TALKING POINT | It's been almost two years since the Qantas/Emirates alliance took wing, resulting in a dramatic shake-up of the way most Australians travel to Europe.
Gone was that much-loved Singapore stop-over – but also gone was the need to fly all the way to London before doubling back to Europe with BA.
(Apart from daily flights from Sydney to Frankfurt, which were axed in April 2013.)
The Emirates alliance not only put some 65 cities in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa just one flight away from Dubai, which replaced Singapore as pivot point for the Kangaroo Route, it also ensured many of those flights were on an Airbus A380 due to Emirates having the world's largest superjumbo fleet (59 already flying and 81 more on order).
London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports, Manchester, Paris, Rome, Milan, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Munich, Amsterdam, Zurich and Moscow are all dots on Emirates' A380 network map, with Düsseldorf and Madrid following mid-year.
Qantas frequent flyers are afforded reciprocal lounge access and bonus luggage allowances on Emirates flights, and we've heard many stories of Platinum-grade Qantas flyers being upgraded from Emirates A380 business class seats to private first class suites.
There are still a few wrinkles. Qantas frequent flyer members earn far fewer points (and no status credits) on Emirates flights if they're booked under the native EK code, compared to a codeshared QF8xxx flight number; and there's no provision to use your Qantas points to upgrade on an Emirates ticket.
But it can't be argued that tapping into Emirates' vast network has delivered an extraordinary degree of convenience and choice for Aussies travelling to London and Europe – especially if you're prepared to fly with Emirates rather than the Red Roo.
All of which leads us to this week’s question: how has the Qantas/Emirates alliance changed your flying habits to London and Europe? If you're a rusted-on Red Roo traveller, have you sampled and possibly switched to Emirates?
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