Is Google Street View The Next Best Thing To A Trip Report?

As Ben/Lucky is shuttling back and forth between China (or as I call it, the spiritual homeland of the Montblanc pen— JUST KIDDING!), posts will be a bit lighter and I’ve volunteered to step in now and then with thoughts on aviation, points and miles from the amateur perspective.


I’m a big fan of Google Street View. As someone who wants to travel every inch of the world but has only (relatively) scratched the surface so far, I find that Google Street View is a great technology to “tour” cities and places near and far.

In fact, it’s also a great trip planning tool: you can “explore” neighborhoods and choose accommodation in any given city accordingly. It really has revolutionized the way we can view the world from our laptop.

As it turns out, Google Street View is a fantastic way to tour airplanes, as well.

I recently flew Air France in hopes of checking out their new 777 business class product, although a last-minute delay in rollout meant I was stuck with the old, angled-flat seats.

But Google Street View has a really in-depth tour of the newly-outfitted Air France 777.

You can see what La Première might be like during meal service…

La Premiere seat during (fake) meal service
La Premiere seat during (fake) meal service

…what the seat is like as a bed…

La Premiere seat as a lie-flat bed
La Premiere seat as a lie-flat bed

…and what it’s like when you want complete privacy.

La Premiere seat with curtain closed
La Premiere seat with curtain closed

The new Business Class seats are presented at their very best, as well, with the photographer catching some nice details.

New Air France business class seat
New Air France business class seat
Accessory rack in Air France business class seat storage area
Accessory rack in Air France business class seat storage area
Air France new business class seat as a lie-flat bed
Air France new business class seat as a lie-flat bed

The tour makes Premium Economy look pretty nice, actually!

Air France new 777 premium economy cabin
Air France new 777 premium economy cabin

And then there’s regular economy (womp, womp), which even Google Street View can’t make appealing.

Air France new 777 economy cabin
Air France new 777 economy cabin

Perhaps less interestingly, you can even tour Air France’s new medium-haul A319 on Google Street View.

Air France's new A319
Air France’s new A319

It’s not just Air France that’s in on the game.

SAS, an airline for which it’s safe to say has received little coverage in the way of trip reports on this blog, has a new business class product. They’ve partnered with Google Street View to give you a tour.

The business class cabin looks modern, tasteful and spacious.

SAS new business class cabin
SAS new business class cabin
SAS new business class cabin
SAS new business class cabin
"Sitting" in the new SAS business class seat
“Sitting” in the new SAS business class seat

“SAS Plus,” that is, their premium economy cabin, looks decent as well.

SAS Plus premium economy cabin
SAS Plus premium economy cabin

The economy cabin looks fine, I suppose, with fairly sizeable seatback video screens.

SAS new economy cabin
SAS new economy cabin

You can also tour the lavatories on SAS, though I’m really not sure why you’d want to. They aren’t special.

Not to be outdone, Emirates is in the Google Street View game as well — and in fact, their A380 has been tourable on Google Street View since 2013. Well, parts of the A380.

Your can tour Emirates’ First Class cabin (though none of the seats have been styled into a flat bed).

Emirates A380 First Class seat
Emirates A380 First Class seat

You can check out the incredibly large business class section…

Emirates A380 business class cabin
Emirates A380 business class cabin

You can even visit the onboard bar…

Emirates A380 onboard bar
Emirates A380 onboard bar

…as well as the snack area.

Bagels! Who knew??
Bagels and lox! Who knew??

And of course, you can take a virtual shower.

Emirates A380 shower bathroom
Emirates A380 shower bathroom

What you can’t do is navigate the stairway downstairs and check out the lower deck. Apparently Emirates wants to show off its premium cabins on the A380, but isn’t too keen on you seeing what their economy class looks like. UPDATE: You can’t navigate between the premium deck and the economy deck, but as commenter Aubrey points out, there’s a toggle on the right side of the page between “B” and “E” – if you want to explore Emirates’ depressing endless rows of long-haul coach for some reason, click on “E.”

None of this is earth-shattering, of course, but I have to say this is pretty cool, and a great way of “previewing” an airline before you head onboard. For me, since Air France’s La Première class is virtually unattainable, this is my next best way of ogling it in all its gorgeousness. (Come on… that’s a really beautiful cabin.)

Have you seen any other airlines with Google Street View tours?  Does this help you scratch your trip report itch in between Ben’s posts?

Comments

  1. Actually, you can see the economy level on the Emirates a380–There is a link on the right side of the page where “E” for economy is listed above “B” for business. No climbing-the-stairs shot though….

  2. @Aubrey: Oh! That’s helpful. I tried to descend the stairs and wasn’t able to do that. Guess they’re trying to really enforce the class boundaries! 😉

  3. Thank you Nick, for not finally not bringing politics into a post one time! (just kidding)

    Anyway, honestly I liked this post a lot and I’ve known about emirates a380 and ive seen it before, but i haven’t known about all these new airlines like air france and sas on google maps. I think that’s pretty cool, thanks for sharing

    I’m going to france over the summer, and by the looks of air france’s new business class i really wanna fly them, even though i am totally disloyal to skyteam

    also
    comment sais tu francais? Es-tu francais ou…?

    From your friend, A/Ariel/Jim

  4. To see every inch of the world, you realize you will eventually have to stay in non-chain hotels, non-luxury accommodations, take common-class transportation, and get by in places without a concierge and where people don’t speak English, don’t you?

  5. Like to ability to see the cabins via Streetview when: I’m at a computer with a 100mb+ speed internet connection. Streetview embedded in trip reports? Forget it! I like to spent time reading the trip reports while travelling, which means on an iphone or tablet, sometimes only as a RSS feed – Having streetview embedded and being the center of the report kills the phone/tablet, not least the internet connectivity in hotels. Who doesn’t recognise the slow unstable internet from 5pm til 8pm when people return from workday and have to catch on up their missed episodes of weekly soap or the missed NFL games? just saying…

  6. @Hasse: Dude, check your internet connection. These are screencaps. Nothing is embedded.

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