QANTAS Farewells the ‘Queen of the Skies’

Once an all-747 airline, Qantas has marked the end of an era with the departure of the last 747-400 (registration VH-OEJ) in the its fleet.

The departure of flight QF7474, brought to an end five decades of history-making moments for the national carrier and aviation in Australia.

“The final Qantas 747 departure is a significant moment in Australian aviation,” said The Travel Authority Group’s CEO, Peter Hosper.

“For nearly 50 years, these enormous, remarkable aircraft have have carried over 250 million people safely to their destinations, connecting Australia and Australians to the world. Qantas’ Queens of the Skies carved out a very special place in aviation history and will be missed,” added Hosper.

Qantas brought forward the scheduled retirement of the fleet by six months after the COVID-19 pandemic decimated international travel globally.

“It’s hard to overstate the impact that the 747 had on aviation and a country as far away as Australia. It replaced the 707, which was a huge leap forward in itself but didn’t have the sheer size and scale to lower airfares the way the 747 did. That put international travel within reach of the average Australian and people jumped at the opportunity,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

Qantas has flown six different types of the 747, with Boeing increasing the aircraft’s size, range and capability over the years with the advent of new technology and engine types.

Fun facts

  • The first Qantas 747-238 was VH-EBA, named City of Canberra and the first ever Qantas 747 flight was on 17 September 1971 from Sydney to Singapore (via Melbourne), carrying 55 first class and 239 economy passengers.
  • Qantas operated a total number of 65 747 aircraft including the 747-100, 747-200, 747-SP, 747-300, 747-400 and the 747-400ER.
  • In 1979, Qantas became the first airline to operate an all Boeing 747 fleet.
  • In almost 50 years of service, the Qantas Boeing 747 fleet of aircraft has flown over 3.6 billion kilometres, the equivalent of 4,700 return trips to the moon or 90,000 times around the world.
  • The 747 also broke records, including in 1989 when Qantas crew flew a world first non-stop commercial flight from London to Sydney in 20 hours and nine minutes. That thirty-year record was only broken in 2019 when Qantas operated a 787 Dreamliner London-Sydney direct in 19 hours and 19 minutes.

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VIRGIN AUSTRALIA Re-starts Flight Redemptions

Virgin Australia domestic flight redemptions using Velocity Points are back to some of the airline’s most popular destinations with Reward Seat and Any Seat bookings re-opening for travel from 01 September 2020.

From Sydney, redemption destinations include:

  • Adelaide
  • Brisbane
  • Cairns
  • Melbourne
  • Gold Coast
  • Perth
  • Broome
  • Mackay
  • Rockhampton

Contact us for full details of the routes available from other Australian destinations at this time.

To ensure Velocity program members feel they can book with confidence, Virgin Australia is offering refunds and waiving cancellation and change fees as follows:

Change and cancellation fees

If you book a redemption seat by 01 September 2020 for travel after that date, the airline will waive fees for any changes or cancellations you make before 01 September.

Refunds

If you or Virgin Australia cancel your flight before 01 September 2020, for a booking made between 15 May 2020 & 1 September 2020, Virgin Australia will refund your Points/cash in full to the original form of payment (except for any booking or credit card fees).

On board safety and hygiene

Virgin Australia has implemented additional cleaning and hygiene measures including social seat distancing onboard.

CLICK HERE for more details about the airline’s COVID-19 safety and wellbeing processes and practices.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

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QANTAS Increases Rewards Seats & Status Support

As more travellers look closer to home for their next holiday, Qantas is making it easier for Frequent Flyers to use their points on domestic and Trans-Tasman flights.

For the rest of 2020, the airline has increased Classic Flight Reward seat availability by up to 50% to its most popular destinations in Australia and New Zealand including Cairns, Sunshine Coast, Sydney, Queenstown and Auckland (when flights recommence).

To help regular flyers maintain their travel benefits, Qantas Frequent Flyer will also be giving all eligible tiered members with Silver or higher status a one-off Status Credits bonus to compensate for reduced flying activity.

“These are very sensible and generous program adjustments. We’re delighted to see Qantas engaging with and supporting its most frequent flyers with these initiatives,”

says The Travel Authority Group’s CEO, Peter Hosper.

