Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield is in Antarctica. That doesn't prevent him from filing his weekly roundup of travel tidbits for your delectation and delight
Aussie low-cost flyer Bonza claims to be the first airline to offer an entire menu sourced from its home country. All items will be progressively introduced on all of Bonza’s 27 routes, giving producers exposure to new markets across Australia.
- Craft beer comes from Ballistic Beer Co (which donates to helping injured turtles in the Whitsundays) and Spinifex Brewing Co (which donates to veterans’ mental health). There’s also the non-alcoholic Heaps Normal Quiet XPA.
- Cold drip coffee is by Sunshine Coast-based Groundskeeper Willie.
- Healthy fava beans come from Happy Snack Company on the Sunshine Coast and Mildura Chocolate Company provides giant chocolate freckles.
- Affordable snacks also include Aussie Biscuits — a social enterprise employing people with disabilities in Forbes, in regional NSW.
Bonza has ditched on-board catering trolleys and instead its cabin crew will be assigned seat rows to look after during each flight. Customers can order and pay for items and have them delivered to their seats.
AIMING FOR ZERO
Aviation pioneer ZeroAvia and AGS Airports have announced a revolutionary partnership to work on hydrogen fuel infrastructure and launch zero-emission routes in the UK.
Together they will investigate the resources needed for zero-emission flights between Aberdeen and Glasgow airports. AGS owns and operates Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, and the team there will work closely with ZeroAvia’s specialist airport infrastructure team.
ZeroAvia says it will also share its experience in developing and running its Hydrogen Airport Refuelling Ecosystem (HARE) at Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire. The partners are aiming for a flight demonstration powered by ZeroAvia’s ZA600 600kW hydrogen-electric engine, which could be certified by 2025.
In July, August and September 2022, Vietjet flew more than 35,000 flights with 6.4 million passengers. It is operating 84 routes — 49 domestic and 35 international routes. As domestic passenger numbers increased, the number of international passengers reached about 25 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels. Vietjet is flying more than 10 new international routes, and is focusing on the Indian market to bring passengers from big cities in India’s west and central-southern region to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Phu Quoc.
One reader had a horror day in trying to get from Perth to Launceston, Tasmania. She says: “Our flight left at 6am from Perth and returned 30 minutes later due to operational issues. We had to collect our bags and recheck-in. Lucky for us, we managed to see the same check-in staff member from that morning. She was so calm and engaged amidst the dilemma developing around her. She got us flights, and this was the interesting part — flying from Perth to Hobart, Hobart to Melbourne and Melbourne to Launceston. Four flights (including the aborted one), to get us over to Launceston to visit my elderly relative. The taxi ramp at Launceston had a long queue and again, lucky for us, a family guy gave us their taxi, as by then he had arranged for a family member to pick them up.”
And all that has led her to ask a specific question . . .
. . . Our reader asks: “After sitting for hours in airport lounges and in the plane, our already compromised hips were sore and worse for wear. Can you please cover a topic on any aid that is highly recommended for senior citizens like us (hubby and I)? I trust your judgment as you travel often.”
While neck pillows and lumbar pillows are common, I always carry two inflatable pillows, each about 38cm by 32cm. I put one behind my lower back, and then I put just a tiny amount of air in the other, and sit on it. This stops the spine “compressing”, and I find the little bit of movement it allows is really good for keeping moving (a bit like sitting on one of those big balls). I have two Denali Basecamp pillows from an Anaconda store. They were $39.99 each, and available online at anacondastores.com
Other examples to look for are:
- Thermarest Lite Seat, about $47. It is 13cm by 16cm, rolls small and inflates.
- Sea to Summit Self Inflating Delta V Seat, about $39.99.
P.S. As you read this, I’ll be about to sit on mine, as I fly from Perth to Auckland on Air New Zealand’s direct flight, and then on to South America with LATAM.
THANKS FOR THANKS
Our reader kindly adds: “I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to your team and you for continuing the great articles and stories from around the globe especially in these last three years. I know many readers feel the same.”
ON THE RAIL
Journey Beyond has released packages for its rail season on The Ghan, Indian Pacific and Great Southern, across both platinum and gold services.
- The Ultimate Territory Tour (15 days), includes travelling on The Ghan between Adelaide and Darwin and time to explore Uluru, Kata Tjuta and the red centre with Outback Spirit, and then Kakadu and Litchfield national parks near Darwin. Packages start at $10,925 per person.
- There’s an eight-day Top End Explorer which just includes The Ghan and Kakadu and Litchfield national parks with Outback Spirit from $5590 per person,
Journey Beyond spokesperson Peter Egglestone says: “With demand so high across 2023, we are launching some of our rail journeys and holiday packages for 2024 earlier than ever before. We’ve also invested in our ‘off train experiences’, crafting new ways to connect guests with the country as part of the journey.” journeybeyond.com
ON THE OTHER RAIL
Silversea Cruises has confirmed its return to Asia from December 2022. Sailing in the region for the first time since March 2020, four of its ships will visit Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam. Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper, Silver Spirit and Silver Muse will sail Asian waters until May 2023. Silver Muse, carrying up to 596 guests, will be the first, departing Singapore on December 2. Silversea spokesperson Barbara Muckermann says: “Asia has long constituted an important sailing region for Silversea Cruises.” The season comprises 25 voyages that range from 10 to 20 days. silversea.com
A new hotel operator, Legendary Hotels and Resorts, will be moving in to the Icelandic market over the next two years, planning to build, buy or rebrand 12 hotels. The first has already been bought in southern Iceland. Each will meet LHR’s particular standards of luxury and convenience. The team there is committed to flexible check-in and check-out times, for example.
LHR founder and chief executive Dmitrijs Stals says: “Now that the worst of the COVID pandemic is behind us, we’re optimistic about the growth of the travel industry in the next five to 10 years.” LHR is incorporated in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, and will seek out further opportunities across northern Europe and beyond.