Tag Archives: airlines

Singapore Airlines Best In-Flight Dining: Report

The results are in and the passengers have spoken: Singapore Airlines has been crowned the top international airline for in-flight dining by Travel + Leisure magazine. Following closely behind are none other than Emirates and Etihad Airways.

The ranking is part of the magazine’s annual World’s Best Awards, which saw readers vote for their favorite hotels, cruises and destinations amongst others. This is hardly the first time that Singapore’s national carrier has been awarded an accolade for its services. In 2015, the airline was named the best culinary airline by Saveur magazine. to see how the airline fared by other measures, see this year’s Skytrax awards.

For those wondering how the airline managed to secure its culinary position, well their secret lies in the talented people who develop its in-flight menus.

Enlisting the likes of Yoshihiro Murata from Japan, Georges Blanc from France and James Beard, the sample menu is created for passengers in first, business class and premium economy. The spread on board ranges from beef bourguignon, lobster Thermidor, Cantonese roast duck, sushi or rosemary beef brisket for the main course that can be selected 24 hours in advance. Before the dishes are rolled out to those lucky enough to savor the delicious flavors, they are tested for quality control. According to Travel + Leisure magazine, the meals are tested in a pressurized tasting room that stimulates the dining experience 30,000 feet in the air.

While the indulgent menu certainly sounds tempting, the carrier recently launched a new dining program that caters to the health-conscious flyer. Called “Deliciously Wholesome”, the menu features items such as salads, fish, tofu cheesecake and quinoa. Here are the top 10 international airlines for food, according to Travel + Leisure magazine:

  • 1. Singapore Airlines
  • 2. Emirates
  • 3. Etihad Airways
  • 4. Qatar Airways
  • 5. Cathay Pacific
  • 6. Turkish Airlines
  • 7. All Nippon Airways
  • 8. Japan Airlines
  • 9. Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • 10. Thai Airways International
Best-Travel-Reward-Programs 2016-alaskan-airlines

Best Travel Reward Programs 2016-2017: Travel Right

If you find yourself spending more time in the air than on land, get ready to take some notes. The US News & World Report has released a new ranking of the best travel rewards program for the year, and have named Wyndham Rewards and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan as the top in their categories.

Reward programs can be notoriously difficult to deal with; the inflexible rules and fine print can easily destroy hopes of redeeming the points you’ve worked so hard to accumulate over the years. Editors of the online ranking website had compared some 28 hotel and airline loyalty programs in the United States to determine the consumers’ best options.

“”The Best Travel Rewards Programs make it easier for travelers to understand and select the right program for them. The top ranked programs offer travelers perks they care about, such as room upgrades, free checked bags and easy ways to accumulate miles and points,” said Erin Shields, travel editor at US News. True enough, many factors were considered: size and diversity of every airline or hotel network, the rate at which members can accumulate miles and redeem points and ease of utilizing the rewards.

Wyndham-Boston-Beacon-Hill

Wyndham Boston Beacon Hill

The list has seen some surprising entries – Wyndham Rewards takes top spot for hotel loyalty programs for the first time ever. It is easy to see why – besides allowing members to redeem free nights at 7,800 hotels across their network, it’s also rolled out additional benefits such as flexible check-in and check-out options, free amenities and suite upgrades for their most loyal customers.

The best way to fly, apparently, is now with Alaskan Airlines. Its mileage plan was named the best airline rewards program, as they reward points based on number of miles flown instead of the usual dollars spent.

Here, we bring you the rest of the rankings, so your next holiday experience will be a little sweeter.

Top 5 airline loyalty rewards programs:

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

JetBlue TrueBlue

Southwest Rapid Rewards

Delta SkyMiles

Virgin America Elevate

Top 5 hotel rewards programs:

Wyndham Rewards

Choice Privileges (Tie)

Marriott Rewards (Tie)

Best Western Rewards

La Quinta Returns

 

Top 15 Most Loved Airlines: Asia Dominates

The next time you can’t decide which airlines to fly, consider Garuda Airlines. The Indonesian national carrier has taken top spot this year as “the most loved airlines”, according to a list compiled by Skytrax. It is hard to believe that Garuda is the top flier today, having been through a rough patch lasting most of the 1990s and 2000s (it was banned from European airspace until 2009).

Well, everyone loves a comeback story and, even better than that, it seemed the Indonesian firm won by a mile in 2016. It received an impressive approval rating of 85 percent by fliers, ahead of Asiana Airlines and Eva Air, also Asian carriers. In fact, these are but three of the 11 Asian airlines that took the top 15 spots, proving that they are only growing in popularity. Also notable is the absence of any U.S carriers in the top 15, although Virgin Airlines manages to sneak in at 15.

