On the best of business class flights, it feels like you’re being treated like royalty. Well, what better way to fly like a king or queen than to sit in a throne? That’s how I felt on a trip from San Francisco to Helsinki on Finnair, when I scored one of the business class cabin’s “throne seats.” With no neighbors, tons of table space on both sides, miles of elbow room, and a view out the window, it’s one of the most stylish ways I’ve crossed the Atlantic. It also gave me a great chance to learn about Finnair and its unique Finnish touch. And now that I’m back on the ground, it’s time to spill some details.
Read on for plenty of photos, videos, and thoughts from my long-haul Finnair business class A330 flight from San Francisco to Helsinki. And then decide for yourself whether it’s an experience fit for a king!
I was born in 1985, which puts me in the millennial generation. We are largely known for being technologically savvy, and having different tastes than previous generations. As such, many companies have been forced to adapt in order to do business with us. As our collective purchasing power grows, airlines are also adapting. Many have rolled out apps for smartphones and updated websites allowing us to purchase tickets, check-in for flights, and board planes with only a few taps of our fingers. Others are also advertising their involvement in social causes that Millennials care about. However, one European airline is taking a dramatic step to capture more Millennial travelers.
One of these things is not like the other: Joon’s Airbus 321-200 sticks out among the Alitalia planes at FCO
Meet Joon, a low-cost carrier created by Air France, designed specifically with Millennials in mind (for the baby boomers rolling their eyes, don’t worry, our own David Parker Brown [and his mom] designed an airline just for y’all). Joon promises many of the stereotypical products that appeal to us, including organic food options and craft beer. The overall flight experience, as I found out on a flight from Rome to Paris (FCO – CDG), is definitely designed to appeal to the younger Millennials.
An Air Canada 777-300ER being prepared for a transcontinental flight from Vancouver to Toronto
Earlier this summer, we had the opportunity to try out Air Canada’s new Signature Class cabin and lounge experiences.
Launched in June, the service is aimed squarely at the business/first class traveler, and competes quite readily with existing offerings by its North American mainline-carrier rivals.
Domestic Signature service is offered on flights between Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver to Toronto; daily flights between Montreal and New York-Newark to Vancouver; between Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto; and between Toronto and Honolulu. Internationally, it’s offered on all Air Canada flights serviced using Boeing 767, 777, and 787, as well as Airbus A330 aircraft.
The routing for my flights were SEA-YVR-YYZ-SEA. The hop from Seattle to Vancouver was in standard coach class on a venerable Bombardier Q400.
Fun times at the gate for the launch of United’s daily, direct service to London Heathrow (LHR) on a 787-8 Dreamliner. Photo: Kevin P Horn
United Airlines has been aggressively expanding its Denver hub over the last few years. Despite operating 471 flights a day and carrying 42% of traffic, the international routes have been limited to a few flights in Canada, a few south of the border, and the daily Dreamliner to Tokyo. Starting on March 24th, United re-launched, after a hiatus of a few years, seasonal, daily service to London Heathrow on a 787-8 as UA 27 and UA 26.
We were there for the inaugural flight and celebration for this exciting new route. This flight makes for three carriers serving London at once, with Denver’s biggest airline continuing expansion at the airport.
Hong Kong is a dazzling city. With a dazzling international airport. And some great hometown airlines. Though not the oldest or largest among them, Hong Kong Airlines has arguably been the most exciting over the past year, launching new long-haul routes to North America on the wings of its small new fleet of Airbus A350s. With that unique aircraft’s help, the airline launched service to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver over the past year.
We have a blast reviewing airlines for the first time, and we got to do exactly that with Hong Kong Airlines on a flight to its Hong Kong (HKG) hub from San Francisco (SFO), barely a month after the route launched. From the fresh and roomy business class seats to the impressive dining experience, we found a lot to get excited about. Plus there’s the AvGeek joy of flying on the relatively new A350!
Read on for plenty of photos, videos, and thoughts on Hong Kong Airlines’ A350 inflight experience.