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Bonza names its first Boeing 737

Bonza names its first Boeing 737

Bonza, the new Australian Low Cost Carrier, has announced the winning name for its first B-737.

A shortlist of the hundreds of suggestions was voted on by the Bonza Local Legends – the airline’s ambassadors.  The most popular name and one adopted by Bonza was "Shazza".  The second most popular name was "Bazza", which may be used for the second aircraft when it joins ist stablemate.

Shazza is currently having her interiors Bonza-ified including obligatory splashes of purple.  Bonza is aloso training in-flight and cabin crew, finalising the all-Aussie menu and stress testing the Fly Bonza App which will be the only place customers can book flights (with the exception of local travel agents).

An exciting time for Bonza.


Virgin Australia's domestic travellers will have an easier experience at security and access to an expanded range of food and beverage options with the opening of the redevelopment of Melbourne Airport’s Terminal 3.
 
The centrepiece of the upgrade is an indoor walkway linking the landside departures levels of Terminals 3 and 4, as well as the consolidation of security screening at an expanded central location in Terminal 4.
 
Virgin Australia travellers will now be screened using the latest smart security technology, which allows them to keep laptops, tablets and liquids in their bags, with an additional two lanes opened to increase processing capacity.
 
For the first time at Melbourne Airport the Virgin Australia lounge is located in the secure airside zone, meaning premium travellers will be able to enjoy the facilities right up until boarding time.

For more info, see the linked video from Virgin Australia...

Bonza Debut Flight Touches Down | Milestone Tick

Bonza Debut Flight Touches Down | Milestone Tick

Bonza’s first 737 MAX aircraft touched down at Sunshine Coast Airport yesterday morning marking a major milestone for Australia’s newest low-cost carrier. 

It is the first Boeing 737 MAX to be based in Australia and will be part of a fleet of aircraft based initially on the Sunshine Coast and in Melbourne.  Additional aircraft will follow and ultimately support Bonza’s growth plans beyond its initial bases. The airline is calling out to help name the plane by asking for comments on Bonza’s Instagram and Facebook pages with their nicknames.

The initial network is 17 destinations on 27 routes. Ninety-three per cent of the routes are currently not serviced by another airline (25 out of 27 routes) and 96 per cent are not currently served by a low-cost carrier.

Bonza says that flights are expected to start from around AU$50 for each hour a customer is in the air and eight kilograms of carry-on baggage will be included in the flight price.

To achieve their low-cost strategy, Australians are encouraged to download the Fly Bonza app which will be the only place to book directly. The airline’s ‘app first’ strategy means flights will not be available for purchase on third-party websites allowing Bonza to communicate directly with customers about their upcoming flights. In addition to booking and check-in, the Fly Bonza app is also where customers can order food and drink from the menu directly to their seats and enjoy the in-flight entertainment. 

Congratulations to all at the Bonza team!

Malaysia Airlines Doubling Its Daily Flights To Qatar Following High Demand

Malaysia Airlines Doubling Its Daily Flights To Qatar Following High Demand

Malaysia Airlines is adding a second daily service to Doha (DOH), saying the route it launched in May has high demand.

The carrier started a daily Airbus A330-300 Kuala Lumpur (KUL)-DOH route in late May, building on the expanded codeshare agreement inked with Qatar Airways earlier this year and covered on by us 18 July 2022. Both airlines are Oneworld members. 

Malaysia Airlines’ second daily frequency on the DOH-KUL route will commence from Aug. 10 and also be operated by an A330-300 aircraft.

The carriers said in a joint statement that their codeshare relationship gives passengers access to 96 destinations.   

“The arrival and departure times of the double daily Malaysia Airlines flights offer customers full access to Qatar Airways’ unrivaled network to the Middle East, Europe, Africa and the US via the world’s best airport, Hamad International Airport, while simultaneously building perfect connectivity to Malaysia Airlines’ network to states within Malaysia, as well as southeast Asia, north Asia and also to Australasia,” the airlines stated.


Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer Spontaneous Escapes are back! After returning from hiatus in spring 2022, Spontaneous Escapes are back again for another month.

These monthly promotions offer KrisFlyer award bookings with a discount of 30% on selected routes, meaning you need fewer miles to book than normal. Typically you must book by the end of the month, for flights the following month.

The latest list includes flights in August 2022, for which you need to book by July 31, 2022.

Some key points are that:

  • Bookings must be made at singaporeair.com as other channels won't reflect the discount.
  • The promotion is valid for economy, premium economy, and business-class redemptions.
  • Cash and miles+cash bookings are not eligible for discounts.
For example, one-way flights between Singapore and Australia's east coast (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane or Cairns) are only 21,350 Krisflyer miles.

So, act fast to grab these price-busting award bookings !           

Further T&C's apply. For more information...

