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[Also check out Part 2, Premium Economy and Economy]
"Whoever said man wasn't meant to fly didn't see this coming."
These were the words printed on a banner welcoming passengers to gate 172 at Toronto's Pearson International Airport on July 15, 2014.
Outside the windows was one of Air Canada's airplanes, sitting chill in her ice blue livery and scarlet maple leaf logo while a flurry of ground vehicles prepared her for a 12-hour flight to Tokyo. Passengers waiting to board forwent selfies and instead pointed their cameras outside, at this aircraft which stars in the celebration of a new era for Canadian aviation.
But, um, hasn't Air Canada been flying from Toronto to Tokyo for, like, decades? Yes, yes they have, but never before to the Japanese capital's other, very recently updated and better located airport of Haneda, and never before with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Flight AC005 is non-stop from YYZ to HND, a lengthy trip which gives the benefits of the 787the greater cabin humidity, lower altitude level, improved personal space, and fuel efficiencya chance to strut their stuff. It was, in fact, the longest flight we've ever done in a 787, and absolutely one of the best in our own travel log.
Now, let's delve into the delicious details:
Seats / Business Class Travel / Japan Airlines / Oneworld / KIX / BKK / Japan Travel / Boeing / Boeing 767 / → All Tags
If the overnight leg on an old angled lie-flat Finnair seat showed us how far business class seats have come, our recent flight on a Japan Airlines Boeing 767 between Osaka-Kansai (KIX) and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) almost took us back to a different era, with the above, ageing, manually-controlled cradle-style seats still going strong.
Almost literally coming apart (torn fabric, wobbly armrests), the likelihood you’ll find this seat on your flight is luckily decreasing, having serviced regional routes in Asia, as well as the crazy busy Honolulu to Tokyo return for a long time (in fact, the in-flight entertainment still had destination features on Hawaii on it). Japan Airlines is phasing in its new 787 Dreamliner, as well as upgrading 767s with “Sky Suites”, fully-flat, all-aisle access seats – check them out below.
Airline News / Seats / Airline Seats / Business Class Travel / Ireland Travel / Aer Lingus / Dublin Travel / DUB / → All Tags
Still in signature tones of green, the seat is a variation on a theme that we’ve seen on a variety of carriers now, including Finnair. It reclines to a 2-metre, 6.5-feet bed, features USB ports and a universal plug, as well as various storage spaces for jackets, shoes, and laptops. There is more good news in terms service and experience on the ground too.
Seats / Airline Seats / Qatar Airways / Doha Travel / DOH / BKK / Boeing / Boeing 777 / Oneworld / → All Tags
We’ve shown you that business class on a Qatar Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner is not a bad place to spend a few hours, but how does one of the airline’s latest additions compare to the workhorse of the fleet, the Boeing 777? With 34 in total, split between 777-200 and 777-300 versions, Qatar has more of the triple-seven than any other aircraft type at the moment. Connecting from a 787 onto a 777 recently gave us a good opportunity to compare.
We flew the 777 between Doha and Bangkok, a flight that connects further to Hanoi (Vietnam) after a brief stop in Thailand. Consistent on both legs? A virtually empty business class cabin, with less than ten passengers across the 42 seats, which guaranteed not just a seat pair to ourselves, but multiple rows.
Qatar Airways / Business Class Travel / Seats / DOH / Oneworld / Boeing / Boeing 787 Dreamliner / 787 / → All Tags
Qatar Airways has 9 Dreamliners operating a number of routes out of its brand-spanking new (and humongous) Hamad International Airport in Doha, and an additional 51 on order from Boeing. We recently did a business class return between Stockholm and Doha, which gave us enough time to explore its swanky interiors.
Airline News / Seats / Airlines / Budget Travel / LCCs / Travel News / → All Tags
Remember when Ryanair announced a few years ago that it was going to experiment with "standing seats" on its flights? The airline said it would be able to offer tickets at extremely low prices, but ultimately the idea got shot down by a regulator, mostly due to concerns over seat belts and safety.
