Qantas launches its new miles-earning credit card

Qantas has unveiled details of its previously announced new miles-earning credit card, with applications now open to customers.

Users will be able to earn two Qantas Points per A$1 (US$0.7) spent with Qantas using the Citi-issued Qantas Premier Mastercard. This includes flights, Qantas Club membership and the Qantas Store.

Meanwhile, overseas purchases earn 1.5 points per dollar spent, and eligible purchases in Australia earn one point. Points earning is uncapped, and a bonus of 60,000 points is accrued upon spending A$3,000 (US$2,240) within the first 90 days after the card is approved.

Additional benefits attached to the card include two complimentary lounge invitations each anniversary year, complimentary travel insurance and up to 20 percent off select domestic companion fares once per year for bookings made through the Qantas Premier Concierge.

“We know the option to earn Qantas Points influences consumer behaviour and so we expect the high earn rate attached to this card to make it very popular,” said Qantas Loyalty CEO, Lesley Grant. “

The new card is also being supported by the Qantas Money platform, which the airline also just announced. These will combine Qantas Premier with the existing Qantas Cash prepaid travel card and a new Qantas Money app, through which users will be able to access their accounts.

qantas.com.au

Vegemite among possible names for Qantas Dreamliners

Vegemite

Vegemite among possible names for Qantas Dreamliners

A total of 20 names including Boomerang and Don Bradman will be whittled down to eight by public vote

Qantas has unveiled the shortlist of possible names for its fleet of forthcoming B787 Dreamliner aircraft, which will operate non-stop flights between London and Perth from next year.

The airline said that over 40,000 suggestions had been received, although CEO Alan Joyce admitted that “it’s fair to say there were a few suggestions which we found very funny but probably not suitable for an aircraft that will be flying around the globe”.

The 20 names on the shortlist include such Australian icons as Skippy, Uluru, Boomerang, Vegemite, Great Barrier Reef and Don Bradman.

The public now has the chance to vote for their favourite at qantas.com/nameourdreamliner, with the winning eight names being revealed next week.

Announcing the shortlist Joyce said:

“There were so many great entries that truly reflected the spirit of Australia and we’re thrilled with the response.

“It was obvious that people really put some thought into different themes we could use to name our fleet of eight new Dreamliners including famous explorers to some of their favourite Aussie sayings.

Qantas has used various naming conventions for previous aircraft types, including Australian capital cities and major centres for its B707 and B747 aircraft, to Australian aviation pioneers for its A380 superjumbos.

qantas.com.au

Qantas expands digital boarding passes beyond domestic routes

Qantas digital boarding pass

Travellers on board Qantas’s trans-Tasman services between Australia and New Zealand can now check-in using mobile devices and receive digital boarding passes for clearing immigration, security and boarding.

Currently, web and mobile check-in is limited to the airline’s website, though next month Qantas aims to make it feasible through its app. The service is not restricted to any particular passport holders, though some visa restrictions do apply, and will only be available for single customer itineraries on direct flights between Australia and New Zealand on Qantas marketed and operated services.

Ultimately the airline is looking to make the trans-Tasman travel experience more like domestic travel in terms of efficiency – something the Australian and New Zealand governments have also been pushing with efforts to streamline border processing.

This is an area Qantas has been keen to push for some time now – the airline rolled out its “smart check-in” service on its trans-Tasman routes back in 2011, a year after it introduced the service on its domestic flights.

“Seamless domestic travel has been a reality since Qantas pioneered smart check-in technology in 2010, but the barriers have always been a lot higher for international flights.

“It’s a great example of how industry and governments working together can change what’s possible for travellers. The goal is ultimately to make this technology for international routes the ‘new normal’.”

Other international routes will also be targeted for the service, though Qantas hasn’t specified any particular destinations to which it is keen to see it extended.

qantas.com

Perth Airport to get new integrated passenger hub

Qantas International Transit Lounge - Perth Airport

Qantas’s upcoming 17-hour Perth-London “Kangaroo Route” flights have shone the spotlight on the Western Australia capital in recent months, with Perth looking set to become an increasingly major transit hub for travel between Australian and international destinations.

