Not so great news for Qantas Frequent Flyers today as Qantas announced a range of cuts.
- Singapore – Mumbai gone (from May 6th)
- Auckland – Los Angeles gone (from May 6th)
- Sydney – Auckland A330 services replaced with 737-800s (I believe from May 6th)
- Sydney – Bangkok 747 services replaced with A330s (from 10th June)
- Some Sydney – Perth 747 services replaced with A330s (from May 6th)
- Daily 747 Sydney – Tokyo upgrade from A330
- Melbourne – Perth A330 services increased
- Los Angeles – New York returning to 747
Firstly, the loss of Singapore – Mumbai and Auckland – Los Angeles services (QF51 & QF25 respectively). As I experienced earlier this year, QF25 was a great way to find award flight availability over to the US when direct services weren’t available (i.e. most of the time). Now, if heading to the East Coast, oneworld frequent flyers would be best served by heading to Hong Kong and onwards on Cathay Pacific; or if to Central America you may be able to make LAN’s service to Santiago connect onwards to suit your plans. In a pinch, NZ frequent flyers could redeem their Qantas points (or AAdvantage miles) with Air Pacific to LA via Fiji – but that’s not particularly appealing really.
It’s also sad to lose QF51; now Kingfisher will be the only oneworld airline to service the route, with the worst possible connection time in Singapore – a 7pm departure when Qantas flights arrive around 10pm. And KF isn’t even part of oneworld yet, anyway. Getting to India on a oneworld frequent flyer program award from Australia will be doable only on Qantas or Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong, and onwards to India on CX or Kingfisher – which isn’t really that convenient at all.
More bad news is the early retirement of further 747s, meaning Qantas will service Sydney – Bangkok with an A330, and reduce the number of Sydney – Perth 747 flights also. The loss of a 747 servicing Bangkok is another downer as Premium Economy award flight availability will disappear.
Finally, the loss of A330s on the Sydney – Auckland sucks for those in the know who could pick the A330 in Business Class knowing they would receive a SkyBed instead of the Domestic Business seat, or in Economy having a greater chance of empty seats given the larger cabin size.
The good news – it’s pretty minimal…
- Melbourne – Perth A330 flights will increase, meaning more Skybeds on the route in Business Class.
- LA – New York is going back to a 747 – I’d imagine this will operate in the same way as this used to, with QF107 / QF108 operating as the continuation of the Sydney – LA service on the same aircraft. I doubt this change is due to increased demand – this flight was virtually empty for me back in December. Regardless, it’s a good thing as Premium Economy should become available again on that route. First class might also become available depending on the exact 747 used.
- Sydney – Tokyo going to a daily 747 service – again, Premium Economy and a bigger aircraft now in play everyday means more point redemption options for that route.
So, good news for those of you who fly (or are looking to fly) Sydney – New York, Sydney – Tokyo and Melbourne – Perth. Not so great for Sydney – Auckland, Australia – Mumbai travellers and also for New Zealand based Qantas Frequent Flyers too, who lose easy access to North America, and will doubtless be pushed into the arms of Star Alliance & Air New Zealand, as they operate to both San Francisco and Los Angeles directly.