PHOTOS: British Airways takes delivery of its first Airbus A380

A milestone for the British aviation industry, as the country's national carrier took deliver of its first Airbus A380, becoming the tenth operator in the world to receive the superjumbo.

First look inside Singapore Airlines' brand new premium cabins

View these amazing photos and video showcasing the airline's next generation of business and first class cabin products, set to be the new industry benchmark for premium air travel.

PHOTO: First Airbus A350 XWB’s engines powered up

Rolls-Royce's Trent XWB engines have run for the first time on the A350 XWB, moving the aircraft closer to its maiden flight.

Pilot becomes online sensation with stunning cockpit photos

Air Arabia pilot Karim Nafatni's amazing photos have not only attracted a massive online following, but the global media have also jumped on the appreciation bandwagon.

PHOTOS: Thomson becomes first UK airline to receive Boeing 787

Thousands gathered to watch Thomson's first 787 Dreamliner (from an order of eight) arrive at Manchester Airport, completing its delivery flight from Paine Field in Everett.

Showing posts with label Global. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Global. Show all posts

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Top 25: World’s best airlines for booking flights with frequent flier miles

World’s best airlines for booking flights using frequent flier milesWhen it comes to booking flights using your frequent flier miles, which airlines offer the best availability? The topic was recently covered by IdeaWorksCompany, with interesting results.

As part of the company's fourth annual ‘Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey’, more than 7,500 booking queries were entered into 25 airline frequent flier programme websites in March 2013.

The top routes for each airline were checked to assess reward seat availability, with a minimum of two seats needed for each outbound and inbound reward reservation query.

The survey results are listed below, with ‘% of total availability’ in brackets next to each airline (representing the frequency of queries which produced one or more available flights for a roundtrip pair of travel dates).

Note that the first three airlines are tied in first place with an impressive 100% score. In addition, the 5th, 13th and 20th positions are also tied.

What are your views on the survey results? As usual, you can leave a comment here or you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

“Ongoing consolidation and capacity cuts continue to squeeze reward seat availability, and yet frequent flier programmes find ways to grow their membership and drive redemption,” said Daniel Farrar, CEO of Switchfly.

“While often viewed as a programme’s primary redemption benefit, reward seats need not be the final frontier. Travelers banking a percentage of the trillions of miles outstanding today have interesting options as more programs start to think ‘outside the cabin’ to include rewards through joint ventures and alliance partners, hotel nights, rental cars, other travel and retail purchases and even cash.”

Monday, May 6, 2013

Passengers vs Airlines: 5 Recent Incidents That Have Resulted In Lawsuits!

Southwest Airlines Sued By Overweight Man
This screenshot related to story number five!
Over the past month, I’ve been reading a lot of stories in the media about airlines being sued by their passengers. Some of the stories are pretty understandable, while others left me scratching my head!

I thought it would be interesting to look at five recent examples – feel free to join the conversation and express your opinion on these legal wrangles by leaving a comment on this page.

1) Passenger Sues Virgin America Over Soda Spat

This week, it was reported that 52-year-old Salvatore Bevivino had filed a lawsuit against Virgin America. Why? During a flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco, the business manager pressed the call button and asked a male flight attendant for a soda. He was informed that such an order could only be placed using the touch screen in front of his seat. “He just pointed to me, pointed to the screen and said, ‘Use the console, sir’,” Bevivino told ABC News. “I said, ‘I don’t want to turn this thing on.’ He said, ‘I don’t have time for your attitude’ and left.’”

Soon afterwards, a female flight attendant approached the passenger and also told him to use the seatback ordering system. Once again, he refused, and said that he would complain to Virgin America. A third attendant finally brought him the soft drink.

Thinking that the situation had been resolved, Bevivino was surprised to be greeted by police officers and TSA agents once the plane had landed. It transpires that a flight attendant reported that Bevivino had gone to the bathroom, and “came back out with a smile on his face and began using profanities”.

After passing the restroom, the flight attendant claims that Bevivino left the door open and did not flush the toilet. Around 20 minutes after being questioned by police, Bevivino was released. He’s now asking for $50,000 and an apology; the airline offered $3,000 to settle, but no apology.  He refused, and Virgin then offered $5,000. He again declined, and subsequently filed suit.

2) Qantas Sued By Aboriginal Passengers

According to media reports the end of last month, Qantas is being sued by a group of eight Australian Aboriginal men for being thrown off a flight and told they would not be allowed to travel in a big group. The men believe this was a case of false imprisonment, as they were apparently removed from the flight and locked in a bus. 

A flight attendant claims the group was rowdy and abusive, but the men have responded by stating the airline is lying. This case actually happened nearly three years ago, with a Sydney court hearing now expected in August this year.

3) US Airways Sued By First-Class Passengers

This story was covered by media throughout the world. Two African-American passengers, MacCraig Warren and Miles Warren, filed a discrimination lawsuit against US Airways after being told to change out of their hoodies, jeans and baseball caps before they could board a first-class flight from Denver to Los.

The passengers told TODAY that they were "shocked" and "humiliated" by the request, especially as two other first-class passengers (one white and one Filipino), were wearing hooded sweatshirt and jeans.

However, the airline claims it was following industry-wide policy for non-reveal paying passengers (the passengers were travelling as part of the employee travel programme). "We welcome customers of all ethnicities and backgrounds and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We take these allegations seriously,” US Airways said in a statement.

