US Domestic Business and First Class – Cruel Joke maybe ending?

posted by October 17, 2016
Delta B757-200 Delta-One Domestic Cabin

Delta B757-200 Delta-One Domestic Cabin

It is common knowledge to frequent flyers that when compared to the international premium cabin counterparts  the  US domestic Business and First class service is an unpleasant joke!    Domestic premium seats are commonly only a few inches larger than economy and have only a few inches of recline.   They are a far cry from lie flat international seats.           To avoid these seats,  one of my customers actually flies to Canada, using a short-haul flight,   then flies onto his final destination using an International long-haul flight.   This itinerary  ensures he enjoys all the benefits of  international premium cabin service and seating.!

Over  the last 18 months there has been a  glimmer of  light on the horizon as some airlines have introduced International quality service and seats   on domestic long-haul flights.    Today that light has grown a little brighter still  as Delta have announced a new lie-flat service between Los Angeles (LAX) and Washington (DCA).     Starting in April 2017,    Delta will operate this cross country route with lie-flat, ‘Delta-One’  service and seating.

The new route joins Delta’s existing domestic long-haul  ‘Delta One’  routes serving the New York (JFK) – Los Angeles (LAX) route  and New York (JFK) – San Francisco (SFO) route.

Happily,  Delta is not alone in providing real premium cabin’s on US domestic routes,   other routes/airlines include;

American Airlines (AA) offers transcontinental flights using the Airbus A321 on the  New York (JFK) – Los Angeles (LAX) route and the New York (JFK) – San Francisco (SFO) route.      These flights offer lie-flat seats in both First and Business class.

JetBlue’s (B6)  ‘Mint’  service offers lie-flat seats with built in massage and adjustable firmness settings.      Currently this service is available on the Boston (BOS) – San Francisco (SFO) route, New York (JFK) – Los Angeles (LAX) route  and  New York (JFK) – San Francisco (SFO) route.    There are plans to add additional airports,  such as  Seattle (SEA), Las Vegas (LAS), San Diego (SAN) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL)  in the near future.

United Airlines (UA) operate their ‘p.s. (Premium Service)’  cabin on the  Newark (EWR) – Los Angeles (LAX) route  and Newark (EWR) – San Francisco (SFO) route.        Departing Newark (EWR)  you may also fly First class to Honolulu (HNL),  not quite lie flat,  but an impressive  75in pitch  and  21in width seat.

Hawaiian Airlines (HA)  –    Hawaiian’s new luxury lie-flat service went on sale  just 10 days ago on Oct 3rd 2016.       Initially the routes for this new cabin include Honolulu (HNL) and Narita (NRT),  Sydney (SYD),  Brisbane (BNE) and Auckland (AKL).       Hawaiian promise that they will expand the lie-flat seats to their North America routes starting in 2017.     So finally there will be a Lie-flat seat when travelling to America’s pacific paradise!     We just need a little bit more patience for this route!

Virgin America (VX)    –  While these seats are not lie flat,  I feel  Virgin America deserves a mention  as the overall service stands out from the crowd.     In addition,   the VX route network is much more comprehensive than the normal NYC to Los Angeles (LAX) type route.   A full list of there route network can be found at https://www.virginamerica.com/cms/airport-destinations.

So a big thank you to all the airlines mentioned !


Links:


Delta Airlines (DL)
(http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/onboard-experience/delta-one.html)
American Airlines (AA)
(https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/experience/planes/airbus-a321-transcontinental.jsp)
United Airlines (UA)
(https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/inflight/premium-services.aspx)
JetBlue (B6)
(http://www.jetblue.com/flying-on-jetblue/mint/)
Hawaiian Airlines (HA)
(https://www.hawaiianairlines.com/premiumcabin)
Virgin America (VX)
(https://www.virginamerica.com/cms/fly-with-us)

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Star Alliance adds new ‘Connecting Partner’ – Juneyao Air

posted by October 10, 2016

juneyao-aircaft-with-uniformed-staff
Links:
Juneyao Air (http://www.juneyaoair.com/en/)
Star Alliance (http://www.staralliance.com/)

SHANGHAI, CHINA, OCTOBER 10, 2016 – At a ceremony held in Shanghai today, Star Alliance and Juneyao Airlines formally sealed a strategic partnership which will see the Shanghai based airline become a “Connecting Partner” of Star Alliance in 2017. Under the Alliance’s innovative partnership concept, the airline will soon start offering services such as through-checkin, as well as Lounge access and other Priority privileges to qualifying passengers travelling on connecting itineraries with Star Alliance member airlines.

