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Showing posts from July, 2019

Review: China Eastern - Business Class - Airbus A320neo - Shanghai PVG to Chiang Mai CNX

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Trip Report Index:Introduction
China Eastern - Business Class - Boeing 777-300ER - New York JFK to Shanghai PVG
China Eastern - Lounge 36 - Shanghai Pudong Airport
China Eastern - Business Class - Airbus A320neo - Shanghai PVG to Chiang Mai CNX
Thai Airways - Royal Orchid Lounge - Chiang Mai Airport
China Eastern - Premium Economy - Airbus A320neo - Chiang Mai CNX to Shanghai PVG
China Eastern - Business Class - Boeing 777-300ER - Shanghai PVG to New York JFK
Flight Details:China Eastern Flight 205
Shanghai (PVG) to Chiang Mai (CNX)
Depart: Saturday, July 20 at 10:05 AM (Actual 9:54 AM)
Arrival: Saturday, July 20 at 1:25 PM (Actual 1:07 PM)
Aircraft: Airbus A320neo
Seat: 7J (Business Class)
Booking: This was our second leg on our itinerary from New York to Chiang Mai. I outlined the booking drama on one of the first posts and once again I contacted China Eastern via email to reserve seats. Business Class on their A320s features two rows (6 and 7). I selected seats 7 J and L, so we could recline …

Review: China Eastern - Lounge 36 - Shanghai Pudong Airport

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Trip Report Index:Introduction
China Eastern - Business Class - Boeing 777-300ER - New York JFK to Shanghai PVG
China Eastern - Lounge 36 - Shanghai Pudong Airport
China Eastern - Business Class - Airbus A320neo - Shanghai PVG to Chiang Mai CNX
Thai Airways - Royal Orchid Lounge - Chiang Mai Airport
China Eastern - Premium Economy - Airbus A320neo - Chiang Mai CNX to Shanghai PVG
China Eastern - Business Class - Boeing 777-300ER - Shanghai PVG to New York JFK
Lounge Details:China Eastern Lounge 36
Shanghai Pudong Airport - Terminal 1
Open from 4:30 AM to 1:00 AM
Arrival: We arrived very early to Pudong Airport. So early in fact, that the transit area was not yet open, requiring us to wait until 4:45 AM to clear it. Once we did, we went through security and found the lounge. Location:Lounge 36 was located near the main security check-point in Terminal 1. The lounge is located up one flight, accessible by an elevator or escalator.

On the same floor is Lounge 39, which is operated by AirFrance and …

AirFrance Orders A220-300, Plans A380 Retirement

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Today, AirFrance officially announced their order for some Airbus A220-300 aircrafts. They have placed an order for 60 of them, with an additional 30 options and 30 acquisition rights. These planes will replace the aging A318 and A319 fleet that AirFrance uses on short and medium haul flights.



AirFrance has a combination of 51 A318s and A319, so the firm order for 30 is not going to replace everything just yet. I'm sure they will exercise their purchase rights, but AirFrance is likely being cautious in adding a new place to their fleet.


They plan to outfit them with 149 seats. This represents a significant capacity increase over the A318 and a small one over the A319, which hold 131 and 142 respectively. The A220-300s will begin flying in September 2021.

In their announcement as well, AirFrance also noted that their 10 Airbus A380s will not receive retrofits and will be retired. In the past, AirFrance had said they would retrofit 5 and retire 5, but as of today that's changed…

Review: China Eastern - Business Class - Boeing 777-300ER - New York JFK to Shanghai PVG

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Trip Report Index:Introduction
China Eastern - Business Class - Boeing 777-300ER - New York JFK to Shanghai PVG
China Eastern - Lounge 36 - Shanghai Pudong Airport
China Eastern - Business Class - Airbus A320neo - Shanghai PVG to Chiang Mai CNX
Thai Airways - Royal Orchid Lounge - Chiang Mai Airport
China Eastern - Premium Economy - Airbus A320neo - Chiang Mai CNX to Shanghai PVG
China Eastern - Business Class - Boeing 777-300ER - Shanghai PVG to New York JFK
Flight Details:China Eastern Flight 298
New York (JFK) to Shanghai (PVG)
Depart: Friday, July 19 at 1:45 AM (Actual 2:00 AM)
Arrival: Saturday, July 20 at 4:55 AM (Actual 4:03 AM)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 16L (Business Class)
Booking: I've never heard anything great about China Eastern. In fact, I've done just about anything I could to avoid them. We rerouted our honeymoon to Singapore Airlines and for this trip only planned on taking it on the way home. Our original itinerary was from JFK to Guangzhou to Chiang Mai on China…

