Showing posts from May, 2019

FlyingBlue Announces June Promo Awards

In 2016, Delta switched to dynamic pricing on award tickets. Over time, this has become the norm on SkyTeam, with AirFrance-KLM's FlyingBlue program adopting it, too.

FlyingBlue offers monthly award promos, where flights in different classes are discounted a decent amount. They've just announced their June promos, which will launch tomorrow.

As you can see, some flights are specific to just KLM or AirFrance, and others are for both. Each of their regions has at least one deal and is valid for travel between August 1 and September 30, 2019.

While these deals may not be spectacular, since their standard price is no longer fixed, if you were looking to travel to any of these destinations on these dates, I'd book tomorrow. You can see what the award is pricing out to today and presumably tomorrow the price will be discounted what the chart says - that is, if no one takes the award at full price today.

If you need to top up your FlyingBlue account, they're a transfer partn…

Virgin Australia Decreases Checked Baggage Allowance for Premium Economy

Virgin Australia has just announced that their checked baggage allowance for Premium Economy will be reduced. All tickets issued before June 11, 2019 will maintain their original limit - 2 bags up to 32 kg each. For all tickets issued after that day, the weight will be reduced to 23 kg. Those with status will be able to check a third bad, but each will still need to be under the 23 kg limit.

This limit is specific to flights to and from the United States. While this is not a huge change, it does represent a devaluation of a good checked baggage policy. Virgin Australia operates daily flights to Los Angeles to and from Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. 

Virgin Australia codeshare with Delta on these routes, so I wonder how this will impact those initiating their trip at a different US gateway.

Delta Delays First A330-900neo Passenger Flight

A few months back, Delta announced the first routes for their new Airbus A330-900neo airplanes. Stationed at Seattle, Delta planned to use these plans on routes to Asia currently operated by older Boeing 767-300ER planes.

They planned to begin flying to Shanghai on July 1, Seoul on August 1 and Tokyo on August 31. With a quick check of the app, it's clear that plans have changed a little. Here's what the booking screen now shows on July 1 from Seattle to Shanghai.

The July 1 flight has reverted back to a Boeing 767-300ER. Now, the new A330neo isn't scheduled until July 15.

There could be a ton of reasons for the change, but the most likely scenario is that the plane doesn't have operating certificates yet in the foreign countries they are flying to. Yes, it is the same plane as the older A330, which makes pilot training minimal, but countries see it as a new entity.
Of course, this is all subject to change and the plane may be switched back. That being said, if you want to…

Delta and Virgin Atlantic Add Benefits for Silver Medallion Members

We generally hear of airlines reducing or removing perks when flying. This week, Delta Airlines and Virgin Atlantic announced another change further strengthening their transatlantic partnership.
Now, Silver Medallions will receive further reciprocal benefits when flying Virgin Atlantic. Silver Medallions will now receive the ability to check-in at the Premium Economy desk (rather than Economy) and early boarding with the Priority group.

This comes on the heels of a change in November when Silver Medallions received an additional free checked baggage on top of their fare's allowance.

Reciprocal benefits are great because it makes the process of flying another when booked through your home carrier seamless. Many passengers often book a code share and are surprised when they go to check-in or board the flight that they are shortchanged, even though they hold status with the airline the booked with. In this case, this does make sense as Delta owns a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic.

Delta's Newest SkyClub Opens in Austin, Texas

On May 21, Delta's newest SkyClub opened at Austin-Bergstrom Airport. The 9,000 square foot SkyClub was designed to feature flairs of Austin and Texan culture. With local specialities, tequila tastings and craft beers from Texas, this SkyClub will be a great place to visit when traveling through Austin.

The SkyClub features a massive covered Sky Deck that can be enjoyed year round for those looking to do some plane spotting while visiting the lounge.

In order to visit the SkyClub, you'll either need Diamond status, an onward connecting ticket on Delta one or a premium American Express credit card. Day passes are available only for those holding a Delta Gold or Platinum American Express card at a rate of $29. As a reminder, $59 general day passes have been discontinued as of 11/15/18.

Delta Takes Delivery Of Their First A330-900neo

Yesterday, on May 23, Delta took delivery of their first A330-900neo aircraft. This is the first of 35 they have ordered, which will be delivered over the coming years.

Although the plane itself is already more fuel efficient than its predecessor, the delivery flight occurred with synthetic aviation fuel, an option Airbus is exploring for future delivery flights.

The plane departed Toulouse, France as DL 9941 heading for Delta's home base in Atlanta.

Here, the plane will go through flight-testing and retrofitting prior to its first revenue flight on July 1 from Seattle to Shanghai.

