Other Airlines

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

KUL-HNL

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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Was A Lady Removed From A Spirit Airlines Flight For Showing Too Much Cleavage?

Spirit-Airlines

There’s an interesting story of a 21 year old woman who was kicked off a Spirit Airlines flight between New Orleans and Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday. However, there’s something about this story that makes it different than the countless other stories we’ve heard of people being kicked off planes.

The lady claims she was kicked off for showing too much cleavage, while the airline claims she was kicked off for her behavior, though an airline spokesperson acknowledges that the crew commented on her cleavage. Here’s a news clip about the incident, including an interview with a Spirit Airlines spokesperson, and also an interview with another passenger:

A Spirit Airlines spokesperson had the following to say:

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America’s Oldest Startup Airline Is Rebranding

Baltic-Air-Lines

In 2014 I first wrote about Baltia Air Lines, which is America’s oldest startup airline. They’ve been in “business” for over 25 years, except they’ve never actually flown a commercial flight, despite having owned a 747-200 for over 20 years (which they finally dumped last year, after hiring a consultant who told them it might not be the ideal plane with which to launch an airline — who would’ve thought?!).

Their business plan was initially to fly between New York and St. Petersburg, Russia, with plans to later expand to other European capitals. For years Baltia has been pretending that they’re actually going to start flying some day soon. Bizarrely enough, some people actually believed it, as the airline had a market cap of $70 million in 2014.

Finally early last year the SEC filed charges against one of Baltia’s executives, who was accused of misleading investors.

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Spirit Airlines Shrinks Their Free Carry-On Allowance Even Further

Spirit-Airlines

There’s not a U.S. airline more known for their fees than Spirit Airlines. However, they’re very transparent about their fees, and don’t pretend that they’re somehow a premium or full service airline. Instead they have ridiculously low fares, and then charge you for everything, from seat assignments to carry-on bags to printing your boarding pass printed at the airport.

So I respect their level of transparency, especially as their low fares and high fees are what make them unique as an airline.

We’re in the process of seeing American and United introduce basic economy fares, where we’ll see them charge for carry-ons for passengers who choose to purchase this fare option. Up until now the big three U.S. legacy carriers have offered free full size carry-ons, so this is a pretty drastic move on their part.

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It’s Happening: The First Airline Goes 10 Abreast On The A350

Air-Caribes-A350

While airlines are investing nicely in onboard amenities (wifi, personal televisions, etc.), there’s no denying that economy seats are getting tighter on average, at least for those not willing to pay for an extra legroom seat.

For example, over the past decade we’ve seen the industry standard on the 777 go from being nine seats per row in economy, to being 10 seats per row. It’s a trend that started slowly, though in the meantime only a few airlines still have nine seats per row in economy on the plane.

The A350 is a lovely new plane, and I remember while attending the A350 delivery ceremony in Toulouse, Airbus was advertising how the plane can accommodate nine seats per row, and they didn’t even suggest the possibility of it going beyond that. Here’s the slide:

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Philippine Airlines Is Introducing Their Best Business Class Product Yet

New-PAL-Business-Class

Historically Philippine Airlines doesn’t exactly have a great reputation. Their premium products aren’t competitive, and they’re just now installing flat beds in business class on some of their newly delivered 777s, even though they’ll still have seven seats per row.

Well, Philippine Airlines is doing something interesting on another plane in their fleet, which was previously in a one class configuration. Philippine Airlines has announced that they’ll be installing a new business class and premium economy on eight of their A330s, which are presently in a one cabin configuration.

As it stands, these PAL A330s feature an insane 414 seats in a one cabin configuration, making them one of the densest A330 planes out there. As a point of comparison, WOW Air’s one cabin A330s feature “just” 342 seats.

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Review: Royal Brunei Business Class 787 Bandar Seri Begawan To Dubai

royal-brunei-business-class-787-1

I boarded through door L2, where I was escorted to my seat by one of the flight attendants. Royal Brunei’s 787 business class cabin consists of a total of 18 seats, spread across three rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.

This is a pretty standard fully flat business class configuration, similar to what you’ll find on the 787s operated by Azerbaijan, Hainan, LATAM, LOT, Xiamen, etc.

