Malaysia Airlines plans return to Brisbane, more flights to Perth

Malaysia Airlines plans return to Brisbane, more flights to Perth

Malaysia Airlines intends to restart flights between Brisbane and Kuala Lumpur, as well as launch a double daily service to Perth – but it’s more a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’, CEO Peter Bellew tells Australian Business Traveller

The ‘when’ is, however, tied to the Oneworld member airline expanding its fleet, a process which isn’t expected to happen until sometime in 2018.

“I think Brisbane would do very well for us,” Bellew predicts, and not just for taking passengers to Kuala Lumpur or London.

“With our network we could offer some very seamless connections, particularly to relatively obscure places in China, where I don’t see them ever getting connected point-to-point.”

The Oneworld member and de facto Qantas partner axed its Brisbane flights in August 2015 as part of a wide-ranging series of cuts to its Australian schedule in an effort to slash costs.

However, Bellew explains, “we don’t have the aircraft yet to re-open that route… what I’m trying to do is to put extra wide-bodies in place for the second half of next year, and 2019, and that’ll give us the capacity then that we can operate through to Brisbane, because we need a wide-body aircraft to get down there – the narrow-bodies won’t make it.”

Those wide-body or twin-aisle jets could come from either Airbus or Boeing, Bellew says, and could be fresh from the factory or leased from another airline.

Changes for Perth

For its part, Perth will see twice-daily Boeing 737 flights and “we will have the Boeing 737s available next year to be able to do that,” Bellew forecasts.

However, mindful of the number of travellers heading through KL to London, Bellew is keen to avoid clashing with Qantas’ non-stop Perth-London Boeing 787 service.

“We recognise that Qantas’ direct flight is going to have an impact on us, so we will reschedule our flights to avoid Qantas and try and generate different traffic flows out of Perth so (that) Qantas is not going to whack us,” the refreshingly candid Bellew admits.

No A380s for Sydney, Melbourne

Malaysia Airlines has spiked plans to bring its Airbus A380 superjumbo to Sydney and Melbourne for the peak December-January travel season. 

“We had a look at it but the figures don’t add up, and there’s a lot of logistical challenges in doing that,” Bellew explains.

“The two airports are very busy at the moment and there’s not unlimited A380 handling availability in Sydney or Melbourne, so we’re not planning on doing that (now).” 

David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • aklrunway


    9 Aug, 2017 09:31 am

    Sounds like they're making some smart decisions for their business
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  • PerthFlyer


    9 Aug, 2017 10:08 am

    They need to improve status credit earning with Qantas as currently if flying economy from PER-KUL then no status credit are earned on regular tickets. Now that they have downgraded the route from A330 to 737 there is no incentive to fly business until their revolutionary 737 businesss config appears in several years time. The subpar Qantas 737 and Jetstar A320 flights are unfortunately still the better options to SIN. KLIA can't compete with Changi although it will be interesting to see how much of an improvement can be made following the refurbishment of the Malaysia lounges in KLIA.
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  • JBL


    9 Aug, 2017 11:19 am

    Is this in sync with the rumours of a stronger BA, MH and QF tie up?
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  • Himeno


    9 Aug, 2017 04:21 pm

    What rumours?
    QF isn't going to make an alliance with MH or return to the JBV with BA unless the ACCC doesn't renew the agreement with EK.
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  • David Robertson

    David Robertson

    9 Aug, 2017 05:55 pm

    What 'rumours'? BA already flies to KL, why would it need to enter into some stronger alliance or even a 'joint venture' with MH? And if anything I could see Qantas restarting Sydney-KL or Melbourne-KL flights on its own, it doesn't need MH any more than it needs JAL for Tokyo routes.
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  • Michael


    9 Aug, 2017 11:30 am

    I don't think the China locations are that 'obscure'. A lot of them already have direct flights into Australia, and besides, Singapore Airlines/Silkair already cover more, and I'd argue more important, destinations (like China's fastest growing area Chongqing).
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  • afloskar


    9 Aug, 2017 12:07 pm

    It would be nice if they flew a 787-8 from BNE daily inf say 2019.
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  • Jedinak K

    Jedinak K

    9 Aug, 2017 12:09 pm

    Would the Boeing 737-10 have enough range for KL-BNE? 

