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We were very pleased with our experience when Cathay Pacific debuted its Premium Economy section about two years ago, impressed by the quality and presentation of the onboard service. On a recent trip from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, we discovered that the airline has also made a commitment to an even lower class of passengers: Those of us hunkered down in the back of the plane, right by the bathrooms.
It's not uncommon for airlines to roll their eyes at their lowest-paying passengers, but with a few simple gestures, Cathay Pacific's service actually made us feel like a human being despite the fact that we were sitting in regular old economy class.
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The current Economy Class seatbacks are fixed, with remote controlled entertainment
OMG. Fun news! We knew is was coming, but not the scope: Cathay Pacific has announced that not only will they be introducing a Premium Economy class on long-haul flights in early 2012, but that Economy will be revamped as well.
As veterans of the 18-hour direct flights from New York-Hong Kong, we can tell you that this is a huge deal. Already Cathay is known as one of the leaders as far as passenger service and in-flight amenities and it was only one year ago that they showed off their new business class seats.
Sadly there aren't any renderings of the new Premium Economy or Economy seats yet, but there are specifics. Let's break it down:
Indonesian rice dish
Ordering off-menu while jet setting is not only limited to first and business class passengers, you know. Just as we last told you about American Airlines upgrading their menus, KLM is now offering specialty meals on intercontinental flights from Amsterdam. Last week, the Flying Dutchman announced the expanded dining offering in the back of the plane with a little pre-ordering and few extra euros.
The expanded menu is in addition to the gluten-free, kosher, and other special dietary meals that KLM usually stocks, but these will explore ethnic themes, like traditional Dutch fare, Japanese delights, Italian comfort food, Indonesian rice dishes and an upgraded veggie option. At 12-15 euros each, the meals will still give you spending money for bringing home souvenirs.
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As you probably well know by now, we spent several days this week up at Boeing HQ in Everett, WA, peeking around the 787 Dreamliner factory and the actual thing out on the tarmac. We've showed you everything from the slick exterior and interior to the "airplane supermarket," and of course the ginormous factory line.
We captured more than photos, however; there's video too, including the Dreamliner's First Delivery Flight as she takes off for her home with ANA in Tokyo. Here's a few quick videos from our days at the Boeing 787 First Delivery event:
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We flew ANA from Bangkok to Tokyo just this weekend, and while the sun rose over Japan and we descended into Narita, ANA's perfectly coiffed flight attendants, with their perfect neckscarf rosettes, passed around breakfast. Imagine our surprise when a trio of metal utensils clattered out of the baggie with the refreshing wipe.
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It is the domain of the chosen: The Boeing 787 Dreamliner factory floor in Everett, WA. The many, many workers underneath this roof are among the brightest and most dedicated, their desks spotless and the building quiet on a Sunday. As one of the small number of people who are invited to visit all the way down to the factory floor, we were honored to get right up close to tomorrow's crop of Dreamliner, still either being put together from pieces at one end, to being shined up on the other.
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So, you wan to buy a Boeing 787 Dreamliner? Our first question is: do you have between $190 million and $220 million dollars? Our second question: do you have somewhere to park it?
If you've answered to both questions above, then it's high time you paid a visit to Boeing's Dreamliner Gallery, a 787 shopping mall of sorts, where airline customers come to pick out all the goodies they want insidefrom seats to bun warmers. It's a nice building all its own, and pretty much a playground for anyone who enjoys airplanes.
There's an entire room just for economy, business class and first class seat options, and a wall of TVs for in-flight entertainment choice. Lavatories galore, crew galleys empty of their ovens, and a another wall just for showcasing the variety of ovens and coffee makers that may be installed.
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The celebration is still going strong today in Everett, WA as Boeing and ANA welcome the first finished and delivered 787 Dreamliner to the skies. We mean literally, as today focused on seeing off the fresh bird as she took flight towards her new home in Tokyo.
It's been a long and different road for all parties involved in the 787, and it's crazy to step inside and walk the aisles, sit in the seats, poke the seatback TV screens, and think all the sweat that went into this moment.
We won't bother with the colorful adjectives as the photos speak for themselves. And now, the interior of ANA's Boeing 787 Dreamliner:
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The first row of economy (bulkhead) on an American Airlines 767 to Milan
Just when you think Friday headlines couldn't get much worse, what with the impending doom of Hurricane Irene and the resulting massive travel mess on the horizon, American Airlines slips a little bad news into the cycle. The announcement? American will begin charging fees for window and aisle seat selection, unless you're a frequent flyer with status or a full-fare flyers, of course.
Here's the deal: some seats towards the front of economy on AA flights will cost extra to reserve in advance. That means when you log on to book a flight or check in with 24 hours of departure and have the option to choose your seat, you may be faced with crappy seats in the middle or far back for no extra cost, or window/aisle and further up for a little more cash. From the press release we see that pricing for "Preferred Seats" will begin at $4 per segment, "varying based on length of flight and time of day."
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Thatís when we looked up to find a smiling, green-shirted flight attendant named Michele extending her hand and introducing herself as our Air New Zealand In-flight Concierge. Naturally curious, we asked Michele all about the inflight concierge program, and got her picks of what to do both in London and Los Angeles.