Tag Archives: airlines

The Residence living area Etihad A380

Etihad Wins Award for Inflight Experience

The launch of a luxurious, 3-bedroom apartment aboard Etihad Airways has been named the top in-flight experience by a group of aviation experts who make it their job to keep tabs on the evolution of air travel.

In their list of top 10 ‘Up in the Air’ passenger experience stories of 2014, editors at Future Travel Experience named Etihad’s The Residence the most popular in-flight story of the year.

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

The Residence living area Etihad A380

In May, Etihad Airways gave the world a preview of its newest innovation, a sumptuous flying hotel suite aboard its A380 aircraft that has been touted as the gold standard in luxury flying.

In addition to a living room space, bedroom, and en-suite bathroom — complete with shower, the deal also comes with a personal ‘Jeeves’ butler.

Etihad Airways residence class bedroom photo

After The Residence, experts said that personalized customer service is poised to change the in-flight travel landscape via technology and big data.

In recent years, airlines such as Emirates, Delta, British Airways, Iberia, KLM and Eva Air for instance, have equipped their cabin crews with tablets, allowing flight attendants to access passenger flight information such as loyalty status, in-flight buying habits, food and wine preferences.

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand named best airline of the year 2015

Air New Zealand

For the second year in a row, airline experts have pronounced Air New Zealand the world’s best airline.

The editorial team at Airlineratings.com lauded the Kiwi carrier for its record of operational safety and in-flight innovations, notably for its Skycouch seating which can transform three economy seats into a couch, ideal for couples or families with a young child.

DON’T MISS: AIRLINE LOUNGES – WHO HAS THE BEST?

Air New Zealand's Skycouch seating

Experts also praised the carrier for its young fleet, focus on the environment and motivated staff.

“Air New Zealand has catapulted to the top tier of the industry and while it may be 50th in size in global rankings it is one of the most awarded,” said Airlineratings.com’s editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas.

“Air New Zealand is an airline of first choice and given the airline’s location and the country’s size, its performance is extraordinary.”

DON’T MISS: TOP 10 PERFORMING INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES

The airline also raised the bar in in-flight safety videos and became an industry-wide trendsetter when it enlisted orcs, hobbits and elves to help explain how to don oxygen masks in 2012.

Its cheeky twist on an otherwise mundane aspect of air travel spurred other airlines to jazz up their in-flight videos with musical and dance routines and animations.

The company’s latest in-flight safety video also features cameos from Gandalf, Sir Peter Jackson and Elijah Wood.

The carrier also won Best Premium Economy Class.

Here are the winners of the Airline Excellence Awards 2015:

Best First Class: Etihad Airways
Best Business Class: Cathay Pacific Airways
Best Economy: Thai Airways
Best Lounges, Best Catering, Best Domestic Service: Qantas
Best In-Flight Entertainment: Emirates
Best New World Carrier, Best Cabin Crew: Virgin Australia

Best Long Haul Airline:
Etihad (Middle East/Africa)
Eva Air (Asia/Pacific)
Lufthansa (Europe)
Lan Chile (The Americas)

Best Low Cost Airline:
jetBlue (The Americas)
Scoot (Asia/Pacific)
Kulula (Middle-East/Africa)
Norwegian (Europe)

Hello Kitty plane

“Hello Kitty” flight heads to Paris

Hello Kitty plane

The Taiwanese airline Eva Air partnered with the Japanese owners of the  licence to create the world’s most adorable airplane.

Since September 2013, Eva Air has flown three Hello Kitty flights per week between Taipei and Los Angeles.

To give more fans a chance to try out the experience, and to celebrate the cute charater’s 40th birthday, the airline will begin operating its Hello Kitty plane between Paris and Taipei this fall.

DON’T MISS: LADURÉE X HELLO KITTY

Hello Kitty plane Flight attendants

Before boarding, passengers can admire a family of Sanrio characters on the plane’s exterior. On the inside, the headrests and pillows are adorned with the face of the bow-wearing icon.

Flight attendants wear pink aprons with the same cute whiskers. The meal trays have also been customized to match the theme.

In the lavatories, the soaps and lotions are also branded Hello Kitty. Of course, the character’s most devout fans will have the chance to take home a few goodies.

