Sometimes it’s hard to beat a classic. Japan Airlines’ 777-300ERs are the heavy lifter of their long-haul fleet. And although the current premium cabins have been flying for around ten years, they’re still a fan favorite.
I had my first chance to fly JAL’s Sky Suite business class on a flagship route from New York JFK to Tokyo Haneda – now I completely understand why it’s so popular. As an added bonus the window seat views were pretty amazing, since it was nothing but daylight for the full 15 hours from boarding to deplaning.
Read on for more photos, videos, and highlights from this classic long-haul route.
Now that Air France’s Airbus A380s are retired, their flagship is now the 777-300ER. That feels fitting, because Air France was the 77W’s launch customer back in 2004. During the pandemic the airline was quietly working to redesign their onboard product, highlighted by a sweet suite-style business class seat. And a month ago the first renovated 777-300ER took flight between Paris and New York, with more planes and routes to follow.
We dropped by a mock-up of the new seat on display at New York’s Lincoln Center. The kickoff event included a Q&A session with Air France CEO Anne Rigail, who had plenty of commentary on the new seats and the airline’s master plan.
For a closer look at Air France’s new business class and hot takes from the interview with their CEO read on! And for any of you in New York City today March 5th, we have details below on how you can drop by the display for yourself and enter to win a pair of business class tickets.
A few years ago Etihad Airways set out to streamline itself. After hitting hard times and running into fierce competition, it cut routes, cut costs, and invested in a more fuel-efficient fleet. And earlier this year Etihad announced a long-awaited return to profitability. So that part of the transformation seems to be working.
But did the passenger experience take a hit from the airline’s belt-tightening? We had a chance to find while flying business class on their 787-9 Dreamliner, a staple of their leaner long-haul fleet. Read on for plenty of photos, videos, and opinions on the experience. And at the end of the story we have some fresh news about Etihad’s onboard product.
Arriving at Dulles
Our flight was in business class from Washington D.C. to Abu Dhabi. I love planespotting at Dulles, especially from onboard those goofy “mobile lounge” buses.
Etihad’s Verified to Fly program allows you to confirm your COVID vaccine related documentation in advance, which scores you access to a separate shorter check-in line. Definitely take advantage of if you can — it can mean major time savings at the airport.
A few months ago, Etihad Airways introduced the Airbus A350-1000 to their active fleet, which came equipped with a brand-new business class cabin. These aircraft have been flying a select few long-haul routes, including to New York JFK.
It was on that route that my wife — ahem I mean the newest AirlineReporter guest contributor Meghan Koushik — grabbed some quick pictures. And it’s a really gorgeous cabin. Take a look for yourself.
This business class cabin has the same understated style as Etihad’s previous business class seat still flying on their Dreamliners, but with more consistency from seat to seat. There’s also an improved privacy factor, thanks to sliding doors that turn your seat into a miniature suite. Notably, Etihad doesn’t offer a first class cabin on their A350s, so this business class is as fancy as you’re going to get.
We’ll be back later with some thoughts, photos, and videos from a separate flight on their B787 business class. For now, let us know in the comments section below what you think about the cabin, or if any of you have firsthand experience flying it.
A little over ten years ago, Air France took delivery of its first Airbus A380 and flew its first commercial service from Paris to New York. Since then, the superjumbo has been the flagship of Air France’s fleet. But ten years is an eternity in the fast-moving airline world, and time takes its toll on hard-working airplanes. Air France originally announced plans to retire its A380 fleet by 2022, but with COVID capacity cuts, the airline just announced yesterday that the plane will be removed from service immediately. So whenever your last flight on an Air France A380 was — if you ever flew it — it was your last.
I had the chance to fly an Air France A380 last year on the same historic route that started its story with Air France: CDG to JFK. I’ve had some good times flying A380s in the past. My very first AirlineReporter story was a Lufthansa A380 trip report. And I got to fly a BA A380 in Club World a few years ago.
But by the time the flight was over, I could see why it was a plane that wasn’t going to be in the fleet for much longer. I did appreciate some things, like the super-smooth takeoff, whisper-quiet ride, and soaking in the spectacular scale of the double-decker. But the AF A380 is a plane that’s stuck in the past, and overall I won’t miss them much as they transition to their well-earned retirement. Whether you’re an A380 fan or a hater, read on for the full scoop.