4) Air Canada Sued By French-Speaking Couple

Sometimes one complaint is not enough. Michel and Lynda Thibodeau filed EIGHT complaints with the official languages commissioner over the English-only services they apparently received from Air Canada during flights between January and May 2009.

The Official Languages Act requires Air Canada to communicate and provide services in both official languages in the National Capital Region and elsewhere in Canada. However, the couple weren’t able to order a 7Up in French, it seems.

The Federal Court this week awarded the couple $12,000 in compensation for the times Air Canada did not serve them in French (and by the way, the couple was seeking $525,000 in damages). The airline was also ordered to issue an apology to the Thibodeaus.

5) Southwest Airlines Sued By Overweight Man

Last month, Matthew Harper was travelling with Southwest Airlines from Midway Airport to Denver. Apparently, after boarding the aircraft, he was booted off because of his weight (340 pounds).

Once outside the plane, a Southwest employee explained the airline’s policy of advising so-called "customers of size" to buy two seats. Harper states the flight wasn't even full and there was an empty seat next to him… although he was eventually let back on.

The passenger has filed a complaint with Southwest and was offered $100, but turned it down and will now talk with an attorney. "34 years old and I've never been humiliated like this in my life," he told the media. "I mean, when I got back on the plane only thing I could do is just put my head down." Southwest says it plans to look into what happened.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

REVEALED: 50 Biggest Low-Cost Carriers In The World

Southwest Airlines is the world's biggest low cost carrier
Southwest Airlines is the world's biggest low cost carrier

Not too long ago, I published a list of the world’s 50 biggest airlines by passenger capacity, with data provided by Innovata (a provider of travel data management and distribution solutions).

The rankings used Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) Per Week as a measurement, with United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines all featured in the top 5. In fact, Emirates Airline was the only non-US entrant! Click here to view the entire list.

As a follow-up, I have partnered with Innovata once again, but this time around we will look at the world’s 50 biggest low-cost carriers.

Southwest Airlines, which featured at number 5 in the world’s biggest airlines list, does even better in these rankings… taking the top spot! Others in the top 10 include Ryanair, easyJet, JetBlue Airways, Lion Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Jetstar Airways.

Check below for the rankings, which are based on Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) Per Week using data from May 2013 (and I’ve also included year-on-year percentage change).

What are your thoughts? Are the airline rankings as you would expect, or have some of the positions come as a surprise? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Top 10 Airports In The World (i.e. winners of Skytrax’s 2013 World Airport Awards)

The World Airport Awards 2013 attracted 12.1 million votes
It’s that time of the year again, when leading airports from across the globe compete for trade honours at Skytrax’s World Airport Awards.

Once again, this year’s winners were revealed during a special awards ceremony to coincide with the Passenger Terminal EXPO in Geneva.

The winners are decided after a massive survey of airport customers from around the world, with a staggering 12.1 million responses this year!

So, which airport was deemed the world’s best by all these people? Here are some clues: this is the fourth time the winner has collected this accolade, last claiming victory back in 2010… which means it’s not last year’s winner Incheon International Airport.

Still not sure? Well, drumroll please… here’s the list of winners:


  1. Singapore Changi Airport
  2. Incheon International Airport
  3. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
  4. Hong Kong International Airport
  5. Beijing Capital International Airport
  6. Munich Airport
  7. Zurich Airport
  8. Vancouver International Airport
  9. Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)
  10. London Heathrow Airport

ALSO READ: The world’s best airline amenity bags in 2013

"In winning this prestigious accolade, Singapore Changi cements its place as one of the world's favourite airports and Skytrax offer their sincere congratulations on what has been a fantastic year of achievement" said Edward Plaisted, Chairman of Skytrax. "Changi airport continues to be a leader and innovator within the industry and this in our opinion, is a key reason why it has remained ranked amongst the top-3 airports for the last 14 years of the awards."

What do you think about the list? Were the right airports selected? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

ALSO READ: The world’s best airports according to Airports Council International

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

REVEALED: The world’s best airline amenity bags in 2013

Etihad Airways award-winner male amenity kit
Etihad's award-winner male amenity kit

Amenity bags are often considered a great bonus for airline passengers travelling in business or first class. In fact, have a look at online travel forums and you’ll normally find a heap of discussions about the best (and worst) amenity kits offers by airlines throughout the world.

The debate is not limited to passengers either. Each year, an awards ceremony is hosted to honour the world’s best airline amenity kits, with the winners of this year’s Airline Amenity Bags Awards announced at a special ceremony in Hamburg last night.

The ceremony, which took place alongside World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo and Aircraft Interiors, was the final part of a rigorous process, in which airlines and suppliers pay US$138 to enter the awards.

Online members of TravelPlus Media (which organises the awards) are recruited to judge the entrants, together with a 10-strong judging panel of aviation professionals and frequent travellers.

The winners of this year’s Airline Amenity Bags Awards include the likes of Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia and Turkish Airlines. Check out the full list below.

“It’s estimated there are around 38,000 first-class seats available worldwide over any 24-hour period, and 68,000 business class,” states Simon Ward, founder of TravelPlus Media. “If each of those has an amenity bag, the marketing and commercial opportunities are huge.”

