Airline Reviews

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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Review: Norwegian Premium Class 787-9 London To Fort Lauderdale

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I touched down in London at 9:30am for my five hour layover before continuing on to Florida. All Norwegian’s flights depart from the South terminal at Gatwick, which is decent (in the main departures hall at least). I was excited to fly Norwegian to Fort Lauderdale given that it’s a city that is generally not served by large international carriers. This flight is only once weekly right now, but will be increasing to 3x weekly next month thanks to Norwegian’s 90% average load factor on flights from Gatwick to the US. Norwegian also fly from Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Paris to Fort Lauderdale.

As a Premium passenger with Norwegian you get complimentary access to the No1 Lounge at Gatwick South, which would normally cost £28 per person. I’ll be posting a full review of the lounge next week, but in short, it was an extremely pleasant place to spend my layover and it made time fly.

At around 2:30pm I left the lounge, since boarding was scheduled for 2:50pm according to my boarding pass. A word of caution – Gatwick uses holding pens for passengers to optimize the boarding process. There are also no toilets or windows, so try to minimize your time in there – as I did not.

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Review: United First Class 777 London To Los Angeles

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I boarded through door L1 at around 11:30AM, where I was greeted by the purser, Schy, and directed towards my seat. The thing about flying with US legacy carriers is that they’re consistently inconsistent, and the crews can either make or break the flight.

In this case I could tell immediately that the crew was great, as Schy welcomed me aboard with a big smile and a genuine “welcome aboard!”

United’s 777 first class cabin consists of a total of eight seats, spread across two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. The configuration is comfortable, though not especially private.

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Review: Air Astana Business Class 757 Almaty To London

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I boarded through door L2, where I was greeted by the lead flight attendant, who escorted me to my business class seat. While Air Astana’s 767s are just a couple of years old, their 757s are significantly older. Despite that, the cabin was in excellent condition.

Air Astana’s 757 business class seats are angled flat, and actually the first generation of angled seats that there were. While the seats are in great condition and look fresh, the technology behind them is way outdated, as the seats slant all the way down to the floor.

On the plus side, the seats are extremely comfortable for lounging around in, as there’s as much legroom as you could want.

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Review: Air Astana Business Class A321 Almaty To Astana

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Air Astana’s A321 business class cabins are huge, with a total of 28 seats. The business class cabin consisted of a total of seven rows, with seats in a 2-2 configuration. I had selected seat 6A, the window seat on the left side in the second to last row.

Air Astana’s A321 business class seats are similar to what you’d find in domestic first class in the US. I’d estimate the seats have maybe 38″ of pitch.

Even though the plane itself felt a bit on the old side, the seats were in excellent condition, and had great padding. The seats had very nice headrests that were adjustable, so it was easy to get comfortable in the seats.

The seats also had footrests, which I wish US carriers would have as well. I far prefer this to airlines that install legrests in these types of seats, given that there isn’t actually enough room for them. But footrests help to get more comfortable when there’s somewhat limited legroom.

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Review: Air Astana Business Class 767 Incheon To Almaty

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I presented my boarding pass to the flight attendants at the door, and was pointed down the near aisle. Air Astana’s 767 business class cabin consists of a total of 30 staggered seats. They’re spread across eight rows, with seats in a 1-2-1 configuration (the last row only has seats by the windows, and not in the center section). In terms of layout, the cabin reminded me a lot of Japan Airlines’ 767s.

The cabin was stunning. First of all, most airlines’ 767s are outdated, while Air Astana’s are only a couple of years old, so they feel very fresh. Beyond that, I just loved the combination of the mood lighting and the finishes on the seats, as I thought the cabin was gorgeous.

I had selected seat 7A, the window seat in the second to last row of the cabin. In this staggered configuration, window seats alternate between being closer to the window and closer to the aisle. I generally prefer the seats closer to the window, since they’re significantly more private. You then have a large console on the aisle-side of your seat.

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Review: Korean Air First Class 747-8 Vancouver To Incheon

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I landed from Los Angeles at around 10AM, leaving me a bit over four hours before my 2:20PM flight to Seoul Incheon. After clearing security and going through a passport check I found myself in the international terminal.

Korean Air uses the Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver Airport, which I’ve reviewed before, so I won’t do so again here. While the lounge itself is nice enough, it blows my mind that a lounge as new as this one doesn’t have conveniently placed outlets all over the place.

Shortly after 12PM I headed to the departure gate, D64, to get checked in for my flight.

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Review: British Airways Club World A380 London To San Francisco

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Our flight from Rome to London was pretty uneventful, as was our long layover in London. It was actually one of my most pleasant Heathrow transit experiences yet. Transit security didn’t take too long, and we even managed to secure spa treatments at the Elemis Spa. The treatment was good, except for the fact that the advertised 15 minute treatment only lasted for eight minutes.

We spent our time in the Galleries First Lounge thanks to my oneworld Emerald status, and at around 1PM we headed to our departure gate, C57, which is the furthest pier from the lounge. It took about 10-15 minutes to get there, and at around 1:20PM fast track boarding was called for our flight to San Francisco.

British Airways has business class on both the lower and upper deck of the A380. First class is at the front of the lower deck, and there’s a business class cabin behind it. Then on the upper deck there are two business class cabins. On our last British Airways A380 business class flight we sat in the forward business class cabin on the upper deck, while on this flight we sat in the rear cabin on the upper deck. Therefore we took the jet bridge directly to the upper deck.

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