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Last week we got pretty excited about United's news to bring some 787 Dreamliners across the Equator for the long trip from Los Angeles to Melbourne, beginning in fall 2014. While this won't mark the first flight from SoCal to Australia's cultural capital, it is the first for the US airline; United used to first stop in Sydney, then hit the sky again to Melbourne.
If MileagePlus isn't your preferred loyalty program, there are plenty of other options to hop on the nearly 16-hour flight down under. In fact, there are two other airlines running here nonstop from the US, making that long way over the Pacific.
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Okay—we realize that we usually try to consolidate our new routes news, but we just couldn’t resist sharing this one sooner than later. It’s especially the case since it might just be a decent use of those United MileagePlus miles that you have been saving up for years and years—maybe even since the Continental days.
As you know United is a fan of the Boeing 787, and they’ve got a few of them on hand for some flying fun. Well the fun is about to go down under, as United has just loaded a new flight into their schedule. The carrier will be doing the nonstop thing between Los Angeles and Melbourne—in Australia—beginning this October.
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Yesterday, we gave you a first hand account of our Aussie contributor's impressions on his first ride in a Dreamliner. Now we can finally show you the photos inside and out of the newest Jetstar aircraft to take to the skies.
This is the first 787 for Australia and it has understandably created much fanfare down under. For the first few weeks, the plane will be carting Aussies around the country between Melbourne, Cairns, and the Gold Coast, but will then transition to flights to Bali-Denpasar.
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Last week we brought you the inaugural of Jetstar's newest little toy, a shiny Boeing 787 Dreamliner. As the first 787 in Australia, the plane is affording a new batch of travelers their first taste of modern aviation innovation, and our Aussie contributor is one such flyer. Here, he shares his impressions of a first flight on the Dreamliner:
As soon as Jetstar announced their newest bird would be flying from Melbourne to the Gold Coast, I jumped online and purchased tickets, psyched to finally fly this state-of-the-art aircraft for myself, after watching what felt like every other continent get their chance. My base in Brisbane is an easy drive to the Gold Coast Airport, and I jump at any chance to visit Australia's culture capital of Melbourne, so the decision was an easy one.
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As the very first Dreamliner to wear an Australian tail number, VH-VKA is a breath of fresh air for Jetstar, featuring amenities such as USB charging in each seat, video on demand and adjustable headrests. This is all in addition to the features that come standard in every new 787, such as larger, auto-dimming windows, LED lighting, and improved cabin ambiance.
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Some tourism boards just "get it." And by get it, we mean thinking outside the box creatively and attracting tourists in flocks to their city, state or country en masse. With its latest campaign, Melbourne can now head to the top of that list of boards that just nail it.
The folks behind Tourism Victoria, the Aussie state that Melbourne calls home, have developed a campaign of two remote-controlled tourists that are outfitted with helmet-mounted cameras, microphones, GPS and some clever mobile live streaming technology to document their every step in the city. This gives the chance for fans of Melbourne to "go before you go," possibly giving some inspiration for a first hand visit to the city.
From October 9 through the 13th, armchair-tourists controled each traveler at home by logging onto the website and sending their human webcams to any location they desired in the Australian "second city." Audiences were able to interact with the tourists and send them on mini-adventures or challenges that are unique to Melbourne.
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As you can probably tell from our slew of stories on Ho Chi Minh City, we recently traveled to Vietnam. One of the many ways to fly into the country, and the way in which we arrived, is via the green-blue hued planes of the national airline, Vietnam Airlines. Our route had us hopping on at Melbourne to fly nonstop to Ho Chi Minh City and we booked Business Class for a vacation treat.
At first, we considered using the 8.5-hour flight to relax and perhaps nap before what would be a two-week adventure in Southeast Asia, but the airline had a better idea; the flight crew fed us until we were stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey.
Here's a breakdown of what we loved and what we could have done without:
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Qantas is rolling out a new technology initiative for all of its passengers. It's like music to our ears and comes in the form of free WiFi. This may not sound like news as we have told you before that the airline has been trialing in-flight WiFi, but this time the web-surfing can be done on the ground.
The Red Roo is outfitting its major airports with complimentary wifi for passengers just passing through the terminals in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. The general airport access is in addition to the lightning fast wireless internet that frequent flyers love in each of its lounges.
Even some of the most luxurious and well appointed airport lounges need a fresh coat of paint every so often. That's why Singapore Airlines has revealed plans to completely overhaul their lounges across the the entire network. The airline is expected to spend around $20 million dollars on the complete refurbishment, so it's safe to say that we can expect more than just paint.
Without giving away too much, the architects of the project have been tasked with creating a "home away from home," so passengers can feel even more relaxed before heading off on a long-haul journey. All lounges will further improve the "ground to air" experience for passengers.
We dont know how they'll do it, but if they can improve on this lounge in Singapore, the outcome will be nothing short of stellar.
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Travelers flying through Melbourne on Virgin Australia will have a much more pleasurable experience when checking in and heading to their gate. Currently, the terminal is a bit tired and in definite need of a spruce up andhey!they're giving it one.
Virgin's Aussie airline has already commenced works on the shiny new terminal and hopes to have it completed by the end of the year. Of course, the redesign of the space will be a modern facelift to create a more contemporary and spacious feel. This is just part of the massive overhaul we have been witnessing with the Virgin Australia brand for the past 12 months.
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The whole of Australia is consumed with the Summer tennis circuit currently touring around the country, and the pinnacle of the tennis season down under is marked by the Australian Open played in Melbourne. As the only grand slam tennis tournament held in the Southern Hemisphere, the city is showcased not only as a sport capital, but the cultural capital of Australia.
Melbourne is located on the southeastern Aussie coast and it boasts a vibrant cafe society and an avant garde fashion scene. Originally established during the Australian gold rush, Melbourne's rich history and causes it to be called the "Paris of Down Under." If your plans bring you to the city for tennis, plan to soak up more experiences than just seeing top seeded Novak Djokovic or Caroline Wozniacki.
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The never-ending saga of Qantas and the rebuilding of a reputation continues and today the process got a boost. While Barack Obama was touring Oz, John Travolta made a surprise appearance on a flight from Sydney to Melbourne. He wasn't a passenger but he was in the business class cabin of the B767.
We know that the Saturday Night Fever star is a world ambassador for the flying kangaroo and actually has a retired Boeing 707 parked in his driveway. We also know that he has been featured as a captain in the in-flight safety announcement. Now, he turns up to present the most frequent flyers with Qantas' top status, Platinum One. Unfortunately, this was a one-off presentation; he was just in town for a 91st birthday bash Qantas decided to throw for the elite status flyers.