Analysts looked at how customers rated their overall flight experience, which measured on a scale of one to 10. Passengers had to consider everything from seat comfort, onboard services, food and beverages, in-flight entertainment and value for money.

Greece carrier Aegean Airlines placed fourth on the list, making it the highest non-Asian carrier, while Virgin Airlines 15th place showing made it the only North American carrier. Low-cost carrier Ryanair also scored six percent higher than UK’s flagship carrier British Airways at 62 percent. Delta Airlines won the race as the highest-ranked major U.S carrier, followed by United and American Airlines.

Here, a list of the top 15 “Most loved airlines” according to Skytrax reviews.

  • 1. Garuda Indonesia
  • 2. Asiana Airlines
  • 3. Eva Air
  • 4. Aegean Airlines
  • 5. Korean Air
  • 6. Bangkok Airways
  • 7. Singapore Airlines
  • 8. AirAsia X
  • 9. ANA All Nippon Airways
  • 10. Royal Brunei Airlines
  • 11. Japan Airlines
  • 12. Qatar Airways
  • 13. China Southern Airlines
  • 14. Oman Air
  • 15. Virgin America

Lufthansa Surprise Selects Your Destination

All you’ll need to do when you book with ‘Lufthansa Surprise’ is literally to pack and go – just leave the destination to chance. To help the indecisive decide and leave the adventurous surprised, German carrier Lufthansa has created this new booking feature that will determine your next travel destination – and it is really quite fuss-free.

Travelers can choose between nine themes based on their preference, ranging from nature, sun and sand to romance and gourmet cuisine. Each theme then lists about a dozen possible destinations that leave from either Munich or Frankfurt, of which one will be picked at random after booking dates and payment information have been added.

This concept comes on the heels of companies such as Priceline and Hotwire introducing discounted fares to travelers who leave the decision-making power of their accommodation, airline and car rental to them. Like Lufthansa, Eurowings also sells mystery flights at a fixed price for thematic trips. While new travelers may find this concept too risky, the well-traveled will relish the spontaneity of it all.

If you’re up for an even bigger adventure, virtual travel agent Pack Up + Go will create a US-based weekend travel itinerary based on your budget, transportation preferences and hobbies. Your itinerary and destination will be kept secret until the day of departure so you never know what you’re in for.

Special terminal at LA airport for celebs

Los Angeles International Airport officials have approved opening a special terminal for the rich and famous to wait for their flights far from the paparazzi and riffraff. Some have dubbed this a terminal for the 1% of society because the barrier to entry is the expense, not any measure of fame.

The lounge, which was given the green light on Thursday, eclipses even the business class and first class areas available at major airports.

“I am very excited about this service for celebrity and VIP guests at LAX,” said Deborah Flint, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports.

“We are very focused on making LAX a world-class airport and offering a wide variety of amenities,” Flint said in an e-mail to AFP.

The “remote lounge” as it is called, was approved by the Los Angeles Airport Commission and marks the first such space in a United States airport.

Similar areas already exist however in London, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Dubai, Paris, Moscow, Munich, Frankfurt, Geneva, Madrid and Zurich, according to a project proposal.

Both US authorities and the Transportation Security Administration support the idea, the proposal said.

The terminal will be constructed in a hangar already in need of renovation, and requires an investment of some US$3 million (2.8 million euros) by security firm Gavin de Becker, which will manage the project.

Celebrities, business executives and other well-heeled individuals can expect to pay US$1,500 to US$1,800 to access the space, according to US media.

WestJet Frozen plane

WestJet debuts Frozen-themed plane

WestJet Frozen plane

Canadian airline WestJet has unveiled a new “Frozen”-themed plane that is set to send little girls soaring, with Elsa and Anna on the tail of the plane and Olaf the snowman emblazoned on the fuselage.

For 21 days, a crew of painters from Canada, the US, and Germany were squirreled away in a hangar in Fort Worth Texas, and commissioned to transform a regular aircraft into a flying “Frozen”-themed universe.

frozen plane

In addition to the outside fuselage, the cabin interior is also decked out nose-to-tail. Overhead bin doors are transformed with “Frozen” decals and headrests are jazzed up with covers sporting emblems of Arendelle.

For some sparkle, painters added glitter to sections of the aircraft to produce the effects of shimmer and shine as it moves in the light. In all, the crew used about 645 liters of paint and 23 colors for the aircraft.

frozen plane anna elsa

After a year of planning, six painters brought the sketches to life working 12-hour rotations for 21 days, 24/7.