Winner List: Airline Amenity Bag Awards 2013

  • First-class male: Etihad Airways
  • First-class female: Emirates Airlines
  • First-class unisex: Singapore Airlines
  • Business-class male: Qantas
  • Business-class female: Virgin Australia
  • Business-class unisex: Turkish Airlines
  • Premium economy: Condor Airlines
  • Economy class: Virgin Atlantic
  • Children under 6: Qantas
  • Children over 6: Qatar Airways
  • Ethically sustainable: Finnair
  • Most innovative: Turkish Airlines

What are your thoughts on the winners? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Clever animation shows Airbus A320neo aircraft in flight

With the first Airbus A320neo scheduled for delivery in 2015, we still have a long wait until it’s operated on commercial services.

However, there’s strong interest in the forthcoming aircraft within the airline community, which is apparent from the total number of firm orders to date. And the chances are pretty good that more orders will be announced at this year’s Paris Airshow too.

How does the A320neo’s sales compare to Boeing’s forthcoming counterpart, the 737MAX? I found an interest infographic below from, with updated information from this month on a region to region basis.

A320neo versus 737-MAX : airline firm orders by region

How does the A320neo’s sales compare to Boeing’s forthcoming counterpart, the 737MAX?
Airbus A320neo firm orders in blue and Boeing 737MAX firm order in red
And finally, I came across this cool two-minute video from on, which has computer-rendered animations that show the Airbus A320neo ‘in flight’ with different airline paint schemes. 

According to Airbus, improvements with the A320neo include a 15 per cent reduction in fuel consumption, two tonnes of additional payload, up to 500 nautical miles of more range, lower operating costs, along with reductions in engine noise and emissions.

Friday, March 29, 2013

PHOTOS: Inside the futuristic new airport terminal in Jordan

The new passenger terminal at Queen Alia International Airport, Jordan
New passenger terminal at Queen Alia Airport, Jordan

When it comes to airport developments in the Middle East, most people will think of the multi-billion dollar projects in Abu Dhabi, Doha and Dubai. However, even outside of oil-rich GCC countries, the region has a lot of exciting developments in the making.

Only last week, for example, the brand new passenger terminal at Queen Alia International Airport was opened. The facility is being marketed as the ‘spectacular new gateway to Jordan’ – a description that is reinforced by various photos of the terminal that have been issued to the media.

I’ve included one of them on this page and the rest have been uploaded as a photo album on my Facebook page – click here to view them!

Located in the capital city of Amman, the airport’s design has been inspired by local traditions and is based on a flexible modular solution that allows for future expansion. In fact, the design allows the airport to grow by 6 per cent per annum for the next twenty-five years, increasing capacity from 3.5 million to 12 million passengers per annum by 2030.

To celebrate the opening, here are 10 interesting design facts about the airport terminal, courtesy of its designer Foster + Partners.


  1. In response to Amman’s climate (where summer temperatures vary markedly between day and night time), the building is constructed largely from concrete, which offers passive environmental control due to its high thermal mass. 
  2. The terminal’s tessellated roof canopy includes a series of shallow concrete domes, which extend to shade the facades. 
  3. The domes branch out from the supporting columns like the leaves of a desert palm and daylight floods the concourse through split beams at the column junctions. 
  4. Echoing the veins of a leaf, a special pattern based on traditional Islamic forms is applied to each exposed soffit. The complex geometry of the roof shells and fabrication strategy was developed in conjunction with Foster + Partners’ in-house geometry specialists.
  5. Two piers of departure gates run along either side of the central building, which contains the main processing areas, in addition to shops, lounges and restaurants. 
  6. Open-air courtyards can be found between these volumes, which contribute to the terminal’s environmental strategy. For instance, plants and trees help to filter pollution and pre-condition the air before it is drawn into the air handling system, while reflecting pools bounce indirect natural light into the airport.
  7. The terminal is glazed on all sides to allow views of the aircraft on the apron and to aid orientation. Horizontal louvres shade the facades from direct sunlight – to eliminate glare, the louvres become concentrated in more exposed areas close to the columns. 
  8. The concrete structure incorporates local gravel to reduce maintenance requirements and harmonise with the natural shades of local sand.
  9. Amman is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world – the airport’s design resonates with a sense of place and local architecture, particularly in the domed roof, which from the air echoes the black flowing fabric of a Bedouin tent. 
  10. There are also references to the Jordanian tradition of hospitality – in celebration of the custom for family groups to congregate at the airport, the forecourt has been enlarged to create a landscaped plaza with seating, shaded by trees, where people can gather to bid farewell or welcome returning travellers.

What are your thoughts on the new terminal? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

IATA’s 10 best international training partners in 2013

Where in the world are IATA's best training partners?

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has completed an evaluation of 440 training partners across the world and named the ten best performers in 2013… which I thought was useful information for readers that might be considering training.

Hundreds of IATA’s Authorized Training Centres (ATCs) in more than 90 countries were evaluated in total, with a focus on the number of students trained and the student examination pass rate.

“The excellence of these training centres significantly contributes to the people development of the air transport industry by opening up opportunities for the next generation of aviation professionals worldwide,” the associated stated in a press release.

So where in the world should you be heading for amazing IATA-approved training? Well, there’s an obvious concentration of leading IATA training centres in Asia (especially India), which spills into the Middle East and Africa… but none of the top 10 hail from developed markets in Europe and North America. Check out the results below (the list is not ranked in any particular order).

