Airline Reviews

Review: Royal Jordanian Business Class 787 Amman To Kuala Lumpur

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Before I get into the actual report, I should note that I checked the seatmap just a couple of hours before the flight, and it showed just two seats taken in business class (including mine). However, economy was oversold, so there were 22 upgrades from economy to business class.

I boarded through door L2, located right behind the business class cabin. There was a very cool-looking display with the Royal Jordanian crown logo on it, though I don’t think they ever did anything with it during the flight.

While most airlines have proper bulkheads between the main entry door and the cabins, that’s not the case on Royal Jordanian’s 787. Instead the second set of doors opens up immediately to the back of the business class cabin.

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Review: Royal Jordanian Business Class Embraer 175 Cairo To Amman

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This flight’s adventure started before I even got on the plane. At the end of the jet bridge there were three guys in hoodies. As I approached them they pointed at my bag and said “we check.” It had been a long travel day and my brain wasn’t working properly, so I thought they were telling me I needed to gate check my bag since it was a regional jet.

“No, it will fit.” After a bit more discussion they grabbed the bag out of my hand, at which point I became a bit irritated, since I didn’t understand what they were doing, and the whole situation struck me as shady, as they didn’t have visible badges or anything. Then the flight attendant apologized and explained that they were just doing pat downs and bag searches on the jet bridge. Ah, that kind of a “check.”

I don’t understand why they don’t have badges and/or uniforms. Interestingly they were actually Jordanian security officials, as they flew back to Amman with us.

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Review: EgyptAir Business Class 777 Toronto To Cairo

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My flight from Toronto to Cairo was scheduled to depart at 12:45PM. In the morning the flight still showed on-time, though like any experienced traveler I checked the status of the inbound flight, as I knew the plane was coming from Cairo. Well, the plane was way late — it departed almost seven hours late, and was due to arrive six hours late.

Fortunately EgyptAir plans a lot of ground time for the plane in Toronto, though I still expected we’d have a 2-3 hour delay, given that the plane was arriving in Toronto 15 minutes after we were scheduled to depart.

I still decided to head to the airport at around 11AM. I took the train to Terminal 1, where I found a long line for EgyptAir check-in. Fortunately I had already been issued my EgyptAir boarding pass in Tampa, so was able to bypass that and head straight to the lounge.

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Review: Air Canada Premium Rouge 767 Tampa To Toronto

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My flight was departing from Tampa to Toronto at the ungodly hour of 9:45PM, which is way past my bedtime. On the plus side, at least it wasn’t a full-on redeye, as I’d have a comfortable bed to look forward to upon landing.

I arrived at Tampa Airport at around 8:30PM, and the entire process of getting to the gate was a breeze, given that most flights had already departed for the night. Perhaps the most entertaining aspect of the experience was that the lady in front of me used her iPad as a mobile boarding pass, which really makes me wonder whether technology is actually making our lives easier or not.

My flight was departing from gate E72, though the inbound plane arrived behind schedule, at 8:55PM. While boarding was scheduled for 9:05PM, it only ended up starting at 9:25PM.

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Review: Lufthansa First Class 747-8 Frankfurt To Boston

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We had an early morning flight from Vienna to Frankfurt, which I won’t be reviewing given that intra-Europe flights are mostly the same. We had a roughly three hour layover, so on arrival we walked to the First Class Terminal, a process that took about 20 minutes from the time we arrived at our gate.

We hung out there for a couple of hours, until the PA fetched us at 10:15AM and told us our flight was ready for boarding. The three of us were being transported alone from the FCT to the plane (if there are other first class passengers or HON Circle members, they’ll typically transport everyone together) in a Mercedes van. The ride took about five minutes, and as usual, I was like a kid in a candy store driving across the tarmac.

While I love the A380 from a passenger comfort standpoint, the 747 will always be the queen of the skies, so as an aviation geek there’s not a plane in the world I’m more in awe standing next to.

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Review: Garuda Indonesia First Class 777-300ER Jakarta To Singapore

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We boarded through door L1 shortly after 7AM, where we were greeted by our smiling first class crew. As was the case on the last flight, the curtain between first and business class was closed, so only first class passengers boarded through door L1.

Rather than sitting together in the center section, like last time, Ford and I decided to take window seats this time around.

I settled into 2A, while Ford took seat 1A.

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Review: Garuda Indonesia First Class 777-300ER London To Jakarta

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Have you ever boarded a flight and known from the very first second that the crew would be amazing? Well, this was one of those flights. At the door we were welcomed by all four first class crew members — Oktaviana, Septi, Henny, and Aziz — with the warmest imaginable smiles and a “welcome aboard, please let me show you to your seat.”

The three ladies had gorgeous uniforms on, all in different colors.

