All posts by Airline Crew

Singapore’s All-New Suites, Business, Premium Economy and Coach Reveal November 2

Singapore Airlines will take delivery of a new Airbus A380 later this year with its new first class product.

That was expected to happen in October, but it’s been delayed. However they’re going to reveal all new products for their four cabins on November 2 in a media event in Singapore.

Most of the discussion has centered around their new Suites but as Australian Business Travellerpoints out we’re going to see new designs for business class, premium economy, and even coach.

The new business class will be featured on the A350 ultra long range aircraft which when delivered will allow Singapore Airlines to fly non-stop to Los Angeles, New York, and even a potential third destination (they already fly non-stop to San Francisco, and offer connecting flights to Los Angeles, New York, and Houston).

New First Class Suites

Even the current Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 ‘Suites’ product — now ten years old — is one of the very best first class products in the sky, although trailing Etihad’s Airbus A380 First ‘Apartment’.

For context, one of the better world first class offerings comes from Emirates. They offer four suites with doors across the upper deck of the Airbus A380.

Singapore has much better actual seats today than Emirates does. Not only is it a classier design, less bling, but they currently put their four suites across on the lower deck of the A380. The lower deck is wider, meaning each suite offers more room.

Singapore’s new Suites will be on the upper deck of the A380 (the entire Upper Deck will be for premium seating first Suites class at the front of the cabin, and business class behind it). That’s narrower, but they accomplish something even more impressive by having fewer suites which won’t be four-across. In fact Singapore briefly put the seat map for the new Airbus A380s on a test website back in April.

Suites class appears to be just six seats, three rows of two across. That’s not a lot of first class seating, matching what Cathay Pacific has on its Boeing 777s. But the seat map shows the suites matching Etihad at two across.

Singapore will not offer showers like Emirates and Etihad have. We don’t know the seat design yet. But we know Singapore is upping the ante on what’s already one of the world’s very best first class offers.

Of course Singapore goes beyond just an impressive seat, with fantastic service and in my opinion unrivaled main meal service. (I still believe they could do with some improvement in inflight snacks, ground service, and lounge design in Singapore.)

However two seats across, one at each window with an aisle between them, might mean losing the ability to that center seats currently offer to become a ‘double bed’.

Although Etihad still manages to accomplish a double bed concept with one-by-one seating so we’ll have to wait for November 2’s event or leaked cabin photos to know whether this feature is lost in the new Singapore Airlines configuration.

Singapore Business Class

I find Singapore Airlines to offer one of the best business class products. There are two general knocks on it, though.

  • One is that it isn’t super comfortable for lounging because instead of transitioning to a bed (and thus offering myriad options in between upright and bed mode) it flips over to become a bed. The tradeoff of course is a very good bed.
  • The other issue is that to lie fully flat you angle yourself in the seat. I don’t mind this at all, but many do not prefer it.

Singapore’s new business class has been described as ‘more of an evolution’ on their current product than something entirely new.

Premium Economy

Singapore’s premium economy is one of the real hidden gems in travel — not only because it’s an upgrade from coach (with pre-order meal options and champagne) but because it’s an easy upgrade to business and a great value to do so with miles.

I’ve only sat in the premium economy seat on Singapore’s A350. I do like the soft product, but I find the current seat to be narrow. It’s a couple of inches tighter than the American Airlines premium economy seat.

I have to imagine that will remain the case if the newer design for premium economy is going to be used on the Airbus A350, though it would be nice if the wider fuselage of the A380 meant a wider premium economy seat rather than more premium economy seats.

Economy Class

In some sense where Singapore shines the most is in the main cabin. Singapore offers top notch premium cabins but their thoughtfulness and attention to detail really shines in coach and may even be unmatched.

Instead of seeing the back of the plane as just a place to cram in seats, they clearly realize that’s where most of their customers are.

Economy seats already have foot bars, something that’s reserved for the majority of premium economy seats on most airlines. They have cup holders. Each seat gets a pillow and blanket for long haul – and they’re substantive. There are little touches that make the experience feel more civilized.