IATA’s 2013 Premier Circle (Worldwide Top 10) Authorised Training Centres

  • Etihad Airways Aviation Academy, UAE 
  • Japan Aircargo Forwarders Association (JAFA), Japan
  • Akbar Academy of Airline Studies, India
  • IITC-India International Trade Centre, India
  • Speedwings Academy for Aviation Services, India 
  • Qatar Aeronautical College, Qatar  
  • Air Travel & Related Studies Centre, Kenya 
  • Trade Wings Institute of Management, India
  • International Aviation Academy of Sri Lankan Airlines, Sri Lanka
  • Aircargo Training Center of Japan, Japan

The awards were presented by Ismail Albaidhani, Head of Global Partnerships & Learning Innovation, at ceremonies during the 2013 Global Training Partner Congress held in Abu Dhabi and the IATA DG ATS Conference in Doha during the proceedings of the 7th World Cargo Symposium.

“IATA has trained last year some 92,000 existing professionals and young students from all over the world. This result is due to the major contribution of its network of 440 training partners located in more than 90 countries, “said Albaidhani.

“IATA extends its appreciation for their tireless efforts and contribution in driving learning and development initiatives. These are critical to building the required leadership and competencies that are essential to support a sustainable, safe and effective air transport industry. Congratulations to all the awarded partners,” he added.

What are your thoughts? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

REVEALED: The world's 50 biggest airlines by capacity

United Airlines is the world's largest airline by Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) / Week
United Airlines is the world's largest airline by capacity
What is the best measurement to use for ranking the world’s biggest airlines? It’s a tough question (and one that often divides the aviation industry), but I’ve always thought that capacity is a useful starting point.

In fact, I’ve decided to use Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) Per Week as the basis for a forthcoming series of airline rankings on, with the data provided by Innovata, a global leader in travel data management and distribution solutions.

And what better way to kick-start the series than a list of the world’s top 50 global airlines? American airlines are leading the market in terms of global capacity, it seems, while Europe, Asia and the Middle East are also well represented.

Innovata has provided me with data from March 2013 for this particular ranking – you’ll find the top 50 below, with the ASK/week for each airline and the year-on-year percentage change.

What are your thoughts? Are the rankings as you would expect, or have some of the positions come as a surprise? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on FacebookTwitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

INFOGRAPHIC: Fun facts about the Airbus A380 to celebrate the aircraft’s 100th delivery!

Less than a week ago, Airbus delivered its 100th A380 to Malaysia Airlines – a milestone I covered on my blog (click here to read the story), in addition to a photo gallery of the delivery ceremony on my Facebook page (click here to view the images).

Since the article and photo gallery were well-received, I’ve decided to complete a hat-trick with my coverage and post an Airbus A380 infographic (below) as well… a special treat for my fellow avgeeks!

An Airbus A380 infographic to celebrate the aircraft's 100th delivery
The Airbus A380 Infographic (click to enlarge)
According to Airbus, the 100th delivery underscores the A380’s global reach – particularly in the Asia-Pacific market. In fact, 65 percent of A380 capacity is to, from, or within Asia-Pacific, with over 50,000 seats offered on nearly 500 services performed every week.

In addition to its high-profile Asia-Pacific presence, the double-deck jetliner is a familiar sight in Europe – with some 250 weekly services to destinations in this market, as well as in North America – performing over 200 services per week.

Overall, A380s regularly operate at more than 30 airports globally and cover around 65 scheduled routes that circle the world with the nine current operators: Malaysia Airlines, Air France, China Southern, Emirates, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways International.

Underscoring its attractiveness not only at major hub facilities such as London-Heathrow, Los Angeles International, Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt, the A380 performs scheduled operations to destinations that include Auckland,  Manchester, Montreal, Jeddah and Johannesburg.

“In its sixth year of service, the A380 is delivering on all commitments, and exceeds the expectations, confirming that our motto: ‘Love at first flight’ is true for both the airlines and their passengers,” said Richard Carcaillet, Airbus’ Director of A380 Product Marketing.

Friday, March 15, 2013

PHOTO SPECIAL: Airbus delivers its 100th A380 aircraft to Malaysia Airlines

The 100th Airbus A380 was delivered to Malaysia Airlines
The 100th Airbus A380 was delivered to Malaysia Airlines

Airbus celebrated a milestone delivery in Toulouse this week, as the aircraft manufacturer’s 100th A380 was handed over to Malaysia Airlines.

You’ll find a photo of the special aircraft on this page and I have posted more on my Facebook page – click here to view them.

“We are delighted that our 100th A380 delivery is to Malaysia Airlines as this gives us an early glimpse into the future shape of aviation,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO.

“We see a growing demand from dynamic, competitive airlines such as MAS for larger aircraft, with many markets and routes, and in particular in the fast developing Asia-Pacific region, being ideally suited to A380s.”

10 Things You Should Know About The Airbus A380

  1. Now in its sixth year of commercial service, the A380 is flying with nine world class airlines. 
  2. To date, the worldwide fleet has carried some 36 million passengers in 100,000 flights. Previous generation Very Large Aircraft (VLA 400 seats and above) would have required 140,000 flights.
  3. This reduction in flights brings essential relief to airport-congestion and the environment, argues Airbus. The corresponding saving of 5.7 million tonnes of CO2, demonstrates the A380 generates more revenue whilst minimising emissions and noise. 
  4. The A380 fleet performs over 140 flights per day and carries over one and a half million people each month.
  5. Passengers can hop on board one of the A380s which are either taking off or landing every six minutes at one of the 32 international airports where it operates to date.
  6. On top of these, more than 50 other airports are getting prepared to accommodate the A380 and answer the airlines’ need for more A380 destinations.
  7. Over the next 20 years, more than 1,700 VLA such as the A380 will have been delivered. Asia Pacific leads demand (45 percent) for these high capacity aircraft, followed by the Middle East (23 percent) and Europe (19 percent).
  8. Typically seating 525 passengers in three classes, the aircraft is capable of flying 8,500 nautical miles or 15,700 kilometres non-stop, carrying more people at lower cost and with less impact on the environment.
  9. Airbus states that the spacious, quiet cabin and smooth ride have made the A380 a firm favourite with passengers, resulting in higher load factors wherever it flies. 
  10. Since 2006 the A380 has registered repeat orders by satisfied customers every year, bringing the total order book to date to 262 from 20 customers. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

