AIR NZ THE HIGH­EST FLYER

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - TRAVEL NEWS - SU­SAN BUGG

Our neigh­bours across the Tas­man have pipped Aus­tralia to have the topranked air­line for 2018. Avi­a­tion safety and prod­uct rat­ing re­view web­site Air­linerat­ings.com has put Air New Zealand at No. 1 in its lat­est Top 10. Qan­tas is sec­ond and Sin­ga­pore Air­lines third, both on the strength of new 787s and A350s, and re­vamped in-flight ser­vice. Vir­gin Aus­tralia – whose new busi­ness class is turn­ing heads – Vir­gin At­lantic, Eti­had Air­ways, All Nip­pon Air­ways, Korean Air, Cathay Pa­cific and Ja­pan Air­lines com­plete the list.

It is the fifth con­sec­u­tive year Air New Zealand has been hon­oured for fac­tors in­clud­ing record-break­ing fi­nan­cial per­for­mance, in-flight in­no­va­tions, staff mo­ti­va­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal lead­er­ship.

Conde Nast Trav­eller read­ers have also named the air­line as best in the world out­side the US.

The judg­ing panel said Air New Zealand came out No. 1, or equal first, in all the awards’ au­dit cri­te­ria.

Qan­tas was named as “best ca­ter­ing” win­ner for the fourth year, and topped the Best Lounges and Best Do­mes­tic Class as well for in­flight ser­vice.

Eti­had was named Best Long Haul Air­line and Emi­rates kept its lead in the in-flight en­ter­tain­ment stakes. AIR­LINERAT­INGS.COM

ALL ABOARD

On Novem­ber 9, one of the most fa­mous trains in the world chugs into cin­e­mas in the star-stud­ded adap­ta­tion of Agatha Christie’s Mur­der on the Ori­ent Ex­press.

In the film, De­tec­tive Her­cule Poirot (Ken­neth Branagh) is mak­ing the trip from Is­tan­bul to Lon­don, un­til the train is stranded in a snow­drift in Yu­goslavia, where one of the pas­sen­gers is mur­dered.

The cast also in­cludes Michelle Pfeif­fer, Johnny Depp, Dame Judi Dench and Amer­i­can fun­ny­man Josh Gad, who fol­lowed up his filmic jour­ney with a train ride on as real a deal as still ex­ists to­day – the Venice Sim­plon-Ori­ent-Ex­press.

“It was one of the thrills of my life,” Gad told News Corp movie re­porter Neala John­son. “It was the tail end of win­ter so you saw in­cred­i­ble snow­cov­ered peaks but also all of this green­ery. The Aus­trian Alps was one of the most breath­tak­ing scenes I’ve ever ex­pe­ri­enced.”

Though the orig­i­nal Ori­ent Ex­press, which car­ried pas­sen­gers in lux­ury from 1883-2009, no longer ex­ists, Bel­mond now op­er­ates the Venice Sim­plon-Ori­ent-Ex­press, car­ry­ing pas­sen­gers around Europe in re­stored 1920s art deco op­u­lence. Its reg­u­lar route runs Lon­don-ParisVenice, but the com­pany also adds oc­ca­sional de­par­tures to Vi­enna, Bu­dapest, Krakow, Prague, Rome, Stock­holm and Is­tan­bul.

If a $4040 one-way trip from Lon­don to Venice sounds a bit rich, many of the gen­uine vis­tas are on show in Mur­der on the Ori­ent Ex­press. “They did an un­be­liev­able job recre­at­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing on that train,” says Gad. BEL­MOND.COM

FRESH LOOK AT FISH

Fif­teen years in the mak­ing, Europe’s largest fresh­wa­ter aquar­ium- vi­var­ium has opened in Lau­sanne, Switzer­land.

AQUATIS, set on Lake Geneva, is home to 20 dif­fer­ent ecosys­tems, 300 plant species, 10,000 fish from Europe, Africa, Asia, Ocea­nia and South Amer­ica, 100 reptiles and am­phib­ians. AQUATIS.CH, MYSWITZERLAND.COM

YALA RE­SORT

The Sri Lankan fam­ily be­hind Dilmah Tea has added a third prop­erty to its Re­splen­dent Ceylon ho­tel col­lec­tion.

Beach­side Wild Coast Tented Lodge opened last week on the edge of Yala Na­tional Park, home to wild ele­phants, sloth bears and leop­ards. Com­bin­ing the com­forts of a lux­ury ho­tel with a wilder­ness sa­fari camp, the lodge has 28 tented “co­coon suites” with panoramic jun­gle views.

The open­ing is timely as Sri Lankan Air­lines re­turns to Aus­tralia for the first time in 15 years. Last week it launched non-stop ser­vices be­tween Mel­bourne and Colombo. RESPLENDENTCEYLON.COM SRILANKAN.COM/AUS­TRALIA

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