SEE ALSO: WORLD’S BIGGEST HELLO KITTY UNVEILED

hello kitty air jet

From October 29, three Hello Kitty flights per week will be offered between Taipei and Paris. Reservations are already open. Prices start at €802.

Eva Air and Sanrio also operate other Hello Kitty flights within Asia. A total of five planes have been decked out to delight fans of the character.

Flight Attendant business class

Top 15 Ways to Get Upgraded on a Flight

Flight Attendant business class

Be nice. Get mad. Be early. Be late. These are some of the contradictory tips travelers have to offer when it comes to trying to score a free flight upgrade.

In a recent report out of Skyscanner, 61 percent of flight attendants said they’ve bumped flyers up from economy to premium class cabins, giving preference to well-dressed passengers, those with frequent flyer status, and good manners.

Readers of the same site offered their own tips on how to score a free upgrade based on their own experiences.

DON’T MISS: THE WORLD’S BEST-DRESSED CABIN CREW

Here are 15 ways to get up front according to Skyscanner readers:

1. Travel off-peak

With more empty seats upfront, you increase your odds of filling one yourself.

2. “Spend lots of money”

Passengers who pay up the nose for their economy seat are more likely to be pitied by ticketing agents and score a free upgrade than those who got a deal.

3. Rack up points

Flyers with even the basic airline membership will be given preference over passengers who don’t have a loyalty card.

4. Be early

There are different camps for this one. In the first, some flyers say that checking in early increases your odds of scoring the last remaining seats in first class. Continue reading for the second school of thought.

5. Be late

It’s a bit of a gamble but some readers suggest that checking in late increases your odds of being bumped — but only if the stars align. For example, you have to hope that the flight is overbooked in economy, which would mean being bumped to first class. All depends on how much of a risk-taker you are.

6. Stay connected

Airlines will contact flyers offering upgrades on the day of departure if the flight is overbooked.

7. Throw a tantrum

Again, this can either work for or against you. Some readers say throwing a fit and getting angry can yield results — but only when the fit is within reason. Use with discretion.

8. Get sad

Skyscanner calls it emotional blackmail. Again, use with caution.

9. Be nice

One reader tells the tale of how he happily swapped seats with a man who wanted to sit with his wife. A flight attendant rewarded his good deed by seating him in business class.

10. Ditch the sweats, don the good threads

There is a certain cachet to being seated in business class. So if you want to increase your odds of  joining this elite group of flyers, dress the part. Because you can be sure that tracksuits will derail any chances of being bumped.

11. How charming are you?

If you’re a smooth talker, here’s where you need to turn it on. Some readers say throwing a compliment to check-in staff and cabin crew can go a long way — all the way up to the front of the plane.

12. Get a diplomatic passport — or marry one

Right. Well, more doable for some than others, readers say that a diplomatic passport is your passport to premium travel.

13. “Supersize yourself”

Again, questionable, but given the controversies brewing concerning overweight passengers, some readers suggest that those who are too fat to fit in economy seats increase their odds of being bumped to roomier seats upfront.

14. Befriend airline employees

They’re your best bet to getting behind the business class curtain.

15. Don’t ask

Check-in staff are unlikely to reward passengers who ask for a free upgrade. But those who are pleasant and solicit nothing may increase their odds of a bump up front.

Cathay Pacific Airways First class

Cathay Pacific to serve Mandarin Oriental menus

Cathay Pacific Airways First class

 has teamed up with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group to offer inflight menus to first class passengers on the Hong Kong to London route.

Until October 31, carte blanche will be given to Uwe Opocensky from Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong.

DON’T MISS: 6 AIRLINES WITH CELEBRITY CHEFS ONBOARD

cathay pacific first class terrine

First class passengers traveling to London will be able to try foie gras terrine, truffles, organic chicken and beef accompanied by crabmeat and caviar.

Dean Yasharian from Bar Boulud of London’s Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park will then take over until December 31.

cathay pacific first class sirloin

He will offer the privileged passengers, between London and Hong Kong, duck liver, British beef slowly braised in a red wine sauce accompanied by mashed parsnips, and sole fillets with lemon and grenobloise sauce.

