The Next 13 Airlines I Want To Review (I Think)

At the beginning of the year I shared my goal of 16 airlines I wanted to review in 2016. Rather than reviewing first class on Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Lufthansa, etc., over and over, I wanted to start trying more new airlines.

I think I’ve done well so far this year, because in terms of new products I’ve reviewed Finnair business class, Air India first class, Hainan business classIberia business class, LAN business classOman Air business classAir France business class, Avianca business class, Aeromexico business classAir Canada business classSouth African Airways business class, China Airlines business class, Japan Airlines business class, SAS business class, China Eastern business class, Royal Air Maroc business class, Saudia business class, Pakistan business classJetBlue Mint, and Fiji Airways business class.

Trying new airlines has been more fun than I expected

When I first set out with the goal to review more new airlines, my primary goal was to listen to the feedback you guys were providing about the airlines I was reviewing. This blog has grown like crazy over the past eight years, and I realize you guys want fresh and interesting content.

However, I’ve been surprised by just how much fun it has been to try new airlines, even if they’re sub-par. Heck, I’d probably make an effort of trying these new airlines even if I weren’t blogging about them.

Even if they’re not luxurious, it’s so much fun to temporarily experience a completely different culture, and to see how different areas of the world approach aviation. Airlines are in many ways reflective of the countries they’re based in, and I’ve found that to be especially true on the airlines I’ve flown lately.

Pakistan-Business-Class-777 - 44

You guys have no clue how many hours a week I spend planning out theoretical itineraries to try new airlines. It’s sort of an obsession.

With that in mind, I’ve shared the new airlines I wanted to try at the beginning of the year, and at the beginning of August I shared what my upcoming travels look like.

However, I’ve been trying to piece together itineraries as well as possible, and figured it would be fun to look at the airlines I’m looking at booking very soon, and how I’m looking to book them. These are airlines I’m in the process of actively planning trips for, though as usual, things can change last minute.

The next 13 airlines I really want to review

I’ll keep this short, though in no particular order here are the airlines I’m hoping to fly soon, and how I’m hoping to book them (through a combination of miles and discounted business class fares):

Aeroflot Business Class

I was hoping to fly Aeroflot business class on my recent flight back from Russia, though due to a change of plans we booked Singapore Airlines first class instead.

I’m planning on trying Aeroflot soon, though, and will book it between the US and Europe for 62,500 Delta SkyMiles one-way.

Aeroflot

Air Serbia Business Class

Air Serbia recently launched flights between Belgrade and New York, and I’ve been wanting to try them. I plan on redeeming ~64,000 Etihad Guest miles for the one-way ticket in business class. Maybe I can fly Aeroflot from Los Angeles to Moscow to Belgrade, and then Air Serbia on the return.

Air-Serbia-A330

Meridiana Business Class

This one I’m more fascinated by than anything. Meridiana flies between New York and a few cities in Italy on their ancient 767s. Business class fares are very reasonable, though they have old recliner seats on their planes, and are also one of the airlines that squeezes eight seats per row into 767 economy.

Meridiana

AZAL Azerbaijan VIP Club

I’ve been fascinated by this airline for a long time, and paid business class fares between New York and Baku are quite reasonable. For taking this flight you even get special visa privileges for Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan-787

AZAL

Ukraine International Airlines Business Class

The airline also fascinates me, given that they fly between New York and Kiev and consistently have great business class fares. I’m imagining this experience to be very similar to the one I had on LOT Polish back when they had 767s.

Ukraine

Korean Air 747-8 First Class

While I’ve flown Korean Air’s A380 and 777 first class cabins, they have a new first class product with doors. This is a great use of Korean Air SkyPass miles, which I can transfer over from Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Korean-Air-New-First-Class

Aer Lingus New Business Class

While I flew Aer Lingus’ old business class product a few years ago, the airline has a great new business class product, and has really improved their service. They now have an arrivals lounge in Dublin, onboard wifi, and pre-flight dining in Boston and New York. I’d love to fly them again and see how the experience has changed. I’d redeem British Airways Avios for the journey.

Aer-Lingus-Business-Class-5

TAP Portugal New Business Class

TAP recently started flights from Lisbon to Boston and New York JFK, and they operate these flights using planes they leased from Brazilian airline AZUL. These planes have a new business class product, so I’d like to redeem Avianca LifeMiles for a flight in the new product.