Trip Report: Earning and Burning Delta SkyMiles on China Eastern

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Delta's SkyMiles rates are increasing fast. One thing that isn't, however, are their fixed rates to Asia on China Eastern. In an effort to maximize value, my husband and I booked a trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand and Shanghai, China using SkyMiles in China Eastern's Business Class. Yes, I know I know, it's not the best, but the rate was fantastic.

In this trip report, you'll find:

China Eastern - Business Class - Boeing 777-300ER - New York JFK to Shanghai PVG
China Eastern - Lounge 36 - Shanghai Pudong Airport
China Eastern - Business Class - Airbus A320neo - Shanghai PVG to Chiang Mai CNX
Thai Airways - Royal Orchid Lounge - Chiang Mai Airport
China Eastern - Premium Economy - Airbus A320neo - Chiang Mai CNX to Shanghai PVG
China Eastern - Business Class - Boeing 777-300ER - Shanghai PVG to New York JFK

Our first flight was booked on China Eastern from New York (JFK) to Chiang Mai, Thailand (CNX) with a layover in Shanghai Pudong (PVG). We flew China Eastern's 777-30…

Delta Buys Stake in Government-Owned Alitalia, Then Writes Op-Ed About Why Government-Owned Airlines Are Unfair

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It's been in talks for a while, but Delta has officially bought a stake in Italian airline Alitalia. Alitalia is a member of Delta's transatlantic route network, which helps feeder traffic through Rome, Milan and Venice to other destinations. Alitalia has been in a rough financial position for the past few years, including their most recent bankruptcy filing in 2017. They've filed for bankruptcy many times before, but the Italian government has always bailed them out.


Last week, it was announced that Delta would be purchasing a 10% stake in Alitalia (not something new to Delta) and that the Italian government would take on an additional 50%. Ferrovie dello Stato, the state owned train company, will own 35% and the Ministry of Transportation will have 15%. Normally, I'd say this is business as usual for Delta, except... it's not.

On July 13, Ed Bastian, the CEO of Delta, along with the CEOs of American and United published an Op-Ed in USA Today crying foul play of g…

Virgin Atlantic's A350-1000 Now Bookable

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Virgin Atlantic's A350-1000 represents a huge change for the company. These new planes will be the first to feature their new cabins in all three classes. Their new "Upper Class" seat is the first of its a kind - an alternating herringbone and reverse herringbone pattern with partial doors.


The outside seats will face away from the aisle, while the center ones will face it.


This plane was first announced to fly VS 1 from London Heathrow to Newark. Now, it seems the plans have changed slightly. The plane will first operate between London Heathrow and New York JFK.


In a change of events, beginning September 10th, passengers can find themselves on the new plane if flying VS 153 or VS 138. VS 153 departs London at 1:30 PM and arrives at 4:35 PM. VS 138 departs JFK at 7:00 PM and arrives at 7:20 AM the next day. Previously it was reported that they would fly between Newark and London.

The interesting thing is that the A350 will only operate VS 153 until September 24, when it…

Routes Selected for Delta's Refreshed 767-400ER

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Delta is retrofitting its fleet of 21 Boeing 767-400ER planes. A few months ago, this news came with the announcement of London Gatwick flights.


Personally, I find the seats to be a bit meh considering the great product on the 777 and A350. That being said, this looks pretty similar to what showed up on the A330neo, minus the door.


Delta has announced the routes which will feature these planes, predominately on routes to London.


As you can see, they'll be going to Europe mostly, save for two routes to South America. I find this a little disappointing, as Delta has been deploying their A330s on Europe routes, including London and Zurich. I loved the Delta One seat on the A330 last year when I flew it, so I see this as a downgrade unfortunately. For those in other cabins, this will definitely be an upgrade. Middle seats won't exist in Premium Select and Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin will only have one per row.


