give more customers than ever the opportunity to experience why Air New Zealand has been named by Airlineratings.com as the best airline in the world for the past four years," he said.

Boeing commercial airplanes senior vice president, Asia Pacific and India sales Dinesh Keskar, said the manufacturer had enjoyed the opportunity to work with the 787-9 Dreamliner launch customer on this reconfiguration of the aircraft.

The fleet has performed well to date, delivering good fuel efficiencies with each aircraft 20 percent more efficient than the aircraft they have replaced. The Dreamliner's reduced weight, aerodynamic features and more efficient engines have contributed to those savings.

Source: NZ Herald

 

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For a limited time now, Seoul’s Incheon Airport is offering free use of their SkyHub Lounge.

Transit passengers travelling on Korean Air can enjoy WiFi Internet, alcoholic refreshments, television entertainment and other amenities at the lounge for up to 3 hours at both, the East and West, wings.

Effective dates: Now – 31st December 2017 (based on arrival date at Incheon Airport, Seoul, i.e., this service must be utilised on or before the 31DEC17).

  1.   Transit-time/stop-over in Korea must be no more than 24 hours. Passengers travelling to Korea as a final destination are not eligible.
  2.   Includes all nationalities, international transit and code-share passengers.

Talk to your Mondo Travel Specialist today!

 

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Cathay Pacific to resume direct flights from Auckland to Hong Kong while operating under fuel restrictions

The Auckland jet fuel shortage is ongoing, with airlines operating under strict restrictions however Cathay Pacific will today return to normal operations, with direct flights from Auckland to Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific is able to bring in extra fuel on their Hong Kong to Auckland flights and with fuel allocated from Auckland this will allow the airline to complete their direct flight without being re-routed via Brisbane.

As the fuel shortage is changeable, Cathay Pacific would like to encourage all passengers to check their flight status on cathaypacific.co.nz in case of any last-minute changes to schedules.

 

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Hawaiian Airlines has this morning announced plans to move to up to five A330 services a week between Auckland and Honolulu, from 21 March.

The carrier says the move is in response to demand and will offer its passengers greater convenience and flexibility to Hawaii and the US mainland. HA's AKL-HNL flights have also been re-timed from 21 Mar.

Fares for the additional services are on sale now - contact your nearest Mondo Travel specialist now by calling 0800 110 108!

 

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Cathay Pacific is set to launch non-stop routes ex Hong Kong to Brussels, Dublin and Copenhagen, the carrier has announced.

CX will commence a four times weekly service to the Belgian capital from 25 Mar; while the new four times weekly Hong Kong to Dublin service will be launched 02 Jun; and Denmark’s cultural centre will be served by a three times weekly seasonal service between 02 May and 12 Oct.

The commencement of the new routes will see CX serve 15 European destinations direct from Hong Kong.

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United Airlines has confirmed it will operate a larger 777-300ER  aircraft on its seasonal Auckland-San Francisco route when it recommences services from 31 Oct--featuring its flash new Polaris business class product.

The move will add another 114 seats on each flight from the 787-9 aircraft originally scheduled, and as a result UA is moving to six services a week (was daily) on the route, through to 17 Dec; and then operate daily through to 24 Mar.

 

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Cathay Pacific continues to grow Hong Kong’s connections to the world. From Summer 2018, the airline will launch pioneering non-stop routes linking Hong Kong with Brussels, Dublin and Copenhagen, further strengthening the airline’s network and providing new trade and tourism opportunities between Asia and Europe.

Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Officer Rupert Hogg said that the announced services will meet customer demand for non-stop travel to these vibrant cities, while at the same time providing Europe-based passengers with more convenient access to key destinations in Asia and Southwest Pacific through the airline’s home in Hong Kong.

“We’re excited to offer the only direct flights between Hong Kong and Brussels, Dublin and Copenhagen. These are all fantastic destinations and attract business and leisure travellers from the world over. We listened to our customers’ demands for more options and greater flexibility and have responded by building direct air links with these great cities,” said Mr Hogg. 