TAP-Portugal-New-Business-Class

Air Tahiti Nui Business Class

I was supposed to fly Air Tahiti Nui from Auckland to Tahiti to Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago, though due to an emergency wasn’t able to take this portion of the trip. I’d like to fly them from Los Angeles to Paris instead, and can redeem American AAdvantage miles for the ticket.

Air-Tahiti-Nui-A340

Biman Bangladesh Business Class

This is per a reader’s suggestion. The airline has great fares between London and Dhaka, so I’d be curious to fly them for a short trip.

BIMAN

Royal Brunei Business Class

I’ve always been intrigued by Royal Brunei, as I always see their 787s parked at London Heathrow Terminal 4. A reader pointed out that they have decent business class fares from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur to Dubai via Bandar Seri Begawan on their 787s. Best of all these fares allow a stopover in Brunei, which would be interesting to visit for a night.

Royal-Brunei

Air India 787 Business Class

Air India just launched flights between London and Newark on their 787s, so I’d like to give that route a try. I flew Air India first class earlier in the year, so I wonder what their “new” 787 business class is like.

Vietnam Airlines Business Class

Vietnam Airlines has great business class fares between Southeast Asia and Europe, and I’d like to try their 787, which has reverse herringbone seats.

Vietnam

Bottom line

The above are probably the airlines I’m planning on booking most imminently, mainly because I’m able to get several of them on a single itinerary. If there are any other airlines you guys find especially interesting or would like to read about, let me know. I’d also really like to try Virgin Australia’s new business class, Air France’s new first class, and Garuda Indonesia’s new first class. I should be able to squeeze in Virgin Australia soon, though haven’t found any good fares on Garuda Indonesia or Air France, so if anyone has any ideas there…

Regardless, thanks for all the inspiration on these upcoming trips!

Comments

  1. Hope you could review KLM’s new 787 business class anytime soon. It’s a very different business class product than on their other aircraft.

  2. I know it’s not a new airline, but I would like to see a comparison of Emirates business class on the A380 vs the B777.

  3. Maybe you could review KLM’s new 787 business class, as I haven’t seen any reviews of it yet, and I’d like to know how it compares to their 747 and 777.

  4. @JC No one cares if TPG has done a review. I read OMAAT to get Lucky’s perspective on airlines, and his reviews tend to be the best anyway. The TPG site has diluted itself with lame content and a fractured point of view that comes from having a seeming infinite amount of contributors.

  5. I am so happy that I discovered your blog. Never have been able to fly in First Class or Business (so far) — so I live vicariously through your posts!

    I flew Air Tahiti Nui to Paris (from L.A.) in 2008. This was at the recommendation of my travel agent — at that time, 2 free checked bags. So that was one of the perks. Even though I’ve only flown Economy thus far during all my travel, travel agent was correct that is was one of the nicer flights to Paris. I hate airplane food (I usually bring all my own sandwiches, snacks, etc.). However, even the Economy meals were more than edible. Pleasantly surprised.

    Thankfully the flight to Paris was not full — I had a side aisle seat, no seat mate, so entire two seats to myself. Had I wished to move, I probably could’ve had a middle row (5 seats) to myself as well had I wanted to fully lie down. However, there was a young child (age 5?) travelling by himself all the way from Tahiti to Paris. I didn’t speak enough French for him, so thankfully I wasn’t interesting enough to ‘bother’ during the flight. Return flight — food was still good. However, full flight, I was further back (nearly next to the rest rooms). And a recalcitrant child who decided to kick my seat the entire flight (except when she was asleep & the parents, sitting behind her, didn’t care).

    Also, recent magazine articles (and some Reddit AMA’s) from flight attendants saying to ‘never’ drink the coffee (because of the potable water). As a coffee drinker (as am I), your take on this?

    Be interested to hear your take when/if you fly Air Tahiti Nui!

  6. What about Kuwait airlines, Egypt air and Air Tahiti Nui!? I understand that it is dangerous to fly Egypt air and your mother is concerned about Eygpt air, and I also understand that your trip to Tahiti was canceled and Air Thaiti Nui is on this list. BUT WHAT ABOUT KUWAIT AIRLINES!? Don’t you think you should prioritize Air Thaiti Nui and Kuwait air?

