I went on JetBlue’s newest aircraft, the Airbus A321neoLR, that’s taking flyers to Europe next month and now I’m ready to book a ticket

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

  • JetBlue Airways is launching its first flights to London next month and using a new plane to do it.
  • Only 138 seats are offered with a sizeable business class cabin to draw in premium passengers.
  • In-flight entertainment, in-flight WiFi, and hot meals will be complimentary for all flyers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
JetBlue is going to London, UK next month, and powering its transatlantic debut will be a brand-new aircraft to its fleet, the Airbus A321neoLR.

JetBlue Airways taking delivery of its first Airbus A321neoLR
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neoLR.

Read More: JetBlue is promising London-bound passengers free meals, wider seats, and more when service finally starts this summer — take a look

The next-generation and “long-range” version of Airbus’ largest single-aisle jet offers JetBlue a 4,000-nautical mile range while also burning less fuel on the overseas journey.

JetBlue Airways taking delivery of its first Airbus A321neoLR
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neoLR.

Passengers accustomed to flying the New York-London route will note that it’s the smallest aircraft to service the busy transatlantic corridor that’s generated billions in revenue for some airlines. But JetBlue is giving the plane a fresh new look compared to its other jets to help bring more travelers across the pond.

Mint business class on JetBlue Airways' Airbus A321neoLR
Inside JetBlue Airways’ Airbus A321neoLR.

Take a look inside the jet that will take JetBlue passengers to London starting in August.

Boarding JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

From the outside, JetBlue’s newest plane looks like any other in the leisure carrier’s fleet. On the inside, however, is a technological marvel jam-packed with passenger-friendly amenities.

Inside JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Only 138 seats are offered on an aircraft that can normally seat around 200.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Mint business class is also making its transatlantic debut with brand-new seats to boot.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

A total of 24 business class seats are angled towards the aisle in what’s known as a herringbone pattern.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

There’s one seat on each side of the aisle in a 1-1 configuration, as opposed to the alternating 2-2, 1-1 configuration on JetBlue’s first-generation Mint planes.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

The arrangement is ideal for solo travelers as they offer complete privacy from the rest of the aircraft. JetBlue told Insider that privacy was the greatest request that it received from Mint flyers.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

And to that effect, each seat will have fully closeable doors that block passengers off from the rest of the plane.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

JetBlue is traditionally a leisure airline but is enticing premium customers the most business class seats it has ever offered on a single plane. And it shows, the cabin is so deep that it stretches all the way to the aircraft’s wings.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Each seat offers an abundance of privacy since flyers don’t have to share the row and high walls create a feeling of exclusivity. This seat is referred to as the “Mint Suite.”

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Wireless charging pads are also available in yet another unique touch.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Lighting in the suites is offered through a personal reading lamp and a larger lamp with customizable mood lighting.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

A pillow and comforter kit is left on each seat before boarding. JetBlue tasked Tuft & Needle with designing a new comforter complete with a “foot nook” to keep feet warm during the flight.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Vegan leather material was used to create the seat, which is actually a mattress also crafted by Tuft & Needle. Flyers seeking maximum sleeping time can also flick on the “do not disturb” light and flight attendants will know not to bother them or serve them meals.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Standard at each business class seat is a 17-inch entertainment system. One of the features unique to JetBlue is that the screens can be extended during taxi, takeoff, and landing.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

The in-flight entertainment system can be controlled by touch or by using one of the tethered remotes that also act as game controllers. Device-pairing is also an option so flyers can use their phones as a remote.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

In-seat power is offered with 110V AC power outlets and USB charging ports, as well as a hook on which to wrap cords.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Each business class flyer will receive an amenity kit from Wanderfuel with the essentials to survive a long flight.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

The other type of seat in Mint is the “Mint Studio,” located in the first row of the cabin.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

There are only two of these seats, both in row one, and JetBlue is selling them at a premium because of the extra space they offer.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

The Mint Studio is ideal for those wanting more space or traveling with a companion. There’s more living space and even a cushioned bench for a companion to use.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

JetBlue ran with this idea and even installed another tray table so flyers can work side by side or share a meal.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

There’s even an additional power outlet in the seat.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Other perks of the Mint Studio include a larger 22-inch in-flight entertainment screen.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

There’s also more storage space in the Mint Studio with additional compartments throughout.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

A personal storage closet, ideal for a handbag or other small items, is yet another perk of booking the Mint Studio.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

The remaining 114 seats house the economy section in a standard 3-3 configuration.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Seats are split between 24 extra-legroom “even more space” seats and 90 “core” seats with standard legroom.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Even more space seats, denoted by their orange headrests, offer 35 inches of legroom.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Seat width in the section is the standard 18.4 for inches that every economy seat has.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

These seats are also among the closest to the front so flyers can get off of the plane sooner than most, while also enjoying early boarding privileges compared to the rest of economy.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Beyond extra legroom and being closer to the front, there’s not much more that these seats offer.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Even more space seats are nearly identical to standard core seats, with both offering adjustable headrests, in-seat power, and seat-back entertainment screens.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

But the extra legroom may make a bigger difference to some on the longer eastbound transatlantic crossings.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

The first row in economy is actually an exit row seat that isn’t listed as part of JetBlue’s “even more space” product because it doesn’t recline. The legroom, however, is quite generous.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

And with only four rows of seats for the entire plane, there are not many to be had.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

The remaining 90 seats are the domain of JetBlue’s core product.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Each seat in this cabin offers 32 inches of pitch and the standard 18.4 inches of width.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Each seat in economy will offer 10.1-inch seat-back screens with JetBlue’s latest entertainment product.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

A selection of movies, television shows, games, and a moving map will be available during the flight.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Armrest remotes aren’t being offered by the screens can be controlled by touch or by pairing a device.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

