It seems that many airlines have reduced the number of premium economy seats on flights. Is it due to A380 mothballing, economies of scale or other issues? J. Costa,VIC Reservoir
With fewer flights to Australia, the number of premium economy seats has decreased, but there are now four airlines operating daily A380 services to Australia, three with premium economy cabins. Qantas’ premium economy is considered one of the best, available on the airline’s Boeing 787 Dreamliners and upgraded Airbus A380s, currently in service to London via Singapore. Other options include ANA, Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Delta and United. Emirates, which only introduced premium economy seats in 2021, won plaudits for its PE seats, available on its daily A380 services to Melbourne and Sydney.
We have three weeks in Spain from next April, we are thinking maybe six nights each in Barcelona, Madrid and Malaga or Seville. No suggestions? G. Opai, VIC rye
While these cities have a lot to offer, six nights is a generous amount of time to spend in each. What is missing from your itinerary are the villages of rural Spain, and for that I would suggest Andalucia. You’re well ahead of the summer crowds and the end of April should be pleasantly warm. If you were to spend four nights each in Barcelona and Madrid, then you could dedicate almost two weeks to a tour that included Seville, Ronda, Granada and Cordoba. If you need help building your itinerary, I suggest Sam Lister of Tailor Made Andalucia (tailor-madeandalucia.com). Sam is English but he is passionate about his adopted land. He’s also adept at creating experiences that take you behind the scenes for a view of Spanish culture, food, and history that few tourists get to see.
Before leaving for Switzerland for a white Christmas, we spent three weeks in the south of France. Can you suggest a central base for visiting Avignon, Montpellier, Carcassonne, Marseille and Nice? Rent a car or use local transport? B. Stubbs, West Hobart CAS
One place I really like is Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, just south of Avignon, with easy access to most places on your wish list. The local abbey was home to Van Gogh for a year of his mad genius phase, the remains of the Roman town of Glanum are scattered nearby and the horse meadows and flamingo marshes of the Camargue and the hilltop villages of the Luberon are nearby. The miraculous Fontaine de Vaucluse and charming little L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, the ancient center of southern France, are close at hand. Nice is a bit of a stretch, it’s a three hour drive, so you can climb stumps and stay somewhere nearby. I love St Paul de Vence, nestled in the hills just above Nice, a wonderful little town, very authentic, with links to some of the greats of 20th century art. You’re close to Monaco, so you’ll probably want to do like James Bond and hit the casino. Driving is definitely the best option, especially at this time of year when it’s going to be cold, you don’t want to wait for trains and buses.
I am on a cruise to Valletta and am looking for a baggage transfer service that will collect my baggage from my home and deliver it to the ship. Do you know such a service? J. Lambourne, Lane Cove NSW
Pack and send (packsend.com.au) is a global baggage transfer service, mesbagages.com is another and fedex a third. Any of these operators can collect your luggage from your home and have it delivered to the cruise ship office in Valletta.
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Travel advice is general; readers should consider their personal circumstances.