QANTAS Singapore Business Lounge Expansion

Qantas has unveiled an expanded Business Lounge in Singapore offering seats for more than 570 customers.

The additional area offers new banquette seating, dining chairs and tables and has been designed to maximise power and data outlets for customers’ devices.

The expansion of the Business Lounge will be followed by the opening of a new First Lounge in November. Both lounges combined will offer seating for more than 800 customers.

Highlights of the Business Lounge, which originally opened in 2013:

  • Neil Perry menus with dishes inspired by regional cuisine and cooked to order.
  • Dining options include the plate of the day at the communal dining area, dishes from the live cooking station, an extensive buffet and snacks at the bar.
  • Spice Temple inspired cocktails, a premium Australian wine selection and a barista service.
  • Service by Sofitel in line with Qantas’ First Lounges in Sydney, Melbourne and Los Angeles.
  • 20 showers, 80-inch television screens and flexible working, relaxing and dining areas.

Qantas operates more than 50 return services through Singapore each week, making it one of the largest foreign airlines to operate out of Changi Airport, with codeshare connections to 16 cities in eight countries on more than 210 Jetstar Asia services.

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VIRGIN AUSTRALIA Adds Baggage Allowance for Infants

Virgin Australia has become the first Australian airline to allow its tiniest travellers a dedicated checked baggage allowance when flying on domestic, international short haul and international long haul routes.

The change means that parents travelling with a child under 23-months-old on Virgin Australia operated flights can check-in one additional 23kg bag free of charge, as well as two special infant items, such as a pram, cot, car seat or baby capsule.

“This is a terrific initiative. The additional baggage allowance will make a huge difference to families travelling with little ones”, said Sarah Bush, Director of The Travel Authority Group.

Infant baggage allowance is the newest announcement in a suite of initiatives introduced by Virgin Australia to make travelling easier for families.

General Manager of Ground Operations, Paul Woosnam said: “We know travelling with an infant can be incredibly stressful and we’re pleased to make that journey a little more effortless by introducing an infant baggage allowance on domestic and international flights.”

“We want to be the airline of choice for travelling families and we’re proud to be the only carrier in Australia to recognise that travelling with an infant sometimes means packing far more than usual. We think parents will be pleased too, as they can now pack a little extra for themselves on their next trip,” Mr Woosnam said.

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APPLE MACBOOK Bans in Checked-Luggage

News from Australia’s airlines this week is that passengers travelling with Apple MacBook laptops must place them in their carry-on luggage. Due to safety concerns, they cannot be packed in checked luggage.

A press release from Apple on 21 June 2019 announced a voluntary recall of a limited number of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units which contain a battery that may overheat and pose a safety risk. The units were sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017.

While the recalled model is specifically for the Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15-inch mid-2015 laptop, Virgin Australia’s ban will apply to all Apple MacBooks due to the difficulty in determining different models.

A notice in the dangerous goods section of Virgin Australia’s website states:

“Due to a worldwide recall by Apple of a number of Apple MacBook batteries, ALL Apple MacBooks must be placed in carry-on baggage only.

“No Apple MacBooks are permitted in checked in baggage until further notice.”

We have been advised that Qantas also confirmed a ban on the MacBooks, but its ban only applies to MacBook Pro models, rather than all MacBook devices.

We have not details at this time about how long these bans will be in place.

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SINGAPORE AIRLINES Changi Airport Lounges Revamp

Singapore Airlines has announced a major investment of more than SG$50 million for upgrades to its SilverKris and KrisFlyer Gold Lounges at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3.

The redevelopment will see space and total guest capacity of the T3 lounges increase by 30%. The new lounges will offer even more generous open spaces, enhanced facilities and a wide array of food and beverage selections.

The airline advises that it has engaged renowned hospitality designers Hirsch Bedner Associates to “inject a fresh look and feel to each lounge that is modern yet homely, while inspiring a sense of timeless elegance”.

Suites and First Class customers can look forward to a brand new The Private Room and First Class Lounge, with luxurious and intimate seating spaces suitable for both work and rest. The First Class Lounge will continue to feature a flagship bar and The Private Room, a full-service fine dining section within the lounge.

The KrisFlyer Gold Lounge will double in capacity and include dedicated working spaces, as well as larger al fresco seating and dining areas. The lounge will also be equipped with restrooms and showers.

Renovations are expected to be completed by mid-2021.

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BRITISH AIRWAYS Pilots Strike: 09, 10 & 27 September 2019

In British Airways’ centenary year, the airline and the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) have failed to come to a negotiated agreement in their pay-dispute.

As the talks broke down, BALPA has given notice of strikes set to take place on 9, 10 and 27 September 2019.

A media release on the British Airways website states that, “It is completely unacceptable that BALPA is destroying the travel plans of tens of thousands of our customers with this unjustifiable strike action.” It goes on to describe BALPA’s action as ‘reckless’.

On the other side, BALPA said strikes were a ‘last resort’ born from ‘enormous frustration’ with airline management.

