QATAR TAKES FIRST AIRBUS A350-1000 DELIVERY

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Qatar Airways became the global launch customer for the A350-1000 this week with the first of their 37 plane orders set to take off this weekend. The A350-1000, which is 23 feet longer than the A350-900, will be delivered with the airline’s groundbreaking Qsuites installed. This is great news for business travellers as they QSuite had only been limited to a handful of 777-300ERs.

The A350-1000 will be configured with 327 seats including 46 Qsuites whilst economy will possess 281 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration, with 32″ of pitch at each seat. The pitch in economy will be one of the best in the air. For some this may not seem like much but every inch in economy counts in terms of space and comfort.

The new Airbus will take on the QR15/16 Doha to London Heathrow route from 24 February 2018. No other routes have been announced yet but it is expected that that A350-1000 will fly to the USA East Coast in the not to distance future.

Comments

What do you think of the new A350-1000? Would you be flying the London-Doha route anytime soon?

EMIRATES LAUNCHES NEW AUCKLAND TO BALI TO DUBAI FLIGHTS

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It seems the New Zealanders also have an appetite for Bali as much as their Australian counterparts with Emirates announcing they commence daily flights from Dubai to Auckland via Bali from 14 June 2018.

The UAE based airline announcement sees Emirates expanding their operations further into NZ with the new flight adding to their existing daily nonstop flight from Dubai to Auckland and Dubai via Sydney to Christchurch flights.

The route will be operated by a three class Boeing 777, featuring eight first class seats, 42 business class seats, and 304 economy seats. Currently this 777 will sadly not be retrofitted with the new business class seat, so if you don’t mind the hop over your fellow business passenger or a slightly angled sleep then you will lap this option up.

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The flight will depart as EK450 Dubai to Bali departing 6:55AM arriving 8:20PM, following on as EK450 Bali to Auckland departing 10:00PM arriving 10:00AM (+1 day)

From Auckland, the flight will operate as EK451 to Bali departing 12:40PM arriving 5:55PM, following on as EK451 Bali to Dubai departing 7:50PM arriving 12:45AM (+1 day).

Personally I welcome the announcement as it adds more upgrade and reward seats potential especially with the Asia Pacific region currently struggling to cope with demand. Yes it would be a slight detour for me but when the chance to sit towards the front is offered I don’t mind investing the extra handful of hours in the sky.

Comment

Will you be taking advantage of Emirates new Dubai to Bali to Auckland flight?

Qantas’ new indigenous Boeing 787-9 livery is unveiled

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Qantas has treated avgeeks and art lovers alike to a sneak preview of for its latest specially designed Indigenous artwork livery for its fourth 787-9.

The new livery which is currently getting touch ups in the in the Boeing Seattle paintshop facility, is based on a work by the late Northern Territory artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Her 1991 Yam Dreaming painting has been adapted for the aircraft by leading Indigenous-owned design studio Balarinji.

Once work has been completed on the aircraft it take the name Emily Kame Kngwarreye. The aircraft will undergo flight testing before its flown to Alice Springs for a special welcome event on March 2.

The aircraft will become the airline’s fifth Indigenous flying art aircraft. Emily Kame Kngwarreye joins the Boeing 737-800 Mendoowoorrji, which is currently in Qantas service. The Mendoowoorrji design was inspired by Paddy Bedford’s painting Medicine Pocket.

 

The delivery of the new livery tops what will be a big month in March month for the airline with the commencement of nonstop flights between Perth and London taking off on March 24.

 

QANTAS MELBOURNE DOMESTIC BUSINESS LOUNGE: REVIEW

Lounge: Qantas Domestic Business Lounge

Alliance: Oneworld

Location: Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

Lounge Rating: 4/5 Stars

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The Qantas Domestic Business Lounge is a hub where Qantas’ top end and affiliated Oneworld equivalents as well as domestic business class travelers can whittle away the time whilst enjoying views of a few plane tails making their tracks in and out of the airport. For an avgeek this spot is fantastic and coupled with a drink and good food, the place is a airport sanctuary.

The Australian Traveler checked in to find out if the lounge stacked up on its ‘premium’ experience.

 

Lounge access options

  • Qantas Platinum and Platinum One members
  • First and Business class passengers (travelling on Qantas Domestic Business class or connecting to/from a Qantas or Emirates international flight)
  • Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members (travelling on flights marketed and operated by Qantas or a Oneworld airline)
  • Emirates Platinum Skyward Members
  • Platinum Eastern Miles Members when travelling on a Qantas operated domestic flight

Lounge location & opening hours

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Finding this lounge can be a tad tricky as its location is hidden away within the Qantas Club lounge. Once you have cleared security in Qantas’ T1 domestic terminal, head right until you come across the combined lounge entrance. Enter the Qantas Club and keep walking towards the back of the lounge to some doors marked ‘Business’. The Qantas Domestic Business Lounge is open daily from 5am – 11pm.

 

Ambience

The lounge was fairly quiet when I first arrived but quickly picked up in people traffic within half an hour of me being there.

First impressions were generally good. Compared to the Perth and Brisbane Business Class lounges, the lounge was starting to show its age but when compared to the Qantas Club next door it still felt premium in quality. Break out areas and plenty of natural lighting helped give the lounge a sense of harmony.

The bathrooms were a step up from the Qantas Club with quality handtowels and ASPAR skincare products provided rather than the typical generic dispenser variety.

Wifi worked well in the lounge which is great for business types wanting to get a bit of extra work in before their flight.

