Three ways Virgin Australia intends to win against Air New Zealand

Three ways Virgin Australia intends to win against Air New Zealand

TALKING POINT | The messy break-up between Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand is not reading from the familiar script. None of this "we have come to a mutual decision, we still love each other and will always respect one another" stuff.

Instead, the airlines have gone from partners to pugilists and are now fighting not for custody of the children but for trans-Tasman travellers – especially business and premium leisure flyers.

Gone are the shared flights and lounges, along with coordination on schedules and pricing in an effort to paint common foe Qantas into a corner – albeit a big corner which represented almost 50% of the market.

Now each airline is free to go its own way, do its own thing and give its competitors a bloody nose in the process.

Beyond the usual competitive plays such as sharper pricing, here are three weapons with which Virgin Australia aims to win the trans-Tasman turf war against its onetime Kiwi paramour.

1. Business class on every flight

Every one of Virgin's trans-Tasman flights runs on a Boeing 737-800 jet fitted with business class. It's the same business class as the domestic Boeing 737s – eight wide recliners...

... but this offers greater consistency than Air New Zealand's mixed fleet, where some flights feature a Boeing 787 or Boeing 777 with a fully-flat business class...

... while flights on the Airbus A320 jets have economy seating from tip to tail, topping out with a 'Euro-business' premium option with extra legroom and an empty middle seat as its 'The Works' option.

2. Velocity points and status credits

This has always been one of the biggest advantages of the Virgin Australia partnership with Air New Zealand: the ability to earn frequent flyer points and status credits in Virgin's Velocity program when you're actually flying on an AirNZ jet.

Velocity earning is going to continue to be a drawcard for booking flights directly with Virgin after the split.

AirNZ's Airpoints scheme isn't highly regarded even by native New Zealanders, whose membership is more a matter of Stockholm Syndrome than anything else.

3. Inflight WiFi

As Virgin Australia continues to outfit its Boeing 737-800 fleet with inflight Internet, its WiFi rollout will also extend to New Zealand routes.

Air New Zealand is also planning WiFi for its new Airbus A321neo jets, but the size and ubiquity of Virgin's existing Boeing 737 fleet gives a headstart.

Virgin hasn't yet revealed when WiFi will stretch across the pond or how much it will charge.

Of course, none of this guarantees a victory for Virgin Australia (even if Virgin dares describe what such a victory looks like), and Air New Zealand has several strong cards in its own hand – including international-grade business class and premium economy on some flights, a strong regional network within New Zealand and a consistent network of quality lounges.

And there's always the risk that as Virgin Australia's trans-Tasman travellers rethink their plans, Qantas could pick up many new or once-strayed passengers.

Which airline is going to be your choice for future trans-Tasman flights, and why?

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.
 

36 Comments

  • Joshb

    Joshb

    17 Apr, 2018 04:54 am

    QF would have to be in the box seat given the network, strength of FF and improved product offering with A330’s ex Syd and Mel.
    Member who gave thanks

    BJVincent

  • kabe100

    kabe100

    17 Apr, 2018 07:48 pm

    A330s flights are generally slower than B777, let alone B789 flights. I noticed this a couple of times in both directions between SYD and AKL. It led me to analyse some flight tracking data of QF143 (A332) vs NZ104 (B772/B77W). It proves to me NZ104 is more than 20 minutes (as an average) shorter in last three weeks. Have a look at flightaware.com or flightradar.com...
    No member give thanks

  • puppy79

    puppy79

    17 Apr, 2018 05:55 am

    VA for me if I go again.aircraft size on the sectors means nothing to me these days as I only fly Economy anyway.The only way you will get QF on a wide body across the TASMAN IS GETTING A FLIGHT ON A LATAM 787 CODESHARE or booking onto a flight operated by a 330.
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  • hutch

    hutch

    17 Apr, 2018 08:17 am

    Yes you are correct, the only way you will get QF on a widebody, is by flying a widebody.
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  • aklrunway

    aklrunway

    17 Apr, 2018 08:31 am

    QF operate A330s from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to Auckland.
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  • Tom Wilson

    tommygun

    17 Apr, 2018 06:56 am

    The QF 332 flights only go to AKL. Bad luck if you're going/coming anywhere to/from the rest of NZ. Same deal for NZ 772/773: AKL only. You get to connect other ports in NZ or JQ economy, up to 2 hours for say ZQN. I'm no great fan of the QF and VA recliners in J on the 738's, but at least you get a direct flight, decent legroom and a seat wide enough for some comfort. I'll stick with that until NZ gets the message about catering for premium customers outside AKL. BTW: I dislike the "coffin class" J on the NZ 772/773 anyway, even for trans-Tasman.
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  • Chris McKellar

    krisdude

    17 Apr, 2018 09:59 am

    I agree with you in regards to the 'coffins' in J on Air NZ 777/787s.

    Whilst most business travelers from both sides of the ditch don't like them, leisure travelers according to Air NZ, like them. Air NZ has said, most of the travelers in J are leisure and the company is not actively promoting the Business Premier product to business travelers but providing an 'enhance premium' travel experience. Its up to individual how to interrupt what Air NZ means.