British Airways has advised it’s making changes to flight schedules to get as many people away on their journeys as possible. However, it expects many of its customers will not be able to travel on their preferred dates, and will be offering refunds and re-bookings for passengers booked on cancelled flights.

“We continue to monitor the situation, and are in close contact with our close friends at British Airways”, says The Travel Authority Group’s Managing Director, Peter Hosper.

“All of our affected clients have been notified, and alternative travel arrangements swiftly made”, says The Travel Authority Group’s Managing Director, Peter Hosper.

“We continue to monitor the situation, however, and are in close contact with our close friends at British Airways to ensure our clients’ travel plans aren’t disrupted’, added Hosper.

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CHAWENG Regent Beach Resort Exclusive: 7 nights from $995!

7 nights from $995* per person twin share.

INCLUSIONS

  • 7 NIGHTS in a Deluxe Regency Room / or Deluxe Villa
  • Full breakfast daily, 2 lunches OR 2 dinners for two at Chomtalay Restaurant
  • 2 x 45 minute Head & Shoulder massage or Foot massage at Escape Spa for two
  • FREE daily drink including local beer, juice, soft drink, tea or coffee for two
  • Koh Samui privilege card including discounts at restaurants, entertainment and shopping
  • SAVE 15% on food and beverage at Chomtalay Restaurant & at Escape Spa
  • Return private car transfers from Koh Samui to hotel

SAVE up to $683 per person
ON SALE Until 12 September 2019 Only!

Chaweng Regent Beach Resort is an intimate beachfront resort set on a white sand beach overlooking the clear blue waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Set in a central location surrounded by vibrant and buzzing restaurants, bars and shopping arcades, this resort is perfect base for your tropical holiday.

This exclusive offer is valid for stays between:

  • 5 Oct 2019 – 20 Dec 2019
  • 21 Apr 2020 – 31 May 2020

Also valid over the dates shown below for $1485 per person, twin share.

  • 7 Jan 2020 – 20 Jan 2020
  • 1 Feb 2020 – 31 Mar 2020

Scroll down for terms and conditions.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

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Terms & Conditions
Prices correct as at 8 Aug 19 but may fluctuate if surcharges, fees, taxes or currency change. Offers subject to availability. Amounts payable to third parties not included. Please check all prices, availability and other information with your travel consultant before booking. Room upgrades and late check-outs are subject to availability unless otherwise stated. Bookings must be made direct with Viva Holidays or a travel agent. Package cancellation fees apply. Ratings provide a general indication of the standard of accommodation. These are our own views and not related to any other rating system. 3 star (★) indicate a comfortable standard of accommodation, 4 star indicate superior standard and 5 star indicate deluxe standard. A half star (✩) indicates an additional half rating. All savings and bonus nights (if applicable) are included in the advertised price. Offers may be withdrawn without notice and are not combinable with any other offers unless stated. Airfares are not included unless otherwise stated. ^Based on low season travel in a Deluxe Regency and Deluxe Villa. The Viva Holidays General Booking Conditions apply, available at www.vivaholidays.com.au/terms-and-conditions. Other conditions apply – ask for details.

QANTAS Testing Non-Stop Flights to New York & London

Qantas has announced three ultra-long-haul research flights to collect data about passenger and crew health and wellbeing.

The flights form part of Project Sunrise – Qantas’ goal to operate regular, non-stop commercial flights from Australia’s east coast of to London and New York.

The three research flights will be operated by brand new 787-9s on re-routed delivery flights from Boeing. Rather than flying empty from Seattle, the aircraft will simulate two Project Sunrise routes – London and New York to Sydney.

This will represent the first ever flight by a commercial airline direct from New York to Sydney, and only the second time a commercial airline has flown direct from London to Sydney.

Each flight will have a maximum of 40 people, including crew, in order to minimise weight and ensure the necessary fuel range.

The passengers – mostly Qantas employees – will be fitted with wearable technology and take part in specific experiences at varying stages of the roughly 19 hour flights. Scientists and medical experts from the Charles Perkins Centre will monitor sleep patterns, food and beverage consumption, lighting, physical movement and inflight entertainment to assess impact on health, wellbeing and body clock.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said “flying from the East Coast of Australia to London and New York is truly the final frontier in aviation, so we’re determined to do all the groundwork to get this right.

“No airline has done this kind of dedicated research before and we’ll be using the results to help shape the cabin design, inflight service and crew roster patterns for Project Sunrise. We’ll also be looking at how we can use it to improve our existing long-haul flights,” he added.

An Airbus A350 in Qantas livery.

Airbus and Boeing have both pitched aircraft (A350 and 777X) to Qantas that are capable of operating Project Sunrise flights with a viable commercial payload. A final decision on Project Sunrise – which depends on aircraft economics, regulatory approvals and industrial agreements – is expected by the end of December 2019.

Watch this space.

