Airline Reviews

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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Review: Ukraine International Airlines Business Class 767 Kiev To New York

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I’ve flown most of the world’s best airlines, so nowadays I especially like trying new airlines, ones where I really have no clue what to expect. Usually there are already reviews out there about an airline, though UIA’s business class was a real mystery to me, as there wasn’t much out there about it at all. To me, that made the flight even more exciting. Ukraine’s website does very little to explain what to expect onboard, so I honestly had no clue what to expect onboard.

We boarded through door L2, which is rare for a 767. At the door we were pointed left towards business class. In front of the door were a few rows of UIA’s premium economy, which is in a 2-3-2 configuration with a decent amount of legroom (UIA’s normal economy section is in a 2-4-2 configuration, which is insanely tight for a 767, where almost all airlines have seats in a 2-3-2 configuration).

Ahead of premium economy were two rows of business class. UIA’s 767 business class consists of a total of 12 seats, spread across two rows in a 2-2-2 configuration. My first impression was that this reminded me of American’s old 767-200 premium cabins, except this cabin felt even tighter.

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Review: Ukraine Airlines Business Class 737 Baku To Kiev

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Upon boarding we were greeted by two young, cute, chipper flight attendants. UIA has a more traditional intra-Europe business class product, meaning that business class is simply economy with a blocked middle seat. This allows the cabin size to be flexible based on demand, and on this flight there were a total of four rows of business class.

We initially settled into seats 3A & 3C, with the middle seat blocked. While legroom wasn’t great, it wasn’t terrible either. I was happy to see that Ukraine didn’t have the slimline seats with very limited recline that many other airlines have nowadays.

As usual, there was a curtain separating business class from economy, and that curtain can be moved based on the demand for the cabin that day.

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Review: Azerbaijan Airlines Business Class 787 New York To Baku

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We boarded through door L2, where we were greeted by two flight attendants and pointed left. Azerbaijan’s business class cabin consists of just 18 seats, spread across three rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.

These are the same standard fully flat forward facing business class seats you’ll find on several other airlines operating the 787, including Hainan, LOT, Xiamen, etc.

The seat finishes themselves were rather bland, though the blankets and headrest covers added a touch of color to the cabin.

We had assigned ourselves the aisle and window seat on the right side in row three.

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Review: Air Serbia Business Class A330 Belgrade To New York

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We boarded through door L2, where we were greeted by two flight attendants (one of them was the sky nanny, which is a concept Air Serbia got from Etihad). They verified our boarding passes and pointed us left into the business class cabin. Since the economy cabin was right behind us and still empty, I snapped a picture of it on the way in. It looked pretty nice, and I especially loved the seat finishes.

Air Serbia has a single Airbus A330 aircraft, which they took over from Jet Airways (which is also an Etihad partner airline). The business class cabin consisted of a total of 18 seats in a herringbone configuration, so they were spread across six rows in a 1-1-1 configuration.

Ultimately I far prefer reverse herringbone seats to herringbone seats, since you’re facing the window rather than the aisle. However, I still like herringbone seats for the privacy they afford, and prefer them to standard forward facing seats.

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Review: Aeroflot Business Class 737 Moscow To Belgrade

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I was immediately impressed upon boarding to find a “proper” business class cabin. Business class on a vast majority of airlines operating within Europe is simply economy with a blocked middle seat, so this was a huge upgrade over that.

Aeroflot’s 737s have a total of 20 seats, spread across five rows in a 2-2 configuration.

We reserved seats 5A & 5C, located in the last row on the left side of the plane.

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Review: Aeroflot Business Class 777-300ER Los Angeles To Moscow

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Our flight from Los Angeles to Moscow was departing shortly before 5PM, so we arrived at the airport at around 3PM. I was very pleasantly surprised to find a deserted Tom Bradley International Terminal. The terminal is usually packed around noon and then packed again late at night, so I was happy to be checked in and through security within about 10 minutes, which has to be a new record for departing that terminal.

Aeroflot uses the Korean Air Lounge at LAX. I’ve reviewed that lounge before, so won’t be doing so again with this report, other than to say that I’m not a fan of it. It’s typically way overcrowded and has a limited food selection, especially compared to the Star Alliance Lounge and oneworld Lounge at LAX. It’s my second least favorite lounge in the entire terminal.

We were departing from gate 130, which was just a short walk from the center of the terminal. As we arrived the plane was still being catered, though the gate area was quickly filling up.

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Review: Xiamen Air First Class 787 Shenzhen To Seattle

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I boarded through door L2, where I was greeted by a flight attendant and escorted to the first class cabin. After crossing the aisle and walking through two rows of business class, I found myself in the first class cabin.

Xiamen Air’s first class cabin is quite intimate, with just one row of seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration. The other three first class seats were already occupied, presumably by transit passengers. This surprised me a bit, given that I was the only passenger on the seatmap just shortly before the flight. They all seemed to know one another, so I’m not sure if they were employees, also paid to upgrade, got operational upgrades, or what.

Xiamen Air’s 787 first class hard product is a significant improvement over business class, though certainly not to the level of many top first class products. All the first class seats are fully flat and feature direct aisle access, though it would be nice if there were some partitions, as there’s not much privacy between seats. The product is identical to what China Southern has on their A330s.

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Review: Xiamen Air Business Class 787 Seattle To Shenzhen

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I boarded through door L2, where I was immediately greeted by two friendly and professional flight attendants. Upon verifying my boarding pass, one of them escorted me to my seat, which was to the left of the entry door.

Xiamen Air is one of only a couple of airlines to offer a first class cabin on their 787-8 aircraft, which consists of a total of four seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration (I’ll be reviewing first class for the return sector, as I managed to upgrade with cash at the airport).

Immediately behind first class and also in front of door L2 were 12 business class seats. Xiamen Air offers pretty standard forward facing fully flat business class seats, in a 2-2-2 configuration. There were a total of 12 seats in this cabin, and then behind door L2 is another row of business class, for a total of 18 seats. The rear cabin feels private, though at the same time everyone walks past you during boarding, so there is something to be said for the forward business class cabin (which is still quite private).

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