On tour with Singapore Airlines latest Business Class
SYDNEY - I am often asked which is my favourite airline. That’s always hard for me to answer, as I see some things at least in many airlines that I like. One airline, however, sticks out, partially because I fly on it since 1986: Singapore Airlines (SIA).
In the cabin of the Air France offspring Joon to Brazil
FORTALEZA - Air France, currently battered by strikes, is far behind in the quest of the airline industry to lower costs and become more efficient to sustain tough competition. One way to achieve this is supposedly the new “Joon” brand, whose operational costs are 15-18% below the Air France main-line, according to Joon`s CEO.
To the Indian Ocean with the new A350 of Air Mauritius
JOHANNESBURG - Fortunes for airlines in the Indian Ocean can change quickly, as currently illustrated by the example of Air Seychelles, which I have reviewed here just one year ago. At the time the carrier operated two A330s, to Düsseldorf among other routes.
How Qatar Airways gives "Business Class” a new meaning
DOHA - Qatar Airways doesn’t appear modest at all when praising its new premium product as “the best Business Class in the world” or, literally, “First in Business”. Anyone who puts the benchmark this high should make sure to be able to deliver.
Trying out Ethiopian's newest jets, A350 and Boeing 787
CAPE TOWN - Ethiopian Airlines is Africas biggest airline since some time, ranging in front the former market leaders from the continent, SAA, Kenya Airways and Egypt Air. Ethiopian Airlines has long held the reputation of being Africa’s best airline, an assertion supported by its continuous profitability, its modern aircraft fleet and its impressive route network.
How does Finnairs A330 score versus its A350 product?
HELSINKI - Finnair has massively renewed its long haul fleet by adding currently eleven A350s, eight more are to follow. At the same time eight older Airbus A330s remain a second backbone, especially for shorter routes like to the US East coast.
A sneak peak into Lufthansa`s 2020 Business Class
FRANKFURT - United Polaris, Delta One Suite, Ethiad Business Studio and Qatar Airways Q-Suite - airlines double down on Business Class revenue with schmick new cabins. Lufthansa will close the comfort gap to competition with introduction of the first Boeing 777-9 widebodies in to its fleet by 2020.
Emirates catching up in new First Class product race
DUBAI - In 2003 Emirates was the first airline offering fully private suites in First Class. Now other carriers are upping the ante and the Dubai-based carrier has to catch up. At the Dubai Air Show this week, Emirates managed to launch a few industry firsts in First – question is: Are they really enhancing the experience?
Taking United’s new Polaris seat from San Francisco to Frankfurt
San Francisco - Hardly any product launch has stirred so much interest and discussions among frequent fliers as United Airlines did when it launched Polaris. When the world’s third largest airline announces a revamp of its premium product as United did in June 2016, this naturally raises expectations.
Singapore Airlines raises benchmark in new A380 Suites
SINGAPORE/HAMBURG - It will have been ten years and barely two months since the world’s first A380 passenger flight when the new cabins of the first freshly delivered Airbus A380 for Singapore Airlines (SIA) are seeing their premiere.
Air Astana Business Class sets Boeing 767 benchmark
ASTANA - Kazakhstan sounds very far and remote for most Western Europeans, hardly anyone has an idea about this huge country. It is the world`s ninth-largest even, home to only 18m people, while its economy is just about half the size of Ireland`s.
Icelandair as cheaper premium alternative over the Atlantic
HAMBURG - Icelandair is a booming airline, last year it jumped the four-million threshold for the first time, carrying 4.1m passengers. Only in 2009 it flew just 1.3m customers. Then in 2010, a volcano erupted on the Atlantic island, paralysing air traffic over Europe for days.
Taking the Delta One Business Class over the Atlantic
AMSTERDAM - For all Delta departures from Amsterdam, an important hub for the Skyteam partner, there are special procedures before boarding. All departure monitors and even the boarding passes don't indicate the real departure gate, but instead a special gate at which US-bound passengers have to undergo special questioning.
African adventure – taking TAAG Air Angola to Luanda
LUANDA - The national airline of Angola in the southwest of Africa is one of the continent's oldest airlines, having commenced operations already in 1940. Still it is fairly obscure internationally. Its home state Angola is one of the most expensive countries on earth, where a civil war raged until 2002.
Taking an Air Seychelles A330 to the islands in the Indian Ocean
DUSSELDORF - Air Seychelles is the national carrier of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. For the country consisting of 115 far flung islands, whose total footprint is a third smaller than the German city of Hamburg, and of which only a few are inhabited by a total of 93,000 people, tourism is the number one source of income.
Flying low cost, South African style
CAPE TOWN - kulula is a low cost airline rarely known beyond the borders of South Africa. "Kulula" means "easily" in the Zulu language, linguistically almost an African take on easyJet. It was founded 2001 as spinoff of private airline Comair, which flies since 1996 in close relation with British Airways, since then also under the BA name and livery.
