Aer Lingus, Ethiopian, Ukraine, Or Air Europa — How To Get To Europe?

This year I’m doing everything I can to review new airline products. I started the year with a list of 16 airline products I’ve been wanting to review, and I’ve been making good progress.

So far this year I’ve reviewed Finnair business class, Air India first class, Iberia business class, LAN business class, Oman Air business classAir France business class, Avianca business class, Aeromexico business classAir Canada business class, and South African Airways business class.

Air-India-First-Class - 75
Air India’s 777 first class

Coming up I have reviews of SAS business class, Aeroflot business class, Air Tahiti Nui business class, Fiji Airways business class, Royal Air Maroc business class, China Eastern business class, Kuwait Airways business class, and Royal Jordanian business class.

China-Eastern-Business-Class
China Eastern’s new 777 business class

I’m flying Swiss first class!

As I wrote about a couple of days ago, I managed to redeem miles for Swiss first class between Zurich and Los Angeles. This is extraordinary since Swiss doesn’t usually make first class awards available to their partner airlines, though I managed to ticket the award for 70,000 Aeroplan miles without any fuel surcharges.

Best of all, this is in Swiss’ new 777-300ER first class, which looks fantastic.

Swiss-777300ER-New-14

But how should I get to Europe?

Now I’m trying to decide how I should get to Europe, since this is a trip I’m taking for review purposes. For the flight from Zurich to Los Angeles, I can ultimately change the ticket for 90CAD to originate anywhere in the region, so I’m now trying to lock in my outbound flight, and decide what would make the most interesting review.

I’ve come up with a few general options, and am of course open to other creative options as well.

Ethiopian Airlines’ new business class Los Angeles to Dublin

Ethiopian Airlines operates a cool fifth freedom route from Los Angeles to Dublin, which I’ve been interested in trying. I could book this ticket for 63,000 Avianca LifeMiles.

While I’ve reviewed Ethiopian’s 787 business class before, Ethiopian is in the process of installing a new business class product, which I’d be curious to try. As far as I know, there’s no guarantee that I’d get the new product, though. Still, I’d be curious to see what their service is like between the US and Europe, given how tough it can otherwise be to snag nonstop business class awards between the west coast and Europe.

Ethiopian-New-Business-Class
Ethiopian’s “new” 787 business class product

Aer Lingus’s new business class to Dublin

I reviewed Aer Lingus business class several years back between Boston and Dublin, including their lounge in Boston.

However, in the meantime Aer Lingus has installed a fantastic new fully flat business class product, added onboard wifi, an arrivals lounge in Dublin, and pre-flight dining at their US lounges. So it seems like a sufficiently different product than it used to be.

Here’s where I’m conflicted:

  • Do I review Boston to Dublin, which would cost 37,500 British Airways Avios (thanks to British Airways’ distance based award chart, and that this route is under 3,000 miles)?
  • Or do I review New York to Dublin so I can review their new lounge in New York (which looks quite nice), even though it costs 60,000 British Airways Avios?

Air Europa’s new 787 business class

SkyTeam member Air Europa recently started flying the 787, and has very good award availability. They have an updated business class product, so this could be a good use of Delta SkyMiles or Air France FlyingBlue miles.

Air-Europa-Business-Class

You can see more about their new business class cabin in this odd commercial:

Ukraine Airlines’ 767 business class

When it comes to intriguing options, I think this one ranks pretty high. Ukraine Airlines flies from New York to Kiev using a rather old 767, and they have very reasonable business class fares. I wrote about this option before, and it sure does intrigue me.

Ukraine-Airlines

Which do you think would make the most interesting to review (or do you have another idea altogether)?

Comments

  1. The most useful review is probably Aer Lingus, but I don’t know how useful the lounge review would be, so I’d say just do the Boston flight. My 2¢.

  2. Hum…

    FLL to VCP on Azul Business Xtra
    GRU to MAD using Latam/Tam new A350 😛

    or Lan/Latam from US to SCL
    SCL to GRU using Lan B789 and go all the way to MXP with it
    GRU to MAD using Tam A350

  3. How about Air New Zealand but in their premium economy ‘spaceseat’, although not business class it’s something a little different than the usual.

  4. Aer Lingus would be my first choice, Air Europa would be my second choice. These are the two airlines that I might actually fly so it would be more useful for me. Thank you!

