World's best airlines, airports; Cathay's upgrade bidding and more

Doha’s Hamad International's indoor pool

World's best airlines, airports – I
Air New Zealand has beaten off the best of the Gulf and Asian airlines to be named Top Airline in the World by US magazine Condé Nast Traveler in its 30th annual Readers’ Choice Awards. More than 300,000 readers submitted ratings and comments for the awards, which also rank the best hotels, cities, islands, airports and cruise lines in the world, with votes collected for 158 airlines worldwide.

The award cites Air New Zealand's close attention to seat comfort, with ample legroom on its wide-body planes. It also praises the Economy Skycouch, which it describes as a pull-out double bed made from a row of three seats. Runners-up to Air New Zealand were Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Swiss and Virgin Australia.

The top six airports (in order) are: Singapore Changi, Seoul-Incheon in Korea, Dubai International, Hong Kong International, Hamad International in Doha (Qatar) and, a little-known one, Toronto city's boutique Billy Bishop airport in Canada.

World’s best airports, airlines – II
Meanwhile, the readers of Travel+Leisure have also ranked their favourite international airports and airlines in the magazine’s annual World's Best Awards 2017. Not surprisingly, Singapore collects the quinella with Changi airport and Singapore Airlines coming out on top. Emirates and Qatar Airways are next among the airlines, while Doha’s Hamad International is runner-up as best airport.

Other airlines in the top six are Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. The other top airports are Seoul Incheon, Hong Kong, Zurich Airport in Switzerland and Haneda, Tokyo's smaller international airport.

Qatar Airways adds Penang
Qatar Airways will fly three times a week to Penang, the Malaysian resort island, from February 6, 2018. Qatar already operates a triple-daily service from Doha to Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, and will use a Boeing 787 Dreamliner seating 22 seats in business and 232 in economy.

Japanese codeshares expanded
Air New Zealand has added two domestic codeshares with Japanese airline ANA to cover flights from Tokyo Haneda to Hiroshima and Akita. They take effect from October 30. Air New Zealand has begun flying non-stop from Auckland to Tokyo’s alternative airport, which is located much closer to the city than Narita.

Great Southern Land arrives in Sydney
The first of Qantas' new Boeing 787-9 long-range Dreamliners touched down in Sydney on Friday. Given the name Great Southern Land, it will open up direct routes such as Perth-London but with fewer seats than conventional models. It accomodates 236 passengers, with more capacity in business and premium economy. Great DSouthern Land's first commercial flight will be Melbourne-Los Angeles on December 15.

Cathay Pacific opens the bidding
Cathay Pacific has introduced Upgrade Bid, giving customers with premium economy or economy class tickets the opportunity to upgrade to the next cabin class. The upgrades depend on availability and other bidders at the Upgrade Bid welcome page. Confirmation of successful bids is made within two or three days before departure. Not available between Hong Kong and any destinations in India, or Japan; or between Taipei and Japan.

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Nev, you can't be in favour of online bidding to score an upgrade?

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I am not in a position to comment on whether it's good or bad practice. But I will have a clkoser look once it's been tested.

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I think that it works quite well in theory; but not in practice. I had a recent flight with Air NZ where I bid for an upgrade and was informed that my bid wasn't successful. That's fine; it is what it is and I assumed others bid more than me. I was therefore more than annoyed when I got on the plane and Premium Economy was only half full.
Given Air New Zealand obviously doesn't want the $1,000 that I bid for my family I can't see myself using it again!

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