WOW air goes wide body – taking the purple A330 to Iceland
KEFLAVIK - Icelandic LCC WOW air is a prominent newcomer to European aviation, which makes quite a wave not only because of the bright purple color in which its aircraft are painted. Travel writer Monica Suma reviewed the WOW air A330-300 product on behalf of PaxEx.com.
Qantas streams Netflix, Spotify into its cabins
SYDNEY - Qantas passengers on Wi-Fi enabled domestic flights will be able to watch their favourite shows, avoid missing out on live sport and listen to almost any song they like, with Foxtel, Netflix and Spotify coming on board to provide content in 2017. Long haul flights will follow the lead mid-2017.
Condor and its premium products on medium and long haul
FRANKFURT - Holiday flights have been a class-less society for long. Since the 1990s some European holiday carriers have tried out premium offers on long haul flights, but rarely did they exceed the status of a minimally enhanced Economy. The holidaymaker wants to travel on the cheap, that seemed to have been the assumption.
American drops IFE-screens on the 737 MAX
FORT WORTH - With the improvement of satellite-based systems American sees no need to offer seat-back IFE screens on its Boeing 737 MAX fleet. "More than 90 percent of our passengers already bring a device or screen with them when they fly," American informed its staff about its decision.
Interview with CEO Farhad Parvaresh
Iran Air receives first new aircraft since 1994 from Airbus
TOULOUSE - January 12, 2017 is a truly memorable day in Iranian aviation history. Iranian television broadcasted live when flight IR700 from Toulouse landed at Tehran's Mehrabad airport at about 2.30pm local time. It was the delivery flight of an Airbus A321, registered EP-IFA.
Air France Dreamliner features revamped Premium Economy
PARIS - For the first time since 2009, Air France is introducing a brand new aircraft type this week into scheduled operation. Eight years ago, it was the Airbus A380, now it is the Boeing 787-9. It took over the carrier's daily service from Paris CDG to Cairo on January 9, a flight lasting 4.5 hours.
Five stars for Doha Hamad International
DOHA - Hamad International Airport (HIA) joins the top tier of global airports becoming the sixth airport in the world to receive the "5-Star Airport"designation by Skytrax, the London-based aviation institute for airport and airline rankings. HIA is first ever airport in the Middle East to earn this title.
From the new Swiss lounge in Zurich to Montréal on the A330
ZURICH - It was an exciting year for Swiss, with two newcomers to the fleet of Lufthansa Group's affiliate in Switzerland: In January, the first Boeing 777 (of six today) arrived, July saw the world premier of Bombardier's C Series (four in service today).
London Stansted to build new arrivals terminal
STANSTED - London Stansted Airport unveiled plans for a new £130 million arrivals building to improve the passenger experience. The building is the latest phase in the multi-million pound transformation programme by airport investor MAG to support future growth and attract new passengers and airlines.
South African Airways receives its first A330-300
JOHANNESBURG - South African Airways (SAA) has taken delivery of its first of five new leased A330-300 widebody jetliners, becoming the first Southern African operator of the aircraft type.
Taking the longer C Series transatlantic with Air Baltic
MONTRÉAL - Nothing about flight BT9801 is ordinary. Including its scheduled departure time of 2am EST from Montréal this Tuesday night. On board the delivery flight for Air Baltic of the first Bombardier CS300 from Montréal to Stockholm.
TAP Air Portugal launches biggest cabin revamp
LISBON - TAP Air Portugal's headquarters at Lisbon airport was built in the 1960s, and the buildings clearly show their age, with maintenance hangars dimly lit in yellow light. But the heritage-rich Portuguese flag carrier, which just celebrated its 70th anniversary in September, seems to be in renewal mode.
Flying Etihad`s Business Studio to Abu Dhabi
ABU DHABI - Back in May 2014 Etihad Airways gathered 150 media representatives in Abu Dhabi to unveil its upcoming A380 and 787 interiors. Well, the A380 "Uber-First" Residence Suite stole the show and overshadowed the new Business Class Etihad introduced the same day. It deserves more attention.
United strolls into bare fare territory
CHICAGO - United follows Delta along the bare-bone trail and hopes to appeal to cost-sensitive fliers with a new Economy Basic fare option.
Meet Mildred, the pink-haired Lufthansa chatbot
FRANKFURT - Meet Mildred. Lufthansa`s latest hire in customer support is "a friendly lady with glasses and her pink hair in a bun", according to the German airline. Actually, Mildred is more digital than human. Lufthansa developed the chatbot avatar "Mildred" to help customers browse for flights.
Flying Air Canada’s new Business Class from Frankfurt to Toronto
FRANKFURT - Even for frequent fliers it's not easy to keep track with the different aircraft types and cabin products Air Canada offers on long haul routes. In Frankfurt alone, Air Canada this summer deployed five different aircraft types on the four routes it operated:
By Andreas Spaeth
How Alitalia reinvents itself
ROME - Pope Francis has a problem: By capacity the pontiff is a frequent flyer on Alitalia, mostly on long haul. And Alitalia's premium service is of such high class since recently that the Holy Father deems it to be too luxurious.
