It seems that many airlines have reduced the number of premium economy seats on flights. Is it due to mothballed A380s, economies of scale, or other issues? J. Costa, Reservoir VIC
With fewer flights into Australia the number of premium economy seats has fallen, 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 on retrofitted Airbus A380s, currently operating 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, has won plenty of applause for its PE seating, available on its daily A380 services to Melbourne and Sydney.
We have three weeks in Spain from next April, we’re thinking maybe six nights each in Barcelona, Madrid and either Malaga or Seville. Any suggestions? G. Opai, Rye VIC
Although these cities have plenty to offer, six nights is a generous amount of time to devote to each. What’s missing from your itinerary is the villages of rural Spain, and for that I’d suggest Andalucia. You’re way ahead of the summer crowds and late April should be pleasantly warm. If you were to spend four nights each in Barcelona and Madrid you could then devote almost two weeks to a tour to include Seville, Ronda, Granada and Cordoba. If you need help constructing your itinerary, I’d suggest Sam Lister of Tailor Made Andalucia (tailormadeandalucia.com). Sam is English but he’s passionate about his adopted home. He’s also an expert in building experiences that take you behind the scenes for a view of Spanish culture, food and history that few tourists get to see.
Before we head to Switzerland for a White Christmas we are spending three weeks in the south of France. Can you suggest a central base for visiting Avignon, Montpellier, Carcassonne, Marseilles and Nice? Rent a car or use local transport? B. Stubbs, West Hobart TAS
One place I like a lot is Saint-Remy-de-Provence, just south of Avignon, with easy access to most of the places on your wish list. The local abbey was home to Van Gogh for a year of his mad-genius phase, remnants of the Roman city of Glanum are scattered about nearby and the horse meadows and flamingo marshes of the Carmargue and the perched villages of the Luberon are nearby. The miraculous Fontaine de Vaucluse and lovely little L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, the antique center of southern France, are close at hand. Nice is a bit of a stretch, it’s a three-hour drive, so you could up stumps and stay somewhere in the vicinity. I like St. Paul de Vence, tucked into the hills just above Nice, a gorgeous little town, very authentic, with connections to some of the greats of 20th century art. You’re close to Monaco so you’ll probably want to make like James Bond and drop into the casino. Driving is definitely the best option, especially at that time of the year when it’s going to be chilly, you don’t want to be hanging around waiting for trains and buses.
I am joining a cruise in Valletta and I am looking for a luggage transfer service that will collect my luggage from my home and deliver it to the ship. Do you know of any such service? J. Lambourn, Lane Cove NSW
Pack and Send (packsend.com.au) is a worldwide luggage transfer service, mybaggage.com is another and FedEx a third. Any one of those operators can pick up your luggage from your home address and have it delivered to the cruise ship’s office in Valletta.
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Travel advice is general; readers should consider their personal circumstances.