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Keith T

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Everything posted by Keith T

  1. I was shocked, saddened and took some time to process this when I saw the news of Pieter's passing on FB, yet at the same time relieved that he's no longer in pain. I've had the pleasure of meeting Pieter & Mai a couple of times in Amsterdam and was able to share a couple of meals and bottles of wine with them. I'll always remember his generosity of spirit and enthusiasm for not just airlines but virtually everything in life. Pieter was someone who lived life to the full. RIP dude, hope you're enjoying the vantage point for plane spotting up where you are.
  2. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/aviation/jetstar-flies-qantas-back-into-beijing/story-e6frg95x-1226093362466 Other media reports have flagged that the new PEK service will be an extension of the existing MEL-SIN JQ7/8 service.
  3. Can you imagine having flown so much full stop? Not sure what Thomas Stuker's lifestyle is like, but it must suck to live like Ryan Bingham.
  4. This reminds me a little of the JQ/QF situation. At least FY appears to be an LCC 'with frills' whereas JQ is way more budget. JQ has completely taken over some of QF's routes, so even if you don't like JQ - tough! At least there's now a new and improved DJ to choose from. Not sure what the yields to MLE are like but a day flight in addition to the current evening flight would be very welcome. You need to catch seaplanes out to some resorts like the W or the Conrad which only operate during day light hours. The existing MH service arrives after the last seaplane service departs, which forces an overnight at the rip off airport hotel or an inconvenient sea boat transfer to the seemingly equally unappealing capital island of Male. MLE is a rather high end leisure route, so I'd imagine that there's enough yield to support a 2nd daily service? The only other viable option to MLE from this end of the world is SQ which operates 2 MLE services a day out of SIN and thus has much friendlier connections. Or maybe even move the MH service to a daytime departure, it'd connect nicely with flights out of Australia whilst still connecting neatly with a fair proportion of North Asian services into KUL.
  5. With the new Berlin airport featuring massively expanded capacity and thus supporting viable long haul flights, and Berlin being the main hub of Air Berlin, I wonder if oneworld members will start focusing on flights to Berlin in favour of Frankfurt or Munich? I suspect the lack of long haul flights into Berlin isn't for the lack of demand, but rather the current infrastructural constraints. The nighttime curfew might lessen the appeal though.
  6. My conversation with @tengkuazmil on Twitter about this: Me: @tengkuazmil: Me: And LOL at the following RT from @tengkuazmil: I'm impressed by how both CEOs of MH and AK personally participate on social media! Makes me think that they really care about their customers to want to go that extra step to reach out to their pax. Virgin Australia has an impressive social media team but John Borghetti himself doesn't engage with social media. QF has a pretty poor, fragmented social media strategy.
  7. GBP1?! For a second I thought that was an error fare!! That screenshot might come in handy the next time any airline files a mistake fare and refuses to honour, as it should give strength to the argument that with low fare sales like these consumers like ourselves are none the wiser as to whether a fare is an error or genuine fare. My partner and I took advantage of the first sale for our Easter trip. As posted above, fares out of Australia are amazing. $3410ish per person, tax inclusive (base fare was $2705 so yes a lot of taxes/YQ!) for MEL-xKUL-BKK-xKUL-MLE-KUL-MEL in J - that's only slightly more than a oneworld Circle Asia in whY! And unlike their usual sales which require 2 pax to travel together, these fares could be ticketed individually. Makes me feel a whole lot better about our splurge on the W Retreat & Spa, Maldives! Easter 2012 might be a world away but when we saw the fares, plans were rapidly drawn up and locked in! Trying to fly the parents down to MEL for Christmas. They were looking at flying JQ or QF Premium Economy out of SIN. MH J fares once again looking v reasonably priced, might take advantage of that again.
  8. The OH and myself were in Perth to take advantage of the Queen's Birthday long weekend. We were booked to leave on Monday evening. Had we been scheduled to leave PER a day earlier, we'd have been caught up in this as all airlines cancelled all their scheduled flights in and out of MEL on Sunday evening. We were booked on DJ which resumed their flights yesterday morning. QF resumed some flights whilst TT flights remained cancelled. We left on the Monday evening redeye which was packed to the rafters, as we were also carrying refugees from the cancelled DJ flights. The flight was unfortunately overbooked, and after noticing a discrepancy in the pax manifest, they had to bump a pax off at the last minute (he was NOT happy!). There's a massive backlog and some people have reported that they might be waiting for a couple more days to get on a flight. DJ flight ops had plotted a routing that avoided the ash cloud which added 35 mins to our flight time. Flights to/from Tasmania remain suspended. The OH has a co-worker in Tas who's currently enjoying his really long weekend there. (unless he's super excited about going back to work and has made arrangements to drive up to Davenport, and hop on to the Spirit of Tasmania across the Bass Straits).
