Using Qantas frequent flyer points to book Cathay Pacific flights

Using Qantas frequent flyer points to book Cathay Pacific flights

Using your Qantas Frequent Flyer points to book flights is naturally one of the best ways that you can spend them – and for some high flyers, that means using points to travel with Qantas' Oneworld alliance partner Cathay Pacific.

Offering flights between Australia and Hong Kong and onward to a host of destinations across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America, Cathay Pacific is a favourite of many travellers for two key reasons: reward availability is generally quite good (especially if you plan ahead), and the amount you pay on the side in dollars is quite low.

To counter that, the number of Qantas Points needed to book Cathay Pacific flights is marginally higher than needed to make a comparable booking with Qantas and some of its closer partners like Emirates, although there's still value to be had.

For example, I recently needed to fly from Paris to Brisbane, and wanted to book business class. I could have flown with Emirates via Dubai for 128,000 Qantas Points, but booked Cathay Pacific instead for 139,000 Qantas Points, because the fees and charges associated with the booking were around $400 less.

When booking multiple seats – such as a return journey for yourself or tickets for others to join you on the same flight – those cash savings can really add up, so if you don't mind spending a few more points to enjoy some significant savings, here are some of the ways you can use your Qantas Points to fly with Cathay Pacific.

Booking Cathay Pacific flights with Qantas Points: key routes

In Australia, Cathay Pacific offers non-stop flights between Hong Kong and Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Cairns, along with Auckland-Hong Kong services for our friends in New Zealand.

Beyond Hong Kong, the airline offers connections to places like China, Taiwan and Philippines in Asia (among other destinations), plus Israel (Tel Aviv) and some key cities across Europe, including London, Paris, Rome, Frankfurt, Zurich, Amsterdam, Brussels, Madrid, Manchester and Milan, to be joined by Barcelona and Dublin this year.

Some travellers also use Cathay Pacific as a roundabout way of flying between Australia and places like Los Angeles, New York and Vancouver, but these aren't routes we'll cover: ditto Johannesburg, where flying via Hong Kong would take twice as long as flying straight out of Sydney with Qantas.

Booking Cathay Pacific flights with Qantas Points: how many points you'll need

To start planning your next trip, here's how many points you'd need to book a one-way flight between Australia or New Zealand and Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific. For a return ticket, double these figures:

To/from Hong Kong (one-way) Business class Premium economy Economy
65,000 Qantas Points 52,500 Qantas Points 35,000 Qantas Points
Cairns 53,000 Qantas Points 42,000 Qantas Points 28,000 Qantas Points
Auckland 78,000 Qantas Points 63,000 Qantas Points 42,000 Qantas Points

Want to fly onwards from Australia/NZ to Shanghai via Hong Kong as part of a connecting journey? Here's now many points you'll need in total for your booking:

To/from Shanghai (one-way) Business class Premium economy Economy
78,000 Qantas Points 63,000 Qantas Points 42,000 Qantas Points
65,000 Qantas Points 52,500 Qantas Points 35,000 Qantas Points
Auckland 92,000 Qantas Points 75,000 Qantas Points 50,000 Qantas Points

Because the overall distance of your flights determines the number of points needed to book them, there's a sweet spot here for Perth-based travellers, who can sneakily fly Perth-Hong Kong-Shanghai for no extra points than needed to book only Perth-Hong Kong.

Travelling further afield, such as to Europe? Here's how many points you'd need for a one-way flight to London – again, double these numbers for a return trip:

To/from London (one-way)
First class Business class Premium economy Economy
179,000 Qantas Points 139,000 Qantas Points 112,500 Qantas Points 75,000 Qantas Points
Cairns 167,000 Qantas Points 121,000 Qantas Points 97,500 Qantas Points 65,000 Qantas Points
Auckland 203,000 Qantas Points 139,000 Qantas Points 112,500 Qantas Points 75,000 Qantas Points

Note that Cathay Pacific doesn't offer first class on flights to Australia or New Zealand, but does offer first class on other routes, such as between Hong Kong and London. The first class figures above assume you'll fly business class between Australia/NZ and Hong Kong, and first class from there to London.

In addition to points, you'll be asked for a monetary payment to cover any airport and government fees, charges and taxes, which varies by route and sometimes also by travel class, but will be made known when you book your reward flight, which is the next step.

Booking Cathay Pacific flights with Qantas Points: making that booking

Cathay Pacific reward flights can be booked online using Qantas Points – you don't need to call – so it's as easy as logging into your Qantas Frequent Flyer account on the Qantas website, clicking 'Make a Reward booking', and keying in the details of your proposed trip.

For example, we'll hunt for a one-way Sydney-Hong Kong flight in early May, ensuring that the "Use points - Classic Flight Rewards only" box is selected:

On the next screen, you'll see a red icon on the days which have economy class reward flights available on any airline – so for premium economy and business class, you'll need to go and tick the boxes at the top, and then click 'Go', to update your search:

Doing so reveals that premium economy is available on many of the days in the calendar (indicated by the yellow icon), and that business class is available on nine of the days (shown by the gold icon):

Keep in mind though that this reflects availability on all Qantas partner airlines and connecting routes, not just Cathay Pacific and non-stop flights.

