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Remember when McDonalds Happy Meals actually had some great toys inside? Heck, some series were even considered “collectible.” Those days disappeared with the arrival of plastic Bratz figurines and Furbies, but quality surprise toys can still be found, across the ocean, inside chocolate Kinder “Surprise" Eggs.
Every so often, Kinder released a special “traveller edition” pack of its most popular treat, the hollow eggs made of milk and white chocolate. A tiny plastic capsule inside the shell always contains some cute little knickknack, and right now those surprises are Airbus A330 aircraft models.
Last week another Airbus A350 XWB—that’s a mouthful—rolled off the assembly line, as the airplane manufacturer moves forward with the latest and greatest from its most recent line of jets.
This is airplane number three, and it’s designed for all the testing required before a plane like this can take to the skies packed with passengers. The folks over at Airbus refer to this one as MSN2, and what makes it a little more unique and design forward from its plane siblings is its paint-job. This one has a special livery to reflect the carbon-fiber composite materials that are utilized as part of the construction of the new bird.
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Six hours is an incredibly long time to be sitting on a domestic flight. To a frequent flyer, that stretch from New York to LA or SF means lost hours of work and sleep. To an infrequent traveler, it's an interminable wait only made bearable by the promise of eventually getting off the thing.
Why does transcontinental travel suck so hard? The problem: old airplanes, with old seats and old technology. The solution: new airplanes, with new seats and new technology. Please welcome American Airlines' fresh and fighting Airbus A321s to the skies.
For travelers who've experienced American's current transcontinental service onboard the achy-breaky old 767-200s, the new A321s will be a revelation. No doubt; we fully expect passengers to board these aircraft and think "hallelujah, this is going to be a great flight," no matter the class.
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The king is dead, long live the king!
Just before dawn across the world at Singapore-Changi Airport, an Airbus A340-500 touched down and taxied to its gate. The passengers filed off, followed by the flight crew, and there was no fanfare for this last arrival of the longest flight in the world.
At nearly 18 hours and 9,500 miles, Singapore Airlines' SQ 21/22 between Newark and Singapore was a monster of a nonstop which only accommodated 100 travelers in all-Business Class comfort. All good things must come to an end, however, and Singapore dropped the route in order to trade in the old, gas-guzzling, four-engine A345s for some shiny and efficient A350s to come.
It's a smart move, but a sad one regardless. Singapore 21/22 will live on through the stories of those who flew it, and we're proud to add our hour-by-hour account to the aviation history books.
Moving on, another flight route must now ascend to the throne and claim the title of "longest flight in the world." For that, look no further than Texas.
We’re not quite in love with the latest airplane from the folks over at Airbus just yet, but that’s because we’re just getting our first peek of what it has to offer—let’s just say we’re still getting to know one another. However, our fondness has begun to blossom, as another A350-900 recently finished one of its first flights.
This is actually plane number two that has rolled off the assembly line, as this plane did its thing on October 14 over at the testing facility at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport.
Obviously they’re looking for all kinds of stuff during these first flights—like the plane’s ability to takeoff and land without a problem. Specifically it’s all about airplane avionics like flap and slat configurations and how the plane handles operations up in the air and on the ground.
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Los Angeles International Airport had a week like no other last week: a new terminal, a Hello Kitty invasion, a new Star Alliance flagship lounge, and inaugural flights of the British Airways Airbus A380. We’ve been giving you all the details from the front line, now with everything you need to know onboard during a regular long-haul flight.
LAX-LHR may be the only British Airways A380 route to North America right now, but we’re pretty sure that Miami will be the second US destination, beginning some time in 2014. Let’s hope so, because in every aspect the A380 is an improved flying experience, no matter which cabin you are in.
Once the A380 touched down in Los Angeles and received her water cannon salute from the LAX fire brigade, it was our turn to try her out. We waved goodbye to the Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra impersonators at the gate's red carpet and went up the air bridge to an upper deck Club World (Business Class) seat for the overnight flight to London.
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As the 14 lucky First Class passengers on the new British Airways Airbus A380 were working their way through The Langham London’s afternoon tea and five-course tasting menu en route to Los Angeles, we were already on the ground in California for a proper welcome following its maiden long-haul flight.