WestJet Frozen plane seats

Watch the time-lapse video of how the Frozen aircraft was painted

WestJet is the latest airline to strike a major collaboration with the movie industry. Last month, Japan’s flagship carrier ANA unveiled the first of their three Star Wars-themed jets featuring R2-D2 and the plane took its first international journey this weekend, shuttling passengers between Haneda, Japan and Vancouver, Canada.

Etihad Airway First Class Chef

Ranking lists airlines that offer best in-flight service

Etihad Airway First Class Chef

Editors at AirlineRatings.com have released their picks for the airlines that offer the best in-flight service in first class, business class, premium economy and long-haul economy class cabins.

Qantas and Singapore Airlines cracked the top 10 list across all four categories, while Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific Airways and Etihad made three of the four categories.

The winners were chosen from a pool of 450 airlines.

Here are the winners, listed in alphabetical order:
First Class:
All Nippon Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Swiss and Thai International

Business Class:
Air France, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Etihad Airways, Japan Airlines, Qatar, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia/Atlantic

Premium Economy:
Air France, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, EVA Air, Japan Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic/Virgin Australia

Long Haul Economy Class:
Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific Airways, Etihad, EVA Air, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways

Virgin America plane with Netflix

Enjoy Netflix at 35,000 feet with Virgin America

Virgin America plane with Netflix

A new partnership between the disruptive video service and Virgin America could bring a new meaning to the term ‘jetstream.’

DON’T MISS: VIRGIN AMERICA IN-FLIGHT FLIRTING SERVICE

From Tuesday, Netflix subscribers traveling on a Virgin America flight equipped with ViaSat wi-fi will be able to binge watch their favorite shows without paying for in-flight internet access.

Unlike a number of in-flight wi-fi systems, ViaSat offers connection and streaming speeds fast enough to allow TV addicts and cinephiles to stream content without buffer frustration.

Virgin America currently has 10 aircraft equipped with the system and Netflix subscribers who are lucky enough to be flying on one of those planes will be able to access the wi-fi free of charge for Netflix-based use up until March 2, 2016.

Air Canada offers free stopover in Toronto

Toronto

Air Canada has launched a new program that will allow international flyers to make a stopover in Toronto for free, as part of a joint program with the local tourism agency in a bid to bring more visitors to the city.

Flyers from the US, Europe and Asia can now tack on a side trip to Toronto — one of the biggest hubs in North America — en route to their final destination for up to seven days without any additional fees.

It’s a page taken from Icelandair which also introduced an extended stopover program as a way to bring more tourists to the isolated nation.

The strategy was hailed by CN Traveler magazine as transformative, having “changed the face of Iceland’s tourism industry forever.”

The tie-in also reinforces the image of Icelandair and Air Canada as flagship carriers for their respective countries.

Air Canada’s extended stopover program is available to travelers whose flights originate out of 50 cities in the US, and connect through Toronto to Asia and Europe.

air canada boeing 777 300er

St Lucia

United Airlines will add flights to Caribbean

St Lucia

For those tired of braving the winter cold and snow this year, United Airlines is adding new flights to two Caribbean destinations.

THE 5 TOP FIRST CLASS AIRLINE AMENITY KITS

The airline will begin a non-stop service from Newark to St. Kitts starting December 19, in addition to a service from Chicago to St. Lucia. Both flights will operate on a weekly basis on Saturdays until April.

The two flights add to United’s existing service from Newark to St. Lucia, which it operates year-round on Saturdays.

The airline plans to double this service, with a new round-trip flight on Sundays running from December 20 to May 1.

 

lost luggage

American Airlines launches live baggage tracking service

lost luggage

American Airlines is the newest carrier adding free live baggage tracking. Travelers are now able to follow their bag’s journey online, from check-in to arrival carousel, via the AA tracking site.

To use, passengers input their name and record locator or bag tag number on the tracking site. The information relays the bag’s location in real-time.

American Airlines isn’t the first to offer an online bag-tracking service.

Delta and US Airways (now part of American Airlines) were among the first to let flyers follow the status of their bag. Air France-KLM has also developed a bag tracking solution with permanent, reusable electronic tags that are affixed inside and outside the bag.

Passengers can track their bags in real time via their smartphones, thanks to GPS, GSM and Bluetooth technology.

Before year’s end, the Tumi Global Locator tracking device is also set to hit the market. The smartphone-enabled app allows flyers to follow the status of their bag regardless of airline.

Tumi Global Locator photo

How to fly on a Star Wars-themed jet

Japan’s flagship carrier ANA has unveiled the first of their three Star Wars-themed jets, with the fuselage of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner repainted in the image of the world’s favorite non-speaking, beeping Android, R2-D2.

