The Flying Kangaroo jumps in a different direction

Qantas has slowly but surely been unveiling a new strategy for its big-ticket flights from Australia.


On top of its announced aim to offer ultra-long-haul flights from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, the Flying Kangaroo is preparingto redirect its flagship QF Flight 1 to London back via Singapore, rather than Dubai, which has been the single stopover for the past few years.

Continue reading The Flying Kangaroo jumps in a different direction

How ultra long-haul flights will change the way we travel

Qantas says it wants to be able to fly from the east coast of Australia (Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne) non-stop to London. It’s just waiting for aircraft manufacturers to build a plane that can do it.

Given that a Boeing 777 LR plane can already fly non-stop for 17 hours, a 20-plus-hour flight may not be far away. Airbus’s A350 apparently also has potential.

But it will come with consequences —  Continue reading How ultra long-haul flights will change the way we travel

Up, up and away … this time I’m off to Taipei

For reasons that will become clearer in future posts, I have to be in Bangkok by the last week of this month.


I checked my Qantas frequent flyer points* with the view to making a direct flight from Brisbane. But I discovered that for about the same number of points I could go first to somewhere I’d never been before — and I’m always up for that.

Continue reading Up, up and away … this time I’m off to Taipei

An expensive business

The first time I flew business class, it was from Brisbane to Perth. Somebody else — a publicist promoting a play she wanted me to see so I could interview the star* — was paying, so I’m not sure what it cost.

I was, however, shocked to see the difference between the economy and business class fares currently being offered by Qantas for the same flight.

Continue reading An expensive business

‘Worst’ airline fights back

It’s been a long time since I flew Jetstar. In fact, when I last did, the Qantas subsidiary still had unallocated seating — an “innovation” it very quickly abandoned.


But from what I’ve heard and read, it comes as little surprise that Jetstar has been has named the world’s worst airline in an international survey. Equally, it’s no surprise that it is fighting back, because the methodology was clearly flawed.

Continue reading ‘Worst’ airline fights back

We want affordable wi-fi!

There is one area where the hospitality industry has struggled (or is unwilling) to keep up and be competitive: the provision of internet services.

It is ridiculous in this day and age that some hotels, airlines and cruise ships offer near-extortionate prices for internet access (which, according to the United Nations, is a basic human right, no less).

Continue reading We want affordable wi-fi!

A premium flight experience

In the current climate of austerity, many people are thinking twice about paying for business-class airfares.

Emirates is introducing a premium economy option on some flights

As I’ve argued before, if you can afford to fly business and you want to, nothing should stop you from treating yourself. However, if it’s going to break the bank, you don’t have to totally slum it in the ever-tighter economy or “basic economy” seats.

Continue reading A premium flight experience

Stream while you fly

Is this the beginning of the end of dedicated in-flight entertainment? Some airlines have already announced plans to remove seat-back screens since almost everybody has their own mobile device.

(Qantas Newsroom)

Now Australian airline Qantas has announced that its onboard Wi-Fi will enable passengers to stream Netflix, Foxtel and Spotify content on domestic flights.

Continue reading Stream while you fly

Bold and beautiful break

Among the first was Family Ties, then (albeit in the realm of animation) came The Simpsons, then Oprah, and Ellen, then Modern Family. Now another American television show is to have some “special” episodes set in Australia.


And if the names Brooke, Eric, Ivy, Quinn and Ridge ring a bell with you, you’ll know which one I’m talking about.

Continue reading Bold and beautiful break

Which airlines fly on time?

As frequent flyers know too well, very few flights ever leave on time. There’s always a reason (or at least, an excuse) of course. And a late departure doesn’t necessarily mean a late arrival — although it often does.


But for everyone except the most casual travellers, there are appointments and connections that have to be met, so on-time performance is important.

Continue reading Which airlines fly on time?

The safest way to fly


Although airline incidents are rare, and flying is statistically much safer than driving, we all sometimes have concerns when we fly.

And the winner is … (

I know a few people who refuse to fly with certain airlines because of a past incident or a belief that there is a greater risk of an accident.

So lists like that of the world’s safest airlines are eagerly read.

Continue reading The safest way to fly

Paying a premium

Those in the airline-industry know were not surprised by the news that Emirates is introducing premium economy class on its 250-plane international fleet.


What that means for travellers is, of course, an affordable option between economy class and business class.

Continue reading Paying a premium

Boeing, Boeing, gone

The classic Little Golden Book Gordon’s Jet Flight, by Naomi Glasson and Mel Crawford, was first published in 1961. I read it when I was old enough to read Little Golden Books.


In my memory, it was about a little boy’s first flight on a Boeing 747 Jumbo, but as the cover shows, it was about the B707, which was still a mighty plane in its day.

Continue reading Boeing, Boeing, gone

Ghosts in the machine

I’ve been having to-and-fro conversations with Qantas’s social media team and other interested parties since I wrote this piece about my Frequent Flyer points.

qantas747Basically, my complaint was — and is — about phantom availability: reward seats that show up on the Qantas web page but have actually already been booked by somebody else.

Continue reading Ghosts in the machine

Frequent frustration

Some of my Australian friends are big critics of our national airline, Qantas. I can honestly say that I’ve never had a problem with the Flying Kangaroo, either on the ground or in the air. Well, until a few days ago, I could say that.

It seemed like a simple thing to book a Frequent Flyer classic rewards flight from Dubai to London. I wanted a business class seat on May 6 (that’s today as I write this). Continue reading Frequent frustration

Too good to be true

I certainly couldn’t believe my eyes when I received Qantas Hotels’ “Leap year Craziness” email.

Check out these accommodation prices:


Sadly, I was too slow to catch the bargain of a lifetime. It was quickly followed by this correction.


Update: Qantas responded to my tweet about this as follows:

What’s in a name?

A Virgin Australia aircraft
A Virgin Australia aircraft (

A harmless case of mistaken identity, or a security nightmare? The story of two women with similar names who were assigned the same boarding pass is certainly cause for consideration.

As reports, two women — one named Michelle Cheung and the other Michelle Cheng — both had passes for the same seat on a Virgin Airlines flight from Perth to Sydney.

It turned out that one of them was in fact a Qantas customer who had somehow received a Virgin boarding pass, and had had her bags stowed on the Virgin plane. Luckily, it was sorted out on the ground before take-off.

Now, I’m sure both airlines are worried about how this could happen, and are taking measures to avoid a repetition.

I was in a similar situation on a KLM flight from Mumbai to Amsterdam many years ago, when another man came along with a boarding pass for the seat I was already occupying.

The solution then was to upgrade me to business class (as I’d paid a full-price fare and the other chap was on a discounted ticket), which I certainly didn’t mind.

Security wasn’t so high on my personal worry list back then, but I think I really would be uncomfortable if the same thing happened today.