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What's the Shortest Route Flown by the Airbus A380?

May 15, 2014 at 10:50 AM | by | ()

This week we've been covering off the world's shortest and longest flights on one of the most exciting aircraft out there, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Thus, it's time to switch it up and have a look at some superlatives for the Airbus A380.

The Airbus double-decker is a superjumbo which can fly up to 853 passengers in an all-economy class configuration. Usually these planes are outfitted with several classes, and carry around 525 passengers, but airlines like Korean Air only pack in 407 travelers. With these kind of seat numbers, the A380 is usually reserved for long-haul flights to increase efficiency, but there are a few short hops for the massive plane.

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Chen Guangcheng Flew to the United States in Style, Sort Of

Where: China
May 21, 2012 at 3:46 PM | by | ()

United Airlines Flight 88 is a direct, 12.5 hour Beijing-PEK to Newark-EWR flight flown by a Boeing 777-200. Seatguru says that United's particular 777-200 configuration has 8 First Class Suites, 40 new Business class flatbed seats, and a 3-3-3 configuration in economy. So far it just sounds like your average trans-Pacific flight, right? There's comfy accommodations in first and business class, and an economy cabin where people wake up 8 hours into the trip, realize they've still got 1/3 of the flight to go, and want to kill themselves.

But last Saturday this very route became a focus of international attention. It was boarded just before takeoff by blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng (in a wheelchair), plus his wife and their two children. The family had been driven across the tarmac by Chinese officials and deposited into an elevator, which took them up to the skywalk and onto the plane.

The mini-drama marked the beginning of the end of a standoff between American and Chinese diplomats, stretching back to last month when Chen escaped the Chinese guards who were keeping him under house arrest—as China likes to do with "dissidents"—and fled to the U.S. embassy.

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Where to Go With Your Tax Refund: China!

Where: China
April 17, 2012 at 9:18 AM | by | ()

Tax day has arrived, and your happy not because you may have stand in line at the post office, but because you're probably getting a fat refund. Probably. The economy may be on it's way back up, but you should try to stretch that tax refund as far as you can...like with a little "you did a great job last year" trip.

By now, you will probably know what type of refund you will getting back from Uncle Sam. This post is devoted to those refunds that are on the larger side. If you want to completely splurge and use your entire check to see more parts of the world, China is your destination.

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More Airports with Playgrounds, Pretty Please.

Where: Beijing, China
March 20, 2012 at 11:09 AM | by | ()

By now you've all heard the story of the family with two toddlers kicked off a JetBlue flight from Turks and Caicos and, regardless of where you stand on the incident (for the parents or against), it's clear that flying the so-called friendly skies with little ones is not an enviable journey.

Our first thought when we heard about the family getting kicked off was, "Dear God, we hope that never happens to us." Our second thought was actually about this little playground we saw at the Beijing International Airport back in China.

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We Wish All Airports Had This Sign

Where: Beijing, China
February 10, 2012 at 12:31 PM | by | ()

While racing to finish up work, stuff the last necessary items into our suitcase (we would not be a good candidate for I am Packed right now), print out our boarding passes, double-check our camera equipment, charging cords and TSA-sized toiletries and do other last-minute errands before hopping on a flight, we caught eye of this snapshot from the Beijing International Airport in our photo archives.

Posted just before the trains to the baggage claim, it says: Relax. Train Comes Every Three Minutes.

Isn't that just...nice? We wish all airports had that sign so that us hyper-active, worrywart travelers could at least take a moment off (or three minutes) from stressing.

There's another bonus for the OCD traveler at Beijing's airport, as the lifts and train cars are frequently disinfected. But of course, we understand if you still want to bring your own personal hand sanitizer.

[Photo: juliana]

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The Time We Flew on a Dragon...Air Flight

Where: China
February 7, 2012 at 5:20 PM | by | ()

Yesterday, we showed you around the Dragonair lounge at Hong Kong International. Now today, we're taking you on board with us!

Being major travel geeks, we took a second before we boarded our flight on Dragonair from Hong Kong to Beijing to soak in what was happening--we were about to fly on an airline called Dragonair. And we weren't at a Harry Potter theme park. Win!

Of course, onboard things weren't nearly as exciting. Business class sports some very well-kept but still rather aged seats. We had a little flashback to the 90s sitting in these chairs.

But as with so many Asian airlines, the experience was completely sublime compared to American domestic carriers. The boarding process from start to finish was entirely calm. Service was friendly and incredibly helpful. They even offer three different types of vegetarian fare (Asian, Indian and Western but you still have to order pre-flight.)

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Get Your Butt to Tokyo for This Fall's Very First Flights of ANA's Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Where: Tokyo, Japan
August 24, 2011 at 8:15 AM | by | ()

DRUMROLL PLEASE! The first destination to get regular, scheduled service on the very first Boeing 787 Dreamliner will be...Okayama, Japan! Why Okayama? Well, the airline with the pleasure of introducing the 787 to the traveling public is Japanese airline ANA, and after a few fun flights to show off the shiny new plane, she'll be put into domestic service between Tokyo-Haneda and Okayama.

