Qantas increases luxury Los Angeles lounge as Ben Lee serenades high flyers

THERE won’t be a pair of thongs, a singlet or short shorts to be seen as Qantas unveils its latest ode to luxe airport lounge life in Los Angeles.

The Aussie airline, which posted a $206 million after tax profit for the first half of 2014-2015, has always had high hopes for its Pacific market, especially at the consciously coined, LAX.

So much so, the airline is investing in one of its biggest destination airports, increasing the capacity threefold to cope with demand from its growing posse of high flyers.

Together with joint owners and Oneworld partners Cathay Pacific and British Airways, the final stage of the Los Angeles Business Lounge refurbishment, will feature a pop-up, acoustic performance by Aussie-born, Los Angeles based Ben Lee.

The grand event in the Woods Bagot designed lounge continues on from the opening of stage one of the lounge in June 2014. It also follows on from the opening of the sleek and tres fancy Qantas First Lounge, designed by Aussie, Marc Newson, in December 2014.

Vanessa Hudson, Qantas Regional General Manager, the Americas will reveal the multi-million dollar lounge refurbishment aimed at customers travelling through Los Angeles.

“The completion of this project represents our significant investment in the US market,” says Ms Hudson.

“We have tripled the space available across both lounges, added more seating and installed a state-of-the-art kitchen. The new kitchen enables us to offer a bigger menu and a greater variety of dining options.

“Customers tell us that being able to enjoy a relaxing and welcoming space with high quality dining options prior to flying is top of their wish list when it comes to creating the ideal lounge experience.’’

Lounge life lovers have an additional 200 seats, bringing the total capacity of the Business Lounge to 600 seats with the floor space having been tripled. There is a dedicated dining area featuring a large communal dining table equipped with USB and power outlets as well as menu by Qantas Chef Neil Perry.

Even the good ole buffet capacity has increased. There will also be a Californian food cart offering tacos and specialty hot dogs, and a cocktail bar with signature cocktails and barista coffee has been added. There will also be Korean, Mexican and Italian food to munch.

As well, there is a communal fireplace and central glass atrium, an additional of seven shower suites; six work stations equipped with Apple iMacs and a dedicated family zone with children’s furniture, toys and games.

Qantas currently has ‘on sale’ economy fares from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Los Angeles from $1,249 until 18 May. Prices are based on payment at by BPAY. Offer ends 18 May, unless sold out prior. Visit with selected travel dates, days and conditions applying.

Melissa Hoyer flew as a guest of Qantas to Los Angeles

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Met Gala: Trashy or flashy - Why’s everyone getting naked?

LET’S just call it right now. Everyone seems to be getting naked.

Celebs are so intent on showcasing not just their boobs and their butts, but their entire bods.

As for wearing underwear, I mean, is that even a thing anymore?

If red carpets keep going the way they are, why, even Spanx may go out of business.

So, if more clothes are off than on why bother even spending tens of thousands of bucks on big-time designer dresses?

That was pretty much the consensus today as celeb after celeb, star after star and body after body appeared on the red carpet at the annual fashion frockfest: the Anna Wintour-led Met Gala, which happens each year in New York.

The top troika of star power – Beyonce wearing Givenchy, JLo in Versace and (the once fashion-derided) Kim Kardashian wrapped in Roberto Cavalli, all made their sheer, near-naked flash fest options felt.

Mmm, maybe a body swathed in cling wrap and the bedazzled with a few crystals, sequins and gems might just do the trick next time?

“They look pretty uncomfortable to sit on, to be honest,” said one critic when I posted the high-profile trio on Instagram.

“Revolting, going to a hooker’s wedding, not a ball,” said another; “Less is more and you don’t need it right in your face.”

“Way too much! They are all saying ‘look at me, look at me’, but I just want to look away,” said another.

While the majority of the invited A-team at the Met Gala looked simply sensational it was the transparency battle that usurped the gala’s bigger fashion picture.

While many thought there was too much skin, let’s face it, seeing this much isn’t anything new.

Celebs have been doing it for years, usually to be noticed and more often than not, to proudly show off their assets.

But there is a fine line between style and vulgar, between class and trash. And where that line is drawn is purely in the eye of the beholder.

The problem is we’re nearly all becoming immune to seeing so much skin. Now, if we see a celeb or star or a good old normal person in an elegant, chic and covered-up look, it just about makes you jump in the air and shout hallelujah!

Judging by the fashion floor show performed by some of the Met Gala guests, I just reckon it’s a shame they feel the need to share this much. Forget TMI, it’s more more like TMF(lesh).

Don’t get me wrong, I adore seeing a brilliant body more than anyone, especially when it is draped in one mighty killer of a creatively designed, sexy dress, but there is something to always keep in mind – think more class, not so much ass.

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Logies 2015: Celebrities reveal their best and worst bits

THERE is about as much buzz about this year’s Logies as a wingless bee.

Nevertheless, we grabbed a few stars of show’s past and present who told us about their fine and not so finer moments.

Kerri-Anne Kennerley

“My worst Logies moment was when I suffered a hair malfunction,” said the TV regular and Foxtel presenter.

“I went to the bathroom during the show to touch-up my lipstick and brush my fabulous ponytail do, when everything went awry. I called my hairdresser in her room upstairs and said: ‘I have problem with my hair.’ She said ‘What’s the problem?’ I said ‘I’m holding it!’

“I’d brushed my ponytail extension too hard and it came off right in my hand.”

Meanwhile, KAK’s best moment?

“My best Logies moment was seeing Annie Lennox sitting at the piano, singing live. She sounded like an angel. I’ve always been a big fan of hers — but to hear her sing in such an intimate setting was absolutely spectacular.”

