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Virgin’s Number One Frequent Flyer Out Of This World

Virgin Galactic Competition

In an interesting new Virgin press release it’s been announced that their number one frequent flyer will be gifted a free seat on Virgin Galactic’s flights to space.

The competition starts from today and all members of either Virgin Australia, Atlantic or America’s frequent flyer program have until August 7th 2013 to accrue as many points as they can to win this flight valued at more then $200,000. You can learn more about the competition here Virgin’s dedicated webpage.

In other Virgin Galactic news Virgin is looking at adding competition into the “launching satellite” market  with Virgin Galactic craft also being able to deploy various satellites.

With the launch of the Virgin space flights starting in December 2013 it will be interesting to see just how many people are willing to pay the price for a true “trip around the world”.

Dr George

 

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Emirates A380 Service Added To Singapore

emirates a380

Emirates A380 Service Now Added To Singapore

In a great new announcement Emirates has decided to increase capacity on their Singapore route adding the world famous luxury of the Emirates A380 for a daily flight to and from the hub of Asia.

It has been said that of all the airlines flying the A380 Emirates has been the airline that has really added full luxury to their first class. So far Emirates is the only commercial airliner to offer first class passengers the opportunity to shower in the air, a luxury previously limited to exclusive private jets.

Other Asian destinations serviced by the Emirates A380 include Bangkok and Hong Kong.

As noted in The Business Times the Emirates A380 will soon be flying to Melbourne Australia from October and Moscow from December.

This will now mean that both Sydney and Melbourne as serviced by 3 companies flying the A380, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Qantas.

Currently Emirates flys as far as Auckland however they do not have the additional leg across to the east coast of the USA. Making an Emirates only round the world fare no yet possible. I hope in time a full A380 only round the world fare would be a viable option. Now that would be pure luxury of travel.

Dr George

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A Case Of First Class Disappointment

Qantas First Class Luxury

Almost on the laughable scale is news that an Australian expert in industrial and organisational psychology, a man who focuses on employee well being,  managed to delay a Qantas A380 load of passengers after demanding to be let off the aircraft due to lack of pyjama’s in his size.

While the soft amenities of flying first class are appreciated, nice toiletry bags and pyjama’s are not usually a deal breaker when it comes to my flights. Clearly for this couple it was.

 Twitter Reactions To “Pyjama Gate”

Clionadh PegrumClionadh Pegrum – @ClionadhPegrum
Passengers refuse to fly to LA because there were no XL pjs in first class available http://t.co/i70Qqynr #firstworldproblems

Joelle AlcaidinhoJoelle Alcaidinho – @Joelle_writes
A JUMBO tantrum over first-class pajamas has held up a @QantasUSA flight to Melbourne http://t.co/TEuWI8M5 (via @JohnnyJet) so ridiculous.

While there has been much press on the cost of this delay and many people who have chastised this doctor for his childish behaviour, I have admit that I too would be very annoyed if I had paid the high premium of a first class fare to be presented with a product that not what matched the price tag.

Designer or not, if Qantas had advertised the product to include these touches, any deviation from this leads to potential disappointment in the paying customers mind. This goes not just for items like pyjamas but also availability of food selections and even whether the in flight entertainment is working.

I’ve certainly felt angry when flying first class between Sydney and Los Angles to have the only seat in a full first class that didn’t have a working television. You can imagine how frustrated I felt as everyone else was watching shows and I was left with a blinking screen.

It’s these incidents that lead to a drop in trust of airlines and the integrity of their promises to their customers. If an airline is not able to keep enough stock of their soft offerings what is their spending like in other areas such as maintenance or safety training?

Sure I would probably not hold up all the other passengers to “make a stand”, but I sure know that this would leave an impression on me when I next chose to fly.

Sure, Qantas has a bit of  a monopoly on the Australia to US route in the first class cabin, but that may not be for ever and it’s not the only route.

So what are your thoughts. Was this simply a once off over the top mishap or are people’s expectations of luxury being set too high?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Dr George

As a disclosure, this article was written in my Singapore Airlines First Class pyjamas. 😉

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Congratulations Qatar Airways On Winning Airline Of The Year

Congratulations to Qatar Airways on winning airline of the year 2012.

As reported in The Age newspaper:

For the second year in a row, Qatar Airways took out the Airline of the Year award for best airline in the world.

Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted said the awards were “something of a victory over the more established legacy carriers that have previously taken the top prizes in these categories”.

Interesting is that Australian carrier Qantas has fallen in the rankings.

Qantas fell out of the World Airline Awards’ top 10 for the first time, dropping to number 15 from number eight last year. The airline’s ranking has sunk every year since 2008, when it peaked at number three. This year’s drop comes in the wake of last year’s industrial dispute that saw CEO Alan Joyce ground the airline’s entire fleet in October, affecting about 68,000 passengers worldwide.

Qatar Airways service was recently reviewed in The Age:

Lounge access For business passengers transferring in Doha, the Qatar Premium Terminal is more akin to a five-star hotel than a holding pen. Along with complimentary fine-dining restaurant and drinks, there’s a bakery, a couple of bars, business facilities, comfortable seating, shower rooms, smokers’ lounge, children’s nursery and games room and attentive attendants. There are no loudspeaker announcements — instead, attendants will seek you out and let you know when it’s time to board your next flight

Service Very attentive; crew address business-class passengers by name.