For Star Wars fans traveling between Japan and the US, Europe, Australia and Asia this fall, here are the numbers and the date to note: On October 18, the R2-D2 ANA jet will begin service on international routes, beginning with flight NH116, between Tokyo’s Haneda airport and Vancouver.

The aircraft will then expand to other routes that include Tokyo to Seattle, San Jose, Paris, Brussels, Munich, Sydney, Beijing and Jakarta.

ANA's Star Wars jet

In addition to blasting off into, albeit, subspace, on an R2-D2 jet, passengers will live out a uniquely Star Wars experience aboard the aircraft, which will be decked out nose to tail in themed decorations, from headrest covers, paper napkins, cups, and in-flight entertainment.

In fact, for the first time, all six Star Wars films will be available on board.

Over the weekend, the newly painted R2-D2 jet made its first public appearance in Seattle, rolling out of the hangar to the Star Wars soundtrack, accompanied by a small army of protective Stormtroopers.

STAR WARS JET

Two additional planes decorated with BB-8, a new character from the upcoming “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” film due out in December, and a Star Wars-themed plane featuring characters on either side of the fuselage, will also enter service.

The BB-8 jet is scheduled to launch in spring, serving international routes primarily between Japan and North America, while the Star Wars jet will take to the skies in November, flying domestic routes within Japan.

Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman named Qantas global ambassador

Hugh Jackman

Oscar-nominated Australian actor Jackman, famous around the world for his role as Wolverine in the ‘X-Men’ franchise is aiming to raise both Australia and its national flag carrier.

As well as fronting campaigns, in his new role as Qantas global ambassador, Jackman will be working on a number of community-based projects and has indicated that he hopes he can convince as many Americans as possible to go and visit his homeland.

“I travel a lot and like all Aussie’s, I get a buzz whenever I see the familiar red tail and the kangaroo logo, no matter where I am in the world. Jackman said. “Qantas has always had a vital role in promoting Australia as a tourism destination and I am looking forward to playing my part as we work together to showcase our amazing cities, landscapes and experiences in the USA, Asia and beyond.”

Uzbekistan Airlines

Uzbekistan Airways plans to weigh passengers

Uzbekistan Airlines

Plump passengers beware! The national airline of Uzbekistan says it has begun weighing those travelling along with their carry-on luggage.

The isolated Central Asian state’s carrier said that it had introduced the new regulations out of concern for “flight safety”.

“According to the rules of International Air Transport Association, airlines are obliged as a rule to weigh passengers with their hand baggage to ensure flight safety,” Uzbekistan Airlines said in a statement.

The International Air Transport Association has, however, denied knowledge of such a regulation. The airline took the statement down from its website following a storm of media interest.

There are very few airlines that weigh humans in addition to baggage at check-in.

One other exception is the Pacific island of Samoa, where obesity is rampant and the country’s national carrier has introduced extra-large seats.

Panama city

Emirates announces ‘world’s longest’ flight to Panama

Panama city

Dubai’s Emirates Airline announced Thursday it will launch the world’s “longest non-stop flight” in February from the bustling Gulf emirate to Panama City, lasting more than 17 hours.

The carrier will fly daily to Panama’s capital in a passenger flight operated by a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft which can also carry up to 15 tonnes of cargo, Emirates said in a statement.

The flight between the two trading hubs will last 17 hours and 35 minutes, making Panama the airline’s first destination in Central America, it said.

Currently, the longest flights connect Dallas to Sidney (almost 17 hours), Johannesburg to Atlanta (16 hours 40 minutes), and Dubai to Los Angeles (16 hours 35 minutes).

Previously, the longest flight, lasting almost 19 hours linked Singapore and New York, operated by Singapore Airlines.

But it was suspended in 2013 in a bid to cut costs.

Emirates operates a fleet of 235 aircraft, serving 147 destinations in 81 countries. The airline has the world’s largest fleets of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s, with another 274 planes on order worth $135 billion.

Men in Black Air New Zealand

All Blacks star in Air New Zealand safety video

Men in Black Air New Zealand

The All Blacks have joined up with Air New Zealand in a new safety video that takes inspiration from the Men in Black film franchise.

AIR NEW ZEALAND NAMED BEST AIRLINE OF THE YEAR

Posted on Facebook, the video reproduces the style and humor of the famous 1997 movie, including the appearance of the memorable pug and the egg-shaped chairs — markers that passengers will undoubtedly recognize and enjoy while remaining attentive to the security guidelines.

The Air New Zealand spot stars Israel Dagg, Kieran Read, Keven Mealamu, Samuel Whitlock, Dan Carter and Richie McCaw.