AirlineRatings Announces 2022 World's Best Airlines Awards

AirlineRatings Announces 2022 World's Best Airlines Awards

The world’s Best Airlines for 2022 have been named by AirlineRatings.com, the world’s only safety, product, and COVID rating website, and the airline of the year is … Qatar Airways.

The Doha-based airline nudged out Air New Zealand, Etihad Airways and Korean Air for the top spot in AirlineRatings.com Best Airlines for 2022 followed by Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Virgin Australia. Taiwan’s EVA was rated 8th followed by Turkish Airlines in the 9th spot. Turkish Airlines is also named the Best Airline in Europe. In 10th position is Japan’s All Nippon Airlines.

Qatar Airways also took out Best Business Class. “The airline’s Qsuite is a first-class experience in business class and our judges rated it as the best overall business-class product they had seen,” said Mr Geoff Thomas of AirlineRatings.com.

As well as taking out number 2 position in the Top Twenty Airlines rankings, Air New Zealand won Best Airline in the Pacific, Best Premium Economy, and Best Economy.  The airline has just unveiled a major make-over and new products that will be introduced in 2024, so it should continue to rank highly in years to come.

Singapore Airlines won the prestigious Best First Class award for its unique Suites product and also Best Lounges. The six Suites in this stylish cabin at the front of the upper deck of the airline’s flagship Airbus A380s are designed to be the equivalent of small hotel rooms.

Virgin Australia won Best Cabin Crew and Emirates was awarded Best Inflight Entertainment (yet again).

Excellence in Long Haul travel was awarded to: jetBlue (Americas), Turkish Airlines (Europe), Qatar Airways (Middle-East/Africa), Korean Air (Asia) and Air New Zealand (Pacific).

Best Low-Cost Airlines are: Southwest (Americas), easyjet (Europe), Jetstar (Asia/Pacific) and Fly Dubai (Middle-East).


Our congratulations to all the winners !

Turkish Airlines Now Rated Among The Best For Safety

Turkish Airlines Now Rated Among The Best For Safety

Turkish Airlines’ incident record over the past five years has been outstanding and has resulted in the airline’s safety rating being lifted from five-star to the highest possible seven-stars by the global rating agency AirlineRatings.com.

" With Turkish Airlines, we found an extremely low incident rate and virtually none attributable to pilots...That performance and its COVID-19 compliance for passengers gained Turkish Airlines the top safety rating of seven stars,” said Geoffrey Thomas of AirlineRatings.

Under AirlineRatings' system, 159 of 357 (44.5%) of Airlines currently have the 7-star rating.

The airline also has a seven-star rating for its onboard products making it a seven-star rated airline for safety, product and COVID compliance.

Prior to COVID Turkish Airlines operated 374 aircraft to 331 destinations in 127 countries, including 52 domestic, and 13 in the United States and 11 in Germany.

Our congratulations to Turkish Airlines - top rating for all 3 areas tested (safety, product and COVID compliance) is a great achievement in protecting its passengers and staff.

Star Alliance First To Expand Network To Rail With New ‘Intermodal’ Partner

Star Alliance First To Expand Network To Rail With New ‘Intermodal’ Partner

Lufthansa (a Star Alliance member) customers are already able to buy a combined ticket for Deutsche Bahn (DB)  trains and Lufthansa flights in one booking step, including seat reservation.

Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance with 26 member airlines has historically been specifically for airlines.  However, that’s changing.

In an industry first, starting 1 August 2022, all 25 other Star Alliance member airlines will be able to include DB’s ICE high-speed trains as flight numbers in their booking engines and customers will benefit from the following advantages:

  • In just one booking, airline customers will receive a combined ticket for the flight and train journeys, including seat reservations
  • Upon check-in, which is possible until soon before departure (not hours prior), travellers receive their boarding passes for both the flight and the train journeys.
  • Customers will benefit from priority baggage handling and other services in the AiRail check-in area in Frankfurt
  • For bookings of combined train & flight journeys via Lufthansa Express Rail, travelers can collect points or miles in their preferred Star Alliance program
  • First & business class Star Alliance airline passengers will receive additional benefits, such as access to Deutsche Bahn lounges.

The move makes German rail operator Deutsche Bahn the Star Alliance’s first intermodal, non-airline partner, and signals that airlines are looking to broaden the scope of their networks to include other modes of transport such as railway, bus, or ferry. Under the new partnership, DB customers and passengers of Star Alliance member airlines can start or end their journey by train. 

Star Alliance’s intermodal partnership model is designed to link loyalty systems and facilitate seamless airport / rail station / port transit.

While Germany is the first market where the alliance’s intermodal concept is being trialled, Star Alliance plans to expand its intermodal partnerships in the future.

