Thursday, January 19, 2023
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Bargain bed!

Travellers can buy a one-way transpacific business class bed between Australia and the US on Qantas for just over A$1500 – a fraction of the normal cost by taking advantage of an Alaska Airlines frequent flyer points sale.

While Australian airlines don’t allow the purchase of bulk frequent flyer points the situation is very different in the US according to Australian Business Traveller which discovered the bargain. But that frequent flyer sale ends on September 30.

The full ABT story is here: 
http://www.ausbt.com.au/buying-alaska-airlines-miles-for-low-cost-qantas-cathay-pacific-flights

According to Australian Business Traveller Alaska Airlines is offering up to 40 per cent extra miles (points) in its Mileage Plan loyalty program on top of your purchase. 

Alaska pegs a one-way Qantas business award flight between Australia and the USA at 55,000 miles in business class. Under Alaska’s current promotion, US$1,182.50 will buy you 40,000 miles which qualifies you for a 30 per cent bonus of 16,000 miles.

That adds to 56,000 miles, so for just under US$1,300 (including taxes and surcharges of around US$116) you’re getting a business class ride to the US or vice versa.

Other Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan partners include American Airlines, Aeromexico, Air France, British Airways, Delta, Emirates, Fiji Airways, KLM, Korean Air and LAN.

In order to participate you need to join Alaska Airlines frequent flyer scheme and it is free. And it appears there is no limit to the number of times you can purchase points. However having joined you may have to wait till the next sale – about every few months – to be able to buy miles.

Also, Australian Business Traveller warns that “because airlines can and do devalue frequent flyer points or miles over time, it might not be wise to plough too much money into buying Mileage Plan miles just to have them in the bank, so to speak.”

“When purchasing miles it’s usually best to do so only if you have a specific trip in mind, and buy just enough miles for that redemption ticket,” said ABT.

Here is the award sale:

http://www.alaskaair.com/content/deals/mileage-plan.aspx?lid=nav:deals-mileagePlan

Here is the redemption schedule:

http://www.alaskaair.com/content/mileage-plan/earn-use-miles/award-chart-australia.aspx

US Airways also offers the same type of deal and is linked to the Star Alliance – thus Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand.

 

Yeti Airlines offers orphans dream flight to Mount Everest

In celebration of Children’s Day, Yeti Airlines will be organising a special flight to Mount Everest this Saturday for 18 orphans from Bal Mandir, Nepal.

Yeti airlines offers wide community support by contributing large donations to four social organizations such as the United Mission to Nepal (UMN), Save the Children, Habitat for Humanity and Care Nepal.

“We have always been very serious about helping the community. It gives us great pride and happiness to bring smiles to these little ones in however way we can,” said Roshan Regmi, Marketing Manager of Yeti Airlines.

It has been reported that Bal Mandir has been facing economic crisis for the last ten years and its future looks bleak. As a result, around 400 children, who live in different branches across the country, are not getting proper food, education and health facilities. 

“We thank Yeti Airlines for taking the initiative. I hope it opens the door for other private companies to support these children as Bal Mandir is going through a rough phase financially,” said Subhash Pokhrel, General Secretary of Bal Mandir.

This will be a unique experience for me. I had only heard about Mount Everest, but will be touching it on Saturday. This is something beyond my dream and I would really like to thank Yeti Airlines from the bottom of my heart,” said Kabita Gurung an orphan who will be boarding the flight on Saturday.

As a special treat the children were accompanied by respected veteran Actor Mr Hari Bansha Acharya and his wife Ramila Acharya. 

Kenya Airways set to receive new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft

The new state-of-the-art aircraft B777-300ER will be the largest in the airline’s fleet to date.

With a seating capacity of 400 (28 – Premier World and 372 Economy) and long-range flying capability, this new addition will also offer excellent passenger experience.

“This will be the largest aircraft in our fleet. Our current B777-200ER aircraft has a seating capacity of 322 passengers while this one has 400 seats. It will give our business a major lift due to its enhanced product quality, excellent range and impressive cargo capacity,” says Dr. Titus Naikuni, Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

“The Boeing 777-300ER aircraft is a perfect fit for our network expansion plans as it will enable us serve our existing markets much more effectively and facilitate the opening of new long-haul routes in the near future,” Dr Naikuni added.