SEE ALSO: CATHAY PACIFIC “NOODLES OF ASIA” CONTEST

cathay pacific first class banana split

An increasing number of airlines have recently been joining forces with great chefs to offer gourmet dishes to their business and first class passengers.

British Airways Paws And Relax

British Airways launches cute animals TV channel

British Airways Paws And Relax

 has exhausted every last cat and dog pun to launch its latest in-flight entertainment program, which will use man’s best friends in the aim of getting passengers to “paws and relax.”

That’s the name of the airline’s latest in-flight channel, which will become available on long-haul flights beginning in September.

DON’T MISS: BA LAUNCHING VIDEO FOR NERVOUS FLYERS

“Paws and Relax TV came when we were doing some research into different types of content that will help our customers to relax and enjoy their flight,” said Richard D’Cruze in the YouTube video below.

“And we discovered some scientific research that proves watching images of cute animals can actually lower your heart rate and reduce stress levels.”

The line-up includes shows like the animated “Simon’s Cat,” “Secret Life of Cats” and “America’s Cutest Dog.”

Cat in the hat

And for the frequent flying pooches, Virgin Australia recently expanded its loyalty program to pets!

 

Etihad welcomes 100th aircraft

Infographic: 100 Interesting Facts From Around The World

Etihad welcomes 100th aircraft

Last week,  celebrated a milestone when it took delivery of its 100th and 101st aircraft on the same day.

The new Airbus A321-231 and the Airbus A320-200 marked the airline’s place in commercial aviation history as the fasted growing airline.

To celebrate launching its 100th aircraft, the airline released 100 fun facts to highlight the amazing destinations that are available through Etihad.

The USA

Los Angeles moves about a quarter of an inch to the east every year
Montana has three times as many cows as it does people
There are almost 19,000 restaurants in Manhattan (enough for a diner to eat at a different address every day for 52 years).

Thailand

Bangkok is sinking at a rate of 2 to 5 cm a year
Bangkok is the world’s most visited city
Bangkok is also the world’s hottest city

France

More than 300 kinds of cheeses are made in France
There are about 40,000 castles, manors and palaces across the country
Paris has about 8,000 cafes with outdoor seating

Japan

The country consists of more than 6,800 islands
Japan has more than 50,000 centenarians
About 90% of mobile phones are waterproof, because youngsters use them even in the shower

Italy

Italy has more hotel rooms than any other country in Europe, with more than 33,557 hotels in all
The country has more than 500 types of pasta
The Trevi Fountain in Rome is a treasure trove: every day, visitors throw $4,071 into the fountain — or $1.5 million a year

100 facts from around the world

Lufthansa boeing 747

Which is Europe’s best airline?

Lufthansa boeing 747

Lufthansa has been named Europe’s leading airline for the 7th time. It’s also the 4th year in a row that Germany’s flagship airline has taken the award at the World Travel Awards Europe, which this year took place in Athens.

One of the features that sets Lufthansa apart from its rivals is the fact that the airline boasts the largest internet-enabled, long-haul fleet in the world, with 91 percent of its long-haul planes outfitted with wifi.

Lufthansa was also named Best Western European Airline and Best Transatlantic Airline at the World Airline Awards  last month in London.

SEE ALSO: LUFTHANSA OFFERS NEW FIRST CLASS CABIN

For the World Travel Awards, 230,000 votes were cast by travel and hospitality professionals around the world.

Other major winners in the airline category include British Airways, which took the title of Europe’s leading airline to Asia; Virgin Atlantic Airways in the category of Europe’s leading airline to North America; and easyJet, for Europe’s leading low-cost carrier.

SEE ALSO: THE WORLD’S BEST FREQUENT TRAVELER PROGRAMS

The continent’s leading airport, meanwhile, is the Zurich Airport in Switzerland.

Cathay Pacific 777 300ER

Cathay Pacific Airways named world’s best airline

Cathay Pacific 777 300ER

More than 18 million travelers have spoken, and they’ve voted Hong Kong’s flagship carrier  the world’s best airline!.

Airline passengers from 160 countries participated in the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards and helped Cathay bump last year’s winner, Emirates, from the top spot. Cathay also took the title in 2003, 2005 and 2009.