  5. Definitely Aer Lingus new business class. Just makes so much sense from Boston. I also had another idea. You could buy Baltia’s 747 and pilot it to Zurich. Just a thought for the best review ever.

  6. Boston to Dublin since I would actually consider using my Avios to do this route. Seems affordable and a much improved product from a few years ago.

  7. Ukraine, for me that would be the best way of getting to Europe and I’ve always wanted to go to Kiev.

  8. Yeah I have to vote for Ukraine! They always seem to have a very good price so would be more useful for positioning then air Europa I think. I’ve always wondered if they are any good. Don’t forget Kiev is beutiful and has incredible Borscht!!!!

  9. What about Uzbekistan airways jfk-rix. There are easy connections from Riga to many cities in Europe.

  10. I say AZ. I can’t find a single published review of their business class since the cabins were refreshed and the soft product was tweaked by Etihad. I’ve been researching as part of planning a trip for my family.

    Seriously… Not a single review. It’s kinda crazy. And a much more likely to get you page hits than an Ethiopian review I’d say. Short of that, I guess Air Europa since it’s also not covered and a traditional airline to fly to Europe.

  11. Another vote for Ukraine. PS has some remarkably affordable business class fares to many cities in Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia; many premium class bargain hunters would appreciate an honest review of UIA’s services.

    I also second @Phize’s idea of Uzbekistan Airways, but only if Ben could swing an extended layover in glorious Riga.

    There seems to be a good deal of positive buzz surrounding Air Serbia. Ben could be one of the first to review JU’s new transatlantic service.

  12. How about an Arik Air business class review from JFK-LOS-LHR? I haven’t seen many reviews of their product.

  13. Did you ever review JFK-MXP on EK?
    That seems like an interesting route.

    From the above mentioned i like Ethiopian.

    How about AF JFK-ORY? AI EWR-LHR, NZ LAX-LHR, TN LAX-CDG?

  14. Try Ukrainian. It’s not half bad. And what about El Al? That’s not on any of your lists.

  15. Do El Al LAX/JFK/EWR-TLV there aren’t many reviews of them and they also fly to ZRH.

  16. How about the long way to Europe – via Asia?

    JAL’s new J to Hanoi or Taipei via Tokyo for VN’s A350 to CDG or CI’s 77W to FRA? (or where ever their planes serve

  17. The Ukraine review would not be terribly useful for me since I am prohibited from flying on them by work.

  18. Lucky,
    Ukrainian and Air Serbia are cool options in my mind and there are so many different others, too 🙂

    Air Algerie: YUL-ALG-LHR
    Air Berlin: ORD/MIA-DUS/TXL
    Air Transat: YYZ-LGW
    Avianca+Iberia: HAV-BOG-MAD
    Condor: SEA/HAV-FRA
    Cubana: HAV-MAD
    Egyptair: JFK-CAI-LHR
    Icelandair: JFK/BOS/YYZ-KEF-LHR
    Norwegian: JFK-LGW
    Royal Air Maroc: JFK/YUL-CMN-LGW/LHR
    SATA: BOS/YUL-TER-LIS
    TAP: BOS-LIS

  19. wouldn’t BOS-DUB on Aer Lingus only be 25,000 miles business since it’s under 3,000 miles, and NYC-DUB only 40,000?

  20. Ukraine? Can save you the pain with a two word review – totally crap. Underwhelming on all fronts. Save yourself the torture. Is it a 737-300? Or -500. LOL

  21. This isn’t about flying to Europe, but…bite the bullet and fly Emirates business class on their A380. And long haul, not some shorter trip like from Bangkok to Hong Kong. I know the idea of flying on the A380 and not have access to the shower isn’t that appealing to you, but it would good to see your thoughts on their business class product. And maybe combine it with a flight on their 777s which only feature reclining/angle flat seats. If only to see how their various business class products compare to others.

  22. The new Air Serbia flight from JFK would be a great review. You had mentioned wanting to try it out.

  23. Can’t wait to hear about Ukranian – although the Azerbaijan comments are also very valid – wonder about the on board shower with them 🙂

  24. I have mentioned Air Serbia previously and will bring it up here again. Its available via etihad miles.

  25. Ukraine C really sucks (hard product is not nice, soft neither and FA… it’s a gamble). They also have a lot of delays and don’t offer any real fast track or advantages of any kind on the ground. I’m Premium with them and fly a lot domestic too and IST > KBP… I would go with TK instead, love their C class. Used to fly NY and BKK with PS and will never do it again for sure, even if cheap!