    To me, Business Premier is Premium Economy with a lay flat bed.
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  • Tom Wilson

    tommygun

    17 Apr, 2018 06:58 am

    Just to clarify: I do understand that wide body aircraft cannot get into places like ZQN, but they certainly can in WLG and CHC.
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  • k  lane

    londoner

    17 Apr, 2018 07:54 am

    Virgin business class trans tasman is woeful, Air NZ any day
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  • mara

    mara

    17 Apr, 2018 08:07 am

    The AirNZ website is now bringing up Qantas flights for the OZ domestic legs. So you have to book Virgin flight separately. I hope Virgin have a status match lined up in this custody battle.
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  • henrus

    henrus

    17 Apr, 2018 08:48 am

    I think you'll find this way always the case.

    Ports like Alice Springs and Bundaberg always used a QF connection on to Air NZ (even during the Virgin tie up)

    If you search from say Townsville or Darwin to Auckland you'll see no flights appear yet. Air NZ has announced that those routes will continue to use Virgin flight but they'll have a VA code instead (and at this stage it's unclear if perks will continue).
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  • sgb

    sgb

    17 Apr, 2018 08:27 am

    Melbourne Queenstown Business is a winner.
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  • Graham BLAMEX

    BLAMEX

    17 Apr, 2018 08:53 am

    Whilst QF retain the A330 they are the clear winner. Winner a superior J product and 2 x 4 x 2 in Y class they will be the winner. One day when they update the lounges in NZ this will be yet another leap over VA. Until VA introduce a better J class product and do something with the lounges (the domestic ones are like a school canteen) QF will win all the time.
    Member who gave thanks

    Dr Travel

  • Chris McKellar

    krisdude

    17 Apr, 2018 09:47 am

    Hi David - Could you please clarify what you meant - "AirNZ's Airpoints scheme isn't highly regarded even by native New Zealanders, whose membership is more a matter of Stockholm Syndrome than anything else."

    I prefer to have a '1AP = NZ$1' earn type FF as oppose to the current points schemes that is offered by QF and VA FF schemes.
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  • xtfer

    xtfer

    17 Apr, 2018 03:09 pm

    The redemption rates are poor. Possibly the worst in the Star Alliance stable and way below VA.
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  • henrus

    henrus

    17 Apr, 2018 08:38 pm

    Each to their own but as others have mentioned the redemption rates are poor.

    I fly Brisbane to Christchurch a lot so I'll use that as an example.

    In my case, I don't travel with a checked bag so I'll always buy the seat only. When booked on a seat return ticket it typically earns between 2 and 10 AP$ (and for the sake of this post I'll run with 6AP$ as it's halfway and ~40 status credits return). This same ticket can also earn 1552 miles on United or Virgin Australia (with 40 status credits earned on VA)


    When it comes to a oneway redemption from Brisbane to Christchurch is
    17500 miles on United (12 return trip required to reach this)
    17800 miles on Virgin (12 return trip required to reach this
    and
    on average AP$186 on Air NZ (31 return trips required to reach this)
    taxes are added on with all three options

    When it comes to Gold status (Air NZ is not as bad as United by alot worse then Virgin)
    50000 miles on United (33 return trips required)
    500 status credits on Virgin (13 return trips required)
    900 staus credits on Air NZ (23 return trips required)

    This is the case for a lot of frequent trans tasman travelers I know. Virgin Gold status provides perks on both Air NZ domestically and trans tasman whilst being half as easy to obtain. This has kinda upset some New Zealanders as the "Aussies" get it half as easy with the same perks whilst filling up their lounges in the process.

    There are some cases where NZ provides more points and status credits and that tends to be long haul business class. Often a business class return Australia to London via Auckland and LA can net gold in a single trip, however, the price can often be double what other star alliance airlines offer.

    I guess it depends on your travels and who you'll fly. On Air NZ metal often it makes sense to credit to Airpoints however you'll often hear people complain about the earn and burn rates which will most likely come back to burn you.
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  • StuParr

    StuParr

    18 Apr, 2018 07:57 am

    Thanks Henrus, I’m agnostic when it comes to reward flights, as I don’t use them much.

    As I fly on Air NZ metal quite a bit I find Airpoints quite an easy way to retain Star Gold whilst using VA flights and SQ for VA Plat retention.

    Is there a better Star program that I should consider? Or given my flights are as above a mix of Velocity and Airpoints is the optimum. With all these changes I am working through the options.

    No member give thanks

  • Tom Wilson

    tommygun

    17 Apr, 2018 10:02 am

    Will VA continue to put J pax and tier Velocity into NZ lounges? Sounds like they don't want to: but if not, where? Wonder when we'll hear?
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  • Jason Masters

    JPMasters

    17 Apr, 2018 10:19 am

    Key strategy to be explained is lounge access on both sides.
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  • MarkJohnSon

    MarkJohnSon
    Banned

    17 Apr, 2018 10:21 am

    One thing missing from this list: access to quality lounges in Australia, and access to any lounge across the ditch.