“Juneyao Airlines is a terrific addition to our network proposition in China and particularly in the Shanghai market”, said Mark Schwab, CEO Star Alliance. “Thanks to Juneyao’s expanding reach, our passengers will enjoy a wide choice of flight connections through our future partner to numerous Chinese metropoles and several international destinations.”

Currently 17 Star Alliance member airlines are operating around 1,600 weekly services in and out of the two Shanghai airports, Pudong International and Hongqiao International, which are both served by Juneyao Airlines. With a fleet of 56 aircraft Juneyao Airlines provides more than 1,700 weekly flights to 69 destinations in eight countries and regions.

“Juneyao Airlines is proud to play its role in enlarging the Star Alliance network offer through Shanghai’s two airports. We look forward to welcoming connecting passengers from Star Alliance on our airline in the near future. We offer 53 additional routes which will complement Star Alliance’s existing services from Shanghai and will no doubt attract more connecting passengers to our two home hub airports”, said Wang Junjin, Chairman Juneyao Airlines.

“Since starting operations 10 years ago, Juneyao Airlines has earned a strong reputation in the Chinese market. Now it is ready for a further step on its successful growth path. From the beginning of our conversations we were impressed by the carrier’s professionalism and operational efficiencies”, adds Schwab.

The Connecting Partner Model is designed to allow airlines to connect to the Star Alliance network without having to become a full member. For customers this gives access to additional travel options beyond the current 1,300 airports served by the Alliance’s 28 member airlines. Connecting Partners are carefully selected and need to adhere to the high operating standards required by the Alliance.

Customers travelling on an itinerary which includes a transfer between a Star Alliance member airline and a Connecting Partner will be offered the standard Alliance benefits such as passenger and baggage through check-in. In addition, Star Alliance Gold status customers will enjoy a tailored set of privileges in line with the product offerings of the individual Connecting Partner.

Connecting Partners will enter into bilateral commercial agreements with selected Star Alliance member airlines, which may include Frequent Flyer Programme based privileges. “Juneyao Airlines was founded with the aim of offering a competitive and high quality product to both the business and leisure market. It targets customers at middle to high level and creates a relaxing, respectful and professional experience that is unique to Juneyao Airlines. As a full-service carrier, the new strategy of the airline is to become an excellent representative of a High-Value Carrier. I am very happy that this has not gone unnoticed in the industry and that Star Alliance has decided to partner with us. We are looking forward to providing Star Alliance Gold Card holders with a wide selection of privileges when they connect to our airline”, Wang Junjin added.

Work has now commenced to establish the necessary technology and commercial links which will allow Juneyao Airlines to begin serving Star Alliance connecting passengers some time during the second quarter 2017. As of then, the airline will be offering the following privileges to qualifying Star Alliance Gold Status passengers travelling on connecting itineraries:

  • Lounge Access
  • Fast Track Security
  • Additional Baggage
  • Priority Check-in
  • Priority Boarding
  • Priority Standby
  • Priority Baggage Delivery

The 17 Star Alliance member airlines flying to Shanghai are: Air Canada, Air China*, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA*, Asiana*, Austrian, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air*, Lufthansa, SAS, Shenzhen Airlines#, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, THAI, Turkish Airlines and United. Together they offer around 830 weekly domestic flights and 760 international flights, serving 62 destinations (26 domestic and 36 international) in 19 countries.

Notes:
* = airlines flying to both Hongqiao and Pudong Airports
# = airline flying to Hongqiao Airport only
all other airlines flying to Pudong Airport only

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August 2016, True Blue Promo Awards: Save 25% to 50% Off Air France / KLM Business Class Awards

posted by August 3, 2016
A380 Air France

A380 Air France

Each month the  Air France / KLM group posts a number of ‘PROMO AWARDS‘ online on their website.    These awards offer substantial discounts on the normal mileage rates required  and are a great way to maximize your benefits from your mileage account.

