Other Airlines

This Must Be The Most Random Transatlantic Route Ever…

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In the past I’ve said that Providence, Rhode Island to Praia, Cape Verde, is one of the most seemingly random airline routes in the world. I know there’s a sizable Cape Verdean population in Providence, which explains the route, but I think a vast majority of people would have never guessed such a route exists.

However, I think I’ve found an even more “random” route. Earlier I wrote about how Alaska and Condor have a new partnership, which seems like a great way to earn Alaska miles for travel to Europe, given how attractive Condor’s fares are.

Condor is a leisure carrier, so they don’t serve the traditional transatlantic markets served by many other airlines. For example, they don’t fly to Boston, Chicago, or New York, but instead fly to Anchorage, Las Vegas, and San Diego.

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Alaska & Condor Announce A New Partnership!

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Ah, well this makes me sort of nostalgic. Growing up I lived in Tampa while all our relatives lived in the Frankfurt area, so every summer we’d fly back to visit. At the time, German low cost carrier Condor flew nonstop from Tampa to Frankfurt, so we’d always fly with them.

This was back in the day when they still had a smoking section on the plane. My mom is a smoker, so she thought she was doing me a favor when we sat in the first row of the smoking section. She’d point to the smoke and say “see Benny, zhe smoke goes backwards.” What she also failed to account for was that just about every other German on the plane — including those in the non-smoking section — smoked, so after takeoff they’d stand in the aisle right at the first row of the smoking section to light up.

But hey, I got to fly, and that made me happy. Though perhaps this was also the motivating factor that got me into miles & points. 😉

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Kenya Airways Wants To Start Flying To New York In May 2017

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In today’s installment of “routes that will never make money but may still be launched for prestige reasons,” Kenya Airways plans to launch flights between Nairobi and New York as of May 2017. At least that’s what’s being reported by Daily Nation:

“Flights from Nairobi to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport will be launched in early May.

This is after Kenya Airways formally requested the US federal aviation department for a licence to fly directly to the US.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia told the Nation that the application was presented at the US Embassy in Nairobi.”

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WHOA: New “LEVEL” Transatlantic Airline Sold 52K Tickets On Day One!

LEVEL

On Friday I first wrote about LEVEL, the new transatlantic low cost carrier being launched by IAG, the parent company of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Vueling. The new airline is designed to compete with the likes of Norwegian and WOW Air, which are otherwise giving the traditional transatlantic airlines a lot of competition.

LEVEL will initially be launching flights out of Barcelona this summer, as follows:

— Flights to Los Angeles start on June 1, 2017 and operate twice per week
— Flights to Oakland start on June 2, 2017 and operate three times per week
— Flights to Punta Cana start on June 10, 2017 and operate twice per week
— Flights to Buenos Aires start on June 17, 2017 and operate three times per week

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Review: Philippine Airlines Business Class 777 New York To Vancouver

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I boarded through door L1, where I was greeted by the friendly purser and pointed right, in the direction of my seat.

Philippine Airlines’ 777 business class cabin consists of a total of 42 seats, spread across six rows in a 2-3-2 configuration. The forward cabin has four rows of seats, for a total of 28 seats.

Meanwhile the rear cabin has two rows, for a total of 14 seats. My preference is almost always to sit in the back of the business class cabin, and this flight was no exception.

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Did WestJet Have A “Near Miss” In St. Maarten Last Week?

Missed-Approach

There’s a video that has been going viral the past week or so about a WestJet flight that had a unique approach at St. Maarten last week. WestJet flight 2652 was flying from Toronto to St. Maarten last Tuesday, March 7, 2017.

The weather conditions in St. Maarten were deteriorating significantly as the plane approached, causing the plane to get very close to “impacting” the water on final approach (altitude-wise).

Here’s a video of the plane making its approach (as many of you probably know, St. Maarten Airport is just next to Maho Beach, which is probably the most iconic place in the world from which to plane spot):

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Two U.S. Airlines Are Cutting Flights To Cuba Altogether

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In the second half of last year we saw the major U.S. airlines begin selling tickets for flights to Cuba. It’s no surprise that so many U.S. carriers requested rights to operate routes to Cuba, given that it’s the first time in decades that such flights are possible. I took advantage of that opportunity, and visited Havana in December. I had an… interesting time. I’m happy to have seen Havana, but don’t need to return anytime soon.

However, we’re going from one extreme to the other in terms of airline capacity. While there’s certainly interest among Americans in visiting Cuba, the actual demand isn’t there, at least not to fill the thousands of seats per day that are now operating between the U.S. and Cuba.

