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Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
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AirlineRatings.com keeps tabs on 385 carriers from across the globe, measuring factors including the airlines' crash and serious incident records, and age of their aircraft.
AirlineRatings.com's Safest Airlines

1. Qantas
2. Qatar Airways
3. Air New Zealand
4. Singapore Airlines
5. Emirates
6. EVA Air
7. Etihad Airways
8. Alaska Airlines
9. Cathay Pacific Airways
10. British Airways

To see the full top-20 follow the link.

 

jis

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It is settled then. Next time I go to India, hopefully within the next 12 or 14 months, it will be Qatar or Emirates. Maybe I will splurge on a First Class Suite for a once in a lifetime experience. :)
 

Devil's Advocate

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It is settled then. Next time I go to India, hopefully within the next 12 or 14 months, it will be Qatar or Emirates. Maybe I will splurge on a First Class Suite for a once in a lifetime experience. :)
I wonder if Intercontinental First Class can survive the perpetually shrinking business travel market. Hard to imagine growing markets like backpackers and social media blaggers paying those prices out of their own pocket. Is there such a thing as a million point redemption yet? On most of my long haul flights Business Class is as high as it goes and even that seems to be under threat now. At some point an ultra low cost carrier is going to figure out the marketing and economics of the intercontinental travel market and eventually we'll be down to choosing between coach or charter.

 
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jis

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Already, the Emirates Suite does not cost all that much more than their business class on low yield markets like US - India. Then again it is not hard to get Business Class semi-suites to India for about the same price or less for the same to Europe. Airline fares remain highly tied to the specific market that one is traveling in and often has little to do with the distance traveled.
 

jiml

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I wonder if Intercontinental First Class can survive the perpetually shrinking business travel market. Hard to imagine growing markets like backpackers and social media blaggers paying those prices out of their own pocket. Is there such a thing as a million point redemption yet?
Even without business travel there will always be those with the resources to fill the palatial suites on the Middle-Eastern carriers. I don't think it takes a million points yet, although would not be surprised if airlines gut their FF plans as part of the recovery.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Even without business travel there will always be those with the resources to fill the palatial suites on the Middle-Eastern carriers. I don't think it takes a million points yet, although would not be surprised if airlines gut their FF plans as part of the recovery.
I do not think the Intercontinental First Class market will simply vanish but I do believe it will continue to migrate toward luxury charter and fractional ownership services while scheduled service carriers continue to shrink premium cabins in order to expand densely packed budget seating. I can handle the cost of high volume scheduled business class but I cannot afford luxury charters or fractional contracts and people like me are likely to be squeezed out over time. I've looked for a compelling counterargument that would somehow reverse the trend but I've yet to find one.
 

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So many variables in the classes of service:
Economy Coach - aka back of the bus
Basic Coach - middle of middle of the coach section
Comfort Coach - section just behind Business (faux First Class)
Business - faux First Class almost near the front of the plane
First Class - close to the front of the plane
And then the Premium Ultra classes at the front of the plane or topside on the bi-level aircraft (A380).
Each airline has their own description of the bare bones to all everything included class.
Baggage fees - seat selection - pre-boarding amenities - free carry on bags and storage space -
meals - beverages - and maybe lounge access at departure airport.

Good thing that Amtrak doesn't get that complicated - what a way to run a railroad ?

One thing for sure for customer creature comfort on flights over 5 hours it is well worth the price
in miles upgrades round-to-its unless one has an affinity to travel compressed sardine class for savings.

Flights from the USA Mainland to Australia - 14 hours
USA to South Africa - 17 hours
USA to Europe - 6 minimum closer to 8 or 9
USA mainland to Hawaii - 5-6 hours
USA coast to coast 5-6 hours
Just some examples and you thought that train travel was a lark.

Future space trips to Mars maybe one-way only - it is not called Space-Aged for nothing !
 

Exvalley

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At some point an ultra low cost carrier is going to figure out the marketing and economics of the intercontinental travel market and eventually we'll be down to choosing between coach or charter.
I'd say that Air Transat has it figured out extremely well - or at least they did pre-Covid.

Air Transat lives somewhere between a charter airline and a regularly scheduled airline. Lots of their seats are taken up by package tours that are sold through Air Transat's travel agency division. They specialize in the leisure market and serve numerous destinations in Europe (as well as sun destinations in the Americas). Some of their destinations see flights just once or twice a week.

To add insult to injury, Air Transat has nine seats across in economy class on their A330s, which is something just a couple of leisure airlines do. Every other airline has 8 seats across. They have recently purchased A321neos, which are actually quite nice.