That now looks to expand even more with a new integrated domestic and international passenger hub that is to begin construction at Perth Airport. The new area is aimed at providing smoother connections and improved facilities at the Western Australia airport and will include a new international wing and a Qantas International Transit Lounge.

“Perth will become the western hub for our international services to the United Kingdom and potentially other European destinations in the future,” said Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO. According to Joyce, all of Qantas’s domestic flights along with its services to Singapore, Auckland and London will operate from the new facility.

“Combining all of our operations under one roof means customers can transfer from domestic to international services without changing terminals. The new design allows for an outdoor space and natural sunlight, which is something we know our customers will value ahead of a long-haul flight.”

Among the new facilities at the integrated hub will be an international wing located within the airport’s existing T3/T4 area. The wing will offer an outdoor deck space with alfresco seating along with a customs and immigration area. New F&B outlets along with a Duty Free store are also planned to open.

Meanwhile, Qantas is also set to build a new International Transit Lounge at the hub, specifically designed with transit passengers on its QF9 and QF10 flights going between Melbourne and London in mind. Qantas has confirmed the new lounge will offer in excess of a dozen shower suites along with a wellness facility, while the lounge’s outdoor patio will feature a grill offering Australian barbeque dishes.

The design of the new transit lounge has been developed by Sumu Design and Australian industrial designer David Caon – the lead designer behind Qantas’s B787-9 Dreamliner interiors. Architecture firm Noxon Giffen has been responsible for the redesign of the T3/T4 precinct.

Expected to be completed by March 2018 in time for Qantas’s upcoming Perth-London flights, the new area is already undergoing preparatory works.

By 2025, Qantas aims to move its operations to an expanded Terminal 1 at Perth Airport. The Terminal 1 Qantas Club will continue to operate for travellers flying internationally on partner airlines.

The new Perth transit lounge is one of a number of new and enhanced spaces the airline has been developing at airports across Australia. In March, Qantas opened its Domestic Business Lounge at Brisbane Airport, which followed the October 2016 launch of its revamped International Lounge.

perthairport.com.au; qantas.com.au

Qantas to launch platinum credit card with loyalty benefits

Qantas Mastercard credit card

Qantas will be introducing a new platinum credit card at the end of this fiscal year that it says will offer “a high rate of points earn and exclusive travel benefits”.

According to the Australian carrier, the card is being launched in response to high demand among loyalty members to be able to earn points with everyday spending. Precise details of what benefits the card will offer and how the earning system will work have yet to be unveiled, though the airline has confirmed the card will be issued by Citi and powered by Mastercard.

“Around 35 percent of credit card spend in Australia earn Qantas Points, which shows strong interest in this type of reward but also plenty of room for growth,” said Lesley Grant, Qantas Loyalty’s CEO. “This is a premium card aimed at people who love earning Qantas Points and who travel enough to want access to special deals on air fares and lounge access.

“Ultimately it’s about giving customers more choice by widening the range of cards that you can earn points on and adding some unique features that only Qantas can offer.”

Qantas has been making a number of pushes in its loyalty offerings over the past year. In February, the airline launched a business rewards programme, Qantas Business Rewards, and in October last year it became the first airline to collaborate with Airbnb to offer Qantas Points on bookings made through the online accommodation marketplace.

In related news, last week the carrier announced plans to expand the acceptance of Unionpay cards for purchasing flights and services. Unionpay is China’s largest payment network provider.

qantas.com.au

Qantas to expand acceptance of Unionpay cards

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce at the launch of the airline's Sydney-Beijing service

Qantas is planning to expand the acceptance of Unionpay cards to encompass a wider variety of flights and services in the future.

The expansion comes following the signing yesterday of an MOU with Unionpay International, China’s largest payment network provider. Under the agreement, the two companies will look into expanding payments for additional flight reservations along with other related purchases, including seat selection, excess baggage, and future exclusive deals.

Currently, Unionpay cardholders are only able to pay for flight bookings made on Qantas’ website for flights originating in China. The expansion will open up Qantas’ services to a wider selection of Chinese customers – a move likely spurred on by the recent launch of its third service to China between Sydney and Beijing in January.

