Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 201,532
2013: 330,818

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2014 World Airline Award Winners

Emirates Airline Boeing 777-200LR with GE-90 engines. Photo by Brandon Farris.

The 2013 World Airline Award winner was Emirates; who will it be this year? Photo: Brandon Farris

The 2014 World Airline Awards were held recently, in conjunction with the Farnborough Air Show, and the winners have been announced.  In a star-studded event held at the old Royal Aircraft Establishment’s Wind Tunnels, the winners were announced by Skytrax, who manages the awards. Some of the winners this year came as a bit of a surprise.

The World Airline Awards are an independent and totally non-biased process, with nearly 19 million people voting online (between August 2013 to May 2014) to decide who has the best services, cabins, cabin crews, and even lounges.  This is not just for your big name full-service airlines; even Low Cost Carriers have their own categories!  More than 105 different nationalities participated in this year’s survey and helped to define who was going to be named “World’s Best Airline”.

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Cathay Pacific Pajama Review – Old vs New

Cathay Pacific First Class Suite - Photo: Mal Muir |

Flying Cathay Pacific First Class is always a treat – Photo: Mal Muir |

Earlier in the year I flew Cathay Pacific First Class from New York to Vancouver.  One of the (many) little perks of flying in First Class with Cathay was a lovely pair of pajamas.  Waiting on my seat for me was a pair designed by leading Hong Kong fashion house Shanghai Tang.

I had been waiting for years to get my hands on a pair of these and was totally over the moon to have them.  I was also sad knowing that Cathay was going to change over to a new provider.  I commented in my review that I was disappointed in the change, so the new provider decided to send me a pair of their pajamas to show that all was not lost.
Let’s first  look at the old pajamas, before we talk about the new.

Continue reading Cathay Pacific Pajama Review – Old vs New

Reviewing Cathay Pacific’s First Class – The Best Trans-Con Ever?

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER preparing for a Test flight at Boeing's Everett Factory - Photo: Mal Muir |

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER preparing for a Test flight at Boeing’s Everett Factory. Image: Mal Muir.

If you need to travel between New York and the Canadian west coast, there are just a few choices.  Your main options are Air Canada or WestJet, which both operate direct flights between New York and Vancouver.  Another option is flying a US-based airline (like United or American) via one of their hub cities.  But what if you have a nice chunk of points to burn and want to get the best bang for your buck? Sure, you could redeem for Air Canada business, but that would just be like flying any other US airline in the front cabin.  What if you could get a truly unique experience for the same amount of points as any other redemption? Well you can, with an unexpected airline.

Cathay Pacific Airlines (CX), based in Hong Kong, operates four daily flights between New York’s JFK Airport and Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok Airport.  However, one of those flights has a layover in Vancouver.  The last flight of the day (CX889) makes a stop along the way and Cathay Pacific has “Fifth Freedom” rights between New York and Vancouver.

What is a Fifth Freedom flight?  It’s where an airline is allowed to sell tickets on a flight between two foreign countries as part of a service connecting their own country.  Confusing, right?  In layman’s terms it means that if, for instance, the airline needs to make a fuel stop mid-route or something similar, then it can sell a ticket from that stopping point to the end destination.

Cathay Pacific’s flight from New York to Vancouver is unique in that those in premium cabins get all the standard international service items, despite the fact that it’s only a five-hour flight.  So even though I was flying a transcontinental flight JFK-YVR, I still got the multiple-course meal, amenity kit, and even pajamas.  All the standard items you would get as though you were flying Cathay Pacific for a 14-hour flight.

Continue reading Reviewing Cathay Pacific’s First Class – The Best Trans-Con Ever?

CONTEST: Travel the World Over 80 Days — For Free Via Cathay Pacific

Where in the world do you want to go on Cathay Pacific?

Where in the world do you want to go on Cathay Pacific?

When first hearing about this contest, I had to read the details a few times to make sure I fully understood. I have promoted a few contests from airlines before on the blog, but this one takes the cake. Where some contests might give you a free flight or two, this one from Cathay Pacific will let you fly around the world for 80-days.

That’s right. You get unlimited economy class tickets from Hong Kong to any Cathay Pacific or Drangonair destination for 80-days. You also get 4-days and 3-nights hotel accommodation for every location you travel to and about $350.00 spending money per day.

Of course you will have to put in a little work to win a prize like this. You need to submit either a 30-60 second video, photos or a story that shares, “where in the world would you go in 80-days?” The contest ends on March 6th and on April 12th, 8 finalists will be flown to Hong Kong to compete in a one-day challenge to see who will win the grand prize.

This is probably the biggest and best prize I have seen from a contest hosted by an airline. Surely it is a worth a short video for a chance to travel around the world for 80-days. Game on and good luck!


Image: Andrew Sieber

Fly Unlimited Times on JetBlue for $599 for a Month

JetBlue A320 N640JB

JetBlue A320 N640JB

JetBlue announced today that passengers can now purchase an unlimited travel pass for $599.00 and fly to any of the airlines 56 destinations as much as they want from September 8th to October 8th. No blackout dates, any seat is game, you can book and change up to 3-days before departure date, AND you still get TrueBlue awards points to boot.

I normally don’t blog about an airline fare special, but I think this might be an important test. If this becomes successful, this might be something JetBlue or other airlines do more. How great would it be to pay a flat fee and fly around the country (or world) visiting different locations on the cheap?

This is not the first time an airline has done something like this. American Airlines allowed folks to pay $250,000.00 to fly free for life, however the program ended in 2004. Earlier this year Cathay Pacific offered their All Asia Pass, where travelers could get unlimited flights to selected cities over a three week period for around $1500.00. Air Canada has also played with the notion of having unlimited flights. The problems in previous attempts, is #1 having too many restrictions or #2 being too costly (the last American pass sold for $3million). It seems JetBlue might have the right formula with relatively low cost and low complexity.  It is something I would seriously consider taking part in, if I had a month I could take off of work!


Image: Taurs Photographix