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As an avid traveller, I do keep an eye on various deals and travel promotions, and occasionally one catches my eye that makes me think “wow.. that ain’t bad”. This is one of those moments.
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I’ve had a few E-mails come through today about a sale that Virgin Australia are doing for flights from about $799-$849 return to the States.

If you’ve ever been thinking about visiting the US at some point soon, then now is a good time to book if you want the cheapest flight there.

  • Departure dates are between: 14th Oct – 19th Nov 2014, 19th Jan – 31st March 2015
  • You are allowed to stay away: Up to 1 year
  • Baggage allowance: 2x 23kg bags (per person)
  • Fares are on Sale until: 9pm, 2nd July 2014 (or until they last)

Seats on this deal are not available every day, with Fridays and weekends having very limited availability. Midweek days offer the best availability for the cheapest seats.

Yesterday afternoon, I was quite excited to hear about a new agreement that Air New Zealand (NZ) and Singapore Airlines (SQ) have signed which will allow Air New Zealand to fly to Singapore for the first time in over half a decade, pending regulatory approval.

2411-2401 Air NZ Wordmark FINAL

Air New Zealand used to fly direct to Singapore from Auckland, but stopped flying on this route in 2006 due to a struggle to make money on it – Making Singapore Airlines the only sole Star Alliance carrier since then. Now, potentially by the end of this year this may be all set to change, with Air New Zealand looking to operate a daily service using its 777-200ER aircraft, which will be retrofitted and refurbished.

As part of the announced changes, Singapore Airlines will be the second carrier to bring the A380 to New Zealand, with the first carrier being Emirates, who already operate the super jumbo on their Dubai-Sydney-Auckland, Dubai-Melbourne-Auckland and Dubai-Brisbane-Auckland routes.

westjet-logoWestJet is a Canadian airline that recently published a heartwarming video this Christmas season titled a “Christmas Miracle: Real-time giving” which has gone viral with just over 20 million views.

If you haven’t seen it yet, then this is quite likely to get you into the Christmas spirit – don’t blame me if you get a little teary eyed!

If they did actually manage to pull this off, I’d have to say it is definitely an impressive effort and good on them for such a nice gesture.

Saw this article a few days ago but we were currently flying back from Europe at the time so wasn’t able to publish it until now.


We’ve all either heard of or experienced that dreaded flight with the ‘child from hell’ (though sometimes it might also be sitting next an inconsiderate passenger).

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The main problem is the close proximity to others on an plane – Aside from wearing headphones, earplugs or otherwise, there isn’t too much that can be done in such situations, although cabin crew will typically do as best they can to ensure that all passengers are comfortable. However, if the flight happens to be a long-haul trip, then you might be in for a very long journey… and it won’t be long before someone will pass a comment that there should be ‘child-free flights’..

Well, one of Singapore Airlines low-cost carrier subsidiaries, Scoot Airlines, has introduced a new service class called ‘ScootinSilence‘ which aims to seat passengers in a ‘quiet zone’ away from children and youth under 12.

Image Copyright of The Straits Times
Image Copyright of The Straits Times

In addition, the seat features a higher pitch at 35 inches (four more inches than the standard economy class seats they offer) and are located in rows 21 to 25, directly behind the business class section of the aircraft.
Of course as a low cost carrier, such benefits do not come for free, with Scoot Airlines charging $18 SGD more for the upgrade and that peace and quiet onboard that you’ve been looking for.

Scoot Airlines is a relatively new carrier into the industry, being founded in 2011, with operations beginning mid-2012. It may be that such policies are its way to make its mark, particularly as they are so controversial and are sure to get people talking.
Not surprisingly, the airline is based in and has its main hub in Singapore, flying to destinations within Asia and Australia.

Scoot is not the only airline to offer such a service, with Malaysia Airlines being the first carrier to announce a ‘baby ban’ in its first class cabin in 2011 and a ‘child-free zone’ across the entire economy class upper deck aboard its A380 service between Kuala Lumpur and London in 2012. Another Asian carrier also based in Malaysia, Air Asia X, introduced a ‘quiet zone‘ on rows 7 to 14 of its aircraft that are reserved for those aged 12 or above for a fee of 35-110 MYR.

Carriers in New Zealand have said that they will not be following any of the Asian carriers in offering a similar service here.

A spokeswoman for Air New Zealand said:

Children were welcome in any cabin on our aircraft and there were no plans to introduce a service where passengers could choose to sit away from children.

Interestingly, Air New Zealand does allow parents to escape their offspring by sitting in a different class – with their children then travelling as unaccompanied minors.

A spokesman for Jetstar said:

There were no specific areas in its aircraft set aside for parents with children. Their seating will be assigned throughout the aircraft.

If a customer asks at check-in to be seated away from young children we will endeavour to help with the request. There is no charge for this assistance.

A Qantas spokeswoman said it did not have plans to introduce child-free zones.

Qantas offers advance seat selection for both domestic and international flights but does not enable customers to request to be seated separately from children and infants.

Such policies are always quite a hot topic and strongly debated – With those arguing that it is discrimination and where does the buck stop from there? Should other types of passenger be banned, perhaps fat or smelly people next?
Others will say that the airlines are offering more choice to travellers and they have a right to do so – The market will dictate if there is demand and people are willing to pay for such a service.

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I was on a Ryanair flight just earlier this month and just after takeoff I noticed a child a few rows away on the flight that was extremely restless, hitting the chair and crying quite loudly. The passenger in the seats directly in front was getting visibly annoyed but tried to make the best of the situation once we had reached cruising altitude and electronic devices were able to be used inflight – putting on her headphones to try and block out the noise and distraction.
However it is situations like this where seats are not allocated and it really is luck of the draw as to who you sit near to and if you have a pleasant or disastrous flight.

What do you think? Would you pay extra to be seated away from kids? Should more airlines adopt such child-free seating policies, or is this deemed too insensitive and offensive and is going a step too far?

Feel free to post your comments below.