Garuda Indonesia’s 777 first class cabin consists of a total of eight seats, spread across two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. While random, one of the first things that stood out to me was how the curtains between first and business class were closed. Other airlines will board first and business class through the forward door, while on Garuda Indonesia the first class cabin is exclusively boarded through the forward door. As a result, you really almost feel like the plane has just eight seats.

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Review: Lufthansa Business Class A321 Frankfurt To London

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I’ll keep this review relatively short, given that Europe is probably the worst region in the world when it comes to the quality of business class offerings.

As is the norm on Lufthansa, business class consisted of economy seats with a blocked middle seat. This gives the airlines a lot of flexibility, since they can adjust the size of the business class cabin on each flight.

On this particular flight, there were just three and a half rows of business class (the first row just has seats on the left side). That means there was total capacity for 14 business class passengers, though only seven of those seats were occupied.

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Review: Lufthansa First Class A330 Dallas To Frankfurt

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Our connecting flight landed at DFW at around noon, so we headed to the Amex Centurion Lounge. Lufthansa has their own lounge at DFW located inside “The Club” (that’s the name of the lounge), though it’s a rather uninspiring setup, so we skipped it altogether. For anyone interested, it’s similar to the setup Emirates has, which I’ve reviewed before. About 90 minutes before departure we headed to our departure gate to have our boarding passes printed.

The associate who checked us in was super nice, and said she’d pick us up from the Centurion Lounge when the flight was ready for boarding, which was a nice touch.

Our flight was scheduled to board at 3:40PM, though boarding ended up only starting about five minutes after that, at 3:45PM, with wheelchair passengers and then first class.

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Review: Shanghai Airlines Economy Class A330 Shanghai To Hong Kong

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China Eastern owns Shanghai Airlines, hence both earn miles with SkyTeam airlines. They were serving the Shanghai to Hong Kong routes with A320/A321s and A330s respectively, so I chose the latter, and luckily it was priced at the same cheap $64 one way as the rest of China Eastern’s flights. This way I could try a more regional airline and still credit my miles to Delta.

I was excited that my flight departed from Hongqiao, the secondary airport in Shanghai. Our friends said I should count on an hour to the airport from their home in central Pudong, but to my surprise the ride took a mere 28 minutes.

Just like Pudong Airport, and most other means of transport in Shanghai based on my experience, there was a security check at the door. They quickly scanned my bags and I entered the check-in area, which was relatively nice and appeared to contain a Chinese celebrity (judging by the fact that everyone was photographing her). It’s worth noting that since my flight was international, it departed from the much smaller terminal 2, which is not used by the majority of flights out of Hongqiao.

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Review: Swiss First Class 777 Zurich To Los Angeles

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I had flown Swiss first class several years ago on their A340 and A330, so was curious to see how their newest first class product on the 777 compared. The 777 features slightly updated first & business class seats, though it seems more like an evolved product rather than a new product altogether.

I boarded through door L2, where I was addressed by name and pointed left towards the first class cabin. That first required walking through two rows of business class, which looked quite nice. It’s definitely an improvement over Swiss’ other business class product, as the new seats are much more private.

In front of that were the eight Swiss first class seats, spread across two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration.

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Review: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class A340 Los Angeles To Paris

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I knew that Air Tahiti Nui uses the Los Angeles International Lounge at LAX, which I recently reviewed before my Fiji Airways flight to Nadi. Therefore I decided to get to the airport as close to departure as possible, and head straight to the gate. I won’t be reviewing the lounge again, though check out my previous review, as well as my overall ranking of lounges at LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal.

I arrived at the airport at around 9:40AM for my 11:25AM flight to Paris. The check-in process was quick, I assume because most passengers on the flight to Paris were in transit from Tahiti, and most originating in Los Angeles had already checked in.

Security was reasonably quick, at least by Tom Bradley International Terminal standards, and within about 20 minutes I was through. My flight was departing from gate 159, located at the far end of the terminal to the left.

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Review: A Very Disappointing Experience In Oman Air First Class

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Earlier in the year I had the opportunity to fly Oman Air business class, and I had an incredible experience. I loved how “local” the experience felt, along with Oman Air’s excellent business class seat (both the old seat and new seat are industry leading), their great catering, etc.

I’ve long been intrigued by Oman Air’s first class, which I’ve been tempted to try. However, I’ve wondered if there’s any differentiation between Oman Air first and business class, given that the products look very similar.

Well, reader John Spear recently flew Oman Air first class from Kuala Lumpur to Muscat to London, and shared his experience with me. I have to share the experience here, since this has to be one of the worst jobs an airline has ever done managing expectations in first class. It’s not just about the lack of differentiation between first and business class, but about the downright false advertising that Oman Air does about their first class product. The report is long, but well worth reading, in my opinion.

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