Browsing Tag: Business Class

Getting off the TAM 777-300ER in Sao Paulo

Getting off the TAM 777-300ER in Sao Paulo

Airline: TAM Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER (reg PT-MUI)
Departed: John F Kennedy Airport (JFK)
Arrived: São Paulo’“Guarulhos International Airport (GRU)
Stops: None
Class: Business Class
Seat: 10A, no 10C, no 10H, no really 10C, heck why not 11G?
Length: About 8.5hrs

Cheers: The good customer service really made this flight stand out
Jeers: The product is old, but is in process of being replaced
Bottom Line: I hit some bumps, but still felt this was a good flight experience

The Business Class product currently on TAM's 777-300ERs

The Business Class product currently on TAM’s 777-300ERs


I was recently invited by TAM Airlines to travel down to Sao Paulo to check out their operations. Of course, with any trip, one of the best parts is the flight – especially when it involves business class.

Previously, I had the chance to check out the interior of a new TAM Boeing 777-300ER, but I was excited to put the product and service to the test. My flight originated in New York at JFK and I ended up with a two-hour layover in JFK (was supposed to be four, but had a flight delay out of Seattle). I was a little bit nervous since I didn’t yet have a boarding pass for my TAM flight.

Singapore's new Business Class will be tough to beat.

Not every airline, nor every customer, is wanting to try to go bigger and better, like Singapore’s new Business Class.

I recently ranted about how people get what they pay for  when it comes to air travel, but I feel that I have a few more things to say. I have come realize that there is downgrading trend going on in the industry that needs to change. Let me explain.

What if you get to a situation where increasing volumetric efficiency becomes done for reasons other than combating cost? After all, a business is in business in order to make a profit. It’d be irresponsible to not seek greater margins, right? Especially when passengers are already prepared to accept pain in economy class.

What’s sparked my continued rant is that I am starting to worry that European-style business class may be getting a foothold in North America.

OK-YBA basking in the warm spring sun after arrival in Ostrava Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

OK-YBA basking in the spring sun after arrival in Ostrava – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Czech Airlines (CSA) has one Airbus A330 (with a special interior) and it wanted to show it off. At the end of February, the airline announced a series of three promotional flights on-board their A330-300. The idea of these flights was to showcase the aircraft in Ostrava and Bratislava, which are both key destinations in the Czech Airlines network and provide a substantial amount of connecting traffic for the A330 Seoul service.

The flights were scheduled to take place on the 1st of April. Obviously, the date in question made many think it was a joke, but true to their word the flights did take place as planned. I was fortunate enough to experience all three flights, as well as a media event in Ostrava showcasing the aircraft and network to numerous travel agents and key figures in the region. The routing of the flights was Prague (PRG) – Ostrava (OSR) – Bratislava (BTS) -Prague. All in, the flight time was less than two hours.

A standard SAS Boeing 737-700 without a fancy interior.

A standard SAS Boeing 737-700 without a fancy interior – Photo: Aero Icarus | Flickr CC

For many, taking a ride on the 737 is nothing to write home about. How about flying on a 737-700 with only 44 seats in it? That spark your interest? Typically you will see the 700 with 128-140 seats, so that is a big change.

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has announced that they plan to start operating a business class-only 737-700 from Houston (IAH) to Stavanger (SVG) starting on August 20th of this year. The 737 will be wet-leased from PrivatAir and it will wear the SAS livery. According to their press release, the inside of the plane will offer, “SAS Long Haul Business Class concept on board… along with modern in-flight entertainment system and full-service meals and service.”

The one and only Czech Airlines A330. Photo - Jacob Pfleger.

The one and only Czech Airlines A330 – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

In May of last year Czech Airlines (CSA) took delivery of their first (leased) Airbus A330-300 aircraft from Korean Airlines. The sole purpose of this aircraft delivery was for Czech Airlines to re-enter the long-haul market on the Prague-Seoul route. Recently, I was fortunate enough to be booked on this aircraft from Prague to Seoul in Business Class and wanted to share my flight experience.


Being a non-schengen flight, the departure was from Terminal 1 at Prague Airport. I arrived about three hours early; it was interesting to see that Czech Airlines had dedicated check-in for the Seoul flight, with two dedicated business counters. My bag was priority-tagged and I was on my way to passport control within five minutes of arriving at the airport.  The security check takes place at the gate for all flights originating from Terminal 1.

After clearing immigration, I made my way to the lounge. The lounge itself was quite modern and well planned out, with numerous phone/device charging stations. It would be nice to see the addition of some hot meals/refreshments, as only cold sandwiches and salads were offered.

Boarding commenced 30 minutes prior to departure. The load today was completely full in economy (majority of travellers were Korean tourists returning home) and only 3/18 in business class. There were two jetways available for boarding.

The empty Business Class cabin on my flight to Seoul. Photo - Jacob Pfleger.

The empty Business Class cabin on my flight to Seoul. Photo – Jacob Pfleger.


Once onboard the aircraft, I was greeted by the purser and escorted to my seat. As the aircraft is an ex-Korean Air bird, the interior and layout is identical to their A330-300’s; the only difference with this one being the paint scheme on the outside is that of Czech Airlines.