Showing posts from June, 2019

Delta and WestJet Closer to Joint Venture

Delta and WestJet have been strengthening partnership over the last few years. Since 2012, Delta and WestJet have been codesharing on flights. Over the time of this partnership, WestJet has also transitioned from its low-cost history, to a full service airline. They've just taken delivery of their Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which is outfitted with a beautiful looking business class, as well as a new premium economy and economy seating.

Yesterday, Delta and WestJet cleared another hurdle in obtaining a cross-border joint venture. The Canadian Competition Bureau, the agency responsible for approving the Canadian side of the joint venture, issued a "no action letter," which means it does not plan on challenging the joint venture proposal.

Joint ventures are both positive and negative for customers. On the one hand, they get more flight options. On the other hand, it means less competition as airlines market flights together and decide on pricing. We'll see how this one pl…

Delta's New LaGuardia Concourse Scheduled To Open This Fall

Delta has just announced that one of their new LaGuardia concourse will open this fall. This first of four concourses has been built to the side of Terminal D right alongside an existing sea wall. Seen in the photo above on the right, this 105,000 square foot will have space for 6 new gates that can handle a range of aircraft types.

The new concourse will have full glass walls with views of Citi Field and views of Flushing Bay. LaGuardia, currently, is known for being pretty dark inside with little natural light.

A highlight of the new space are some of the dining options, including H&H Bagels and Birch Coffee. Both are New York City staples and provide great quick service items for diners.

The gates will come with a ton of seating with charging ports available.

Even if the concourse comes out half as nice as the photo renderings, this will be a huge upgrade to what is already standing there. Delta intends to keep its current terminal D and renovate it, while completing demolishi…

The End of June is The End of Joon: Joon Ends Operations Today

Today marks the end of all flights on AirFrance's subsidiary, Joon. Joon launched on December 1, 2017 and was described as an airline for millennials whose lives revolve around technology (whatever that means). The airline was even named for the French word "jeunesse," meaning youth. It took over short-haul destinations in Europe and some long haul fights, including Cape Town.

Really, Joon was a way for AirFrance to (supposedly) save money, by hiring crews that were paid upt o 40% less than mainline crews. So, AirFrance spent money repainting their own planes, recovering seats and creating advertisements that didn't really say much.

The crew wore white sneakers and passengers were served tiny cups of tea, coffee or orange juice. Today is yet another reminder that an "airline within an airline" doesn't really work. The planes will be folded back into AirFrance's fleet, just like where they came from. Some flights have alreaded ended their service by…

On Time Machine: Delta Demolishes Competition in On Time Arrivals

Arriving on time is the single greatest factor in determining a passenger's review of an airline. For Delta, it's no wonder passengers love them the most. In the month of May 2019, Delta carried 18.1 million passengers. The most in a single day, 666,769, flew on May 24 - the day before Memorial Day Weekend.

Their flights operated at 84.4% capacity, a .3% increase from the previous May. It's no wonder scoring upgrades or an empty middle seat is trickier. Of all those flights, FlightStats is reporting that Delta planes landed on time 87.32% of the time. That's incredible. Especially when the second place winner, Alaska Airlines, came in at 83.84%. Legcay carriers United and American came in around the mid 70%. Delta jokingly calls themselves the "On Time Machine" and it makes sense why.

I wouldn't be fair to Delta if I didn't hit on one tiny caveat. I've been on a ton of Delta flights that take off an hour after the scheduled departure time and sti…

Virgin Atlantic Turns 35

In 1984, Virgin Atlantic was born as British Atlantic Airways. Shortly after, founders Randolph Fields and Alan Hellary sold their shares to Richard Branson and the rest is history. The name was changed to Virgin Atlantic and its first flight took off on June 22, 1984 from London Gatwick to Newark.

Today, the London to Newark flight still bears the "Flight 1" name, but now it operates between London Heathrow and Newark.

The route is so special, that the airline will fly its brand new A350-1000 on it first. Congratulations, Virgin Atlantic on this milestone!

Information and image courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic's First A350 Debuts Fully Painted

Virgin Atlantic's first of 12 Airbus A350-1000s rolled out of the paint shop earlier today. The plane, so coyly named "Mamma Mia" is expected to begin service on September 1 between London Heathrow and Newark operating as VS1.

Virgin Atlantic intends to use their A350s as a replacement for their aging inefficient A340s and on high-profile routes between London and the New York airports.

Virgin Atlantic expects to take delivery of 4 of this model this year and the remaining 8 throughout 2020 and 2021.

This plane is a first for the airline, as it will be their first of any A350 model and will feature all new cabins.

Virgin Atlantic's new Upper Class features a 1-2-1 layout, with reverse herringbone seats on the side and herringbone in the center. The seats will have a slide out partial door to help give passengers with privacy.

Their new Premium Economy product is the same option that many airlines have chosen (like Delta, United, American, WestJet, etc.) and will be …

Delta Purchases Stake in Korean Air

Yesterday, Delta announced that it had indirectly purchased a stake in Korean Air. In order to do this, Delta purchased 4.3% of Hanjin-KAL, the largest shareholder of Korean Air. This does not necessarily mean that Delta owns 4.3% of Korean Airlines, as there are other investors in the company. Delta apparently has options to purchase up to 10% of Hanjin-KAL, which I'm sure they'll do at some point.

