The Airlines I’m Most Excited To Review In 2018

This year we’ve seen an incredible amount of innovation when it comes to the new first & business class products that we saw introduced. While 2017 was a great year on OMAAT in terms of reviewing new airline products, I’ve fallen behind on reviewing some of the newest products due to a variety of circumstances. I had booked a couple of the below products but ended up getting sick, had other schedule conflicts come up, etc.

However, my plan is to start 2018 off with a bang, and knock out reviews of all of these new products ASAP.

In this post I wanted to look at the products I’m most interested to review in 2018. Let me start with the four most obvious products that I need to review, two of which I already have booked, and the other four of which I’m working on booking this week.

The four products I have to try

Delta’s new A350 business class 

This year Delta introduced new fully enclosed suites on their A350s. Delta deserves points for the privacy of these seats, though I’m still somewhat skeptical in terms of the overall comfort of these seats. Fortunately Tiffany and I already have roundtrip tickets booked to Beijing in Delta One in February, so not only will we able to review the new product, but we’ll also be earning a lot of Medallion Qualifying Miles towards Delta status for next year.

Qatar Airways’ new 777 Qsuites 

Qatar Airways introduced Qsuites this year, which looks to me like the world’s best new business class product. As of now they’re flying the product to London, Paris, and New York, and as of January they’ll fly it to Washington.

Qatar Airways has lots of great business class fares, so I’m still on the lookout for any great fares that would allow me to try Qsuites. In the event I don’t find anything great, there’s a good amount of award availability on the Qsuites frequency between Paris and Doha, which I could redeem miles for.

Singapore’s new A380 Suites

Singapore just debuted their new Suites this past week between Singapore and Sydney. I made speculative bookings for this back before Singapore formally announced their new Suites, and I’m booked to fly it in late January. I’ll be flying Singapore Suites in one direction, and Singapore’s new business class in the other direction. Then I have another similar trip booked in March.

Of course ideally I’d try this product sooner, but I’m tempted to stick with what I have now, given the amazing redemption value I got. So I might just have to wait another several weeks. Oh well.

Emirates’ new 777 first class

Emirates presently flies their new first class from Dubai to Brussels and Geneva, so my plan is to try it in the first week of January. Unfortunately I’ll just have to book a paid first class ticket, though fortunately Emirates has some semi-reasonable paid first class fares. On the plus side, between this and my other Emirates first class ticket, I’ll be earning a lot of Alaska Mileage Plan miles next year!

Four products I really want to try

The above are the products I feel I have to try, while the below are some fun ones that I really want to try.

TAAG Angola 777 first class

TAAG Angola has been on my radar for a while, as they’re one of the few remaining airlines with a first class product that I haven’t yet tried. Their first class fares are also a bit more reasonable than in the past, including from Johannesburg to Luanda to Sao Paulo.

RwandAir A330 business class

I guess this is a good way to get to Johannesburg to start my TAAG ticket. RwandAir now flies to London Gatwick, so I’d love to fly with them from London Gatwick to Brussels to Kigali to Johannesburg, with a stopover in Rwanda. Their business class looks great.

Iran Air A330 business class

Iran Air has some A330s that were supposed to go to Avianca, featuring reverse herringbone seats in business class. They fly these to Hamburg and other points in Europe, and fares are quite cheap. There are also great paid business class fares originating in Tehran, so it should be easy enough to do something like Hamburg to Tehran to Doha to London, for example.

Turkish Airlines business class

It has been years since I’ve flown Turkish business class, and that’s just ridiculous, given that they fly to more countries than any other airline in the world. It’s time I give them another try.

Bottom line

The above are only a few of the products I really want to try in 2018. My priority is that by mid-February I want to have tried the four cutting edge new products, and hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze in the other airlines over that time period as well. In the meantime, I’m going to take it slow for the rest of the year, and will catch up on the two trip reports that I have to finish publishing.

Any other products you’re especially interested in reading about next year?

Comments

  1. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy 2018 to you, Lucky.

    Etihad sent an email with a link to this video plugging their new buy-on-board items by surprising passengers on a Manchester – Abu Dhabi flight…

  2. I’d be interested in hearing how JetBlue does mint on the JFK/Vegas or Caribbean routes. Seems like the service would be very rushed on those flights.

  3. @Ben – sorry this is unrelated to this post, but at what point would you consider the EK first class flights a sure thing? My plat amex card just showed the charges (not pending). Just want to get a good fare locked in for LA-YVR!

  4. @Lucky
    Would you have to enter Iran on your German passport? Since they’re on the list of banned countries now (admittedly I’m not well versed on this matter) does it affect your travels at all in and out of the USA?