The Premier World business-class features full flat-bed seats with leather foot-rests, laptop stowage and armrests that also act as privacy dividers.

The Economy class seats also provide more leg room, four-way adjustable headrests, in-flight handset seatback and large 10.6 inch touch screen monitors.

This acquisition is part of Kenya Airways 10-year strategic plan dubbed ‘Project Mawingu’ in which the airline targets to increase its fleet size from the current 44 to 107 aircrafts by 2021 and destinations from the current 62 to 115.

The airline has also ordered nine Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircrafts, the first of which is to be delivered in early 2014.

 

Cheap deals for Australians ahead of the silly season

 

Australians are being tempted into the air by some of the cheapest fares ever offered as airlines slug it out to fill empty seats.

 

With some of Australia’s biggest events coming up such as Grand Final, Melbourne Cup Carnival, Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, Christmas and New Years Eve, people are on the look out for cheap deals.

 

Bali, Western Australian’s favourite overseas holiday destination is just $139 one-way with Jetstar and Virgin Australia has business class seats to Melbourne for only $839.

 

Some of the one way east-coast deals include: Sydney to Melbourne $129 on Qantas; Gold Coast to Melbourne $129 on Jetstar, Hobart to Sydney $109 Jetstar, Brisbane to Melbourne $145 on Virgin.

 

The economy fare levels are at all time lows compared to average weekly earnings while the business class fares are approximately 50 per cent below normal levels.

 

A variety of travel periods are offered both this year and next and the various sales end later this week.

 

Jetstar is offering the lowest fares.

 

Perth to Adelaide is $109; Lombok $109; Melbourne $119; Brisbane $129; Cairns, Jakarta, Singapore $129; Bali $139 and Phuket $228

 

So when looking for a bargain, it comes down to a fine art of research and knowing where to look and when to book.

 

Here are some ideas and tips in how to find some cheap airline deals.

 

 

1. Making the right decision about who to travel with

 

Its all well and good getting a cheap flight but the flight experience might not be worth it in the end. Check out reviews from other passengers as well as product and safety information at AirlineRatings.com before booking a flight.

 

 

2. Follow airlines on social networks

 

Many airlines alert fans and followers via social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This is the spot to get the tip-offs on the best deals as soon as they come in.

 

3. Book early 

The earlier you buy your ticket, the more you can save, particularly if you are travelling close to Christmas or during school holidays.

 

4. Buy flights at 4pm on Friday 

Several airlines release their weekly sales on Friday afternoons, and once an airline drops its prices, competition amongst the other airlines begins.

 

5. Fly with lesser-known airlines 

If you are prepared to fly on lesser-known airlines you can find some good bargains.

 

6. Consider a package deal 

Rather than arranging flights and accommodation separately, ask your travel agent about a package deal.

 

7. Sign up to newsletters 

Signing up to email newsletters from travel companies or airlines is a great way to find out about early-bird specials and the latest sale fares.

 

8. Travel outside peak season

If possible, avoid peak travel times, such as Christmas, Easter and school holidays, which are very expensive times to fly.

 

9. Extend your search on the web

Lesser-known websites such as zuji.com.au and wotflight.com offer comparisons to some of the more well-known websites such as webjet.com

 

Qatar Airways’ first A380 takes to the skies

Qatar Airways’ first A380 took off from Toulouse on its maiden flight to Hamburg where the aircraft will be fitted with its cabin before being painted.

 

The Doha based carrier has orders for ten A380s and will become the eleventh airline to join the prestigious club of A380 operators when it takes delivery of this aircraft in 2014.

 

Since first entering service in 2007, 108 A380s are in operation with ten world class carriers and have accumulated over one million flight hours in more than 120,000 commercial flights.

To date 44 million passengers have already enjoyed the unique experience of flying on board an A380.