 

Bread and butter (food and drink)

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This is where the lounge shines. My flight was in the morning and aptly a breakfast buffet selection was served. The buffet had a decent variety of hot and cold dishes from eggs and bacon to salads and fruit bowls. Old faithful the pancake machine was my go to and as usual they were a delight.

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Qantas has an excellent barista service on hand and the almond latte I ordered was quite smooth in quality. If you don’t want barista made or are in a hurry there are two coffee and tea stations available.

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The drinks selection was also strong with a number of wine, beer and spirits on display. Considering the time of the day I did not get to sample any but the juice station where one can make their own juice was a nice touch for those wanting a healthy alternative.

 

Verdict

The lounge despite showing its age did not lack in quality. The space is tranquil, quiet and a great spot to either get some work done or a chance to unwind from a long day at work.

Food and drink offerings are extensive and of good quality. The bonus of a proper barista at hand serving coffee unlike the machine only option in US lounges gives the lounge x-factor.

With the lounge set to undergo a complete overhaul this year I will be keen to see what new added extras the new lounge will offer premium flyers . Until then the current lounge is more than ample to meet the needs of even the most discerning frequent flyer.

 

Comments

Have you experienced the Qantas Domestic Business Lounge in Melbourne? Love to hear from you about your time in lounge – was it outstanding or did the lounge fail to take off on your expectations?

Qatar puts the downgrade in upgrade

If you have dreamed of upgrading to a better flight experience from that tight economy seat after standing around a crowded terminal to a champagne in the lounge before boarding business – forget it with Qatar!

The Qatar based airline has made a change to their lounge access policy and it hasn’t come without strong criticism from those that fly loyal with the airline. Effective immediately Qatar Airways tickets upgraded with Qmiles/ Qpoints will receive the baggage and lounge access entitlements based on the original ticket purchased, and not the upgraded class. This means that economy to business class upgrades will no longer receive access to the Al Mourjan Lounge in Doha whilst those upgrading business to first class won’t receive access to the Al Safwa Lounge in Doha.

As stated before only Qatar Airways passengers booked on award tickets will still be eligible for lounge access.

The latest tightening on Qatar’s top end is a strange and unwelcome policy by an airline that prides itself on being prestige and class leading. Having flown as a QR business class passenger last year I can see how the lounge has the potential to experience overcrowding and in turn the airline in part is addressing crowding concerns. That said this is the top end we are talking about; the loyal flyers who frequently give Qatar business. Remove the incentives to fly with them and what do you have? A pretty average program.

I think Qatar could find other ways to cut costs or deal with this issue. Restrictions on tickets like this isn’t one of them.

QANTAS DREAMLINER TO OPERATE BRISBANE – LA FROM 1 SEPT 2018

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Queenslanders wanting a break from their sunny lifestyles to enjoy the even sunnier lifestyle of Hollywood’s rich and famous can now so in style with Qantas announcing it will deliver a daily Dreamliner service between Brisbane and Los Angeles from 1 September 2018. The flash new Boeing will replace the queen of the skies. the B747-400.

The Dreamliner will continue on as QF11/12, the connecting service between LA and New York (JFK). This service will also carry passengers connecting from Sydney and Melbourne services as those from Brisbane.

Between September and December 2018, the daily Brisbane – Los Angeles Dreamliner service will be complemented by up to three weekly Boeing 747 flights to meet seasonal demand.

From 1 December 2018, the airline will replace the three weekly 747 services between Brisbane and Los Angeles with a second year-round Dreamliner service that’ll operate four times weekly.

Fares for the Dreamliner are now on sale.

Schedule information for BNE-LAX – 1 September – 1 December 2018*

Route Flight Dep Time^ Arr Time^ Frequency Aircraft
BNE-LAX QF 15 1020 0600 Daily B789
LAX-JFK QF 11 0820 1640 Daily B789
BNE-LAX QF 55 1750 1330 Mon, Thu, Sat B744
JFK-LAX QF 12 1810 2100 Daily B789
LAX-BNE QF 56 2215 0500+2 Tue, Thu, Sat B744
LAX-BNE QF 16 2325 0610+2 Daily B789

Schedule information for BNE-LAX – 1 December onwards*

Route Flight Dep Time^ Arr Time^ Frequency Aircraft
BNE-LAX QF 15 1120 0600 Daily B789
LAX-JFK QF 11 0820 1630 Daily B789
BNE-LAX QF 55 1715 1155 Mon, Wed, Fri,  Sat B789
LAX-BNE QF 56 2105 0500+2 Mon, Thu, Fri, Sat B789
JFK-LAX QF 12 1800 2055 Daily B789
LAX-BNE QF 16 2320 0715+2 Daily B789

QANTAS NOW FLYING DAILY MELB – BALI SERVICES

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Looking for your ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ moment in Bali but haven’t had the chance to drop everything like Julia? Well now Melbournians have a daily reason to with Qantas announcing it will commence a new daily Melbourne – Denpasar (Bali) service from 23 June 2018.

Operated by a Boeing 737-800 aircraft, the new route complements Qantas’ year round daily Sydney – Denpasar service.

The Melbourne – Denpasar service will be operated by a two-class Boeing 737 aircraft. Unlike Jetstar, checked baggage allowance, inflight entertainment and food and drinks are included.

The airline made the announcement based off strong demand from customers who wanted a full-service experience travelling to Bali. Last year alone Qantas and Jetstar carried 1.6 million customers between them.

Combined with Jetstar, the Qantas Group will now offer customers a choice of 84 return services to Bali from across Australia.

Fares for the new daily service are on sale today.