“Growing our reach to new destinations that aren’t served from Hong Kong boosts the city’s status as Asia’s largest international hub and enables us to capture new and important sources of revenue.”

Following the recent launch of services to Gatwick, Madrid and Barcelona, Cathay Pacific’s European expansion continues. With the commencement of the new routes, the airline’s network will cover 15 European destinations served direct from Hong Kong.

New levels of on-board comfort

Cathay Pacific’s long-haul fleet of aircraft averages just five years of age, making it one of the youngest in the industry. The three new routes will be operated by Cathay Pacific’s state-of-the-art Airbus A350-900 aircraft, which feature the latest seats and cabin design and which have been especially well-received by the airline’s customers. All flights to Brussels, Dublin and Copenhagen are equipped with the aircraft’s enhanced inflight entertainment system and Wi-Fi on board. 

Cathay Pacific has in operation 18 of the 22 A350-900s it has on order, with the remaining four aircraft due for delivery before the end of 2017. Additionally, the airline has 26 of the larger A350-1000 type scheduled to join its fleet from 2018. These environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient aircraft allow Cathay Pacific to open up new markets not otherwise served from Hong Kong.

Brussels

 

The administrative and financial heart of Belgium – and the de facto capital of the European Union, cosmopolitan Brussels is famed for its beautiful parks, architecture and myriad cultural attractions. Cathay Pacific will commence a four-times weekly service to the Belgian capital from 25 March 2018. 

Dublin

Immortalised in the works of author James Joyce, the ever-evolving Irish capital is known for being one of Europe’s great sporting, music and nightlife centres. It is also ranked one of the world’s most innovative cities and is a global hub for the leasing and finance of aircraft, a status that Hong Kong, following recent tax legislation, is on course to emulate. The new four-times weekly Hong Kong to Dublin service will be launched on 2 June 2018. 

Copenhagen

Considered Scandinavia’s capital of cool, Copenhagen is a thriving eco-friendly metropolis with a small-town feel and a breathtakingly beautiful harbour. The lifelong home of fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen, Copenhagen has been named the world’s most liveable city on numerous occasions. Denmark’s cultural centre will be served by a three-times weekly seasonal service between 2 May and 12 October 2018

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Qantas and Emirates are set to apply to extend their partnership for another five years, in a move that will see some changes to QF's flight network, including the removal of Dubai as a stopover on two routes.

Qantas will re-route its daily Sydney-London A380 service via Singapore rather than Dubai; while its Melbourne-Dubai-London service will be replaced with its Dreamliner service flying Melbourne-Perth-London, as previously announced.

Other changes include that Qantas's Melbourne-Singapore flight will be operated with an A380, instead of an A330.

Emirates says the changes will allow it to offer an 'even stronger' product proposition for travel to Dubai, along with onward connections, with updates to be announced in the coming weeks. 

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Air New Zealand will increase its operations to Samoa with a move to fly up to six Dreamliner services a week to Apia during the peak season.  The airline will operate between four and six weekly services using its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner between April and October 2018.

Between November 2017 and March 2018 Dreamliner aircraft will operate three services a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  Other services will be operated by the airline’s Airbus A320 aircraft.

Air New Zealand’s senior manager Pacific Islands, Brent Roxburgh, says the move to operate more widebody services comes in response to growing customer demand for travel to and from Apia.

'The move to more Dreamliner flights between Auckland and Samoa represents around 20% more seats into Samoa year-on-year.'

The number of visitors to Samoa from New Zealand increased by 6.4% to nearly 60,000 in the year to July 2017.

Source: One Minute Memo

 

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American Airlines have announced that it is moving to a seasonal service between Auckland and Los Angeles.

The carrier is set to re-start its flights between the city pair from 7 October (ex AKL) and will continue to offer daily 787-9 services on the route through until 25 March. It will then suspend its Auckland operations, with plans to resume another seasonal service from October 2018-March 2019. Affected passengers are being offered refunds or re-accommodated onto other flights.

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Thai Airways New Zealand have announced the introduction of a new 787-900 Dreamliner aircraft on their Auckland-Bangkok-Auckland route from 16 November this year. At the same time, days of operation will increase from the current 5 days a week to a daily service.

