Tag Archives: airlines

Emirates A380

Top 20 airlines in the world

Emirates A380

Middle Eastern and Asian carriers have emerged the big winners in a list of the world’s top 20 airlines as decided by flyers from 160 countries.

Emirates took the top spot at the 2013 edition of the Skytrax World Airline Awards held at the Paris Air Show this week, where the Dubai-based carrier succeeded in bumping rival Qatar from a place it’s occupied for the last two years.

The winners are based on more than 18 million customer surveys which measure passenger satisfaction in areas such as check-in, boarding, onboard seat comfort, cabin cleanliness, staff, in-flight dining and entertainment. The awards covered 200 carriers. Here’s how airlines stacked up:

1. Emirates
2. Qatar Airways
3. Singapore Airlines
4. ANA All Nippon Airways
5. Asiana Airlines
6. Cathay Pacific Airways
7. Etihad Airways
8. Garuda Indonesia
9. Turkish Airlines
10. Qantas Airways
11. Lufthansa
12. EVA Air
13.Virgin Australia
14. Malaysia Air
15. Thai Airways
16. Swiss Int’l Air Lines
17. Korean Air
18. Air New Zealand
19. Hainan Airlines
20. Air Canada

For the full ranking of top 100 airlines, visit http://bit.ly/1bRFXa9.

surf air

Airlines offering ‘all-you-can-fly’ subscription services

surf air

Subscription services for extra legroom, increased baggage allowance, and even ‘all-you-can-fly’ programs are making their debuts in the airline industry, in what could become the next trend in flying.

Earlier this week United Airlines launched a new service that would allow subscribers to book seats which offer extra legroom at the front of economy cabins for a flat fee of $500 a year.

Their new baggage subscription service also allows flyers to check up to two bags for free on all United flights for a rate starting at $349 a year. Currently, travelers on domestic flights pay $25 for the first bag and $35 for the second bag. On international routes passengers are allowed to check one bag for free and must pay $100 for their second suitcase.

Meanwhile, Santa Monica-based airline Surf Air has launched an “all-you-can-fly” subscription service that would allow members unlimited flights within the US for a flat rate that starts at $790 a month.

The private jet service is operated on a Pilatus PC-12 with BMW-designed leather interior seats which can accommodate eight passengers.

And in addition to personal concierge services, a monthly subscription entitles members to bring additional guests onboard for free, provided reservations are made two weeks in advance.

To begin, routes serviced will include the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Barbara, and the Los Angeles Metro Area before expanding to to the rest of California and nationwide.

Plane

Flyers name their favorite airlines

Virgin America A320 interior

Virgin America is emerging as a clear favorite within the airline industry, adding another accolade to its belt this year after travelers put the carrier at the top of the heap.

After topping the 2012 Airline Quality Rating report released last month, more than 16,000 readers of US-based publication Consumer Reports likewise gave the carrier top marks for, among other things, its comfy leather seating and in-flight entertainment system.

Some of the more innovative features out of the airline’s entertainment system Red, for example, include a chat service that allows passengers to strike up a virtual conversation with other flyers using the touch screen on their chairback.

Last month, the airline debuted what Richard Branson described as an in-flight flirting service where passengers can now order drinks for their onboard crush using the same system.

Meanwhile, other airlines that got top nods from consumers of the publication include Southwest, which was lauded for its onboard service.

JetBlue also came out ahead for its in-flight entertainment, cabin cleanliness and comfort: seats come with a couple extra inches of legroom compared with other airlines.

At the other end of the spectrum, meanwhile, no-frills carrier Spirit Airlines won the dubious title of receiving one of the lowest overall scores for any company the magazine has ever rated, said Consumer Reports, mainly for tacking on a slew of extra fees such as a $10-$19 booking charge and up to $100 per carry-on bag.

In the Airline Quality Rating, based on figures from the US Department of Transportation, Virgin America posted the strongest performance in baggage handling, at a mishandling rate of 0.87 per 1,000 passengers.

By comparison, American Eagle posted a mishandling rate of 5.8 per 1,000 passengers.