    Hoping for MH to order either the A330neos or the B787s to resume services that they discontinued.
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  • Matt J


    9 Aug, 2017 02:34 pm

    737 is 2x2x2 as the A330 from PER? 😒
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  • Lifestobelived


    9 Aug, 2017 03:40 pm

    Pity about the loss of the A330, that had a nice J class...  737s just take them down level with QF's crap offering to Asia...  As for worrying about QF servicing Perth they do stuff all so not sure MH should worry about it even once we get this revolutionary/run of the mill 787 service finally......
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  • mjduckby89


    9 Aug, 2017 05:44 pm

    It's more than a little concerning that Mr Bellew even considered flying narrow bodies to Brisbane. A few hours on a narrow body aircraft is already pushing the limits of passenger comfort in Y class, we certainly don't need 8 hour+ journeys on them!
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  • David Robertson

    David Robertson

    9 Aug, 2017 05:53 pm

    Nowhere does Peter Bellew say he considered putting Boeing 737s onto the Brisbane route, it read to me more like he simply stated the reality that they can't fly the route on a 737.
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  • Derek Conway


    9 Aug, 2017 08:28 pm

    Just did the 2.20am from Perth to KL for the 2nd time in 4 months - last time was on A330 - this time was B737 - it was excruciating even in business class
    I am a huge fan of MH and admire the changes being made to the airline - hopefully the 2nd 737 will be a daytime flight as they used to have a 4pm ex Perth
    Also do the overnighter from Mumbai that is a 737 though I understand some flights will be converted to A330 from November 1 - hallelujah !!
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  • smit0847


    10 Aug, 2017 02:12 am

    Yeah I really don't think MH are going to be taking away pax from anyone on the kangaroo route. 
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  • Tlar


    10 Aug, 2017 10:34 am

    Come back to DARWIN!!!!! 
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  • Kevin Jackson

    Kevin Jackson

    11 Aug, 2017 09:15 pm

    I have flown with MAS for over 40 years.

    I have watched a wonderful airline dwindle to nothing with poor food,

    unacceptable timings of the Perth flights and NOW 737's. What an insult. The Frequent Flyer program is now a joke.

    It looks like it is not difficult to kill an airline.

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  • TheFreqFlyer


    5 Oct, 2017 08:27 pm

    Very strange that any airline can justify flying from a city like KL to Darwin (yes, Malaysian Airlines flies to Darwin!) but axe Brisbane. How many people from Darwin could fill a plane to KL? Yet from Brisbane, you also have Gold Coast and Sunshine coast passengers, each of which taken alone already has more potential passengers than Darwin does. Unless there is a good reason to hang onto Darwin, which has absolutely no need for a full service airline anyway, Malaysia should ditch Darwin and go back to Brisbane. If it can maintain both, good, but right now I find it puzzling that any Asian carrier could maintain a viable connection to that little outpost in the north of Australia, other than budget airlines flying from Denpasar (Bali).
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  • Chris Chamberlin


    6 Oct, 2017 08:39 am

    Malaysia Airlines axed Darwin flights back in June due to being unprofitable over a number of years.
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  • Graeme Whittell


    11 Jan, 2018 07:44 am

    This is now reality. They have just announced they are returning to this route(KUL/BNE) with a four times a week service from June 6.
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  • Longreach


    11 Feb, 2018 04:15 pm

    Now that is totally ridiculous. Twice a day to Perth and four times a week from June 2018 to a larger city with a very much larger catchment.
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  • Derek Conway


    11 Feb, 2018 04:23 pm

    The 2am departure(if its on time) from Perth to KL is sheer torture
    If they intend to continue a 737 service on this route they need a day time flight - what happened to the 9am from KL returning at 4pm from Perth ?
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21 Jul, 2018 12:21 pm

Which Qantas lounges can Air New Zealand Airpoints frequent flyer use?

Which Qantas lounges can Air New Zealand Airpoints frequent flyer use?

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:

  1. you have to be travelling on a domestic Qantas flight
  2. it has to be booked under the Air New Zealand codeshare (those flight numbers will be in the NZ7xxx range)
  3. 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.

Read more: Qantas, Air New Zealand alliance will take on Virgin Australia

David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • henrus


    20 Jul, 2018 05:31 pm

    Doesn't it seem a bit odd that Koru club won't get access (something that the VA deal provided) . I guess there will be no access for QF Club cardholders in NZ either?
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  • aviation


    21 Jul, 2018 09:27 am

    Correct, it's reciprocal in that QF Club card holders can't use NZ lounges. The VA deal was very unique as they were the only partner lounges Koru members could access without actually flying Air NZ.
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  • Uqsthom6


    21 Jul, 2018 08:05 am

    Looks like air nz ff get the raw end of the deal
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  • aviation


    21 Jul, 2018 08:31 am

    Thanks for the article, however, there are a few errors.
    1. It's not really an alliance, but a straight domestic codeshare agreement. Alliance to me suggests coordination on pricing, schedules, etc, of which is there is none of.
    2. Some codeshare flights on Qantas are in the NZ1xxx range too (namely the triangle routes)
    3. The codeshare flight can be used for any international journey originating in Australia, not just trans-Tasman (i.e. you could fly CBR-SYD-AKL-LAX or MEL-SYD-RAR)
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21 Jul, 2018 12:21 pm

What you can expect from Cathay's new business class dining concept

What you can expect from Cathay's new business class dining concept

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.