Delta will base these planes at their Seattle hub, replacing older 767-300ERs on long-haul routes. The A330-900neo will come equipped with a range of over 1,220 nm farther than the 767 it replaces. The aircraft will feature all four of their branded products including 29 Delta One Suites, 28 Delta Premium Select, 56 Delta Comfort+ and 168 Main Cabin seats. Each seat will feature in-seat power ports, me…

KLM to Launch Flights to Benagluru in October

On October 28, 2019, KLM will launch non-stop flights between Amsterdam (AMS) and Bengaluru (BLR). The flights will operate 3 times a week. The announcement of this flight comes on the heels of the shutdown of Jet Airways, which provided feeder traffic from Amsterdam to the area.

The flights will operate daily across a flight path spanning over 4,750 miles. The flight is blocked at about 10 hours each direction. Depart AMS at 11:05 AM, Arrive BLR at 12:50 AM (+1) on Monday, Wednesday, FridayDepart BLR at 2:45 AM, Arrive AMS at 8:25 AM on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday This makes for more yet another one stop route from the US to Asia.

KLM will use one of their 787-9 aircraft, outfitted with 30 World Business Class, 45 Economy Comfort and 219 Economy seats. KLM uses a fully-flat 1-2-1 reverse herringbone seat on this plane for business class, rather than their 2-2-2 configuration used on every other aircraft.

Virgin Atlantic to Launch Flights to Mumbai in October

On October 27, 2019, Virgin Atlantic will launch non-stop daily flights between London-Heathrow (LHR) and Mumbai (BOM). Tickets for these flights are expected to go on sale next week on May 28.

The flights will operate daily across a flight path spanning almost 4,500 miles. The flight is blocked at almost 9 hours eastbound and over 10 hours west on the return. The schedule is as follows: Depart LHR at 10:15 AM, Arrive BOM at 12:40 AM (+1)Depart BOM at 2:55 AM, Arrive LHR at 7:35 AM
These maybe aren't the best times, especially on the return, but Virgin Atlantic is making great use of the aircraft by having very little time on the ground. Departure times in the middle of the night are common in Asia and were likely easier and cheaper for Virgin Atlantic to come by. This makes for more one stop routes from the US to India, now complementing Delta's upcoming service launching at the end of the year.

Virgin Atlantic will use one of their 787-9 aircraft, outfitted with 31 Upper Cla…

Delta Receives Airbus' 12,000th Plane

On May 20, 2019 Airbus delivered their 12,000th aircraft build to Delta Airlines. In a ceremony at the Mirabel facility in Quebec, Canada, Delta received another A220-100.

To celebrate this, the plane flew over the area reiterating their achievement.

Airbus took the time to highlight their long history and how their planes have bee sent all over the world.

The irony, or rather just plain interesting part of this, is that the plane delivered was neither one designed by Airbus, nor one built at an Airbus facility. This plane was originally designed by Bombardier and was delivered from their plant. Yes, Airbus bought a 50.01% stake in the program for $1, but you'd think they'd try to time this for one of their flagship planes, like the A350 or A380.

Either way, it's a great achievement for Airbus.

AirFrance Has A Business Class Identity Problem

AirFrance is in the process of transforming their fleet. They are currently receiving the last of their 18 Boeing 787-9s, upgrading their 15 A330-200s, 68 777s while simultaneously retrofitting and retiring 10 A380s. Generally when airlines go through transitions like this, they do their best to streamline. AirFrance, on the other hand, is doing the exact opposite.

At the beginning of this process, AirFrance has Boeing 777s, Airbus A380s, A330s and A340s with an outdated angle lay flat business class product.

On some planes, the seats were set up in a 2-3-2 configuration. Besides the fact that the seat has 2 bend points, a middle seat is the opposite of premium. These seats exist on all A380s, a subset of the 777s and A330s.

In 2014, when retrofits for the 777 were announced, the 787s started delivery. AirFrance announced their new business class - a reverse herringbone configuration from Zodiac Cirrus.

The new 787s were to be delivered with it and the 777s would be updated with it, …

China Eastern Announces First North America Route for A350-900

In November, China Eastern took delivery of their first A350-900. So far, their plane has been scheduled to operate long-haul routes to Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Sydney. In addition, it's been operating shorter hops around China to Beijing, Chengdu and Guangzhou.

Now, China Eastern has announced their first North American destination - Vancouver. Beginning, June 28, the A350-900 will replace the A330-200 on one of the twice daily flights.

China Eastern's schedule from Shanghai to/from Vancouver s schedule is as follows:

MU581 Depart PVG at 1:20 PM, Arrive YVR at 9:10 AM (A350-900)
MU597 Depart PVG at 11:40 PM, Arrive YVR at 7:50 PM (A330-200)

MU598 Depart YVR at 2:30 AM, Arrive PVG at 5:40 AM, +1 (A330-200)
MU582 Depart YVR at 1:20 PM, Arrive PVG at 4:35 PM, +1 (A350-900)

You can see that MU 597 and 598 are still being operated by an A330-200, so you'll want to make sure you book the right flight if you're trying to take advantage of this.

Like their stakeholder, Delta…