If you’re stuck in economy to Dubai and beyond with Emirates, your stash of Skywards miles can be swapped for a much more comfortable flight in business class.
Upgrades can be requested on most Emirates economy bookings with a 176 ticket number, including on award seats snapped up with Skywards miles but excluding from the least-expensive Economy Special tickets.
The number of miles needed for an upgrade depends on whether you’ve purchased a Saver, Flex or Flex Plus fare.
Between Sydney and Dubai, you’ll churn 54,000 Skywards miles to bump up from Flex Plus; 70,200 miles from Flex or 127,500 miles from a Saver seat, while the cheapest Special fares again can't be upgraded with points.
Emirates upgrades can also be confirmed in advance – unlike the Qantas system which more closely resembles an ‘upgrade lottery’.
From the east coast to Auckland or Christchurch with Emirates, a mere 5,000 Skywards miles will wing you that business class upgrade from Flex Plus economy, or you can stump up 16,250 miles and move forward from a Flex fare or 45,250 miles from a Saver ticket.
Onwards from Dubai to the likes of London, Paris and Frankfurt, passengers can upgrade for either 30,000, 39,000 or 57,500 miles – but if you’re making the day-long trek from Australia to Europe, you’d be wise to upgrade the full journey.
Swap that cramped economy seat for a lie-flat bed for just 62,500, 81,250 or 171,000 Skywards miles from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to Europe, and you’ll save up to 27,950 miles over upgrading separately… here’s how it’s done.
Emirates business class upgrades
Emirates upgrades are all one-class – meaning economy passengers can move forward into business class and enjoy the inflight bar, but only travellers booked into business class have a shot at moving up to the first class suites and their indulgent showers.
Miles can be swapped for a better seat through the Skywards website. The number of upgrades is limited on every flight, but if there's one available and your request is made at least six hours before take-off, it's yours.
Excluding short hops across the pond, the complimentary Chauffeur Drive service is available to upgraded travellers, as long as their business class seat is confirmed at least 48 hours before wheels up.
If you’ve lucked out on an upgrade or you’ve made a last-minute booking, you could try your hand at business class when checking-in – albeit obviously too late to enjoy that free transfer to the airport.
(We should point out that if Dubai is your final destination and you're unable to pre-book a driver, you can still take advantage of the free service by visiting the Chauffeur Driver counter on arrival in Dubai.)
Even on board, Silver, Gold and Platinum members of Skywards can nudge the crew for a better seat for themselves and any companions, as long as they’re willing to cough up enough miles.
Requesting your upgrade
Most tickets can be upgraded immediately after the booking has been finalised, although some of the cheaper fares don’t permit this until check-in, with others not allowing it at all.
The Emirates website makes it very clear when making a new booking, so you’ll see this if your flights can’t be upgraded until closer to departure:
Top tip: In this instance we'd snap up a business class seat during online check-in before heading to the airport, rather than picking up the scraps when dropping off your luggage.
To get things moving, load up your reservation through the ‘manage existing booking’ section of the Emirates website and go from there.
The site will automatically attempt to upgrade every passenger on your booking, so if you’re travelling with colleagues, give Emirates a call on 1300 303 777 and ask the agent to leave your workmates in economy.
If you’re late to the game and only ponder an upgrade after pulling up at the kerb – or even once you’re in the air – just speak to a check-in agent or a member of the crew for assistance.
Whether confirmed in advance or bumped up on board, upgrades cost the same number of miles.
In some cases, government taxes and fees can differ between business class and economy – in which case you’ll also be asked for a credit card to cover the difference.
A few pitfalls...
If your upgrade to business class is successful, you’ll earn both Skywards miles and tier miles as applicable to your original economy fare.
Also, for Blue-level members, upgrades aren’t available when travelling on Emirates flights sold by other airlines, including Qantas, even if an Emirates (EK) code appears on the booking.
That same principle applies to partner frequent flyer award tickets – so if you’ve used your Qantas points to book an economy flight with Emirates, you can’t then use Skywards miles to upgrade.
Skywards upgrades for Blue members also don’t happen on codeshare flights, so if you’ve booked an Emirates flight but with a Qantas (QF) flight number, you’re also out of luck.