REVEALED: The world’s best airports according to Airports Council International

Airports Council International has revealed the world's best airports for 2012
Which airports are the best for passenger satisfaction?
 Airports Council International (ACI) describes its annual Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards as “the industry’s most prestigious accolades”… I can't vouch for that, but the results are pretty interesting.

The awards, which were launched in 2006, attract the participation of more than 200 airports from across the world. In order to the select the winners, airline passengers are interviewed prior to boarding their flight and asked to rate their satisfaction with the airport that day. And we’re not talking about a handful of passengers here, but more than 350,000 people at last count.

As part of this year’s awards, the winners were announced in different categories, such as the best airport on a region-to-region basis, the best airport in terms of size, and the most improved airport.

While announcing the results of the ASQ Awards for this year, ACI World Director Angela Gittens described the current market as “an exciting time for airports”.

"As airports and their operators increasingly accept the positive correlation between passenger satisfaction and airport revenues, we see more and more airports striving to meet, and in some cases exceed, the levels of customer service that their passengers expect,” she added.

“Airports that deliver superior customer service stand apart from the competition and superior customer service remains one of the most important differentiators in the increasingly competitive airport industry.”

For this blog post, I wanted to focus on the regional winners. Below, you will find a list of the top three airports for each region, as announced by Airports Council International as part of the ASQ Awards.


Best Middle Eastern Airports
1. Abu Dhabi
2. Dubai
3. Doha
Best European Airports
1. Moscow Sheremetyevo
2. Malta
3. Edinburgh
Best America-Caribbean Airports
1. Cancun
2. Guayaquil
3. Montego Bay
Best North American Airports
1. Indianapolis
2. Ottawa
3. Tampa
Best Asia-Pacific Airport
1. Seoul Incheon
2. Singapore
3. Beijing
Best African Airports
1. Cape Town
2. Durban
3. Cairo

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with the results? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

PHOTOS: Bollywood star Katrina Kaif and others feature in Etihad Airways print adverts

Bollywood star Katrina Kaif features in a print advert for Etihad Airways
Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif in the new Etihad advert
Around a week ago, I posted details of the brand new Etihad Airways television commercial, which has since started to air in the UAE, as well as television networks in Australia, China, Germany, India, Japan, UK, USA and Nigeria.

The television commercial is part of a new global brand advertising campaign (under the theme “The World Is Our Home, You Are Our Guest”), which is actually our first major campaign in three years and will be supported regional and international TV, print, outdoor, and digital media advertising.

As a follow-up, I wanted to share some print adverts from the new campaign – including one that features Bollywood superstar Katrina Kaif, who is also a brand ambassador of Etihad Airways. You can check that one out on this page, while the others are featured on my Facebook page. Click here to view them.

Incidentally, Katrina Kaif has just been honoured as “Brand Endorser of the Year” at the International Advertising Association (IAA) Leadership Awards in India. Congrats to her!

Back to the +Etihad Airways campaign – here’s what the UAE national carrier had to say in a press release: “The campaign reinforces the airline’s ‘guest’ proposition and explains how Etihad Airways draws inspiration from around the world to provide industry-leading ‘signature moments’ on the ground and in the air”.

What are your thoughts on the adverts? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on FacebookTwitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Investigation launched after airline ‘Harlem Shake’ video goes viral!

Harlem Shake video onboard flight prompts FAA investigation
Dancing up a storm - 'Harlem Shake' filmed on flight
There’s no avoiding the ‘Harlem Shake’ these days. The homemade dance videos are clogging up the internet at alarming speed, from Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and of course YouTube, it seems everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Its little surprise, therefore, that the most popular examples are clocking millions of views from around the world.

Around a week ago, I wrote a blog post about how an Air India pilot got into trouble when his YouTube rap video went viral, with lyrics that complained about the national carrier (click here, if you missed that article). And now it’s a ‘Harlem Shake’ video – filmed on-board a Frontier Airliners flight – that has prompted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to launched an investigation.

This isn’t the first aviation-themed Harlem Shake video, of course, but most were filmed on aircraft that were grounded. This time around, however, that wasn’t the case.

The video was filmed by 18 college students, who were travelling to a Frisbee tournament in San Diego last month, according to CNN. It seems they asked the fight crew for permission and were allowed to use the aircraft’s public address system to inform other passengers about the stunt.

"We wanted to make sure that we followed every regulation and that nothing went wrong, and that it was OK with (the airplane crew)," CNN quotes team member Matt Zelin as saying. "We just figured being on a plane, you know, you need to make sure everything is safe, and we just talked to flight attendants and they were excited."

After the plane landed, they posted the 30-second video online, and it went viral. "And so it went from kind of this, kind of joking around idea among the team to something that was reality, and then it was on YouTube and there were hundreds of thousands of views and now we're talking to you guys," Zelin added.