Despite those questions, we found the idea peculiar yet intriguing, especially for commuter flights of an hour or less, say, from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles, Philadelphia to New York, New York to Boston, etc. Would it be so bad to stand for 45 minutes if the cost was significantly less? A new study released this week has once again brought up the concept, finding that airlines that remove seats in favor of a "standing section" could fit 20% more passengers and offer significant discounts on tickets - as much as 44%.
Photo Gallery / Business Class Travel / JetBlue Mint / First Class Travel / JetBlue / Seats / Airlines / Airline News / JFK / LAX / LCCs / A321 / In-Flight Meals / Travel News / → All Tags
After many months of coy reveals and growing anticipation, JetBlue>'s first premium seats have hit the skies. Named Mint, the cabin is now available on flights between JFK and LAX, and coming to JFK-SFO in October.
Ahead of the inaugural flight yesterday, JetBlue hosted a trial run on the ground at JFK. For this, we sent a JetBlue flyer who'd never seen the seats before and had an "empty slate" for first impressions.
There's a new plane on the tarmac at New York-JFK Airport, and it's shiny inside as well as out. We're talking about the brand-spankin-new Airbus A321s coming to JetBlue, and their "Mint" cabin of fully flat leather seating. The first of them, appropriately named It’s Mint to Be, is one of the 11 Mint-configured A321s due to be delivered to JetBlue in 2014.
Photo Gallery / Economy Class Travel / JetBlue / Seats / Airlines / Airline News / JFK / LAX / LCCs / A321 / In-Flight Meals / Travel News / → All Tags
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.
Seats / Qantas / Business Class Travel / BKK / SYD / Airbus / A330 / Australia Travel / → All Tags
What you see above is the original Qantas “Skybed,” the angled flat seats which are still found on the airline’s Airbus A330s and which we experienced on a recent flight from Bangkok to Sydney. They wont be around for much longer though, as an improved business class seatfully flat, and all seats with aisle accessis being rolled out from the end of this year.
While we had a pretty good flight on this overnight sector, and spent most of it stretched out in our window seat trying to get some sleep, we’ll be looking forward to the refurb for a number of reasons. We’ll give you a quick rundown of what things are like today, and what you can expect going forward:
Seats / Virgin Australia / ATR / ATR72-600 / SYD / CBR / Australia Travel / → All Tags
When flying Economy on a narrow-body aircraft, we usually aim to sit as far forward as possible. Most importantly, this move generally gets you served first and off the plane first after landing. And there's the added bonus of minimizing the number of rows in front of you, which makes the cabin feel less crowded compared to a sea of heads between your seat and the cockpit.
That strategy might work in the majority of cases, but here is one example where it didn’t. On a recent hop from Sydney to the Australian capital of Canberra, our aircraft was a Virgin Australia ATR72-600 Turboprop. The only aircraft doors (which incorporate steps, private jet-style) are actually at the back, just behind the last row (17). We originally had a seat near the front, but were asked while already on the plane to move to row 15, which worked out just fine.
In an airline reality where people prefer not to talk to one another, the high-school-esk idea of conversing via note exchange has captured many an imagination. "Note wars" are nothing new between airline passengers, even ones that turn out not to be true.
A few months ago, we gave you some advice on how to be less annoying on your next flight. One of our suggestions was to look behind you before reclining your seat, to show respect for whoever is sitting behind you. The latest newsworthy note to make waves on the Internet humorously tackles this exact issue in the form of a "Knee Defender Courtesy Card." Check out this gem that was reportedly handed to a passenger by the person sitting behind them:
Flight Reviews / Air Berlin / Business Class Travel / Seats / Germany Travel / Oneworld / → All Tags
When we reviewed a flight from JFK to Berlin via Air Berlin a few summers ago, we thought they still had some work to do after joining the One World Alliance. The planes were a bit outdated at the time, but the carrier has since added new A330s and lie-flat business class seats to its fleet for long-haul routes.
Last week, we flew the airline from Chicago to Berlin, riding in economy class one way and business class the other. It was good to see that most of the problems previously reported in economy have been solved thanks to a spruced-up interior cabin with individual entertainment systems. Unlike last time, there was plenty of content (movies, TV, music) to keep our attention, free headphones, and several free alcoholic beverages before and during dinner service.