The DB-Star Alliance partnership is expected to make a significant contribution to reducing CO
2 emissions in the transport sector, as well as boosting traveller convenience.
A welcome, positive move reflecting a more eco-conscious time.

Virgin Australia Updates Awards Tables for its Partners - From October 2022

Virgin Australia Updates Awards Tables for its Partners - From October 2022

Velocity is introducing changes to the Points required for Reward Seats on Etihad Airways, Air Canada, Singapore Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and South African Airways for tickets issued from 5 October 2022.

Velocity noted that the amount of Points required to redeem an Economy Class or Business Class Reward Seat will change for some routes. We looked more closely at the changes and found that:

  • Points required for travel in Premium Economy or First Class were unchanged;
  • Points required for trips of up to 2,400 miles (one way) are unchanged for all cabin categories;
  • Points required for trips of more than 4,800 miles (one way) are unchanged for all cabin categories;
  • For trips between 2,401 and 3,600 miles, the category has been split into 2,401 to 3,000 (requiring 3,000 fewer points than currently for Economy but 2,000 more for Business Class) and 3,001 to 3,600 (requiring 1,000 fewer points than currently for Economy but 4,000 more for Business Class);
  • For trips between 3,601 and 4,800 miles, the category has been split into 3,601 to 4,200 (requiring 6,000 fewer points than currently for Economy but 2,000 more for Business Class) and 4,201 to 4,800 (requiring 4,000 fewer points than currently for Economy but 6,000 more for Business Class).

So, no change for travellers booking Premium Economy or First Class, but for travellers flying in Economy, the changes will result in either the same or fewer points being required.
For Business Class travellers, the increases could be hefty – more than 14% for the new 3,001-3,600 category and more than 17% for the 4,201-4,800 mile category.

Impact on some popular routes:

Unchanged - PER-DPS, MEL-AUH, SYD-AUH

6,000 fewer points (saving 17.1%) for Economy but 2,000 (+5.7%) more for Business Class

*  MEL-SGP 3,765 miles

*  SYD-SGP 3,915 miles


3,000 fewer points (saving 10.7%) for Economy but 2,000 (+7.1%) more for Business Class.

*  PER-SGP 2,435 miles

*  LHR-AUH 2,982 miles

*  MEL-DPS 2,750 miles

*  SYD-DPS 2,875 miles

1,000 fewer points (saving 3.6%) for Economy but 4,000 (+14.3%) more for Business Class

*  MEL-KUL 3,405 miles

*  SYD-KUL 3,555 miles

Some observations:
  • for Australians vacationing in Bali, award redemptions will be the same or as much as 17% less for Economy, but Business Class will be 7% more from the east coast;
  • the amount of points required for flights between Abu Dhabi and Australia;
  • for flights between Abu Dhabi and London, flying Economy will be cheaper but Business Class will require more points than prior to October 2022;
  • flights between Australia and Singapore will be treated more kindly than flights between Australia and Malaysia.
Carrier Charges
A carrier charge for Reward Seats on Singapore Airlines will also be introduced for tickets issued from 5 October 2022. These charges are less than the carrier charges introduced for Etihad Airways.
Any voluntary changes (by travellers) to Reward Seats ticketed up to 4 October will, from 5 October 2022, require cancellation and refund (if applicable) of the original ticket. 

So make any changes you need to make prior to then because...
Any new Reward Seat ticketed from 5 October 2022 (including those from voluntary changes noted above) on the above mentioned airlines, will be according to the new Points redemption table.


The ability to transfer your Velocity Points and KrisFlyer miles between programs is due to restart on 19 July 2022!

If you are also a member of KrisFlyer, the loyalty program of Singapore Airlines, you can set up a link between your Velocity Account and KrisFlyer Account and convert Points and Miles between both programs. 

For every 1.55 KrisFlyer miles you transfer, you will earn 1 Velocity Point. A minimum transfer amount of 5,000 KrisFlyer miles is required. This is the same rate that applied just prior to the covid-19 crisis (but the minimum transfer has been reduced from 10,000 to 5,000 KrisFlyer miles).

Note that transfers cannot be reversed once made.

You will also be able to 
redeem Velocity Points for Reward Seats in Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class on the Singapore Airlines network (T&C's and exclusions will apply).

Great news for members of both programs, reopening opportunities that were available prior to February 2020.

It also provides an opiton for holders of larger KrisFlyer balances to "save" miles that are close to expiring, as KrisFlyer miles have a "hard" expiry of 3 years, whereas Velocity points do not expire as long as there is some activity every 2 years. Note that miles transferred cannot be transferred back again.

Air New Zealand set to relaunch 14 international routes

Air New Zealand set to relaunch 14 international routes

Air New Zealand is about to relaunch 14 international routes in 16 days and this will bring its international capacity up to 60% of pre-covid levels.

The Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will be back helping to ensure that from July 9, the airline will have three-quarters of its international and domestic routes back up and running with popular destinations like Honolulu, Houston and Tahiti restarting after around 820 days of not operating.

“We are seeing first-hand how keen people are to travel again, particularly across the Tasman. Come July, we will double our services across the Tasman and restart popular direct services like the Sunshine Coast, Hobart and Adelaide. By July 9 we will be back at all nine Australian ports which is an important milestone for us.” Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said.

Great news for travellers to Australia and its near neighbour.

Turkish Airlines Targets Nonstop Australia Flights

Turkish Airlines Targets Nonstop Australia Flights

Turkish Airlines is considering the launch of non-stop services to Australia using either Airbus A350-1000XWB or Boeing 777X aircraft. Australia is a whitespot in the carrier’s network of more than 300 destinations worldwide. The only other major exception is Greenland.

The airline already operates 777-300ERs, as well as A350-900s. However, Turkish Airlines may go for an additional version, such as the A350-1000XWB for the ultra-long-range services from Istanbul to Sydney and Melbourne.

“Australia is the last continent which Turkish Airlines is not flying to,” Turkish Airlines chairman Ahmet Bolat said at the 2022 IATA annual general meeting in Doha.

For Turkish Airlines, the nonstop flying time from Istanbul (IST) to Sydney (SYD) and Melbourne (MEL) would be approximately 17 hours. Services could start in 2026 or 2027.

In the meantime, until the ultra-long-range capacity is available, the Istanbul-based carrier already has codeshare connections to Australia. The airline is also looking for partnerships in Australia and is talking with nations like Malaysia or Indonesia for fifth freedom rights.

“If we would have that [fifth-freedom], then we could share the markets with the home carriers,” Mr Bolat said. “With the existing fleet we cannot do nonstop flights. We are talking with our codeshare partners, because it is more comfortable to operate Australia with the same aircraft.”

Turkish Airlines has an interesting loyalty program Miles&Smiles, so direct flights to Australia may open up some interesting opportunities with Turkish Airlines and other Star Alliance members.

Virgin Australia Building Its Short-Haul International Routes

Virgin Australia Building Its Short-Haul International Routes

Virgin Australia announced this week that it is resuming more short-haul international destinations and is also planning for further expansion of its international network later this year and in March 2023.

The carrier operated an extensive network to New Zealand before the pandemic, and intends to return to this market in November 2022 with flights to Queenstown (ZQN).

Virgin also operated long-haul international flights, primarily to the US. However, it cut all the long-haul routes when it decided to dispose of its widebody fleet as part of its restructuring as a primarily domestic operator in 2020.

Currently, Virgin’s only current international route is between Sydney and Fiji.

However, Virgin is now resuming flights to Bali (DPS), Indonesia—an important leisure destination. Flights between Sydney (SYD) and Bali start June 15, and routes from Melbourne (MEL) and Brisbane (BNE) to Bali are due to relaunch on June 17

Virgin has scheduled a wave of short-haul international routes in March 2023. This includes a service between Bali and Gold Coast (OOL), Australia, which it has not operated before. The flight is set to launch on March 29, 2023. Virgin Australia said the announcement of the Gold Coast-Bali route reflects increasing demand for flights in and out of Gold Coast, and the airline’s growing presence at the Gold Coast airport for domestic flights. The carrier currently operates up to 180 domestic outbound flights per week from Gold Coast, and bookings on Gold Coast flights were up by 55% in May versus 2019 levels.

Samoa (APW) and Vanuatu (VLI) will be added back to Virgin’s network during the same month. Flights from Brisbane to Vanuatu are due to begin on March 10, from Sydney to Samoa on March 21, and Brisbane to Samoa on March 23.

For the immediate future at least, Virgin will offer long-haul connections via its international partners. It is continuing its relationship with partners including Air Canada, All Nippon Airways, Etihad, Hawaiian Airlines and Singapore Airlines, and in May announced it will also partner with Qatar Airways. Earlier this year it also replaced Delta by United as its US partner.

Flights from Sydney (SYD) to Bali (DPS) are now available from A$ 787.75.  Check availability for Virgin Australia flights to Bali (or others that interest you).

(Virgin Australia is one of our advertisers and we may receive a small compensation from them)

Singapore Airlines Upgrades Its Lounge Offerings At Changi

Singapore Airlines Upgrades Its Lounge Offerings At Changi

Singapore Airlines (SIA) is positioning itself for a potential shift in traveling patterns of premium and high-net-worth customers through Singapore Changi airport, as the market shifts toward Southeast Asia. The Star Alliance member has unveiled an upgraded and expanded SilverKris and KrisFlyer Gold lounge at Changi Terminal 3. The project cost the airline S$50 million (US$37 million) and took nearly three years to complete. 