Johanna Griggs

“My most memorable Logies was about two or three years ago when the Better Homes and Gardens team had a series of wardrobe malfunctions,” says the Channel 7 House Rules and Better Homes and Gardens presenter.

“Jason Hodges ripped his pants; Tara Dennis’ heel came off; Karen Martini’s dress split and the beads from my gown went everywhere. Luckily Tara saved the day — she pulled out a kit from her Logies purse which had everything including superglue.

“Before we knew it were good to go.”

Ken Sutcliffe

“Walking up the red carpet staircase at Crown with my wife Anne, the crowd was going off.

I remarked ‘wow, this mob really love Wide World of Sports’,’’ says the Wide World of Sports chief host.

“I was chuffed until Anne said “Get real. That cheering is for the Home and Awaycast coming up behind us.

“I still like to think it wasn’t, but I guess it was. Wives are always right.”

Natalie Barr

“I remember how excited I was when I was invited to my first Logies 13 years ago,’’ says the Sunrise news presenter and TV personality.

“Back then though, Channel Seven’s wardrobe department consisted of a man in a cupboard handing out red jackets. I spent half of my clothing allowance on a really cool Collette Dinnigan dress.

“I thought ‘I may never go to a Logies again so at least I’m going to look good on the one I go to!”

Deborah Knight

“About four Logies ago I had on the most uncomfortable shoes and a petticoat-type insert in my skirt to make it look super full which was super uncomfortable to sit in,’’ says the Nine Weekend Today co-host.

“So I made a dash back to my room to put on some flat shoes and remove the petticoat and got lost in the casino.

“I was seriously wandering around the gaming room floor with my shoes in my hand for about half an hour — looking slightly overdressed — until I got my bearings and was back on track. I was eventually able to dance up a storm at the after party in my comfy attire.”

Deborah was nearly involvedin a case of mistaken identity, too.

“Also about two Logies ago when I arrived to find where I was sitting, the organisers thought I said my name was Dominic Knight, so I nearly ended up on a table with the Chaser boys.”

That Deb, probably would have made the night pass a helluva lot quicker.

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Gumboots are back!!

The elegant and classic English style gumboots blended with a creative panache have officially hit Australian shores. The prestige design that incorporates a fleece fur inside lining, offers a sophisticated and chic flair that have quickly become a must have for any fashionista’s wardrobe.

Simplicity mixed with a fashionable style, Gees Louise Gum Boots are versatile and compatible in a variety of environments. From event wear to early morning photo shoots, the stylish and functional boots complete any look.
Stocked in multiple high end boutique stores in Melbourne, the two toned designer boots are available now for $109.95

Qantas returns flying to the Whitsunday's

In a major show of Aussie aviation confidence and in Queensland's tourism mega industry, the Whitsundays welcomed its the first passengers travelling on Qantas’ new Hamilton Island service.

The launch of the service also coincided with the opening of a new luxury resort in the islands, One&Only Hayman Island.

Visitor spending in the region grew by 14 per cent to $706 million last year and Acting Minister for Tourism Tracy Davis said the Whitsundays’ future was looking even brighter thanks to the latest investments in its thriving tourism sector: "Qantas’ decision to commence three return weekly services (in peak time) between Sydney and Hamilton Island will open the skies to more than 10,000 additional visitors a year,” Ms Davis said.

“Both Qantas and resort operator One&Only clearly believe the future’s bright for tourism in Queensland and I certainly agree with them.

“The Queensland Government’s 20-year plan for tourism, Destination Success, outlines the need to deliver quality experiences that delight customers – and that’s exactly what’s happening today in the Whitsundays.

“We have a strong plan for a brighter future and we’re working hard to achieve our goal of doubling annual overnight visitor expenditure to $30 billion by 2020.”

Local Member Jason Costigan said the Whitsundays was experiencing a tourism revival with visitor numbers increasing seven per cent to 687,000 last year.

Qantas Domestic CEO Lyell Strambi said Qantas and Queensland shared a close relationship which was strengthened by the plane's arrival.

The combination of the private island in the Great Barrier Reef, the significant investment of, gulp, $80 million made by Mulpha Australia and the One&Only team say they are dedicated to providing guests with amazing travel experiences through their upmarket service.

Ten years have passed since Qantas last flew into the Whitsundays and will fly Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday during peak season (July and September through to January) and bi-weekly services on Wednesday and Sunday off peak.

Qantas dumped its services to Hamilton Island in 2005 when the market dictated it would be best serviced by the airline's (cheaper) subsidiary, Jetstar. 

But with more upmarket resorts having opened, like the new Hayman and Quaila on Hamilton a island, a premium airline product needed to be back on board.

With a 14 per cent rise in tourism in Queensland - to $706million - Qantas Domestic CEO Lyell Strambi said the airline is hopeful of bringing something like 10,000 visitors to this region per year.

"And that is certainly not insignificant in terms of leisure tourism," Mr Strambi said.

Mr Strambi and Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan were the first people off the Boeing 737-800, ironically named the 'Cook' ( it was Captain Cook who discovered the Whitsunday's passage) when it landed at Hamilton Island yesterday.

Qantas will join both Virgin and Jetstar who will continue flying to the region.

The airline recently flew the cast and crew of top rating TV program Modern Family to the region as part of a two-week filming stint in Australia to promote iconic tourist destinations. 

Mr Strambi said 100million viewers fell in love with the Whitsundays as a result and year round fares begin at $189 one way. 

Melissa Hoyer was a guest if Qantas on the inaugural flight