The full report is available in the July issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

Bowers Wilkins 805 Maserati Speakers

Prabal Gurung redesigns All Nippon Airways uniforms

Prabal Gurung

Prabal Gurung is set to design uniforms for around 10,000 All Nippon Airways cabin and ground staff to celebrate the airway’s 60th birthday in 2014.

Famed for dressing celebrities as diverse in the style stakes as Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga, Gurung has built up a dedicated following for his use of modernist prints and clean lines.

Based in New York City, where he previously designed for Bill Blass, Gurung launched his own label in February 2009 and was awarded the runner-up prize at the 2010 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.

Gurung has previously collaborated with Target on a capsule collection, but this is the first time the designer has created a uniform for an airline.

Earlier this month British punk designer Vivienne Westwood unveiled new eco-friendly and sustainably sourced designs for the Virgin Atlantic airline staff.

Emirates Airbus A380 bar

Shisha Lounges Onboard Emirates A380 Fleet

Emirates Airbus A380 bar

A story published Wednesday, May 15, about Emirates airline launching an onboard shisha lounge was incorrect and based on erroneous information. Emirates has no plans to do so. Luxuo regrets the error.

Premium passengers traveling on Dubai-based airline Emirates will be exempt from the no-smoking policy starting next month, when the carrier debuts a shisha lounge on select jumbo jets.

The new service is set to debut on the carrier’s fleet of Airbus A380 aircraft and will be offered to Emirates’ business and first-class passengers.

Passengers can pre-order a shisha — also known as a waterpipe, hubble-bubble, hookah or narghile — from the onboard menu and retire to the lounge for a post-meal smoke beginning in June.

Waterpipes could loosely be described as the Middle Eastern version of the post-dinner cigar, passing flavored tobacco through bubbled water which is then smoked through a pipe and hose.

Emirates says it’s introducing the Signature Shisha Lounge to enrich the flying experience for Middle Eastern passengers, but also to introduce the Arabian custom to foreigners.

branson stewardess

Branson serves as AirAsia stewardess after losing bet

Richard Branson AirAsia

British billionaire Richard Branson strutted his stuff as an AirAsia flight attendant Sunday — complete with fishnet stockings and figure-hugging red pencil skirt.

His star turn on the flight from Australia’s Perth to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur came after he lost a Grand Prix bet with the Malaysian budget carrier’s founder.

Virgin boss Branson agreed with AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes in 2010 that whoever’s Formula One team — then Virgin and Lotus — finished their debut season lower would serve as a stewardess on the other’s airline.

The British tycoon came off worse after Virgin ended 12th in the World Constructors’ Championship, two spots behind Lotus. But his stint as a stewardess was postponed in early 2011 after he injured himself while skiing.

There was no escape on Sunday however, when Branson was recruited to serve coffee, tea and meals on the five-and-a-half-hour flight.

Though he kept his trademark beard, he shaved his legs to show them off in black fishnets beneath his red AirAsia uniform. He topped off the outfit with bright red lipstick, heavy eye make-up and his blonde hair pulled back in a quiff.

Photos from the flight showed him chatting with passengers and serving food to Fernandes, who used to work for Branson in the music industry.

“This has been a real first for me but I have enjoyed the experience,” Branson was quoted as saying in an AirAsia statement. “I’ve always said I’m a man of my word and I’m happy to have finally honoured the bet.”

Branson disembarked in red flat ballet pumps and posed with a handbag for waiting media.

Fernandes said Branson graduated as an AirAsia cabin crew member “with flying colours”.

AirAsia donated part of the money from ticket sales for the flight to a children’s charity in Australia.

Since the original bet was made between Branson and Fernandes, Virgin’s team has been bought by Marussia Motors, while Fernandes’ team has been renamed Caterham. Both of those teams finished 2012 with no points.

branson airasia stewardess

 

Etihad Airways staff

Etihad named top Mideast airline

Etihad Airways aircraft

Etihad Airways emerged a big winner at the Middle East edition of the World Travel Awards this week, sweeping up awards in categories for leading airline, best first class service and top cabin crew.