Emirates took a tumble to 4th place, coming in after  and SINGAPORE AIRLINES which came in second and third place respectively.

Of note: The top 10 list is absent of any North American airlines and is dominated by Middle Eastern and Asian carriers.

Cathay Pacific Airways First class

One reviewer on the Skytrax airline review forum gave Cathay a perfect score for his “exceptional” flight between Hong Kong and London that included a solid six hours of slumber in comfortable seats and a “superb” in-flight menu that featured lamb shoulder confit.

“Overall a great journey and my new favourite airline for business class.”

Over the last four years, the carrier has invested $4.9 billion HK ($632 million USD) in cabin makeovers.

SEE ALSO: CATHAY TO SERVE RESTAURANT MEALS IN THE SKY

Cathay Pacific Airways long haul business class

Passengers traveling first class enjoy seats that can transform into lie-flat beds with thicker mattresses, and luxury Ermenegildo Zegna amenity kits for men and Trussardi amenity bags for women.

Seats in economy class have also been refurbished with a cradle mechanism in the seatback that allows for a six-inch recline. That translates to more legroom and overall space.

Seats come with personal touchscreen TVs, power supplies for charging portable devices and extra storage space.

SEE ALSO: THE BEST FLIGHT ATTENDANTS ARE FROM ASIA

Cathay Pacific Airways economy class

Here are the World’s Top 10 airlines, as voted by flyers between August 2013 and May 2014:

1. Cathay Pacific Airways
2. Qatar Airways
3. Singapore Airlines
4. Emirates
5. Turkish Airlines
6. ANA All Nippon Airways
7. Garuda Indonesia
8. Asiana Airlines
9. Etihad Airways
10. Lufthansa

Air France private jet line

Air France rolls out private jet service

Air France private jet line

Air France has teamed with the charter flight operator Wijet to offer a new service to clients flying in its top-of-the-range La Première class.

From the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport or another location in Europe, passengers have the option of continuing their journey aboard a private jet.

Each  private jet has an intimate cabin furnished with just four roomy leather club chairs. Two of them can recline to 140° to allow passengers to fully relax during the flight.

Personal storage space, folding tables and spacious luggage ensure the utmost comfort level for high-end clients, who can enjoy alcoholic beverages, pastries or boxed lunches aboard the flight regardless of the time of day.

The private jets will serve 1,200 airports located within a range of two and a half hours from Paris, both in France and elsewhere in Europe.

Clients of the service are free to choose their own departure time and can take advantage of simplified pre-flight procedures.

There is no need to go through the check-in process, and boarding takes place as soon as the passengers arrive. Upon reaching their final destination, clients can step off the plane with their luggage without delays.

This new service is available starting at €2,400, including taxes and fees to reserve the entire jet for a round trip to or from Paris-Charles de Gaulle. The return flight must be made within two days after the outgoing trip.

Travelers can book their trip using the standard reservation methods or through the dedicated La Première customer hotline.

vertical garden and green wall at singapore airport

A portrait of air travel in 2024

vertical garden and green wall at singapore airport

Holographic airport staff, zen airports with waterfalls, yoga classes and no more check-in desks are among some of the predictions made in a report that aims to paint a portrait of air travel in 2024.

In its latest installment of “The Future of Travel 2024,” Skyscanner experts gazed into their crystal ball and looked at how technology will transform the flight experience in 10 years’ time.

For starters, according to the report flyers can look forward to the elimination of check-in desks and long lines, as smartphone-enabled, automated self-service technologies mean they’ll be able to check their baggage at any drop-off point, including Starbucks or McDonald’s.

Technological advancements should also result in a reduction of lost luggage, as flyers will be able to track their suitcases via the internet and their smartphones with digital tags.

Digital baggage tags have already entered the travel market with carriers like British Airways and Air France-KLM playing with different prototypes which interact with passengers’ smartphones.

By 2024, the evolution of smart technology also means that devices will “speak to each other,” so that a suitcase may be able to let the hotel concierge know if a guest forgot to bring a toothbrush and may need a replacement.

Biometric data cards that use facial recognition will also replace passports and expedite lines, allowing low-risk passengers to pass quickly through security, the report predicts, while customs and immigration officers will use facial recognition software that can be used to flag down potential troublemakers and assess people’s emotions.