The increased availability and status support are part of a raft of initiatives designed to give Qantas frequent Flyer members more value.

Other program improvements include:

More Points Planes
Qantas Frequent Flyer will launch more Points Planes – exclusive flights for frequent flyer redemptions – to meet the pent-up travel demand of members and boost Australian tourism.

Extra Status Credits
To help its most frequent flyers maintain their benefits throughout travel restrictions, eligible Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One members will automatically receive 50 per cent of the Status Credits they need annually to maintain their tier.

Greater flexibility
To help members plan their holidays with more confidence, bookings made using points on Qantas Group flights will have any change or cancellation fees waived until 31 October 2020.

Timings and destinations of the flights will be released over the coming months.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below,

or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

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VIRGIN AUSTRALIA Resumes Services

Virgin Australia has announced it’s opening up domestic travel options for Australians, with the airline resuming flights on 17 more routes, taking travellers to just under 30 local destinations by early August.

“We’re really encouraged by the resumption of local services by our domestic airlines—it’s a great sign. Not just for travellers, but for airline and tourism employees and our industry as a whole,”

said The Travel Authority Group’s CEO, Peter Hosper.

The routes include the resumption of flights to Newcastle, Hobart, Launceston, Darwin, Alice Springs, Hamilton Island, Maroochydore, Ballina, Coffs Harbour, Proserpine, and Mount Isa.

“We’re pleased to have continued our collaborative effort with the Federal Government to re-introduce some services as we start to see confidence return, and as each State and Territory comes closer to finalising their plans for the easing of restrictions and the reopening of borders,” said Virgin Australia Group Chief Commercial Officer, John MacLeod.

“Many of our aircraft have been parked and our teams are preparing them to return to the skies, and with the increase in flights we’re announcing today, we’re looking forward to serving our guests as they travel to visit family and friends, or take a well-deserved break,” he added.

The airline has also introduced additional safety and wellbeing measures to minimise risks associated with COVID-19, and to help you feel comfortable and confident when flying.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Virgin Australia’s new safety and wellbeing measures.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

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QANTAS Domestic Lounges Reopening

Qantas closed its domestic and international lounges in late March, as a result of government enforced restrictions that shut down the majority of domestic and international flying.

But with the relaxing of state-based restrictions and an increase in domestic capacity, the airline has commenced a phased reopening of lounge facilities that support the current domestic network.

Eleven of Qantas’ 35 Australian capital city and regional lounges reopened on 01 July.

Capital city lounges

  • Sydney Domestic Business Lounge
  • Perth Domestic Business Lounge
  • Adelaide Qantas Club
  • Canberra Business Lounge

Regional lounges

  • Broome Regional Lounge
  • Karratha Regional Lounge
  • Launceston Regional Lounge
  • Alice Springs Regional Lounge
  • Kalgoorlie Regional Lounge
  • Tamworth Regional Lounge
  • Coffs Harbour Regional Lounge

“We know we have a long way to go before the travel industry resembles anything like it did pre-Covid-19, but small steps like these are very encouraging. To see the domestic market slowly reopening is great,”

said The Travel Authority Group’s CEO, Peter Hosper.

A number of the Qantas Group’s ‘Fly Well’ program measures  will be implemented across the lounge network to promote the health and wellbeing of passengers and staff including:

  • Capping the number of guests to comply with state-specific restrictions on indoor gatherings
  • A hosted All-Day Snacking Station replacing ‘self serve’ buffets and drink stations
  • Disposable coffee cups
  • Additional cleaning protocols
  • Sanitising stations

Qantas Chief Customer Officer, Stephanie Tully, said the re-opening of the lounges is the result of weeks of planning to ensure the lounge experience complies with state regulations and Qantas’ own enhanced standards while continuing to provide customers with a positive and relaxing experience.

“We’re really pleased to welcome our Frequent Flyers back to our lounges across the country and get more of our people back to work. We’ve already rolled out some service changes on board for everyone’s wellbeing and now we’re announcing some changes to the lounge experience as well.”

All lounges have undergone a deep clean during their closure.

Initially Qantas will invite customers to visit the Business Lounges or regional lounges subject to capacity, with plans to reopen Qantas Clubs and Chairmans Lounges in coming weeks.

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

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