Inflight Service : Food and Beverage ***3/5* / Cabin Crew: ***** 5/5*
Comfort: *** 3/5*
(European standard business Class layout with middle seat left free)
Flight Time: 01.20 hrs
On-time performance: STA 1910 // ATA 1940 -0.30 min
My original Austrian Airlines flight got cancelled and I was able to quickly re-book via Chat-bot on the Austrian App. Check-in bags were re-labelled and smoothly transferred to the new flight. No waiting times either at the Check-in counter or at the Security at Zurich Airport. Friendly charming Flight Attendants. Small cold meal with drink service plus refills and warm beverage service available.
A long walk in Abu Dhabi to the old Terminal 1 departure gate but it was a nice vintage experience to see the old Terminal again. Boarding went smoothly. Friendly welcoming Cabin Crew, most people slept right away and focused on breakfast service before landing as this was a 0315 departure. The pillows on EY are very comfortable but unfortunately there is only 1 pillow per seat/pax loaded. Could not get a second one. Good flight.
Lufthansa Business Class, Frankfurt-Ibiza, Airbus A321
Lufthansa has unveiled its new short and medium-haul business class menus which it says have been “inspired by German metropolises”.
The tasting “heimat menus” (heimat translating as “home” or “homeland”) was launched on September 1, and promised not only to change weekly, but also on the outward and return flights”.
According to Lufthansa, the menus have been inspired by the cities of Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin, Düsseldorf and Leipzig; and feature “German classics with unusual components”.
The carrier said that the dishes were created by “young star chefs” Julia Komp and Dennis Puchert, alongside the Gategroup culinary team.
Highlighting the menu’s sustainable attributes, Lufthansa said that the ingredients come predominantly from the regions around Frankfurt and Munich, adding that the dishes would be offered without the use of disposable plastics.
Earlier this year the carrier unveiled its new buy-on-board menu for short and medium-haul economy passengers.
The Aircraft was an A321-100 with a configuration of 36-150. European-style Business– Class means a standard economy seat with the adjacent seat (middle) blocked to offer additional personal space and located in the front section of the aircraft (most European Carriers use these curtain-type variable versions). I booked seat 11A which is probably the best seat in the “house” as there is plenty of space to stretch the legs and it’s convenient to get in and out of the seat without disturbing anyone.
Boarding started a little late but the crew managed to catch up some time and we landed at Ibiza on-time. The meal comprised a cold fillet of salmon with egg salad and bread roll (one-round of bread and one-round of drinks plus coffee/tea). Flight time was about 1 hr 55 mins. An apple was served before landing as a special treat of the new “Heimat” meal concept. I found the meal and the crew ok, but nothing to write home about.
Lufthansa offers a solid, consistent and reliable product with a comfortable in-flight experience.
Royal Orchid Lounge, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, open since November 2019:
ROYAL ORCHID LOUNGE:
Thai Airways offers their First and Business Class passengers a separate check-in located at gate Door 1 on Departure Level 4 at Suvarnabhumi Bangkok International Airport. Porters are available and separate areas for First and Business Class passengers are provided for check-in, security screening and Fast Track immigration.
After passing through immigration, an escalator takes passengers down to the lounge level near gate D1. The First Class lounge, and the former Business Class lounge (now used for Star-Alliance partner airline’s passengers), are located in the west zone on the left and the new Royal Orchid Prestige Lounge is located in the east zone on the right and is used exclusively for Thai Airways Royal Silk Class passengers.
The lounge was opened in October 2019 and is approx. 2000 sqm. The lounge offers various seating options (restaurant-style seating near the buffets) and lounge areas as well as rooms for child-care and showers.
There are two bars and a main buffet area plus 2 small corners with a more limited food selection. Comparing this new lounge to the “old” one, the food and drinks options are much more generous and more delicious items are available. Frequent visitors of the old lounge remember the triangle sandwiches and the hot dog sausages that were served for decades.
A fresher look and a wider choice of food offering is now available. This was urgently needed as there are plenty of excellent alternative lounges available at this airport.
I found the new lounge to be pleasant, even though it was a very busy night. This is not the most luxurious lounge that I have experienced but it serves the purpose well.
ROYAL ORCHID SPA:
Thai Airways offers a unique facility to its premium passengers which is the Royal Orchid Spa. This spa offers separate treatments for First Class passengers (full body massages in separate luxury rooms) Herbal Spa or Steam rooms and short neck/shoulder or foot massages are available for Business Class guests. There is a resting area where relaxing Thai music is played and healthy beverages are served. The relaxation and rejuvenation treatments offered a wonderful way to get in the mood before a long flight. I find this a fantastic place to visit, especially in the evening before long night flights.
The Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa is consistently voted number one airline spa by Skytrax and I find it a true heaven in the busy airport world. I always enjoy this special THAI experience.
Air Baltic is the flag carrier of Latvia with its head office on the grounds of Riga International Airport. Its hub is Riga, with further bases in Tallin Airport and Vilnius Airport. The airline was established as a joint venture between Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and the Government of Latvia. In January 2009, SAS sold its entire stake in the company.