  9. Just ticketed our Easter trip using an amazing MH Business sale fare, MEL-xKUL-BKK-xKUL-MLE-KUL-MEL for a touch under $7000 incl tax for both the OH and myself! Look forward to my first MH long haul experience in a long while... especially as oneworld member-elect! SQ was more than double the cost! Even if we'd used BMI miles for one ticket, the total cost would still be more expensive than what we paid for 2 revenue MH tickets. Taking note of the Wing & Prayer thread, I hope these massive sales are sustainable for the airline in the long run though. Only question is where to credit the flights. They presently have an agreement with Virgin Australia so we've inserted our Velocity numbers into the booking, but I suspect we might end up earning QFF points by Easter. Hopefully we won't be left in the limbo between them terminating current arrangements with Virgin and starting FF linkage with QF! I don't mind crediting to Enrich if worse comes to worst but would prefer not to have miles orphaned in yet another FFP, and Enrich's 3 year hard expiry isn't appealing.
  10. That's very interesting, thanks for sharing Uncle Pieter! It sounds like there could be a detrimental effect to MH joining the alliance if none of the other major players on the Kangaroo Route commence services to KUL. In the short term, there will be codeshares. I'd love to see a QF code on MH flights to AMS - somewhere that's currently being served only via LHR. But for the alliance to work for MH, I think one of the other majors on the Kangaroo route should re-commence services to KUL. People don't think of codeshares when they book flights when the marketing carrier doesn't at least fly part of the route. Also, on the North American side of the equation, the extra feed from AA at LAX should help MH's North American ops. Can't remember if MH still flies EWR but I don't think AA has much of a presence at EWR.
  11. Yeah I was thinking that when SQ allowed VAust to use the Virgin brand outside Australia, they didn't allow it for nothing in return. Though John Borghetti is quick to can the idea that the 2 events are linked. Cooperation between airlines from different alliances not uncommon. QF has a rather comprehensive codeshare agreement with AF for flights between Paris and Australia, much to the consternation of CX.
  12. Last night's episode of Lateline Business alludes to rifts between Alan Joyce and the Board of QF. IMO, the sooner they get rid of him the better. I might know very little about running an airline but things have really taken a downturn since he took over the airline. Been hearing some questionable maintenance practises at QF, and if true, they're very worrying. I'm sure 99% of these rumours are exaggerated and I won't repeat them here because I can't verify these myself, but you can't help noticing a pattern of engineering issues with QF aircraft which means there's some substance to the rumours. He's waged war on engineers, pilots, cabin crew, and Platinum frequent flyers. How i wish John Borghetti, who made QF such a great airline to fly in the 2000s, became CEO! Alan Joyce doesn't seem to get that the kind of LCC management practises that worked well at JQ do not necessarily apply for a premium airline which requires INVESTMENT in products and services rather than cuts, cuts and more cuts to try to squeeze out a profit! And to trash his own airline in public is madness! /Signed: A bitter but still trying to be loyal QF Platinum
  13. Yes I think QF or BA will stand to gain a lot more from their new OW hub in Asia if they commence services to KUL. After all, an alliance is all about synergies of the type you mention. If QF only wanted to codeshare they can already do so without having MH in oneworld (as they're already doing with OZ, BR, VN and a few others). Also anything that keeps BA in Australia would be great. Overall I'm happy to see that OW has another major hub in Asia. KUL is one of my favourite cities alongside HKG. I remember the days when OW only has HKG... how things have changed since! I look forward to flying with MH when they're operating under the OW banner! (or even sooner if QF develops FF links with them in the lead up to formal membership!)
  14. Sometime last year I came across rumours that BA15/16 will be re-routed LHR-KUL-MEL. There are also parallel rumours that BA15/16 and BA9/10 will both terminate and turnaround in SIN/BKK, which would mean BA leaving Australia entirely, transferring all Australian bound pax to QF. I am not sure how credible these rumours are. But in light of MH joining OW, I think BA15/16 going LHR-KUL-Australia has more credence. However I'm not convinced that they're going to re-route the service to MEL (which has a history of poor yields for BA). Rumours about BA ceasing to serve Australia altogether have been around for a long time. It's not the most efficient of services for them yieldwise, and they're seen as serving Australia for historical and prestige reasons. An alliance partner in MH might be just the trigger for BA's exit from Australia - this could mean a LHR-KUL-LHR service, along with BA passing its Australia bound pax to its alliance partners at KUL/SIN/BKK. I think QF and BA will still maintain their SIN hub operations, as there's a lot of O/D traffic with SIN especially at the pointy end. But I can see either of them, more likely BA, re-starting KUL services to optimise their new alliance partner.
