Whether it's on sea, land or in the air, Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield covers another exciting week in travel.
Qantas’ plan to make Perth a major western hub is in chaos. The much-touted Perth to Johannesburg service is to be suspended, and the Perth to Jakarta flight scrapped. Our aviation editor, Geoffrey Thomas, says the problems for the services revolve around security and biosecurity screening requirements: “While passengers from Johannesburg will continue to depart from T3 from November 1 until January 15, 2023, QF66 flights from Johannesburg will land at T3 in Perth and passengers finishing their journey in Perth will be bused from T3 to clear customs in T1.” From January 16, 2023, until March 25, 2023, QF66 from Johannesburg will land at T1, where all passengers will go through customs and immigration. From March 26 onwards the QF66 service will be suspended indefinitely. Geoffrey says Qantas will now not launch its Perth to Jakarta service.
BIG BIRD IS BACK
Emirates has reinstated its A380 for flights between Perth and Dubai, replacing the current Boeing 777-300ER. EK421 departs Perth at 10.20pm and arrives in Dubai at 5.25am the next day. EK420 departs Dubai at 2.45am and arrives in Perth at 5.20pm the same day while. Last month, Emirates celebrated 20 years of flying to Perth.
The same day, November 1, is World Vegan Day, and with it comes the news that Emirates has responded to rising demand for plant-based cuisine with a multi-million-dollar investment in new vegan choices on its flights. A spokesperson says this will cater for “the rapid growth of the global vegan community and general interest in herbivorous diets”. Current passenger favourites in economy class include a spinach and avocado mousseline with marinated tofu, blanched snow peas, radish, asparagus, pomegranate seeds, courgette ribbon and sriracha oil. Emirates has been serving vegan options on board since the 1990s.
Your fancy headphones or earbuds might be wireless but the system you are trying to connect to in a plane or older vehicle might still be wired. The answer is AirFly (2nd Gen), which connects wireless headphones to any wired headphone jack. Its built-in battery is said to last for more than 20 hours. Made by a company called Twelve South, it’s at all sorts of retailers and online from $59.99.
RITZ ON THE WATER
The Ritz-Carlton is introducing The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection — a big moment for the hospitality group as it makes a foray into luxury yachting. Evrima, the first of three custom-built yachts, set sail from Barcelona to Nice on October 15, stopping at both intimate and signature ports. Most voyages range from seven to 10 nights, with no two journeys alike. Depending on the season, Evrima will visit the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Central America, and South America. The 190m yacht takes up to 298 passengers in 149 suites.
ECLIPSE II COMING
Scenic’s second discovery yacht, Scenic Eclipse II is in its final stages of construction. Its inaugural voyage will be the 11-day Incredible Iberian Discovery, from Lisbon to Barcelona, departing on April 13, 2023. scenic.com.au
ACTIVE IN EUROPE
Active European holiday specialist UTracks has launched its 2023 season, adding new itineraries to its range of walking, cycling and boat-based trips. It is celebrating with a 5 per cent discount for travellers who book by November 11, 2022. Holidays include walking in the High Tatra and Pieniny mountains in Poland, and exploring the less trodden Camino trails of Magna Via Francigena in Italy or Spain’s Sanabres trail. 1300 303 368 and utracks.com.au
My Bali has added in $2000 worth of bonus value to a five-star stay at The Laguna, alongside Nusa Dua Beach. The five-night stay in a deluxe garden view room, including return international flights, return airport transfers, buffet breakfast daily, and more, is from $2290 per person twin share. The Laguna has seven lagoon-style swimming pools, six restaurants, and the award-winning Lagoon Spa. The package includes a $US500 ($780) wine, dine and spa credit and a private driver charter for six hours. It has to be booked by November 30 for selected dates between now and June 30, 2023. 1300 332 254 and mybali.com.au
As the quietude of Buddhist Lent comes to an end and Laos’ autumn sunshine is celebrated with joyous festivals, Aman has reopened its splendid Amantaka in Luang Prabrang. A spokesperson tells me: “Amantaka has awaited this moment with patience, resilience and acceptance.” Luang Prabang is famous for its peaceful spirituality, cultural richness and natural beauty and Amantaka sits between the golden spires of Luang Prabang’s 32 temples and the tree-lined Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. Amantaka takes its name from Tipitaka, meaning “the teaching of the Buddha”, and it is a stroll from the royal palace and the main road’s bakeries, restaurants and boutiques, with sacred Mt Phousi as its backdrop. Sixteen of its 24 suites have private pools in addition to the big central swimming pool.
Reader Pamela Robb responded to our story about helping journalist, columnist and Up Late video streamer Ben Harvey (and others) set out on planning a drive holiday to the UK. Ben particularly wants to fish for trout in Scotland. Pamela writes: “If Ben swaps his trout for a salmon he could go fishing in my home town, Peebles in Scotland. It’s only a half hour drive from Edinburgh and the River Tweed is famous for its salmon fishing. The town is pretty, an ancient royal burgh, and it is situated in a landscape of gentle rolling hills. Nice walks in the area too.” She adds: “I’m sure he will have a great time no matter where he goes.”