Featured News for this month reveals which major air carriers are significantly upgrading their wifi systems onboard and in lounges, exciting new lie-flat seating and how Thailand’s state of mourning can affect you.
Posted On October 26, 2016 Posted By Andy Buerckner
Air New Zealand have announced that they will begin rolling out inflight internet across its network from 2017. The Wi-Fi will be introduced first on its international fleets and then eventually to its domestic New Zealand fleets. The Wi-Fi will be satellite-based and Air New Zealand are currently looking into the pricing structure for the new service.
Virgin have announced their ‘Velocity Live Program’ that will see their Velocity Frequent Flyers reaping the benefits of membership at live events such as concerts and sporting events. These benefits will vary from having access to presale tickets, gaining access to premium seating and ‘buying A Reserve tickets at B Reserve prices’. Virgin have confirmed that this program will be open to all Velocity members.
Hawaiian Airlines have announced that their ‘Premium Cabin’ which includes fully lie-flat seating - 18 seats aligned in a 2-2-2 configuration - are now available to book on their Airbus A330 flights between Honolulu and Brisbane for travel after the 5th of December 2016 and between Honolulu and Sydney from the 13th of December 2016.
In 2017, Star Alliance will be adding Chinese carrier Juneyao Airlines (HO) to its network. Under the Connecting Partner arrangement, Juneyao Airlines will be able to offer privileges such as lounge access and other services to Star Alliance members. Juneayao Airlines is projected to start serving Star Alliance passengers in the second quarter of 2017 and this alliance will add more flight options to many different Chinese cities.
On January 25, 2017, Qantas is set to resume direct flights between Sydney and Beijing after a seven year hiatus as the demand for travel between China and Australia grows. The flights will resume on the Airbus A330-200 aircraft and will be part of Qantas’ alliance with China Eastern Airlines. Qantas have also offered passengers with existing flights on or after this date the option to rebook their travel onto the new direct route with no fees.
Emirates flights EK408/409 will now skip Kuala Lumpur from 31 October as Emirates opts to make this route a Melbourne - Dubai non-stop service. This route will cut flying time by 2.5 hours in each direction and will be operated by tripleclass Boeing 777-300ERs.
In early 2017, Air New Zealand will be opening up it’s new Melbourne Airport lounge.The lounge is set to have the same modern design as the Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland lounge and is set to be the only other Melbourne lounge for Star Alliance members besides the current Singapore Airlines lounge.
The Thai government advised all travellers that the country is in a one year period of national mourning following the passing of their King Bhumibol Adulyadej -the world’s longest reigning monarch- on the 13th of October. The Thai government have advised that many attractions will be closed, some events cancelled or moved to new dates and various other delays and disruptions may occur. They have advised all travellers to stay up to date via local media announcements.
On Thursday the 20th of October, Qantas opened its new international lounge at Brisbane Airport. Business travellers on Qantas, eligible oneworld members and eligible Frequent Flyers will be granted access to this new lounge. The stylish lounge, inspired by Queensland’s landscape, is split over two levels and includes a seasonal menu with a hot and cold buffet, a bar serving premium wine and craft bar, barista served coffee, a hydration station and many more features.
Etihad’s Melbourne Premium Lounge has been named Australia’s best at the 23rd Annual World Travel Awards Asia and Australasia Ceremony in Vietnam just months after the lounge opened its doors in May this year, adding to Etihad’s offering of 15 airport lounges worldwide.