There was a water cannon salute made over the aircraft by the LAX fire brigade, and champagne, cupcakes, and little A380 models at the gate. Passengers were even treated to a red carpet and step-and-repeat complete with Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Charlie Chaplin impersonators.
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This is a big week for Los Angeles International Airport. First it debuted the $1.7 billion dollar makeover of the Tom Bradley International Terminal and then it welcomed a Hello Kitty-themed 777. Naturally they've saved the best for last, as British Airways today celebrates inaugural long-haul flights of their spanking new Airbus A380, nonstop from LAX to London-Heathrow.
In fact, while we type this, there are 469 travelers up in the sky in this plane, enjoying a memorable first meal service. Only 14 of those 469 will be privy to the most unique British Airways menu currently flying, however; it's one created specifically for this aircraft and route by The Langham Hotel, London. Sure, the 97 seated a little further back in the Club World/Business Class cabin will also enjoy a Langham menu, but that's a three-course affair while First gets a full, five-course tasting menu and afternoon tea withshockerthree premium champagne options.
Let's have a look!
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9,500 miles on one fell swoop. Welcome to the longest commercial flight in the world, Singapore Airlines non-stop between Singapore and Newark. As much as we hate the word "bucketlist," that's what this isa superlative experience with an entry in the history books and, sadly, an expiration date.
The planned distance of flight number SQ 22 is 9,525 miles with a scheduled flight time of 18:55h. The return, SQ 21 from Newark to Singapore, is a tad longer depending on winds, but we count them together. Even the aircraft is special; it's an Airbus A340-500 arranged with only 100 seats, all Business Class. The 1-2-1 configuration means comfort and relative privacy for both solo travelers and couples.
November 23, 2013 is the final flight of SQ 22, and Singapore's route from Los Angeles (the second longest flight in the world) is also due to end, on October 20, 2013. You have been warned. This season is the last chance to get onboard the world's longest flights, but a white glove experience comes with a premium price; a roundtrip starts from $7,500 during these finale months (but they do accept Star Alliance miles for award bookings).
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Ignore the fact that it's Monday and put on a smile, because we've got good news and great news!
First, the good news: the rumored JetBlue premium lie-flat "suite" seats are very real, very adjustable, and coming to the airline's brand new Airbus A321s in May 2014, for the JFK-LAX and JFK-SFO routes. In fact, we've seen them with our own eyes and sat in them with, well, our own butt.
Keep in mind that these seats are only samples, and until the finalized versions are in place within aircraft, details can be changed. It's a bit like viewing wedding cakes "for display only," but still having to wait until the big day to taste the real thing. That said, JetBlue employees have been sitting and taking selfies in these seats for weeks now, and it's only a matter of time before it's your turn.
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Here's another chance to haul out those giant markers and brush up on your airplane designing skills. The scarlet low-cost airline, AirAsia, is giving fans a chance to paint one of seven new aircraft. And while it's super cool to be able to walk through an airport and say, "see that plane, I designed that!," the grand prize is even better than just having your art taking to the skies.
The Asian LCC is calling on its most creative passengers to come up with a new livery for its newest Airbus A330s. Each of the seven birds are already named and the paint job should reflect that theme, but with names like XKLusive, Xiao Long Bao, Xeoul Mate, Xiaolin Spirit, Xcintillating PhoeniX, Harmonious DiverXity, Xakura Blossom, the creativity will be free flowing. The winner of the best livery will not only have their design on the side of a plane, but be flown to the Airbus factory in France to see where these babies are born.
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Just over a year ago we first told you about American Airlines, and their plans to woo celebrities, business people, and other hotshots that regularly fly from coast to coast. A lot has happened since then, but the basic premise remains the same—new Airbus A321s with lie flat seats will be doing the transcontinental flights from New York to spots like San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Just to remind you of what these planes are packing, each brand-y new jet will be a true three-cabin aircraft with 10 of those totally flat sleeper seats in First Class, 20 seats in Business Class, and then plenty of other seats back in Economy Class—including three dozen or so extra legroom Main Cabin Extra seats. Even with JetBlue trying to cash in on the transcontinental market, we’ll risk saying that American Airlines might just have the best up front product on cross country flights.