As 2017 draws to a close, we continue to bring you the news stories that matter to you most.
Posted On December 22, 2017 Posted By Andy Buerckner
Qantas have announced that they will be launching a new Melbourne – San Francisco route and a new Sydney – Singapore route in 2018. The Sydney – Singapore route will begin on the 4th of March whilst the Melbourne – San Francisco route will begin operations in late 2018 on Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
Malaysia Airlines will start to offer Wi-Fi to all its passengers on its new Airbus A350 aircraft. They will be offering three Wi-Fi Plans from messaging-only (US$1) to social use (US$5) to business plans (US$13).
As of February 2018, Virgin Australia will be charging for high speed inflight internet on its Boeing 737 services. The new charge will see customers charged as part of their 'two-tier' pricing model. Standard connection will still be free for those wanting to access social media, email and web browsing whilst the high speed option will be charged as of February.
Air Canada have launched their Melbourne - Vancouver seasonal route that will fly until the 4 February 2018. The route will then resume again in June 2018 as a three times weekly service. The flights will operate on Air Canada's Boeing 787-9 aircraft and will join Air Canada's existing Australian network that already files to Sydney and Brisbane.
Virgin Australia have announced plans to upgrade its domestic Terminal 3 at Melbourne Airport. This redevelopment will begin in 2018 with the aim of completing the project within three years. The revamped terminal will aim to further automate existing processes such as bag drop and self-service kiosks.
US carriers American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines will start banning smart luggage featuring non-removable batteries from January 15, 2018. The ban is due to concerns that the lithium-ion batteries in the smart luggage are a fire hazard. Smart luggage with removable lithium-ion batteries are not currently part of the ban provided travellers remove the batteries and take them as carry on.
Air New Zealand will now launch year round flights between Adelaide - Auckland on its Boeing 787-9 aircraft. NZ191 flights will depart out of Auckland at 8:15am on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays to arrive in Adelaide at 10:45 am. NZ192 flights will depart Adelaide on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 11:40am to arrive into Auckland at 6:30pm the same day.
Perth Airport is now the home of the fourth Australian lounge for Air New Zealand. Similar in look and feel to its counterparts in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, the lounge has capacity for over 110 travellers and offers a drink station, cafe, buffet and business and lounge areas. The lounge opening hours will be from 4am until the last Air New Zealand flight of the day.
Vietnam has made it easier for Australia travellers to visit with the expansion of its e-visa process to Australians. Australian visitors can now apply for their Vietnamese single-entry 30-day visa online and paying the non-refundable application fee.
Qatar Airways have announced its plans to fly its Airbus A380 aircraft between Perth and Doha in May 2018. In a move that signifies Qatar’s investment in the Australian market, the aircraft will take the place of its current Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on the route.
Sydney airport has unveiled a new Facebook Messenger bot to assist travellers with flight updates. Still in its trial phase, all travellers need to do is visit the flySYD Facebook page and send a private message with their flight number which will in turn provide updates on the flight.
Vodafone Australia have announced that as of February 1, 2018, they will be cutting off free roaming in New Zealand and will instead bring New Zealand back onto its $5/day roaming program. New Zealand will join a list of about 50 countries covered by Vodafone's $5/day roaming program.
Singapore Airlines is currently in the process of trialling a Chatbot via Facebook Messenger. Named 'Kris', the bot's purpose is to help customers with pre-flight questions pertaining to online bookings, baggage, check-in and more.