In-seat power in economy is available both through 110v AC power outlets and USB charging ports underneath the screens.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Complimentary in-flight WiFi will also be available for all passengers throughout the entire flight, with JetBlue the only carrier on the route to offer it.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Hot meals will be offered in economy, with JetBlue tapping Dig to provide the service. Examples of some main courses are charred chicken and brown rice, meatballs and tomato farro, and spiced eggplant and quinoa.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

In the back of the plane, available for economy flyers, is the “pantry.” The self-serve station will have drinks and snacks for passengers to take at their leisure.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

All flyers in economy will receive a blanket but no pillow as part of the initial launch offering.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

All the armrests go up in economy rows so flyers can use the row as a bed if one is entirely free.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

There are some economy seats to be avoided, however, and those are the ones in rows 22 and 23 as the windows are misaligned.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

London’s Heathrow Airport is famous for its approaches that fly right over iconic sites as Canary Warf, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the Palace of Westminster. But flyers in those rows won’t get to see them.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Otherwise, there are no truly bad seats in the cabin. One of the last rows in economy is also reserved for the flight crew to rest so fewer flyers will be relegated to what is often regarded as the worst place to sit in economy.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

One Mint seat is also blocked for flight attendants to rest.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Above the cabin, mood lighting will help shape the ambiance in the cabin with a variety of settings depending on the phase of flight.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

At night, for example, relaxing colors will ease flyers to sleep and then gently wake them up.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Flights to London begin on August 11.

JetBlue advertising inside Terminal 5 - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

Read the original article on Business Insider

See inside the tiny hidden bedrooms above economy where flight attendants sleep on an Airbus A350-900XWB jet

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

  • Long-haul aircraft come with compartments in which bunks are available for flight attendants to rest and sleep.
  • The hostel-like setup can be a second home for cabin crew on ultra-long-haul flights.
  • Flight attendants will take turns servicing the cabin while the others rest.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Next-generation aircraft are flying further than ever before and airlines are constantly adjusting their products and offerings to ensure passengers are comfortable.

SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

Read More: The 10 longest routes flown by airlines in 2019

The Airbus A350 family of aircraft, for example, flew four of the 10 longest routes in the world before the pandemic. It currently flies the longest flight in the world between New York and Singapore, operated by Singapore Airlines.

SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

Read More: Inside the new world’s longest flight: What it’s like to fly on Singapore Airlines’ new route between Singapore and New York

But while flyers are lounging out in plush lie-flat seats to endure the long journeys, flight attendants don’t have that same luxury.

Business class onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

Rather, they don’t even stay in the passenger cabin for their breaks and retreat to a hidden hideaway above their passengers.

Business class onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

Take a look at where flight attendants go when they need to rest onboard this SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900XWB.

The entryway to SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

The extreme back of the plane is where passengers will find the rear galley. It’s just one of the main workstations for a flight attendant where drinks, food, and other items are kept.

Economy class onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

Just opposite the galley, however, is a small set of stairs that appears to lead to nowhere.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

A door marked “crew only” with a red no entry symbol hides the compartment above.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

Open the door, and the crew rest area reveals itself.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

It’s a narrow space and climbing up and down the stairs takes some getting used to. But long-haul flight attendants have plenty of opportunities to practice as they routinely spend countless hours in the air.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

The compartment is completely separate from the passenger cabin so it’s not like the crew can look down on passengers from above.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

Once inside, six bunks comprise the crew rest area. There’s not much headspace and some crouching is required to navigate the compartment.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

Each bunk has the essentials including a pillow, blanket, and mattress pad so flight attendants can get a good sleep.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

But beyond that, they’re quite bare save for a few storage pockets. While passengers below have access to thousands of hours of in-flight entertainment, flight attendants don’t.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

That’s because these areas are meant solely for rest and the bare-bones setup reflects that. Flight attendants can choose to do other things like read books or go on their phones but that’s not the intended purpose.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

A personal reading lamp provides the only light in the bunks as otherwise, it gets quite dark in the space.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

Flight attendants can close the curtains for privacy and block any ambient light coming from the galley and main entryway.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

Seatbelts are installed so resting flight attendants can sleep while safely strapped in during turbulence or any other time the seatbelt sign is on.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

Smaller storage areas line the aisle and an emergency exit is available that will see flight attendants pop out from overhead bins in case of trouble.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

Hangars are also available for the crew to hang up their uniforms.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

The narrow passageways are reminiscent more of a spaceship than an airplane. That said, it would’ve been easier to maneuver had there been no gravity.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

Crew rest is mandatory on longer journeys and flight attendants will take turns servicing their cabins while others rest.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

Pilots have a separate rest area that’s closer to the cockpit, with this rest area solely for cabin crew.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

The crew rest area is connected to the cabin below via an intercom, allowing flight attendants to keep in communication.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

On some of the longer flights of which aircraft like the Airbus A350 are capable, this can become a second home for hours on end. The flight from New York to Singapore is scheduled at 18 hours and 50 minutes in duration, for example.

Crew rest onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

Read More: Singapore Airlines says 6 unique seats always sell out on the world’s longest flight — here’s why

All the while, the average passenger will likely never realize that flight attendants are resting just feet above their heads. It’s one of the closely kept secrets of an airplane.

Economy class onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

But if a flight attendant disappears for a few hours, that’s likely where they’re going.

Economy class onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

Not all crew rest areas are as secluded, however. On smaller aircraft, a crew rest area can be a single-row in economy, often the very last row.

LAX Day Trip Alaska Airlines
Retreating to the last row.

JetBlue, for example, is flying to London in August and blocking one of the last rows in economy for its flight attendants to rest on the journeys.

Economy class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

A Mint business class seat is also reserved for flight attendants to use transatlantic flights.

