Browsing Tag: Passenger Experience

A brand new EVA Boeing 777-300ER, currently the most popular 777 aircraft, at Paine Field (with 9-abreast economy)

A brand-new EVA Boeing 777-300ER, currently the most popular 777 variant, at Paine Field (with nine-abreast economy)

In October 2015, it appeared that Cathay Pacific was ‘flirting’ with the idea of changing its long-haul 777 economy class from a 9-abreast to a 10-abreast cabin. This appears to be correct, since Cathay Pacific gauged the responses of some of its most loyal Marco Polo customers in a recent survey to see whether they would accept a 3-4-3 configuration on their long-haul 777 aircraft.

BONUS: Flying a Cathay 777 Across North America in Business Class

“To understand the needs of our customers as well as the trend and development of the airline industry, Cathay Pacific periodically conducts research on different aspects of our offerings so as to continuously improve on our passenger services,” Julie Jarratt, Cathay Pacific Communications Manager explained to AirlineReporter. “Cathay Pacific, at this stage, has no decision to change the seat width and seat pitch of our 777 fleet.”

The economy cabin inside a Singapore Airlines 777

The economy cabin inside a Singapore Airlines 777

From an airline’s perspective, the rationale for a 10-abreast cabin is quite obvious. Not only does it provide a higher profit margin, by lowering its cost per seat mile, but it (theoretically) allows these savings to be put into other benefits for travelers in the form of cheaper airfares or enhanced services. In this sense, a denser cabin allows airlines to move greater numbers of passenger on fewer flights, which leads to fuel efficiency in the form of equated fuel burn reduction savings. I wanted to take a closer look at which airlines are taking delivery of the higher-density 777s, as that configuration is becoming more and more popular.

A surprise anniversary party at 40,000 feet! Karen got to wear the Emirate's singature uniform hat. Mayb I should have to cut the glare.

A surprise anniversary party at 40,000 feet! Karen got to wear Emirates’ signature uniform hat. Maybe I should have too, to cut the glare.

“Mr. Slutsken, would you and your wife please join us in the lounge at the back of the cabin?” asked the Purser, our flight’s senior cabin representative. She had a big smile on her face as she stood beside my business class seat in the Emirates A380 on our flight from Dubai (DXB) to Rome (FCO). I looked back at my wife; we both wanted to be right beside a window, so I was in seat 9K and Karen was in 11K on the remarkably quiet upper deck of the Airbus.

This was the second leg of our special anniversary trip. We always try to do something new for every fifth year, and this was our 35th anniversary. It doesn’t really matter when in the year it happens, so we had planned a trip to Italy in October, months after our actual anniversary date. We wanted to fly business class, and after much research and expert help, we decided to go the long way to Italy. We cashed in a whack of Alaska Airlines and hotel points for reward seats on Emirates. It would be our first time flying the airline, and also our first time in Dubai. Using Emirates’ Dubai Stopover Program, we were able to break our itinerary to spend a few nights before continuing to Rome.

34R, in Doha

34R, in Doha – ready for takeoff and hopefully a peaceful flight

In my professional capacity, I recently gave a presentation to a group of stakeholders in the travel industry about the law on unruly and disruptive airline passengers. I took a gamble on introducing the subject under the strap line “nuts and basic bitches” to several bemused faces in the audience, who naturally wondered where this was going, and what the link to disruptive passengers would be. The gamble seemed to pay off, as I talked them through two high-profile incidences of allegedly unruly passengers which were widely reported in the media. I wanted to take a deeper look at recent incidents and also explore some of the rules and regulations surrounding mid-air incidents.

The first one involved the former Korean Air executive, Ms. Cho Hyun-ah, who forced a Korean Air flight bound for Seoul in December 2014 to cease taxiing and return to the gate at New York’s JFK airport to have a member of the first class cabin crew ejected. It is alleged that the crew member served Ms. Cho macadamia nuts in the bag and not on a plate. Dubbed “nut rage”, the furious Ms. Cho took umbrage with the hapless flight attendant and allegedly forced him to kneel in apology, before throwing him off the parked aircraft. It then pushed back again and continued its journey on to Seoul.

It caused considerable scandal in South Korea, and led to Ms. Cho being fired, arrested, and briefly imprisoned. I would say she paid a stiff consequence, but not everyone does.

 

Air New Zealand's "Pleased to Seat You" truck on display in Terry Fox Square in Vancouver.

Air New Zealand’s “Pleased to Seat You” truck on display in Terry Fox Square in Vancouver

Air New Zealand is in the midst of refurbishing its Boeing 777-200ER fleet, and is showcasing the planes’ new Premium Economy and Economy Skycouch seats during a North American “Pleased to Seat You” tour.

The seats are on display in a 26 foot, 5 ton, glass-walled truck that will cover more than 7,000 miles, giving the public a chance to see and sit in the -200’s new seats. The airline introduced the innovative Skycouch in its Boeing 777-300s – the footrest in a row of three seats can be positioned at the same height as the seat cushions, giving a flexible space for passengers.

With the update of the -200s, all of the long-haul aircraft in Air New Zealand’s fleet will include the Skycouch, along with the new Premium Economy seats also found in its Boeing 787-9s.