‘Worst’ airline fights back

It’s been a long time since I flew Jetstar. In fact, when I last did, the Qantas subsidiary still had unallocated seating — an “innovation” it very quickly abandoned.

(jetstar.com)

But from what I’ve heard and read, it comes as little surprise that Jetstar has been has named the world’s worst airline in an international survey. Equally, it’s no surprise that it is fighting back, because the methodology was clearly flawed.

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The really friendly skies

Just about everybody on the internet knows about the incident involving an overbooked United Airlines flight. Here’s an editorial I wrote for Abu Dhabi’s The National newspaper, noting that United is one of the American airlines trying to limit the operations of carriers from the Arabian Gulf in the US. Dubai-based Emirates airline has made a similar point in this video:

PS: If you think the Chicago incident was a one-off, read this. A first-class passenger was threatened with being handcuffed if he didn’t get off a plane to allow somebody more important to fly. No wonder United is worried about competition. It really sucks. Rather than defend the indefensible, big boss Oscar Munoz should resign and let somebody else take over.

Update: according to this legal opinion, United had no right to take a passenger off a plane in this manner.

A premium flight experience

In the current climate of austerity, many people are thinking twice about paying for business-class airfares.

Emirates is introducing a premium economy option on some flights

As I’ve argued before, if you can afford to fly business and you want to, nothing should stop you from treating yourself. However, if it’s going to break the bank, you don’t have to totally slum it in the ever-tighter economy or “basic economy” seats.

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Business-class blues

I love travelling in business class — who doesn’t or wouldn’t if they could? — but there are three small words that can make that experience infinitely better.

(seatguru.com)

They are “direct aisle access” — and, surprisingly, not every airline offers that even in the most expensive seats onboard their planes.

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Fantastic plastic blanket

Airlines and the environment have an uneasy relationship. Despite economies and advances in fuel technologies, there are fewer bigger polluters than jet airplanes.

(emirates.com)

It sometimes rings a little hollow when airlines boast about their environmental credentials, so it’s nice to hear any news of a “green” initiative.

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Fancy your own Airbus?

Want to own an airline? Well you may be disappointed, but not surprised, to discover that Airbus has increased the price of its fleet from January 1 this year.

(airbus.com)

According to manufacturer’s website, after an adjustment, the entry level model, the A318, is now US$75.9 million.

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Fly like a falcon

Birds on a plane? At first that idea seems a little ridiculous, but several airlines that fly in the Middle East allow falcons to  travel in the passenger cabin.

(Lufthansa)

These birds of prey, who compete in pursuit events across the region, are highly prized by their owners and are worth considerable sums. And, no, they can’t just fly to their destination (after all, they are not homing pigeons). Continue reading Fly like a falcon

Paying a premium

Those in the airline-industry know were not surprised by the news that Emirates is introducing premium economy class on its 250-plane international fleet.

(alitalia.com)

What that means for travellers is, of course, an affordable option between economy class and business class.

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Ghosts in the machine

I’ve been having to-and-fro conversations with Qantas’s social media team and other interested parties since I wrote this piece about my Frequent Flyer points.

qantas747Basically, my complaint was — and is — about phantom availability: reward seats that show up on the Qantas web page but have actually already been booked by somebody else.

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Too far to fly?

Emirates_Boeing_777-200LR

How long is too long to sit on an aircraft? I guess the answer depends on who you’re flying with and what class you’re in. And, perhaps, who you are sitting next to.

In any case, some Emirates airline passengers are about to find out, with a new direct service between Dubai and Auckland that will keep them aloft between 16 hours and 17hr 15 mins.

Now that may seem a long time to white-knuckle flyers, but those who enjoy the airline experience might see it as a bonus. If nothing else, it stops you wasting your time in a stopover when you could be getting to where you need to be.

The Dubai-Auckland route is one of several contenders for world’s longest direct flight, all made possible by new aircraft technology, lower oil prices and more efficient air-traffic control systems. And it’s an impressive thing, especially for those of us who remember long haul flight of yore than involved two or three stops.

This flight will use the Boeing 777-200LR  aircraft which, while very impressive, doesn’t have all the attractions of the larger Airbus A380s that Emirates uses on other long-haul routes.

But as an Australian, in the tradition of friendly trans-Tasman rivalry, I do have to ask: why would anybody want to bypass Australia on their way to New Zealand?