Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 242,760
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,164,361






EBACE 2015 – The Latest News and Innovations in Business Aviation

The static display at this years EBACE consisted of 53 aircraft Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

The static display at this year’s EBACE consisted of 53 aircraft – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

I was fortunate enough to attend the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) again this year in Geneva. This is the premier business aviation event in Europe and is the second-largest gathering of industry professionals, following the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention in America.

This year’s EBACE attracted close to 500 exhibitors and 53 aircraft on static display. While this was not as impressive as last year’s event, there were still some new and interesting additions not previously seen. The clear highlight, for me, was checking out the HondaJet.

The Hondajet was the clear star of the show at EBACE Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

The HondaJet was the star of the show at EBACE – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

This was the first public appearance of Honda’s new light business jet in Europe. The aircraft is most easily recognizable by its wing-mounted engines, something that is a major first. This unique design, increases the baggage volume and allows for a fully-enclosed lavatory to be fitted in the cabin. And who doesn’t appreciate that?

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Doing My Thing: Flying to Washington DC for His Excellency and Fusion Chinese Food

One day I'll have the guts to ask for a photo with him. I may be his biggest fan. Photo  - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

One day I’ll have the guts to ask for a photo with him, as I may be his biggest fan – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Look, I love His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways. If he’s doing an event and I’m free, I’ll go see him. Thing is, usually someone else is paying when he’s involved. I am not saying that derisively or sarcastically. Most of the time when I see him, Qatar Airways has provided me with the tickets out of their extreme generosity.

One time it was Airbus and Qatar Airways in a joint venture, and it is hard to say no to that. Can’t appreciate it enough, but that said, a sedate press conference across the country isn’t exactly what Qatar Airways gathers people for on their dime. Even more so when most of the press contingent is based in DC anyway.

Alaska Airlines first Boeing 737-900ER (N402AS) is seen at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Image from Alaska Airlines.

Alaska Airlines 737-900ER at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport – Photo: Alaska

So, being the odd person that I am, I needed to find another reason to go to DC along with the press conference to justify the expense. I didn’t need to qualify for my AAdvantage account, since I  already had nearly double-Executive Platinum planned for the year. There are times when all this goes out the window and one doesn’t need to really find an excuse to fly somewhere. But I just felt like I needed a second reason and I found it.

I am a huge fan of celebrity chef and Hannibal menu designer José Andreas. I’ve eaten at é, multiple Jaleos, Minibar, and, best of all, China Poblano. When I found out that José’s next restaurant was China Chilcano in DC…boom — reason established.

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Flight Review: Seattle to Frankfurt via Condor Premium Economy

My Ride to Frankfurt - A Condor 767-300ER (D-ABUB)

My ride to Frankfurt, a Condor 767-300ER (reg: D-ABUB)

I recently decided to take a trip over to Frankfurt for a few days and, thankfully, I was able to take it in Premium Economy.

This was going to be my first flight with Condor, and also my first taste of a long-haul leisure carrier (think low-cost, but to vacation destinations).  I was flying on their non-stop service from Seattle to Frankfurt. Adding to the number of firsts for me were also a new airport (Frankfurt) and my first time flying internationally out of Seattle.

The Premium Economy section in Condor's 767

The Premium Economy section in Condor’s 767

The flight was scheduled to depart mid-afternoon, which for me felt a little bit different than normal.  Generally, I end up on flights departing first-thing in the morning or late in the evening.  So having most of the day to relax, make final packing arrangements, and spend time with my wife was a good thing.  The bad part is being prime time for international departures out of Seattle.  This meant that while the line for check-in with Condor was short, even with priority access, security would be an absolute mess.

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Singapore Airlines Unveils Premium Economy Product

The Zodiac manufactured seat represents Singapore's entry to the Premium Economy space.

The Zodiac-manufactured seat represents Singapore’s entry to the Premium Economy space – Image: Singapore Airlines

Many of Singapore Airlines‘ Asian and European competitors have entered the premium economy market over the past five years. It’s a growing segment. This left analysts and frequent Singapore passengers wondering if it was going to as well. After all, Singapore’s economy experience has not been anything below top-notch since its creation. Recently though, the airline announced that they would indeed be offering a premium economy product.

Ready to board! Checking out the new interior on this Singapore Airlines 777-300ER at the Boeing Everett Delivery Center.

A Singapore Airlines 777-300ER at the Boeing Everett Delivery Center

“Many of our customers have been asking for a Premium Economy offering and we are confident that what we are delivering will exceed their expectations,” said Singapore Airlines Executive Vice President Commercial, Mr. Mak Swee Wah. “The new cabin product is the culmination of two years of work, which included extensive research and focus group studies involving customers and our design partners.”

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OneJet – The New (Private Jet) Airline Nobody Has Heard of… Yet

OneJet's gate area reminds me a lot of Delta's new Sky Club at ATL's F concourse. Check my ride outside the windows: a Hawker 400 - Photo: Dan Phalen

OneJet’s gate area reminds me a lot of Delta’s new Sky Club on ATL’s F concourse. Check my ride outside the windows: a Hawker 400 – Photo: Dan Phalen

Would you believe me if I told you that for under $300 you could fly aboard a posh executive jet? It’s true, thanks to the folks at the promising new upstart airline OneJet. Here’s their [very compelling] pitch: Due to airline consolidation and the resulting proliferation of hub-and-spoke networks, business travelers between many medium-sized city pairs are without non-stop service. Enter OneJet and their seven-seat Hawker 400s: For slightly more than a two-legged economy ticket with the other guys, passengers can ride direct, in style, aboard a modern lavish business jet.

When I first learned of OneJet via my friends at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell airport I was cautiously optimistic. I immediately began researching the company, its leadership, and business model. Far too often in this cutthroat industry with historically razor thin margins, things which seem too good to be true, simply aren’t. Or at least they don’t last. Imagine my surprise when I learned that OneJet has a cast of longtime industry veterans on board as their leadership and advisory team. Big names like Fred Reid, who after being being the president of Lufthansa went on to lead Delta and later become the first CEO of Virgin America. And not just airline leaders, but governmental leaders as well.

Boarding from the ramp. The carpet was a nice touch! Photo: JL Johnson

Boarding from the ramp. The carpet was a nice touch – Photo: JL Johnson

John Pistole, former TSA administrator, and John Porcari, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Combine these diverse industry leaders with others, each bringing decades of experience from other airlines, and it’s tough to discount what they are trying to do. 

OneJet had attracted my attention and I needed to know more. There’s no better way to get to know an airline than to experience it first-hand. Their inaugural flight between Milwaukee, WI and Pittsburgh, PA was in just one week; a few hours later I broke down and bought my $283.10 ticket…

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