Qantas to fly B787 daily on Sydney-Santiago route

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It’s always sad to hear when another B747 route bites the dust, replaced by something newer, shinier and in this current aviation space smaller. This was the case when Qantas announced this week it would be replacing its 4 x weekly B747 Sydney-Santiago flights from late June 2020 to a daily Boeing 787-9 flight.

Business class passengers are the big winners here with the B787 fitted with Qantas’ newest business class seat, which transforms into a fully-flat bed and offers direct aisle access. This removed the awkward hop over of the B747s 2-3-2 business cabin, which features the classic Skybed.

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The announcement comes as part of a wider initiative by Qantas to retire its older B747 by the end of 2020. Obviously a newer, fresher plane is always welcomed and flying long distance in a B787 does have its health and sleep benefits but there’s no denying that B747 is where the fun in flying is. If you are keen to fly the Queen before her retirement to Santiago, I would hop onto it now before mid 2020.

Are you excited or disappointed by the Qantas announcement? Will you be booking a B747 flight to Santiago before its retired mid 2020? Keen to hear your thoughts. 

 

Qantas brings B787 to SYD-AKL for the summer

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Qantas has announced it’ll give Sydney-Auckland route travellers some summer lovin’ this summer with their flight being upgraded from the usual workhorse B737-800 to their new Dreamliner B787.

The upgraded plane will be in operation from . Whilst limited in terms of time offering, this is an exciting announcement by the airline as it will be the first time Qantas will offer their Premium Economy product on a Tasman route. Right now the premium economy seat is on sale for roughly the same price as a economy seat, so if you’re quick on it, you could snap yourself up a bargain whilst enjoying a bit more space and luxury for the pleasure.

Qantas has eight 787s in its fleet, with six additional aircraft due for delivery between October 2019 and mid 2020.

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ROYAL JORDANIAN BUSINESS CLASS: BKK – AMM (FLIGHT RJ183): REVIEW

Flight: RJ183, BKK-AMM 
Loyalty Scheme: Royal Plus (a partner of the Oneworld program) 
Frequency: 1 x daily flight
Duration: 9 hours and 30 minutes

Royal Jordanian (RJ) is one of those unknown, mysterious Oneworld airlines. There’s not lot about it online nor talked about in the community. Naturally intrigued, when the opportunity arrived due to the airline being only one of a very small handful of airlines that flew into Tel Aviv it felt only right that TAT finally broke its RJ virginity. So how did RJ fair? Did it take off with flying colours or did it lose its Crown class title for being something less than regal? TAT decided to be an RJ business king for half a day to find out…

The Seat

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Business 3A. Royal Jordanian has 24 lie flat business class seats across four rows in a 2-2-2 configuration on the 787-800. The seats which are B/E Aerospace Diamond seats, have a pleasant neutral colour tone and despite the 2-2-2 layout, the seats felt rather private thanks to its slightly staggered seating arrangement. Thankfully I had a spare aisle seat next to me so that made access to the rest of the cabin for stretching, bathroom breaks etc far easier. Had someone been there next to me at the time I would have had to awaken them to hop over them (which is never a good thing in business).

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The foot area felt right tight and made it slightly difficult to feel comfortable when it came to laying down for a nap. Also at my fingertips was the seat controls in the centre armrest and at the back the seat an exposed storage compartment with a power outlet, headphone jack and USB outlet. Noise cancelling headphones and a rather drab Acqua Colonia amenities kit was handed out by flight attendants prior to departure. The attendants at this point seemed rather rushed and whilst not unfriendly, they did come off a little cold in terms of service. A pillow and blanket was provided but I found I had no use for them as I only really had a power nap. Being an overnight flight I was disappointed that RJ did not offer pyjamas especially for a flight that was almost 10 hours long.

Entertain me

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I love a good sized TV and RJs 787 screen did not disappoint. Sure it didn’t have the screen clarity or sound or even the range of entertainment like Emirates but it was still a fairly solid IFE offering. I did not struggle to find options to enjoy whether it be a premiere film or listening to audio. The IFE was very responsive and intuitive. Additionally unlike its competitors like Emirates and Qatar there was no wifi on this flight.

The Bread and Butter (food and drink)

When I first boarded I was offered a choice of juice, water or an arabic coffee as well as a hot towel to refresh myself before takeoff. Being an arabic coffee connoisseur I went for the arabic coffee and even enjoyed a refill because that’s what you do when you fly an arabic airline. Unlike Emirates and Etihad the coffee was not complimented with dates which was a shame as the sweetness of the dates make the coffee taste less bitter.

Once in the air service was quite slow. Flight attendants came through with menus and a drink list. For drinks RJ offered two white and two red wines from a range of countries from France to Chile and even Jordan.Champagne of choice served on this flight was the Taittinger Brut Réserve, which is a decent drop and one I quiet enjoy. Once airborne I requested a glass of the Taittinger whilst I waited for my meal choice to be taken. By the time I made my meal request and waited for it to be served I had already finished a second glass of champagne.  

There were four choices for main from the lamb cubes with massaman sauce, a rigatoni pasta to a pan fried tuptim fish as well as a roasted duck with orange sauce. I went with the duck and whilst it was rather tasty I found it slightly tough in parts to eat. The meal was accompanied with a seasonal mixed salad and an arabic date cake with caramelised figs. The salad was rather bland but what the salad lacked, the dessert on the other hand triumphed with an abundance of flavour and texture.

Almost 90 minutes prior to landing a continental breakfast was served in the cabin. Unlike the hot meal/ dinner service at the beginning of the flight, there was no options or choices given. Passengers were served some artisan breads, a fruit salad and some sweet and savoury pastries. Having eaten quite a bit in the hours prior to this flight, the light service worked for me but if you were famished or rather peckish, the offering would be a tad disappointing. I thought I would make it a bit more interesting by making it a champagne breakfast and requested a glass of the Taittinger.