I’m not actually excited to fly Singapore Airlines economy, from the U.S. these are some super long flights. But I’m definitely excited to see what they’re doing with a refreshed seat, because it’s already quite good as far as economy goes.

Singapore Will Retrofit Their Existing A380 Fleet Too

Singapore expects to take a total of 5 new A380 aircraft into the fleet between October and May. Those will replace 5 that are leaving the fleet.

What’s news is formal confirmation from Singapore that they’ll also plan to retrofit the remaining 14 A380s already in the fleet.

It’s expected that the first service will be to and from Sydney, as the inaugural A380 was a decade ago. I have to imagine that they’ll eventually put the new product on London as well, and they have a new competitive reason for doing so with Qantas re-starting Singapore – London.

Shh! 5 Apps Airlines Don’t Want You to Know About

Shh! 5 Apps Airlines Don’t Want You to Know AboutHere’s five neat little apps that will help you score the cheapest plane tickets possible so that you can book your trip and not drain your bank account.


1. Skyscanner: We don’t know how they do it, but Skyscanner consistently scours the Internet and churns up some of the best prices for flights we’ve seen. What’s great is you can even make it so that results only reflect providers with mobile-optimized reservation sites so that you’re not trying to book your ticket on a wonky third-party site.

DL It: Free on iOS and Android


2. Skiplagged: Though they’re currently embroiled in a lawsuit with United (no worries, their apps still work and are free to use!), Skiplagged’s claim to fame is using hidden-city ticketing to help you book flights that can be up to 80% cheaper than regular sites! Whether you want to take advantage of that airline loophole or not, Skiplagged consistently finds you the the cheapest flights in the traditional sense also.

DL It: Free on iOS and Android


3. 729 Airlines: One of our favorite things about the 729 Airlines app is just how good-looking the interface is. We like how simple and easy to use it is and how it pretty plainly lays out all the available flights for your travel dates. The nifty little plane flying to your destination as it’s searching for fares is pretty cool too. Unfortunately, it’s only available for the iPhone at the moment. Sorry, Android users. 🙁

DL It: Free on iOS


4. Hopper: Hopper is more than just a cute app — this little application is a fare hunting powerhouse. It not only finds the lowest price for your travel days, but it advises you whether you should hold off on buying or book now. Even better, it can predict how much prices are expected to go up or down and sends you notifications alerting you when dollar amounts change. Sadly, this is another one that is only for iPhone users.

DL It: Free on iOS


5. Momondo: Momondo does this cool thing where they split up fares into handy little categories like “Cheapest,” “Quickest” and “Best.” But that’s not all; they even have free city guides for major locations like Paris, Rome and New York you can download and use offline. We likey!

DL It: Free on iOS and Android

Do you have any ticket-booking apps you like to you? Tell us which ones in the comments below!

An airline passenger has shared a heartwarming story about a random act of kindness in the sky

An airline passenger has shared a heartwarming story about a random act of kindness in the skySometimes it seems like only the negative airline stories are the one that make the headlines. Now a random act of kindness prompted one airline passenger to take to social media to share her uplifting story.

Natalie Gunderson flew to North Carolina earlier this month on a nearly-full flight. On the same flight was a mystery donor who handed out $2 bills to every single passenger. He explained that by doing so, he was honouring his late father.

When he was 16, he explained, his father gave him a $2 bill, saying that as long as he had that, he would never be broke. In an effort to spread the love and put a smile on people’s faces, he did the same for every single passenger.

A dollar bill folded into the shape of a heart.
The mystery benefactor wanted to spread the love with his gift. Image by Lasse Kristensen

Natalie took a picture of all the passengers holding up their bills and smiling to remember the moment. After posting it to her own social media “in the midst of all the crap going on in the world”, the post has gone viral with people praising this small, random act of kindness for a plane full of strangers.