The video is below and the last I checked, it had crossed the half-a-million views mark… impressive! At the same time, however, it set alarm bells ringing at the FAA.

"I hate to be a bureaucratic kill-joy," commented Steve Wallace, former director of the FAA's Office of Accident Investigation. "I think there is a safety issue here. Turbulence injuries are the most common type of injuries, and they are virtually eliminated when people are in their seat belts."

According to the CNN report, the FAA is "looking into" the video and trying to determine the circumstances of the videotaping (and whether the seat belt sign was on). Frontier Airlines could not comment because of the FAA investigation, but said "all safety measures were followed and the seat belt sign was off."

What are your thoughts? Was this a safety concern or a bit of fun? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on FacebookTwitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

WATCH: The exciting new Etihad Airways TV commercial

We experienced a special moment at the Etihad Airways headquarters this morning, when hundreds of staff gathered in the reception area to watch our much-awaited new television commercial (TVC).

The commercial, which was created by Etihad’ international advertising agency M&C Saatchi, will be released in the UAE on 3rd March 2013, and then across the world on 4th March 2013 (airing on television networks in Australia, China, Germany, India, Japan, UK, USA and Nigeria).

However, you can watch the international version of the commercial below - while the making of video has been posted on my Facebook page - click here to view it (and you can always like the page while you're there - to keep updated with the latest blog posts!).

It is part of a new global brand advertising campaign (under the theme “The World Is Our Home, You Are Our Guest”), which is actually our first major campaign in three years and will be supported regional and international TV, print, outdoor, and digital media advertising.

“The campaign reinforces the airline’s ‘guest’ proposition and explains how Etihad Airways draws inspiration from around the world to provide industry-leading ‘signature moments’ on the ground and in the air,” stated a press release, which was issued today.

David Edwards directed the TVC, which has been produced by Rogue Films in London and was filmed in Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Prague and Sydney between mid-December 2012 and mid-January 2013.

The split screen technique used in the TVC juxtaposes the airline’s award-winning onboard service with lifestyle scenes from international destinations, fine dining restaurants and five star hotels around the world.

“This illustrates how the airline has established itself as a world leader in the provision of hospitality services by benchmarking itself against best-in-class hospitality establishments rather than other airlines,” added the press release.

The TVC uses high production values and a soundtrack of Bobby Darin’s 1967 classic, “Beautiful Things” to create a visually stunning TVC that brings to life the flair, glamour and inspiration of Etihad Airways and its home of Abu Dhabi.

It also highlights the airline’s dedication to sourcing the best products and ingredients from around the world to provide ‘signature’ and ‘outstanding as standard’ service to all its guests.

“This is our first brand advertising in many years. Having focused on product innovation and service excellence, the time is now right to make a bold and confident brand statement to the world,” commented Peter Baumgartner, +Etihad Airways  Chief Commercial Officer.

“This is not a rebranding exercise, but a continuation of our brand story drawing from the values of our home in Abu Dhabi and our inspiration from around the world," he added.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

HIT OR MISS? Bizarre kissing competition on Scoot flight splits opinions!

Passengers take part in Scoot's kissing contest for Valentine's day
Passengers take part in Scoot's kissing contest
Imagine this. You’re travelling on a flight from Singapore to Bangkok, excited about reaching your final destination, when soon after take-off, the couple seated in the row ahead of yours stand-up and start kissing each other. Not a little peck on the cheek, but a full-on passionate embrace.

Sounds a little odd, right? But wait, the story doesn’t finish there. You look around the aircraft to check other people’s reaction to this somewhat peculiar behaviour, but to your surprise, there are several couples doing exactly the same thing. Young couples, old couples, same-sex couples… all participating in what can only be described as a kissing marathon (kiss-a-thon?).

Now, before you think I’ve totally lost the plot, this is not a work of fiction. On the contrary, it actually happened on-board a recent Scoot flight… and the budget airline couldn’t be happier about the situation. That’s because the couples were taking part in a Valentine’s Day competition on two different flights, with free goodies on offer to the pair that kissed for the longest. Head over to my Facebook page to view all the photos.

On the first flight, the winners locked lips for a total of 35 minutes, receiving free flights and hotel accommodation to any destination on Scoot’s network for their efforts. The results on the second flight were even more impressive, with five couples kissing all the way from Singapore to Bangkok!

Budget airline Scoot hosts kissing competition for Valentine's Day 2013
Was the contest a clever gimmick or a step too far?
"They kissed while standing, sitting, squatting and persisting till the flight was about to descend,” stated a press release in perhaps too much detail.

All five couples were declared winners and received a pair of economy-class tickets, with Scoot CEO Campbell Wilson describing the competition as a “fun experience”.

"It was great to celebrate the spirit of Valentine's Day, and in a much more enjoyable way than just keeping ones hand on a car. We only hope that our fantastic couples haven't prematurely exhausted their passion,” he added.

However, while the competition has received a lot of media coverage (unsurprisingly), if you look at the photos on my Facebook page (which originally appeared on Scoot's Facebook page), it seems there was a mixed response from passengers on the flights – some were unfazed by the situation while others looked ‘less than impressed with the displays of affection’, using the words of a report by

What are your thoughts? Was this a clever gimmick or a step too far? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on FacebookTwitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Air India pilot in trouble after his rap video goes viral!

