A LOT Embraer E-175 landing at Prague – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
Flying business class within Europe is not often an exciting nor noteworthy affair. That said, I was pleased to recently discover that it can still be a positive experience, with a lot more than meets the eye, and at a very affordable price.
I was fortunate enough to recently experience LOT Polish Airlines’ business class product from Warsaw to Prague. As part of its ongoing brand redevelopment, LOT, like many other carriers, has introduced an online bidding system for unsold business class seats, called plusgrade.
The only business class difference versus economy on intra-European flights – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
The system allows passengers to make a bid up to 72 hours before the flight’s departure, and there is a minimum amount that can be bid (in my case, it was approximately $80). At 48 hours prior to departure, I received an email that my bid was successful, and was issued a new ticket for business class — sweet.
Tarmac de-planing from a Qatar 777-300ER in Doha
QATAR AIRWAYS BOEING 777-300ER BUSINESS CLASS REVIEW BASICS:
Airline: Qatar Airways
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Departed: Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
Arrived: Hamad International Airport (DOH)
Stops: Non-stop flight
Class: Business Class
Seat: 4E, inside middle [but also sat in 1A bulkhead on a leg and 2F on another]
Length: About 12.5 hours
Cheers: Great service and the food was (mostly) delicious.
Jeers: The hard product is getting a bit dated.
Overall: After so many miles and so many hours, I was still ready for some more.
The business class seat on the Qatar Boeing 777-300ER. Notice the blue lighting.
Recently, I flew quite a few miles on a Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300ER in business class. Although my review will mostly concentrate on the leg from Washington Dulles (IAD) to Doha, Qatar (DOH), bits and pieces of my other legs, which were DOH to Bangkok (BKK) and then back towards home DOH-IAD will also make their way into this review. After flying over 17,000 miles on the product in a short amount of time, I think I got a pretty good feeling what it is all about.
For my birthday this year, I planned a trip to Ireland, Scotland, and England, and since Delta had no award availability in coach, I decided to splurge and spend 62,500 Alaska miles to fly business class (since re-branded Delta One) for the first time ever.
My leg was from Atlanta (ATL) to Dublin (DUB) on flight DL176, which was operated by a Boeing 767-300ER. I have been watching, for years, others flying in a premium product and I was jealous. When I was a poor graduate student, I couldn’t really justify the expense in miles or money, but now it seemed like it would be worthwhile.
I was so excited that I planned my trip far in advance and I was looking forward to this flight for nine months. But when the time came, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed, as it just didn’t live up to my expectations.
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
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…