“With over five billion Unionpay cards in circulation around the world, the increased acceptance of Unionpay cards across all of Qantas’ touch points gives customers convenient access to one of the most popular payment methods in the world, especially in Asia,” said Qantas International and Freight CEO, Gareth Evans.

“China is critical to our strategy in Asia. Together with our new direct Sydney-Beijing service, the deepening of this partnership reflects our commitment to the region, enabling our Asian customers to travel to and within Australia seamlessly.”

Unionpay, meanwhile, has been targeting Australia in particular, with the goal of expanding its services within the country a key component of its growth strategy.

“As the China-Australia Year of Tourism, 2017 is an important year for Unionpay to accelerate acceptance and usage of Unionpay cards in Australia,” said Unionpay International CEO, Cai Jianbo.

“To achieve this, we have a three-pronged approach: firstly to improve the online payment infrastructure and customer experience through gaining greater acceptance of Unionpay cards for online payments by local merchants; secondly, to position and leverage ‘Mobile Quickpass’, Unionpay’s contactless payment system, as a leading and innovative payment method in Australia. Lastly, to promote the uptake of Unionpay cards among Australian residents as a viable payment mode, which provides convenience and safe transactions in Australia, China and other parts of the world.”

Qantas offers a total of 130 weekly return flights between Australia and China, through its own services and codeshare partnerships with mainland Chinese airlines, China Eastern and China Southern.

In 2016, more than 1.2 million Chinese tourists visited Australia, an increase of 23 per cent year on year.

qantas.com; unionpayintl.com

Qantas direct Perth-London flights go on sale

Qantas tailfin logo

Qantas has opened its upcoming “Kangaroo Route” between Perth and London Heathrow to travellers, with tickets for the new service now on sale.

The route is set to take off on March 24, 2018 and will form part of a longer Melbourne-Perth-London return service. The new QF9/QF10 flights will replace Qantas’ current Melbourne-Dubai-London services.

Year-round prices for the upcoming Melbourne-London and Perth-London routes start from AU$2,270 (US$1,700) for a return economy fare, while a return premium economy fare will cost AU$4,250 (US$3,180) between Perth and London, and AU$4,450 (US$3,330) between Melbourne and London. Return business class tickets begin at AU$9,725 (US$7,280) for Perth to London, and AU$9,890 (US$7,400) between Melbourne and London.

Qantas first began flying travellers between Australia and London via the Kangaroo Route in 1947, taking a total of four days and seven stops. Qantas’ new Perth-London service will take 17 hours by comparison – a flight time that still puts it among the longest commercial flights in the world.

The airline will be deploying its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the route, which is designed specifically to offer improved comfort on long-haul flights.

“We’ve said the Qantas Dreamliner is a game changer, and that’s coming real today,” said Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce. “We’re conscious that this is a long flight, but not much longer than our Sydney to Dallas service. It’s the kind of route that the Dreamliner was created for, because of its built-in features to reduce jetlag and improve the overall travel experience.

Qantas configures its Dreamliner in a three-class set up with 42 business (1-2-1), 28 premium economy (2-3-2) and 166 economy class seats (3-3-3).

“We’ve added a very high level of comfort in each of the cabins and a lower seat count than most of our competitors. And we’re making tweaks to our in-flight service designed to help customers enjoy the journey more.”

To aid the connection at Perth, Qantas is also building a new international transit lounge at Perth Airport. International and domestic flights arrive at and depart from the same terminal, with dedicated customs and immigration.

Details of the flight are as follows (all times local):

Flight No.FromToDepartsArrivesDays
QF9MELPER15201720Daily
PERLHR18500510
QF10LHRPER13301315Daily
PERMEL14452010

qantas.com

In-flight wifi on Asia-Pacific airlines: what you need to know

Cathay Pacific business class

Air New Zealand

Wifi?
Launching second half of 2017

Pricing
Expected to be announced in first half of 2017

In October last year, Air New Zealand announced it would begin introducing inflight wifi on board its flights starting from the second half of 2017. Flights between New Zealand and Australia are set to be the first to receive the service, with wifi progressively being made available aboard its Tasman, Pacific Island and long-haul jet fleets from the end of 2017. Domestic flights will the last to get the service, with introduction set for 2018.