This month’s Business class savings range from 25% to 50% savings over the normal mileage price.

Route Class Round Trip Mileage % Savings
Europe – Montreal World Business Class 93750 25%
Europe – Edmonton International World Business Class 93750 25%
Europe – Cayenne Business Class 112500 25%
Europe – Havana Business Class 112500 25%
Europe – Punta Cana Business Class 112500 25%
Europe – Pointe à Pitre Business Class 112500 25%
Europe – Colombo World Business Class 75000 25%
Europe – Wuhan Business Class 100000 50%
Europe – Xiamen Business Class 100000 50%
Europe – Hangzhou Business Class 100000 50%
Europe – Amman Business Class 50000 50%
Europe – Almaty Business Class 50000 50%
Europe – Dammam World Business Class 75000 25%
Europe – Kuwait World Business Class 75000 25%
Europe – Doha World Business Class 75000 25%

 

What’s the catch?     Well like all great savings,  there is always conditions.       The
biggest condition are the dates :

Booking must be made between  :  1st/Aug/2016 –  31st/Aug/16
Travel must occur between  :   1st/Oct/2016 –  30th/Nov/2016

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Fly Etihad – New Partner of American Express!

posted by April 29, 2016

You may have dreamed about flying on Etihad–one of the world’s most luxurious airlines–but thought it was out of reach. Until now, the only way to book EY award seats was with EY Guest or AAdvantage points, which you could only earn by flying and could not transfer credit card points. Just last week, American Express announced a new partnership with Etihad Guest, which means you can now transfer your Amex points to your EY account! Don’t have one? Sign up today and plan your next trip on this 5-star airline.

See the article below for details and links to Etihad and American Express so you can take advantage of this fantastic program! Learn more

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Changes to American Airlines Mileage Program

posted by

qatar-featured-777Even though AA has recently devaluated it’s mileage program, it has made a few positing changes. The airline has increased the number of miles earned on Qatar flights when traveling in Economy
and Business class.  And with Qatar adding new routes, it gives you a chance to earn and spend more miles on this top-rated airline. Learn more

Another great change AA has made is now you can fly to India and Maldives without having to cross the Atlantic. You can save stops and time by flying across the Pacific instead. Plus you can fly on Cathay Pacific, rated one of the best airlines in the world, under the new program. Learn More

If you missed the information on AA’s devaluation of it’s miles, you can get all the details here.

 

 

 

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CHASE Your Way to Award Flights

posted by January 29, 2016

FM ChaseEarning credit cards points that you can transfer to your favorite airline’s award program is the fastest way to accumulate enough miles for your trip. Knowing which credit card gives you the most points can be hard to figure out since the offers and rewards are always changing. Chase offers three cards that you will want to sign up for this year if you don’t already have them. The Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, and Ink Plus are must haves if you want to maximize your earnings. Here are just five reasons to use Chase:

  • Great airline transfer partners
  • The ability to transfer points instantly
  • Great hotel partners
  • Other travel rewards options
  • The ability to transfer points between cardholders in your household

By using Chase cards for you everyday expenses, including travel, you can earn over $4,000 cash back in your first year as a card member. Find all the details here.

 

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Change is in the Air

posted by January 18, 2016

FM airplaneAward programs are notorious for changing rules and devaluing miles. Aeroplan recently made changes to their award chart, increasing miles needed for routes between the USA/Canada to Europe and South America. On the bright side, they changed their “round trip” rule and now allow one-way reward flights between any regions. Great news if you are traveling one way and your trip doesn’t include the US or Canada. Aeroplan is still a great program to use as you can use your miles for any Star Alliance partner.

AA is following suit by changing their awards chart in March. While it’s not all bad news, there are definitely some advantages to booking some award flights now, before the cost goes up. While some routes are actually going down, other routes (USA to Asia, Europe and the South Pacific) are increasing. American Airlines has a pretty friendly change policy, and that will remain the same, so if you’re thinking about planning a trip, book now and you should be able to change dates later without incurring change fees and mileage increases. Make sure to check out the fine print before you book.