  7. After this set, maybe we’ll see the exploration of new airlines branch out into another continent? I’m thinking TAAG, Rwandair, Arik (Lagos-New York!), Tunisair and how about a review of the upcoming 787 Equatorial-Congo Airlines has on order.

  8. I think you are now due a bit of a break from J and should try F AF and KE 😉
    But no more Emirates!!!!

  9. How about a little less exotic, yet just as useful to readers on Hawaiian? You could easily review all three of their F products in one trip, routing LAX-OGG-HNL-LAX. This would give you the chance to try both A330 seats and the 717 inter-island seats. It could also be done as a positioning trip to ICN (LAX-OGG-HNL-ICN) for the KA 747-8 F review. I think you will be very impressed with the recliner F on the A330 as a domestic product, although most likely not as a TPAC product (although that’s changing).

  10. What about Aerolineas Argentinas to Buenos Aires. Then KLM or Air Canada on their fifth freedom from Buenos Aires to Santiago. Then LATAM from Santiago to Papeete. And finally Air Tahithi Nui from Papeete to Los Angeles.

  11. The new Korean Air “Kosmo Suite 2.0” with the door is being installed on their 77Ws as well. I’ve got a booking with it early next year.

  12. If you are going to go to Bangladesh, you are better off exploring Sylhet. Much less chaotic and way less pollution than Dhaka with more nature and lovely tea estates.

  13. i flew azal business when it was real business on the a340. i think the business on the 787 is more “premium economy/domestic first” so not sure how appealing it is.

  14. Another vote for Uzbekistan Airways flight from JFK to Riga or Tashkent. I recall reading somewhere that HY will soon be taking delivery of its 787s.

    How about Cubana’s flight from MAD to HAV on the Ilyushin IL-96? Though, you would have to write a proper trip report on Havana, as many of us would love to read of your impressions before the city starts becoming Americanized.

  15. You could fly a route looking like JFK-PMO-LIS-BOS-DUB-FRA-ICN-BKK-BWN-DXB-DAC-LHR-EWR, which would allow you to fly Meridiana, TAP, Aer Lingus, Korean 747-8, Brunei, Biman Bangladesh and Air India 787! And then LAX-CDG-BEG-JFK-GYD-KBP-JFK to leave only Aeroflot and Vietnam(unless you can work it out between ICN-BKK) left.

  16. Very jealous of that list. Lots I’d like to try.

    I also have a suggestion: It might be outside your remit – since your blog is mainly about premium travel and the use of points.

    You might consider the whole range of low-cost airlines that offer some kind of ‘premium’ cabin – like Scoot, Jetstar (in various countries) and Air Asia X. I don’t think any or these are accessible by points, but with the increasing restrictions on the earning and use of points – these ‘low fare’ airlines with premium cabins look like they are gaining a significant part of the market.

    And if you are considering travelling on Vietnam Airlines – here are 3 reviews of their service between:
    Sydney and Saigon (A330 300) http://www.2paxfly.com/2016/02/vietnam-airlines-sydney-to-ho-chi-minh.html
    and Saigonto London (787): http://www.2paxfly.com/2016/02/i-was-787-virgin-and-now-ive-taken.html
    and finally London to Saigon (787): http://www.2paxfly.com/2016/08/vietnam-airlines-london-to-ho-chi-minh.html

  17. If you end up flying Biman Bangladesh, you absolutely must add on a Druk Air flight to Paro. A trip I still regret not taking while I was stationed in India.

  18. Lucky, let me know when you will fly AZAL? I would love to be on the flight with you if possible! Me and my buddies are planning to go to Baku in May 2017! Lets make a plan!

  19. Druk Air please. The only airline flying to Bhutan, which is supposed to be one of the most magical places in the world. Still on my bucket list.

  20. Air Astana flies their new business class between ICN-TSE. They even have the ‘Big for upgrade’ option! Im booked to fly ICN-TSE-LED next May, should be a cool experience.

  21. Vietnam Airlines as no one has done a review of their 787 business product, TPG did the A350 product but the two are different products. The 787 product is the Zodiac Cirrus, and the A350 product is the EADS Sogerma Solstys product (I believe).