On May 10, for example, only one of Cathay Pacific's flights actually has a premium economy reward seat available, with the rest of its flights, along with both of Qantas' non-stop Sydney-Hong Kong services, having only reward seats in economy:

So where did that earlier business class icon come from, then? Scrolling down the page, we find that there is a business class option available, but upon closer inspection, involves flying to Melbourne first, spending the night (at your own cost), and then flying with Qantas from Melbourne to Hong Kong. Sneaky!

We'll try again on a different date – this time, Tuesday April 24, and find better luck with both premium economy and business class rewards on Cathay Pacific's daytime Sydney-Hong Kong flight:

To complete the booking, you'd simply click on the flight you want, check the number of points required at the bottom of the page (and the amount you'll need to pay on top on the next screen), and complete the booking like any other by entering in your details.

Booking Cathay Pacific flights with Qantas Points: tips and tricks

While securing your seat in advance is always the best idea if you're able, booking last-minute can also bring some extra options, as Cathay Pacific sometimes makes flights available to passengers booking using points in the few days before departure.

For example, we ran a search on Thursday March 29 and found that while Cathay Pacific didn't have too many reward flights available in the following weeks, its flights over the next few days were wide open in business class and premium economy...

... in most cases, with reward seats available on every flight – pefect for last-minute trips:

The number of points needed remains the same whether you book one day or one year in advance, so once you've found a suitable flight open for points-based bookings on the dates you need to travel, dive in and book!

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin (ChrisCh)

[email protected] / @ChamberlinChris

Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!


  • MarkJohnSon


    3 Apr, 2018 07:14 am

    Helpful article, Chris and I hope you enjoyed a well earned easter break.

    I’m actually a huge fan of getting to New York via HKG with CX. The flight duration is a few more hours, but the benefits are numerous:
    1. From most Australian cities you can get the A350 product the whole way: a far superior product than any LAX-based options;
    2. You get to spend some time at the high quality HKG lounges; and
    3. The flight times are better (evening departures).
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  • Cameron Hocking


    3 Apr, 2018 08:23 am

    I find Cathay release their reward seats earlier than Qantas. I booked MEL to JFK in J/F for the 27/12 around 9/1 and at that time Qantas hadn’t released anything in December.

    On my return for this trip booked YVR to MEL in J, once again no Qantas seats available, even as platinum.

    Taxes were less than $600 which from doing a similar trip before was about half what Qantas charge.
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  • Jason Hamilton


    3 Apr, 2018 09:33 am

    Thanks for this Chris. QF itself is quite tedious for reward bookings. CX is a good alternative on many fronts.
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  • grov


    3 Apr, 2018 02:36 pm

    I've never considered flying from Perth to the US "roundabout" when flying through HK. In fact it may be faster than flying via Sydney or Melbourne.
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  • Chris Chamberlin


    3 Apr, 2018 02:47 pm

    It's implied that the "roundabout" reference describes passengers originating in cities where non-stop flights are offered to the United States (where a Hong Kong detour adds 10+ hours to the travel time), as opposed to Perth flyers travelling to JFK, where the fastest route is actually via Hong Kong.

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  • GregXL


    3 Apr, 2018 11:38 pm

    CX is the quickest route for PER-JFK, both flights out of PER connect and you get the single transit stop rather than 2 with QF or VA. Have done QF and CX and definitely prefer CX.
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  • yhcheung


    5 Apr, 2018 11:20 am

    I don't seems to have the option to show up listing for multiple date and select travel class, is that an option for silver member or above only?
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  • Chris Chamberlin


    5 Apr, 2018 11:34 am

    You need to check 'flexible with dates' or similar if you want to see the calendar, otherwise you're taken straight to the results for the specific date you searched for.
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  • Ian Bayfield


    5 Apr, 2018 01:21 pm

    Hey Chris,
    So if I want to go Melb - Lon do I do two searches?
    Melb - HK then HK-LON
    or Mel - Lon and the click thru each of them looking for the "via HK" ?

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  • Chris Chamberlin


    5 Apr, 2018 01:34 pm

    You're flying from Melbourne to London, so you'd search Melbourne to London. The options available will be shown on the screen, including any available flights with Cathay Pacific.

    (You'd only search for the flights separately if you were wanting to stop over in Hong Kong, but this requires more points.)

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  • Paul Whelan


    6 Apr, 2018 03:06 am

    It is also cheaper to book CX flights with points, with MUCH lower taxes and fees due to QF's (still) excessive fuel charges.
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  • Scepticalflyer


    6 Apr, 2018 09:34 am

    If you have a credit card that you can transfer points to Asia miles, at same rate as Qantas, Cathay reward bookings are in excess of 10% cheaper. Excellent availability to Europe from HKG. Sometimes you need to pay for the flight from Aus to HKG. Not great service but beds are fair.
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21 Jul, 2018 08:12 am

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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  • Uqsthom6


    21 Jul, 2018 08:05 am

    Looks like air nz ff get the raw end of the deal
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21 Jul, 2018 08:12 am

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 08:12 am

 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 08:12 am

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 08:12 am


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