Traditionally low satellite service quality across oceanic areas (over which many of Air New Zealand’s flights travel) has meant the airline has held back on introducing an inflight wifi offering until a service of suitably high quality became available. The airline’s wifi will be provided by Inmarsat’s global GX satellite constellation, and integrated with the Air New Zealand’s Panasonic Avionics system.

airnewzealand.com

ANA

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
B777-300ER, B767-300ER (only those configured with 202 seats), B787-9, B787-8 (only those configured with 240 seats), A320neo

Pricing
B777-300ER and B767-300ER:

US$4.95 – 30 minutes, 15MB limit
US$8.95 – one hour, 30MB limit
US$19.95 – full flight, 100MB limit

B787-9, B787-8 and A320neo:

US$6.95 – 30 minutes
US$16.95 – three hours
US$21.95 – full flight (max 24 hours)

All Nippon Airways’ (ANA) inflight wifi offering gives access to functions such as web browsing and email functions. Video streaming is not supported, and image loading is likely to burn through your data quite quickly.

For travellers flying on ANA’s B777-300ER and B767-300ER, the service is only available when flying over transoceanic airspace and countries that permit the use of satellite activity, while B787 and A320 inflight connectivity is available in all airspaces.

ana.co.jp

Cathay Pacific

Wifi?
Yes

Aircraft
A350

Class
Available to all classes

Pricing
US$9.95 – one hour continuous use on all flights
US$12.95 – flights of six hours or less
US$19.95 – flights of six hours or more

Cathay Pacific currently offers wifi only on its fleet of A350s, the first of which it deployed to Auckland in October 2016. A few services are available complimentary – including the airline’s own website, its duty free catalogue, and destination information – though for functions such as general web browsing and email, a fee is required.

cathaypacific.com

China Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Classes
Available to all classes

Aircraft
B777-300ER, A350

Pricing
TW$350 (US$11.6) – one hour
TW$500 (US$16.5) – three hours
TW$650 (US$21.5) – 24 hours

Inflight wifi on China Airlines has no data limit and while the overall speed may make certain functions difficult, this does provide reassurance for those that tend to quickly eat through data that they won’t be prematurely cut off from the service.

Purchasing wifi can be done on the flight or ahead of time via the airline’s website.

china-airlines.com

Eva Air

Wifi?
Yes

Classes
Available to all classes

Aircraft
B777-300ER (select aircraft)

Pricing
US$11.95 – one hour
US$16.95 – three hours
US$21.95 – 24 hours

It is worth noting that Taiwan-based Eva Air’s service provider is currently applying for an operating permit with the Chinese Government, however until then internet connectivity gets temporarily disconnected when flying over mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau with the carrier.

On the plus side, however, for longer journeys across multiple segments, travellers can re-connect to Eva Air’s wifi network using the same account information, provided the ensuing leg is also operated by an Eva Wifi-enabled aircraft.

evaair.com

Garuda Indonesia

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes (complimentary for first class passengers)

Aircraft
B777-300ER, A330-300, A330-200

Pricing
US$11.95 – one hour, 30MB limit
US$16.95 – three hours, 50MB limit
US$21.95 – 24 hours (whole flight on A330-300 and A330-200), 100MB limit

Garuda Indonesia’s wifi offering is provided on a time-based system with varying caps depending on the duration. In addition to the service being complimentary to all first class passengers, those in other classes travelling on Garuda’s wifi-equipped Airbus aircraft are able to get 15 minutes’ free wifi connectivity.

While the service is suitable for social media as well as general web browsing, regular image loading will likely drain your data quite quickly.

garuda-indonesia.com

Japan Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Aircraft
B777-300ER, B777-200ER, B767-300ER, B787

Class
Available to all classes (complimentary for first class passengers)

Pricing
US$10.15 – one hour
US$14.40 – three hours
US$18.80 – 24 hours

Japan Airlines offers inflight wifi based on overall duration used, with its 24-hour offering also including connecting flights for 24 hours from the initial log in. Data caps are also not present regardless of payment category.

