Browsing Tag: Flight Review

A6-EYI Crusing high above the Australian Outback Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

A6-EYI cruising high above the Australian Outback                                        Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Following my experience flying Etihad first class it was time for me to give their economy product a go. Etihad Airways (airline code: EY) had by far the cheapest available ticket from Brisbane to Singapore by about $250, and given my prior experiences with them in their premium cabin it was the perfect choice for me.

As I was traveling in economy, I decided to arrive at the airport three hours prior to departure to be able to get a better seat then the one I selected at the time of booking. The counters were practically deserted, and I was served without delay. I was able to secure a bulkhead seat (15A) at the front of the economy cabin.  With the added bonus of having the aisle seat blocked next to me, this was shaping up to be a very good flight, even in economy.

Southwest Boeing 737-700 fresh from the factory

Southwest Boeing 737-700 taxing at KPAE

In the summer, my wife and I were planning a Christmas trip to Disneyland with our two toddlers (ages 2 and 4).  We were looking to get out of cold Denver for the holidays, and had visited Disneyland in December a few years ago and thought all of the decorations were really cool.  We decided to pull the trigger in late summer and I went work booking our travel.

I’m a very loyal United Airlines flyer, being Denver-based, and try to fly them exclusively.  However, flights to the Los Angeles-area at Christmas, even months in advance, were ridiculously expensive.  I’ve also recently come to grips with the fact that, having a newly-two-year-old daughter, four airline tickets really start to add up.  So, I looked at the options on Southwest Airlines (WN) and was shocked – less than $200 round-trip for direct flights between Denver (DEN) and Orange County (SNA), which was less than half the cost of other options.  I had never booked myself on WN, but couldn’t pass up the huge cost difference, especially for such a short flight. (Note – since I booked my “first” WN flights, I actually ended up flying on them to the Bahamas on a short-notice trip).

United's Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Houston. Photo: Brandon Farris

United’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Houston. Photo: Brandon Farris

It has been a long journey, but I am proud to say that I have finally flown on a Dreamliner.

After two years of trying to get on the 787-8 Dreamliner, I finally had my opportunity to step aboard one of the most amazing aircraft ever built.My flight, United 1169, was from Houston to Los Angeles; they fly the aircraft once a day between these cities for positioning, and when I stumbled on it I couldn’t resist.

As time call to board my flight (in the Economy Plus section), it finally began to sink in that I was about to board the plane I have lost many nights of sleep over. I have followed the issues the plane has had throughout its flight test program and entry into service.

The aircraft I was flying on, N26902, has quite a history and actually is one of the 787s that cost me a couple night’s sleep, as it was the plane that diverted to New Orleans back in December, 2012, when the battery saga was beginning to catch fire. The aircraft also completed the inaugural flights for United to Tokyo Narita from Los Angeles, becoming the first 787 flown by a non-Japanese airline to land in Japan.  Weeks later, it completed United’s first flight to Shanghai.

Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330s at the terminal in Honolulu - Photo: Mal Muir |

Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330s at the terminal in Honolulu – Photo: Mal Muir |

Getting to New Zealand from the United States is a very limited affair.  The only way to get there directly is with Air New Zealand and at some times of the year (around Christmas, especially) capacity becomes limited due to operating only three daily flights (two from LAX, one from SFO).

More recently a new choice was offered to New Zealand; Hawaiian Airlines flying from Honolulu (HNL) to Auckland (AKL). The new flights started in March and they fly three times a week between the two cities.

Using their new Airbus A330-200 aircraft, Hawaiian’s service to the south Pacific allows one-stop service from a number of west coast cities (although all cities, apart from Seattle, require an overnight stay in Honolulu when southbound).  After I had flown down to Hawaii from Seattle and spent a brief two hours in the warmth that permeates Honolulu airport, it was time to board another Hawaiian aircraft for my journey to New Zealand.

An Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767-300 in Honolulu - Photo: Mal Muir |

Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767-300 in Honolulu – Photo: Mal Muir |

As winter fast approaches, now is the time of year that we all think of sun, sand, and warm temperatures.  Sitting by the beach, drinking a fruity cocktail at the bar, or just getting that tan you can’t normally get.  When you think of these things, often one place will pop into someones head – Hawaii.  Long a destination for many an American to get away from life, to escape to a different climate, a different culture, or a different way of life, Hawaii will forever be that imagination destination.

A brief six-hour flight from most west coast cities, the main destination for most is the island of Oahu, and its major hub for inbound traffic, Honolulu.  A number of airlines fly from a good portion of the west coast cities but there is only one that holds the name of Hawaiian Airlines.   With a long-range fleet that solely consists of widebody aircraft (there are currently orders for some single-aisle Airbus A321s) it can be the most comfortable way of flying to Hawaii (who wants to be trapped in a 737 for 6 hours?), while still embracing that vacation you’re about to experience.

Started in 1929, Hawaiian Airlines has long had service to the mainland from its Honolulu (HNL) base and continues to serve the major cities on the west coast, along with a few smaller cities and, of course, New York.  Seattle has long had a connection with the Hawaiian Islands and it is no surprise that it has two services per day to Hawaii (one to Oahu, the other Maui).  Both flights are currently operated by the workhorse of the Hawaiian fleet, the 767-300 (no ERs here!) though they will soon (as of December) be swapping over to the more fuel-efficient Airbus A330-200.