Travel and the serendipitous encounters it creates often inspire uplifting stories of the kindness of strangers. Last year, a homeless man in Edinburgh made friends with two Swedish tourists after he gave them directions and they repaid his kindness with a holiday. In a more deliberate move, Rob Greenfield travelled from Panama to San Diego completely for free to prove that people would be willing to help him out.

Another airline says goodbye to the Boeing 747 passenger jet

EVA Air retires Boeing 747-400 passenger aircraftEVA Air retired the Boeing 747-400 passenger aircraft from its fleet on 21 August.

Aircraft B-16411 operated its final service with flight BR892 on the Hong Kong-Taipei Taoyuan route, says the Star Alliance carrier.

Over a 25-year period, EVA operated up to 18 747-400s comprising full passenger jets, passenger and freighter combis, as well as dedicated freighters.

Asset Image


EVA received its first two 747-400s in November 1992 and used them to launch services between Taipei Taoyuan and Los Angeles in December the same year. It then took delivery of its first combi model in September 1993, followed by the first 747-400 freighter in July 2000.

The aircraft also helped inaugurate several other long-haul services, including Taipei-Seattle-New York, Kaohsiung-Los Angeles, and Taipei-Vancouver. Taipei-Los Angeles-Panama is the longest route the airline has flown with the type.

The passenger aircraft’s retirement comes after the 747-400 Combis were decommissioned in January 2015. Its five dedicated freighters will remain in service until 2019.

On a microsite dedicated to the type’s retirement, EVA adds that following its retirement, the 747-400s will be dismantled and sold off, bringing “their surplus value into full use”.

5 Tech Hacks That Will Save You a Bundle on Airfare

We all love to complain about airlines and their never-ending efforts to find new, clever, and incredibly annoying ways to squeeze every penny out of travelers. But when it comes to soothing your travel rage, revenge is sweeter than anger.

You know they’re using every tool out there to maximize their profits. So, of course, you should arm yourself with every tech hack possible to fight back and potentially save yourself a ton of money. Plus, how great does it feel to get a great deal and beat the airlines at their own game? Happy shopping!

1. Google Flights is your best friend.

As Suzy Strutner points out on The Huffington Post, when it comes to saving money on flights, Google Flights is your best friend. In an enormously helpful article, Strutner lays out all the ways the site can help you get a deal, including its “best bang for your buck feature” that figures out the best deal not only based on price but also on flight duration, and notifications when prices will probably jump via your phone.

2. A niche site for every issue.

Kayak and Google Flights might be the usual go-to choices for the savvy traveler, but there are a ton of other tech tools you should be aware of that can help with a head-spinning variety of particular travel issues.

  • Hopper notifies you of price drops.
  • Got no time but $49? FlightFox will do the work of finding cheap airfare for you.
  • Yapta tracks your flight details and lets you know if the price drops after you purchase. If the decrease is large enough, it can be worth paying the penalty to change your ticket.
  • Budget airlines don’t appear on all comparison sites, but WhichBudget will tell you which ones fly where.
  • Not sure where you want to go? Skyscanner shows you the best deals currently on offer for a particular country or even the whole world.
  • Use to trade, buy, or redeem points.
  • Airfarewatchdog employs actual humans to handpick a smaller number of truly awesome deals.

3. Clear your cookies.

Clever airlines use every crumb of data they can get to decide how much money they can charge you, including whether you’ve visited travel booking sites previously. Deprive them of that info by clearing the cookies on your browser and you’re likely to see a lower price.

Setting your browser to incognito or private browsing mode before you start searching works too.

4. Fudge your location.

What other information do airlines use to set fares? Your location. Tickets are sometimes cheaper in countries with a lower cost of living, a fact you can use to your advantage, Erica Ho of Map Happy tells Thrillist.

“It’s as simple as using the airline’s regional website (or masking your IP address to make it look like you live there) to buy your ticket in the foreign currency. So, let’s say you wanted to fly from Atlanta to Johannesburg, South Africa. All you’d do is log onto South African Air’s local site (.za, NOT .com) — or use a VPN to get a South African IP address — select the ATL-JNB flight you want, and buy it in Rand — preferably using a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees,” explains the site.

