A brand new 787-9, my ride to Santiago, Chile – Photo: Ben Granucci | AirlineReporter
I recently made a trip to Santiago to cover the opening of LAN’s new VIP Lounge. I was pretty excited since this gave me a few firsts. This was the first time that I was invited to do an international trip as media and my first time in South America. This was also going to be my first trip on a 787 of any variant. While the Santiago to JFK route was normally flown by a 787-8 at that time, the night before my flight I discovered that a brand new 787-9 had been swapped in. I was beyond excited!
The bulkhead row of seats on LAN’s 787-9 – Photo: Ben Granucci | AirlineReporter
Although I would say that I had a better than average international economy experience, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t encounter some challenges. Some were things that happen just because the complexities of running an airline, but others I think could be updated to improve the overall economy passenger experience.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER at JFK – Photo: David Montiverdi | Flickr CC
Recently, I needed to get from New York (JFK) to Vancouver (YVR) and, surprisingly, it was not easy to find a flight that didn’t include a crazy set of layovers and several hours of travel time. I was not expecting to find a non-stop Cathay Pacific 777-300ER option — done!
Preparing for the flight out of New York in Cathay business class – Photo: Katka Lapelosová
The flight is special, since it is a transcontinental, but is operated as an international flight, since the stop in Vancouver is part of a longer hop to Hong Kong. Because of this, the flight lands in YVR at 1am, which means you should do some planning on getting to your final destination, since options will be limited.
It’s not a long flight – only about five-and-a-half hours – but it doesn’t mean one can’t enjoy the premium experience.
A Philippines Airlines’ Boeing 777-300ER
I’ve long said that New York is one of those cities that almost every long-haul airline in the world would like to serve. Maybe it’s because New York is home to the United Nations, or because nearly every nationality and ethnicity is represented along the eastern seaboard. Or maybe it is just the prestige of flying to the “greatest city in the world.” Whatever the reason, it benefits both AvGeeks and travelers with a wide variety of airlines flying to a huge number of destinations, both near and far.
Almost every major long-haul airline in Europe serves either John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) or Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). JFK also sees several South American airlines, a few of which have added long-haul aircraft specifically to serve New York. All of the major Middle Eastern carriers fly to JFK, in some cases several times a day. And while JFK has long had flights from a few airlines in East Asia, recent years have seen several new airlines begin service, while a few existing carriers have added additional flights.
On Monday, March 18th, Philippine Airlines (PAL) became the latest Asian airline to begin flying to New York. Or, should I say, resume flying to New York.
Delta Air Lines unveils the next phase of a Terminal 4 expansion at JFK – Photo: Michelle McLoughlin | Newscast Creative
As part of their $1.2 billion effort at improving their space at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s (JFK) Terminal 4B, Delta, along with the JFK International Air Terminal LLC (JFKIAT) has completed the second phase of expansion of the terminal and held a media event to show off and officially open the new space (a soft opening occurred last week).
BONUS: Delta Previews JFK T4 With T4X In Lower Manhattan
In attendance, and speaking on behalf of their organizations, were Gail Grimmett, Delta’s senior vice president for New York; Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ); Gert-Jan de Graff, president and CEO of JFKIAT (the operator of Terminal 4); Kyle Kimball, president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation; Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company; and Melinda Katz, the Queens borough president.
Press entrance for the special Terminal 4 event – Photo: Doug Wint
The expansion adds 75,000 additional square feet and 11 new gates to Terminal 4B, and will allow 80% of Delta Connection operations to move from Terminal 2. These new gates are enclosed and climate-controlled, and can handle mainline narrow-body jets, if needed. The new addition provides access to a renovated Sky Club, iPad stations, and world-renown eateries.
The carrier has also added a third stop to its Jitney shuttle service, which carries connecting passengers between its two terminals to the new terminus on the B side. This is to help alleviate the walking for connecting travellers (65% of Delta’s JFK passengers) between opposite ends of Terminal 4B.