A full list of the routes on which Japan Airlines offers wifi can be found here, with many only being available until and from certain dates. The airline’s fleet of B787s is also not fully equipped with wifi, so connectivity is not guaranteed, though travellers on these aircraft can check whether inflight wifi will be available on their flight the day before they travel.

jal.co.jp

Korean Air

Wifi?
No

Korea’s national carrier currently doesn’t offer inflight wifi across any of its aircraft, and has not issued plans to do so in the forseeable future.

In an interview with the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), Korean Air’s senior innovation technology manager, Dante Dionne, shed some light on why this is the case: “In Korea, the wireless infrastructure is so advanced (significantly faster than the US average) that in-flight internet services based on existing commercial satellite technology would be disappointing to them. That is a primary reason why Korean Air has not implemented in-flight internet.”

koreanair.com

Malaysia Airlines

Wifi?
No

Malaysia Airlines also doesn’t offer inflight wifi on its flights at present. That said, the airline plans to introduce the service onboard its new A350s, the first of which it is expecting to take delivery of this year. Auckland is currently scheduled to be the first long-haul route served by its new A350. Details of the inflight wifi service have yet to be announced.

malaysiaairlines.com

Philippine Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
Select aircraft on international flights

Pricing
US$10 – 35MB/one hour
US$40 – 150MB/flight duration

Up until February 28, 2017, Philippine Airlines offered the first 30 minutes of inflight wifi (limited to 15MB) free of charge to all passengers. The hourly rate and data offered is also reasonably priced, compared to other airlines in Asia-Pacific.

The full-flight bracket, however, is particularly expensive. While it does offer 150MB of data (caps for full-flight/24-hour purchases typically stand at 100MB), the US$40 price is noticeably more expensive than most other carriers in the region.

Purchases can be made either by credit card or by purchasing a scratch card from cabin crew.

philippineairlines.com

Qantas

Wifi?
Domestic trials began April 7, 2017

Class
Available to all classes on domestic flights

Aircraft
One wifi-enabled B737-800 aircraft; to be rolled out to 80 aircraft by end of 2018

Pricing
Free

Qantas launched a beta mode of its new Viasat and Nbn’s Sky Muster-enabled inflight wifi service earlier this month. Outfitted on a single B737-800 aircraft that will be flying domestic routes during the trial phase, the high-speed wifi is being offered free of charge for travellers on board the aircraft (due to likely last-minute changes, the specific routes the aircraft will be flying are subject to change, and passengers won’t be able to select a flight on board the wifi-enabled aircraft at this time).

Perhaps the most notable two features of Qantas’ new wifi offering are its speed and its price. Qantas claims that the new offering will be ten times faster than conventional onboard wifi, enabling functions such as video and music streaming (services such as Netflix, Spotify, Stan and Foxtel will be available through partnerships). The other is that the airline aims to keep the service included as part of the ticket fare.

Qantas expects to roll out wifi across 80 of its aircraft, for completion by the end of 2018. The airline is also currently in discussions with suppliers to develop a product for its international fleet.

qantas.com.au

Singapore Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Aircraft
A380, A350, B777-300ER (progressively)

Class
Available to all classes

Pricing
Volume-based (all A380 and select B777-300ER)

US$6.99 – 15MB
US$12.99 – 30MB
US$19.99 – 50MB

Time-based (All A350 and select B777-300ER)

US$11.95 – one hour
US$16.95 – three hours
US$21.95 – 24 hours

Singapore Airlines has a somewhat confusing pricing structure regarding its inflight wifi, owing largely to its partnership with two different providers, Onair and Panasonic. As such, price plans come in two variations, depending on provider and the type of aircraft – volume based or time based.

Prices tend to be more expensive than the majority of other Asia-Pacific airlines – most notably its highest-volume 50MB bracket offering about half as much data as that offered by most other airlines’ top bracket (100MB), but still costing a similar price.

