Friday, March 27, 2015

Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) Interior

Not my style, but someone thought the idea of two long couches perpendicular to the direction of travel was a good one.
BBJ Interior Lounge

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sleeping on a Business Jet - Gulfstream G550 Edition

The first class seats on long haul airliners make better beds than seats on business jets.  Airliners have heavy mechanical seats that convert into beds.  Business jets need to save weight, so they fold flat and then have a mattress pad added (the flight attendant should make your bed in either case). Also one bed takes up two seats, so overnight flights run at reduced capacity. Not every aspect of private aviation is better than flying commercial.
G550 Bed Set Up
Lufthansa A380 First Class Bed

Monday, March 23, 2015

US Airways Envoy (Business Class) to Europe

I was excited to fly US Airway's Envoy business class to Madrid.  However US Airways didn't share my excitement and oversold business class. I tried to board and on scanning my boarding pass, the agent said I didn't have a seat anymore and directed me to the gate podium to discuss my options. This was shocking because I had a boarding pass with seat assignment issued five hours earlier in Denver. Flabbergasted, I walked to an agent to discuss my options.
US Airways A330 in Philadelphia 
The gate agents were awful.  I spent a long time discussing why there were more business class passengers than seats and why I was selected to be denied boarding. I was told I lost my seat because business class was oversold, the aircraft was changed, I was not checked in, general reservations issues, I upgraded with miles, US Airways and United weren’t partners anymore, the reservation wasn’t valid, and 016 tickets aren’t valid on US Airways.  I was able to refute these implausible (or factually wrong) explanations and demanded I be accommodated on another flight in business class. No other business class options were available or the agents only looked for coach seats. Also no refund or compensation was offered because the reservation was booked with United Airlines miles and the gate agents said they weren’t responsible for United Airlines tickets.  The agents refused to look for business class options on other carriers and generally wasted time talking with themselves while other flights to Europe left and limited my options.  They repeatedly provided false information, like United had refunded the ticket or it was never valid. 
Better Than US Airways' Business Class
The best US Airways would offer was a coach flight to London, then coach to Madrid.  They also tossed in $20 in food vouchers.  This was unacceptable.  I called United and the phone agent had some choice words for the US Airways staff.  She also found a late departing Lufthansa flight from Chicago with business class award space (old style business class like on the A340-600).  Even better, there were flights from PHL to ORD and FRA to MAD with award space too.  She changed the reservation and I raced to the other end of the airport to get a boarding pass and board my new flight.  My time in Philadelphia was absolutely miserable and now I'm boycotting US Airways and American Airlines.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

US Airways A321 First Class Review

I wanted to use my United miles for a trip to Europe before United changed their prices.  I also wanted to try the US Airways business class product before they switched from Star Alliance to oneworld.  Luckily US Airways had great availability to Europe.  I was able to book a flight from Denver to Madrid with a 90 minute connection in Philadelphia.  The trip was booked about four months in advance and included a free stopover in Brussels and an easy trip back to Denver with a direct on Lufthansa from FRA.
US Airways A321 First Class Seat
The flight from DEN to PHL was in a newer US Airways A321.  US Airways, soon to be American Airlines, has a basic first class offering on domestic flights.  There is no in flight entertainment, but WiFi is available to purchase.  The seat is acceptable, but feels a little cheap, under padded, and I was able to take a nap.  
US Airways Airbus First Class Seat - Full Recline
The meal service on the three hour flight was much better than expected.  The first class cabin flight attendant provided attentive and friendly service.  He was so good, I filled out a US Airways online complement form for him before the aircraft parked at to gate so I wouldn't forget.  US Airways offers Dos Equis, a great option to break up the Budweiser / Miller Lite routine.  The steak was tasty and tender and everything was flavorful.  the red velvet cake was moist and springy too, a great end to a great meal (and what turns out to be the only in flight entertainment).  My dinning review is helped by never having an empty glass.  
Beer and Mixed Nuts Starter
Steak and Sides
Red Velvet Cake
I had a great experience with US Airways on my flight to PHL and was excited to hop onto the A330-200 to MAD and settle into the Envoy flat bed seat and experience US Airways' international offering.

Whatever, USA is Back

Bud Light's Whatever, USA promotion is back.  I wasn't invited last year, but I did see their large charter operation in action at Denver.
Up For Whatever?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Airbus Group Photography Contest

Airbus is running a contest for photographers to win a tour of an Airbus facility and have their picture included in the Airbus Group annual report.  I'll be entering a few snaps, find out more here.
Maybe a winner?
Not a winner.

Thursday, March 19, 2015