Held in Dubai, the regional awards for Middle East handed out gongs across dozens of categories recognizing the best in hotels, spas, rental car companies, travel agencies and tourist destinations.

While Etihad took the top prize in airlines, Emirates wasn’t far behind as it also snagged a trio of awards including best airline rewards program, best website and best business class service.

Last year, Etihad Airways was also voted the World’s Leading Airline for the fourth consecutive time and will be looking for a fifth win at the international awards in Las Vegas later this year — an impressive feat given that the airline launched in 2003.

The flagship carrier of the United Arab Emirates also pulled off a strong showing at the Skytrax World Airline Awards last summer, where it took home titles for best first class, best first class seats, and best first class catering.

Recently, the airline partnered with professional networking site LinkedIn to create an interactive mapping tool meant to serve as a power networking service for users traveling through the region.

The airline has also upped the ante in the airline industry launching premium services for passengers that include bringing personal, onboard chefs into its first class cabin, and installing ing-flight showers on their aircraft.

Meanwhile, the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi took the title of Middle East’s Leading Hotel, while Raffles Makkah Palace took the title of leading luxury hotel.

The next regional edition of the World Travel Awards, known as the Oscars of the travel industry, will be the Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony, May 12 in the Maldives.

The grand finale will take place in Las Vegas later this year.

Westwood Branson

Vivienne Westwood redesigns Virgin Atlantic uniform

Vivienne Westwood Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson has hired Dame Vivienne Westwood for a brand new project, designing a range of updated, green uniforms for his Virgin Atlantic staff.

Branson was keen to stress the importance of Virgin’s rock ‘n’ roll ethos when it came to the choice of designer: “when we were choosing the designer for this project, we wanted to work with a group of people who share our spirit of adventure, who believe in challenging the status quo and creating something truly memorable.”

Naturally, the new women’s outfit comes in the classic Virgin red. The double-breasted jacket and pencil skirt are nipped in at the waist, and pleated with a 1940s French couture influence.

Virgin Atlantic uniforms designed by Vivienne Westwood

“My clothes have always got a very strong dynamic rapport with the body — they are very body conscious, they help you to look glamorous, more hourglass, more woman. I design things to help people to hopefully express their personality,” said the designer.

Meanwhile, the men’s looks were influenced by classic British tailoring. Westwood opted for a new version of the three-piece-suit made famous by London’s Saville Row, produced in a rich burgundy with grey shadow details under the pockets.

Most important to Westwood was a commitment to producing the garments (which will be worn by around 7,500 of Virgin’s staff) in a sustainanble and eco-friendly way: “I am always trying to find fabrics that are more friendly to the environment” she asserted.

vivienne westwood virgin

Recycled cabin crew bags will be produced for Virgin by the Ethical Fashion Initiative, in collaboration with the U.N.-backed International Trade Centre, while the fabrics for the outfits will come from Closed Loop Recycling (a process that takes used clothing fibres and recycles them into new materials).

Staff will be seen in the new looks from June this year, with further fittings and feedback expected before a full roll-out in 2014.

Miranda Kerr Qantas New Uniform

This isn’t the first time that the world’s of fashion and aviation have mixed. Just last month, Victoria’s Secret and Mango model Miranda Kerr unveiled the Australian national carrier Quantas’s new uniform designed by fellow Aussie Martin Grant.

Virgin America staff are dressed by Banana Republic, while in January 2013 it was announced that American Airlines would be redesigning their cabin crew uniforms with the help of Ken Kaufman and Isaac Franco of New York-based fashion label KaufmanFranco.

Virgin America flirting

Virgin America in-flight flirting service

Virgin America flirting service

Virgin America has launched a new mile-high flirting service that will allow travelers to send their onboard crush a drink using the in-flight entertainment system.

The new seat-to-seat feature is being launched on all flights within the US, and is the latest innovation out of the Virgin brand to encourage flirting at 35,000 feet.

The same Red in-flight entertainment system already offers an in-flight chat service that allows passengers to send each other text messages.