What’s also worth noting here is that volume-based plans are only valid for the leg on which they are purchased. An onward journey, even if it is on the next sector of the same flight, requires another purchase. Time-based purchases, however, can be transferred across multi-sector flights.

singaporeair.com

Thai Airways

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
A350-900XWD, A380-800, A330-300

Pricing
US$4.99 – 10MB
US$8.99 – 20MB
US$12.99 – 30MB
US$34.99 – 100MB

Thai Airways offers inflight wifi on a number of its aircraft, with its A350s powered by Panasonic and its A380 and A330s provided by Sitaonair. The airline’s six wifi-enabled A380s currently operate flights to Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo Narita, London and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile its seven wifi-enabled A330s fly to Tokyo Narita, Taipei-Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei, Yangon, Beijing, Hanoi, Dubai, Ho Chi Minh City, Tokyo Haneda, Kuala Lumpur and Fukuoka.

The airline’s data-based rather than duration-focused pricing structure may confuse some flyers less familiar with average data-consumption rates. As a rough guide, 10MB will likely get you through roughly 30 minutes of general web browsing and email. Similarly to Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways’ prices are also quite expensive compared to many other Asia-Pacific airlines, with its US$34.99 for 100MB top-tier price being noticeably pricier than most other carriers’ highest wifi brackets.

thaiairways.com

Virgin Australia

Wifi?
Domestic trials began April 20, 2017

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
One wifi-enabled B737-800; to be rolled out across B737-800s, A330s and B777s

Pricing
To be confirmed after trial period completes

Less than two weeks after rival Australian carrier Qantas began trialling a new domestic inflight wifi offering, Virgin Australia launched its own domestic three-month testing period using the same aircraft, a B737-800. During the testing period, passengers will be able to use the wifi free of charge, though the final pricing of the service has yet to be announced and will be determined following customer feedback during the trial.

As with Qantas’ wifi offering, Virgin Australia’s will support video and music streaming, notably through Netflix, Pandora and Stan. Unlike Qantas’, however, Virgin Australia’s wifi is expected to be rolled out across its fleet of B737-800s, A330s and B777s for both domestic and international flights.

virginaustralia.com

Six new amenity kits for premium travellers

American Airlines amenity kits

QANTAS

INTRODUCED Beginning May 1, 2017

CABIN CLASS Business class

AVAILABILITY International flights

COLLABORATORS 16 Australian creatives 

INFO Announced last week, Qantas’ new range of international business class amenity kits have been developed in collaboration with 16 Australian artists, photographers and what it calls “digital influencers”. Each of the kits will feature artwork from one of the collaborators (eight types each for men and for women), with two designs launching every few months.

qantas.com

JAPAN AIRLINES

INTRODUCED March 28, 2017 

CABIN CLASS First class

AVAILABILITY International flights

COLLABORATORS Porsche Design

INFO Japan Airlines’ new international first class amenity kits are available in two colours – red for flights from Japan and grey for flights to Japan. The kits themselves feature the essentials, including a toothbrush kit, mouthwash, ear plugs, eye mask, brush, moisture mask, and pocket tissue. However in addition to these, hand and body cream, facial spray and lip balm all designed by German lifestyle brand Porsche Design are also included. And while not technically part of the new amenity kits, a separate Porsche Design top and trousers are also offered in their own black case.

jal.com

AIR FRANCE

INTRODUCED February 20, 2017 

CABIN CLASS First and business class

AVAILABILITY Long-haul flights

COLLABORATORS Clarins and Clarita

INFO Available until August, Air France’s latest amenity kits for its premier customers come in two varieties. The business class bags come in four colours – blue, grey, orange and turquoise – and include Clarins products, such as moisturiser. Meanwhile the first class offering is a rectangular box coming in light blue or orange and featuring Carita’s Lagoon skincare products.

Meanwhile back in January, Air France also unveiled new black and yellow/red amenity kits for its premium economy passengers onboard its long-haul flights.

airfrance.com

HONG KONG AIRLINES

INTRODUCED February 16, 2017

CABIN CLASS Business class

AVAILABILITY Long-haul flights

COLLABORATORS Clip, Ricebowl Republic, L’Occitane

INFO Another carrier that has partnered together with local creatives to develop their amenity kits, Hong Kong Airlines began offering four different bags each bearing unique designs depicting notable Hong Kong sights and landmarks. These include the Hong Kong skyline, Star Ferry, Hong Kong Tramways and a rickshaw.