Air India pilot in trouble after rap video goes viral
Rapping was not the answer for this Air India pilot
Viral videos are a funny business, right? On the one hand, they have the power to make you rich and famous and on the other hand, they can be responsible for your downfall. At least, that seems to be the case with an Air India pilot, who uploaded a homemade video of himself rapping about the national carrier on YouTube.

Sounds like a bit of harmless fun, I hear you say? Maybe that was the intention, but the video has not received much acclaim from the aviation authorities.

To be fair, it’s not his rapping style that they have a problem with… it’s his lyrics, which complain about unpaid salaries and aging flight attendants, while also criticising the “people at the top” for ruining Air India.

The music video has been attracting a lot of media attention in recent days – even CNN has been reporting on it! That might have been a reality check, because the 28-year-old pilot has written an apology to Air India’s management and he’s not doing any media interviews either.

So what’s wrong with the lyrics? Here are some highlights (and the video is below):

“I’m filing bankruptcy and I’m getting broke… why don’t we punish those who f***ed up my airline? How do I fly with women in their 60s? They can them airhostesses, we call them aunties,” the pilot raps.

“It’s few people at the top who f***ed us up and robbed. They don't even let me leave, they don't give me NOC (no objection certificate). Please tell them it isn't Air Force, I ain’t at LoC (line of control).”

With lyrics like that, the video was never going to be well received by his management, was it? “The pilot is in the wrong profession,” an unnamed Air India official told The Times of India newspaper. “Since he is so talented as a musician, he should have been in a rock band.” Ouch!

The pilot has been described as enthusiastic by co-workers, which comes across in the video too, but not even that character trait will aid him this time around. Unsurprisingly, he could face disciplinary action.

“Discipline has to be maintained by all employees. People are free to leave the company and then do what they want. Will any private company tolerate such behaviour from any employee? We will examine his track record before taking a final view on his immature act,” a senior official was quoted as saying.

Without further ado, here is the rap video - be warned, the lyrics are explicit! So what are your views - was the pilot in the wrong, or should he be allowed to express himself? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on FacebookTwitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

REVEALED: Four major trends that will shape air travel by 2015

Four major trends set to shape air travel by 2015
What will airline passengers expect in the future?
I received an interesting report from SITA the other day, titled ‘Flying into the Future’, which claimed that technology innovation will significantly change the way we travel by 2015.

“Over the next three years, the industry will see a major transformation in the way passengers buy travel services and use self-service along their journey,” stated the report. “In addition, these journeys will take place in a fully mobile and social environment with airlines and airports intelligently using vast quantities of data to deliver real service and operational improvements.”

Okay, that’s probably not a massive surprise to many people in the aviation industry – or passengers for that matter – but I wanted to share the four major trends that are set to shape air travel over the next two or three years, according to SITA (a company that should have expert insight into the topic, as its marketed as ‘the world's leading specialist in air transport communications and IT solutions’).

The report is quite timely for me. You may have read in the media that Etihad Airways will make its ‘Big Switch’ to new, state-of-the-art, passenger sales, website, and check-in systems next week, the most significant milestone in its US$1 billion, ten-year, deal with Sabre Airline Solutions.

The Passenger Service System (PSS) transformation project is the most challenging IT and business-critical initiative that the Abu Dhabi-based airline has implemented in its history and will offer significant enhancements to the customer experience, especially in areas such as mobile and guest communications.

You can read more about that on the Etihad Airways website, but back to SITA! Based on the company’s most recent surveys of airlines, airports and passengers worldwide, the four major trends which will shape the future of global air travel are listed below (there’s a cool infographic at the end, so keep reading)!

  1. The way passengers buy travel will change. By 2015, both airlines and airports expect the web and the mobile phone to be the top two sales channels. Passengers are asking for a more personalised buying experience, and the industry is responding. For example, Alaska Airlines is one of several airlines with a travel app that alerts fliers to airfare deals from their hometowns and to cities where their friends live.
  2. Passengers will take more control. By 2015, 90% of airlines will offer mobile check-in—up from 50% today. Passengers will use 2D boarding passes or contactless technology such as Near Field Communications (NFC) on their phones, at different stages of their journey, such as at boarding gates, fast-track security zones and to access premium passenger lounges.  Japan Airline’s Touch & Go Android is one example of an app, which will allow passengers to pass through boarding gates using their NFC-enabled phones. France’s Toulouse-Blagnac Airport is piloting a similar service.
  3. Customer services will become more mobile and social. By 2015, nine out of ten airlines and airports will provide flight updates using smart phone apps. The industry is also exploring apps to improve the customer experience. At Japan’s Narita Airport, roaming service employees personalise the customer experience by using iPads to provide airport, flight and hotel information to passengers. In addition, Edinburgh Airport is one of several airports with apps that help passengers plan their journeys to and from the airport, track their flights, access terminal maps and reserve parking spots before they arrive.
  4. The passenger experience will improve thanks to better business intelligence. By 2015, more than 80% of airports and airlines will invest in business intelligence (BI) solutions. Most will focus on improving customer service and satisfaction, often through personalized services. For example, one European airline, Vueling, researches customers via social media in an effort to understand them better. It then integrates this information into their BI programmes to improve loyalty. 
Do you agree with the list? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on FacebookTwitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Top 10: Airlines with the best cabin crew uniform in 2013 (Europe and Asia-Pacific)

Aeroflot Cabin Crew Uniform
Aeroflot - Europe's best air hostess uniform?
Mirror mirror on the wall, which cabin crew uniform is the most stylish of them all?

