Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 243,450
2013: 330,818

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Flight Review: Delta’s Upgraded Transcontinental Economy Comfort

Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 at JFK

Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 at JFK – Photo: David Parker Brown | AirlineReporter

Delta Air Lines recently upgraded their Economy Comfort cabin for trancontiental flights from New York to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. I recently had a trip from JFK to SEA and decided to give the upgrade a shot.

The big changes? The addition of pillows, blankets, sleep kits, Luvo snack wraps, free adult beverages, and frozen yogurt bars.

“Delta continues to invest in Economy Comfort with upgraded amenities for customers when they fly one of our transcontinental routes from New York to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle,” said Jeff Robertson, Vice President – Product Development, Sky Clubs and Marketing Communications. “Adding pillows and blankets for comfort as well as Luvo wraps and mid-flight snack offerings improves the travel experience for our premium economy customers so they arrive at their destination rested and refreshed.”

These come with the standard upgrades that all Economy Comfort seats give passengers: up to 4″ additional legroom and ideal location for boarding/de-planing.

The big question – is $100 worth the additional extras you get with Economy Comfort? Although I was quite tired during this flight (this was the fourth and final leg of a four day, 15,000 mile journey), I was willing to find out.

Continue reading Flight Review: Delta’s Upgraded Transcontinental Economy Comfort

Third Time Lucky – Flight Review of Etihad Airways Pearl Business Class

Having expeirenced both First and Economy class on Etihad,It was now time to try Business class Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Having experienced both first and economy class on Etihad, it was now time to try business                             Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

ETIHAD AIRWAYS PEARL BUSINESS CLASS REVIEW BASICS:

Airline: Etihad Airways
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Departed: Abu Dhabi (AUH)
Arrived: Amsterdam (AMS)
Stops: Non-stop flight
Class: Business class
Seat: 7A
Length: About 7.5 hours

Cheers: New business cabin layout, very private feel, direct aisle access for each seat, in-flight internet access (for a fee)
Jeers: Slightly narrow seat width for my liking
Overall: Etihad continues to be one of the market leaders in their premium cabin product

Continue reading Third Time Lucky – Flight Review of Etihad Airways Pearl Business Class

Flight Review: Flying Business Class on TAM Airlines

Getting off the TAM 777-300ER in Sao Paulo

Getting off the TAM 777-300ER in Sao Paulo

TAM AIRLINES BUSINESS REVIEW BASICS:
Airline: TAM Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER (reg PT-MUI)
Departed: John F Kennedy Airport (JFK)
Arrived: São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport (GRU)
Stops: None
Class: Business Class
Seat: 10A, no 10C, no 10H, no really 10C, heck why not 11G?
Length: About 8.5hrs

Cheers: The good customer service really made this flight stand out
Jeers: The product is old, but is in process of being replaced
Bottom Line: I hit some bumps, but still felt this was a good flight experience

The Business Class product currently on TAM's 777-300ERs

The Business Class product currently on TAM’s 777-300ERs

FULL TAM AIRLINES’ BUSINESS CLASS REVIEW:

I was recently invited by TAM Airlines to travel down to Sao Paulo to check out their operations. Of course, with any trip, one of the best parts is the flight – especially when it involves business class.

Previously, I had the chance to check out the interior of a new TAM Boeing 777-300ER, but I was excited to put the product and service to the test. My flight originated in New York at JFK and I ended up with a two-hour layover in JFK (was supposed to be four, but had a flight delay out of Seattle). I was a little bit nervous since I didn’t yet have a boarding pass for my TAM flight.

Continue reading Flight Review: Flying Business Class on TAM Airlines

Flight Review: Experiencing Spirit’s “Bare Fare” Model Firsthand

Spirit's first flight out of Kansas City receives a dual water cannon salute. Photo credit Aaron Wright, KC Aviation Dept.

Spirit’s first flight out of Kansas City receives a dual water cannon salute – Photo: Aaron Wright, KC Aviation Dept.

It’s true, people vehemently despise Spirit Airlines. Just the mention of the company elicits emotion-filled horror stories. Indeed they have a solid 1 out of 5 star rating on TripAdvisor, and they are frequently found at, or near, the top of various “worst airline” rankings. In direct contrast to these ratings and frequent “I’ll never fly Spirit again” claims, the airline continues to grow and increase market share. This begs the question – is the experience really THAT bad? Or, is there something else at play here?

BONUS: The Five Stages of Flying an Ultra Low Cost Carrier (Epic Comic Style) 

In their own defense, Spirit argues that the mass dissatisfaction with them is in large part due to consumers not understanding their progressive, totally unbundled Ultra Low Cost Carrier (ULCC) business model. That assertion seems to hold water. The vast majority of complaints I hear and see are indeed related to “unexpected fees” and being “nickel and dimed” to death. As the well-known cliche goes: “The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.” Thankfully, Spirit recognizes there is a problem. To that end they recently hired Barkley, a KC-based marketing firm to assist with better educating consumers and promoting what they refer to as a “bare fare.”

"Bare Fare" crop circle spotted in a soy field just north of the KC airport. Photo: Victor Lazo.

“Bare Fare” crop circle spotted in a soy field just north of the KC airport – Photo: Victor Lazo

A few months ago, Kansas City International airport announced that ours would be a new market served by Spirit. Shortly after an unexplained crop circle appeared prompting a lot of curiosity. It turned out the image seen above is the logo for Spirit’s Bare Fare.

I was excited to finally have the opportunity to give them a shot, contrary to the advice of everyone who I’d informed of my intentions. I booked a seat on the first flight out, and this is my honest, unbiased review…

Continue reading Flight Review: Experiencing Spirit’s “Bare Fare” Model Firsthand

Flying on Sun Country Air Surrounded by Children

A Sun Country Boeing 737-800 at SEA

A Sun Country Boeing 737-800 at SEA

If I had to sum up my recent Sun Country Air flight experience with one word, it would be: “kids.”

It is not the airline’s fault that I was surrounded by kids on my over three hour flight from Seattle (SEA) to Minnesota (MSP), but it did make my experience a little less enjoyable.

Now, I am not one of those who complains every time a kid is next to me. I know I was there once and I know that parents are just trying to get somewhere with their family. But when I have a gaggle of kids surrounding me and not behaving, I can’t help but take notice. Luckily the airline came through and over all I would still say I had a good flight experience.

Continue reading Flying on Sun Country Air Surrounded by Children