  15. If you look at QF's codesharing strategy, I think that is what they intend to do. They love their codeshares. I also think that they might also align their schedules better at SIN with MH's. Currently pax from MEL/SYD (not sure about other ports) flying QF arrive too late for any MH services up to KUL.
  16. Yeah you don't need to 'transfer' your miles. It'll largely be business as usual in Enrich, with certain adjustments. When the alliance is activated, Enrich should be sending you new cards with oneworld logos, and if you have any Enrich status you will also get a card that displays your corresponding oneworld status that will be recognised throughout the entire alliance. Enrich will also need to update their T&Cs allowing the earning of Elite Miles on other oneworld carriers, and will need to advise its members what the accrual and redemption rates are with oneworld members after concluding its negotiations with other OW carriers. If you have miles in another oneworld FFP, such as jani's 17 000 miles with BA EC, then simply wait for MH to join oneworld and you can use those miles on MH. You can continue earning on BA EC if BA is your preferred carrier or if you like BA EC - just remember to advise your FF number to MH when you fly with MH. There are ways to transfer miles between FFPs but these usually involve going through a third program, usually a hotel program. The third party program must of course be partners with the 2 FFPs involved. I am not really sure about how to do this, having never done so myself, but I recall that the transfer rates are rarely 1:1 and you lose a lot of miles in the process. So I think it's still more worthwhile keeping your miles in your existing FFP. SWISS is a little different from MH. SWISS joined Star Alliance as a direct result of being bought out by Lufthansa, and as part of the deal Swiss Travel Club was merged into M&M (incidentally had SWISS joined oneworld in 2004, the FFP would have been merged into BA Executive Club as part of the LX-BA MOU. LX backed out of the agreement because it couldn't see any benefit in giving up their FFP). MH is just joining an alliance, not merging with anyone, so I expect Enrich to stay the same. I can't think of any good reason for them to give up their FF database to anyone else. As for benefits... as a customer it means 1) You have a wider choice of carriers to earn your Enrich miles on. And if you don't like Enrich (the 3 year hard expiry is the deal breaker for me even though the rest of the FFP has been largely improved in the past few years), you can simply choose to earn miles on a oneworld FFP that better suits your travel requirements. AAdvantage is very good for redemptions, particularly if traveling mostly in premium cabins, and Qantas Frequent Flyer is easiest for status although miserly in redemptions. I used to earn all my miles with AAdvantage even though I was flying mainly with QF. But I've come to realise that there are advantages (no pun intended) in accruing status on the airline you fly with most often. As a Qantas Platinum, I can request for award seats to be opened on flights that have zero award availability, and I can even 'see' availability that other oneworld Emeralds have no access to. 2) Access to oneworld fare products. oneworld markets several Round The World and Circle fares that are very good value. MH will participate in these when they become a oneworld member. I think you will see them signing up to the Global Explorer fare a lot sooner, as I recall MX, S7, Kingfisher and a few others feature in the Global Explorer shortly after becoming oneworld member-elects. 3) Access any oneworld lounge when flying oneworld. So if MH doesn't have a lounge in a certain airport, you can go to another oneworld lounge. Or you'll simply have more than 1 lounge to choose from. For instance, at MEL and SYD you'd want to use the fantastic QF First Lounge over the MH or CX lounges, and at KUL I'll want to be at the MH lounges over the CX lounge, and at NRT the JAL lounges are far nicer than the cramped and tiny Qantas Club. You can have a lot of fun lounge hopping at large airports where there are several oneworld lounges. 4) Coordinated flight schedules. Although this mainly benefits the airlines themselves as they get greater synergies and efficiencies by reducing duplications, you might QF/BA re-aligning their flight schedules at SIN to better align with MH flight schedules to allow for better connectivity between the airlines. Or you might even see QF or BA recommencing services to KUL, even if they continue with their SIN hub. *fingers crossed* You can then combine different carriers on to one ticket and interline/through check between the MH and oneworld carriers. All of these also allow MH access to a wider base of customers they otherwise wouldn't get....eg a QF RTW or QFF pax from MEL wanting to include KL and Penang as part of his itinerary would now be able to do MEL-KUL-PEN instead of the faffing around SIN or HKG, and will now be able to use KUL as a stop on the way to Europe. MH will probably be attractive for pax traveling to Europe outside LHR or FRA and are sick of constantly having to transit at LHR. Much as I love QF I'd rather fly direct if I need to go somewhere like AMS or FCO. I also find MH a lot nicer to fly with and heaps cheaper than CX.
  17. Now I understand the rush to get MH into oneworld. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/aviation/virgin-australia-inks-alliance-with-singapore-airlines/story-e6frg95x-1226070741209 Virgin's ASX announcement (ASX code VBA) also states that there will be reciprocal lounge access for Velocity Gold and KF EG members.