5. Pretend you’re going solo.

According to lifestyle site MyDomaine, “many airlines hike up prices when you’re buying several seats at once.” Therefore, “even if you’re booking for the entire family, be sure to do a separate search for the flights set to one person first.”

Future flights: For its revolutionary aircraft design, Boeing takes inspiration from geese

Future flights For its revolutionary aircraft design, Boeing takes inspiration from geeseMigratory birds—Canada geese, more exactly—are inspiring a rethink at Boeing on the way planes fly, to eventually cut fuel expenses. Aircraft can get added buoyancy by lining up in a precise V-shaped formation, typical of migrating geese, behind a lead aircraft.

Migratory birds—Canada geese, more exactly—are inspiring a rethink at Boeing on the way planes fly, to eventually cut fuel expenses. Aircraft can get added buoyancy by lining up in a precise V-shaped formation, typical of migrating geese, behind a lead aircraft. By syncing their flight path with the upward spiral of the conical vortices of air that swirl behind a plane in flight after its wing-tips cut through the air, trailing-planes will burn less fuel. As per Bloomberg, Nasa studies show that this will result in  10-15% fuel savings.

The catch is scheduling flights on a particular route for this formation with a lag during which any of the variables that determine the flight path could change, from weather to congestion, etc. And, of course, the flight duration has to be long enough for the vortices to lower the drag for follower planes meaningfully. A Nasa official quoted in the Bloomberg report says scheduling planes for such a formation could get much easier in the near future with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, or ADS-B becoming mandatory by 2020. ADS-B transmits a plane’s position and speed details twice in one second, and thereby provides more accurate information than a conventional radar.

Aircraft makers are now experimenting with aircraft design to see what boundaries for speed, fuel-efficiency, etc, can be pushed. From fuselage to wings to tails, everything is being redrawn, and planes are being manufactured at a concept level for testing. All this experimentation is a paradigm-shift in the making, given how conventional aircraft design has remained almost the same for over five decades now. Changes in design would also mean a upheaval for airport/hangar infrastructure. Fors instance, if Boeing’s work on long, thin, high efficiency glider-like wings for goes beyond just its truss-braced wing concept, hangar gates have to become wider or the tips have to be made foldable. Both scenarios come with a baggage of complexity.


As per a NBC report, concept work at four top aircraft-makers—Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Aurora Flight Sciences and Dzyne Technologies—is focussed on planes that burn half the fuel being used currently and generate 75% less pollution. While Boeing and Lockheed Martin are developing hybrid wing body crafts, Dzyne’s working on a blended wing body. Aurora’s double-wide fuselage (the D8 Double Bubble) looks like a pair of plane-body Siamese twins—it works around a fuel-saving propulsion concept monikered Boundary Layer Ingestion or BLI by Nasa scientists. The engines have been shifted from the wings to the top of the rear fuselage.

Aircraft design is seeing dynamism like never before, and it may not be too far in the future when we have greener, faster and less noise producing aircraft that look nothing like the ones that dot the skies today.

Airline Allegedly Has Mom Arrested After She Gives Blanket To Her Son (She Was In Business, He Was In Economy)

This is only one side of the story. But what a side.

Sara Celeste Farfan Garcia says that on June 15 she was sitting in Copa Airlines’ Business Class on a flight from Panama City to Lima, Peru.

As with a lot of flights, cabin temperature was on the chilly side.

So, as Garcia says in a Facebook post, she passed her blanket to her young son.

He was sitting at the front of Economy with other relatives.

Copa Airlines doesn’t give Economy passengers blankets. Just imagine how much money that saves.

Now you know how many airlines don’t like it if passengers break their rules.

Well, Garcia says that she was approached by an angry flight attendant, who explained that her son wasn’t allowed to have a blanket and so there.

The blanket was removed and it all seems to have escalated, at least in Garcia’s version, to the flight attendant “verbally assaulting and pushing” her.