The four lounge areas, known as Private Room, the First-Class section of the SilverKris Lounge, the Business Class section of the SilverKris Lounge, and the KrisFlyer Gold Lounge, can collectively accommodate around 1,150 customers within 6,100 sq m, an 30% increase. 

The business-class section of the SilverKris lounge can host 570 travellers, including 200 in the dining area.

All areas have a dedicated dining area, food service counters, restrooms, and showers, as well as baby care and accessible facilities.

Singapore Airlines boosts services to Australia

Singapore Airlines boosts services to Australia

Singapore Airlines will increase its operations to four times daily to Melbourne, while Cairns and Darwin will increase to five times weekly, as travel demand continues to grow.

The increase in services to the two Northern Australian destinations aligns with the region’s peak visitation period and will support the recovery efforts of local tourism and travel operators.

The airline will roll out the airline’s newest narrowbody aircraft, the Boeing 737-8 (pictured) from June 2 on services to Darwin.

Singapore Airlines has invested around S$230 million in the development, design, and installation of the new cabin products, which elevate the standard for short- and medium-haul travel onboard narrowbody aircraft. The 737-8 is fitted with 154 seats across two classes, 10 in Business Class and 144 in Economy Class.

From June 2 onwards, the changes will be:

  • Cairns services will increase from three to five-times weekly, with SQ203/SQ204 to operate every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • Services to Darwin will increase to five-times weekly, with SQ251/252 operating every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.
  • Victorians will have four-daily flight options between Melbourne and Singapore when SQ207/SQ208 begins operations. The fourth-daily service will be operated by SIA’s Airbus A350-900 medium-haul aircraft, fitted with 40 lie-flat Business Class seats, all with direct aisle access and 263 ergonomically designed Economy Class seats in a 3-3-3 layout.
After these changes,, Singapore Airlines will operate 113 weekly flights between Singapore and seven Australian ports, while low-cost subsidiary Scoot will operate 23 weekly flights across four Australian ports for a total of 136 weekly services.

Virgin Australia / United Airlines partnership officially launched

Virgin Australia / United Airlines partnership officially launched

Virgin Australia and United Airlines celebrated their new partnership with a launch at, Sydney International Airport, yesterday.

The partnership between Virgin Australia Group and United Airlines was struck in December last year and it will triple the airline’s reach into the Americas, with flyers able to access more destinations across the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America.

The partnership establishes code-share co-operation, as well as reciprocal loyalty benefits for Velocity Frequent Flyer members to earn, redeem and receive tier benefits when traveling on United’s domestic and international network, connecting from the carrier’s multiple Australian gateways, including daily direct flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Sydney, with flights from Houston and direct services to Melbourne expected to resume later in 2022.

The United deal which replaced the airline’s former relationship with Delta Air Lines, is critical to Virgin Australia which  no longer has its long-range capable Boeing 777s that used to ply the Pacific to the US.

The partnership is a coup for Virgin Australia as United Airlines is a dominant Pacific player and the partnership will also extend United’s large Australian presence, as United offers more flights to Australia than any other U.S. carrier.

Virgin Australia’s CEO Ms Hrdlicka said that “Virgin Australia customers will have significantly more options for travel from Australia to the States, with more than three times as many services available to them, which is great news for Australian travelers”.

Qatar Airways expands its strategic partnership with Malaysia Airlines

Qatar Airways expands its strategic partnership with Malaysia Airlines

Qatar Airways and Malaysia Airlines today unveiled details of the next phase of their strategic partnership, following Malaysia Airlines’ announcement to launch a non-stop service from Kuala Lumpur to Doha from 25 May. The two partners will significantly expand their codeshare cooperation, allowing passengers to travel the world and enjoy seamless connectivity via their leading hubs in Kuala Lumpur and Doha.

The codeshare expansion, which adds 34 destinations to the existing 62 codeshare destinations, marks another milestone in the long-standing relationship between the two countries’ national carriers and Oneworld partners.

In linking their route networks, the partners are striving to develop Kuala Lumpur as a leading aviation hub in the Southeast Asia Region connecting Malaysia, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand with the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, and Africa.

We would expect Singapore Airlines and Singapore's Changi Airport to have a different view, so developments in this space will be interesting.

ACCC grants interim Authorisation for Virgin Australia/United code-sharing

ACCC grants interim Authorisation for Virgin Australia/United code-sharing

On May 12th, the Australian ACCC granted authorisation for Virgin Australia to operate a "virtual global network" of routes using partnerships with other airlines, the first of which is United Airlines, but now subsequently Qatar Airways.

Virgin Australia intends to align with other “former and new partners” to expand its reach beyond short-haul routes, to which it is limited due to its existing fleet of narrowbody aircraft. Virgin Australia ceased all long-haul international flights and ended its lease agreements for its wide-body fleet during the pandemic. It has recently restarted flights to Nadi, Fiji and is planning to resume Bali, Indonesia flights in mid-June 2022.

