News & offers: More OW Asia bargains, BA automation gives the human touch? & Swiss new business class &


More BA and Qatar bargain business class to Asia

Following on from yesterday’s ex Scandinavia Qatar bargains, I have found plenty more Qatar and British Airways ex EU fares from a variety of starting points. Some places are easier than others for positioning in terms of cost and the numbers of flights per day. I would suggest always checking on positioning flights before you book any ex EU flights.

  • Budapest – Male (Maldives) £1642 (QR)
  • Budapest – Shanghai £1235 (Finnair)
  • Sofia – Singapore £1328 (QR)
  • Sofia – Phuket £1256 (QR)
  • Sofia – Muscat £1208 (QR)
  • Warsaw – Danang, Vietnam £1550 (QR)
  • Brussels – Shanghai £1354 (BA)
  • Brussels – Seoul £1321 (BA)
  • Amsterdam – Bangkok £1257 (BA)


The rules (Qatar)

  • Travel permitted 9 Jan – 26 Oct or 30 Oct through 14 Dec on the first international sector.
  • minimum stay: 3 days
  • maximum stay requirements: travel from last stopover must commence no later than 1 month after departure from fare origin.
  • Free stopovers (no visa needed)
  • Blackout dates:
    • outbound –
      travel is not permitted 12 – 19 Apr 19 or 20 Jun – 30 Jun 19 for departure from fare origin.
    • inbound –
      travel is not permitted 21 Apr – 29 Apr 19 or 17 – 21 Jul 19 for departure of first international sector.
  • Book by 24 March 2019

The rules (BA):

  • 60 day advance purchase
  • Minimum stay: a Saturday night
  • Maximum stay: 12 months
  • 2 stopovers at €100
  • 5 free transfers in each direction
  • Non-refundable
  • Changes €300

The fares and availability can be found direct on Qatar Airways and British Airways websites.

BA – Automation gives the human touch

When BA first introduced their automated bag drop I reviewed it in this article. If you don’t hold Gold status and therefore can’t use the First Wing, the automated bag drop is often quicker than going to the Club desks, particularly if you arrive on the Heathrow Express or Tube at the North end of the terminal.

British Airways has now completed the installation of dozens of hosted bag-drop machines at its home at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, with more than 3.5 million customers have used the new technology so far. A total of 72 hosted bag drop machines are now in place in Terminal 5, with customer service agents on hand to provide assistance when needed. Automated bag-drop machines speed up the process of checking in a bag, while hosts are on hand to ensure airline’s high standard of customer service.

Yannick Berneau, British Airways’ Head of Customer Experience at Terminal 5 said:

“Removing the ‘desk’ as a physical barrier between customers and our agents allows us to offer the more personalised service that British Airways prides itself on.  Hosted bag-drops are a great combination of automation and traditional customer service. The introduction of automation across the terminal has meant that our customers avoid queues and enjoy a faster, smoother journey through the airport.”

Swiss new business and first class seats on refurbished A340

Swiss new A340 First seat

Swiss new A340 First seat

I am a fan of Swiss first class and their more recent business class seats. With some very cheap first and business deals available on them, the one issue has been the inconsistent quality of their premium seats. This is gradually being rectified and now the first SWISS Airbus A340 with a totally refurbished interior is in service to Tokyo.

HB-JMH is the first of SWISS’s five Airbus A340s to be given this nose-to-tail cabin refurbishment. The aircraft are undergoing the work one after the other; and under current planning, all five A340s should be refurbished by summer of this year.

Swiss new A340 business seat

Swiss new A340 business seat

The refurbishment programme entails developing and installing new First, Business and Economy Class seats, providing a new inflight entertainment system that also offers internet connectivity, installing new galleys and comprehensively modernizing the entire interior (including adopting a new lighting concept) in all three seating cabins. The refurbishment delivers further passenger benefits, too, and raises the inflight comfort aboard SWISS’s Airbus A340s to that of its Boeing 777s.

As well as Tokyo SWISS’s Airbus A340s are deployed on services to such destinations as Boston, Johannesburg, Shanghai and Tel Aviv. SWISS has five A340s in its long-haul fleet, together with 14 Airbus A330s and ten Boeing 777-300ERs.

You can find the latest Swiss special offers here.

2 Comments on "News & offers: More OW Asia bargains, BA automation gives the human touch? & Swiss new business class &"

  1. And position yourself the evening before….

  2. Arthur Munday | 14 March 2019 at 9:12 pm | Reply

    Any suggestions on how to increase or maximise the tier points on an AMS-BKK or BRU-ICN flight with BA utilising the ‘5 free transfers in each direction’ from the fare rules?

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