  18. All new entrants are sponsored by someone. Not sure what this sponsorship entails, probably training on oneworld products and systems. BA is acting as Kingfisher's sponsor.
  19. Ah fair enough. Most of the trips I've been doing have been for work. And anyway who wants to read TRs of the same airline endlessly? I'll post a TR when I get to try something different. In light of today's news hopefully I can write one on MH long haul in 18 months' time!
  20. Haha I too thought of MW immediately when I saw the news. As for FFP... I now have no clue! All the carriers I want to fly are split across different FFPs. I was rather loyal to QF until they started devaluing their Platinum status. So I was all set on flying Virgin Australia and MAS (who's currently an FF partner of Virgin) as I recently got a status match with them and was hoping they'd announce a joint venture alliance with MH as they've done with EY, NZ and DL. With MAS entering OW, I fully expect them to terminate their relationship with DJ and align more closely with QF. The options for me as I see it: 1) Persist with Virgin Australia status and hope that the DJ/MH relationship continues. -> Highly unlikely 2) Go back to QFF (have got Platinum till June 2012) with my tail between my legs and maintain oneworld emerald so I can enjoy the best of at least 2 of my fave carriers QF and MH when the latter formally joins. 3) Maintain mid tier Gold status on QFF and Velocity so that I can buy the best fares of the day. That would mean domestic flights on QF, international Economy flights and points upgrades with QF, international J flights with MH, transpacific flights with Virgin. 4) Similar to 3 but instead of QFF Gold, get Enrich Gold. Enrich miles seem far better value than QFF but Enrich Gold is far more difficult to achieve than QFF Gold. As I worked out elsewhere, MEL-KUL-LHR return in J will only net 31k (ish) Enrich Elite Miles or 62% to Enrich Gold but the same credited to QFF will net QFF Gold almost straightaway. Options 2 and 3 seem the most plausible but no matter how many times I slice and dice I get a different answer.... Eh... but I've been posting on SQTalk??
  21. This also plugs a huge hole in the oneworld network that is SE Asia. Cathay and JAL are hardly convenient for SE Asia. Kingfisher is great for the subcontinent. It's safe to say that oneworld now has Asia reasonably well-covered. Another member based in Mainland China probably won't hurt, as CX/KA can't do intra PRC flights. Now Africa...
  22. I doubt there'd be many changes unless they sign a JSA with QF or someone else. For instance in the recent AA/BA/IB JSA, all 3 carriers had to change their programs and fare structures to match each other. Alliance agreements are more about marketing than anything else. After signing the master oneworld agreement, they will have to negotiate with each oneworld member individually on reciprocal FF mileage and status accumulation so Enrich members can start earning and redeeming miles and status on other oneworld carriers according to a mutually agreed structure, and vice versa. oneworld has 3 elite tiers - Ruby (Enrich Silver), Sapphire (Enrich Gold), Emerald (Enrich Platinum). Would argue that Enrich is already more closely aligned to oneworld than some of the current members like BA which only have 2 tiers. Operationally, they might also develop greater synegies with OW members which might mean severing existing ties with KL, AZ etc in favour of OW members. There is usually a minimum level of codesharing alliance members have to maintain with one another. But it isn't uncommon for airlines to maintain arrangements with carriers in other alliances, like AF and QF. So unless QF or BA starts flying to KUL, it is fair to say that existing codeshares with KL on the Kangaroo route should continue for a bit. Interesting times ahead!
  23. Official oneworld announcement: http://www.oneworld.com/ow/news/details?objectID=25793 (Oops Jani beat me to it!) Glad to see it happening. I guess they were frustrated by AF actively blocking their attempts to join Skyteam (if the rumours are to be believed), and anyway I reckon oneworld is a better fit for an airline of MH's calibre. Sorry, Pieter C! This then creates a dilemma for me personally. I've been a loyal QF traveller up until recently when they devalued QFF Platinum benefits. Being based in Australia I like to credit to an Australia-based FFP as the status benefits come in handy for domestic flights. I got a status match with Virgin Australia to Velocity Gold, as I wanted to support the competition and liked what I was seeing with their re-brand and moves upmarket, and was looking forward to greater long haul flying with MAS as they are a Velocity FF partner. I've really enjoyed the few times I've flown MAS and their Business Companion fares to North Asia and Europe are unbeatable value. Now that they're joining oneworld, it'll probably mean severing ties with DJ in favour of QF. That means I'll be crawling back to QFF red-faced with my tail between my legs as I'll want to maintain oneworld Emerald status for use on MAS. I have no more excuse not to fly MAS now that they're actually in an alliance, what's more oneworld! Hope y'all still remember me.
  24. At Westin Hotels, I noticed that the employees all have name tags that state what their passion is, eg travel, tennis etc. These things might seem like 'gimmicks' but IMO they help to humanise front line staff, and boost internal morale.
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