Even if you missed booking with Aeroplan before December, the Points Guy gives some great tips on how to get great flights. For details on the changes to Aeroplan and AAdvantage programs, read these articles:

American Airlines Announces 2016 AAdvantage Program Changes

Can I Still Change AAdvantage Awards After the Devaluation?

9 Awards to Book Before Aeroplan’s December Devaluation

 

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New Flights to Europe with No Fuel Surcharges

posted by December 1, 2015

amusement parkHave you ever found the perfect flight to Europe in low miles, only to find out the fees and fuel surcharges made the ticket cost as much if not more than if you paid retail? It happens quite a bit and can be very frustrating. We wanted to let you know about some new flights that Air Berlin is offering from the US to Europe. The flights can be booked with Aadvantage miles or British Avios, and we can help you if you have all, some or no miles! (more…)

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The World’s Best Ranking Airlines

posted by October 30, 2015

air new zealandAirlineRatings.com recently published a list of the world’s best airlines. Sadly, no U.S. carriers were included in the list. Looks like the U.S. needs to step up their game to compare with the luxurious and sleek airlines of Asia and the Middle East. The article gives opinions on why the U.S. airlines trail behind foreign carriers, most have to do with profitability and financial aspects. But many passengers also feel that most foreign airline flight crews are friendlier and more accommodating than US crews. Customer service is one thing that shouldn’t depend on economic factors; it should be exceptional on all airlines! (more…)

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Family Award Travel Tips

posted by September 17, 2015

You’ve successfully traveled on award tickets for business, but now you want to fly the family somewhere exotic! Sounds great, but you will soon find out that family travel can be a little more difficult to put together. Not only will you need more points, you will also need more award seats, hopefully on the same flight so your two-year old doesn’t have to fly coach by herself (just kidding)!Family-vacation-travel-rome-featured-shutterstock-253301299

The first thing to remember is that the easiest way to earn miles/points is through credit card signups. We have posted a lot of articles regarding the best cards and the best offers and you can check out The Points Guy for the latest tips. Even if you have cards, you can have your spouse and adult children or parents sign up, too, to get maximum award points. You can usually pool your points across family members or transfer into one person’s frequent flyer account. Not everyone needs their own account, either. You can book awards for family members or friends on most airlines. (more…)

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Credit Card Strategies for Meeting Your Award Travel Goals

posted by September 9, 2015

If you are new to the travel award game, you may be a little overwhelmed and confused about where to start. While there are many ways to earn points, sometimes it’s best to look at what you want out of your points before deciding which card to get.

For example, there are different cards that will make award travel during the holidays or peak seasons a little easier. Other cards make it easier to redeem upper class flights. The right card to use can also depend on where you are going–domestic, South America or other International destinations. Other cards might be better to use when traveling in coach or booking hotels. The game can be daunting, but our friends over at The Points Guy have put together a great list of cards that will help you figure out which ones are right for you and your travel.

Check out the article here and call us if you have any questions or need help booking your travel or purchasing additional miles;

 

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Flying on the Airbus A350

posted by August 5, 2015

Airbus A350The Airbus A350 was recently on display at the Paris Air Show. Currently, Qatar Airlines uses this plane on some of its long haul international flights. In addition to Qatar Airways, other airlines have placed orders for the A350, including Singapore Airlines, Etihad, TAM Airlines, Air France, KLM and Lufthansa. Delta has also announced that it will be replacing some of its older Boeing aircraft with the Airbus 350. Philadelphia will be the first US city to get the new planes in January when Qatar begins using them for its flights to Doha.

(more…)

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Best Business Class Seats

posted by August 4, 2015

Sure, flying Business Class is great! But the type of seat can vary depending on the airline and aircraft. There are suites, flat bed, lie-flat seats, angle seats and recliners. What’s the difference and how do you know what your flight offers? In a nutshell, these are the types of seats typically offered on Business Class long haul flights:

(more…)

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