Although fashion is not something I would normally cover on this blog, I thought the results of Skyscanner’s latest user survey were worth sharing!

The popular website, which allows users to browse for flights via price and location, asked more than 1,200 air travellers to rate the cabin crew uniforms of European airlines on a scale of one to five.

The air hostess survey for 2013 included all of Europe’s main players, from national carriers such as British Airways, Air France, Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines to low-cost carriers Ryanair, easyJet and Flybe.

However, with a certain element of surprise, none of the above actually managed to top the list! The winner was Russia’s national carrier Aeroflot, whose cabin crew wear a distinctive red uniform.

Perhaps less surprising was the fact that Skyscanner’s Russia Manager Tatiana Danilova was thrilled with the results. “Russian cabin crew are well-known for being very glamorous, and it is a well-respected and much sought after profession,” commented Danilova. “It’s reassuring our Russian cabin crew are flying the flag and showing that Russians are extremely style savvy!”

Here is the complete top 10:

  1. Aeroflot
  2. British Airways
  3. Lufthansa
  4. Air France
  5. Finnair
  6. Flybe
  7. Turkish Airlines
  8. Alitalia
  9. easyJet
  10. Ryanair

Top 10: Asia-Pacific airlines with the best cabin crew uniform

China Eastern Airlines Cabin Crew Uniform
China Eastern Airlines - winner in the Asia-Pacific region
And why limit this to Europe? +Skyscanner  completed a similar survey for Asia Pacific airlines, again with 1,200 jet-setters asked to vote, from countries such as Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Korea and Singapore.

This time around, it was Shanghai-based China Eastern who topped the list, all thanks to its smart navy blue uniforms, which are teamed with white shirts and red scarves.

Here are the full results:

  1. China Eastern Airlines
  2. Asiana Airlines
  3. Virgin Australia 
  4. Air China
  5. China Southern Airlines
  6. Air Asia
  7. Singapore Airlines 
  8. Korean Air
  9. Philippine Airlines
  10. Jeju Air
What are your views? As always, please feel free to share your comments on the photos here, and you can also get in touch on FacebookTwitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

RELATED: Top 10 Passenger Habits That Annoy Cabin Crew

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Top 10 Long-Haul Airlines of 2012, According To ‘Which?’ Magazine

This photo is a clue about the winner!
What is the magic formula for determining the world’s best airline? Ask a hundred people and you will get a hundred different answers!

However, the well-known consumer magazine “Which?” bases its annual airline survey on elements such as value for money, functionality, cabin environment and staff.

The survey, which is divided into long-haul and short-haul categories, asks people to rate airlines in each of these factors, in addition to scoring their overall satisfaction and whether they would recommend the airline to their friends. The results are always interesting and tend to divide the aviation industry – some agree, some disagree and some are happy to sit on the fence.

I’m sure the debate will continue with the results of the latest survey, which have just been published. For this post, I will focus on the long-haul results, with 8000 respondents giving their views on 23 different airlines that offer flights from the UK. Can you guess which airlines came out on top?

“Take a return long-haul flight and you’re likely to be spending at least £400 and 14 hours in the air. So finding a reliable, punctual airline that provides value for money, comfortable conditions and a good in-air service could make all the difference to your holiday,” the magazine tells its readers.

“The airline used by more members than any other was British Airways (BA), but it’s four other carriers flying to Asia and on to Australia and New Zealand that have won your greatest support once again. If the scenes in The Hobbit have left you itching to travel to New Zealand, that nation’s flag carrier, Air New Zealand, should serve you well. Alongside it, Singapore Airlines and Emirates are long-standing high scorers in Which? surveys, joined this year in the top ranks by Etihad Airways.”

So, drum roll please… here is the top 10 long-haul airlines of 2012, according to the survey:
  1. Air New Zealand (Overall Score: 86%)
  2. Etihad Airways (Overall Score: 84%)
  3. Singapore Airlines (Overall Score: 83%)
  4. Emirates (Overall Score: 81%)
  5. Qatar Airways (Overall Score: 75%)
  6. Thai Airways (Overall Score: 74%)
  7. Cathay Pacific (Overall Score: 74%)
  8. KLM (Overall Score: 73%)
  9. Malaysia Airlines (Overall Score: 71%)
  10. Qantas (Overall Score: 70%)
Considering the survey only focuses on airlines that serve the UK, it’s somewhat surprising that none of the country’s carriers were featured in the top 10! Virgin Atlantic ranked at number 11 with an overall score of 69%, while British Airways is placed at number 12 with an overall score of 65%.

The rest of the Top 20, in order, is: Jet Airways (64%), Air Canada (60%), South African Airways (60%), Air Transat (56%), Thomson Airways (55%), United (51%), Delta (47%) and Air France (44%). The remaining three positions are taken by US Airways (43%), Thomas Cook Airlines (43%) and American Airlines (42%).

“It’s worth choosing your airline carefully if you’re heading to the States – three of our five worst performers are US-based carriers. Typical complaints about American Airlines, for instance, were about the poor onboard service from staff, uncomfortable seats and a lack,” concluded +Which? Magazine.

Do you agree with the ranking? Feel free to post a comment. Also, you can click here for the relevant section on the Which? website for this survey, with loads of additional information. And thanks to the team for letting me post the results!

RELATED: Top 10 Passenger Habits That Annoy Cabin Crew