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It's been a long flight; as you step out into the aisle for a quick trip to the lavatory and a stretch, you spot a glowing blue cabinet up ahead. Other passengers have been taking something from there all flight long, and now you're curious to see what all the fuss is about. The answer? A nook of free snacks!
This in-flight delight is brand new to JetBlue's Mint-equipped Airbus A321s. Why not a second Diet Coke while you're up there? It's all good, because these convenient treats are still part of JetBlue's generous complimentary snacks for customers in Economy.
The position of the cabinet at the front of the cabin is an extra perk for passengers purchasing the "Even More Space" seats; it's a far shorter trip up the aisle for another bag of Blue Chips or Popcorners, without the impatience of waiting for the flight attendants to pass them out.
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We have all had a terrible meal on a flight before. In fact, we have shown you some of the sadder trays slid in front of us. With this new series of amazing airline meals, we can revel in the airline culinary delights and give kudos to the airlines that got it right.
"We'll have the kids meal."
Never before have we uttered these words on a flight, until flying with easyJet this last week, early enough in the morning that we'd eat pretty much anything. While perusing the airline's surprisingly extensive menu (they dedicate 25 pages of the duty-free catalog to onboard food choices!), we spotted a $5 snack box we just had to have.
This was a cheap flight in the first placewe paid $150 total for a one-way flight from London-Luton to Reykjavik-Keflavik Airportand we don't board cheap flights expecting very much. This snack box was, on top of the impressive menu, a huge positive surprise. It's designed specifically for kids! What other airlines offer such a thoughtful buy-onboard food pack for picky children? Off hand, we can't name another.
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The annual Crystal Cabin Awards, a competition that strives for excellence in futuristic aircraft interior innovation and design, took place this week in Hamburg, Germany. There were seven categories in total: Greener Cabin, Health, Safety & Environment; Industrial Design & Visionary Concepts; Material & Components; Passenger Comfort Hardware; Passenger Comfort Systems; Premium Class & VIP; and University.
The full list of winners is still trickling out, but we're zoning in on the concepts that are aimed at directly benefiting the future passenger - aka, us. Below, we take a look at a few of the winning ideas. None are guaranteed to appear in the consumer realm anytime soon, but they serve as reasonable prototypes for what we might see down the road. Which are you most excited about?
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This week in Hamburg, Germany, airlines and media are happily schmoozing during the annual Aircraft Interiors Expo, and you know what happens when airline executives mix with international journalists? Hands are shaked, cocktails are quaffed, and big announcements are made.
American Airlines was nearly first out of the gate with a doozy of a news drop, that they'll be retrofitting their entire 777 fleet to new Business Class and Main Cabin seats. Previously, only AA's brand new Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A321Ts boasted these best seats in the fleet, but this news means the bulk of AA's international service on 777-200s will soon join the fun.
2014 has thus far been quite the year for Delta, what with the detrimental changes to their SkyMiles frequent flyer program and an emergency landing or two, but this week has been something of a bounce back with a slew of positive news. Among the good news is the announcement that Delta is ready to give something to and not take something from economy class travelers.
Introducing Delta's sleep kits, specifically for the comfort of economy on long-haul international flights. Everyone gets an individual pack containing eyeshades and earplugs. It's very similar to JetBlue's Snooze Packs, which are handed out on red-eye transcontinental flights.
We've been discussing Economy Class travel quite a lot recently, from surviving a 14-hour flight sitting up to the next generation of seats, and now it's time to share our little secret in the realm of BYO comfort: the MUJI microbead neck cushion.
Neck pillows are ugly, awkward, and embarrassing to be seen with outside an airport. We kind of hate them, actually, Unfortunately, they're still very much required if you hope for any sort of lengthy sleep in economy.
About three years ago we discovered the microbead neck cushion at one of Japanese retailer MUJI's NYC stores, and it's been keeping us comfy company on long flights ever since. At $25, it doesn't break the bank, and there's a few other excellent reasons we deign to drag it along:
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IATA, the International Air Transport Association, released numbers yesterday that showed premium travel to be on the rise. Premium passenger numbers rose 6.1% in January, up from the 4.2% growth in the same month of 2013. Much of the increase is attributed to "positive business developments," especially in the Far East.
"Growth in Asian trade activity over recent months has helped support international business and premium travel," the report said. "There have been some signs of improvement in trade growth in regions like Europe, the US and Asia. This has helped support the stronger growth we are seeing in business-related premium travel over recent months."
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An idea from Air New Zealand that practically revolutionized economy class travel is now being licensed out to different airlines to tempt flyers to book long-haul flights. China Airlines liked the kiwi airline's SkyCouch so much, they arranged to have it on its newest planes.
China Airlines, the first airline to agree to (what we can only imagine) a hefty licensing price-tag, will now include the roomy row of economy seats to its newest delivery of 777-300ERs. The keys to these new birds should be handed over by September of this year, so if you've got plans to spend some time in the air over the Pacific on one of these planes, you might get lucky.
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The flight: United 106 from Newark to Munich, Germany.
Seated all the way in the backseat 38Kisn't bad at all for a tad over 7 hours to Europe. Heck, we've endured a less comfortable seat for non-stops to Asia, so we boarded the plane already with a sense of "this won't be bad at all." This is regular Economy, not even "Economy Plus," as United calls their premium economy option, offering a few inches more legroom for a hundred dollars or more.
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It's always sunny in Australia, or at least right now it is, during the Southern Summer. Oz is one of those destinations that can take a little more planning and a little more money to make happen, but it's worth it the moment you set foot on Aussie soil. All this week we'll be sharing our best tips for taking that leap for a first-time trip Down Under.
14 hours, 20 minutes is the average flight time for a nonstop between Los Angeles or San Francisco and Sydney. By the time you're onboard, all the stressful packing is behind you, you've already applied for the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) a while ago, and it's time to fully focus on adventures ahead.
Still, the long distance over the Pacific between continents is a destination all its own. If you're flying in Economy Class, it's a challenge to get comfortable for even a moment, let alone enjoy the flight, but these tips will definitely help:
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Did y’all cowpokes know there’s a newly crowned “World’s Longest Nonstop Flight?” With the retirement of Singapore Airlines flight 21/22, an unnaturally long 18hr 50min nonstop flight between Singapore and Newark, comes the new champion of distance: Qantas Airlines 7's 15h 25min nonstop from Sydney, Australia to Dallas, Texas.
It doesn’t take a math genius to realize that the flying time difference between the newcomer and the old-timer is a dramatic 3hr 25min. You could watch “Titanic” from start to finish in that exact time (the movie is literally 3 hr 25 min long). However, we certainly don’t want to make light of a 15-hour flight.
Let us not forget that while Singapore’s flights were longer, they were also running a completely business class cabin with no economy option. For Qantas, a few hundred passengers on the new longest flight will be spending their 15+ hours sitting upright in economy, chewing Xanax to make the pain go away. Just kiddingEconomy in one of Qantas’ 747-400ERs really isn’t all that bad (though we’d still suggest spending a little extra for Premium Economy like we did).
They may not look like much, but iffy looks are only a deceptive mask for the yumminess contained. Surprise surprisewe're talking about In-flight meals in economy class. Sure, there's limited choice and a distinct lack of top shelf booze to wash it all down, but sitting in the back of the plane doesn't mean it's all hard tack and gruel.
Several airlines even continue to present printed menus to economy passengers on the longer flights. A few off the top of our head are Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Qantas, giving passengers a better outlook for their meal other than abruptly being asked, "meat or pasta?"
Without further ado, we present our favorite five economy class meals of 2013: