ALASKA AIRLINES, FIRST CLASS, LAX-LAS, LAS-SFO
LOUNGE AT LOS ANGELES AIRPORT:
AIRCRAFT A320 CONFIGURATION 8 – 138
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.
HAVANA – ZURICH
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.
FRANKFURT – HAVANA
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.
Qatar airways sells its new business class under the slogan “First in Business” with a new concept called Quad suites. There are forward and backward facing suites which can be combined into a “family suite” when the TV panels are pushed away.
If used alone, there is a generously large suite waiting for you where you have a large TV monitor, a seat that turns into a full bed and a door to close for complete privacy. Various mood lighting and nice pillows are also waiting. The famous dining anytime service is available and is enhanced with “candle lights”, a choice or hot and cold towels and warm desserts. (pyjamas are also available)
I found the suites very private and comfortable, and I loved the setting with the private door. The service was excellent and the product offered to Qatar Airways business class passengers is considered First Class on other airlines.
In my opinion this is the best business class product on the market at the moment.
This review is about the growing private aviation industry. There are numerous private airlines operating all over the world, from the smallest 4 to 6 seater aircraft to the larger up to 12 passengers aircraft which can fly long-haul.
I recently tried a German carrier called Hahn Air. They operate a fleet of aircraft which are available for hire on a charter basis. They can be chartered for short flights as well as longer trips. Some of these private airlines also operate scheduled flights on a seasonal basis. Hahn Air offers flights from Düsseldorf to Palma de Mallorca once a week and some scheduled flights from Düsseldorf to Luxembourg and return.
On my flight there were only 2 passengers and the captain gave us a safety briefing before take-off. The aircraft was a six seater Cessna Citation and there was a small monitor on which flight information was displayed. The cockpit door remained open and some pre-recorded announcements were played before take-off and landing.
There is no flight attendant on board but there is a catering box which has soft drinks, coffee and small snacks for self-service.
The flight was short and the large windows offered a nice view. It was a unique experience for me as I am used to commercial aviation only. I liked the comfort and exclusivity as well as the ambiance and the feeling of being a VIP.
Private aviation is a costly business so careful planning is necessary. According to the company’s website, they offer nice deals for smaller groups or regular customers.
Air KBZ is a privately owned airline based in Yangon. Air Kanbawza, known as Air KBZ, was established in June 2010. The airline is owned by Myanmar’s Kanbawza Bank and operates 4 ATR 72-500 and 5 ATR 72-600 aircraft, seating is 74-78 seats.
I checked in at Yangon’s new domestic airport terminal for an early morning departure to Heho. Baggage check-in and security check were fast and efficient and there was still plenty of time for a coffee at the terminal before boarding 15 min before departure. The flight departed on time and a small snack was served. The cabin was clean and tidy and I enjoyed having a good view from a window seat. Baggage was delivered quickly once all passengers walked to the small terminal building. The return flight went smoothly and departed on time. I enjoyed both flights and I think Air KBZ is a good choice for domestic travel in Myanmar. I have used Myanma Airlines (not existing anymore) and Yangon Airways previously. My preference would clearly be for Air KBZ.