Okay so this is literally yesterday's news, but we got a little wrapped up in the East Coast Earthquake drama, so chillax.

Finally, some dates: the very first scheduled flight will happen on November 1, to be immediately followed by the start of Tokyo-Haneda to Hiroshima service on the 787. Want to go international? You've got to wait a tad bit longer, but Tokyo-Haneda to Beijing begins as soon as December, with Tokyo-Haneda to Frankfurt kicking off the long-haul routes in January, 2012.

Here's the official schedule, straight from ANA:

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Beijing Airport Will Ship Your Banned Items Straight Home, Thank You Very Much

Where: Beijing, China
July 20, 2011 at 10:52 AM | by | ()

Does anyone even remember a time when passenger were allowed to bring such threatening items as scissors and full water bottles through airport security? We've had perfectly good bottles of bug spray and shaving cream thrown out for being .5 oz over the 3oz rule, and once witnessed a foreign traveler having his giant jug of very expensive pure maple syrup confiscated at Vermont's Burlington Airport. It's no fun, for sure, and a couple airports have stepped up to at least offer an alternative to the trash can: shipping your banned items home.

Singapore's Changi International pioneered the service, whereby travelers holding more than the allowances or with forgotten box cutters in their bags can now just ship it right from the airport to their home.

Following Changi's lead is Beijing International Airport, where Shanghaiist reports Beijing Capital International Airport Terminal 2 is charging 20 RMB for items weighing less than 3kg shipped to Beijing addresses, and 100 RMB ($15.50) to be shipped anywhere else. Not too shabby at all! Everyone is getting Chinese ginseng and swords at Christmas this year!

[Photo: nemo's great uncle]

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Seoul's Incheon Airport Once Again Beats Every Other Airport in the World

February 18, 2011 at 9:22 AM | by | ()

A shot inside Seoul's Incheon Airport

It feels as though there is always a new list of airport rankings that comes out, giving top marks to the spick-and-span airports of Asia while America's don't even merit Top 20. Well, there is another ranking list out, and it does stick to this, except that US airports do get recognized in categories like "Best Airport 15-25 million passengers," where BWI takes first place. The rankings have been released by the Airports Council International, which compiles their data on airport service annually thanks to a passenger survey of 300,000 customers from 153 airports, with criteria including "cleanliness, check-in efficiency, comfortable waiting areas and clear signage."

Here are the other big winners this year:

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New Airports Travel: Beijing's T3 Is Ready for the Games

Where: Beijing, China
July 7, 2008 at 12:30 PM | by | ()

The Olympic Games start next month, which means Beijing's brand-new Terminal 3 is about to host the world. Open for business since February, one of our readers just flew into the new addition to Beijing Capital International and sent along some photos.

Amazingly, it looks like T3 is still spotless and ready for the rest of the 64 million passengers it's supposed to handle by the end of this year. Prep for your visit with this photo slideshow:

Related Stories:
· Uncrowded Airports: Beijing's Terminal 3 [Jaunted]
· New Airports Travel: A Closer Look at Beijing's T3 [Jaunted]
· New Airports Travel: Beijing's Terminal 3 [Jaunted]

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If You Haven't Flown 'Em, They're New to You

June 9, 2008 at 4:30 PM | by | ()

We're a bit embarrassed to admit that today was the first we'd ever heard of Hainan Airlines. We're clearly behind the times on this one, as the carrier is China's fourth-largest and the country's biggest privately-owned airline.

Hainan is now making its first flights to America, with four-times-a-week service between Seattle and Beijing, giving you another non-stop option between the US and the Olympics. (Don't get your hopes up, though: Hainan doesn't use the new Terminal 3.)

For now, Hainan is flying Airbus A330s, but once Boeing finally rolls out the Dreamliner, you'll be able to fly SEA-PEK in carbon fiber bliss.

Related Stories:
· Airport Check-in: Seattle Beijing Service Starts [USAToday]
· New Airlines coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo of a 737: Drewski2112]

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Uncrowded Airports: Beijing's Terminal 3

Where: Beijing, China
February 29, 2008 at 12:00 PM | by | ()

T3 at Beijing Capital International officially opened today, greeting a domestic flight from Shandong with bouquets before a British Airways flight touched down a few hours later. While officials expect 64 million passengers to pour through this year, so far there are no lines at the nearly 300 check-in counters.

The soft opening today has the terminal hosting six airlines. By March 26, 20 more carriers will move into the building, undoubtedly making things busier.

Even once all those flyers start arriving, there should be enough services to go around. T3 has 64 restaurants and 84 retail outlets, connected by 437 moving sidewalks and a high-speed train. Good thing, that. From end to end, the new terminal stretches more than two miles.

Related Stories:
· Beijing Unveils Huge New Air Terminal [Globe and Mail]
· New Airports Travel: Beijing's Terminal 3 [Jaunted]
· Terminal 3 Slideshow [Jaunted]

[Photo: (c) Tom van Dillen]