Etihad Airways really is starting to become a shadow of its former, glamorous self. The airline when it took to the skies was full of promise and was in fact ground breaking at one point. Lately Etihad announcements are something I dread as they have been the last two years about news of removing or cancelling product and/or aircraft. Today’s disappointing announcement from Etihad is the removal of one of their popular A380 services to Sydney, which will be replaced by a Boeing 777-300ER on an ongoing basis from July 2019.
Previously Etihad announced that flight EY451 and the EY450 return leg would revert from the current short-term Boeing 777 and back to to its flagship Airbus A380 in May.. Ssdly Etihad has had a rethink of this and decided to keep the change permanently.
The downgrade in aircraft means those set to fly the A380 will need to review their booking, especially those in business as the B777 possesses the last generation business class seat as well as lacks the pizzazz of a onboard bar area. Those in first will also be affected with the 777s first suites no match for the spaciousness of the A380s. Moreover those seeking a shower best wait til they land because the inflight shower is not on the B777 aircraft.
Coincidentally the announcement and date of it removal aligns with Etihad’s launch of the A380 between Abu Dhabi and Seoul.
Personally if you are flying a premium class I would make the switch. B777s are a horrid aircraft; noisy, lacking space and generally disappointing.
Will you be switching aircraft if your booking has landed on the new B777 aircraft? Kene to hear your thoughts.
Qantas for the last couple of years has moved slowly away from the business market and focused its energies on the recreation side of things. First it was the launch of direct flights to Bali (which was predominantly left to their Jetstar arm prior) and now Qantas has decided they want a piece of the island action in Fiji! That’s right folks, Qantas will be flying direct Sydney – Nadi from 31 March 2019.
Flying four times weekly, the flight will be serviced by a Boeing 737. QF101 will depart Sydney at 10.30am every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, to arrive in Nadi at 4.30pm. The QF102 return leg departs Nadi at 5.35pm the same day for an 8pm Sydney arrival.
The news doesn’t mean that Qantas will shy from its codeshare with Fiji Airways flight to Nadi, particularity now that Fiji Airways is a member of the Oneworld Connect scheme.
Will you be taking a leisurely island holiday to Fiji now that Qantas is in the game? Keen to hear your thoughts.
Regional Victoria is set to get another travel option boost with QantasLink set to fly between Bendigo Airport and Sydney from March next year.The announcement by Qantas and the state government is an exciting one as it helps service a growing area in Victoria that for many is a long distance from Sydney and vice versa when you factor in flying and driving.
Until now passengers from Sydney would have to fly into Melbourne Tullamarine Airport before making a two hour drive onward to Bendigo.
From March 31, 2019 QantasLink will operate flights six days a week with its 50-seat Q300 turboprop aircraft, with daily services operating during the peak summer season.
Flights from Bendigo depart between 6.30am – 9.10am, Monday – Saturday, whilst services from Sydney depart at 5.25pm and land in Bendigo at 7.25pm on weekdays and Sundays. Flights will take from an hour and 10 minutes to two hours.
QantasLink is currently offering special fares of $129 one-way between Bendigo and Sydney, for travel from March 31 to October 26, 2019. The sale ends 17 Dec 2018.
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.
Ah Etihad Airways you’ve done it again! The Abu Dhabi based airline of late has been putting the knife into his product offerings, slowly killing off its ‘premium’ experience in a bid to fast track its way back to profitability after posting losses the last two years in a row.
What I thought was a cash cow for Etihad, the Sydney – Abu Dhabi leg, is not safe from its cost cutting measures. This month the airline announced it would remove the crowd favourite A380 with a downgrade to a B777 on one of its two daily Sydney-Abu Dhabi flights from October 2018 to late May 2019.
The flight affected is EY451 which departs Sydney 3pm and the returning EY450 leg back. The downgrade will take place 20 October 2018 to 4 December 2018, and then again from 7 February 2019 to 30 May 2019. Between the December-February dates listed above, EY451/EY450 will get a reprieve with the return of the A380.
The airline’s other daily service (EY454/455) will continue to feature the superjumbo, so if you are planning on flying the superjumbo note this before making a booking.
The change particularly isn’t great for passengers across the board with the B777 displaying the last gen seats for all classes. Moreover the B777 lacks the A380s lobby social lounge/bar area.
Etihad Airways announced that the change of aircraft was due to routine maintenance and has said it’ll notify guests booked on these services of the changes.
Whilst disappointed by the news (I’m an avid A380 fanboy), it sadly isn’t unexpected. My concern is how much further or for that matter low can the airline go in order to cut costs?!
Qantas has collaborated with Sydney Airport to trial in new airport checkin technology which will change the way we fly.
Passengers on select Qnatas international flights will take part in a groundbreaking trial of facial recognition programming at Sydney Airport. The new biometrics technology allows travellers to pass through most stages of the airport experience without needing a passport or boarding pass. This means that travellers will be able to stand in front of a camera and computer at check-in, bag-drop, get lounge access and more importantly boarding.
Whilst this sounds quite promising and I’m all for convenience and faster process, I feel a bit apprehensive about the new technology; namely the security around it and what would happen if the technology went down. Would we be able to revert back so easily to the current process we enjoy today? If not I can see a lot of delay headaches happening here especially when technology has gone down in airports in the past which has in turn delayed or cancelled flights.
Additionally with so much automation in our lives I feel that this would strip away any personalisation. Qantas promises that the new technology will better tailor the experience for the traveller but I feel the human interaction will be more limited and for me that’s not necessarily a good thing especially when technology cannot make any judgement calls by itself. I guess time will tell.
What do you think of the new checkin technology? Would you be keen to use this?