Mint business class onboard JetBlue Airways' new Airbus A321neoLR - JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neoLR Tour
Inside JetBlue Airways’ new Airbus A321neoLR.

So while the average traveler may never know if flight attendants dream of flying sheep, they’ll now have a better idea of where they sleep.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

Read the original article on Business Insider

United is upgrading most of its planes to include television screens, power outlets, and more by 2025 while getting rid of smaller jets

A rendering of United Airlines' new signature interior.
A rendering of United Airlines’ new signature interior.

  • United Airlines is adding 270 aircraft to its fleet that will come standard with seat-back television screens.
  • Existing Boeing and Airbus will be upgraded to include seat-back screens through 2025.
  • United can now better compete with Delta Air Lines and surpasses American Airlines in the entertainment realm.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

United Airlines is giving its aircraft a massive upgrade to keep flyers entertained.

The Chicago-based airline on Tuesday unveiled the largest aircraft order of its history for a total of 270 next-generation Boeing and Airbus aircraft. The order, part of the “United Next” plan, will overhaul United’s domestic fleet and make its aircraft some of the youngest in the skies.

Inside the new aircraft will also be a brand-new entertainment suite for passengers with seat-back screens at every seat. More than 2,800 selections of movies, television shows, music, podcasts, and games will be available through the seat-back systems in a 180-degree reversal from United’s previous strategy of relegating entertainment to mobile devices via streaming.

United’s first class seats will see 13-inch high-definition screens while economy seats will have 10-inch screens. In-seat power will also be offered through USB charging ports under the screens and standard power outlets under the seat.

Mood lighting will be standard on the aircraft for a futuristic look that creates an ambience to match the time of day. Flyers also won’t have to stress about finding a home for their carry-on bags as larger overhead bins will be installed that United CEO Scott Kirby says will be able to fit “100%” of bags.

A total of 178 new aircraft with the new interiors will be added to United’s fleet by the end of 2023. Existing aircraft will also be upgraded to the new standard through 2025 with the majority of United’s fleet being upgraded by the end of 2023.

A rendering of United Airlines' new signature interior - United Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8
A rendering of United Airlines’ new signature interior.

Regional aircraft including the Embraer E175 or Bombardier CRJ550 fleet will not see the interior upgrades but United is planning to use more “‘mainline” Boeing and Airbus aircraft on North American routes that will have the entertainment upgrades.

United’s plan will better position the carrier to compete with Delta and will give the airline a leg up on American. Delta is the only airline among the “big three” US international carriers to offer seat-back screens on the majority of its Boeing and Airbus single-aisle aircraft, with the exception of the Boeing 717.

“United, with today’s announcement, is certainly eroding some of the product features that Delta has such as in-seat entertainment,” Henry Harteveldt, travel analyst and cofounder of Atmosphere Research Group, told Insider, noting that Delta had similarly retrofitted most of its aging narrow-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft with new interiors that include television screens.

United will also quickly surpass American Airlines in the in-flight entertainment realm by offering seat-back screens. American shares United’s former thinking that streaming entertainment is the way forward and does not include seat-back screens on many of its domestic narrow-body aircraft.

Beyond in-flight entertainment and power, United will also offer more flights on aircraft equipped with first class and extra-legroom “EconomyPlus” seats, to the tune of 75% more premium seats per departure compared to present levels.

Read More: United’s CEO argued it’s not a problem that airlines will keep burning tens of millions of cash per day for months

At least 200 of United’s 50-seat aircraft will also be retired and replaced with larger jets with more premium seating. The move follows an industry trend of retiring the smallest regional aircraft that don’t feature first class cabins.

“United was very clear that it is going to compete not necessarily by having the most first-class seats on a domestic narrow-body aircraft, but certainly they’re going to compete with having what appears to be more extra-legroom seats on their planes,” Harteveldt said. “And that I think could be a very, very successful strategy.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Boeing’s largest 737 Max aircraft just took to the skies but it won’t see passengers for another 2 years – take a look at the $134.9 million jet

Boeing's 737 Max 10 departing Renton Municipal Airport on its first flight - Boeing 737 Max 10 First Flight
The first flight of a Boeing 737 Max 10.

  • Boeing’s 737 Max 10 just flew for the first time, departing from Renton Municipal Airport near Seattle for a test flight on June 18.
  • The largest member of the Max family can fly up to 230 passengers as far as 3,300 nautical miles.
  • United Airlines holds the largest order for the aircraft with 100 planes to be delivered later in the decade.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Boeing just put another milestone between it and the grounding of its 737 Max.

Boeing's 737 Max 10 departing Renton Municipal Airport on its first flight - Boeing 737 Max 10 First Flight
The first flight of a Boeing 737 Max 10.

The first 737 Max 10 successfully took to the skies on June 18 for its maiden aerial journey.

Boeing's 737 Max 10 at Renton Municipal Airport for its first flight - Boeing 737 Max 10 First Flight
The first flight of a Boeing 737 Max 10.

The Max 10 is the fourth and largest Max variant to take flight but the first new model since the Federal Aviation Administration ungrounded the aircraft family in November.

Boeing's 737 Max 10 at Renton Municipal Airport for its first flight - Boeing 737 Max 10 First Flight
The first flight of a Boeing 737 Max 10.

Boeing test pilots flew the plane, still designated as “experimental” until its official certification, from the manufacturer’s 737 production plant at Renton Municipal Airport near Seattle to nearby Boeing Field.

Boeing's 737 Max 10 departing Renton Municipal Airport on its first flight - Boeing 737 Max 10 First Flight
The first flight of a Boeing 737 Max 10.

Though the straight line distance between the two airports is five miles, the test flight took the long way around Washington and even performed a touch-and-go landing at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington.

