Upgrading from the current Boeing 777-300ER fleet that services Christchurch daily, Emirates will be introducing the airline's flagship double-decker aircraft from 30 October 2016 with the introduction of the A380 which will now fly the route five times daily.
The new route will removal Bangkok as an en-route stop and it will allow passengers to travel all the way between Christchurch and Dubai with just one stop in Sydney, Australia. The launch of the Christchurch A380 flights will coincide with the introduction of the A380 on Emirates’ daily non-stop route between Dubai and Auckland. Emirates currently also operates three other daily A380 services between Auckland and Dubai and beyond via Australia (Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane).
Outbound EK412 will depart Dubai at 10:15 hours, seamlessly connecting with southbound services from European destinations such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, London, Manchester and many more of Emirates’ 38 Europe services. EK412 will stop only in Sydney before arriving in Christchurch at 13:50 hours the next day (local time). The return flight EK413 will depart Christchurch at 18:45 hours, touching down in Dubai at 05:15 hours the next day after its stop in Sydney, reducing the journey time to Dubai and Europe by about two hours in each direction.
At the same time, the Dubai service to Auckland via Sydney, will feature the opportunity for travellers to explore Southeast Asia or Australia en route as this service, EK418, will operate via the popular hub that is Bangkok, as well as Sydney. Flight EK418 will depart Dubai at 08:55 hours and arrive in Auckland at 15:55 hours the following day (local time). The return service, via Sydney and Bangkok, operating as flight EK419, will depart Auckland at 16:30 hours and arrive in Dubai the following morning at 06:45 hours.
Emirates is the only airline offering year-round scheduled A380 services to and from New Zealand.
After a few impressive first experiences with the Plaza Premium Group (in terms of the beautiful Aerotel Singapore in Changi Airport as well as the Plaza Premium Lounge in Singapore), I was very curious to check out the Plaza Premium Lounge in Taipei Taoyuan International Airport - it is worth noting that at the time of writing, there are four different lounges that travellers may gain access to. Since I had an OCBC VOYAGE Card with me, I could bring a guest to enjoy unlimited access to all participating Plaza Premium Lounges around the world.
On my latest trip to Taipei in April 2017, I tried out the famous Royal Laurel Class on EVA Air - this is essentially the airline's signature business class cabin. Ever since the devaluation of KrisFlyer Miles in March 2017, redeeming KrisFlyer Miles for partner airlines seem to make more sense as it allows you to try a different product without any penalty (you used to be able to save 15% off required miles for redemption on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir metal). Since Singapore Airlines operate the A330-300 (with a 2-2-2 arrangement) from Singapore to Taipei, I have decided to redeem my KrisFlyer Miles on EVA Air's Royal Laurel Class (1-2-1 arrangement) instead (find out how ExpertFlyer can help you find award space effectively).
The SilverKris Lounge in Changi Airport is reserved for Star Alliance passengers travelling on Business and First Class (there are separate lounges within the lounge itself) as well as esteemed Solitaire PPS Club members. If you are a KrisFlyer Gold Elite (or Star Alliance Gold) member traveling in Economy or Premium Economy class, you will have to make your way down to the KrisFlyer Gold Lounge (which does not stock Champagne) instead. Check out my review of the SilverKris Lounge in Terminal 3 of the Singapore Changi Airport.
Following the strategic alliance between Virgin Australia and HNA Aviation, Virgin Australia has just announced plans to introduce its first flights to Hong Kong from Melbourne starting from 05 July 2017. The airline company will operate five flights per week on an Airbus A330-200 with 255 seats with a 2-4-2 configuration in Economy cabin.
There are no lack of flights out of Singapore to Bali but I wanted a short weekend getaway last minute and the fares were pretty astonishing for a 2.5 hours flight. Since the KrisFlyer miles devaluation is imminent, I have decided to fork out some miles to redeem for a flight from Singapore to Denpasar even though I generally do not like to use them on short-haul flights. Check out my experience on Singapore Airlines's Business Class on-board the A330-300 below!
In case you have not been in tune with what's happening at the ITB Berlin exhibition, Qatar Airways has just unveiled the highly-anticipated new Business Class which is known as QSuites. This never-before-seen standard in Business Class travel enables a customisable private suite which is perfect even for a family of four.
Emirates which has been voted as Skytrax's World's Best Airline 2016 will be unveiling a series of new cabin products and enhancements in 2017 for both its flagship Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 fleet. As part of this multi-million dollar cabin interiors upgrade programme, a brand new Onboard Lounge has been released for the A380 fleet.
Qantas has just unveiled the next generation of Premium Economy seats which will debut on their Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners from October 2017. The new Premium Economy cabin will feature 28 seats with a 2-3-2 layout to improve aisle access for middle passengers.
Customers traveling on WiFi enabled domestic flights on-board Qantas will soon be able to enjoy their favourite shows, live sports and listen to a playlist of their choice with Netflix, Foxtel and Spotify respectively in 2017. Offering speeds up to 10 times faster than conventional in-flight WiFi, Qantas will offer passengers video and audio streaming from late February this year.
Japan Airlines (JAL) has just announced the opening of a newly-renovated lounge in Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport. The Bangkok Sakura Lounge is slated to open on 01 March 2017 and it will feature a brand new layout with more shower suites. The lounge which also be accessible to oneworld alliance elite members and eligible premium cabin passengers will join the Cathay Pacific's designer lounge which was opened in June 2015.