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We’ve previously talked about Finnish carrier Finnair because of the continuing upgrade of its business class to (frosty blue) lie-flat seats and our first-hand experience of the latest product to and from Asia.
During a recent trip, we were able to see just how big a difference the upgrade is going to make once complete, spending one overnight flight in the newest seat and one in the very, very old one you see above. And despite the solid progress of phasing out the remaining angled lie-flat seats (more on that in a second), we expect this particular seat to be around for a while, as three of the airline’s oldest Airbus A340s will not be upgraded at all, remaining in the fleet until replaced by Airbus A350s, arriving from 2015 onwards.
April Fools' Day / Bad Ideas / Mile High Club / Titanic II / Cell Phones / Airline Seats / Travel Pillows / → All Tags
It's that time of year when we not only look for spring right around the corner, but also spend one day indulging in little pranks. It's April Fools' Day and this year our focus isn't on airlines' false press releases, but rather actual bad travel ideas we wish were jokes.
Flamingo Air's "Mile High Club" flights
If joining the mile-high club is on your bucket-list, now you can do it safely and securely on an "airline" specifically for those wanting to get nasty on a plane. For $425, a small chartered aircraft will give frisky couples access to a queen bed in the sky for a 60-minute flight. The package includes champagne, chocolates, and one discrete pilot at the controls.
We’ve seen saddle seats, in-flight couches, and those side-slip seat things, and yet there’s still room for more unique and interesting takes on the airline seating situation. This week we caught wind of another company’s take on the next big thing in seating surfaces, and this time it’s all about customization.
Seymourpowell is the organization behind this new idea, and their plan is to bring their idea—called Morph—to the friendly skies. Basically instead of just taking a one-size-fits-all approach to the airline seating system, these new seats can change things up right on the fly.
If you’re looking for a wider seat that’s not a problem, as the seat can shift, shake, and shape to exactly what you’re looking for. The thought is that the airlines would be pretty interested in something like this, as with customization comes the opportunity to charge passengers for the convenience of doing so.
It’s been a little bit of time since we first heard about the Side-Slip Seat, but now it looks as though the latest idea in airplane seating design is making the rounds once again. We’ve got a few more details and some additional renderings, since Molon Labe Designs sincerely hopes this will be the next great thing in airplane seating.
The basic premise behind this new design is that the aisle seat can slide over the middle seat, with the goal that the aisle of the airplane gets a little bit roomier during the boarding process. Faster boarding means quicker turnaround time for the airlines, and as a result that might just lead to more cash in their bank accounts.
If it seems like we are spreading the news of some flashy new business class seat every few weeks, you are probably right. It's all the fault of the airlines, as a huge number have taken the recent years to update their cabin offerings to lure passengers away from competitors. Now, the torch is passed to Iberia with their announcement of new lie-flat seats in the long-haul swanky cabins.
The Spanish flag carrier's aim is to sit their elite flyers down in a more comfy seat for folks winging their way to/from Spain on their widebody Airbus jets, starting this month with the A330s and eventually moving onto the A340s later in the year. And the love isn't limited to business class; economy class is getting an overhaul as well, just not lie-flat hotness.
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We are right in the middle of the holiday travel season, so we’ve got some advice for you when it comes to picking your airline seats. It’s not just for travel over the next few weeks, but a trick for all year long. We imagine that it’ll only get worse as airlines continue to hold back—and charge for—premium seats like aisles, windows, exit rows, and pretty much everything else.
So you booked your ticket and all went well, but when it’s time to select a seat you only have the option of picking a middle seat. Here’s the tip—don’t pick a middle seat—and leave your seat selection unassigned. First of all, there’s always the possibility that better seats will pop up closer to departure. You never know who will cancel or who will change their plans, so keep an eye out for better up in the air opportunities.
Once again it’s time to talk about improving the design of airline seating. We’ve seen mezzanine seating, face-to-face options, and of course everyone’s favorite—the saddle seat. The newest kid on the block is some kind of sliding seat, and obviously the designers think that it’s the best thing to happen to airliners since the jet engine. We’re intrigued, but we’re not sure we’re ready to bank our retirement on the idea.
The new design is more about improving the boarding process rather than the seating process. Everyone knows that boarding is often a challenge as passengers push, shove, and generally misbehave all with the goal of stuffing an oversized suitcase into an undersized space. The slider seat would allow the aisle seat to slide over on top of the middle seat, and this would allow a little extra room to jockey for position during the boarding process.
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It seems like everyone wants a little more space nowadays, and airlines are certainly aware that passengers are willing to pay for it. Carriers like Virgin America, United, Delta, and JetBlue all have different flavors of their extra legroom seats, and now there’s one more airline looking to help you stretch out a little bit.
WestJet is looking for more profit (and to lure more business travelers away from Air Canada), so they’re now offering up their own version of premium economy seating for those willing to pay for the privilege. Planes are heading into the hangar starting this month, as four rows of seats will now be enjoying around 36 inches of pitch.
WestJet is upgrading and updating their entire fleet of Boeing 737s, so this is going to be quite the undertaking; however, they obviously feel that moving and shifting all the seats is more than worth it.
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We haven’t heard too much from Alaska Airlines lately. Of course there was that time they ditched the prayer cards and the mysteriously itchy uniforms, but now they’re making news for an actual improvement. The eskimo-faced carrier is looking forward to the arrival of some new seats.
Alaska Airlines fell hard for the presentation from the suits over at Recaro Aircraft Seating, as they’re going all in with one of the manufacturer’s latest designs. The updated features include a six-way adjustable headrest, as well as three inches of recline. The new seats will even feature like an inch more of legroom, so feel free to stretch out once aboard—at least just a little bit.
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When Delta gobbled up Northwest Airlines a couple of years ago the newly combined carrier acquired a few Boeing 747s in need of a little refresh and refurbishment—especially in coach. Delta has been focused on upgrading and updating all different areas of their airline, but now it’s finally time for the 747 to head into the hangar for a flyer friendly interior.
Changes are coming to both the front and the back of the plane, but we’ll start by dreaming about what’s going on up front. Gone are the clamshell seats that were kicking around from the Northwest days, as it’s now time to bring BusinessElite passengers some lie-flat seats with direct access to the aisle.
Those lucky enough to score a seat up front will enjoy around 80 inches of seating surface where they can stretch out, and that’s all while you’re enjoying like 300 movies and 88 hours of TV via a 15.4” video screen. There’s no middle seats or seats facing towards the back of the plane either, so the herringbone design kind of guarantees that you’ll have an awesome flight.
Air Asia X / LCCs / Kuala Lumpur Travel / Economy Class Travel / Airline Seats / Airline News / Airlines / Air Asia / Skycouch / → All Tags
In the States we've seen airfares go from "bundled" to a more a la carte, "unbundled" model. Then Uncle Sam stepped in and claimed it was unfair and moved to a more transparent pricing structure. Naturally, some spirited airlines stomped their feet. All of the pricing changes lately with US carriers actually make us thankful we don't regularly fly Air Asia X.
The long haul cousin of Air Asia has been hugely successful with ancillary revenue, regularly raking in some of the highest figures worldwide. The low-cost carrier only charges customers basic flight prices, providing higher levels of service for further fees. We're not just talking about adult beverages or pillows and blankets; on short and long-haul service, Air Asia charges for food, entertainment and seamless flight connections.