The 787-900 will have a configuration of 30 fully lie-flat Business Class seats and 268 Economy Class seats. It is a state-of-the-art aircraft that has received wide praise from both the travel industry and passengers. With its spacious, quiet cabin, modern LED lighting, large windows and seating that provides the latest in comfort and technology, the 789 offers a premium travel experience.

The introduction of these new services also coincides with the 30th anniversary of THAI Airways services between Auckland and Bangkok.

 

 

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Philippine Airlines will fly non-stop on the Auckland - Manila route from 6 December 2017. PR 219 will operate thrice weekly - departing Auckland every Friday, Saturday and Tuesday at 12.30am local time, touching down in Manila 5.45am. The return flight leaves Manila every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, departing Manila at 11.15pm and arriving Auckland at 2.05pm local time the following day.

The non-stop service will will reduce the flight time to 10 hours from the current 12.15 hour Auckland - Cairns - Manila flight (which continues until 5 December).

PAL will utilise its twin-aisle dual class 254 seater A340s instead of the single aisle 156 seater A320s, thus increasing capacity by 60%.

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Singapore Airlines has today launched HighFlyer, a new rewards program specifically designed to enable small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to reward businesses, and their employees, for flying on the carrier as well as SilkAir.

Under the new scheme, the business will earn HighFlyer points, while the employee continues to earn KrisFlyer miles.

And there’s NO minimum spend, meaning it’s something you can all take advantage of if you travel long-haul a few times a year!

Given that 97% of businesses in New Zealand have fewer than 20 employees, their volume of travel undertaken often doesn’t reach the required limits of corporate travel programs. Singapore Airlines' HighFlyer program bridges the gap between the program for large corporates, and the benefits offered to individual frequent flyer members.

SMEs can take advantage of business rewards when their employees are travelling for business, while the individual traveller will still accrue their own points. ‘It’s a win:win!

The Details

SMEs earn five HighFlyer points for every SGD1 spent on tickets booked through SQ’s booking platform or an approved travel agent.

SMEs can check their points and manage travellers and bookings via a self-service web portal.

Businesses that reach a stipulated annual spend will have the choice of transferring to the SQ Corporate Travel Program, a corporate program for large businesses to enjoy corporate fares and additional benefits.

For more details on HighFlyer, see www.singaporeair.com/highflyer 

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Malaysia Airlines will launch a radical upgrade to its Boeing 737 business class, adopting lie-flat suites with direct aisle access for all passengers.

The airline will debut the seats on its new Boeing 737 MAX 10 fleet, due for delivery from 2021, with CEO Peter Bellew indicating to Australian Business Traveller they could use an all-new staggered design from Thompson Aero Seating. 

Thompson provided the new business class seats for Malaysian flag-carrier's Airbus A330 fleet as well as first class and business class for the forthcoming Airbus A350s

The Irish company also developed the revolutionary Vantage design chosen by US airline JetBlue for its transcontinental Airbus A321 Mint class, which sees each pair of business class seats followed by a single seat with sliding suite-like privacy doors... a version of which has also featured in Boeing's promotional material for its 737 MAX jets.

“I’m shamelessly copying what JetBlue have done with Mint, which is a fantastically innovative transcontinental product in the US” Bellew tells Australian Business Traveller. “I’m shamelessly ripping off their ideas!”

That could include Mint’s suite-like approach, which sees some seats sport “a privacy panel you can pull across so it’s like a private cabin,” Bellew hints.

However, whereas only three out of every five Mint passengers have direct access to the aisle, Bellew aims to see all travellers at the pointy end of Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing 737 MAX 10 fleet just one ginger step away from the aisle.

“That’s what we’re going to try and do. We may have to use a bit more real estate on the aircraft,” he admits, adding that the new seat will likely adopt a “staggered” design similar to that of the Thompson Vantage XL seats used by Qantas for its Airbus A330 and Boeing 787 Business Suites.

