A new oneworld order
Partners no more ... Qantas's code share with Emirates will end links with British Airways. Photo: Reuters
Alliance partners go their separate ways as Qantas hops off to Dubai and BA vows to keep Singapore service alive.
The Kangaroo Route is alive and well, despite the Flying Kangaroo, Qantas, planning to move its hub from Singapore to Dubai.
British Airways has confirmed it will continue to fly the route London-Singapore-Sydney after its arrangement with Qantas finishes in March next year. What's unclear, however, is what airline will fly the Singapore-Sydney leg.
BA's intention to maintain the service (whether via code share or not) will, however, still enable Qantas points holders to choose to fly to London via Singapore instead of Dubai, as both BA and Qantas remain in the oneworld alliance.
From April, Qantas will code-share with Emirates to Europe via Dubai, a move that will give its passengers access to a far greater range of European ports. Qantas will still have two daily A380 flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London, but they'll stop over in Dubai.
Qantas will still fly to Singapore, but as a final destination, no longer with a connection to London. But it will still code-share with Finnair from Singapore to Helsinki.
A BA spokesman gave Sky Report the following statement: "British Airways is very proud of its long history with Australia and we remain committed to providing customers with the best of British service when travelling to the UK and Europe. We know we have many loyal customers in Australia, and they can continue to fly with confidence when they choose British Airways."
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It's been all well and good for Lima to be on the taste-maker hot lists, but if getting there is an issue, how's a hipster to verify the city's coolness?
Since March this year, reaching the Peruvian capital from Australia has been easier, with Qantas introducing direct flights into South America via Santiago - and it seems Australians have relished the chance to check it out. So much so that there's been a 23 per cent jump in the number of Australian visitors to Peru, semester on semester.
In the first half of this year, some 17,388 Australians travelled to Peru, compared with 14,101 last year. This follows a 1 per cent increase in Australian travellers to Peru in 2011 (30,436) compared with 2010 (29,659). Tourism authorities attribute that in large part to better air accessibility.
Qantas operates three return Sydney-Santiago services a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays with connection to Lima. Chile's national carrier, LAN Airlines, code-shares on the Qantas services and Qantas code-shares on LAN's daily service between Sydney and Santiago via Auckland. Qantas says the service not only provides an opportunity to connect to Peru, but also other South American destinations, including Colombia, Brazil and Argentina, via LAN's regional network.
When next boarding a flight and feeling envious of the people turning to the pointy end instead of cattle class with you, consider this.
Recent research suggests those up the front are less likely to survive a crash than those down the back. A documentary somewhat bluntly titled Plane Crash, produced for Britain's Channel 4, is scheduled to air in Britain this month. In what the channel's website describes as "an unprecedented international television event", two pilots boarded a Boeing 727, flew it over the Sonoran Desert in Mexico, set it on course to crash-land at a designated deserted spot and then parachuted to safety.
"The resulting high-speed crash will recreate the most common type of serious passenger jet incident and give scientists invaluable information about how planes react in potentially fatal accidents," Channel 4 says.
The deliberate downing of the plane, fitted out with sensors and cameras, took place in April. On impact, the front of the plane and the first 11 rows of seats were ripped off. Had the plane been carrying people rather than crash-test dummies, first-class passengers would not have survived. But experts concluded 78 per cent of the rest would have, with the chance of survival increasing the further down the back the passenger was.
Sky Report just hopes the sacrificial first-class crash-test dummies were at least served a nice glass of French champagne before take-off. And maybe some cashews.
Pleased to seat you
The Dutch have long been known as progressive, but KLM Royal Dutch Airlines' "happiness" venture had nothing to do with herbs.
The hugely successful campaign, called KLM Surprise, involved the airline's social media team tracking passengers via their tweets and Foursquare check-ins and then personally delivering little gifts before boarding - tailored to the passengers' interests as stated on their profiles.
It garnered KLM millions of online impressions and, according to social media experts, lots of brand loyalty. (See the video at surprise.klm.com.)
Now the airline has introduced "Meet and Seat" to its booking system. Flyers can connect their LinkedIn and Facebook profiles to their online bookings so other passengers can see who's on board and choose a seat accordingly.
It's an opt-in system, so those of us who would rather use an ejector seat without a parachute than speak to the person next to us can remain in our antisocial bubble.
But for those looking to use flying time to network, or perhaps finally meet a Facebook friend face to face, it's a terrific little tool.
From October 28, Philippine Airlines will end its five-times-weekly Manila-Sydney-Melbourne flights, replacing them with four weekly non-stop flights from Sydney and three weekly flights from Melbourne to Manila and return. The Sydney flights will run on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, departing at 9.45am. The flights from Melbourne will leave on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 9.50am.