High flyer: the latest airline and flight news

Fine china in the skies: Qantas’ new tableware range

Qantas has unveiled a new tableware range designed by David Caon in collaboration with chef Neil Perry. Specially crafted to be 11 per cent lighter, the minimalist crockery by Noritake is made from fine bone china, while the cutlery is brush-finished stainless steel. The design of the tableware mirrors that of the new 787 Dreamliner cabins, with soft curves replacing harsh lines. The new tableware will be available on international flights in first, business and premium economy as well as business class on domestic flights. It will also be in first and business lounges, the Qantas Club and will appear on the airline’s first 787 Dreamliner service from Melbourne to Los Angeles on 15 December 2017. 


Mediterranean from a Masterchef aboard Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways has collaborated with celebrity chef George Calombaris to create a bespoke Mediterranean menu to celebrate the airline’s introduction of A380 aircraft on the Melbourne to Doha route. Available exclusively for first and business class passengers until September 20, the menu features dishes such as lamb moussaka, Hellenic grain salad, Gazi souvlaki and Calombaris’ signature Hellenic Republic, a rice pudding sweetened with Murray River salted caramel. This is the first time Calombaris’ dishes have been available on an airline’s in flight menu. 


George Calombaris


Better health inflight with Qantas and the University of Sydney

Qantas has partnered with the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre to undertake a series of research projects focused on passenger health during long-haul flights. The findings will be used to inform strategies to counteract jetlag, including on-board exercise regimes, light and temperature in the cabin, service timing and menu design. Qantas’ culinary partner Neil Perry will consult with researchers to ensure the wellness-optimised food offerings meet the airline’s gastronomic standards. Some Qantas Frequent Flyers will be able to participate in trials by using wearable technology that measures biorhythms during their travels.


This is the final boarding call for first class

Flying first class is the pinnacle of commercial air travel. It represents the ultimate in luxury before the jump to the rarefied world of private jets.

However, full-service carriers are now finding it tough to fill the very pointy end, and are beginning to reduce or eliminate first class cabins in their new aircraft orders. Even Emirates, long known for its very deep pockets, is revamping first class offerings on certain planes to have six more luxurious private suites rather than the current eight. According to Bloomberg, the airline has been “hit by falling demand from premium Gulf passengers and industry-wide concerns about terrorism. To cope with some of the toughest operating conditions in its 30-year history, Emirates is revamping the bars on its Airbus SE A380s [and] mulling a premium economy for the first time.”

Qantas has first class only on their existing A380s and a few old 747s. The new Dreamliners will have a larger business class but no first when they launch in December. Cathay Pacific and Qatar are keeping their existing first class cabins, though they are not fitting them to new aircraft. Even Lufthansa, the world’s biggest caviar buyer, is removing first class cabins from all their aircraft except the Airbus A380s and Boeing 747-8s.

Soon a ‘super business class’ will be the norm, combining elements of first and business class: more privacy, better bedding, improved menus, top-shelf drinks and choice of when to eat. But disappearing will be the dedicated shorter first class boarding lines and there will be an inevitable reduction in service levels as the ratio of flight attendants to passengers will decrease, leading to less personalised attention.

The opportunity to fly first class could be disappearing entirely over the next three to five years, so you should try it now before it becomes just another memory of the golden age of flying.




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