In-flight experience specialists clip and local design house Ricebowl Republic developed these bags together with Hong Kong Airlines. Meanwhile, French skincare brand L’Occitane has lent its shea butter ultra-rich lip balm and hand cream to the ensemble.

hongkongairlines.com

AMERICAN AIRLINES

INTRODUCED January 2017 

CABIN CLASS First and business class

AVAILABILITY Long haul and transcontinental flights between New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles

COLLABORATORS Cole Haan, 3Lab, CO Bigelow, and Clark’s Botanicals

INFO This is the second time American Airlines has collaborated with designer Cole Haan to develop its amenity kits. Arguably the most sleek and professional looking kits on this list, they also feature products from 3Lab, CO Bigelow and Clark’s Botanicals products, much like its previous iteration.

The kits are available in grey, burgundy, navy and black, with the first class version able to be reused as a tablet holder. First class travellers also now get a new set of grey and navy pyjamas.

aa.com

QATAR AIRWAYS

INTRODUCED December 2016 

CABIN CLASS First and business class

AVAILABILITY Long-haul flights

COLLABORATORS Brics and Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio

INFO Qatar Airways has introduced a medley of different amenity kits since December last year, including separate bags for economy class passengers, short- and medium-haul passengers, and first and business class passengers. Of these, the latter are undoubtedly the most impressive, developed in collaboration with fashion house Brics and Italian skincare brand Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio.

The first class offerings follow Brics’ Bellagio series of bags with two leather strips across them, while the business class kits follow its Sintesis line of trolley bags. Four colours are available in total, with black and grey offered for men and burgundy and white for women. Inside are lip balm, facial mist, and anti-ageing moisturiser.

qatarairways.com

Qantas’s Brisbane Domestic Business Lounge opens next week

Wine bar at Qantas' Domestic Business Lounge at Brisbane Airport

Qantas’ new Domestic Business Lounge at Brisbane Airport is set to open its doors next Tuesday in what is the latest phase of the airline’s multi-million dollar upgrade of its facilities.

The enhancement will see the lounge increase in size by about 30 per cent with capacity for 350 people. Its Queensland landscape design follows Qantas’ previously upgraded International Lounge, which opened in October last year and similarly increased in size by about 30 per cent.

Most notably, however, the revamped Domestic Business Lounge will also be accompanied by a Premium Lounge Entry area on Level 1 with check-in, baggage drop and security screening facilities for frequent flyers along with direct access to the new Lounge Precinct. The area will be open seven days a week and will be accessible one hour before the first Qantas departure.

“This investment is all about offering our customers a premium experience from the moment they arrive at the airport,” said Helen Gray, Qantas head of domestic lounges. “Premium Lounge Entry is a first for Qantas and will streamline the departure process, so our top frequent flyers can move through the terminal quickly and maximise their time in the lounge.”

Among the new facilities and features within the lounge is a new dining option, The Cantina, a full bar offering Australian wines, cocktails designed by Rockpool mixologists and craft beer, and a wine bar that opens at noon. As with the International Lounge, Qantas’ new Quench concept focusing on pre-flight hydration will be present in the Domestic Lounge, as will an all-day barista Vittoria coffee offering.

Meanwhile a work zone with wireless printing, power and data outlets, wifi, TVs, and shower suites and an Accorhotels service experience. A revamped valet facility is also set to open soon with direct access to the terminal and the Premium Lounge Entry area.

The opening of Qantas’ domestic lounge will precede the final phases of the upgrade, which will include the renovated Qantas Club and new Chairman’s Lounge in the domestic terminal.

Business class passengers along with Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers, and eligible oneworld Emerald members will be able to make use of the domestic lounge facilities. Meanwhile the premium entry will be open to business class travellers, Qantas Club members, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers, and oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members. Emirates and China Eastern Platinum customers will also be able to make use of both facilities.

qantas.com