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Tips, Tricks & Chat from Australian Frequent Flyer

Tips, Tricks & Chat from Australian Frequent Flyer




Tips, Tricks & Chat from Australian Frequent Flyer






Domestic Borders Are Reopening – AIR051

As 2020 draws to a close, there's finally some good news. Australian state borders are reopening, planes are back in the air, and more pilots are returning to work. One of them is Virgin Australia 737 pilot Chris Bournelis (a.k.a. AviatorInsight on AFF) who is now doing simulator training and flight checks ahead of returning to the skies later this month. Chris joins Matt on this episode to reflect on the year and explain the process of returning to the sky after a long period on the ground....


Earning Points for Paying Tax – AIR050

In 2009, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) began accepting payments by credit card. Many Australians have to pay tax anyway, so they took the opportunity to pay by card and earn frequent flyer points in the process. Since then, the banks have slowly but surely removed this loophole by excluding government payments from earning points. Next week, St George Bank will become the final major Australian bank to stop awarding points for tax payments. But Australians have made hay while the sun was...


Qantas Centenary – AIR049

On 16 November 1920, Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Services (or QANTAS for short) was incoporated. This makes next Monday, 16 November 2020, the airline's 100th birthday! But the story of the birth of Qantas goes far beyond the signing of a piece of paper in 1920. In this episode, Qantas Founders Museum curator Tom Harwood joins Matt to tell the full story of how Qantas was founded and grew to become Australia's beloved national carrier. Episode contents: 1:00 - Fortnightly news...


Aviation Enthusiast Builds 747 Flight Simulator in Garage – AIR048

Many Australians have used the travel downturn to work on projects around the house. Canberra-based Andrew Newnham, whose AFF handle is harvyk, is no exception. But instead of reseeding his lawn, installing a new kitchen or painting the house, Andrew decided to build a life-size Boeing 747 flight simulator in his garage! In this episode, Andrew tells Matt all about the project and what it takes to build a full-scale flight simulator at home. Also in this episode, find out where all the...


Flybuys Loyalty Program – AIR047

Flybuys Chief Operating Officer Phil Hawkins knows a thing or two about loyalty. He was with Flybuys right back when the Australian loyalty program launched in 1994! In this episode of AFF on AIR, Phil joins Matt to discuss all aspects of the Flybuys program including its partnership with Velocity Frequent Flyer and why targeted offers are so critical to the program's success. In the news round-up, Matt also talks about the current woes beleaguering Virgin Australia. The airline has just...


Air Traffic Control – AIR046

Ever wondered what it's like being an Air Traffic Controller? In this episode Ian Robinson (a.k.a. iRobbo on AFF), who has been an Air Traffic Controller for almost 30 years, talks to Matt about what the job involves, the training required and what it's like dealing with a mid-air emergency from on the ground. Also in this episode, Matt discusses Rex's ambitious plan to compete head-on with Qantas and Virgin Australia and domestic capital city routes. And over 1,000 former Qantas 747 galley...


Vulnerable Australians Stranded Overseas – AIR045

Next week, the Australian government will increase the number of Australians that can arrive each week from 4,000 to around 6,000 people. This is a welcome step forward and will definitely help to clear the backlog of Australians stranded overseas. But with at least 24,000 Australians currently registered as stranded - and perhaps closer to 100,000 by airline estimates - is it enough? In this episode, Matt shares the stories of Australians stuck in the Netherlands. The arrival caps, it...


Virgin Australia Sold to Bain Capital – AIR044

On 4 September 2020, Virgin Australia creditors voted to approve the airline's sale to U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital for $3.5 billion. This was the final major hurdle in bringing Virgin Australia out of voluntary administration and avoiding liquidation. The sale is expected to be completed by the end of October. So, how did Virgin Australia get to this point and where is it going from here? After launching as a low-cost carrier in 2000 (Virgin celebrated its 20th anniversary this...


Kangaroo Island – AIR043

2020 has been a tough year for many Australian tourism businesses. But few parts of Australia have been affected as badly as Kangaroo Island in South Australia. The island was still recovering from a disastrous summer bushfire season, which destroyed almost half the island, when the coronavirus crisis hit. With borders now closed, the island's economy which relies on tourism is struggling. In this episode, Matt takes a close look at how these dual crises impacted Kangaroo Island and its...


Qantas Founders Museum, Longreach – AIR042

Qantas may have retired its last active Boeing 747, but there are still two of the "queens of the skies" on display in Australian aviation museums. One of those, a Boeing 747-200, can be found at the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach, Queensland. Qantas has a long and proud association with Longreach, the town where it first started its operations in the 1920s and even manufactured its own aircraft. Today, Longreach is home to the iconic museum that celebrates the history of Australia's...