Airports will turn into Aerovilles

The airports of the future will follow the lead of innovative, award-winning industry leaders such as Singapore’s Changi airport and aim to make air travel less stressful with the installation of art galleries, gardens, indoor parks, 3D cinemas and yoga retreats.

This summer, the Helsinki Airport in Finland piloted a yoga and pilates program allowing travelers to find zen before boarding their flight.

Airport shopping and dining will also enter the “phygital,” where travelers will move through an interactive environment, allowing them to order food off virtual restaurant menu walls by scanning QR codes on their smartphones and make instant purchases of duty-free perfumes, bags and wines which would then be delivered to them wherever they may be in the airport.

These last predictions are based on experiments already being conducted by retailers like British supermarket chain Tesco, which tested a virtual grocery store wall in subway stations in South Korea, allowing busy commuters to grocery shop via QR codes while waiting for their train.

Likewise, similar concepts are in place at India’s New Delhi airport where shoppers can buy luxury goods with the swipe of their phones.

New haptic technology — tactile feedback technology that recreates the sense of touch with vibrations, force and motions — will also allow passengers to feel and smell the products before buying.

And should a flyer be dawdling at the duty-free area, a holographic airport staff member will appear at their side to remind them that their flight is boarding.

The next chapter in Skyscanner’s future of travel report will look at destinations and hotels in 2024.

La Compagnie

New business-class airline takes off

La Compagnie

A new all-business class airline is set to take off next month with daily flights that will shuttle jetsetters between Paris and New York.

Pitched as a premium transatlantic service with competitive pricing, the Boeing 757-200, which can hold 230 passengers, has been modified to fit 74 seats.

Flyers will be given Samsung Galaxy Pro 12-inch tablet for their in-flight entertainment and fed by Michelin-starred French chef Christophe Langrée.

Passengers flying La Compagnie will depart Paris Charles de Gaulle airport at 5:50 pm, and arrive the same day at Newark airport at 8:30 pm.

Flights out of New York, meanwhile, depart at 9:45 pm and arrive the next day in Paris 11:30 am.

La Compagnie flight attendants

Amenities like face and eye creams and lip balm are supplied by Caudalie, a French ‘vinotherapy’ skin care line based on the antioxidant properties of grape seed polyphenols

La Compagnie is hoping to succeed where others have failed. Eos, Maxjet and Silverjet also launched with the similar goal of running as transatlantic business class-only airlines, and all were eventually grounded.

Though La Compagnie has yet to launch, airline pundits have already been quick to point out a glaring deficit: the fact that seats are angled-flat seats, a potential deal-breaker given that Air France recently unveiled a new La Premiere cabin featuring four private suites with flat beds.

Similarly, British Airways’ OpenSkies runs premium flights between New York and Paris that feature lie-flat beds at rates for as low as $1,120 USD.

La Compagnie is launching a special promotional offer of €1,776 for two people, good for return flights between July 11 and September 5. Bookings must be made before Aug. 15. For more information, visit lacompagnie.com.

in-flight menu for Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines intros summer menu by Hiroki Yoshitake

Hiroki Yoshitake, chef at the Parisian restaurant Sola, has created a new in-flight menu for Japan Airlines.

 in-flight menu for Japan Airlines

Through August 31, first-class and business passengers on Japan Airlines will enjoy meals by the chef and co-owner of Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris.

In first class, caviar, smoked salmon and beef tenderloin are among the high-end dishes travelers will enjoy. Business class passengers, meanwhile, will savor foie gras mousse and sauteed lobster, among other offerings.

Passengers can end their meal on a sweet note with a light tropical fruit cream, a bergamot-infused milk chocolate mousse and a light cookie.

The new menu is available only to passengers in these two classes on flights between Paris and the airlines’s Japanese destinations.

In September, Japan Airlines will introduce a new fall menu from Shinichi Sato, the chef at the Parisian restaurant Passage 53, accompanied by a dessert course from pastry chef Jean-Paul Hévin.

Hiroki Yoshitake

Japan Airlines is among a growing number of carriers who collaborate with world-class chefs to meet the gourmet expectations of high-end travelers.