  22. What about Allegiant , Spirit and Sun Country? All aspirational for me as possible upgrades from my usual United Express CRJ200 🙂

  23. Fly Druk! The last time I was on it one of the Bhutanese queens was on it. And, I randomly flew on that plane from BKK-REP. I don’t remember who was operating it, but it was the Druk Plane.

  24. I would love you to try Edelweiss Air Business once on their A330. (Vancouver, Calgary, punta cana to zurich) But stay away from their A343 they’re getting (Business is in between two economy cabins (ewwww)

  25. If you try Virgin Australia LAX BNE, it might be worthwhile to check out Air Niugini. First BNE-POM either on PX or QF and once in Port Moresby you can go either SIN, HKG, MNL, DPS , NRT, NAN. None of these are daily flights and you need to check which ones are serviced by the 767.

  26. I’d love to see Business Class reviews for EK and SQ, and the comparison with their First Class which you’ve already flown numerous times.

  27. Wow, I am truly excited about your selections this round.

    Meridiana, Air Serbia, VN, Royal Brunei, etc.

    Just that I hope you can also try out Air Serbia’s and Meridiana’s intra-Europe flights (and not just only the long haul legs, as I read Air Serbia’s intra-Europe biz class is quite good elsewhere). At the moment, I think you are thinking of just starting from Belgrade for your Air Serbia flight, which will limit you from testing out their intra-Europe biz class. I find intra-Europe biz class to be generally underwhelming, but if Air Serbia has a differentiating product that is above their European rivals, this itself might be a good reason to use Air Serbia!
    (I see that at least for VN and BI, you will have an intra-Asia leg)

  28. Would love to read the Royal Brunei review as my relatives swear by it for travel from UK to AUZ with stops in Dubai and Brunei on the way – each of the 3 legs is around 7 hours. Apparently great value, although business is in a 2 / 2 / 2 config with no booze sounds different!!!

    Also would be great to compare the new business class that Qantas is rolling out vs the new business setup that Virgin Australia has.

  29. @Jaydan Currie, there are two LOPAs of Vietnam Airlines A350. The first one is you said, with Sogerma Solstys business class seats, and the usual deluxe economy extra legroom seats. The second version is more similar to their 787s, with Zodiac Cirrus business class seats and ‘true’ premium economy seats in 2-4-2 layout. These are commonly deployed to CDG as this is their flagship route.

  30. Ben- Careful with TP from LIS-JFK or BOS. Just took LIS-BOS back in July, and while a great flight, the aircraft got swapped last minute to one of the older A330 aircrafts. Pretty sure they’ve only got 2 of the new ones, so keep an eye out for that.

  31. With his travel record LY pre-boarding interview will be several hours long.

    Lucky, I have a request. Plan around-the-world (or) USA-Asia/Australia on only LCCs. Richard Quest did similar but lost in translation.

  32. Don’t do TAP just yet. They’re having lots of problems with the 2 planes they got from Azul, so equipment swaps are a constant.

  33. I can comment on Air Serbia intra-europe flights – in economy they serve proper glassware and dinerware on any flight longer than 2 hours and they do have true business class – huge lether armchairs and flight attendants that engage you by full name as soon as you are seated.

    Try to squeeze intra-Europe on Air Serbia, quite a difference compared to usual european “business” class of blocked middle seat.

  34. Lucky you seem you keen on visiting every country on this planet, including a bunch of middle eastern totalitarian regimes yet for some reason you constantly happen to skip over the only democratic country in the middle east, Israel. Grow a pair and try the airline and visit the country and give an HONEST review regardless of what the anti-semites that post will say

  35. Please review Norwegian from the west coast, Vietnam (business from Ho Chi Minh to Paris–common route), and Virgin from US to Australia. Thank you.

  36. Lucky, there are $1801 business class fares now roundtrip from JFK to TLV on J2 with stopover in GYD. Great deal for you to go to Israel and sample J2 business class.

  37. Support requests for reviews of KLM 787 J. And also Air France F, though Lucky probably can’t book that with miles without deciding to fly a bit on AF/KL for elite status before. Doubt he wants to do that. So unless there’s some great fare soon..

  38. Have you done Virgin Australia to LAX yet? You now have an option from MEL as well as SYD and BNE.

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