Virgin Australia priority boarding announcement for veterans backfires

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After announcing via Twitter they’d be offering priority boarding to veterans in Australia, Virgin Australia has partially backflipped on their decision after strong public backlash. The airline has stated that “over the coming months, we will consult with community groups and our own team members who have served in defence to determine the best way forward. If this process determines that public acknowledgement of their service through optional priority boarding or any announcement is not appropriate, then we will certainly be respectful of that.”

The Virgin Australia announcement was an odd one to begin with. Perhaps they thought the gesture would earn them some good PR but then again Virgin needs to better understand its customer base, and it isn’t America. Having flown internally within the USA many times I find the gesture a little cringeworthy, if not smacks of commercialism. How can we put a price on death and war? Every ANZAC day commercial businesses are criticised if they utilise the dya for profit, so why is it any different here? Moreover if Virgin had done its research it would know that Australian veterans and our service men and women do not seek attention. Australians are more respectful and do not act patriotically around war like America. Whatever the  case Virgin has dug itself in a deep hole and it is dangerous for an airline already on its knees.

What saddens me is that the announcement was done as part of a campaign by NewsCorp, the same lovely folk who brought you the campaign to fire Malcolm Turnbull,. NewsCorp don’t care about people, they care about their agenda and in this case are probably trying to cover their tracks from recent blunders. The organisation’s intent is tokenism at its worst and Virgin sadly fell into its trap.

Here’s hoping Virgin Australia learn from this tough lesson and consult before making surprise announcements.

 

Should Australia be going down the path of the USA and recognise veterans at the airport/ on the plane? Keen to hear your thoughts.

 

QANTAS BRISBANE DOMESTIC BUSINESS LOUNGE: REVIEW

Lounge: Qantas Domestic Business Lounge

Alliance: Oneworld

Location: Brisbane Domestic Airport

Lounge Rating: 5/5 Stars

 

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The Qantas Domestic Business Lounge in Brisbane is something quite special right from the moment you check into the airport. Not simply a revamp, the Premium Business Lounge (which was reopened in 2017) was completely reworked from the ground up.

The Australian Traveler was eager to checked in and find out if the lounge stacked up on its ‘innovative 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 and Opening Hours

The lounge is hard to miss with signage everywhere on the ground floor of Qantas departures directing passengers to the designated ‘premium lounge entry’. The slick fast-track entrance is an impressive benefit for time poor premium and top tier frequent flyers travellers. Once checked through security, head straight up the escalator where you will land into a general lounge precinct that houses the Qantas Club, the Qantas Premium Business Lounge and Chairmans Lounge. The Qantas Domestic Business Lounge is open daily from 5am – 11pm.

 

Ambience

 

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The lounge was fairly quiet when I first arrived but quickly picked up in people traffic. Despite the crowd numbers at no point did I feel overcrowded. One noticeable feature was the use of more shared social spaces with little individual seating areas on offer for solo travellers.

The L shaped lounge boasts a distinctively Queensland feel, particularly with its use of local materials and colour palette inspired by Moreton Bay. Plants and natural light help to further enhance the outdoor feel whilst providing the lounge with a sense of additional space.

 

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The bathrooms are equally impressive and well fitted with quality touches. On my visit alone the majority of the shower rooms were being used so there seems to definitely be a need domestically for these facilities no matter what time of day it is.

 

Bread and butter (food and drink)

 

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The Brisbane Premium Business Lounge has gone above and beyond in this area. When I first saw Perth’s pizza oven a couple of years back I was wowed. This lounge takes the concept one step further. Qantas has ditched the pizza oven and decided to offer Queenslanders The Cantina, which focuses on Mexican delicacies. Prepare to sample anything from freshly-made empanadas, fritters, baked potatoes and quesadillas. I went with the fritters and they were did not fail to impressive.

 

If you prefer something less salsa and more traditional fare, there is an extensive buffet of hot and cold dishes to choose from.

 

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Drinks wise, there is the usual barista and bar services which offer a decent selection of drinks but it is the Quench hydration station (a first for Qantas lounges) that shines. My pick is the Bickford’s Pink Grapefruit which can also be found served on Qantas international economy routes.

 

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Verdict

Despite my brief time in the lounge (yes I could have easily whittled away more time here), I found my experience to be quite enjoyable and relaxing. The fast track entrance allowed me to utilise my time more effectively in the lounge and not in security line.

Food and drink is impressive and the Mexican cantina section is the real star of the show. I maybe biased here because I love Mexican cuisine but the extensive dish options really does offer something for everything.

If I had to criticise anything about my experience, it would be the the use of shared seating. Gone are the days are solo spaces for solo travellers it seems. For someone wanting to work privately and not be disturbed, this is not the lounge for it.

That said I’ll be back here for sure and ready with a empty stomach willing to try all items on the Mexican menu.

 

Comments

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

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

Emirates removes whilst Malaysia Airlines returns to Brisbane Airport

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Brisbane avgeeks brace yourselves for the temporary removal of Emirates A380 aircraft. Yes you heard right. The airline will make its Airbus A380 disappear from Brisbane skies later this year replacing them with Boeing 777s from June.

Emirates is the only airline to fly the A380 in and out of Brisbane Airport. The airline claims that the move is temporary but it is hard to tell. For those flying out of Brisbane on Emirates between June and August 2018,  a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will be deployed on services EK434 and EK435.

It is a disappointing move by Emirates with the current crop of 777s not up to standard compared to its A380 product. Whilst First and Economy will be relatively minor in terms of change it is Business Class passengers who will be most affected with their seat and configuration downgraded from a 1-2-1 flat bed to a 2-3-2. In addition a number of the 777 interiors are tired and the Economy configuration is cramped and hellish at best.

In more positive news for Brisbane flyers, Malaysia Airlines is set to return to Brisbane after cancelling service in 2015 in the wake of the MH370 and MH17 disasters. The return of the airline will see Queenslanders offered more options to fly to destinations such as India, south-east Asia and the UK via Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia Airlines will recommence flights on June 6 on its Airbus A330 aircraft.