“Thompson are working on the final design at the moment, but we’ll have 16 business class seats in the Boeing 737 MAX 10s... we have the space to do that (although) we’ll probably have to go a bit further back in the aircraft.”

The seat manufacturer has already revealed an angled herringbone-style Vantage Solo lie-flat seat for single-aisle jets (below), with a launch airline flying an Airbus A320-series jet expected to be announced later this year. 

Paying a premium for sleep

Very few airlines are currently flying lie-flat business class seats on single-aisle jets like the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 series, but Bellew believes there’s pent-up and profitable demand for sleep even on Malaysia Airlines’ regional flights of four to five hours “to secondary cities in China, maybe to Perth overnight.” 

“If you ask business travellers what’s the number one thing they want from their flying, it’s sleep. (Above) food and inflight entertainment, this, that and the other, the most important thing for them is to get some sleep, even  on a short flight, and  people will pay a good premium for that.”

“There’s a lot of wealthy people in Asia, a lot of people who lead extraordinarily busy lives, and to be able to get three to four hours’ sleep on a flight is worth a lot of money to a lot of those people.”

Bellew will aim the Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft at "secondary and tertiary markets in China", which he sees as premium regional routes primed for growth due to the explosion of a moneyed middle-class with an appetite for travel.

As previously reported, Virgin Australia is also planning to fit an all-new business class seat to Boeing 737s flying east-west routes – referred to as "the Perth product" and which CEO John Borghetti says will represent a “quantum leap in domestic business class” – and it's been speculated that this seat could also come from Thompson Aero.

Source: Australian Business Traveller

 

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Air New Zealand will nearly double capacity on its seasonal Auckland to Denpasar service in 2018 and will also extend the season it flies there by almost two months.

The airline currently operates two services per week from Auckland to Denpasar International Airport between the end of May and mid-October, increasing to three services per week during peak times.

Next year the airline's Auckland to Bali season will start at the beginning of April with up to five services operating per week using the airline's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, subject to regulatory approval.

Air New Zealand chief revenue officer Cam Wallace says Bali continues to prove popular with customers. 'The increase in services between Auckland and Bali, as well as the extension to the seasonal service, represents year-on-year growth of more than 90%.'

The additional capacity for the 2018 Bali season is on sale now - talk to us to book you in before they're all sold!

 

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Singapore Airlines today announced flights SQ291/292 will be retimed from 28 October 2017 following a review of the ‘Capital Express’ service.

The new schedule will see SQ291 depart 55 minutes later from Singapore, while SQ292 will depart Wellington 1 hour and 5 minutes earlier.

Singapore Airlines General Manager New Zealand, Simon Turcotte, said the timing changes were being made to improve the operational efficiency of the service.

“While the flights have met our expectations with regards to loads, there are some areas where we believe we can operate the service more efficiently,” Mr Turcotte said.  “Re-timing the flights will assist in this goal, while also providing additional connections from the Singapore Airlines global network to SQ291.  

“The later departure from Singapore will allow customers travelling from Bali, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Phuket, and Shanghai to connect to the Singapore-Canberra-Wellington flight.

“We’ve seen an increase in demand to cities in Southeast Asia, and these new timings will allow us to better serve those markets to Wellington. These new connections provide a great opportunity to increase the number of inbound visitors to Wellington, while the shorter turnaround in Wellington will further assist in improving efficiency of the service.”

Singapore Airlines will work with customers whose domestic connections in New Zealand are affected by the re-timing.

“It is normal practice to continually monitor and review any new route we launch and make changes where necessary,” Mr Turcotte said.  “We will continue working closely with our key stakeholders to develop and grow the route through promotion of the service and Wellington as a destination. As the first airline to operate the Singapore-Canberra-Wellington route, there have been a number of learnings that we have taken out of the first 10 months of operation. These learnings have resulted in our decision to re-time the flights.

“We will continue to monitor the performance of the operation and if required make further adjustments where necessary.”

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Air New Zealand passengers have a thing for roast chicken, Cookie Time and Kiwi wine and movies, research from the airline has shown. 

