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Air New Zealand flights to Singapore have resumed after eight years

Early this morning at 1:24am New Zealand time, Air New Zealand’s first scheduled commercial flight to Singapore in eight years lifted off from Auckland (AKL). Air New Zealand’s return to the route is, according to the airline, “key” to its “Pacific Rim strategy”, which has seen Air New Zealand enter into an alliance with Singapore Airlines. The idea is to connect Air New Zealand passengers to services out of Singapore (SIN) operated by Singapore Airlines (SQ), and its regional offshoot Silkair (MI), which flies narrowbody aircraft around South East Asia. Under the NZ-SQ alliance, NZ have taken over one of…


Departures Magazine continues to disappoint

American Express Platinum cardholders receive Departures, a magazine published by Time Inc.’s Affluent Media Group. The January / February 2015 issue has a feature ‘The Departures 100’, the ‘100 People, Places, and Things to know in travel for 2015’. It includes a regrettably inaccurate piece on “the frequent flier”, which ventures into familiar territory. The article refers to two airlines that do not exist: Quantas not being an airline (it’s Qantas) and Swissair having not existed since its 2001 bankruptcy (there is an airline called Swiss International Air Lines these days).


Cathay Pacific lounge KUL

Savvy frequent flyers often look to see which airline in the alliance they are flying with offers the best lounges at their departure airport. Failing that, usually it is a safe bet to head for the lounges of the airline which hubs at the airport. At Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) that is definitely not the case. Wanting to avoid the rather dire Malaysia Airlines lounges at KUL, we made our way to the Cathay Pacific (CX) lounge – which is located in the satellite terminal. It opens at 7am daily and is supposed to remain open until the Japan…


Etihad need to focus on ground service at its hub…

… not new products in the air. Etihad has started flying its first A380 around. The Etihad A380 features a whole new suite of products (pun intended). One Mile At A Time has reviewed the inaugural Etihad A380 service in the First ‘Apartment’. While it looks to be an impressive hard product, it is important to remember that the hard product is only one element of a pleasant air travel experience. Every time we fly out of Abu Dhabi (AUH) on Etihad, we are appalled by the poor ground service for first class: there is currently no Etihad first class…


American Express lounge – SYD International Terminal

American Express has opened its first Australian lounge. While it is small (‘cozy’) and a long way from being the best offering at this particular airport, its very existence is a true step forward for credit card holders in Australia. The lounge is located at Sydney’s International Terminal (SYD T1) and is operated for AMEX by Plaza Premium.


InterContinental Lhasa, Tibet open

You might not have heard that InterContinental’s highest altitude property – which even advertises rooms as having a ‘central oxygen supply system’ – has opened. IHG seems a bit sensitive to the negative press that might come from running a hotel in Tibet. Indeed, IHG has issued no English language press releases about the opening of this hotel in August 2014 (for events) and its opening for guests on 30 September 2014. While the hotel’s description on IHG’s English language website has yet to be updated, there are four categories of rooms available online: Superior: 55 sqm Deluxe: 55 sqm, high…


Hyatt to launch free wi-fi access worldwide in February 2015

Hyatt have issued a press release stating that ‘free Wi-Fi will become available to Hyatt guests around the world in February 2015’. This offering is irrespective of membership of Hyatt’s loyalty program or how guests have booked. The move follows IHG’s introduction of free wi-fi for all IHG members at the start of this year, and announcements that Marriott (as of 2 February 2015) and Starwood (as of 15 January 2015)  will be adding free wi-fi for customers that book directly with the respective chains. Interestingly, Hyatt say that ‘where available, Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond and Platinum tier members will…


Crowne Plaza Canberra

Hotels in Canberra from international brands are hard to find, let alone good ones. There are no Hilton, Starwood or Marriott properties. Hyatt have a property, as do IHG. The Crowne Plaza Canberra is perfectly acceptable, but it is a pretty ordinary hotel. With occasion to go to Canberra, and the calendar year (and therefore the end of the qualifying dates for the IHG Into the Nights promotion rapidly approaching), we decided to stay at the Crowne Plaza Canberra. The revolving door at the hotel’s entrance moves extremely slowly and often comes to a complete stop when too many people…


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Etihad doubles Melbourne flight frequency

Etihad is doubling the frequency of its Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Melbourne (MEL) services from August 2015. While the new daily service (EY462/EY463) don’t seem to have award space loaded yet, Etihad’s existing MEL service (EY460/461) has excellent award availability in all classes. Both services are scheduled to be operated by Boeing 777-300ER (77W) aircraft. Etihad is a partner of Virgin Australia, and members should remember that they can use Velocity points to book award seats in first class, as well as in business and economy. Etihad also preparing to bring the A380 to Australia Etihad already fly double daily…


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