Delta and Korean Air have had a joint venture since May 2018, which has helped passengers receive more reciprocal benefits when flying either airline. The joint venture even helped Korean to launch flights to Boston, which Delta later made a hub. At the announcement, Ed Bastian said,
Together with the team at Korean Air, we have a vision to deliver the world’s leading trans-Pacific joint venture for our shared customers, offering the strongest network, the best service and the finest experience connecting the U.S. with Asia. This is already one of our fastest-integrating and most s…

New Order and New Routes: Airbus A220 Is Delta's Flagship Domestic Aircraft

Delta has always loved the Airbus A220 - even when it was called the Bombardier CSeries. Delta currently operates 15 A220-100s, the smaller size and has a further order of 25 -100s and 50 -300s. This week, Delta once again continued their support of this airplane with an order of an additional 5 A220-100s.

In addition, Delta has now announced more routes for the A220 from Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Newark, Houston-Bush Intercontinental, New York-LaGuardia, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Seattle, San Jose and Salt Lake City.

Delta says the planes will collectively operate up to 74 flights a day.

The A220 boasts Delta's widest Main Cabin seats, at 18.6 inches, huge fold down overhead bins and a windowed bathroom.

Delta's order is the first to come in since Airbus upped the range with an increased fuel and take off weight.

This plane can comfortably fly anywhere in North America from Atlanta, though Delta has not yet announced any flight that will take advantage of its range. In…

Delta to Exclusively Fly Boeing 767-300ER Between JFK and LAX

As reported, Delta will adjust their daily flights between New York-JFK and Los Angeles-LAX to exclusively be operated by their Boeing 767-300ER aircraft. Currently, Delta flies this route with that plane, the Boeing 757-200, Boeing 767-400ER and Airbus A330. Each plane features a different Delta One configuration with one not having direct aisle access.

With this adjustment, Delta will be the only carrier to operate direct aisle access business class on every flight between these two cities.

So, is this really an upgrade? For economy passengers? Yes. There will only be one middle seat per row, and the 767-300ER has the newest seats and seat back entertainment. For Delta One? Eh. Kind of. Now, those passengers will never have a 2-2 configuration, but those lucky few flying the Airbus A330 will lose the incredible reverse herringbone seat.

Instead, they'll be confined to Delta's oldest premium product, which looks most like the photo above, rather than Delta's glorified pho…

Paris Air Show Day 3: China Airlines Orders Airbus and Boeing, KLM Cityhopper Orders Embraer

It's been a busy day at the Paris Air Show for SkyTeam! China Airlines has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to upgrade both its passenger and cargo fleet with new Airbus and Boeing planes. China Airlines has ordered a total 25 of the popular A321neo aircraft with an additional 5 options. They plan to outright purchase 11 and lease the remaining 14. What's interesting is that China Airlines currently only operates Boeing 737s on shorter routes, so they are branching out to Airbus for the first time for their single aisle operations. I've flown China Airlines and they offer a fantastic business class and economy product on long routes.

China Airlines intends to order for up to 3 Boeing 777 Freighter aircraft with an additional 3 options. They currently operate a fleet of 18 of the freighter version of the 747 and are looking to modernize their fleet with the 777F.

KLM Cityhopper, KLM's regional subsidiary, has placed an order for a total of 35 Embraer E195-E2 plan…

Korean Air Quadruples Their 787 Fleet

At the Paris Air Show, Korean Air announced their intent to quadruple their Boeing 787 aircraft by adding 30 planes to their fleet. 10 of the planes will be the 787-9 aircraft, with the other 20 of the longer 787-10.

This order is valued at over $6.1 billion, but airlines often receive hefty discounts. Korean Air intends to purchase 20 of their aircraft, while leasing 10 of them from Air Lease Corporation. 

Korean Air currently operates only 10 Boeing 787-9 aircraft, so adding 30 additional ones shows their commitment to a fleet renewal based on it. Korean Air's 787-9 features interesting premium cabins - with both first and business class ("Prestige Class") having the same Apex Suite.

There's no timeline yet for the delivery of these planes, but I imagine these will be delivered over a long period of time as Korean begins to retire inefficient planes, such as the Boeing 747 and Airbus A380.

Confirmed: Virgin Orders A330-900neo

As rumored last week, Virgin Atlantic has now announced their order for 14 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft. On Monday Virgin Atlantic placed a firm order to purchase 8 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft and lease 6 from Air Lease Corporation (ALC).

Virgin Atlantic intends to use these planes to replace their aging A330ceo (current engine option) aircraft beginning in 2021. The A330neo has struggled to sell, with only a combined total of 250 planes. A shockingly low count of 10 are on order for the small variant, the A330-800neo.

I'm sure Delta had a lot to do with this deal, given their 49% stake in the company and their preference for Airbus. These new planes will complement Virgin's existing fleet, which is primarily A330 and A340 aircraft. As of now, there is no confirmation on whether or not this will feature Virgin Atlantic's newest Upper Class product, debuting on their A350-1000 later this year.

All images courtesy of Airbus.

Delta Introduces New Amenity Kits for All Cabins

Delta has announced updated amenity kits that will be available in all of their classes of travel. The kits will launch later this year, with no specific date as of yet. The travel kits in premium classes are are being updated to include products from Le Labo, currently available in Delta's SkyClubs.

The Delta One travel kit will contain largely the same amenities, except there will no longer being the signature Tumi hard case available.

Delta Premium Select will receive a case from Tumi featuring some products from Malin + Goetz and Colgate.

Even Delta's Comfort+ and Main Cabin are receiving updated kits, as per this announcement. 

They don't look entirely different inside, but the outside looks a little more friendly.

It's nice that Delta gives these out even in their cheapest cabins. I remember years ago when all cabins received amenity kits, similar to the ones premium cabins still receive today. 

Based on the pictures, it looks like Comfort+ will still be receivin…