Cathay Avios redemption opportunities & Air France trial VR in business class

 

Cathay announces new European routes

Cathay Pacific has announced several new European departure points to Hong Kong which may be of interest for 2 reasons. The first is for Avios redemptions, with the second being cheaper ex EU departures. The 3 new European cities are Dublin, Copenhagen and Brussels, all of which are easy ex Eu departure points. Cathay Pacific are traditionally very expensive from the UK but it will be worth comparing against the new departure points. Often Copenhagen and Brussels offer cheaper fares to Asia on some airlines that Cathay will be competing against.

The three new routes will be operated by Cathay Pacific’s A350-900 aircraft, which feature the latest seats and cabin design. The seats are the reverse herringbone style that Qatar also has. All flights to Brussels, Dublin and Copenhagen are equipped with the aircraft’s enhanced in-flight entertainment system and Wi-Fi on board.

Cathay Pacific A350 business class seat

Cathay Pacific A350 business class seat

Aside from offering more departure points for finding Avios redemptions to Hong Kong, the addition of Dublin offers another advantage for Avios in terms of lower taxes on your redemptions. However, you would need to weigh that against the additional costs of getting to and from Dublin plus the risks associated with an Ex EU flights which you can read about here. One way round the risk would be to include the positioning flight in the Avios redemption ticket but this would cost extra Avios. The other consideration would be that oneworld airlines apart from Iberia are always charged at peak rates, so you could end up paying more Avios than for BA if it is during a BA off peak period.

Air France trials virtual reality

At the beginning of August, Air France started testing a new entertainment system with virtual reality headsets allowing customers to immerse themselves in 3D and 2D films or TV series in effect, in their own private movie theatre. Their system is by start-up SkyLights and is aimed specifically at in flight entertainment with its lightweight design head set.

skylights head set

The skylights VR headset

Since 1st August 2017, the system is being tested on board the A340 Paris to St. Martin route. Customers travelling in Business class on this route can try the new form of in-flight entertainment for themselves. Four headsets are available on board with a choice of around 40 films and TV series.

This video shows a bit more about the Skylights VR product and how it started.

At the end of the test period, this new system could be rolled out on other flights in the months ahead. You can read my review of Air France’s B787 business class here.

What do you think? Is this something you would like to see on other airlines? Would you worry about looking silly? Having tried VR once I found it an amazing experience, but I am not sure how long I would want to wear the head set for on a long flight.

 

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