The route of the Boeing 737 Max 10's first flight - Boeing 737 Max 10 First Flight
The route of the Boeing 737 Max 10’s first flight.

Take a closer look at the Boeing 737 Max 10.

Boeing's 737 Max 10 at Renton Municipal Airport for its first flight - Boeing 737 Max 10 First Flight
The first flight of a Boeing 737 Max 10.

Boeing is entering a new realm with the Max as it’s not only the largest Boeing 737 Max but the largest Boeing 737 family member to be built by Boeing since the product line’s inception in 1964.

Looking at Boeing's 737 production plant in Renton, Washington
Boeing’s 737 production plant in Renton, Washington.

Read More: Boeing 737 timeline: From the early days to the grounding of the 737 Max after 2 fatal crashes that killed 346 people 5 months apart

Until now, each 737 Max aircraft has had a previous generation counterpart. The Boeing 737 Max 8 has the 737-800, the 737 Max 9 the 737-900, and the 737 Max 7 the 737-700.

Boeing 737 MAX

But the Max 10 is in a league of its own as there’s no Next Generation equivalent. It’s closer in size to the Boeing 757-200 with a difference in length of only 10 feet and four inches.

Boeing's 737 Max 10 at Renton Municipal Airport for its first flight - Boeing 737 Max 10 First Flight
The first flight of a Boeing 737 Max 10.

In terms of length, Boeing’s latest jet comes in at 143 feet and eight inches, enough to seat up to 204 passengers in a two-class configuration and 230 in a single-class configuration. Its size does come with tradeoffs, however, most notably in range.

Boeing's 737 Max 10 at Renton Municipal Airport for its first flight - Boeing 737 Max 10 First Flight
The first flight of a Boeing 737 Max 10.

Source: Boeing

The Max 10 can fly up to 3,300 nautical miles when equipped with an auxiliary fuel tank, making city pairs such as New York-Dublin, Ireland; London, UK-Dubai, UAE, and Hong Kong-Perth, Australia feasible under the right conditions.

Boeing's 737 Max 10 at Renton Municipal Airport for its first flight - Boeing 737 Max 10 First Flight
The first flight of a Boeing 737 Max 10.

The smallest Max 7, for comparison, can fly a greater range of 3,850 nautical miles.

Boeing 737 Max 7

Source: Boeing

In terms of wingspan, however, the Max 10 shares the same dimensions as its sibling at 117 feet and 10 inches.

Boeing's 737 Max 10 at Renton Municipal Airport for its first flight - Boeing 737 Max 10 First Flight
The first flight of a Boeing 737 Max 10.

Source: Boeing

Also the same as its predecessors are the Max 10’s engines. A pair of CFM International LEAP-1B engines power the entire 737 Max family.

Boeing's 737 Max 10 at Renton Municipal Airport for its first flight - Boeing 737 Max 10 First Flight
The first flight of a Boeing 737 Max 10.

The engines offer 28,000 pounds of thrust apiece and contribute to the aircraft’s increased fuel efficiency compared to older model 737 aircraft.

Boeing's 737 Max 10 at Renton Municipal Airport for its first flight - Boeing 737 Max 10 First Flight
The first flight of a Boeing 737 Max 10.

Source: Safran

Also aiding in the aircraft’s fuel efficiency is a pair of “advanced technology” winglets on each wing, which comes standard on all Max aircraft.

Boeing's 737 Max 10 at Renton Municipal Airport for its first flight - Boeing 737 Max 10 First Flight
The first flight of a Boeing 737 Max 10.

United Airlines holds the largest stake for the aircraft with 100 jets on order.

United Airlines Houston Boeing 737

Source: United Airlines

United also flies the smaller Max 9 and will fly the even smaller Max 8 this summer.

United Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9
A United Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9.

Read More: I flew on United Airlines’ first Boeing 737 Max flight in nearly 2 years and it was just the boring flight the airline needed

The Max 10’s range would allow United to fly the aircraft of any of its domestic routes and even fly to cities in Western Europe from its Newark and Washington, DC hubs.

Boeing's 737 Max 10 at Renton Municipal Airport for its first flight - Boeing 737 Max 10 First Flight
The first flight of a Boeing 737 Max 10.

Boeing has been quickly putting the Max saga behind it, even after a second grounding came in April once electrical issues were discovered with some aircraft.

Boeing 737 Max

Read More: I flew on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max weeks before it was grounded again — here’s what it was like

Most countries around the world have allowed for the Max to fly and more than 130,000 hours have been flown by the aircraft family since November, the Seattle Times reported.

FILE PHOTO: An employee works near a Boeing 737 Max aircraft at Boeing's 737 Max production facility in Renton, Washington, U.S. December 16, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson
An employee works near a Boeing 737 Max aircraft at Boeing’s 737 Max production facility in Renton

Source: Seattle Times

The notable exception remains to be airlines in China, where the jet has not yet been approved to fly once more.

Boeing 737 Max
Boeing test pilot Jim Webb gives a thumbs-up from the cockpit of a 737 MAX 7 at Boeing Field, on March 16, 2018 in Seattle, Washington, after completing the plane’s first flight. The aircraft is the shortest variant of fuel efficient MAX family.

All four US airlines that ordered the Max have resumed or began service with the Max and they can be found flying across the country.

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max
An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max.

Read More: I flew on Boeing 737 Max aircraft from United and American and found one airline to be a lot more transparent than the other — here’s how the 2 compare

Boeing is also reportedly clearing out its backlog of “whitetail” aircraft, the term for planes that were built but lost their customer, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Boeing's 737 Max 10 at Renton Municipal Airport for its first flight - Boeing 737 Max 10 First Flight
The first flight of a Boeing 737 Max 10.