Meanwhile, the new service that turns the airplane into a flying club works via passengers’ touch-screen seatback entertainment platform.

Here’s the scenario of how things could go down: Picker-upper makes a casual stroll down the aisle to verify the seat location of the pick-uppee target.

Once confirmed, picker-upper returns to their seat and sends their crush a cocktail, snack, or meal along with their best pick-up line, using the entertainment system’s digital seat map.

The object of affection also undertakes a reconnaissance mission through the aisles to scope out their admirer. If the feeling is mutual, said parties engage in a marathon session of chatting until finally someone proposes, “Your seat or mine?”

To promote the new service, Virgin America has also launched an online contest inviting travelers to share how they would use the new seat-to-seat feature along with their best pick-up line.

The top five entries will be voted on by the airline’s Facebook fans, while the top two picks will win travel packages that include a flight from Las Vegas to anywhere within the airline’s domestic network and stays at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas.

Qantas New Uniform

Miranda Kerr models new Qantas uniforms

Qantas New Uniform 2013

Aussie supermodel Miranda Kerr helped show off Qantas Airways’ new employee uniforms, the first makeover in 10 years, conceived by homegrown designer Martin Grant.

The airline’s 12,600 ground and in-flight crew will sport the new look which includes trench overcoats for both male and female employees, a trilby hat made from recycled bottle tops, and strong, diagonal stripes in the the carrier’s trademark poppy red, alongside a splash of fuschia pink.

Male employees will serve as Qantas ambassadors in French navy suiting and white shirts.

The Qantas wardrobe will be made up of 35 different garments and required the use of 15 types of fabrics including premium superfine Australian Merino wool for the suiting.

Qantas Unveils New Uniform

Meanwhile, American Airlines announced that it had tapped designers Ken Kaufman and Isaac Franco of KaufmanFranco to reimagine their employee uniforms within the next two years.

And last year, Banana Republic outfitted employees from Virgin America with pencil skirts, dresses, and silk scarves for women, leather jackets and striped sleeve sweaters for men.

Miranda Kerr Qantas New Uniform

KLM World Business Class

KLM reveals new World Business Class cabin

KLM World Business Class cabin

Dutch airline KLM has unveiled the latest makeover of its new World Business Class Cabin, which is carpeted with discarded bits of old uniforms and is designed to evoke the comforts of home.

For the redesign, the carrier teamed up with Dutch designer Hella Jongerius, whose portfolio includes clients like Ikea, Nike, Evian, and the United Nations lounge.

With a color palette based on different shades of blue, a polka dot motif, panels, curtains and cushions are meant to warm up the cabin and help passengers feel more at ease during their flight.

KLM Business Class cabin

The cabin will feature new full-flat seats that can be reclined horizontally, while strategically placed TVs and partitions ensure greater privacy for passengers. Seats will come with more storage compartments.

The cabin’s carpet, meanwhile, uses recycled bits of old, discarded KLM women’s uniforms.

The changes are being made on the fleet’s Boeing 747-400s and will debut in an inaugural flight in July. The entire 747 fleet is expected to have incorporated the new design by April of next year.

KLM World Business Class

Chinese noodles

Cathay Pacific “Noodles of Asia” Contest

Have a favorite noodle dish you think is worthy of being served to thousands of airline passengers on one of Asia’s largest carriers? To celebrate National Noodle Month, Cathay Pacific is inviting fans to submit a noodle dish that will be featured on their in-flight menu.

Until April 19, fans can submit their noodle recipe on Cathay’s Facebook page. Dishes will be judged by Canadian food and travel blogger Mijune Park ; celebrity Chinese chef Martin Yan of San Francisco restaurant M.Y. China; and chef Sang Yoon of gastropub brand Father’s Office in California.

M Y China restaurant

The winning noodle dish will be served to Cathay passengers traveling between North America and Hong Kong. The winner will also receive two round-trip Premium Economy tickets from one of their six gateways – Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver – to Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board will also give the winner a special bespoke tour of the city. Dishes will be judged on presentation, appeal, taste, ease of transportation and practicality as an in-flight entrée.

