United Polaris Bedding — WOW!

United-Polaris-Bed

I just got off a United 777-300ER flight between San Francisco and Hong Kong, featuring their brand new “Polaris” business class seat. Given how much this product has been hyped, I have a lot to say. I’ll have my usual “10 pictures” post about the experience shortly, but first I want to write a couple of posts about specific aspects of the experience.

United has marketed the hell out of Polaris, so at times it’s tough to figure out what features have substance and which are just hype.

For example, Polaris advertises that you can do a “wine flight.” That’s cool, but ultimately that’s sort of a gimmick. It’s not going to materially alter your experience, and ultimately you could ask to try different wines on another airline as well.

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Are “Basic” Airport Lounges Even Worth Visiting Anymore?

Lounge

Yesterday I found myself in a situation where I wanted a quiet place from which to work, so I left an airport lounge. That seems a bit backwards, no? It made me question why I even bother visiting airline lounges most of the time. My general instinct is to always visit a lounge if I have time, even if it’s just for a few minutes, but I’m not actually sure why I do that.

Don’t get me wrong, airline lounges are better than they’ve ever been before, at least on the high end. There are airline lounges where you can get a spa treatment, eat a meal from a Michelin-star chef, skip the airport terminal altogether, etc.

In this post I’m not talking about those lounges. Instead I’m talking about the “average” domestic or contract lounge. For example, the lounges offered by most US airlines, the lounges largely offered through Priority Pass, etc.

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Japan Airlines Introduces Porsche Amenity Kits & Pajamas

Japan-Airlines-Pajamas

Japan Airlines offers one of my favorite first class products in the world. I find that JAL first class is incredibly well rounded — the service is exceptional, the food is good, they have reasonably priced wifi, there’s great bedding, and there are so many nice “touches” to the experience.

Up until now JAL has offered great amenity kits and pajamas in first class, though it looks like they’re changing them up (it remains to be seen whether it’s for better or worse).

JAL’s old pajamas were high quality, and both comfortable and stylish.

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Edelweiss Adds Seasonal Service To San Diego

San-Diego-Approach

San Diego will see increased transatlantic traffic this summer, as Edelweiss (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Swiss), is adding direct flights between Zurich and San Diego. This isn’t earth-shattering news, but for those of us in San Diego where we currently have a whopping three long-haul flights, this is pretty awesome.

The seasonal service will operate twice-weekly on an A340-300, with the following schedule:

• Monday | Zurich – San Diego 1:30pm – 5:05pm LX8018
• Monday | San Diego – Zurich 6:45pm – 3:20pm (+1) LX8019
• Friday | Zurich – San Diego 2:05pm – 5:40pm LX8018
• Friday | San Diego – Zurich 7:10pm – 3:45pm (+1) LX8019

Zurich is a fantastically easy airport to connect in, and the flight timings seem reasonable for catching onward flights to other cities in Europe. And for twice-weekly service, a Friday/Monday schedule is pretty much as good as it gets. Edelweiss has historically been successful at operating less-frequent service to leisure destinations, and hopefully that pattern continues.

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Delta & Korean Air Announce Transpacific Joint Venture

Delta-Korean-Air

A bit over a month ago, Korean Air’s president hinted that a joint venture would be coming shortly between Delta and Korean Air. Well, that has now been confirmed.

Delta and Korean have signed a memorandum of understanding to implement a transpacific joint venture agreement. Here’s what the highlights of the agreement are, according to the airlines:

— The intent to create a fully integrated trans-Pacific joint venture arrangement, with both airlines sharing the costs and revenues on flights and coordinating schedules for seamless, convenient connections.
— A combined network, serving more than 290 destinations in the Americas and more than 80 in Asia, providing customers of both airlines with more travel choices than ever before.
— Enhanced frequent flyer benefits, providing customers of both airlines the ability to earn and redeem miles on Delta’s Sky Miles and Korean Air’s SKYPASS programs.

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Etihad Adds Free Wifi & Loaner iPads For Premium Passengers On US-Bound Flights

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The US electronics ban has been in place for several days now, and we’ve started to see how airlines are dealing with the ban. Emirates, Etihad, and Turkish have all shared what they’re doing to try and minimize the impact this ban has on passengers.

After all, I don’t think anyone is a fan of this (well, perhaps other than the manufacturers of the boxes that airlines are using to gate check electronics).

While I’m avoiding Gulf carriers at the moment because of the inconvenience of being separated from my electronics, I actually feel pretty comfortable with the approach they’re taking, at least in terms of the risk of my electronics being lost, stolen, or damaged.

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Spirit Airlines Announces Their “Let Them Wear Leggings” Sale

Spirit-Leggings

I can’t say I’ve ever flown Spirit, though I do love their marketing campaigns. And their latest one is pretty brilliant. Spirit Airlines has just announced their “Let Them Wear Leggings” sale, through which they’re offering 75% off flights (which doesn’t mean a whole lot on Spirit, since they make most of their money through fees). I’m actually not even convinced their fare sales are intended to be fare sales, rather than just opportunities to get free publicity.