Source: Wall Street Journal

The Max 10 still has a ways to go before it will be flying for any passenger airline, however, and likely won’t do so until at least 2023, according to the Seattle Times.

Boeing's 737 Max 10 at Renton Municipal Airport for its first flight - Boeing 737 Max 10 First Flight
The first flight of a Boeing 737 Max 10.

Source: Seattle Times

Safety fixes to prevent another fatal crash are being implemented into the aircraft, including a third sensor to gauge the airline’s “angle of attack.”

Boeing's 737 Max 10 at Renton Municipal Airport for its first flight - Boeing 737 Max 10 First Flight
The first flight of a Boeing 737 Max 10.

Source: Seattle Times

The Max 10, as the largest variant, competes against Airbus’ A321neo aircraft. Airbus already has a head start on Boeing as it began delivering the A321neo in 2017. And so far, it has a flawless track record.

Airbus A321neo

Source: Airbus

But by the time the Max 10 is flying passengers, Airbus will already have introduced another long-range version of its popular A321neo aircraft, the A321XLR.

Airbus A321XLR
A computer rendering of an Airbus A321XLR.

Compared to the Max 10, the A321XLR offers a 4,700 nautical miles range and United is also a customer.

A321XLR United Airlines

Source: Airbus

Boeing has still yet to provide a next-generation replacement for its Boeing 757 aircraft that directly competes with the Airbus A321.

LAX Day Trip Alaska Airlines - Delta Air Lines Boeing 757
A Delta Air Lines Boeing 757.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Airlines are not prepared for the surge in travelers because they don’t have enough planes – or pilots to fly them

A Southwest Airlines plane lands at Los Angeles International Airport next to American Airlines planes.
A Southwest Airlines plane lands at Los Angeles International Airport.

  • Airlines are discovering they retired too many aircraft during the pandemic and let go too many pilots and flight attendants.
  • Southwest Airlines says it doesn’t have enough planes to sustain its model in 2022 and 2023.
  • Airline schedules are highly unreliable as a result, leading to flight changes and cancellations.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Travel is surging in the US and airlines are once again faced with shortages, but it’s more than just pilots this time.

Many US carriers shed older aircraft from their fleets in a cash-saving effort during the worst times of the pandemic. At the time, vaccines a distant dream and travel demand wasn’t expected to rebound for years.

“The airlines were being forced to make very complex decisions under enormous pressure,” Henry Harteveldt, travel industry analyst and cofounder of Atmosphere Research Group, told Insider. “Key among them is: How do you bring your costs down to survive an approximately 96% decline in demand?”

But Southwest Airlines, after accelerating the retirement of 737-700 aircraft in 2020, is now saying that the airline’s current fleet won’t be enough to support the carrier’s business model in the upcoming years and could hinder expansion efforts.

“We don’t feel like we have enough airplanes for 2022 and 2023, and that’s just doing what you know us to be famous for,” Gary Kelly, Southwest’s chief executive officer, CNBC, referring to its current business of mostly domestic flying.

Now that demand is ramping up, airlines might find themselves without enough planes to keep up and Southwest isn’t the only airline that shed planes during the pandemic. Delta Air Lines similarly parted with three fleet types including the McDonnell-Douglas MD-80/MD-90, Boeing 737-700, and Boeing 777-200 series of aircraft.

Those aircraft now sit in storage facilities and bringing them back into service would be too great of an expense for airlines, according to Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis for Teal Group. New builds from manufacturers, including the Boeing 737 Max and Airbus A220, are preferable but come at a slower rate.

Read More: Airlines are delaying new plane deliveries and seeking financing – and that’s bad news for Boeing as the 737 Max inches toward its return

The aircraft shortage is also compounded by the age-old pilot shortage, with not even pilots to fly the ambitious schedules that airlines have set. American Airlines saw the impacts of over-scheduling in mid-June when hundreds of flights were canceled in a single weekend thanks to a combination of labor shortages and severe weather.

“The pilot shortage that loomed over the industry in 2019 may have abated slightly, but it hasn’t gone away,” Harteveldt said.

Airlines moved to shed staff last year, including pilots and flight attendants, through buyouts and voluntary separation programs in a bid to lower costs. But just like with aircraft, some may have parted ways with too many now that demand is rebounding.

“Perhaps they had lost more pilots and flight attendants than they otherwise would have wanted and as a result, that may have reduced their ability to scale up their flying as demand returned,” Harteveldt said.

Shortages stemming from massive staff reductions also could’ve been avoided since airlines were the recipients of three rounds of federal stimulus money.

“I think that the airlines would probably admit – privately if not on the record – that perhaps they should have been less aggressive in encouraging employees to the pilots and flight attendants to take buyouts and leave the company when the government was going to cover 70% of those employees’ wages,” Harteveldt said.

Delta has committed to hire and train 1,000 new pilots between now and next summer and United has launched a pilot training program, Aviate, that provides financing options and a pathway to flying its aircraft for students.

Airline schedules are now highly unreliable and travelers booking flights should be prepared for unexpected changes or cancellations. Changes to airline schedules can occur anytime and travelers should frequently be checking their bookings to see if changes have occurred.