I was scheduled to fly Montreal-Amsterdam and then Prague-Montreal on Air Transat this summer. They have completely pulled out of Prague thanks to the Covid drop in demand, so now I am flying to Amsterdam and returning via London. Even then, I am highly doubtful that my trip will happen. I can cancel up to 24 hours prior to departure and receive a 100% credit with no expiration date.
 

Dakota 400

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I wonder if Intercontinental First Class can survive the perpetually shrinking business travel market.
The only 3 Class flight that I have flown was on a Singapore Airlines 777. My Business Class seat was immediately aft of the First Class section, so I got a good peak from time to time of First Class. (Even tried to go to the Rest Room in First Class before the door had even closed and was, I thought, rather rudely "shooed" out by the Purser.) I really didn't see anything that would warrant anyone paying whatever those folks did for First Class. Other, than there were many fewer of them than in Business Class.
 

Devil's Advocate

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The only 3 Class flight that I have flown was on a Singapore Airlines 777. My Business Class seat was immediately aft of the First Class section, so I got a good peak from time to time of First Class. (Even tried to go to the Rest Room in First Class before the door had even closed and was, I thought, rather rudely "shooed" out by the Purser.) I really didn't see anything that would warrant anyone paying whatever those folks did for First Class. Other, than there were many fewer of them than in Business Class.
Three class aircraft are still plentiful IME, only now they're in the form of Y, Y+, and J. Although I didn't mention it specifically I think Y+/PE is likely to stay and eventually gain a standard booking code at some point. Intercontinental First Class is nice but I'd only ever fly it on points and never cash or credit. The food is more elaborate, the service is more personalized, and requests are handled more promptly. On the right airline and route it's an amazing experience but sometimes I don't want that level of attention and it's difficult to quantify a rational value. Are the points really "worth" $10,000 or more if I was never going to spend that much in the first place? Everything I've ever needed or wanted while riding in coach is available in most Business Class cabins. These days domestic First Class is not much different from long haul Premium Economy and in some cases they even use the same or similar seats.

I'd say that Air Transat has it figured out extremely well - or at least they did pre-Covid. Air Transat lives somewhere between a charter airline and a regularly scheduled airline. Lots of their seats are taken up by package tours that are sold through Air Transat's travel agency division. They specialize in the leisure market and serve numerous destinations in Europe (as well as sun destinations in the Americas).
I don't think I've ever seen Air Transat show up in any of my booking searches but I have seen a documentary or two about them running out of fuel and barely landing. Not the end of the world but ULC charters tend to have the worst pitch in the industry and I'd rather stay home than crush my knees for several hours straight.


 
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jiml

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I'd say that Air Transat has it figured out extremely well - or at least they did pre-Covid.

Air Transat lives somewhere between a charter airline and a regularly scheduled airline. Lots of their seats are taken up by package tours that are sold through Air Transat's travel agency division. They specialize in the leisure market and serve numerous destinations in Europe (as well as sun destinations in the Americas). Some of their destinations see flights just once or twice a week.

To add insult to injury, Air Transat has nine seats across in economy class on their A330s, which is something just a couple of leisure airlines do. Every other airline has 8 seats across. They have recently purchased A321neos, which are actually quite nice.

I was scheduled to fly Montreal-Amsterdam and then Prague-Montreal on Air Transat this summer. They have completely pulled out of Prague thanks to the Covid drop in demand, so now I am flying to Amsterdam and returning via London. Even then, I am highly doubtful that my trip will happen. I can cancel up to 24 hours prior to departure and receive a 100% credit with no expiration date.
Air Transat is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air Canada and is expected to take over some of the routes previously flown by AC's low-cost "Rouge" subsidiary. A lot of the latter's (old) planes were retired in the last year, so buying Transat was cheaper than a fleet refresh. They got it for $5 CAD a share.
 

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WWW

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Air Canada would disagree with you, but you're technically correct that the complete handover is not until next month.

West Jet and Delta are working up a code sharing partnership - watch for competitive border skirmishes - but you are still not covid free to
roam across the border randomly !
 

MARC Rider

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One thing for sure for customer creature comfort on flights over 5 hours it is well worth the price
in miles upgrades round-to-its unless one has an affinity to travel compressed sardine class for savings.

Flights from the USA Mainland to Australia - 14 hours
USA to South Africa - 17 hours
USA to Europe - 6 minimum closer to 8 or 9
USA mainland to Hawaii - 5-6 hours
USA coast to coast 5-6 hours
Just some examples and you thought that train travel was a lark.
Oh, I don't know. I was always able to handle the 5-6 hour coast-to-coast flights in coach. When I started flying regularly, I thought I'd need meal service for even the 3 1/2 flights BWI-DEN or BWI-DFW or BWI-SAT and certainly for the coast-to-coast flights, but a few flights on post 9/11 legacy carriers and Southwest Airlines trained me to just suck it up and buy a sandwich at the airport before boarding.