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EXPLORING MELBOURNE with Virgin Australia and Crown Hotels

We’ve recently returned from hosting a brilliant group of our clients on a famil trip to Melbourne generously supported by our friends at Virgin Australia and Crown Hotels.

Led by David Thompson, our Manager of Sales & Client experience, and Victor Araya—The Travel Authority’s Corporate Business Manager, the group experienced Virgin Australia’s airport lounges, stayed at the very impressive Crown Metropol hotel—courtesy of Crown Hotels, and explored the Terracotta Warriors exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.

“It was a brilliant way to showcase our expertise and to say thanks to our clients”, said David Thompson.

“The trip ran like clockwork and highlighted the depth and value of the relationships we have with our supplier partners”, he added.

The group gathered in Virgin Australia’s Sydney Airport lounge, with each guest having their Velocity frequent flyer cards upgraded to Pilot Gold, before departing for Melbourne on flight VA830 at 10.00am.

After enjoying private airport transfers, bags were dropped at Crown Metropol Melbourne, and lunch taken at the National Gallery’s Garden Restaurant followed by a private tour of the Terracotta Warriors.

The warriors are life-sized terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, China’s first Emperor. Thousands of the sculptures were buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE with the purpose, it is said, of protecting the emperor in his afterlife. They were discovered in 1974 by local farmers.

Back at Crown Metropol, this was followed by an introduction to Crown’s sales team, and an inspection of the Crown Hotel and Entertainment Complex. Crown Hotels then generously hosted us for dinner at the superb Bistro Guillaume.

Bistro Guillaume (left) at Crown Melbourne, and Mr Hive Kitchen at Crown Metropol.

After breakfast at Mr Hive Kitchen at Crown Metropol, the group took off on a South Melbourne Markets walking and foodie tour. Since 1867, South Melbourne Market has been a treasured inner city landmark and a favourite with locals and visitors, and the tour was the perfect way to end this tiny taste of Melbourne.

“We’re really grateful to our friends at Virgin Australia and Crown Hotels for their generosity on ongoing partnership”, said The Travel Authority Group’s Managing Director, Peter Hosper.

“We’re delighted, too, to be able to engage with our clients like this. Our relationships have never been stronger”, added Hosper.

The final word goes to one of our guests:

“From start to finish, everything was seamless. David and Victor were fabulous hosts, and the selected restaurants were amazing—the service and food outstanding. I really enjoyed the “Terracotta Warrior” guided tour, just fascinating! I was impressed by the many venue spaces and meeting rooms available at Crown Hotel and Entertainment Complex. The hotel rooms, too, are very well appointed and luxurious.”

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SINGAPORE AIRLINES Confirms 4th New Aircraft for Perth

Singapore Airlines has confirmed that, from 1 October 2019, customers travelling to and from Perth will experience its latest medium-haul cabin products, in-flight entertainment system on all four daily flights.

Currently operating two Airbus A350-900 medium-haul aircraft, one Boeing 787-10 aircraft and one A330-300 aircraft to Perth, Singapore Airlines will complete the final upgrade of aircraft when SQ225/224—the current A330-300 services—begins operating with a Boeing 787-10 from Tuesday 1 October.

The 787-10 is configured with 337 seats across two classes, featuring 36 Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 layout, and 301 Economy Class seats in a 3-3-3 layout.

“We’re thrilled to see each Singapore Airlines’ Perth service being operated by some of the world’s most advanced new aircraft”, says Lisa Byers, General Manager of The Travel Authority Corporate & Resource, Fremantle.

“Our clients will love the consistency and quality of the product and service offered by this combination of SQ Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 services”, added Lisa.

Singapore Airlines medium-haul Business Class on the 787-10 is arranged in a forward-facing 1-2-1 staggered configuration to provide direct aisle access from every seat. Each seat reclines directly into a 76” fully-flat bed.

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QANTAS Dreamliners Heading to Santiago

Sixty years after Qantas joined the ‘jet age’ by taking delivery of its first Boeing 707 aircraft, the airline’s newest jet—the Boeing 787 Dreamliner—will soon be headed to Santiago, Chile.

That first, four-engine 707 helped put Qantas on the world stage and provided a new level of passenger comfort. Its inaugural departed Sydney for San Francisco via Fiji and Hawaii on 29 July 1959.

It might seem quaint now, but the 707 was promoted as having not one, but two (!) galleys and an innovative “coffee maker which produced 12 cups of coffee every three minutes”. In-flight entertainment consisted of a deck of cards.

From late June 2020, however, Qantas passengers flying between Sydney and Santiago will experience a few more creature comforts offered in the airline’s next generation Economy, Premium Economy and Business cabins aboard the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

These Dreamliner services will increase flights on the route from four per week to daily, adding more than 20,000 seats each year.

The change is part of the phased delivery of the national carrier’s six additional Dreamliners, as the more efficient aircraft gradually replace the Boeing 747 aircraft on Qantas’ international network by the end of 2020.

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