Air Baltic operates 12 Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft with 76 seats, 4 Boeing 737-300 aircraft with 142 seats and 22 newer Airbus A220 aircraft with 145 seats.
I took a morning flight from Zurich to Riga and checked-in online. As gate seat changes cost extra (12 Euro) I waited to board last and then took an emergency exit seat which offered a fantastic legroom. The aircraftwas a 20 year old Boeing 737-300 and Air Baltic offers BOB (buy on board) menu offering food and drinks for purchase.
The crew conducted a manual safety demo and a special “overwing” exit briefing which I found to be very professional.
Most passengers did not buy anything from the options so the flight was very relaxed.
Air Baltic offers low fares and I found the service in a good price/performance ratio representing good value for money.
They will start nonstop flights between Zurich and Vilnius and Tallin this Spring (2020) and I hope I can soon try the newer A220.
Air Dolomiti is a 100% owned subsidiary of Lufthansa with its base in Munich, Germany. The airline’s name derives from a section of the Alps known as the Dolomites. It started operations in January 1991 and mostly operates flights between Munich and Italy as well as some other destinations which allow operations with Embraer aircrafts.
I flew from Zurich to Munich and I found the aircraft appearance to be clean and comfortable. However the seating was on the narrower side. The configuration is 2-2 where in Business Class always 1 seat per seat-pair will be kept unoccupied for privacy reasons. This procedure is well known by carriers such as Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian.
Service consisted of a pre-departure bottle of water, a refreshing towel and a pack of sweets. During the flight a cold tray was served with a full range of beverages including coffee and tea. The flight was half empty and I expected a friendly service, but the crew seemed to be annoyed working and made a rather depressed impression. What I really liked is that there was free wifi available on board. This is a nice feature, even though most of their flights are an hour or less flight time.
The Flight operated on time and arrived in Munich at an outside tarmac position. There was no separate bus for Business Class passengers available. I took Air Dolomiti on the same route back to Zurich, it was a similar experience.
I flew Alaska Airlines First Class from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and Las Vegas to San Francisco. Both flights were on aircraft of the former Virgin America Airlines which was taken over by Alaska last year (2018).
Check-in at Terminal 6 was a breeze and Alaska sports a nice small premium-lounge which offers a bar, a few breakfast items (including their own branded pancake making machine). The lounge was very busy this early morning but offered plenty of seating, a nice tarmac view and super-clean rest rooms.
Both flights were very short so the food and beverage offering was limited. The was a pre-departure drink, a drink inflight and a snack basket. Flight Attendants were professional and charming and made it a pleasant experience. Early booking rates for First Class are very competitive, and were only US$ 40 more than tickets in the main cabin. (Bear in mind that you have to pay extra for each check-in bag on US-domestic flights). The flights departed on time and Alaska Airlines has a 20min baggage delivery promise.
I really liked the fact that First Class had only 2 rows and really comfortable recliner seats which makes even a short flight very comfy.
I flew on an Edelweiss Airbus 330 with a configuration of 27 Business Class and 298 Economy Class seats.
There was a long check-in queue line for Economy Class passengers at Havana Airport but the Business Class counter was free and check-in was a breeze (There were only 11 Pax booked in C-class)
The Edelweiss Airbus 330 features the same Business Class seats as offered by SWISS/Austrian with a full flat sleeping option and the same layout as well.
I found the Edelweiss in-flight service very pleasant. There was a pre-dinner drink service followed by a first course, a main course and cheese and dessert. All return flight food items were catered in Zurich so the quality and taste was very good. After a good sleep a nice breakfast was served and the famous swiss Biberli (Biber cake) were handed out before landing.
I enjoyed the service from the Edelweiss crew a lot. They were attentive and charming and, of course, the flight being half empty made it a very comfortable experience.
Condor is a German airline with a long history. The airline used to be part of the Lufthansa Group but is now owned by Thomas Cook International. While the Condor aircraft tails carry the Thomas Cook heart on them, the airplanes show the Condor name on them and many things reminded me of the Lufthansa times. The crew uniforms are still LH-style, the menu cards and the service still show the signature of Lufthansa. Condor is also part of the Miles-and-More program. This makes it easy for collecting and spending miles and getting good connecting flights as well as a check-through bag arrangement.
My flight to Havana boarded from a bus gate at Terminal B in Frankfurt and when boarding the airplane through the aircraft steps a true holiday feeling came up because many passengers were taking pictures and everything was very relaxed.
The aircraft was a 21-year old Boeing 767-300. The Business Class seating was 18 seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. The seats were angle-flat but reclinable to 170 degrees. Economy seating was: 237 in 2-3-2 configuration.
After a welcome drink, menu cards and immigration forms were handed out. The purser took the menu choice and after take-off they served the first course right away. After the first course, the entire tray was cleared and the hot dish, cheese and dessert were served separately. Then duty free sales was done, followed by ice-cream and a rest period before another meal was served. The landing in Havana was on-time and after walking from the aircraft to the terminal building immigration was done in a matter of minutes.
I enjoyed my flight with Condor very much despite the lack of wifi and the rather “vintage” seating. The crew was very pleasant and I felt well being taken care of. Condor offers a solid product at very competitive fares.