Air France, for example, has called upon French celebrity chefs Joël Robuchon and Guy Martin, among others. The German chef Joachim Wissler, boasting three Michelin stars, has put together menus for Lufthansa.

Boeing 757 230 LAvion

New all-business class airline taking off next month

Dreamjet, the latest newcomer to transatlantic air travel, is slated to launch its first flights this June. One detail makes this new airline unique: only business class seats are offered.

Dreamjet will begin operating flights between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Newark, NJ in late June. Dreamjet flights will have a single cabin with 80 seats in a Business Class configuration, and the fares are expected to be lower than those of traditional airlines.

Boeing 757 230 LAvion

The new venture is co-led by the founder of L’Avion, an airline launched with a similar-all business class model in 2007. Purchased one year later by British Airways, L’Avion was merged into the UK brand’s OpenSkies division, which operates with a more traditional three-class configuration.

Reservations for Dreamjet’s first flights are expected to open in early June.

Air France luxury first class seat 2014

Air France unveils luxury first-class seat

Air France luxury first class seat 2014

 has unveiled its new first-class section in Shanghai, fuelling an international luxury-seating race to win over Asia’s rising number of high fliers

The airline’s “haute couture” suite will feature a seat that reclines into a bed stretching 2.01 metres long and 77 centimetres across (6 ft 7 ins and 30 inches) — one of the most spacious in the world.

A total of 76 of the seats will be fitted into the airline’s 19 Boeing 777-300 jets at a cost of 50 million euros, the company said as it showed off the new offering in an expenses-paid trip for journalists to China’s commercial hub.

Air travel in Asia is set to take off as growing middle classes take to the skies, prompting increasing competition for well-heeled passengers, and industry expert Didier Brechemier, of the Roland Berger Strategy consultancy, said that “first class is a tool in terms of image”.

The Residence living area Etihad A380

The launch came days after the Emirati airline Etihad revealed a first-class sofa that converts into a bed extending 2.04 metres long and 66 centimetres wide, which will go into Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 planes.

Singapore Airlines currently boasts the most spacious first-class seat, which it revealed in July last year at 2.08 metres by 90 centimetres.

Singapore Airlines First Class bed

First class occupies just a sliver of the air-travel market, with Air France’s 52,000 such customers a year representing an occupancy rate of 38%, 0.3% of total long-haul passengers and 1.8% of long-haul revenue, said Bruno Matheu, head of Air France’s passenger business.

But with return ticket prices averaging $12,500 across the company’s network the luxury seats are highly profitable and they “generate more revenue than if we filled that space with economy or business-class seats”.

Etihad Airways residence class bedroom photo

Etihad Airways unveils new luxury hotel-style cabins

Etihad Airways residence class bedroom photo

Etihad Airways has raised the bar in luxury travel with the launch of a new three-room apartment that comes with an en-suite shower, double bed and personal butler.

Called ‘The Residence,’ Etihad has transformed part of its A380 upper deck into a luxurious flying hotel suite that offers a trio of compartments including a living room space, bedroom and en-suite bathroom, complete with shower.

Residence private bathroom Etihad A380

A personal ‘Jeeves,’ trained at the Savoy Butler Academy in London, is also on hand to cater to guest whims, while a concierge team will look after passengers’ travel experience from ground transport to cuisine and amenities.

The Residence living area Etihad A380

One rung down from The Residence is the airline’s First Apartment class, private suites that come with reclining armchairs and full-length beds, as well as a chilled minibar and personal vanity unit and wardrobe. The same concept is also available on the airline’s B787 aircraft, pitched as First Suites.

lobby Etihad residence lounge

Meanwhile Qatar Airways is expected to launch later this month a new all-business class flight from Doha to London that will accommodate 40 passengers on a single-aisle A319.

Etihad cabin The Residence

Swiss International Air Lines

Swiss becomes the first “allergy-friendly” airline

Swiss International Air Lines

Swiss International Air Lines has announced that it’s become the world’s first certified “allergy-friendly” airline.

Beginning next month, the carrier says it will begin rolling out new products and services to improve the flying experience for allergy sufferers, ranging from the in-flight menu to cabin modifications.

