Tuesday, June 28, 2016

South African Airways Johannesburg to Cape Town

The ground experience in JNB leaves something to be desired, even for transoceanic business class customers. The customs agents arrived at their well after the aircraft landed. Contrary to what was said onboard, they wanted filled out immigration cards from everyone too. Once I got through that issue, I went to the SSA business class arrivals lounge for a shower. It was closed. I waited for 15 for it to open, even though it appeared fully staffed. The shower/changing room was nice, but the coffee machine was broken and the food spread unappealing.
Arrivals Lounge Look
Slightly dejected, I worked my way through security and to the domestic lounge. The food spread was ample, English style breakfast options mainly, and the coffee machines was manned by baristas. I enjoyed some caffeine and eggs while waiting for my departure to Cape Town. The view was wonderful and I enjoy watching aircraft land with the sunrise.
SAA Business Class breakfast
SAA A320 Business Class Seat
There are 24 business class (like first class in the USA) seats onboard the A320. This is twice the number United carries, so award space is always ample. The cabin was less than half full, so there was plenty of room to spread out.  The crew was very friendly and I felt like they were genuinely excited to fly with me that morning. The breakfast, my third of the morning, was tasty and was nice to pick at. Sadly, it was too early for alcohol.  It's a pretty arrival on the way into CPT and I was glued to my window for the final 30 minutes of flight.
SAA 737

Monday, June 27, 2016

QANTAS Bonus Miles Citi Transfer

If you've made a series of poor life choices and have over 1,000,000 Citi Thank You points, QANTAS will give you a 30% bonus when you transfer points to miles.
QANTAS A330

Friday, June 24, 2016

Fun London City Airport (LCY) Video

London City Airport is a great option if you are going to London.  Here's a video to make my case. It's from the early 90's and still works.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Air Berlin Mileage Earning Is Very German

airberlin is changing their mileage program in a very German way.  Check out the new earning methods, it seems delightfully complicated.
airberlin Uses 737's Like Miami Air

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Good Sign for the Airline Industry

The airline business must be doing well. 3.5% on an unsecured loan is a great rate.  United had trouble with secured loans at 12% only a few years ago.
WestJet is Canada's Southwest
CALGARY, June 13, 2016 /CNW/ - WestJet Airlines Ltd. (TSX:WJA) today announced that it has priced an offering of US$400 million aggregate principal amount of 3.50% senior unsecured notes due June 16, 2021 (the "Notes"). The offering is expected to close on or about June 16, 2016. WestJet intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes, which includes the purchase of aircraft.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Happy Weekend

United is running a sale for European award flights in coach - only 45,000 round trip. The big caveat is that all travel must be on United.  The sale is for premier status members with the Chase Visa card.  I'll pass.
Limited Destinations and Lousy Seats in Back

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Fun Spotting

I enjoy airport hotels with a view of the field, so the Sheraton Providence Airport was enjoyable.  Here's an extra view from the room photo.
I Can't Quite Tell The State

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Southwest 1027 - Nice Paint

I had some fun spotting at my hotel yesterday. I also had my scanner going and enjoyed the ATC comment "Southwest 1027 - nice paint."
Southwest 737-300 Leaving PVD

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Hertz Rental Email

This is my first Hertz rental confirmation email. I'm not sure if this is new or I just never signed up, but it's reassuring to see when landing that your car is waiting.  It's also nice to know you can, in theory, change from a Chrysler minivan. Sadly there were no lateral moves offered and the Gold Choice area was cleaned out.
Nice New Feature

Monday, June 13, 2016

South African Airways’ Business Class Was Cool

South African Airways introduced the Airbus A340-600 in 2003. An obsolete jet now (the world prefers two engines); it was the height of innovation 12 years ago.  The interior was also state of the art with 42 angled flat seats in business class and 275 seats in coach. Every seat came with its own on demand video screen.  The A340 has an impressive range and can route anywhere because it isn’t bound by ETOPS restrictions.  
Upright Business Class Seat
Think back and recall what other airlines were flying in 2003.  United’s 777 flagship aircraft featured Lazy Boy style recliners in business class and a TV with 9 channels of looping video content. First class was a flat bed with on demand video because a flight attendant brought around video tape cartridges for the system.  ATA was an airline and flying L-1011’s while Northwest was going strong.  SAA looked like a cool foreign carrier with a top notch product.
Seat Fully Flat
Leg Room in Row 1
The average onboard experience has progressed in the last decade and SAA’s aircraft feels antiquated.  Flat beds not parallel to the floor are being removed and direct aisle access is the new norm.  The seats onboard are in good shape and reasonably comfortable.  Everything works as designed, TV’s were thicker and fuzzier back then, and there were no personal space issues even with a full business class cabin.

Breakfast 10 Hours After Take Off
Dinner Immediately After Take Off
I did enjoy my 11 hour flight from Perth to Johannesburg. The service and catering were great.  Dinner and breakfast were both satisfying and the wine list was wonderful.  I was easily able to sleep for 6+ hours and left the aircraft relaxed, rested, and excited for my wine tour the next day. The ground experience in JNB left much to be desired, but that’s a story for later.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

United Bonus Miles

An exclusive offer, just for you: Fly your way to 50,000 bonus award miles


My travel is way down this year and I received an email from United offering me 50,000 bonus miles if I spend $6,500 on airfare flown before November 30.  I don’t know if others are getting emails like this and what their targets are, but keep your eyes open for an offer to your inbox. This all seems to follow United’s new “what have you spend lately” take on loyalty.
Spending Milestones
Upgrades are more Difficult These Days

Friday, June 10, 2016

Thursday, June 9, 2016

ACJ350 XWB Idea

I'm not sure who would buy it, but Airbus is trying to sell private versions of the A350.  It seems like an odd product because the 747 has the most style for a head of state and the 787 is good value. I prefer the ACJ319, but the 747 looks cooler.
747 Style Can't Be Topped

Monday, June 6, 2016

American Devalues AAdvantage

In a shock to no one, American announced they are changing the AAdvantage miles program. It'll will be just like, more or less, United and Delta. No real change for me since I don't fly American, but here's a more detailed analysis.
They Both Follow Delta's Moves

Sunday, June 5, 2016

BA 0003

Thanks Mom for the pictures of British Airways flight 3.  The Club World London City service on a A318 had 8 passengers and 5 flight attendants. That's a better ratio than in Lufthansa first.
LCY Airport is a Great Option for London
Onboard BA's A318

Thursday, June 2, 2016

QANTAS A330 Sydney to Perth

QANTAS's new business suite is the best premium cabin seat I've flown domestically.  It's also better than all seats I've flown, but Lufthnsa's A380 first and British Airways' A380 first. The seats are new and go full flat. Every seat has direct aisle access and a huge TV.
A330 Business Class Cabin
Seat Fully Reclined
The A330 seats are much better than the QANTAS A380 I took in from Dallas.  Now that I am certain QANTAS knows what a good seat is, they should start refitting their A380 fleet immediately. 
Lamb Entree - Outstanding
The food was the best of my trip and the service polite and efficient.  This flight surpassed my expectations the most of any this year.
Staggered Cabin Configuration
I Loved This Flight
Another View
Starter Plate
Even QANTAS uses A330 in marketing as their flagship product. The A380 is from a different era.
Email Ad Imagery