The first revenue flight is scheduled between Atlanta and London-Hea…

China Eastern Introduces Basic Economy Fares

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Well, Delta's at it again. Delta, a 3.55% owner in China Eastern, is clearly calling the shots at the airline. Last week, China Eastern launched a new fare class - Basic Economy. If it sounds familiar, that's because it is. Delta was the first US carrier to launch it in 2012, and is by far the least restrictive. On some China Eastern routes, when you go to book, the screen now looks like this.


You can see there's about a $30 difference between a standard economy seat and a basic one. When you click on the fares, it gives you a little more insight.


All of these are pretty standard, except the lack of online check-in. That's just going to make more work for the airline at the counters. It's interesting how they list economy as an "upgrade" now.


It is not surprising to see China Eastern do this, as budget carriers all over Asia charge so little and offer so little. It's just another way for them to stay competitive. While this fare hasn't been launc…

AirFrance and KLM Shake Up Fleet Assignment

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AirFrance and KLM are in the process of upgrading their fleet. I recently wrote about AirFrance's newest business class products (ahem, there's a lot), and how they're transforming while receiving new planes.


Last week, the company announced a shuffle of where their planes will be delivered. As it stood, KLM was to receive 7 Airbus A350-900s and AirFrance was to receive 6 Boeing 787s. In an effort to harmonize the fleets, AirFrance will take all A350s and KLM will take all the 787s. AirFrance will now receive a total of 28 Airbus A350-900s and KLM will take hold of 27 787s.


Why can the airlines do this? AirFrance and KLM may be separate airlines, but their parent company, so coyly named AirFrance-KLM is one entity and can shuffle as they please. This is good news for flyers, as they will know and can expect the same products when they step onboard.

All images courtesy of AirFrance-KLM.

Delta's Newest Plane Completes First Revenue Flight

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Yesterday, Delta's newest plane, the A330-900neo, completed its first flight with passengers. Just two months ago, Delta delayed the first flight of its A330neo to July 15th, which makes its July 10th flight even more exciting!

The flight operated from Seattle to Shanghai as DL 589.


On the same day, Delta also released the first cabin photos of the plane. Utilizing Airbus's new Airspace interior, the plane has some thoughtful lighting touches.

Delta has been using photos of the A350 and 777 to showcase the Delta One Suites on the A330neo. You'll see the actual cabin looks quite different.

The seats are noticeably narrower, and do not feature the red accents throughout.

In fact, these pictures look more like the renderings of the new 767-400 interior, than the other planes with suites.

I get that the A330 is narrower, but color me disappointed on this one. There are 29 Delta One "Suites" on this plane. Those quotation marks are on purpose.
Delta's newest produ…

Review: Delta - Delta Comfort+ - Airbus A319 - New York LGA to West Palm Beach PBI

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Flight Details:Delta Flight 2358
New York-LaGuardia (LGA) to West Palm Beach, Florida (PBI)
Depart: Wednesday, July 3 at 8:36 AM (Actual 8:30 AM)
Arrival: Wednesday, July 3 at 11:41 AM (Actual 11:03 AM)
Aircraft: Airbus A319
Seat: 10C (Delta Comfort+)
Booking: Both my husband and I carry the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express, which comes with a companion ticket. Booked back in October, we were able to book both of us together round trip for $350 from New York to Palm Beach. As my husband is a platinum, we received an immediate upgrade to Comfort+ and selected the bulkhead, row 10.

Delta Completely Refreshes Main Cabin Dining

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Last year, Delta began testing an improved Main Cabin service on flights between Portland and Tokyo. The flights featured new amenities throughout the entire flight. Today, Delta has announced that these improvements will roll out system wide on long-haul international flights beginning November 2019.


The new service will actually commence before passengers even board the plane. On the longest flights, the purser - lead flight attendant - will greet passengers in the gate house area.


Once on board, customers will receive Delta's refreshed amenity kits. The meal service will start with a complimentary bellini service.


Following that, customers will be able to choose their own appetizer and entree, from what Delta calls "Bistro Dining." To me, this just means they are allowing options, as if you were at a restaurant.


Delta will also use a new silverware container, which rolls out and creates a placemat. That's so creative - I'm very impressed.


Lastly, the meal ser…