Chinese noodles

China Spring Airlines

Chinese airline to start selling cars in the sky

China Spring Airlines

China’s Spring Airlines Co., the nation’s biggest privately-owned carrier, is planning to start selling cars onboard its aircraft, Bloomberg reports.

To complement the other items already on sale, the discount airline is in talks with several automakers about offering their cars at prices starting at $16,000. Flight attendants will be trained to provide information on the vehicles, and special discounts for fliers may apply.

“Car sales are very popular in Shanghai and our passengers can have time during their flight to study details of the models available,” a company spokesperson told Bloomberg.

It is not clear how the car would be delivered to the buyer. It is also not clear what brands and makes will be available and if flight attendants will get commission on the cars that they sell.

Analysts said the decision to launch in-flight car sales may not result in profits for the airline but will more likely serve as an in-flight advertisement for carmakers.

Qantas ipad

Qantas offers passengers their own iPad

Qantas ipad

Passengers flying Australian carrier Qantas will now be provided with individual iPads which can stream more than 200 hours of movies, TV shows and music.

The new service, which supplies an iPad for use during the flight, is being offered in all classes on flights between Sydney and Honolulu on the airline’s Boeing 767 aircraft, which have also been refitted with leather seat covers in business class, new carpeting, lighting, curtains and cabin dividers.

Entertainment programs are streamed directly to the iPads using the aircraft’s inflight entertainment technology, Q Streaming, which taps into the plane’s onboard WiFi.

Over the next few months, new interactive games, travel and business-related apps, as well as digital newspapers and magazines will be added, says Qantas.

While Qantas offers iPads, American Airlines hands out Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets to passengers traveling on select routes such as New York’s JFK airport and Los Angeles, and international flights to Europe and South America on flights served with 767-300 aircraft.

Meanwhile, last year PC World magazine named Delta the most technology-friendly airline in the US for offering charging stations and iPad installations, onboard WiFi, and its Fly Delta app which allows passengers to track their checked baggage by scanning the bag tag with their smartphone.

British Airways A380

British Airways to start A380 service to LA in October

hollywood boulevard sign

British Airways airline is now taking bookings for its first superjumbo Airbus A380 flight, which will travel from London to Los Angeles on October 15.

From November, a second superjumbo Airbus will be flying to Hong Kong. The airline has also started taking bookings for this flight.

Return bookings for the London-Los Angeles flight start at €632 for Economy and go up to €2,796 for Business Class. The London-Hong Kong route will be launched on November 15. A return trip will set passengers back €614 in Economy and up to €2,087 in Business Class.

The British Airways A380 will be able to carry 469 passengers including 14 in First Class and 97 in Business Class. A Superior Economy Class (55 seats) will also be available.

These two new aircrafts mean that the British airline is the ninth in the world to use the Airbus A380. Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Air France, Lufthansa, Qantas, Korean Air, China Southern and more recently, Malaysian Airlines are the privileged few to use the superjumbo Airbus.

kim wilde

British Airways announces ‘Gig in the Sky’

kim wilde

British Airways is hoping to break a Guinness World Record for the highest concert when the carrier flies iconic 1980s bands like Bananarama and Go West 43,000 feet in the air, where they will perform a special concert for travelers.

The charity gig will raise funds for UK-based charity Comic Relief and Red Nose Day, in which the public is encouraged to “do something funny for money.” Funds go to the underprivileged in the UK and the impoverished in Africa.

Other 1980s icons who will join the mile-high gig include Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet and pop singer Kim Wilde.

The retro concert is being staged to hearken back to 1985, the year Comic Relief aired the first of their star-studded biennial telethons.

Cabin crew will don original uniforms from the era complete with shoulder pads and serve retro foods like cocktail sausages, pineapple and cheese on skewers, mini prawn cocktails, pineapple upside down cake, gobstoppers and popping candy –- all of which were the height of sophistication back to the 80s.

British residents can purchase tickets by texting ‘Fly’ to 64100. Texts cost £5 and will be donated to Comic Relief. The flight is scheduled for March 10.