All in all the food and drinks service was solid but not outstanding. The service could have been tied up a bit and the presentation a little more appealing in terms of food.

Verdict

Royal Jordanian was an enjoyable flight. It didn’t stand out compared to business class products like those from Etihad, Emirates or Qatar but then again it didn’t do anything too poorly to make me avoid them as an option. Food and drink offering was good but again not sensational. Perhaps the late departure and early arrival of this particular flight may be limited the service and offerings, in turn making it hard to tell if this was the best that one could potentially get in RJ business. That said RJ is a relatively well priced product and tends to be far cheaper than its rivals. With that in mind it’s quite good value for the product provided. I’d definitely fly it again if the opportunity arose.

Comment

Have you ever flown RJ Crown (business class)? Was your experience comparable or better than expected? Keen to hear your thoughts.

 

 

 

QANTAS SYD- SAN FRAN LEG TO GET B787

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Like many of you I’m a fan of the B747 but unfortunately her days are numbered with several of airlines. The Queen of the skies is heading for retirement with Qantas by the end of 2020. Some routes will see her depart sooner in the interim with Qantas announcing that she will be replaced by their Dreamliner B787 on its Sydney – San Francisco route. The B787 will move take off daily from 4 December 2019.

Whilst it’s sad to see the Queen disappear from this route there’s no denying the level of technological (as well as comfort) improvements that’ll be given to passengers flying on the B787. Gone will be the 2-2-2 business class seating arrangement, replaced instead by Qantas superb business suite in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Like anything there’s a downside and it’s Qantas’ new premium economy cabin. The leg room and space feels worse than its economy section yet you’re paying more for the pleasure of feeling squashed. Personally I would rather fly economy over that seat or upgrade to business (yes the design flaw is really that bad).

Mixed feelings of sorts on the new Qantas dreamliner route but at the end of the day, it is an upgrade!

 

 

Lufthansa orders new A350 and B787 aircraft

Lufthansa is ready to upgrade their aging aircraft of A340s, B747s (and surprisingly the not so aging A380) with a fresh order of 40 new aircraft from Airbus between 2022 and 2027. That’s right, the aging rockstar of the European skies is getting a makeover to a more youthful image thanks to a fresh batch of planes.

So how does the order stack up?

  • Lufthansa will add an addition 20 A350s to its already ordered 25 A350 order; in total 45 aircraft
  • Lufthansa will add an additional 20 Boeing 787-9s to its fleet
  • Lufthansa will remove six of their 14 Airbus A380s in 2022 and 2023, instead replacing them with their newly ordered A350s

The reasoning behind such a sweeping change is that the Lufthansa Group have identified a need to invest in more fuel efficient aircraft going forward as part of their commitment to sustainability. It is a pity that the A380 has come under this as their version of the aircraft in my opinion is one of the best in the skies. Thankfully not all of their A380 aircraft are being sold on (in fact it less than half of their total A380 fleet).

In addition having visited the Boeing factory last year I am surprised about the B747 announcement considering that Boeing has further orders for the aircraft from Lufthansa at the time (October 2018).

I’ll be curious to see how the fleet evolves for Lufthansa but will hold my breath on this one as the airline has had some mixed results in the past when it comes to new fleet rollouts.

Etihad to introduce Economy Space on their A380, B777 and B787 fleet

Etihad Airways for the last two years has been looking at ways to milk the cow so to speak in a bid to recoup costs and get themselves back in the black. The latest announcement will add a few more dollars Etihad’s way with the airline launching ‘Economy Space’. What is ‘Economy Space’ you ask?’ Some are claiming it’s their version of premium economy but it isn’t even close. It’s more akin to United’s Economy Plus, a seat simply with extra leg room.

By December this year, ‘Economy Space’ will be implemented onto 10 of their A380s. The seats will feature an increased pitch of up to 36 inches whilst bolstering the number of extra legroom seats they currently have in Economy from 20 to 80 on the A380. In the new year the airline will focus on redesigning 12 Boeing 777 and 21 Boeing 787 jets with a completion date slated for late 2019.

The airline says it has made the move due to an increase in demand for more space but without the hefty price tag of business or first class.

All ‘Economy Space’ seats will be sold at a premium to passengers. The airline is yet to release details on how much the seats will be priced at. In addition to ‘Economy Space’, Etihad will offer a Neighbour-Free seating option in Economy as well as a range of buy-on-board products.

LATAM FINALLY GOES BUSINESS CLASS DIRECT AISLE ACCESS FROM 2018

Who loves direct aisle business class? I do and so does LATAM Airways apparently with the South American airline set to roll out a dramatically improved business class seat across its international fleet from late 2018.

LATAM has chosen the Thompson Aero Seating Vantage XL seat with styling by London-based PriestmanGoode. The changes will be noticed on their Boeing 767 and Boeing 777 fleet as well as their new fleet of Boeing 787-9s and Airbus A350-1000s.

In addition to direct aisle access, the seats will offer passengers to rest easy on a new fully lie-flat bed. The design is very similar to fellow Oneworld partner Qantas who has a similar layout and design on the A330, 787 and soon A380 fleet.

Having flown the current LATAM business class 2-2-2 configuration I can say the new changes will really enhance their product offering. Sure the current seat hasn’t aged and still provides some decent space but there’s a lack of privacy, let alone the not so fun game of hopping over your neighbour should you be seated against the window.

I look forward to seeing their new product rolled out across their network as it’d really give not only Qantas a run for its money on that hop between Australian and Santiago but also offer passengers another decent business class option when travelling abroad.