Of the more than six million "New Zealand-inspired" meals served across the airline's global network over the past 12 months, more than half a million (530,000) were the roast chicken dish, the airline said. 

More specifically, roast chicken with tarragon cream sauce, roasted kumara and garden vegetables.

When it comes to snacking though, most passengers prefer sweet over savoury. 

Some 5.8 million Cookie Time cookies were served on domestic flights over the same period, compared with just 1.8 million savoury snacks. Customers also chomped their way through more than 14.5 million of the airline's signature lollies. 

The complimentary New Zealand wine also went down well, with cabin crew pouring almost eight million glasses. Beer proved less popular, with 476,000 cans served. 

Passengers are also keen on Kiwi entertainment - Taika Waititi's Hunt for the Wilderpeople was watched more than 177,000 times on flights over the past year, making it the most viewed film. 

Disney animated blockbuster Moana earned the highest number of views per month - 39,000 to be exact. 

Adele's Hello was the most listened to song onboard with around 5000 hits a month and kids worked their way through 142,000 activity packs.

The airline's Airpoints members cashed in their Airpoints Dollars to take nearly 895,000 flights. 

Source: Stuff.co.nz

 

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On 6 July 2017 Virgin Australia welcomed four new Airline Partners into their program: Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Capital Airlines and Tianjin Airlines. 

Together with Virgin Australia, these airlines operate over 75 weekly flights from Hong Kong and 13 destinations in mainland China to Australia and New Zealand. You will be able to earn Velocity Points and Status Credits on these flights. 

In the coming months you will also be able to book reward flights on these new partners and eligible Velocity members will also receive Priority Check-in, Priority Boarding, Additional Baggage allowances and Lounge access.

From 31 July 2017, Velocity Platinum, Gold and Silver members will earn even more Velocity Points when flying on Delta Air Lines or Virgin Australia operated flights with a Delta flight number.

Velocity members will continue to be able to earn and redeem Points and receive other benefits when travelling on Air New Zealand operated flights within and between Australia and New Zealand. However, from 1 November 2017 you will no longer be able earn or redeem Velocity Points and Status Credits, or receive other benefits on all other flights operated by Air New Zealand.

Virgin America’s loyalty program, 'Elevate', is dissolving meaning Velocity members will not be able to earn and redeem Points on Virgin America flights for bookings made after 30 September 2017.

From 31 August 2017, Velocity members can use their Points for Singapore Airlines Premium Economy Reward Seats. What’s most exciting is that Velocity members can now redeem Velocity Points across all cabin classes on Singapore Airlines' flights.

 

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Effective immediately, the electronics ban has been lifted for Emirates’ flights from Dubai International Airport to the U.S.A.

Emirates has been working hard in coordination with various aviation stakeholders and the local authorities to implement heightened security measures and protocols that meet the requirements of the US Department of Homeland Security’s new security guidelines for all US bound flights.

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Cathay Pacific and MIAT Mongolian Airlines today announced a new codeshare agreement which is set to benefit the customers of both airlines.

Starting 12 July 2017, Cathay Pacific will place its “CX” code on MIAT’s four-times weekly service between Hong Kong and Ulaanbaatar, the vibrant and historic Mongolian capital, providing its customers with a new, direct link to one of the most unique and fastest-growing destinations in Asia.

At the same time, MIAT Mongolian Airlines will place its “OM” code on selected Cathay Pacific services between Hong Kong and Singapore, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Eligible MIAT customers connecting on Cathay Pacific flights via its Hong Kong hub can choose to relax at one of the airline’s premium lounges conveniently located at Terminal 1 at Hong Kong International Airport. These include The Wing, The Cabin, The Bridge and the much-lauded lounges at The Pier, which have been designed to embody Cathay Pacific’s philosophy of a Life Well Travelled.

Cathay Pacific Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Paul Loo welcomed the new partnership, saying the agreement underlines the airline’s commitment to provide its customers with enhanced connectivity to an ever-increasing number of new destinations.