Food and beverages La Grand Dame Champagne is offered before take-off with leather-bound menus. The food, served on mini linen tablecloths, is of high quality and includes Arabic mezze platters (dips and flatbreads) and paperbark smoked barramundi with wild rosella and wasabi couscous. Desserts are equally exotic. Snacks available any time. The wine selection includes French champagne, New Zealand sauvignon blancs and Australian shiraz.

Sounds like a wonderful airline and I am keen to try Qatar Airways some time soon.

Dr George

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Emirates A380 Inflight Shower. Amazing!

How is this for the ultimate in luxury, showering after a long fight… Before you have landed!

With the amazing  Emirates A380 First Class is the opportunity to enjoy full shower facilities. Don’t get too lost in the dream world though, there is a 30 minute time limit! Easy for many guys, but some galls <cough cough my wife> may want to plan their time 🙂

 

Great news for our USA East Coast friends is that the Emirates A380 will be arriving to NYC twice a day from January 2013.

As reported in ETurbo news:

“Emirates is experiencing very high demand for its New York flights and the start of twice daily A380 service to JFK will enable us to offer more choice for our customers to benefit from the Emirates A380 experience,” said Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President of Passenger Sales Worldwide.

“Given the popularity of this giant aircraft, known for its quietness, spaciousness and award-winning on-board product, we are confident that this news will be well-received by our customers.”

I have a passion for luxury flights and the Emirates A380 First Class product looks amazing. With their flights to Europe, Australia and now twice daily to New York, you can enjoy the  Emirates A380 on more regular flights. I hope soon they will have flights to west coast of the USA making round the world on Emirates only a possibility.

Dr George

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More Chances For British Airways New First Class Into Bangkok

Have you had a chance to see the wonderful new British Airways First Class?

Based on simple luxury, British Airways had not updated their first class since 2000 so this update is very welcome.

 

Currently only 60-70% of the British Airways planes have been updated to the new First Class product so it’s great to see that they are slowing increasing their capacity into Asia.

A press release in the Bangkok Post today notes:

“As BA completes the rollout of its new first class across its entire long-haul aircraft fleet, there is a greater chance a BA flight from Bangkok will be outfitted with a new First cabin,” said Sriram Narayan, the manager for Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

BA’s new First, which was first offered in February 2010 and involved a 100 million investment, represents the latest in a series of first-class cabin upgrades.

The move enables it to better compete with global airlines, especially those from the Middle East investing heavily in premium cabins in an effort to capture more of the lucrative high-end market.

I have always liked the British Airways style. It’s not flashy like Virgin however it’s simple elegance is able to be appreciated on many levels.

Perhaps one word of note. BA like their premium customers to “look like” premium customers. When flying in the past I have had to politely remind desk staff that indeed I was flying first class after they have ever so politely suggested to me Economy check in was on the other side of the terminal. Was it me or just the British ways?

Hiccups aside I still highly recommend the product with BA.

Dr George

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Congratulations To Malaysian On Their New A380

Wonderful news with Malaysian Airlines receiving delivery of their first Airbus A380.

Joining Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Emirates and Lufthansa, the Malaysia Airlines A380 is pushing luxury to an exciting new standard.

 

Malaysia Airlines has made a few interesting statements with the introduction of their new A380.

First Class seats are wider then found on the Singapore Airlines A380. With only 8 First Class seats, 4 less then Singapore Airlines Suites, premium passengers have access to high levels of service and attention.

The First Class seats transform into a full bed and there are 2 central double seats that can create a side by side sleeping arrangement.

Of course Malaysia Airlines attention to detail are seamless with curb side check-in at KL International Airport.
Having enjoyed the wonderful First Class lounge I can highly recommend arriving a little bit earlier to be able to relax, unwind and enjoy the Malaysian hospitality.

To be among the first to enjoy the Malaysia Airlines A380 experience you will need to be traveling from KL to London. Over time it is expected that this will be extended to other markets including Australia, and the USA.

I’ve always admired the wonderful kind service of Malaysia Airlines and look forward to trying their A380 First Class soon.

Dr George

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Singapore Airlines Suites. A Class Beyond First.

Singapore Airlines made history on the 25th of October 2007 being the first commercial flight of the much anticipated Airbus A380.

Along an upgraded business class, Singapore airlines introuduced “Suites, a class beyond First”.

Suites sent much excitement through the travel industry introducing beautiful individual cabins, full size beds which could convert to full double beds for passengers in the center row. Each cabin featured a full screen television, comfortable leather recliner chair and when required the room is converted to a bedroom to allow passengers the best opportunity to sleep.

Of course this privilege did come at a premium on top of the standard first class fares. Just this year however this premium has been dropped and first class prices  and suites are now the same.

Suites is still not available as part of discounted “round the world” inventory however it is hoped that over time this may change as well.

I’ve been fortunate to fly suites twice now. The recliner is very comfortable and easy to sleep in. I found the bed comfortable however the matress is rather firm if you are used to a softer style.

Food of couse was exquisite. Over all I highly recommend the whole Singapore Airlines Suites experience.

Please enjoy this video produced by Singapore Airlines to introduce it’s excited premium passengers to the new “Suites, A Class Beyond”.

 

Dr George

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