What really surprised me was that I was able to tolerate the 13 hour flight from Dulles to Beijing (and back) riding Economy Plus in United. That's pretty basic service, the only thing Economy Plus gives you is a little more legroom. Of course, it helped that the flight wasn't full, and there were no people sitting next me. The food service was really bad -- made Amtrak flex dining look like the ultimate gourmet experience. In fact, the "breakfast" "omelet" (or whatever it was) prepared by the Beijing commissary and served before our arrival at Dulles was truly "mystery meat" and "vomit inducing" and "worth throwing out." Anyway, who needs gourmet food on the plane? I got to enjoy real authentic hot pot and Peking Duck on the ground in Beijing. On the other hand, it was open bar for decent microbrew beer and plonk, which helped me sleep a bit better on the long flight. They also had a decent selection of movies on the seat-back video screen -- I got to watch "Kedi" (a Turkish documentary about Istanbul's stray cats), "Wonder Woman," and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

When all this is over, and I get a chance to fly across the Pond to ride the trains of Europe, I'm not sure how much I would pay for upgrades. Premium Economy might be worth it, but I'm not sure about paying a $1,000 - $2,000 or more surcharge for first or business class for an 8-hour flight that is under $1,000 even in premium economy. Of course, I don't fly enough to get airline miles/points, so any upgrades for me are cash out of pocket.
 

Exvalley

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Air Canada would disagree with you, but you're technically correct that the complete handover is not until next month.

There hasn’t even been a partial “handover“ yet. They are still awaiting complete regulatory approval. Europe is expected to announce their decision on February 9th.

Not that I anticipate a problem. But until then, the companies remain completely separate.
 

B757Guy

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Already, the Emirates Suite does not cost all that much more than their business class on low yield markets like US - India. Then again it is not hard to get Business Class semi-suites to India for about the same price or less for the same to Europe. Airline fares remain highly tied to the specific market that one is traveling in and often has little to do with the distance traveled.
We need to coordinate one of your trips, so I'm flying you over or back. We seem to miss each other but a few days or weeks.
 
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Devil's Advocate

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West Jet and Delta are working up a code sharing partnership - watch for competitive border skirmishes - but you are still not covid free to roam across the border randomly !
Does West Jet offer equivalent service that lines up with DL's F and Y+ products? If not it's just one more thing for tall people to watch out for I guess.

AA does offer "Premium" (First Class), on nonstop flights between New York and California, utilizing A-321T's...
I'm not sure if we're in agreement or disagreement but you're not wrong. :)
 

Exvalley

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Does West Jet offer equivalent service that lines up with DL's F and Y+ products? If not it's just one more thing for tall people to watch out for I guess.
Sort of. For narrowbody aircraft, they have 36 inch seat pitch in their premium section. But the seats are economy class seats with the middle seat blocked off - similar to European narrowbody business class.

Their 787 aircraft have true international business class and premium economy seats.
 

jis

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We need to coordinate one of your trips, so I'm flying you over or back. We seem to miss each other but a few days or weeks.
International to India for me would likely be Spring of 2022. If the virus situation is substantially controlled to allow travel to the UK in Nov/Dec, that might happen, but at the rate things are ging, both the US and the UK seem to be well on their way to f***ing up. So we shall see.
 

jebr

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West Jet and Delta are working up a code sharing partnership - watch for competitive border skirmishes - but you are still not covid free to
roam across the border randomly !
They already have a code sharing partnership. There was a proposal to have a joint venture agreement, but that's been called off after the DOT imposed restrictions on the joint venture that Delta and WestJet found unacceptable. Who knows what might happen in the future (wouldn't be surprised to see some litigation on it) but for now any expanded Delta and WestJet partnership is on hold at best.
 

jiml

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WestJet previously tried an alignment with AA, mostly taking over the latter's lucrative route between Toronto and Miami. What had been 4 dailies in each direction was trimmed to one on AA and three on WS. Getting an upgrade became very difficult and despite WestJest offering friendly service, both their hard product (seat and pitch) and on-board offerings were lacking. What the agreement did do was provide AA with cross-Canada connections at Toronto (mostly), but apparently neither party was satisfied and it was phased out several years ago. I've seen positive reviews of WestJet's service to the UK on 787's, but domestically they're Southwest north edition. Pre-Covid they launched a subsidiary low-cost carrier, which seemed ironic since that's how they started. Their success is largely based on dissatisfaction with Air Canada, however they're usually no cheaper and offer less service domestically. Based on number of flights, they are the #2 carrier out of Toronto after AC, followed by American at #3.
 
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