  5. I’d be a bit careful about Iran. Wonderful people but unpredictable government, especially when it comes to foreign journalists…

  6. I have a long list:
    Turkmenistan Airlines B777 BHX-ASB
    Mahan Air A340 CDG-IKA
    Air Namibia A330 FRA-WDH
    Air Algerie A330 YUL-ALG
    Suriname Airlines A340 AMS-PBM
    Air Transat A330/A310 YVR-LGW
    Air Seychelles A330 CDG-SEZ
    Air Austral B777/787 CDG-RUN/DZA
    Boliviana de Aviación B767 MAD-VVI
    Air Madagascar A340 CDG-TNR
    Air Niugini B767 NRT-POM
    Aircalin A330 NRT-NOU (especially this one!)
    Czech Airlines A330 PRG-ICN
    Beijing Capital Airlines A330 LIS-PEK
    CEIBA B777 MAD-SSG
    Air Greenland A330 SFJ-CPH
    Birman Bangladesh Airlines B777 LHR-ZYL-DAC
    Aerolinas Argentinas A330/A340 MAD-EZE
    Maybe trying all of them is a bit optimistic…

  7. If it works out, would be really unique if you could review QSuites as a 4some to see how the pods are as a group.

    Would take a bit of coordinating I’m sure, but could be a really fun read for us to see something like you, Ford, Andrew and Tiffany…

    Happy holidays!

  8. You havn’t covered that fact that virgin Atlantic are acquiring some air Berlin A330-200s next year. Maybe give that a try?

  9. I looked up the schedules for these supposed fancy new F class suites.

    Sydney to Singapore is 8 hours 10 minutes. And Dubai to Brussels is 7 hours 30 minutes.

    That includes taxi, takeoff, and landing. So you’re going to spend at most seven hours in the air on either of those routes. If you eat or enjoy the service at all, you’re going to have at most five hours to sleep. So there’s really no point in having beds on these routes.

    The fancy new SQ and EK suites are useless on the routes they’re flying. J or even W would be equally good since you can’t get a good night’s sleep anyway.

    A true F product has to run on a TPAC or long TATL or similar route to deliver on its promise. What SQ and EK are doing it just wasting potentially nice rides where they’ll never do anyone any good.

  10. @Lucky – what about Air Mauritius new biz class on their new A350’s? Don’t think you’ve really covered them yet.

  11. Lucky its most likely you wont get entry into iran period given you have been to Israel. If you lie and you get in thats prison time period.

    Please be more adventerous with your premium travel. Get off the betten track.
    Safe travels.

  12. Would you do a head-against-head comparison between DL and QR in J, arguably the best airlines and products out there (as they claim). Although we have our bet for the winner already 😉

  13. Iran is one of my two favorite travel destinations (the other being Israel; I find the two to be very similar when it comes to sheer fascination), so I would love to read of your impressions.

    As for other airlines to try: Air Austral. A trip report of a jaunt through the islands of the southern Indian Ocean would be pretty cool.

  14. What about the Qantas 797 Business class… MEL-LAX or the inaugural PER-LHR… come on lucky give us something to be excited about!

  15. Kuwait 77W first class?

    Iran is amazing. Great people with quite developed tourism infrastructures. My all time favorite was Yazd (Isfahan was nice but there was something very special about Yazd). Flying domestic flights with vintage aircraft will also be a unique experience too.

  16. What about these airlines:
    Air Transat (business class)
    Westjet (Plus)
    Qantas (787)
    Turkmenistan 777
    Kuwait 777 First

  17. BIMAN Maslin Executive 77W. BIMAN is getting new 787s starting August-2018 that will feature free WiFi in all classes, mobile connectivity and hopefully new business class too.

  18. Why not wait with Turkish until October when the new airport in Istanbul finishes? It seems like it’s going to be pretty amazing and IST is currently a pretty poor airport. Btw, the YouTube channel of the new airport has released a video with a flythrough of the airport which may be interesting.

  19. If you’re heading to Africa, you might as well try to check off SAA’s new A330 business class. South African Airways is only 50,000 Flying Club Miles from D.C, and it contains the new product. Also, If you need to get home from Brazil, Azul is another interesting product. They fly into Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.

  20. Definitely not Iran Air. You’ll be getting more SSSS than ever and eventually Homeland Security will revoke your Global Entry and TSA Pre, because you went to Iran.

  21. @Turkish bi guy – Ben has both US and German passports, so he can enter Iran on the one he didn’t enter Israel on.

    Alternatively, he could get a second US passport if his current US passport has an Israeli stamp or visa in it. Lots of business travelers have two US passports for exactly this reason (and to make it possible to drop one at an embassy or consulate for visa processing.)

    @Nick in Chicago – I believe the Trump ban (presuming a court hasn’t taken it down by the time Ben travels to Iran) is on the banned countries’ nationals coming to the US, not on Americans traveling there. I don’t believe any of the “not a Muslim ban Muslin ban” countries have banned American travelers.