The codesharing arrangements with United and Qatar airlines will provide Virgin Australia access to long-haul routes to Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.

Qatar Airways currently operates daily flights into Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth as well as three weekly flights into Adelaide continuing into Auckland, New Zealand. The codeshare agreement will enable Qatar Airways’ passengers to travel seamlessly to 35 destinations on Virgin Australia’s extensive domestic network on a single booking. QR’s passengers will also have access to Virgin Australia’s recently relaunched short-haul international markets, including Fiji and Queenstown, New Zealand. 

United Airlines is flying the SYD - LAX and SYD - SFO routes and is keen to return to the Sydney - Houston (IAH) sector later this year. It recently confirmed the restart of its Melbourne (MEL) - San Francisco (SFO) flights from June 5, making it the only US carrier flying direct Mebourne to the US. 

UA60 will take 15 hours and 45 minutes to make its way down to Melbourne, while the return flight UA61 will take 14 and a half hours to fly back to San Francisco. United is eyeing resuming the MEL - LAX flights later this year. United's 787-9 Dreamliner will operate the Melbourne flights, which for the 48 passengers in business class will have the latest United lie-flat Polaris seats, which considerably reduce the pain of long-haul flying.

Virgin Australia confirms start date for United Airlines partnership

Virgin Australia confirms start date for United Airlines partnership

Further to the announcement made on December 14th, Virgin Australia today confirmed that its new strategic frequent flyer and codeshare partnership with United Airlines will commence in two weeks on Tuesday 24 May 2022.

Velocity members will be able to earn Velocity Points and Status Credits, and eligible members will receive tier benefits when travelling with United. Reward Seat availability is another significant benefit of the partnership, as members will be able to use Velocity Points to redeem seats on United’s vast domestic and international network.

United offer the most flights between Australia and North America out of all US-based carriers. The partnership with United will triple Virgin Australia's network reach into the Americas, which means that Velocity members (and other Virgin Australia customers) will have access to new destinations when flying from Australia to the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America.

Virgin Australia's surprise partnership with Qatar Airways | Velocity members easy access to Q-suites?

Virgin Australia's surprise partnership with Qatar Airways | Velocity members easy access to Q-suites?

Virgin Australia today announced a new partnership with Qatar Airways, which will commence later this year.  More details, including a commencement date, are expected to be released soon.

Qatar Airways currently operates daily flights from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth as well as three weekly flights from Adelaide with one-stop connectivity from these ports to over 140 worldwide destinations, including 54 cities in Europe.

Once the partnership starts, Virgin Velocity members will be able to earn Points and Status Credits whenever flying Qatar Airways. Eligible members will receive their status benefits such as lounge access, higher checked baggage allowances and priority boarding.

Reward Seat availability will be another benefit of this new partnership, as Velocity members will be able to use their Velocity Points to book Economy, Business and First Class seats, including Qatar’s renowned Q-Suite (available on select flights).

This could prove very attractive to Australians, by combining the ease of earning Velocity points and using them for Q-suite bookings (depending on the awards table, when released).
For others, Avios earned on Qatar flights (or transferred from BA and Iberia, which also use Avios as their rewards currency), could be redeemed for connections using short-haul or domestic Virgin Australia flights.

Qatar joins Virgin Australia's global family of international airline partnerships, including Virgin Atlantic, Air Canada, Etihad Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways and United Airlines. 

Air Canada, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways and United are members of Star Alliance, while Hawaiian Airlines and Virgin Atlantic are unaligned and have individually agreed partnerships. Qatar is the only OneWorld alliance member that has a partnership with Virgin Australia. So Virgin Austalia's Velocity could be a bridge between Star Alliance members and Qatar Airways.

Also interesting is the fact that Virgin Australia has a partnership with 2 of the 3 large Middle East airlines (Etihad and now Qatar).  Is this strategic?  - Rhetorical question...

Qantas and Qatar are both members of OneWorld, yet Qantas chooses to have a codeshare agreement with Emirates (the 3rd of the "ME3")...just saying...

Qantas confirms ultra-long haul flights from 2025

Qantas confirms ultra-long haul flights from 2025

Qantas confirmed that an order for 12 new aircraft (Airbus) will enable it to operate the world's longest flights, linking Australia's east-coast cities to both London and New York commencing late-2025.

This means that any city in the world will be just one flight away from Australia.

The ageing domestic fleet of Boeing 737's will also be replaced by Airbus AA321XLR's and A220's from late 2023.

Virgin Australia permanently slashes premium class fares + limited time boost to status earning

Virgin Australia permanently slashes premium class fares + limited time boost to status earning

On Thursday March 31st, Virgin Australia announced that it has permanently slashed its domestic business class fares by up to 60% across Australia which is expected to prompt a premium class fare war.