While there was a lot of enthusiasm at first, over the past couple of months we’ve heard a lot of airline executives say that they’re in Cuba for the long run, and they don’t plan on making money flying there in the foreseeable future.

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Review: Trans Maldivian Airways Flight

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I was curious to see how the Trans Maldivian Twin Otter seaplane experience differed from the Maldives Airlines Dash 8 experiences I’ve had in the past. Trans Maldivian has about 45 of these planes in their fleet, so they’re buzzing all over the place in the Maldives.

Boarding for our flight was called at 4:30PM. There were six seaplanes at the “terminal.”

We could walk onto the dock straight from the back of the St. Regis lounge. There were no formal boarding passes, but rather the 14 of us were escorted to the plane.

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Drukair A319 Business Class In 10 Pictures

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Hello from Bhutan! Earlier I flew Drukair business class from Kathmandu to Paro. For those of you not familiar, Drukair is the national airline of Bhutan, and one of the only airlines to serve Bhutan.

Paro Airport is consistently rated as one of the most dangerous airports in the world, based on the approach planes have to make. As a result, there are very few pilots who are trained to land at the airport.

The flight from Kathmandu to Paro is only about 250 miles, so you’d think there wouldn’t be much to write about, but…

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Philippine Airlines 777 Business Class In 10 Pictures

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Hello from Vancouver! I just flew Philippine Airlines business class on their rather unusual route between New York and Vancouver. They launched this route in 2015, and I’ve been intrigued by it ever since. Cathay Pacific also operates a flight between New York and Vancouver (and from there the airlines continue to their respective hubs), so it’s probably North America’s most interesting fifth freedom market.

Philippine Airlines has attractive business class fares on this sector — they’re about $440 one-way, or about $750 roundtrip, which is pretty great for a longhaul business class product on a transcon flight.

While I’ll have a full trip report soon, I wanted to share my initial impressions in the form of a typical “10 pictures” post.

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I Can’t Believe How I’m Flying From New York To LA…

Los-Angeles

In about a week I need to get from New York to Los Angeles. I’m finishing up one trip, and need to position for my next big trip.

Logically I could have just booked a ticket on American in economy and hoped for an upgrade. Then again, upgrades between New York and Los Angeles can be really tough, and I’d like to avoid a 6hr30min flight in economy, if possible.

I suppose I could book one of the way off peak flights. For example, American now has a 10:30PM flight from New York to Los Angeles, arriving at 2AM. I wouldn’t even know what to do with myself if I took that flight, given that I usually get up at 4-5AM, so by the time I got to a hotel and fell asleep, it would be time to wake up. Is it worth taking an inconveniently timed flight in order to get a better shot at an upgrade?

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Norwegian Is Shaking Up The Transatlantic Market With The 737-MAX

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Norwegian has been growing their transatlantic presence significantly over the past several years, and up until now all their transatlantic flights have been operated by 787s. However, soon Norwegian will be taking their transatlantic expansion to the next level, as they start taking delivery of their first Boeing 737-MAX aircraft, of which they have 108 on order.

This is a plane that has the potential to shake up the transatlantic market, especially for low cost carriers.

Norwegian has announced their intentions to set up transatlantic bases at Stewart Airport (SWF), Hartford (BDL), and Providence (PVD). From there they plan on launching all kinds of transatlantic flights. Their immediate plans are to operate the following flights between the U.S. and U.K./Ireland:

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Well, I Guess I’m Not Flying Arik Air Anytime Soon…

Arik-Air

I’ve long been intrigued by Arik Air, which is Nigeria’s largest airline. Last year I listed them as one of the “6 totally random airlines I want to fly.”

They operate a flight between New York and Lagos, which is the route on which I was hoping to fly them.

Well, it looks like the airline is having slight financial problems. By that I mean that they’ve just suspended their flights to London, New York, Johannesburg, etc., and apparently over two thirds of their fleet is no longer operating.

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AirAsia Is Selling $99 One-Way Flights Between The U.S. & Asia

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As I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, AirAsia is planning on launching flights to the U.S. starting later this year, which represents their first service to the U.S. The airline just recently got permission from the FAA to fly to the U.S, and they’re taking advantage of that pretty quickly.

AirAsia is one of Asia’s largest low cost carriers, and they’re known for their incredibly low fares.

Well, AirAsia’s new flight between Kuala Lumpur and Honolulu is now on sale, and they have some incredible introductory fares.

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