“We are very happy to work with MIAT Mongolian Airlines in adding Ulaanbaatar to our expanding global network,” said Mr Loo. “Mongolia is an attractive destination in that it appeals to both tourists and business travellers alike thanks to its pristine natural landscapes, rich culture and rapid development. Ulaanbaatar is quickly making a name for itself as an important business hub, one which we expect to grow on the back of this new agreement.”

MIAT Mongolian Airlines President and CEO Tamir Tumurbaatar added: “This is a winning step for both airlines and will provide our passengers with convenient access to Singapore and Australia via the super hub in Hong Kong. The codeshare and interline agreement brings advantages for the passengers of both MIAT Mongolian Airlines and Cathay Pacific because our route networks complement each other perfectly. This cooperation is very significant for our landlocked country’s national flag carrier.” 

Tickets for the new codeshare flights are now open for sale - speak to one of our Travel Specialists.

 

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IF YOU WANT SOME PEACE AND QUIET THE NEXT TIME YOU FLY, TRY THESE TRAVEL DATES.

December is obviously off the cards, but some months (and airlines) stand out more than others for consistently boasting flights that take off at a lower capacity.

Quality service, an on-time flight and having an empty seat on either side of you on the plane can really alter your travel experience.

While there’s no perfect answer as to how to secure a row to yourself, that is, aside from purchasing three seats, finder.com.au‘s recent research have found the optimal times to fly, when airlines depart at their emptiest and optimal airlines to fly with that consistently don’t run anywhere near full capacity.

The best months to fly

The best months to fly for quiet planes are during low-peak seasons, particularly on the shoulder months of the Christmas holidays.

Overall, October was the winner with flights running at only 72 per cent capacity on Australian departures throughout 2016. This was closely followed by February and May, both flying at 74 per cent capacity.

All three are particularly good months for a roomy flight to Europe and North America with seat utilisation to these nations no greater than 73 per cent (for flights to North America in October).

Not surprisingly December proved to be the worst month to travel to secure some additional plane room, flying at 88 per cent capacity. This was not-so-closely followed by June at 82 per cent capacity and September at 81 per cent capacity.

On average, flights departed Australia 78 per cent full throughout the year.

Honing in on Qantas’ seat utilisation in particular, the percentages read much the same with December being the least likely to find yourself with a row to yourself and October being the most.

Which airline to fly with?

To increase your chances of finding an empty seat beside you on the plane, you not only have to fly during less popular periods, you also have to fly less popular airlines. You only need to look at Qantas, who flew at an average of 79.9 per cent capacity over the last four years to be assured of this.

Of the 50 airlines researched, Air Niugini was the emptiest averaging 54.1 per cent full over the past four years. This Papua New Guinea airline flies from Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, Sydney and Townsville to Asian destinations including Bali, Hong Kong, Port Moresby, Singapore and Tokyo, making it an attractive option for anyone wishing to stretch out on the plane – even during more popular months.

Other airlines running at a similarly low flight capacity include Cebu Pacific Air and Philippines Airlines (59.5 per cent and 60.1 per cent respectively). Both fly to various Asian destinations via the Philippines.

For those looking to travel elsewhere, Royal Brunei Airlines had the lowest seat utilisation for flights further afield at 69.1% capacity. Its international routes depart from Melbourne to destinations including London and Dubai.

The next emptiest airlines were Thai Airways International (70 per cent) and Malaysia Airlines (71.8 per cent). Both own departures from Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney (Malaysia Airlines also flies out of Adelaide) and can take you to Europe, the Middle East, Africa and America.

Check out the top 10 fullest flights out of Australia:

RankAirlineSeat utilisation % (four year average)*1All Nippon Airways91.32American Airlines87.73Delta Air Lines87.34Cathay Pacific Airways86.55British Airways85.66Etihad Airways85.37Japan Airlines84.38Aerolineas Argentinas83.99Air Canada82.610Qatar Airways82.4

Stephanie Yip is Travel Expert at comparison site, finder.com.au

 

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All QR (Qatar Airways) flights operating to/from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain (BAH), and Egypt (EGY) have been suspended with effect from June 6 2017 00:00 UTC to June 6 2017 23:59 UTC.