If an airline has changed a traveler’s trip, they have the right to request a new flight or even a refund if the change is great enough.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I flew on JetBlue’s brand-new Airbus A220 and saw why it’s the perfect plane to lead the airline into its next era

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

  • JetBlue Airways is the latest US airline to fly the Airbus A220, a next-generation aircraft to replace the airline’s Embraer E190s.
  • The 140-seat aircraft is configured in a unique 2-3 arrangement and gives flyers more seating choices based on preference.
  • JetBlue plans to fly the aircraft across the country thanks to the aircraft’s 3,400-nautical mile range and fuel efficiency.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
JetBlue Airways has a new chariot awaiting its passengers, the ultra-modern Airbus A220.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

It’s among the rarest passenger aircraft flying in the US and JetBlue joins Delta Air Lines in flying passengers on the aircraft. Unlike Delta, however, JetBlue went straight for the larger model, the A220-300.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Read More: I flew on Delta’s newest jet, the controversial Airbus A220-300, and it’s my new favorite airliner in the US

JetBlue will soon take customers across the country with the A220 thanks to its impressive 3,400-nautical mile range. But for now, it’s flying on popular routes between Boston and Florida.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

I flew on JetBlue’s new Airbus A220-300 from Boston to Tampa, Florida. Here’s what it was like.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

JetBlue has been flying the A220 since late April and the Boston-Tampa route has been its mainstay. Four daily flights between the cities were being flown by the aircraft at the time of my flight.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

I arrived at gate C9 at Boston Logan International Airport and there it was, one of JetBlue’s newest fleet members.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

At first, it was jarring to see this aircraft in JetBlue colors. I’ve been flying JetBlue for years and had gotten used to its two fleet types, the Embraer E190 and Airbus A320 family, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

A brilliant blue galley wall greets customers with JetBlue branding and the name of the aircraft. JetBlue named its first A220 after Rob Dewar, the vice president and general manager of the CSeries program for Bombardier. Much like the aircraft, Dewar now works for Airbus.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

A total of 140 seats make up the all-economy cabin that’s split between what JetBlue calls “even more space” extra legroom seats and standard economy “core” seats.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

One of the best features of the A220 is that there’s something for every type of traveler thanks to the 2-3 seating configuration of the aircraft.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Larger groups traveling together, for example, can sit on the three-seat row side of the plane.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Alternatively, couples or solo travelers might want to sit on the two-seat row side.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 FlightJetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Read More: JetBlue just unveiled the ultra-modern cabin of its latest plane — take a look inside its brand-new Airbus A220 jets

Modern aircraft don’t typically feature this type of configuration. It’s a setup that the McDonnell-Douglas MD-80 and Boeing 717 series of aircraft are known for but those jets are being phased out by most airlines.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Read More: What it was like on the last fight of a Delta McDonnell Douglas ‘Mad Dog’ jet which were all just sent to an early retirement after 33 years in the sky

Having two-seat rows also means that there are no middle seats on one side of the aircraft.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

That’s why I chose a seat on the two-seat side. It gave me easier access to the aisle from the window seat.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

The aircraft’s mood lighting was in full effect for boarding. Flyers that hadn’t noticed they were booking a seat on a new plane certainly did once seeing the colored interior.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

We boarded at around 4 p.m. but it seemed like it was 10 p.m. by how dark it was on the inside. Having the windows shut did help to keep the plane cool, however, and the mood lighting gave the plane a futuristic feel.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Legroom for core seats is an above-average 32 inches. It’s not as much as JetBlue’s older Airbus A320 aircraft but it’s still quite spacious.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

I had no trouble getting comfortable in the seat.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Seat-back pockets also offer multiple pouches to store a multitude of items.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

In-flight entertainment is offered at every seat via 10.1-inch touch-screen systems.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

But for more natural entertainment, it’s hard to miss the enormous windows on these aircraft that were larger than my head. Getting a good view was no problem at all.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

In-flight power is also doubly offered on this aircraft. Passenger-facing 110v AC power outlets are located under the seats and USB charging ports are also found under the screens themselves.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Our aircraft was conveniently parked next to the Embraer E190, the jet that the A220 is replacing. JetBlue never bothered to update those aircraft and it shows when flying them.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

After pushback, the cabin was illuminated for takeoff in a required safety feature. I preferred this lighting compared to the mood lighting, at least while we were on the ground.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

We departed from Boston on time and blasted off toward Tampa. One of the A220’s selling features is its low noise levels and I was impressed at just how quiet it was on engine start and takeoff compared to other aircraft.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

We settled in at a cruising altitude of just 36,000 feet and flight attendants then began the in-flight service. I’d flown JetBlue before and knew to expect something close to normal in terms of snacks and drinks.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Flight attendants serve drinks from a trolley on this aircraft. One starts from the front while another from the back to minimize wait times.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

I was all set to enjoy the service when I opened my tray table and found the tray table in an utterly disgusting state. Spilled coffee and crumbs topped the table and I could feel the grime.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

It was surprising to see this not only because we had just come from JetBlue’s hub in Boston, where cleaners are supposed to go through the aircraft with a fine-tooth comb, but because this plane was less than one month old.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

I managed to get a few napkins and wipe off the table before enjoying my meal. First the drinks were offered and all standard soft drinks were available and served in normal-size cans.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Snacks came next with four of JetBlue’s signature snacks available. Passengers have to request which one they’d like instead of taking from a basket.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Once the in-flight service was complete, I decided to dive into a movie for the rest of the three-hour flight.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

There’s no remote to control the in-flight entertainment system but flyers can pair their devices or simply use the touch-screen functionality.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

This system is JetBlue’s newest and greets customers with their first name by matching seats with bookings.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

The home page is quite intuitive and provides a flight tracker as well as an overview of what the system offers.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

On tap for the flight was countless hours of movies…

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Television shows…

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Live television through DirecTV…

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

And games.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

A moving map also lets flyers keep track of the flight’s location.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Complimentary in-flight satellite WiFi is also offered on the aircraft through Viasat. Flyers can use the service from gate-to-gate and the satellite aspect of the services means fewer outages while over water.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

I wasn’t too impressed with the movie selection but did settle in on an old favorite, “Atomic Blonde” with Charlize Theron.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

A cool feature of the system is the picture-in-picture functionality that allows flyers to view the moving map while watching a movie. The flight’s progress is also displayed.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