Each seat had plenty of legroom, and then an ottoman attached to the seat in front of it that becomes part of the bed when fully reclined. While Royal Brunei’s 787 cabin finishes aren’t the most exciting out there, I think they feel classy.

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Review: Royal Brunei Lounge Bandar Seri Begawan

royal-brunei-lounge-18

I got to Bandar Seri Begawan Airport at around 5PM for my 8:35PM flight to Dubai. Brunei’s Airport is small and beautiful, easily one of the most passenger friendly airports out there. A vast majority of passengers using the airport seem to be transiting rather than originating in Brunei, meaning that security and immigration are both very quick.

I was impressed that Royal Brunei had luggage trolleys for business class passengers (not that I needed it, with my carry-ons), though the station wasn’t staffed.

Despite how small the airport is, it has very high ceilings, similar to what you’ll find at many of the nicest airports in Asia.

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AirAsia Could Soon Start Flying To The U.S.

Hyatt-Regency-Waikiki-Honolulu-Hawaii-28

AirAsia is one of Asia’s biggest low cost carriers, which has really put a lot of pressure on airlines like Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines. AirAsia has several divisions, though AirAsia X is their longhaul operation based out of Malaysia.

As of now they have a fleet of 22 A330s, though they have another 76 A330s and A350s on order. Their A330s are in an extremely dense configuration, with 377 seats, and nine seats per row in economy (rather than the standard eight). They do have 12 “premium” seats though, which are angled flat.

As of now AirAsia flies within Asia, to the Middle East, Australia, etc. However, for a while they’ve been looking to expand beyond that, and in particular, to the U.S. It looks like that might finally happen.

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Review: Royal Brunei Business Class A320 Kuala Lumpur To Bandar Seri Begawan

royal-brunei-business-class-a320-2

At the door I was greeted by Fizhal and Leanne, the two flight attendants that would be taking care of the business class cabin for the short flight to Bandar Seri Begawan. Royal Brunei’s A320 business class cabin consists of a total of 12 seats, spread across three rows in a 2-2 configuration.

The airline has a total of six of these planes in their fleet, and I was on the second oldest, which was delivered to the airline in 2004.

While the seats felt a bit outdated, they were extremely comfortable. Apparently the seat pitch on these planes in business class is 44″, which sounds about right — it was a bit more spacious than domestic first class in the U.S., and the seats were also really thick.

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Why I’m Sort Of Obsessed With Azores Airlines

Azores-Routemap

I have the tendency to get a bit obsessed with random airlines. For example, last year I took an interest in Air Astana, and then a few weeks later I flew them.

Well, my newest airline obsession is a transatlantic airline, and they operate what I perceive to be the most random transatlantic route. They’re also one of the only airlines to operate Airbus A310 passenger planes on transatlantic(ish) routes.

I’m talking about Azores Airlines, formerly known as SATA. As the name suggests, they’re based in the Azores (an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic that belongs to Portugal), and operate flights to both North America and mainland Europe from there. Here’s their routemap:

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Two Weeks Of Unlimited Flying In Norway For $398

bergen evening

Norway is quickly climbing my list of favorite countries in the world. The entire country is basically one big national park. Or rather one big national park where every food vendor is a farm-to-table restaurant.

So the scenery is gorgeous and the food, all of it, seemingly no matter where you dine, is fresh, natural, and real. It seems they just don’t tolerate crap in their food like we do back here in the states.

OK, so the place is a little on the expensive side. But it’s actually a lot cheaper — at least for Americans — than it was a few years ago thanks to the strengthening of the dollar. When we visited Bergen in 2013, some of the prices were just plain silly. Now they are just on the expensive side, kind of like if you were visiting New York City.

Anyway, Wideroe is back with their annual fly-all-you-want around Norway for a fixed cost in the summer of 2017.

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Introduction: Flying With Royalty (Or Not)

royal-brunei-business-class-787-2

In 2016 my goal was to review as many new airlines as possible, and that’s something I want to continue into 2017. So I figured I might as well get my year off to a good start, and plan a heck of a trip for the first week of the year.

The primary motivation of this trip was to review as many new airlines as quickly as possible, though I was also excited about having stopovers that allowed me to briefly visit two countries — Jordan and Brunei — for the first time.

I only planned this trip in late December, about a week before I was due to takeoff. Let’s briefly look at the planning process.

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