Importantly, Virgin Australia insists that its business class will continue to include all of the usual amenities including lounge access, priority check-in and boarding, higher checked baggage allowances, priority overhead luggage, in-flight entertainment, plated meals and Australian beer, wine and spirits, plus priority baggage delivery. So no cost-cutting from reduced benefits, genuine savings.

To promote the initiative and reward Velocity members, they will also earn 45 per cent more status credits on eligible Virgin Australia business class flights for travel by June 30, 2022, as part of an extended loyalty promotion.

Virgin Australia has also made significant reductions to fares on its short-haul international network with business class fares from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to Bali, Fiji and Queenstown currently available to book for travel later in 2022 with fares on these routes 30% to 50% per cent lower than pre-COVID.

Australia seems to be 6 - 12 months behind the US in terms of recovery in travel, where travel bookings have surged, especially for luxury and bucket-list travel.  

Perhaps Virgin Australia is anticipating the same here for 2H2022.

If they are right, now may be the time to lock in flights and accommodation to ensure you get the trip you have dreampt about...

Our associated travel agency Rewarding Travel would be delighted to assist you.

Qatar Airways Shock Move - Replacing Qmiles by Avios

Qatar Airways Shock Move - Replacing Qmiles by Avios

In a surprise move, Qatar Airways and IAG Loyalty announced overnight that effective from late March, Qatar's mileage currency will be Avios, replacing Qmiles

Qatar will join BA, Iberia,  Aer Lingus and Vueling, but will be the first airline not owned by IAG using Avios. Qatar will be no stranger to Avios though, as it a key shareholder of IAG with approx 25% ownership.

While more details are to be provided in early March, key points revealed so far are:

  • Qpoints (used to determine tier status) and Qcredits (offering free upgrades on Qatar Airways flights for elite Gold and Platinum tier members)  will remain unchanged.
  • Existing Qmiles will transfer 1:1 into Avios in your Qatar Airways Privilege account “by the end of March” 2022.
  • Qatar Airways promises that the number of Qmiles/Avios you need to redeem for flights will remain the same - no devaluation (at least for now).
  • Rules for expiration of Qatar Avios will remain the same as for Qmiles, as will those for attaining tier status. The tier validity of all Silver, Gold and Platinum members due for renewal this calendar year was recently extended to 31 December 2022.
  • For Qatar Privilege members, it opens the possibility of earning Avios in far more many ways, which can be then redeemed for flights on not only Qatar Airways flights, but also BA, Iberia etc (or other OneWorld members).
  • While not explicitly stated, there are hints that Qatar Avios will be able to be transferred to other Avios programs on a 1:1 basis without cost. This would open up the potential to earn Avios on (say) BA and redeem them on a Qatar flight (or vice versa).
  • Privilege Club allows for sharing miles with your family, and, British Airways allows for points pooling, so if we see the ability to pool Avios together and then transfer them to other programs, this could make the programs very flexible.
Initial Thoughts:
  • If Avios can be pooled, or transferred freely, then potentially a member could select whichever carrier best suits their redemption goals.  BA’s distance-based redemption table is known to favour short-haul flights, while Qatar’s redemption table offers greater opportunities for (surcharge-free) travel between say UK and Asia or Australia.
  • For Australians, Avios earned on the more plentiful Qatar routes could be redeemed (as BA  Avios) for domestic Qantas flights, for approx 2/3 the number of Avios vs Qantas points.
  • The greater options to earn Avios (say from spending or credit-cards sign-up bonuses or transfers) will provide more travellers with access to redemptions for Qatar’s famed Q-suites.
  • Could this be the start of Avios becoming the mileage currency for all OneWorld alliance members?  Imagine the possibilities !
As always, the devil is in the detail.  More will be revealed in the next few weeks...


A video of Captain Khalifa Al Thani landing his Boeing 777 at Heathrow during Storm Eunice on 19 February 2022.

It makes one appreciate how skilled Commercial Pilots are !

Kudos to Captain Al Thani of Qatar Airways and all the pilots whose skills keep us safe.

My moment of pause to respect  

Wishing to all pilots, skies like the picture rather than the video...


Alaska Airlines launched its latest innovation on 16 February 2022 - a subscription model for people who fly regularly (not necessarily frequently).

By committing to one year of a monthly subscription, passengers will get credits to put toward roundtrip flights on eligible daily routes within the selected west coast region, which includes California airports in Sacramento, Sonoma,  San Francisco, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Fresno, Santa Barbara, Burbank, Los Angeles, Orange County, Palm Springs, and San Diego.  There are also flights to nearby Reno, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.

Under the program savings average approx 20% to 30% across the 100 daily flights between the 16 airports.