David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • Skipp


    20 Jul, 2018 12:48 pm

    Look forward to the new meal service in business class coming within the next 12 months - it will make a nice change.
    I just hope (for the future) that Cathay Pacific will stop serving the exact same economy class meals in "Premium" economy class.
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  • MissBasset


    20 Jul, 2018 01:34 pm

    Why bother with the white linen tablecloth if they are serving it on a plastic cafeteria tray? The promo pictures show all set up to eat off the tray. Euww.. I will take it all off the tray and set it up like other airlines J class. FAIL for presentation, CX.
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  • mrj


    20 Jul, 2018 02:42 pm

    I recently suggested to Cathay that their business classs food is amongst the worst of all airlines. Interestingly their response failed to mention this planned revamp.
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    20 Jul, 2018 02:57 pm

    I'm really glad they're going back to classy, glossy paper stock for the menus versus the uncoated groundwood paper they switched to a few years back. Now if they would only bring back that trademark chocolate box at the end of the meal...
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  • David Flynn


    20 Jul, 2018 03:25 pm

    I was on CX a few weeks back and the chocolates made an appearance on every flight...
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  • Manjit Sadhwani

    Manjit Sadhwani

    20 Jul, 2018 03:19 pm

    It's about time
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  • HKAus


    20 Jul, 2018 03:41 pm

    CX Catering is bar far the most outdated and leaves an overall cheap and poor guest experience of most International airliners. CX have unfortunately chosen over the last decade to reduce their overheads where guests can see and feel the difference. Personally after 5 years as a Diamond CX member I have moved to competitors; poor catering, moody crew members, consistently delayed flights (due to over use of planes with no margin for delays) and ridiculous pricing have enabled me to now enjoy such operators as KLM, Virgin Australia, Qantas & Lufthansa; all with an overall better "J"Class experience. Interestingly as a result of my change in travel I was dropped to Gold and this year even though I should have dropped another tier, they obviously are trying to get pax like myself back because they extended my gold status.
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  • Rkwm


    20 Jul, 2018 04:39 pm

    It was taken CX far too long to make changes to the atrocious F&B that has annoyed their long term supporters . The plastic cafeteria tray certainly brings the enhancements down a few levels can’t, understsnd who approved this inclusion . Totally agree with HKAus, supported CX for over two decades but over the last two years the deterioration in service , punctuality and value has been palpable.

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  • Tony OBERON


    20 Jul, 2018 04:48 pm

    Looks marginally better - but CX are you seriously going to use a plastic tray? At least put a cloth on the tray - if for no other reasons than hygiene! I’m a germophobe and I cringe to see cutlery sitting on a plastic tray, which cannot be washed at the same high temps as crockery. Lysteria et al here we come.
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    21 Jul, 2018 11:33 am

    I think everyone who travels Cathay agrees that the dining experience had to be upgraded, this looks the goods.
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21 Jul, 2018 12:21 pm

 Cartier Santos: the original pilot's watch, reimagined

Cartier Santos: the original pilot's watch, reimagined

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.

The story

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.

The style

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.

The details

• 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

Jason Swire

Jason Swire (Jason Swire)

[email protected] /

Jason Swire is a Sydney-based writer, watch collector and author of 'Timely Advice', a beginner's guide to fine timepieces. His non-watch passions include hi-fi and whiskey, in that order.

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21 Jul, 2018 12:21 pm

Finnair flicks the switch on free WiFi for European flights

Finnair flicks the switch on free WiFi for European flights

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.

David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • eight10man


    20 Jul, 2018 06:19 pm

    Not sure how you can have black spots when using satellite internet.. especially when those black spots happen to be above the sea. Could it be this system is actually and ground-to-ground system maybe?
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  • readosunnycoast


    20 Jul, 2018 10:35 pm

    Just flew BKK>>>HEL, A350 with wifi. Couldnt get a connection of any sort. Just kept message, don’t close the browser. I do hope it gets better for the next lot of passengers
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21 Jul, 2018 12:21 pm


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