Browsing Tag: AIrbus A321

My gate at FLL gave amazing views of my Alaska Airbus A321.... not!

My gate at FLL gave amazing views of my Alaska Airbus A321…. not!

“What the heck is a diagcon look of an Alaska Airlines A321 first class product?” Don’t worry, I will get to that.

I had no expectation that I was going to write this review. I recently flew down to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to hang out with Embraer and they were nice enough to put me in first class. When I was preparing for my flight home (I flew on Delta to FLL), I saw it was on an Alaska Airlines Airbus A321. Sweet. I knew that I would either be flying on one of Virgin America’s old birds with their first class product, or Alaska’s new product — win/win. I did my thing and looked up the registration number, found the delivery date of the aircraft, and determined that I was going to be trying out the new product. Heck yea.

The good news and bad news is I just had a really long day, got very little sleep previously, and had just flown across the country the day before. That is bad since I wasn’t really prepared to do this review, but good since what better time to test out a product when you aren’t feeling 100%?

Pretty cool display with the seat in parts to better inspect it!

Pretty cool display of the new Alaska Airlines first class seat that I viewed during my previous media trip with them

Previously, I had the chance to fly down to SFO to preview Alaska Airlines’ new first class product on their Airbus A321s. I was only able to sit down in a first class seats for a short amount of time, and obviously media flights like that don’t give you a real experience of how the product compares. Know what does? A six-hour flight from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Seattle (SEA), that’s what! And looky there, I just recently did flew that diagcon flight.

JetBlue's JFK operations base is a busy place.

JetBlue’s JFK operations base is a busy place

JetBlue’s Mint service has been around for a while now, but we were finally able to give it a try on the inaugural Seattle to New York City flight. And long as we were at it, we decided it’d be fun to give all three of the airline’s seating classes a try as well.

Mint is the airline’s business class product, Even More Space is their premium economy class, and then there’s standard economy (Core), which the airline bills as having the most legroom of any domestic airline.

We did the review across several flights on two routes: Mint from SEA-JFK, Even More Space from JFK-SEA in April, then in May we chose Even More Space from SEA-BOS and Core from BOS-PIT, PIT-BOS, and BOS-SEA.

SEA-JFK: Mint
There are 16 Mint seats on JetBlue’s A321s, which are the only aircraft in its fleet so equipped. And what lovely seats they are, especially considering that they’re available on domestic flights.

An American CRJ 200 - Photo: Dave Montiverdi | FlickrCC

An American CRJ-200 – Photo: Dave Montiverdi | FlickrCC

It didn’t take me long to agree to work as Press for PAX East (if you’re not sure what that is, check the link ahead). After last year’s adventure in San Antonio for PAX South, I was eager to experience the last major PAX event that I hadn’t yet been to. Besides, I’d never visited Boston before.

American, Delta, United, Frontier, and Allegiant all operate flights out of my local airport, either directly or through a regional subcontract. While I prefer to fly Delta, they were significantly more expensive than American for an early April round trip to Boston. Neither Frontier nor Allegiant fly into Boston’s Logan International, which put them out of the running. American it was! Given that I expected to come back from Boston with two checked bags plus a carryon, a back-to-front (Economy to Boston, First Class home) flight plan almost paid for itself in bag fees. At least, as long as I didn’t mind flying Boston to Sioux Falls via Charlotte and Chicago.

Unlike Delta, which runs its FSD-MSP feeder flights on mainline A320 or B717 aircraft, American contracts with Air Wisconsin to feed their Chicago-O’Hare hub with CRJ-200 flights. These aircraft are all single class 2-2 configuration. As I would find out, no booking consideration is given to First Class on other legs. Anyone wanting one of the few prefered seats on the -200 is going to have to pay for it.

Austrian Airlines A321-100 "Pinzgau" - Photo: Alastair Long | AirlineReporter

Austrian Airlines A321-100 “Pinzgau” – Photo: Alastair Long | AirlineReporter

Following a five-day trip to Austria, my son and I flew back from Vienna International Airport (VIE) to London Heathrow (LHR) in economy on Austrian Airlines — flight OS455. We had sampled a serious amount of wiener schnitzel over the last few days and that was important; we had to bench test Austrian’s own wiener schnitzel on the way home.

The airline’s slogan is “We fly for your smile,” and we were hoping to find lots of smiles.

We Fly For Your Smile - Austrian Business Lounge reception at Gate F - Photo: Bo Long | AirlineReporter

We Fly For Your Smile – Austrian Business Lounge reception at Gate F – Photo: Bo Long | AirlineReporter

We arrived at VIE and made directly for Austrian’s short-haul business lounge at Gate F in Terminal 3 — courtesy of the airline. The friendly receptionist found us on her list and gave my son an Austrian branded set of aircraft Mega Trumpf (top trumps) cards – we didn’t even need to fly for his first smile.

Aerial shot of the Airbus facility in Mobile - Photo: Airbus

Aerial shot of the Airbus facility in Mobile – Photo: Airbus

Story and photos by Chris Sloan; was originally published on AirwaysNews.com on September 14, 2015.

With top level delegations from Airbus and the State of Alabama, Airbus Group today threw open the doors to its first U.S. Final Assembly Line in Mobile, Alabama at the Brookley Aeroplex – The first time a foreign manufacturer has built jets on U.S. soil.

This new production facility, specifically constructed to build Airbus A320 family aircraft destined for delivery to United States and Canadian customers, joins sister factories in Toulouse, Hamburg, and the northeastern Chinese city of Tianjin, where the company recently announced A330s would be constructed beginning in 2018.

Major components of the first two aircraft to be assembled at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility are shown in the main final assembly hangar - Photo: Airbus

Major components of the first two aircraft to be assembled at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility are shown in the main final assembly hangar – Photo: Airbus

The Mobile final assembly line opens with ambitious goals, befitting the A320 family program. First aircraft assembly began in July with the first U.S.-produced airframe, a JetBlue A321ceo (MSN6512), which is expected to roll out in the first quarter of 2016, with delivery set in the second quarter. The second aircraft, also an A321ceo for American Airlines, is set to be delivered by the third quarter of the next year.

Plans call for an initial production rate of four A320 family ceos per month by the end of 2017, following an initial start of two aircraft per month. With the A321 being “the heart of the U.S. market”, the initial deliveries on the horizon are for the stretched variant. A320neo family deliveries are scheduled to begin in late 2017 / early 2018 with no drop in production rate.