 

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Qatar Airways to join the oneworld alliance

Qatar Airways will become a full member of oneworld with effect from Wednesday 30 October 2013 and is the only one of the “Gulf Big Three” carriers to join any of the global airline alliances.  

It received clearance to board oneworld after successfully completing a thorough review of its readiness, conducted by British Airways, which is sponsoring Qatar Airways’ entry into the alliance, with oneworld’s central team.

Qatar Airways completes its oneworld implementation programme just one year after receiving its invitation to join.

This will make its induction into oneworld one of the fastest in the alliance’s history.  Normally it takes around 18 months for any airline to be readied to enter any alliance.

Qatar Airways’ addition to oneworld will come shortly before the airline moves into its new home base, Hamad International Airport, which has been designed to strengthen Doha’s position as a premium global hub, with an eventual capacity for 50 million passengers a year.

From its first flights on Wednesday, 30 October, Qatar Airways will offer oneworld’s full range of services and benefits.

DVT – The Persistent Challenge

In 2001, the respected medical journal The Lancet published a bombshell analysis estimating that small blood clots form in the calves of in one in every ten airline passengers. The controversial study sparked heated debate.

Now, 13 years later, some important perspective on air travel-related blood clots, a clearing of the air if you will. Further research indicates they’re not so much a plague as a problem. Things may not be as bad as we once assumed, but the fact is Deep Vein Thrombosis remains a devilishly persistent issue that may be on the grow. One of the world’s foremost DVT experts, Dr. Nigel S. Key, chair-elect of the International Society of Thrombosis Haemostasis (ISTH), asserts, “It would be a reasonable supposition that as long-distance airline travel becomes more affordable – and as the population gets older – that DVT is becoming more widespread.”

Another renowned researcher, Dr. Suzanne C. Cannegieter of the Department of Epidemiology at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, roughly estimates that world wide there were some 250,000 cases of air travel-related DVT in 2012. As approximately 5 per cent of DVT cases are fatal, this would put the death rate at 12,500 last year.

That risk comes against the backdrop of a significant increase in people who fly these days. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) says some 1.639-billion of us took wing back in 2002. According to estimates by the International Air Transport Association that number ten years later (2012) is 2.977 billion.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says, “The actual incidence of travel-related [venous thromboembolism, which includes DVT and PE] is difficult to determine.” Still, CDC concludes, “Long distance air travel may increase the risk…by 2- to 4-fold,” noting that heightened risk is also present in car, bus or train travel – any mode of transportation where passengers are relatively immobile.

Anatomy and Consequences of Clots

Key says most clots from in the lower extremities, the legs and the pelvis. Sometimes they manifest themselves dramatically: “There are well-publicized cases of somebody getting off an Australia to [London] Heathrow flight and dropping down dead of a pulmonary embolism.” Then there are instances “where patients present several weeks later, ” he says. In the middle are flyers such as our Hong Kong to Chicago traveler, where preliminary symptoms – such as leg cramps – are followed in short order by something more attention grabbing. “I woke up and my leg was swollen and I couldn’t move,” she vividly recalls.

It’s when an extremity-lodged clot breaks off and travels to the lungs that all hell can break loose. “The majority [of patients] will present with Deep Vein Thrombosis rather than Pulmonary Embolism,” says Key. “That’s about a two-to-one ratio.” You may have time to stop potentially-fatal PE consequences from happening because “It could take a while for [the clot] to grow, propagate [from, say, the leg] and eventually obstruct – or embolize and travel to the lung.”

What You Can Do to Minimize the Risk

“Clots don’t form for one reason” alone he says. Many times, they’re the result of a perfect storm of factors, a malicious mélange of little things: age, immobility, recent surgery or hospitalization, long-distance flights or dehydration.

First, consider that statement of Key’s that more older folks are flying these days. They should take special care. For the overall population, Key says the risk of DVT is about one in a thousand. For people under 40 it’s one in ten-thousand. Then there are octogenarians. Live north of 80 and the chances of DVT increase ten-fold – one percent of that population.