Oh, and calling the police. They, in turn, allegedly threatened to handcuff Garcia and took her and her family off the flight.

She claims the flight attendant insisted that Garcia had injured her and was pretending to limp.

She also says she was detained in a police station for some hours.

I contacted Copa Airlines to ask for its version of the incident and received a very different story.

An airline spokesman said that Garcia was “disruptive and aggressive.” Indeed, the airline said that it has filed a legal complaint in a Peruvian court against her.

Moreover, the airline insists that the blanket story “did not occur as reported.” It didn’t specify in what ways its truth differs, however, other than to say that “key details” were omitted by Garcia.

If Garcia’s version resembles the truth, this appears to be yet another case of airline staff taking rules to slightly pointless levels.

On Facebook, opinion was divided. Some criticized Garcia for sitting in Business Class while her son was in Economy. Others were appalled at the flight attendant’s attitude.

So many times recently, airline staff enforcing rules in a manner devoid of common sense have only made themselves and their companies look like the ultimate antithesis of customer service providers.

I can imagine that some US airlines will be relieved that it isn’t just their own staff who might take on officious airs and graces.

This isn’t, though, the first time an airline’s blanket policy has caused uproar on a flight.

Earlier this year, a Hawaiian Airlines Economy Class passenger became a touch upsetwhen he was asked to pay $12 for a blanket. Yes, of course the flight was diverted. What did you expect?

When airline-customer relations become the apogee of pettiness, how can airlines expect passengers feel warm and fuzzy toward them?

The sad truth, I suspect, is that many airlines don’t care all that much. As long as their profits grow and their competition is limited, they’re happy.

American, Delta and Frontier airlines all slapped with fines for consumer rule violations — nothing for United

Frontier Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have been fined for violating U.S. Transportation Department airline consumer protection rules, the department said on Friday.

Frontier Airlines was fined $400,000 for violating oversales and disability rules, American Airlines $250,000 for failing to make timely refunds to passengers, and Delta Air Lines $200,000 for filing inaccurate baggage reports, the department said in a statement.

Delta failed to properly report all baggage claims from 2012 through 2015 and told the Transportation Department that if it had reported all claims it would have likely fallen from fourth to fifth in rankings among carriers for fewest baggage claims in 2012 and 2013.

Delta said in a statement it was notified last year its damaged bag policy was not compliant with the department’s published guidelines and it immediately updated its policy.

Frontier “failed to seek volunteers before bumping passengers involuntarily, failed to provide bumped passengers the required written notice describing their rights, and failed to provide proper compensation to passengers in a timely manner” the Transportation Department said. It reviewed more than 200 complaints.

“Frontier remains committed to complying with DOT rules,” the airline said in a statement, adding it updated procedures “that were not effective” and “taken steps including, introducing a new reporting system.” It must also add a new quality assurance management position by Sept. 1.

American Airlines failed to process a “significant number” of refunds in a timely fashion in 2015, the department said.

The company said Friday it “is committed to providing timely refunds to our customers.”

American said it “took proactive steps to address refund delays some customers experienced in 2015 due to a systems integration issue after the merger with US Airways, including investments to improve processing times.”

Airline bumping practices have drawn more scrutiny following video of a passenger being dragged off a United Airlines flight in April.

This and other incidents have been broadcast on social media, prompting congressional hearings with airline executives that raised questions about customer service and airline cost-cutting.

Southwest Airlines Co said in April it would end overbooking, while United announced policy changes, including boosting compensation for overbooked passengers to up to $10,000.

Legislation unveiled in Congress in June would make it illegal for an airline to bump an already boarded passenger from a flight. Another measure before Congress would require new rules for airlines promptly to refund passengers for baggage fees or other fees if they do not receive the service.

(Reporting by Eric Beech and David Shepardson in Washington; editing by Cynthia Osterman and Grant McCool)

BUMP EM OFF Spain’s Iberia Airlines has been fined £22k for asking wannabe flight attendants to take pregnancy tests

A SPANISH airline has been slapped with a £22,130 fine after it was found to have forced women applying for flight attendant positions to take a pregnancy test.