We pressed on down towards Florida and I saw firsthand just how busy the East Coast was as other aircraft left contrails and were visible from the plane. Quite a few aircraft also buzzed past us heading back north.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

The aircraft truly lived up to its reputation for quietness and the cabin volume was incredibly low compared to other jets.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Our routing had us flying towards Miami while over the Atlantic but then a right turn had us cut across the state, making for an interesting sight-seeing adventure.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

We made landfall just north of Cape Canaveral, cutting through the center of Florida.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

We started down towards Tampa and made a 180-degree turn over Tampa Bay on the approach. The three-hour flight soon reached its conclusion thereafter.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

I was already a fan of the A220 but JetBlue really packed it full of great features to make the aircraft even better.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Airbus CEO says business travel will return almost to pre-pandemic levels because people want to fly again

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220
A Delta Air Lines Airbus A220.

  • Guillaume Faury said airlines are devoting the same space to business-class seats as before.
  • The Airbus CEO told Swiss outlet NZZ am Sonntag that corporate thinking had begun to change.
  • Companies realised they needed to meet their suppliers and customers in person again, he said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury expects business air travel eventually to return to close to pre-pandemic levels, he said in an interview published on Sunday.

He also said airlines are devoting the same space to business-class seats as before.

Air travel remains in crisis despite accelerating vaccine rollouts in developed countries. With video calls having replaced in-person meetings, it remains to be seen to what extent business travel will recover.

But Faury told Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag that corporate thinking had changed.

“Companies realised: at some point they have to meet their customers and suppliers in person again. At some point they must be on site to develop products or build factories,” he said.

“That is what airlines are telling us, since they must decide now how their planes will be seated in future. And we see that they are planning as many seats in business class as before the pandemic.”

When asked about the number of business flights he expects in future, he conceded the sector might not recover fully.

“Maybe it will be slightly fewer. One thing is clear to me: people want to fly again. Hardly more but also probably no less than before the pandemic.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

JetBlue founder David Neeleman’s new airline is ready for takeoff. Here’s are 7 issues with Breeze, according an expert.

A Breeze Airways plane.
A Breeze Airways plane.

  • Breeze Airways is finally launching flights but not all are sold on its business model.
  • Analyst Henry Harteveldt is concerned about the airline’s route network, high fee structure, and tech-focused model.
  • Breeze seeks to create demand with low-cost leisure routes to underserved cities across the US.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Breeze Airways is finally making its debut on May 27 just in time for Memorial Day weekend and the start of what will likely be a busy summer season.

An initial slate of 39 routes across 16 cities will launch between May 27 and July 29, boasting fares are as low as $39. The hub-skipping routes allow passengers to fly directly to and from leisure destinations without having to change planes.

Most of the routes also don’t feature direct competition, giving Breeze a leg up in drawing passengers and stimulating demand. But not all industry experts were sold on the airline after its launch announcement last week.

Henry Harteveldt, an industry analyst and the cofounder of Atmosphere Research Group, has been “disappointed” with what he’s seen so far.

Harteveldt has worked for some of the US’ leading airlines, both current and former, like American Airlines and Trans World Airlines, and also served as the marketing director for Donald Trump’s startup airline, Trump Shuttle.

Here’s why he’s not impressed with Breeze.

Breeze’s route network opens itself up to competition

The Breeze Airways route map.
The Breeze Airways route map.

“The primary concern I have about Breeze is the airports it’s serving,” Harteveldt said. “The cities are all good cities, but the airports have no protection around them.”

Breeze chose the cities of Tampa, Florida; Charleston, South Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia, and New Orleans as its four main bases, which all see existing service from many of the country’s largest airlines. Harteveldt says that there’s nothing stopping a major player like American or Southwest Airlines from matching some of Breeze’s routes or lowering fares to those cities in order to compete.

“No airline is going to give up a micro point of market share to a competitor, whether it’s an established airline or a startup, without a fight,” Harteveldt said.

Harteveldt compared Breeze’s initial route network to fellow startup Avelo Airlines, which relies on smaller alternative airports as the backbone of its route network. Hollywood Burbank Airport and Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport, for example, are Avelo’s main bases and offer some protection from carriers since there’s a limit to how many flights and airlines the airports can handle.

Breeze spokesperson Gareth Edmonson-Jones says that competing with the airline might be more difficult for the major players. Smaller Embraer E190 and E195 fleet of aircraft are being used initially, with no more than 118 seats on the larger model, allowing Breeze to be more competitive on routes with traditionally low demand.

Breeze wants to be a “seriously nice” airline, but is there such thing?

Breeze Airways
Breeze Airways pilots.

Ultra-low-cost airlines like Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines have gained negative reputations for customer service, despite efforts to remedy, and both Breeze and Avelo have worked to promote niceness and friendliness in response. But Harteveldt isn’t convinced that an airline can be “seriously nice,” as Breeze puts it.

“‘Seriously nice’ is a corporate attribute, but it’s not a marketing position,” Harteveldt said. “It’s not something you can hang a brand on.”

Harteveldt points to Breeze’s tech-focused approach that does away with call centers and requires passengers to use a mobile application or computer to communicate with the airline. Companies like Uber and Lyft rely on device-based communications but it’s never been tried before in airlines.

“A concern that I have is that the target Breeze customer may be less likely to own a smartphone, they may be less likely to own tablets, they may be less likely to use technology in their personal and work lives,” Harteveldt said. “A nice airline doesn’t push people to technology.”

One incident involving a Breeze employee can also threaten a “nice” airline’s reputation, Harteveldt says.

“Nonstop routes and low fares are way nicer than flying through hubs at high fares,” Edmondson-Jones said.