  26. JFK-BEG (JU501) lands in Belgrade 5:30AM, transfer time 1:50, than BEG-ZHR (JU370). you’ll get to review new AirSerbia business class in A330 and A320.

  27. UKRAINE! They often have very cheap fares, but i was always reluctant to try them. So it would be great if you review them.

  28. @lucky Man up and give Royal Air Jordanian another shot. Just make sure it’s on the 787 . A quick turn to and from Amman .

  29. Please, please, please … Ukraine International – I have been a few times in Kiev but always flown with Lufthansa and never was brave enough to try UA, so please show us their Business Class product on 767.

    Merci and greetings!

  30. How about Condor? They fly from pdx sea msp and BWI to FRA and connect with LH. Their business class looks decent. You can accrue miles and more points and their prices for J are excellent. Different but a good choice in the summer

  31. It’s funny that people say “Ukraine” only because they themselves don’t dare flying it but apparently don’t mind if the reviewer crashes 😉 (which I suppose in a way would also sort of be a telling outcome giving them the information they wanted).

  32. I recommended UIA after having flown it twice. It won’t win any awards but it was decent. There’s no reason to believe it’s any less safe than any other airline. I’d be more concerned about flying Asian, Royal Jordanian or Air India, though I’ve flown all three

  33. Should have had a voting button!

    I’d love to see what you make of Air Europe, given the kind of reviews given for Economy on Skytrax. Ukraine could also be interesting.

    Not Air Lingua though. Dull!

  34. @Mike

    Come on, you really can’t claim to know the motivation of those of us eager to read a review of UIA. It may not ever win any customer service awards but it is certainly not a death trap. I would eagerly jump at the opportunity to give them a go, confident in the knowledge that I have a far greater chance of being mowed down by someone texting and driving then by dying on an UIA flight.

    UIA offers a lot of connections in business class at some impressively reasonable fares. So what can one expect flying UIA’s business class? Does it deserve its mediocre reputation? Or could it be a diamond in the rough? Ben obviously loves answering such questions. Frankly, I am beside myself with envy and would thoroughly enjoy reviewing such business class cabins. Perhaps I can have such fun once I retire but, in the meantime, I must vicariously live out my avgeek fantasies through Lucky.

    Having said all of this, I must admit that I am now leaning towards joining the Air Serbia chorus.

  35. “I’d be more concerned about flying Asian, Royal Jordanian or Air India”

    Eh… I don’t believe Royal Jordanian has ever had a fatal crash since the 1970s (which gives them an enviable safety record) and Lucky’s histrionics about one flight aside, I see no reason to avoid them.

    That said I agree about *certain* Asian airlines (Korean and Asiana because of the impacts of the strict hierarchy of Korean culture on CRM; the budget carriers as well). I work in aviation safety and we have a strict no-fly list when traveling on business which is due more to lax government oversight than anything although the accident rate plays a major role as well. All Indian , all Korean airlines, all Russian and FSU airlines (except for Aeroflot, S7 and AirBaltic) and all Indonesian airlines (except for Garuda) are on it. So are all sub-Saharan African airlines except for South African, Ethiopian and Kenyan. Likewise for airlines based in the ‘stans (PIA being one possible exception although I cannot see a circumstance that would require us to fly on them), Cambodia, Laos, etc.

    That said, given my choice of airlines many of the ones towards the top of my list are based in the Middle East (Big 3 and Turkish), Africa (I actually really like South African) and Asia (CP, Singapore, EVA, etc) so it’s not a matter of being jingoistic or Anglo-centric.

  36. I would recommend UIA. I am in Lviv currently for vacation and Ukraine is just amazing. And you feel 100% safe if you don’t go to Crimea or the most eastern part. And no passenger planes have been shot down in the last couple years other than the MH17 and UIA has about 80 planes doing domestic flights a day. So it’s about like a 0.000001% you’d crash.

  37. Can you do the new Hartford->Dublin route? Obviously getting to Hartford could be a pain (fly to Boston or NYC and take amtrak??) but could be an interesting route to try. Hopefully it wont be short lived.

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