  22. There were Jewish women in my tour group trip to Iran and on their visa applications both had listed Israel as one of the countries they had previously visited, so I would be surprised if that caused Lucky any issues. That’s assuming he actually plans to check out the country as opposed to just connecting through IKA.

    I’ve been on several flights since my Iran trip and have yet to see the dreaded SSSS on my boarding passes.

  23. Lucky are you going to review Qantas new business class on the a330 or surely 787 MEL-LAX or even better PER-LHR and also maybe air mauritius business class they fly to Perth and Johannesburg (and other destinations) you could connect that in with your Rwand air or TAAG trip.

  24. I think you should try Garuda’s regional J. They operated 737 and A332/333 on some route, such as CGK-DPS, and i know that you love Bali. Take TK from IST to CGK, and Garuda from CGK to DPS

  25. I don’t think you’ve been on Ethiopian since their business class upgrade. Time to pencil in a trip perhaps?

  26. I’m also interested in an Air Niugini review. I lived in Port Moresby for almost 4 years & a common expression at the time was TANGFU, where T=typical & U=up

  27. I forgot to mention, also Vietnam Airlines A350/B787 LHR/CDG-HAN/SGN and Air Mauritius A350 LHR/CDG-MRU, Corsair B747 CDG-PUJ

  28. Off topic, but your comment about getting loads of DL miles made me ask.

    Why does airline status matter anymore?

    I’ve been DL elite for years, Diamond and Platinum. I fly out of NY, and rarely get upgraded. So I end up buying the tickets I want, especially a First doesn’t seem much more expensive booking in advance.

    I have Clear and Pre. I have cards that get me into lounges. And I board first with paid Delta One or First.

    I suppose there’s some benefit during irrops.

    You’ve noted how lame AA has become. Everyone bitches about UA. At least DL seems to have their operational stuff together, power outages notwithstanding.

    I’m SPG Platinum, and almost Lifetime Platinum. I get upgrades all the time, lounges, breakfast, etc. I can directly see the value of being loyal. Not so much with airlines anymore.

    Anyone? What am I missing?

  29. @CraigTPA – Now israel has an option where when you enter they don’t stamp your boarding pass at immigration and instead they stamp another piece of paper that you must keep. This was a solution they created because of the problem and complaints.

  30. TAAG (Angola) and Air Greenland would both be fun; I loved your reviews Air Serbia.
    How about Bangkok Airways ‘blue ribbon’, Air Macau, Air New Zealand or Belavia?

    Best Wishes for a happy Christmas

  31. @PDF
    Lol. Can you imagine Lucky in a middle economy seat on a red eye? I’m sure we all would thoroughly enjoy reading about it 🙂 However for some reason I think your suggestion – Qantas 787 Economy, maybe Daniel will steal this idea!

  32. Try Air Canada’s new Domestic Business Class on their 737 MAX! Though an evolutionary product, they are one of the few airlines putting an IFE system on their new short haul equipment.

  33. You can do lax-Ist-lhr on turkish
    Lhr-kigali-jnb on rwand air
    Jnb-luanda-gru on taag
    Gru-eze-jfk in aerolíneas argetinas

  34. I’m gonna be disappointed if you don’t manage to snag 4 seats to make the little conference room for your Q-suites review.

  35. If you do try RwandAir make sure to take a stop in Kigali at least or even venture into those national parks and nearby Uganda. These are some of the true gems in Africa, places are safe, economic is burgeoning, cities look neat, nightlifes are great, and not to mention all the national parks.

  36. Here’s the lowdown on delta suites. The color scheme is a refreshing change. Heck any color would be a refreshing change. And finally delta has a business-class seat with a little bit of storage. The LSTN headsets are lousy. The same headsets are also provided to the 48 premium economy passengers on this plane, and the FAs don’t even bother to collect them because it’s no big loss if passengers were to take them. The seat is not all that comfortable. In sleep mode one must extend feet and lower legs into a tight area under the seat in front reminiscent of the awful seats on delta 767s.

    Regarding the much ballyhooed door, it makes the entrance to the seat very narrow when open. When closed, the door provides no additional privacy unless someone happens to be crawling down the aisle. There is more privacy from the wall that the door extends from. The walls make it difficult to see other passengers. The wall and small opening between the adjacent seats in the middle make it difficult to communicate with a seatmate.

    The seats are small. it’s nothing like international first class. Privacy there, even without an enclosure, comes largely from the fact that there are only 4, 6 or 8 passengers in the cabin when full (rarely) and very little traffic in the aisle. On the delta A350 there are 31 other passengers in the same cabin. The delta suite is by far the best business-class seat delta flies now. That is not saying much given the other delta B class seats. (The 747 seat was as good and the upper deck much better than A350 B class section.) I doubt this seat will command a premium versus competition like the Super Diamond or the fabulous older B class seats on Singapore 777-200s.

  37. I would like it if you tried WestJet plus.

    Air Canada Rouge is making me consider WJ… can’t believe that would ever happen.

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