The weekend of March 24/25 felt like a significant one in UK aviation, as it saw the first ever non-stop commerical flight from Australia to the UK – a near 17-hour odyssey from Perth in WA to Heathrow.
Just when you thought the airline industry had used up all its surprises, Qantas proved the business can still generate headlines. Passengers reported an enjoyable journey aboard the Dreamliner, one of the most advanced and eco-efficient planes flying today.
On that same weekend, Norwegian took off from Gatwick on a first flight to Chicago and United Airlines kick-started a new service from Heathrow to Denver – a route it last served in 2010.
Oh, and then there is South African Airways, a financially troubled airline that is shuffling aircraft around its network to maximise demand. At 7pm on Sunday March 25, its new A330-300 left Heathrow on its inaugural flight out of the UK en route to Johannesburg. For the past couple of months, the aircraft has been servicing the same Johannesburg route, but from Munich.
In fact, I am typing these words from 38,000 feet, in seat 7K, three hours into the flight. We were seen off at Heathrow by Zulu songs and drums and, even to this well-travelled hack, it felt like I was part of an ‘occasion’. Onboard, the service is excellent, the business-class seat seems as expansive, private and enjoyable as any I can recall and I am pretty sure the next few hours will pass as comfortably as they can (while sat on a plane).
You can read about my trip – three nights and four days, designed to show that South Africa can be a viable short break destination – in a future Selling Travel.
But for now enjoy this issue which includes updates on Maldives, Hong Kong and Macao, Florida and theme parks around the world.
Also look out for the spring/summer issue of Selling Canada. It is packed with holiday ideas and selling tips from one of the globe’s hottest destinations.