His Excellency Akbar Al Baker flanked by two senior Qatar Airways executives at his DC press conference – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
There is a ridiculous war of words over whether or not American customers deserve to have choice. I’ve been over the open skies debate before, many times. Both here and other places. You know where I stand; I support the middle eastern carriers. I am not here to talk about the whole debate today, but am here to talk about only one facet of it – Qatar Airways.
Qatar Airways has been the target of a certain American that neither myself nor H.E. Akbar Al Baker would like to name. I flew to Washington D.C. to watch Qatar’s head shoot down these allegations of questionable legality in person. Furthermore, it’s always a pleasure to see my favorite aviation personality.
Continue reading Opinion: Qatar Airways Responds to Baseless Allegations
JAL Boeing 777-300ER landing in Haneda – Photo: Kentaro IEMOTO | Flickr CC
Recently, I visited Japan for the first time, and thanks to codesharing, my American Airlines ticket was for a flight operated by Japan Airlines. It’s always fun to try a new airline, and even better, I got an opportunity to fly in their Premium Economy cabin!
There’s my seat, 18A – Photo: Lauren Darnielle
Prior to boarding, I visited the Sakura Lounge at SFO, which is available to those traveling in Premium Economy – a nice benefit. It was pretty small, plain, and crowded, but I did appreciate the chance to have a little something before my flight. It was just after midnight, so at that hour, they had a selection of Japanese and American snacks along with mini sandwiches and a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. I had a glass of orange juice, a mini egg salad sandwich, and some rice crackers, which were all tasty, and then headed back to the gate.
The lounge was a bit of a walk from the gate, up an elevator, and down a hallway, but with my very short layover from Seattle, I didn’t want to hang around too long and miss my pre-arranged early boarding.
Continue reading Flight Review: Japan Airlines Premium Economy
In part one of this series I provided an overview of my airline sampler trip (5 airlines over 4 days) and offered my thoughts on my very first flight with Virgin America, from Dallas to San Francisco. Here we pick back up at SFO for a quick journey down to LAX in the first class cabin aboard a United 787-8.
This leg of my airline sampler was actually the catalyst for the entire trip. I happened to stumble upon an announcement that United would be briefly returning the 787 to domestic service for once weekly (Friday) service from SFO-LAX. I didn’t get the opportunity to check out the Dreamliner when United had them on domestic runs when they were first introduced. After a number of friends booked their own 787 experiences only to be disappointed by the wrong plane at the gate, due to operational issues, I decided to hold off. I was skeptic for too long and wound up missing my opportunity. Some time had passed and United now had a number of 787s in service, so I figured that the time was right.
The economy fare was very attractively priced at a meager $72.10 — what a bargain! When United.com solicited me to pay an extra $29 for economy plus I jumped at it.
As a Boeing fan-boy, I was excited, but that joy would soon evaporate like spilled Jet A on a hot day. It pains me to report that problems began before I ever stepped foot on the plane…
Continue reading Airline Sampler- Part 2: Flying in 1st Class on United’s 787-8 Dreamliner
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 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