Booking a QF flight number on Emirates – while useful for Qantas Frequent Flyer members – keeps you stuck in economy.
However, Silver, Gold and Platinum members can side-step these restrictions by requesting their upgrade on-board, on all but the lowest Special tickets.
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Air New Zealand's Airpoints frequent flyers will enjoy have access to Qantas Clubs around Australia under the newly-forged alliance between the two airlines.
As of October 28, 2018, Airpoints Elite and Gold members booked on a codeshare flight with Qantas will find the doors swing open for them at the two dozen Qantas Club lounges in Australia's capital cities and regional centres. They'll also be permitted to bring in one guest.
But it won't be as easy as flashing your shiny Airpoints card, as the following conditions apply:
- you have to be travelling on a domestic Qantas flight
- it has to be booked under the Air New Zealand codeshare (those flight numbers will be in the NZ7xxx range)
- and this must be booked as part of a trans-Tasman booking
This arrangement replaces Airpoints access to Virgin Australia lounges following the dramatic bust-up between the two former allies.
However, there appears to be no Qantas Club lounge access for Koru Club members, nor can AirNZ frequent flyers cool their heels in the more upmarket Qantas Business lounges.
The Qantas / Air New Zealand alliance covers selected flights on the domestic network of each airline, however trans-Tasman and other international flights are excluded from the arrangement.
Cathay Pacific will roll out its new 'business class dining concept' this month, with the meal service taking a step closer to a first class experience.
Meals will be individually plated and delivered to passengers by hand rather than by trolley, as the airline adopts more personalised and upmarket approach.
Cathay also expects this will result in a "quieter and calmer cabin environment", especially on late night flights.
Passengers will have a choice between three appetisers and "up to six main course choices" on flights over ten hours in the initial launch of the service to the likes of Chicago (on July 30), London/Gatwick (in August) followed by Frankfurt, Manchester and Washington DC (September); Amsterdam, Paris and Johannesburg (October), Madrid, Brussels and Barcelona (November) and London/Heathrow (December).
And, being very much on trend, light and healthy 'wellbeing options' feature in every main course.
On flights from Hong Kong the menu will be changed every month, with a quarterly menu refresh for flights to Hong Kong.
Fights from Hong Kong (but not, for now, the return leg) will also see a new range of Hong Kong Favourites inspired by local dishes, such as
- Hong Kong char siu pork with egg noodles, seasoned soy sauce, spring onion and ginger (shown below)
- Wok fried seafood in lobster soup with ginger, spring onion, crispy and steamed rice
- Beef brisket with flat rice noodle soup
- Mango with pomelo and sago
But before all that eatings starts, business class passengers will notice the new-look menus.
Printed as eight pages on quality paper, they not only detail the meals and drinks available on that flight but include foodie-friendly articles such as 'Anatomy of a Laksa' and feature a local chef revealing their favourite eateries both in Hong Kong and around thr world.
There will also be a breakfast menu card which passengers will complete before hitting the hay, so that they can wake to what the airline described as a "hotel room-service" experience.
However, these are set menus rather than allowing travellers to pick-and-mix from a wide selection of items.
In addition to what's described as 'traditional' Chinese and Western breakfasts, there's also a lighter Continental breakfast plus a minimalist Express breakfast of a piece of pastry and a drink, which can be served 60 minutes before landing for passengers who wish to maximise their sleep.
Refreshments will be revamped as a selection of 'most loved dishes' available throughout the flight as a snack between meals on services to North America and Europe, including the airline's signature burger and popular soup noodles. These will also appear on the main meal menu.
Next year will see Cathay's 'new business class dining concept' extend to medium-distance routes, with plans to include Sydney and Auckland in February 2019 and Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Adelaide and Perth in May 2019.
Very few watches can claim true originality, and the Cartier Santos is among those few.
The Santos made its debut way back in 1904 as a personal timepiece for aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont, making it both the first pilot’s watch and one of the earliest known men’s wristwatches.
As we've previously detailed, the Santos was borne from a request by Brazilian flyer Santos-Dumont, who told his friend Louis Cartier – then a Parisian watchmaker – of the challenge of timing flights using the then-conventional pocket watch, as pilots needed to keep both hands on the aircraft controls.