Farewell to the Queen of the Skies – AIR041

This week, Australia said farewell to a national icon: the Qantas Boeing 747. Over the past 49 years, Qantas - once an all-747 airline - has operated almost every Boeing 747 variant that has existed. The "queen of the skies" has transported millions of passengers to destinations all over the world, including Olympic athletes and stranded Australians returning home from disaster epicentres - many years ago from Darwin after Cyclone Tracy, and most recently from Wuhan. Current world events...


The Accidental $28 Million Flight Refund – AIR040

Imagine discovering that your available credit card balance is suddenly over $28 million! That's exactly what happened to AFF moderator JessicaTam recently after Qatar Airways accidentally refunded her in Australian Dollars instead Indonesia Rupiah. JessicaTam joins Matt on this episode to talk about the story that has gone viral over the past week. Also in this episode, hear the latest frequent flyer news and learn how to take advantage of various airline status matches & challenges...


How Noise Cancelling Headphones Work – AIR039

For frequent flyers, noise-cancelling headphones are the ultimate travelling companion. But have you ever wondered how they actually work to cancel out noise? In this episode, aerospace engineer Hossein Seif Zadeh (a.k.a. hossein_au on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum) explains how noise-cancelling headphone technology works and the difference between a $100 and a $600 pair of headphones. A lot more science goes into creating the perfect pair of noise-cancelling headphones than you may...


Qantas Points Club – AIR038

With Queensland and South Australia having now announced dates when their borders will reopen, James Green from Award Flight Assist joins Matt in this episode to discuss travel around Australia. James also explains how to maximise opportunities for Qantas Points Club members to earn status credits from Qantas Classic Flight Rewards. And in a rare reversal of roles, James interviews the podcast's host, Matt Graham, asking him about his favourite countries, airlines & travel tips. Episode...


Flight Changes, Refunds & Travel Credits – AIR037

As the coronavirus crisis continues, many airline passengers are still waiting for refunds from cancelled bookings. Meanwhile, some passengers have discovered that they would have to pay extra - thousands of dollars, in some cases - to rebook their cancelled flights for a different date. Recently, a Lufthansa customer in Germany was asked to pay around $5,000 to change their travel dates after the airline cancelled their flight. The matter was taken to court in Germany and the airline lost....


Behind the Virgin Australia Cockpit Door – AIR036

Chris Bournelis (a.k.a. AviatorInsight) is a Boeing 737 First Officer for Virgin Australia. As the voluntary administration process continues and many flights remain grounded, Chris joins Matt in this episode of AFF on AIR to talk about life behind the cockpit door. Episode contents: 0:56 - Fortnightly news round-up 12:42 - Maximising frequent flyer points on the ground 16:05 - Interview with Chris Bournelis Links: AFF on Air Discussion thread - a dedicated AFF thread to discuss the podcast...


Travelling to North Korea – AIR035

When Peru suddenly went into lockdown in March, hundreds of Australians were stranded all over the country, unaware of what was going on or how many others were in the same situation. Within days, Gus Higgins created the "Aussies in Peru" Facebook group which has been credited with connecting most of those Australians and aiding the work of repatriation activities. In this episode, Gus Higgins tells Matt about his experience and returning home to Australia while mandatory hotel quarantine is...


Are Velocity Points Safe? – AIR034

As Virgin Australia suspends share trading on the ASX and considers the possibility of voluntary administration, many Velocity Frequent Flyers are watching the news nervously. What will happen to Virgin Australia, and are Velocity Frequent Flyer points safe? In this episode, Phil Gunter from New World Loyalty shares his insights with Matt. Phil is a loyalty program expert and ran the Velocity Frequent Flyer program between 2006 and 2013. Episode contents: 1:10 - Fortnightly news round-up...


Coming Home – AIR033

Last week, Matt was able to return home to Australia. But some Australians that are still stranded overseas have not been so lucky. In this episode, Matt chats to Australians in Peru and India who have been in lockdown and unable to depart - or even get to an international airport - for several weeks. This episode also covers the latest news and developments from the past fortnight, and pays tribute to the final Qantas 747 passenger flight to land in Sydney. Episode contents: 1:08 -...


The World is Shutting Down Temporarily – AIR032

It has been a tumultuous few weeks for the airline, tourism and hospitality industries. As the coronavirus outbreak spreads exponentially, many airlines have stopped flying and international borders are being closed at unprecedented rates. In this extended episode, Matt looks at the implications of the past few weeks on travellers and the airline industry. This episode includes interviews with travel agent Alan Lam, and Henrique Pereira from Draper Startup House in Lisbon - a hostel that...