    Based on the divorce proceedings so far, it seems highly unlikely AirNZ and VA will cut a deal on lounge access.

    If that turns out to be true, what business traveller would ever consider flying with VA?
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  • Simon Coveney

    Covvers

    18 Apr, 2018 02:46 pm

    As people who follow my comments on this website well know, I am no fan of VA.

    However, I must disagree with you on this issue Mark. A business traveller would have a very good reason for considering flying with VA where the option is between an ANZ A320, with no proper J class or a VA 738 with the usual domestic J class recliners.

    As much as I like ANZ, I simply wouldn't consider flying them on a route on which they were using an A320. Spending three or four hours in a Y-class seat on a veritable misery tube is, to me, unacceptable.
    Member who gave thanks

    lfwmvnz

  • Philip Devlin

    Dr Travel

    17 Apr, 2018 01:13 pm

    QF A330 double daily to SYD and MEL and daily to BNE ex AKL are the best Tasman product in operation hands down.
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  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    17 Apr, 2018 01:44 pm

    I would argue that CI's A350 is better.
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  • Tom Wilson

    tommygun

    17 Apr, 2018 02:23 pm

    I even quite liked CI a333: preferred to any of VA, QF or NZ. in J.
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  • xtfer

    xtfer

    17 Apr, 2018 03:10 pm

    LATAMs 787 business, despite being 2-2-2, is, IMHO, better on that short leg than a QF A330.
    Member who gave thanks

    good67

  • hutch

    hutch

    17 Apr, 2018 03:22 pm

    Not the greatest departure time from AKL if I recall correctly
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  • eminere

    eminere

    17 Apr, 2018 11:03 pm

    But not too bad in the SYD-AKL direction.
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  • Simon Coveney

    Covvers

    18 Apr, 2018 02:42 pm

    I don't agree with this statement at all. To the extent that the QF A330s do not have the updated interior and J seat, I would accept that the hard product on the LATAM 789 is superior. It is, however, worse on every other measure, whether it be service (woeful on LATAM) or food.

    I would take QF service, food, consistency and safety over the shambolic mess than is LATAM any day of the week and twice on Fridays.
    No member give thanks

  • Jason Hamilton

    JKH

    17 Apr, 2018 02:37 pm

    It sounds like Kramer versus Kramer. They’ll need Child Protection Services and Family Law Court to settle the pathetic asset mix!
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  • Andrew

    andyf

    18 Apr, 2018 12:17 am

    Worth noting that VA's Pacific Island flights from Auckland already use the Strata contract lounge rather than the NZ Koru lounge.
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  • sagidec

    sagidec

    18 Apr, 2018 09:32 am

    It's great to see market shake ups. Forces the players to up their game and not stay content!
    Member who gave thanks

    amitchell

  • Mitchell Dennis

    Mitchd31

    18 Apr, 2018 12:17 pm

    ANZ airpoints is the worst loyalty programme I think any airline offers so va any day , also great that VA are uping the game with improved food options etc.
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  • Simon Coveney

    Covvers

    18 Apr, 2018 02:52 pm

    Mitch, on what basis do you say that VA is "...uping (sic) the game with improved food options..."?

    There is certainly nothing in the article to that effect.
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  • Matthew Thomas

    Empty

    18 Apr, 2018 03:09 pm

    A little birdy told me that VA is looking to build a domestic network in NZ - I would assume this would only be to the larger ports but if they can replicate what they have built in AU they will have a solid offering - Still, I will miss the good status earn on ANZ regional flights..
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  • Scott Brown

    DownSouth

    18 Apr, 2018 03:15 pm

    @Mitchd31 your correct, the onboard food has improved immensely over the last 3 months. Flew SYD-BNE a few days ago and the food suited the 1hr late afternoon flight perfectly.
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  • Gary  Bryant

    good67

    21 Apr, 2018 08:51 am

    I used to book and enjoy Emirates A380 service Melb-Auk on a Q ticket
    Now more than happy to fly
    Qantas A330 200
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Guest

21 Jul, 2018 12:22 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.
 

4 Comments

  • henrus

    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

    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

    Uqsthom6

    21 Jul, 2018 08:05 am

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

    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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Guest

21 Jul, 2018 12:22 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.
 

10 Comments

  • Skipp

    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

    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

    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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  • AADFW

    AADFW

    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

    David

    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
    No member give thanks

  • HKAus

    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.
    No member give thanks

  • Rkwm

    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.


    No member give thanks

  • Tony OBERON

    obi

    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.
    No member give thanks

  • JOHN MEWETT

    mewettjohn

    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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Guest

21 Jul, 2018 12:22 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 www.au.cartier.com.

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.
 

0 Comment

Guest

21 Jul, 2018 12:22 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.
 

2 Comments

  • eight10man

    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?
    No member give thanks

  • readosunnycoast

    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
    No member give thanks

Guest

21 Jul, 2018 12:22 pm

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