While most commercial airlines already offer gluten-free and lactose-free meal options, Swiss has gone a step further in becoming certified by the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation.

In addition to allergy sufferers, consumers with food intolerances and flyers following strict dietary regimes will be able to request gluten-free snacks and meals, as well as lactose-free alternatives like coffee cream and chocolate.

In the cabin, First and Business Class passengers will be offered pillows stuffed with synthetic materials instead of the sneeze-inducing down-filled kind.

The airline will also eliminate decorative flowers and air fresheners, while on-board toilets will now be stocked with soaps that are gentler on the skin.

Allergy-friendly cabins could be seen as an in-flight extension of a hotel trend: hypoallergenic rooms.

Select properties under the Hyatt brands offer hypoallergenic rooms that feature in-room filtration systems to remove air particles and microfiber pillow cases. Surfaces are also treated with bacteria-inhibiting sanitizers.

Japan Airlines

Top 10 performing international airlines

Japan Airlines has emerged as the most reliable carrier in the world, posting the best on-time performance.

Japan Airlines

After collecting real-time flight status information of the top 200 airlines in the world, Flightstats.com came up with a ranking that puts the Japanese carrier at the top of the heap: of the 129,300 flights tracked, in 2013, Japan Airlines posted a 93% on-time departure rate and an 89% on-time arrival rate.

For the report, on-time performance for departures was defined as leaving within 15 minutes of the scheduled time, while arrivals had to come in within 14 minutes of the scheduled time to qualify.

To be considered in the report, published earlier this month, carriers must rank in the top 60 worldwide in terms of capacity and data tracking must be available on 90 percent of scheduled flights.

JAL Cabin Crew

Here are the Top 10 performing international airlines:

1. Japan Airlines
2. KLM
3. ANA
4. Iberia
5. SAS
6. Saudi Arabian Airlines
7. Delta Air Lines
8. Air New Zealand
9. Lufthansa
10. Korean Air Lines

Here are the regional winners:

North America: Alaska Airlines
Europe Major Airline: KLM
Asia-Pacific Major Airline: Japan Airlines
Middle East and Africa Major Airline: Gulf Air
South America Major Airline: Copa Airlines (Panama)
Low-cost airline: Thai AirAsia

All business class jet launched by Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways has announced plans to launch a new all-business class flight from Doha to London that will be reserved exclusively for their top-tier flyers.

Qatar Airways all business class flight cabin

When the daily service is launched in May, there will be no curtain dividers to separate the cabins as everyone aboard the A319 aircraft will be a business class passenger.

The single-aisle aircraft is configured to seat 40 passengers in a two-by-two configuration, and seats recline fully into flat beds.

Qatar Airways all business class cabin

Passengers will have access to the airline’s Oryx entertainment system, with more than 900 movies, TV shows, video games and music channels.

And they will also be able to keep in touch with people on the ground, with access to SMS mobile texting GSM and GPRS services.

qatar london heathrow premium lounge airport

While waiting for their flights, passengers booked on to the new service will have access to the Qatar Airways lounge in Heathrow, and the Premium Terminal in Doha.

Launching on May 15, the extra flight will operate a work-friendly schedule, leaving London at 9.55pm, arriving in Doha at 6.40am the following day.

Premium Terminal Doha First Cass Lounge

The service, the first of its kind in the Middle East, is in addition to the five flights currently operated by Qatar Airways to Heathrow.

 

KLM to allow flight payments via Twitter and Facebook

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has announced a new service that allows customers to make seat reservations, book or rebook flights, request excess baggage tags, and pay for all of them using their Twitter or Facebook accounts.

KLM Twitter message

After making their request, customers will be sent a private message on Facebook or Twitter. Flyers can then select their preferred method of payment and complete the transaction. One of 130 dedicated social media service agents then send a confirmation of payment.

Agents field 35,000 queries on Facebook and Twitter from flyers around the world every week. And recently, the airline gained its 5 millionth Facebook fan making KLM the carrier with the most fans in the world.

Meanwhile, KLM also recognized the opportunities presented by professional networking site LinkedIn, when they launched a Meet & Seat program allowing flyers to share their LinkedIn and Facebook profiles with fellow passengers.