Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 93,970
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,015,570





Air New Zealand to add U.S. Service via Houston

Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner ZK-NZF – Photo: Kris Hull

Air New Zealand on Thursday announced a North American expansion, adding Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport as their fourth U.S. destination. Air New Zealand currently serves Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Honolulu, in addition to Vancouver, Canada to the north.

BONUS: Flying Like a Boss in Air New Zealand’s Business Premier Seat

Service to Auckland was long-sought by Houston; Continental Airlines (prior to their merger with United) had announced service in 2010, only to cancel the service in 2012 prior to introduction.  That said, the route likely makes good sense for Air New Zealand, given their status as a member of the Star Alliance.  United’s giant presence at their Houston hub will allow for significant feed to the Air New Zealand flight, along with smooth connections for inbound travelers to the U.S. east coast and Latin America.

Continue reading Air New Zealand to add U.S. Service via Houston

Review: Qantas First Lounge at Los Angeles (LAX)

Entrance to the new Qantas First Lounge - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Entrance to the new Qantas First Lounge – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Recently, Qantas opened a new lounge in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).  The Qantas First Lounge serves first class passengers from Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Japan Airlines, along with oneworld Emerald and Qantas’ own top-tier elites. As such, it is a good-sized lounge.

Beautiful bar in the Qantas First Lounge - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Beautiful bar in the Qantas First Lounge – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

I had a long layover in Los Angeles as part of my trip to Santiago with LAN Airlines to check out business class on their 787-8 Dreamliner, so we were able to arrange with Qantas to visit their new lounge and experience what it had to offer.  It didn’t disappoint.

Continue reading Review: Qantas First Lounge at Los Angeles (LAX)

Flight Review: To Santiago & Back with LAN’s 787-8 Premium Business Class

LAN 787-8 Dreamliner at takeoff - Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

LAN 787-8 Dreamliner at takeoff – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Recently, LAN Airlines invited me down to their headquarters in Santiago de Chile, Chile, to check out their new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. While LAN was the first carrier in the Americas to operate the 787-8, the new stretched 787-9 offers an all-new Premium Business hard product.  Unfortunately, at the last minute, the special event was called off due to “operational issues.”

LAN dreamliner entryway

Dreamliner signature entryway on LAN’s 787-8 – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Since flights to Santiago had already been arranged I decided to still make the trip, which would give me a chance to experience LAN’s 787-8 Premium Business class, check out Santiago briefly, and also take a look at the airport experience on both ends. All-in, I’d only be gone from home in Denver for 55 hours – not too shabby for 13,000 miles of travel.

Continue reading Flight Review: To Santiago & Back with LAN’s 787-8 Premium Business Class

Flight Review: United Airlines 747 – Global First

I've always wanted to fly in seat 1A on a 747 - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

I’ve always wanted to fly in seat 1A on a 747 – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Recently, my wife and I took a trip to Japan to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.  Because we have two toddlers (who were NOT coming with us), we wanted to travel in luxury and make it something very special.

Besides being an AvGeek, I also happen to be very savvy with airline miles and hotel points.  While that’s not a topic AirlineReporter focuses on (there are lots of great sites out there that do), I booked all of our flights using United miles that I’ve collected through various means.

On the outbound, I booked us DEN-SFO-NRT, with the SFO-NRT segment operated by the 747-400 (the bulk of United’s 747s operate out of SFO to Asia, with a handful of 747 flights also based out of Chicago O’Hare).  I could have booked us on United’s direct flight from Denver, operated by a Dreamliner, but United’s 787 fleet doesn’t feature a first class cabin (which United calls “Global First”).  Also, I really wanted to check out the United Global First Lounge in San Francisco.

United Dreamliner on the ground at SFO...viewed from inside a Mercedes! - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

United 787 at SFO…viewed from inside a Mercedes! Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Full disclosure: on our last big trip without the kids, we flew Lufthansa First Class and got to visit the Lufthansa First Class Terminal.  Both were so good, I think it ruined us for any future flights.  As much as I love United, I didn’t have great expectations.  Here’s the shocker/spoiler: our United experience was really good.

Continue reading Flight Review: United Airlines 747 – Global First

Frontier Airlines Shows Off New Livery (With Classic Features)

Frontier Airlines' new livery, which draws upon their history - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Frontier Airlines’ new livery, which draws upon their history – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Frontier Airlines, the Denver-based carrier which has recently been pushing towards “ultra-low-cost carrier” status, today revealed a new livery which draws upon their history.  The animal tails remain, but the Saul Bass-designed 70’s-era “F” returns, along with the cheat line arrow off the original DC-3s from the 1950s. (While the “F” is cool, my favorite Saul Bass livery still has to be the United tulip – I want to see a United 787 painted that way!) Continue reading Frontier Airlines Shows Off New Livery (With Classic Features)