The way it works is that travellers who agree to pay a monthly fee will receive credits to fly a fixed number of round-trips through the subscription year. A basic subscription starts at $49 a month and requires booking tickets at least two weeks before travel. A more flexible subscription starts at $199 a month and allows booking up to two hours before flight departure time. Both plans allow flight selection as early as 90 days ahead of the travel date. Once travellers have selected a plan, they can choose their volume of flights, such as six, 12, or 24 a year. A basic plan with six flights typically costs $763 a year — after taxes and fees.

Two caveats are that:
(1) you can only subscribe through the Alaska Airlines website and
(2) that the booking credits do expire and must be booked for a flight within 90 days before the next set of credits will be deposited. If the credits haven't been used at the time the next credits are added, then they’ll be forfeited.

Once the booking process is complete, Flight Pass passengers will receive the same class of service Alaska Airlines normally provides, including main cabin seat selection, no change fees, and earned miles on every flight.

To ensure passenger safety, the airline continues to enact its Next-Level Care program, that includes 100 pandemic-era health and safety checks, including a hospital-grade air filters and a partnership with Clorox.

I am sure we will see many more post-covid era changes to the ways we travel.


Qantas today announced that it is permanently cutting the points required when booking Qantas Hotels by 30% and for Qantas Holidays by 45%.

Both are significant reductions for Qantas Frequent Flyer members.

Further, to celebrate the announcement Qantas is also offering for a limited time, 20% off Points Plus Pay flights.

Get on board!

For further details...


S&P Global's Sustainability Yearbook 2022 considered over 7,500 companies across 61 industries around the world and selected 716 companies for this year’s edition based on their S&P Global ESG Scores using this Yearbook Methodology. Prize winners in the 2022 edition included:

Airlines
Gold:  ANA     Silver:  China Airlines, EVA     Bronze:  LATAM Airlines      Honourable Mention:  Air France-KLM, JAL, American Airlines

Hotels, Resorts & Cruise Lines
Gold:  Hilton Wordwide      Silver:  Melia Hotels    Bronze:  NH Hotels

Interestingly, both Melia Hotels and NH Hotels are Spanish companies.  Of the total 716 companies selected this year, 26 ( 3.6%) are Spanish companies - a strong showing.

Congratulations and thanks to all whose efforts made the grade for this year’s yearbook !

For more information...

AirAsia X to resume flights between KL & Australia

AirAsia X to resume flights between KL & Australia

Following a restructure, AirAsia X is resuming its full commercial service post-pandemic between Kuala Lumpur and Sydney commencing from February 14.

The airline said it will prioritize full redemptions for its passengers affected by the restructuring with passengers able to reinstate their flight booking and utilize their credit account to book the flights.

Flights will initially be operated weekly on Mondays from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney and returning on Tuesdays, starting February 14, 2022, to March 22, 2022.

Schedules for the autumn/winter session will be announced in mid-February.

It is understood that a resumption of flights to other Australian destinations including Perth will be reviewed over the coming months.

AirAsia X is a low-cost affiliate of the AirAsia Group operating an all wide body A330-300 fleet.

Vueling launches new routes from/into UK

Vueling launches new routes from/into UK

Vueling, the low-cost sister airline of British Airways (BA) and Iberia, has announced an expansion of routes as part of its summer 2022 flying program.

The Spanish carrier plans to operate 12 short-haul routes from London Gatwick (LGW), five of which are new additions. Three of its aircraft will be based at Gatwick from April.

The latest expansion will see Vueling begin flying to Granada (GRX), La Coruña (LCG), Malaga (AGP), Menorca (MAH) and Seville (SVQ).

These new routes are in addition to the 28 services from Paris Orly it ANNOUNCED LATE IN 2021 following approval by the European Commission for 18 slots as part of the recapitalisation of Air France. Six UK airports—Belfast (BFS), Birmingham (BHX), Cardiff (CWL), Edinburgh (EDI), Glasgow (GLA) and Newcastle (NCL)—were among the destinations to receive new routes.

Learn more about the new Vueling routes. Some may suit you very well.

Vueling is one of our advertisers. Using our link may provide us with a small remuneration.


Similar to the crossover program between Accor Live Limitless and Qantas Frequent Flyers, there is now a similar offer specifically for business owners.

Benefits include discounted flights and Qantas Club membership with Qantas and for Accor, discounted rooms, food & beverages at participating Accor properties in the APAC region.

Better yet, for a limited time there is a promotional offer where you can receive 5,000 bonus Qantas points when you join Accor Business Plus and Qantas Business Rewards. You can receive a further 5,000 Qantas points by making purchases.

You must purchase an Accor Business Plus between 17 January and 13 March 2022 to receive the bonus Qantas points. Other T&C's also apply.

This is a very attractive promotion if relevant to you. Like to learn more?