Iberia Airlines was given the sanction by the Ministry of Labour of the Balearic Islands, and has since said it will remove the condition from its application process for aspiring cabin crew, and allow individuals to choose whether they inform the airline if they are expecting.

Iberia Airlines has come under fire for forcing aspiring flight attendants to take pregnancy tests

Iberia Airlines has come under fire for forcing aspiring flight attendants to take pregnancy tests

According to Spanish newspaper El Pais, the practice was unearthed last year during a campaign against labour discrimination.

Sources within the company told the newspaper that pregnancy tests were conducted across the country.

They claimed they were part of medical examinations for candidates who had passed the selection process, so that they could incorporate them into the airline’s health protocol.

Iberia said that the tests were put in place to protect the health of the applicant, so that the airline could avoid assigning expectant mothers a task that may put their pregnancy at risk.

In a statement to The Sun Online, Iberia said the protocols ensured they met international aviation regulations.

“Iberia has strict protocols for protecting pregnant employees, including trainees, and they are not assigned duties that could endanger their health of that of the foetus,” the statement read. 

The incident comes just two weeks after Iberia celebrated their 90th anniversary

The incident comes just two weeks after Iberia celebrated their 90th anniversary

“In keeping with international aviation regulations, female cabin staff are relieved of flying duties as soon as their pregnancies are known.”

Iberia’s Workplace Health and Safety Officer, Dr. Maria Teresa Garcia Menéndez, said: “Given the controversy arising from the current protocol in place to protect pregnant women, we will no longer include a pregnancy test in the medical examination for new hires.

“However, we will continue to use all necessary means to ensure the safety and rights of pregnant employees, as we have always done.”

But the Ministry of Labour confirmed sanctions this week after rejecting the airline’s excuses.

In the UK, women are not required to tell an employer that they are pregnant until the end of the 15th week before the baby is due.

Spain’s flagship carrier airline still has the opportunity to appeal the decision with the Ministry if they so wish.

Late last month, Iberia found themselves in the middle of a landmark court ruling, when UK judge ordered the Spanish air operator refund a passenger the cost of his return journey after they automatically cancelled it, because he failed to check in on his first flight.

Carriers regularly cancel both legs of a trip if passengers miss the first one, but the new ruling by the Mayor’s and City of London Court could see an end to the practice, which often leaves passengers paying through the nose for another flight.

The ruling comes from a court case brought by barrister James Dove after Iberia cancelled the return leg of his flight from London to Madrid.

[via sun]

Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ live: Federal judge defies President and temporarily BLOCKS ban in dramatic court hearing

The President has banned all refugees from entering the States for four months and barred Syrians indefinitely


Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants and refugees has sparked mass protests in the US and international condemnation.

The President signed an order on Friday banning all refugees from entering the States for four months, and barred Syrian refugees indefinitely.

No visas will be issued for a further six mainly-Muslim countries for the next 90 days.

Thousands have gathered at airports including JFK in New York and LAX in Los Angeles to protest the move and support those stranded.

‘We are as much in the dark as everybody else’

Protesters hold up signs protesting President Donald Trump
Protesters at JFK airport in New York (Photo: Barcroft Media)

An interesting anecdote from a Reuters reporter from JFK Airport tonight here:

After immigration agents detained two Iraqis on Saturday at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, their lawyers and two U.S. representatives accompanying them tried to cross into a secure area – and were stopped themselves.

“Step back! Step back!” the agents shouted at them.

A few minutes later, Heidi Nassauer, chief of passenger operations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the airport, was called over.

Representatives Jerrold Nadler and Nydia Velazquez, both Democrats from New York, wanted clarification on whether an immigration ban issued on Friday by President Donald Trump prevented the Iraqis from consulting with attorneys.

Nassauer had no clear answer.

“We are as much in the dark as everybody else,” said the border protection official at one of the largest U.S. airports.