Qantas 787-9 embraces premium long haul flying
SYDNEY - Qantas plans a schmick 787-9 cabin layout, fitting only 236 seats into the stretch due to arrive next year. "We are planning to make the most of the 787`s amazing range, so we have designed the cabin to give Qantas passengers a better experience on long haul flights", says Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.
Iberia to introduce Premium Economy by 2017
MADRID - Iberia joins the Premium Economy band waggon. The new "Turista Premium" class will be available on 37 of its long-haul aircraft, starting during the summer season of 2017. Iberia will retrofit the cabin on eight Airbus A330-300 and 13 A340-600 to be modified in the course of 2017 and 2018.
Long haul comfort on short haul: Belgrade – Berlin on Air Serbia
BELGRADE - The former Yugoslavia played a long and proud role in aviation. A glimpse of that can still be seen in the aviation museum, one of Europe's biggest, opened in 1989, located at the entrance to Belgrade's Nikola Tesla airport.
Taking Cathay`s new A350 from Dusseldorf to Hong Kong
HONG KONG - Since the summer, Cathay Pacific is the sixth operator of the new Airbus A350-900, on September 1st the new aircraft took up its first long haul route in the Cathay network: From Hong Kong to Düsseldorf and back.
Easyjet launches Apple Pay on web bookings
LUTON - Easyjet announced that its customers can now use Apple Pay for bookings made on its website. "This makes payment a seamless 2 touch process", Easyjet said.
The First Wing at London Heathrow
British Airways speeds elite passengers through T5
LONDON - Brits just love to queue, right? British Airways challenges this stereotype with a new fast track option for its First Class passengers travelling through London Heathrow’s Terminal 5. "The First Wing" - a dedicated walkway from check-in to the lounges - will open in April 2017.
Emirates to charge passengers for seat reservation
DUBAI - Emirates will start charging a seat selection fee in its bottom Economy fares Special and Saver by October.
50 Shades of Blue
Lufthansa to introduce new Economy Class with A350-900
MUNICH - Lufthansa will introduce an all new long haul Economy Class with its first Airbus A350-900 scheduled to arrive at the carrier`s Munich base early 2017. Seats in light and navy blue covers expel the grey from Lufthansa`s Economy cabins and will be "padded a tad less firmly", according to the airline.
ANZ embraces Premium Economy, scraps SpaceSeat
AUCKLAND - Air New Zealand is to spend more than 100 million Dollars increasing the number of premium seats on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and refurbishing its Boeing 777-300 fleet in response to customer trends.
Cathay Pacific relaxes its baggage policy
HONGKONG - Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair announced the introduction of a new baggage policy, which will see passengers benefit from increased check-in allowances and lower excess baggage charges.
Interview with Rossen Dimitrov
Qatar Airways doubles down on its Business Class allure
DOHA - Each new aircraft joining Qatar Airways has to pass a CEO inspection before flying passengers. Early 2017 Akbar Al-Baker will accept a first Boeing 777-300ER into the fleet featuring an all new Business Class cabin that will most likely raise the industry bar for premium travel.
Delta and Virgin Atlantic co-locate at Heathrow
LONDON - Delta Air Lines will operate exclusively from London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 3, effective Sept. 14, 2016. Delta and Virgin Atlantic will now operate from the same terminal, making it easier for customers to manage their travel plans including any last-minute flight changes.
American introduces premium IFE content on domestic flights
HOUSTON - American Airlines elevates its passenger experience by adding complimentary premium movies, TV shows, music and games in the main cabin on all domestic flights offering seatback entertainment systems or Wi-Fi.
How about booking your next flight on Facebook Messenger?
REYKJAVIK - Icelandair announced they will offer passengers the option of booking their next transatlantic flight through Facebook Messenger. The Facebook Messenger Stopover Bot is one of the newest examples of tech-driven passenger experience in the airline industry.
British Airways invites passengers to a photo PaxEx
LONDON - British Airways pilots have developed a new photo app for customers to take away a souvenir cockpit picture from their flight – with actress Denise Van Outen the first to be "sn-apped".
"Do you want fries with your flight?"
BRUSSELS - Belgium is known for Tintin, for surrealism, chocolate and above all… fries, something Brussels Airlines did not offer yet on board, until today. The airline has put fries on its in-flight menu, wíth mayo or ketchup, of course.
Flying Iberia`s newest A330-200 from Madrid to Havana
MADRID - Iberia operates a first-rate hub terminal in Madrid Barajas, with plenty of capacity. The Spanish national carrier offers a formidable route network focusing on routes from Europe to Central and South America. Since recently it also flies again to Tokyo, Shanghai and Johannesburg, as well as to other destinations in Africa and North America.