This doesn’t mean older people shouldn’t fly; it just means they (and the rest of us for that matter) have to be acutely aware of DVT and how to keep it at bay: hydrate, avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine, choose an aisle seat (preferably in proximity to a lavatory), don compression hose or socks, get up and walk about when the seat belt sign’s not on. “All of that,” says Key. Then there’s awareness of the increased risk oral contraceptives pose, as well as recent surgeries. As for the latter, the good doctor says, “Better wait a good month or six weeks [after surgery] before undertaking a long trip.”

How about passengers with a history of DVT? Should they travel? Key has a patient who regularly flies to Nigeria for his work. He’s been hit by clots before. Key says, “There are some patients where we might give them a one-time, preventative dose of anti-coagulant just before they get on the plane.” That’s supplemented  by another dose within 24 hours after the flight, followed by a similar regimen on the return leg of the journey.

This internationally-recognized thrombosis expert is not suggesting this prophylactic prescription en masse. He’s merely saying the benefit-to-risk approach might work “on an individualized basis.”

As for taking an aspirin before you board, Key says, “it’s not known” whether that makes a difference. But for patients whose risk is “several deviations from the normal…we will say, ‘Why don’t you take this dose before you get on the plane, and maybe one after you arrive.’”

That’s the point of all of this: arriving at your destination in decent shape to wrestle the business at hand, or simply revel in those far-away-places with the strange sounding names. Neither is  accomplished from a hospital bed. 

All the way on China Southern’s new Boeing 787

Australians will soon be able to sample China Southern Airlines’ new Boeing 787 Dreamliners when travelling the Guangzhou-London route next week.

 

The 787 Dreamliner offers improved efficiency, quieter cabins, lower air pressure and larger windows,

 

It will start five weekly morning services from China Southern’s main hub of Guangzhou to Heathrow on September 10.

 

“This is extra exciting for China Southern because passengers travelling out of Sydney from October 28 will be able to fly to Guangzhou on one of our new Airbus A380s and then fly the rest of the way to London on the 787, sampling two of our newest airliners and a vibrant Chinese city in the one trip,” said China Southern Regional General Manager Australia/New Zealand Mr Henry He.

 

“We’re also rolling out the new 787s on our Auckland and Vancouver routes and now that our entire Australian fleet has been replaced with the latest Airbus aircraft, offering fully flat beds in Business Class and personal TVs throughout, it really is a great time to fly with China Southern.”

Four Days and $1 Million

The ultimate, million-dollar weekend break in Australia has been revealed by private jet lifestyle magazine Elite Traveler for ultra-wealthy jetsetters looking to get lavish Down Under.

This no-expense-spared trip of a lifetime, created as part of the New York-based magazine’s Million Dollar Weekend Getaway series in partnership with Australian luxury tour operator SWAIN, will set you back more than $1 million.

You will be treated to a private Harbour Bridge climb, an exclusive performance at the Opera House, numerous private jet jaunts, and the ultimate Great Barrier Reef experience.

“Our readers make over 40 trips per year, including 10 intercontinental trips so they are always interested in great adventures, and Australia provides the perfect backdrop for a spectacular weekend,” said Mike Espindle, Group Editor for Elite Traveler Media Group.

Highlights of the itinerary include:

* 4 nights in a 2-bedroom suite at the Park Hyatt Sydney, with panoramic views of Sydney Harbour, Opera House, and Bridge from the balcony
* A private bridge climb and private performance at the Opera House, complete with fireworks over the harbour ordered up just for you
* A private visit with koalas and kangaroos at an animal sanctuary open only for your entourage

* A helicopter trip to renowned Robert Oatley Vineyards, with lunch served by Australian top chef Neil Perry

* Private jet jaunts from Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef for snorkeling and lunch at top resort qualia, and to Ayers Rock, featuring a dinner party under the stars for you and your guests at the rugged yet refined Longitude 131°

* The gift of an authentic Australian black opal (the rarest and most valuable of opal) and an even rarer Australian pink diamond as a souvenir

To ensure you have complete privacy, every restaurant you dine in will be closed for the duration of your eating experience, while all ground transportation will be provided by Rolls-Royce vehicles filled to the brim with champagne.

It doesn’t get much better than this!

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