The players are accompanied by Australian New Zealander artist Stan Walker, winner of “Australian Idol.” Actor Rip Torn, who played the role of Agent Z in the original film, also stars as the same character.

The short film will be screened in all planes of the airline’s fleet.

Air New Zealand is not the first airline to modernize in-flight safety procedures. In the spring, Air France launched its own spot under the new slogan “France is in the air,” full of humor and French glamour.

Ryanair Facebook fans faces

Ryanair wants your face on its planes

Ryanair Facebook fans faces

To mark its 30th birthday, low-cost carrier Ryanair has launched a new publicity stunt that involves emblazoning the faces of 30 flyers on the fuselage of the company’s Boeing 737 aircraft.

The tagline sums up the idea in two tidy sentences: “Your face on a plane. It’s a dream you never knew you had until now.”

Because aside from Hello Kitty, Tintin, hobbits and dwarves, few others can boast bragging rights to having had their face blown up to aircraft proportions and flown 35,000 feet in the air.

To enter, participants must write a short blurb explaining why they should be chosen to grace one of 30 Boeing 737s in 500 characters.

Winners will see a decal of their face, name and signature plastered on a plane for up to six months.

The Ryanair contest closes August 31. Winners will be announced September 1. Images will be applied before January 31, 2016.

Future airline seats

Do You Like These New Airline Seats?

It’s only a proposal, an “exploratory concept” that would force flyers to face each other in-flight. But already, the patent is drawing the ire of the Internet with critics using words like “nightmarish,” “horrifying” and “evil” to describe the reimagined cabin configuration.

Because in its designs for the Economy Class Cabin Hexagon, French firm Zodiac Seats proposes turning the middle seat around so that flyer is forced to face his or her seatmates throughout the entire flight.

The logic? Reconfiguring the cabin’s traditional forward-facing rows into an hexagonal design would add 30 additional seats, eliminate fights for the elbow rest and give passengers up to four more inches of legroom.

But the idea of having to spend the duration of a flight trying awkwardly to avoid eye contact with seatmates is enough to draw howls of protest and indignation from the Internet.

Future airline seats

In fairness, the proposal is meant for short-haul flights. But that doesn’t seem to dull the reactions to having to look seatmates in the eye.

“Evil plane seat design would ruin whatever good remains of air travel,” writes The Verge, for example, which pulls out all the stops in describing the plan, calling it everything from “nightmarish” and “dystopian.”

Furthermore, the concept would exponentially increase the potential for “rampant butt touching,” they point out.

But could a plan for aft-facing airplane seats really be any worse than bicycle-saddle seats?

Because last year, a similar scenario played out on the Internet when we got wind of another patent that proposed turning traditional seats into bike-style saddles to cram more people onto the plane.

The seat was described as a “torture device” and “terrifying” and “painful.”

SWISS Boeing 777-300ERs

Swiss Air takes luxury to new heights

SWISS Boeing 777-300ERs

From January, when its new Boeing 777-300ERs join its fleet, Swiss Air will become the first airline to offer passengers a host of industry firsts.

EMIRATES LAUNCHES LUXURY PRIVATE JET SERVICE

SWISS Boeing 777-300ERs first class

Chief among them will be the largest (32-inch) individual screens for first class travelers alongside individual wardrobes, electrically operated window blinds and furniture that moves to create what the airline describes as individual suites for each traveler.

SWISS Boeing 777-300ERs first class dinner

Business Class customers will get seats that can be adjusted cushion by cushion for comfort and that recline flat to the same length as a standard bed.

SWISS Boeing 777-300ERs first class bed

Economy passengers will get individual touchscreens and a self-service drinks and snacks kiosk to complement the on-board service.

Swiss International Air Lines SWISS Business

Cowshed Amenities Kits

Cowshed, United Airlines Team Up For Amenities Kits

Cowshed Amenities Kits

Those flying United Global First and United Business First on long-haul international flights to and from the US will enjoy products from the UK spa brand Cowshed as of August.

The products will be offered in the shower facilities of United Club lounges in Chicago, Newark, Houston, Hong Kong, London and Tokyo.

DON’T MISS: THE 5 TOP FIRST CLASS AIRLINE AMENITY KITS

The Global First kit contains the Chamomile Refreshing Toner Towelette, Jasmin Toning Eye Balm Sachet, Lippy Cow lip balm, Cow Pat Hand Cream and Quinoa Face Cream.

In the Business First kit passengers will find the towelette, Lippy Cow and hand cream. Socks, an eye mask, tissue, ear plugs, a hand sanitizer, a toothbrush and dental floss are also included in both kits.