All bookings on 157– tickets to/from the aforementioned origins and destinations will be open for cancellations, refunds, or changes, including rerouting to other airlines (with the exception of EK and EY). These changes are free of charge for passengers holding a confirmed reservation and a confirmed ticket issued on/or prior to June 5 2017, for travel from June 5 2017, until further notice.

Please speak to one of our travel specialists if you have been affected.

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Due to the completion of scheduled tasks and network routes adjustment, please note that our Auckland-Sydney services (CI51/CI52) will be suspended as from 15JUL2017. China Airlines would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your kind support on this route over the years.
 
For the passengers holding valid tickets affected by these flight cancellations, they are entitled to refunds or reservation changes without incurring any surcharges. Should you have any further queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your travel specialist.

 

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Auckland Airport has today announced the details of four new transport projects as part of its longer term plan to improve travel around the airport over the next three years.

 

Adrian Littlewood, Auckland Airport’s chief executive, says, “We have a 30-year plan for developing Auckland Airport and as part of the plan, ensuring that passengers, staff and crew can easily access all parts of the airport precinct remains a priority. These new transport projects are an important investment in our infrastructure that will help to improve the way public transport users, motorists, pedestrians and cyclists move around our airport precinct.”

 

Auckland Airport’s new transport projects include:

·         upgrading Nixon Road by October 2017 to provide a new route to Auckland Airport’s Park&Ride on Verissimo Drive without the need for drivers to use the main intersection that connects the domestic and international terminals at Tom Pearce Drive and George Bolt Memorial Drive;

·         improving traffic flows and improving public transport access to the domestic terminal by Christmas 2017 through the provision of more space for buses on the terminal forecourt and a new and separate access road for taxis and buses;

·         construction of an iconic new gateway bridge over George Bolt Memorial Drive by the end of 2018 for pedestrians and cyclists to connect “the Quad” hotel and commercial precinct with the airport terminals and take cars off the main road network; and

·         implementing a transit lane system across the airport precinct between December 2017 and 2020 for buses and high occupancy vehicles.

 

“These new projects will help improve traffic flows and travel times around the airport, and help our transport network accommodate the increasing number of buses that will travel to and from the airport in the future.”

 

“Our new gateway bridge will be a spectacular sight as you enter and leave Auckland Airport to the north towards the city. Designed by architects Warren and Mahoney, the suspension bridge features a 40 metre high concrete mast that is inspired by the form of a huia feather with a white light tipped column and Māori motifs. It will be an urban beacon and precinct marker that will be visible across the airport, both during the day and at night. The bridge will also significantly improve the walking and cycling experience between our commercial precinct and the terminals.”

 

“This new investment in our precinct’s transport infrastructure also supports the ongoing and collaborative efforts of the New Zealand Transport Agency, Auckland Transport and Auckland Airport to improve travel times to and from the airport.”

 

“It also builds on other improvements we have made to our precinct’s transport infrastructure in the past year.”

 

In the first half of the 2017 financial year Auckland Airport fast-tracked a number of planned roading and transport upgrades on its transport network:

·         upgrading the Puhinui Road roundabout to help improve the eastern access to the airport from State Highway 20B/Puhinui Road;

·         adding 1,400 more car parks to our Park&Ride facility, mostly for use by staff working at the international terminal to remove staff traffic from the inner airport roads;

·         upgrading the traffic light phasing and lane configurations at the airport’s George Bolt Memorial Drive and Tom Pearce Drive intersection to improve traffic flows;

·         updating the lane configurations at the airport’s George Bolt Memorial Drive and Laurence Stevens Drive roundabout to improve traffic flows; and

·         developing new traffic management plans for use when the airport roading network is particularly busy.

 

“Auckland Airport is planning a number of additional infrastructure projects to upgrade our transport network and further improve journeys around the airport precinct. These will be announced in due course,” says Mr Littlewood.

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Singapore Airlines has announced that from today Wellington-based brewery Garage Project’s craft beer, Hāpi Daze, will be served on all Singapore Airlines flights departing New Zealand.