Here’s how they describe the sale:

“Because of recent headlines, we thought we’d double-check our etiquette atlas. Turns out wearing leggings are not a big deal. We thought everyone knew that, but guess not. Well at least at Spirit, we’re united (cough) about letting young girls dress how they want. If you want to fly with us, get your leggings on ladies. Or even gentlemen. No judgments here. Unless you’re wearing those new clear-knee mom jeans, then some judgments. But you can still fly with us. Just use this deal so that next time you can buy a complete pair of pants.”

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INSANE DEAL: $770 Roundtrip Business Class Tickets From Bangkok To Toronto

Ethiopian-787-Business-Class-04

While this won’t be useful to everyone, this is an insanely good deal that I can’t not share. Per this FlyerTalk thread, Ethiopian has published some crazy low business class fares from Bangkok to Toronto. You can fly roundtrip refundable business class for $770 (select “Cloud 9 Deluxe” rather than “Cloud 9 Restricted,” since it’s only marginally more but gives you a lot more flexibility).

This is bookable directly on Ethiopian’s website, which is the best place to search, since not all availability shows up on Google Flights.

The total roundtrip fare is 26470THB.

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Air India’s New Delhi To Washington Flight Is Now Bookable

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This route shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given that it has been rumored for a while. As I first wrote about in January, Air India was planning on launching 3x weekly flights between Delhi and Washington Dulles as of July 2017.

While we’ve known about the route for a couple of months, the route now just finally became bookable.

Air India is launching 3x weekly flights between Delhi and Washington Dulles as of July 7, 2017. The route will operate with the following schedule on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays:

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What American’s $200 Million Investment In China Southern Means For Passengers

China-Southern-787

Last week I wrote about how American was apparently in advanced talks regarding buying a stake in China Southern. Well, it’s a rumor no more, as that stake has now been finalized.

It was announced today that American has committed to making a $200 million equity investment in China Southern, which they claim “creates a strong foundation for a long-term relationship between two of the world’s biggest carriers.”

This new partnership goes beyond an equity investment:

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Review: Korean Air Business Class 747-8 San Francisco To Seoul

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Given that I’ve flown Korean Air’s first class so many times before on the 747-8, 777, and A380 (thanks to the great value of converting Ultimate Rewards points into Korean Air SkyPass miles), I was curious to see how their business class product stacked up.

We boarded through door L1, where we turned right into the lower deck business class cabin. Korean Air has 26 business class seats on the 747-8 lower deck, spread across five rows in a 2-2-2 configuration (the last row only has two seats in the center).

This is an extremely spacious layout for the lower deck of the 747, and the aisles in this cabin must be among the widest in any business class cabin.

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I’m Polarising To Hong Kong!

United Polaris seat (PRNewsFoto/United Airlines)

Late last year United introduced their new Polaris international premium cabin experience, which includes new seats, new service, new lounges, etc. I’ve been fascinated by the new product (largely from a marketing standpoint more than anything else), and have been wondering if the product lives up to the hype.

However, I haven’t been sure about the best way to review the product, given that United is already offering the Polaris soft product across the board, yet only a few planes have their new seats so far. It will be at least five years until all planes are reconfigured with the new Polaris seats (and we recently learned about delays with the seat manufacturer, so it could be even longer).

While United is advertising the heck out of the new product, a vast majority of people will only experience the new soft product anytime soon. To me this seems like premature marketing, since it inevitably leads to disappointment when you advertise a product even before it’s available on any planes.

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World Of Hyatt Promotion: Earn Double Points Through June 30, 2017

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Last October we first learned about World of Hyatt, which replaced Hyatt Gold Passport as Hyatt’s loyalty program. The program kicked in as of March 1, 2017, and has gotten a mixed response.

Well, the first World of Hyatt promotion has just been announced, which is called “Double Points for Being You.”

Through this promotion, World of Hyatt members can earn double base points for all stays between April 1 and June 30, 2017, starting with the second stay. Here’s what Jeff Zidell, SVP of World of Hyatt had to say about the promotion:

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Great Deal: Iberia Is Offering 25% Off Award Redemptions

Iberia-Business-Class-A340 - 1

Iberia Plus is celebrating their 25th anniversary, and they have a great promotion as a result. While we’ve seen some targeted Iberia Avios promotions in the past that offer discounts for select routes, this is the most widely available promotion I’ve seen from them yet.

Iberia is offering 25% off award tickets that are booked by April 11, 2017. There are a few further restrictions:

— Valid for travel through June 15, 2017, or for travel between October 1 and December 15, 2017
— Valid for travel exclusively on Iberia flights, though in all classes of service
— Only valid for travel on off-peak dates

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