In response, Cartier designed a large square-faced watch and fitted it to a strap so it could be worn on the wrist – quite a revolutionary concept at the time.
The first commercial Cartier Santos watches went on sale to the public in 1911 with solid gold cases and ultra-thin mechanical movements designed by French clockmaker Edmond Jaeger.
(In order to produce this movement for Cartier, Jaeger worked with Swiss movement manufacturer Jacques-David LeCoultre, a partnership that would lead to the birth of storied brand Jaeger-LeCoultre.)
The enduring design of the Cartier Santos was reimagined in the late 1970s as a luxury steel sports watch, later adding two-tone steel and gold and the now-iconic screwed bezel with exposed gold screws along the bracelet for a modern, industrial aesthetic.
For 2018, Cartier has once again re-invented the Santos.
The distinctive screw-set bezel now tapers at both ends towards the bracelet to create an organic, integrated look.
The satin-brushed case features a wide mirror-polished bevel along its length, extending all the way to the gracefully curved crown guards at 3 o’clock. A square watch the Santos may be, but there’s hardly a sharp edge or straight line to be found.
The case has been slimmed dramatically from previous incarnations of the Santos, allowing this watch to disappear easily under a shirt cuff when needed.
The bracelet is fitted with a new 'QuickSwitch' system allowing for easy swapping with the included tan calfskin strap or Cartier’s alternative crocodile straps, providing some style versatility.
Adding or removing bracelet links has also been made easier with a new 'SmartLink' design which allows the wearer to expand the bracelet during a hot summer’s day without requiring a tool.
While the bezel, case and bracelet have all been modernised, the dial remains classic Cartier. With Roman numerals, a railroad minute-track and heat-blued hands, it’s hard to imagine a more traditional look.
The 2018 Cartier Santos can serve dress-watch and sports-watch duties equally well, and boasts a history that few timepieces can match.
• In-house mechanical movement with automatic winding
• Seven-sided crown set with a faceted synthetic spinel
• Silvered opaline dial, blued-steel sword-shaped hands, sapphire crystal
• Water-resistant to 10 bar (approximately 100 metres)
• Medium version case width: 35.1 mm, thickness: 8.83 mm
• Large version case width: 39.8 mm, thickness: 9.08 mm
• Pricing from A$8,750 for the Cartier Santos Medium in steel, to A$52,500 for the Cartier Santos Large in solid pink gold with matching pink gold bracelet. For stockists, visit www.au.cartier.com.
Finnair will launch inflight Internet on its European flights this week, with travellers able to enjoy the high-speed satellite service free of charge during a two-month trial period running through to the end of September.
The Oneworld airline has already outfitted six of its single-aisle Airbus jets with technology provided through partner Viasat, which also provided the backbone for Qantas' Australia-wide WiFi system.
By the end of northern summer some 20 aircraft will be upgraded, with Finnair's entire single-aisle Airbus fleet slated for WiFi by mid-2019.
The system will be available on a gate-to-gate basis, so passengers won't even need to wait for their jet to reach level flight – which will maximise time online for many of Finnair's relatively short European hops.
However, parts of some European routes will present black spots to the satellite network, including above the Bay of Biscay and the North Sea, while some restrictions also apply over Latvia, Lithuania, parts of Belarus and Russia.
Over the two-month testing period Finnair intends to "gather information on system functionality and feedback on the overall customer experience."
"In entering the passenger testing phase, we’ll be gaining the critical insights needed to further optimise our service to ensure Finnair customers get a unique experience built around their needs, interests and usage behaviours," explains Viasat vice-president Don Buchman.
The airline has yet to reveal what pricing it will charge for its sky-high WiFi once the trial period ends, although frequent flyers will no doubt hope that some sort of monthly pass is available as an alternative to paying on a per-flight basis.
Finnair already offers WiFi on its long-range 'intercontinental' jets, with the first hour free for business class and Finnair Plus Gold members, then €3 (A$4.70) for three hours or €20 (A$31) for the entire flight. Finnair Plus Platinum frequent flyers are provided with free Internet access for the whole flight.