The announcement is an extension of a partnership that began last September when Garage Project and Singapore Airlines teamed up to brew a limited edition, bespoke beer ‘SQ292’ to celebrate the launch of the ‘Capital Express’ service.

Singapore Airlines General Manager New Zealand, Simon Turcotte said Singapore Airlines prides itself on going above and beyond for customers.

“We are constantly looking to ensure our customers are provided with an exceptional in-flight experience that exceeds their expectations – whether this be through our first-class suites, or our world-renowned food and beverage service,” Mr Turcotte said.

“When we launched our Capital Express service last year, the feedback we had on Garage Project’s bespoke SQ292 beer was fantastic.

“This led to us looking more closely at New Zealander’s love affair with craft beer and its growing popularity worldwide. We then started working with Garage Project to find a brew that would work well for our passengers in-flight.

“It was not easy to choose, as Garage Project has developed a wide variety of innovative beers. Ultimately, we selected Hāpi Daze Pacific Pale Ale as it showcases New Zealand ingredients, will have broad appeal and will serve as a great ambassador for New Zealand craft beer to our customers worldwide.”

Jos Ruffell, co-founder of Garage Project, said the number one request we get in the Garage is to see our beer become available on flights out of New Zealand, and we’re thrilled to see that become a reality today with Singapore Airlines.

“We applaud Singapore Airlines for taking a true leadership position and offering their customers a world class experience that will deliver a quality of beer second to none,” Jos said.

“New Zealand wine is often put forward as a special in-flight offering, but we also have world renowned breweries with unique offerings that also deserve to be showcased and enjoyed in flight and today is a critical step towards that.”

Garage Project co-founder Pete Gillespie added “Working with Singapore Airlines has been an absolute pleasure. Their dedication and passion for offering the best customer experience matches our ethos completely. As a brewer, it’s a dream come true to see Hāpi Daze reach these new heights.”

Garage Project’s Hāpi Daze Pacific Pale Ale, will be available in all cabin classes on Singapore Airlines flights departing New Zealand from 1 June 2017 enhancing the inflight options for over 400,000 passengers per year.

If you want to book your next flight on Singpore Airlines, call us on 0800 110 108 or search our FLIGHTS section

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Emirates’ customers from New Zealand can explore more of Dubai this northern summer by enjoying exclusive offers and discounts across the city with My Emirates Pass, which turns the Emirates boarding pass into an exclusive membership card.

Those flying to or through Dubai between today and August 31 on one of Emirates’ daily A380 services from New Zealand to Dubai and beyond can take advantage of a range of offers at some of Dubai's best known hotspots by simply showing their Emirates boarding pass* and a valid form of identification.

My Emirates Pass gives customers special discounts at over 120 world class restaurants and hotel dining outlets in Dubai. Exclusive offers are also available on a range of leisure activities including visits to championship golf courses, thrilling theme parks or luxury spas across the city.

My Emirates Pass can be used to enjoy some of the city’s must-see new attractions such as Dubai Parks and Resorts which features three theme parks: Bollywood Parks™ Dubai, MOTIONGATE™ Dubai, as well as the region’s first LEGOLAND® Park and LEGOLAND® Water Park.

To see all My Emirates Pass offers, please click here.

To book your next Emirates flight, call us on 0800 110 108, or search here.

 

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Air New Zealand is to increase its successful Houston flights to a daily service from December.

Air New Zealand chief Chris Luxon announced at TRENZ 2017 in Auckland today the flights will be upgraded from 777 200 aircraft to Dreamliners to provide passengers with more premium economy and business seats.

 ‘There are fewer seats, but it will attract higher-value customers.’

Meanwhile, the carrier is also upping its Buenos Aires flights from four to five from November.

This service has enjoyed considerable success, Luxon says, particularly among Australians who total 40% of the passenger numbers.

The trend for Australians to travel from Adelaide to Auckland for the Buenos Aires flight has prompted the airline to up its promotions across the ditch.

Luxton says the launch of both services came after 18 months into the markets, and the airline was now building on that work. ‘It’s very exciting,’ he says.

 
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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.

Watch the video here

 

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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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