Zodiac calls this the Fusio. Image: Zodiac Aerospace.

A couple of days ago at ITB in Berlin, Qatar Airways announced that they were finally going to do something about their aircraft not configured with the B/E Super Diamond or even the humble B/E Diamond (AKA their 777 fleet). Instead, they announced that they were also going to replace the amazing B/E Super Diamonds on their 787, A350, and A380 as well. Whatever they were going to do was described as a product rivaling first class. Thanks to Alan Joyce at Qantas, who describes the Thompson Vantage XL as a “mini-first class” my hopes were damped. A few days before ITB, I discovered some curious images on Zodiac’s website (above).

B/E Super Diamond business class seat on the Qatar A350 – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Now, I know some people have said that B/E Aerospace is the supplier of what Qatar is installing. They might be right, and Qatar hasn’t said. It did give me a starting point to imagine what Qatar was actually doing.

fpz_20170307_5030_AR

Boeing’s latest addition to the 737 MAX lineup at its debut at the Renton assembly plant

Boeing’s revamped 737 lineup has gained even more forward momentum as the second iteration of the MAX series made a rainy-day debut this morning at Boeing’s Renton, Wash., assembly plant.

With a maximum capacity of 220 passengers (in a very tight configuration) and a range of 3,515 nautical miles, the new single-aisle plane is roughly nine feet longer than the 737 MAX 8, which is expected to receive FAA certification in advance of its commercial debut in the coming months.

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER - Photo: Aero Pixels | FlickrCC

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER – Photo: Aero Pixels | FlickrCC

In February, 2017, I had the opportunity to fly business class on Singapore Airlines from Los Angeles to Tokyo/Narita. As luck would have it, I was on a Boeing 777 that had recently been retrofitted with Singapore’s new business class product. I took a few photos to share the experience.

In 2014, I flew on Singapore’s previous 777 business class product and wrote a review. The new seats are a big improvement.

The business class product

Check-In & LAX Star Alliance Lounge

Check-in at the Singapore Airlines ticket counter was fast and friendly. Security lines at 6:45 am were short.

After surviving the TSA, I immediately directed my attention to breakfast at the Star Alliance Lounge. Located on the 5th floor, the lounge is quite large. The area is filled with dining tables, couches, and comfortable chairs. A variety of breakfast foods were offered including a cereal bar, quiche, scrambled eggs, danish, bagels, and assorted breakfast meats (with and without pork). A nice selection of fresh fruit and cheese was also available.

Drink selections were numerous. My first stop was the espresso machine, which makes a mean latte. I had two to make sure I was ready for the 11-hour flight. No sleeping with a window seat!

For photos and a full review of the LAX Star Alliance Lounge, see the 2013 AirlineReporter post.

Delta MD-90.

Delta MD-90

I’m not a particularly frequent flier. In fact, aside from a brief job hunting period in 2015 that saw me leaving SEA for a different destination each week for three weeks straight, I haven’t flown on commercial airliners more than twice a year ever. With that in mind, it was an interesting contrast when I booked my Delta Air Lines tickets for PAX South (a video game fan convention) with a route of FSD-MSP-ATL-SAT in economy to get there, and SAT-MSP-FSD in first class on the way home.

My trip planning had been determined by two main factors. The first was that the outbound routing gave me two legs on the MD-90. I love the DC-9 aircraft family, and will happily grab any opportunity to fly on them, particularly as they’re becoming increasingly rare in the fleets of major carriers. The second factor was my returning connection. When I booked my flight, I was only going to have a forty-five-minute layover in Minneapolis. I hoped that booking myself into seat 1A would ensure that I could make my connection, no matter how many terminals apart my two flights were.