Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 271,099
2013: 330,818

Flight Review: “We Flew Right There, We Flew Ryanair!”

Ryanair Boeing 737 ready to be flown - Photo: Steven Paduchak

Ryanair Boeing 737-800 – Photo: Steven Paduchak

That’s right, people, it happened!  Last weekend, I flew Ryanair with my buddy Dan.  It was a quick weekend getaway from Frankfurt to London.  We’re here in Germany on a semester abroad, and neither of us had been to the United Kingdom.  Before coming over “the pond”, we knew it was on the list of places to visit.

It all started on a Wednesday afternoon.  We booked the trip a few weeks prior, and we were counting down the days.  We all know Ryanair.  They’re known for having the cheapest airfare in the industry; making the airline beloved here in all of Europe.  The Dublin-based air carrier offered us each a forty euro (yes, you read that right) roundtrip from Frankfurt to London.  That’s a huge deal, flying between two major European markets.

I knew after a deal this unbelievable, there’d be some sort of catch.  In the end, there definitely was. Left and right, we were advised we had to pay for everything; printing off boarding passes, seat selection, food, etc… Being cautious of something like this, we came well prepared with food and boarding passes already printed off, so we managed to avoid all the imposed fees.

The day finally came, and we were on our way.  To our surprise, however, the airport we flew out of was FOREVER away.  It was one of the biggest catches we didn’t realize until our journey.  The airline flies into the smaller and medium-sized airports in order to avoid the hefty landing fees imposed by the major international locations. This is completely understandable – we all want to save money whenever we can, right?

Continue reading Flight Review: “We Flew Right There, We Flew Ryanair!”

Flight Review – Swiss Business Class from Zurich

Swiss International Airlines Airbus A330-300 on departure from Zurich Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Swiss International Airlines Airbus A330-300 on departure from Zurich – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

SWISS INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS REVIEW BASICS:

Airline: Swiss International Airlines
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Departed: Zurich (ZRH)
Arrived: Chicago (ORD)
Stops: Non-stop flight
Class: Business Class
Seat: 4A
Length: About 9.5 hours

Cheers: Mini-cabin that offers additional seclusion and privacy, connection efficiency at the Zurich hub
Jeers: No hot meal offered for second service, despite nearly 10-hour flight length, aging and clunky IFE
Overall: A leading long-haul business class product from an EU carrier, needs a few updates to make it more competitive in the future

Continue reading Flight Review – Swiss Business Class from Zurich

Flight Review: Checking Out Condor Airlines’ Business Class to Frankfurt

My Condor Boeing 767-300ER on the ground at Frankfurt

My Condor Boeing 767-300ER on the ground at Frankfurt

CONDOR AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS REVIEW BASICS

Airline: Condor Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300ER (Version 3 SEA-FRA and Version 1 FRA-SEA)
Departed: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
Arrived: Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
Stops: Non-stop flight
Class: Business class
Seat: SEA-FRA 1D then 4A | FRA-SEA 3K
Length: About 10 hours

The Business Class product on Condor's 767s

Business Class product on Condor’s 767s

Cheers: Nicely upgraded product, food that is tasty and fun to eat!
Jeers: Service on my flights was not consistent. Ground operations in Frankfurt were disappointing.
Overall: What an amazing value.

Continue reading Flight Review: Checking Out Condor Airlines’ Business Class to Frankfurt

Flight Review: United Airlines 747 – Global First

I've always wanted to fly in seat 1A on a 747 - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

I’ve always wanted to fly in seat 1A on a 747 – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Recently, my wife and I took a trip to Japan to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.  Because we have two toddlers (who were NOT coming with us), we wanted to travel in luxury and make it something very special.

Besides being an AvGeek, I also happen to be very savvy with airline miles and hotel points.  While that’s not a topic AirlineReporter focuses on (there are lots of great sites out there that do), I booked all of our flights using United miles that I’ve collected through various means.

On the outbound, I booked us DEN-SFO-NRT, with the SFO-NRT segment operated by the 747-400 (the bulk of United’s 747s operate out of SFO to Asia, with a handful of 747 flights also based out of Chicago O’Hare).  I could have booked us on United’s direct flight from Denver, operated by a Dreamliner, but United’s 787 fleet doesn’t feature a first class cabin (which United calls “Global First”).  Also, I really wanted to check out the United Global First Lounge in San Francisco.

United Dreamliner on the ground at SFO...viewed from inside a Mercedes! - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

United 787 at SFO…viewed from inside a Mercedes! Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Full disclosure: on our last big trip without the kids, we flew Lufthansa First Class and got to visit the Lufthansa First Class Terminal.  Both were so good, I think it ruined us for any future flights.  As much as I love United, I didn’t have great expectations.  Here’s the shocker/spoiler: our United experience was really good.

Continue reading Flight Review: United Airlines 747 – Global First

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