A higher fee structure than competitors

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Another reason Harteveldt isn’t sold on Breeze’s seriously nice attitude is because of the airline’s high fee structure.

While baggage fees are lower than most competitors at only $20 for either checked or carry-on luggage, there are caveats. It will cost $50 to pay to check a bag at the airport instead of doing so online, for example, and another $50 if a Breeze airport staff does it.

Printing a boarding pass will also incur a $3 fee that goes up to $9 if an agent has to assist. Seat assignments also start at $10, although families with children under 12 can choose their seats for free.

“Breeze has basically outlined a list of ways where customers are going to think they’re not a very nice airline,” Harteveldt said. “Charge me $3 to print a boarding pass, charge me $50 to check a bag in with an agent. What’s nice about any of that?”

Rival Avelo’s fee structure is more lenient, says Harteveldt, although the two don’t directly compete yet.

Rushing to start before Memorial Day

airport security crowds
A crowded airport.

Breeze started selling tickets for its flights just six days before the first flight was scheduled to depart. The delay was due to the airline not having its air operator’s certificate, or AOC.

“The biggest concern that I had about the launch announcement is the very short window of time the airline has chosen to give itself between announcing that his flights are open for sale and its first flight,” Harteveldt said. “They will give themselves very little time to build up a base of bookings.”

The result may be poorer bookings than if the airline pushed back its launch since travelers are starting to book trips further and further out. Harteveldt suggested instead that the airline delay flights by a few weeks to really get the kinks out before the first passenger is welcomed onboard, as well as build a customer base.

Breeze did delay some route launches until later in the summer, which may give it more time to sell tickets.

Flight attendants that are also college students

flight attendant mask
An airline flight attendant.

Breeze’s plan to use college students enrolled in online courses with Utah Valley University has drawn ire from big labor, and Harteveldt isn’t a fan either.

“If you are a full-time student, you’ve got a lot of responsibilities and if you are a full-time flight attendant, you’ve got a lot of responsibilities,” Harteveldt said. The program, he says, could have unintended consequences like flight attendants that expedite an in-flight service so they can have time to study.

Breeze defended the program in a prior statement to Insider, saying it gives young people an opportunity to lower their education costs. A total of $6,000 is given in tuition reimbursement on top of a monthly $1,200 voucher, among other perks.

“If you’re a fully trained flight attendant, you’re a fully trained flight attendant,” Edmondson-Jones said. “It’s not like if you’re 18 years old, you can’t be a flight attendant.”

Harteveldt also says that Breeze may have missed an opportunity to get great talent from the pool of flight attendants that were furloughed during the pandemic, as rival Avelo did.

Lack of onboard consistency

A Breeze Airways plane.
A Breeze Airways plane.

Breeze will have two types of aircraft flying its first slate of routes, the Embraer E190 and Embraer E195. Both are near identical, with the E195 slightly longer than the E190, but will feature different onboard products.

Standard legroom on the E195 will be 31 inches while the E190 will offer 29.

“The core component of a brand promise is consistency,” Harteveldt said. “From the outset, Breeze is going to be confusing customers which, by the way, is not a nice thing to do.”

Edmondson-Jones responded by saying that the difference in the Embraer aircraft sizes and where the aircraft’s doors are placed determined the legroom.

But the lack of consistency extends outside the aircraft. Breeze will be bringing on the Airbus A220-300 later this year and will operate two distinct fleet types.

All ultra-low-cost airlines in the US stick to one fleet type, whether it be all-Boeing 737 family or all-Airbus A320 family aircraft. A single-fleet operation keeps pilot training and maintenance costs down, as well as maximizes efficiency in a pilot pool.

“Breeze is creating unnecessary complexity for itself by having a more complex fleet,” Harteveldt said.

Tech-focused but not offered onboard WiFi on its jets

Gogo in-flight WiFi
An airline passenger using in-flight WiFi.

Neeleman touted Breeze as a “tech company that also happens to fly airplanes,” but it’s Embraer aircraft are noticeably low-tech. In-flight WiFi, for example, won’t be offered on the aircraft.

“There are a growing number of consumers who expect WiFi to be available everywhere they go, including airplanes,” Harteveldt said. “And if Breeze is hoping to attract millennial and Gen Z consumers as its customers, they’re going to be disappointed that there’s no WiFi onboard on the plane”

Breeze will offer streaming in-flight entertainment including television shows and a map feature. And the airline’s Airbus A220-300 fleet will offer WiFi as the aircraft will be performing longer flights.

But onboard WiFi goes beyond internet browsing and can have some cost-saving benefits for an airline. Harteveldt noted that WiFi can be used for fraud protection if the airline plans to offer in-flight purchasing, and it can be used for “smart aircraft” applications where the airline can monitor the performance of an aircraft’s systems in real-time.

What Harteveldt likes about the airline

Breeze Airways
A Breeze Airways plane.

“I like the fact that we have a new budget airline that’s entering the US that will inject fresh competition that will help compete with price and is hopefully going to provide very exciting jobs for a lot of people,” Harteveldt said. “More airline competition is needed in the US.”

Harteveldt is also a big fan of the Airbus A220-300 aircraft that Breeze will be flying later this year.

“The A220-300, in my opinion, is one of the best narrow-body airplanes that has been introduced because of the enormous utility it offers to its airline operators,” Harteveldt said, noting that the airline should’ve waited to start flights with the A220 over the Embraer jets.

The Airbus A220-300 will allow Breeze to fly to Hawaii, Europe, and even South America if the airline desires.

But in order to be an effective player in the airline industry, it has to survive and thrive, which Harteveldt says isn’t guaranteed, even for David Neeleman.

“Breeze absolutely will be able to attract some customers,” Harteveldt said “The question is, will they be differentiated enough to attract enough customers, and will they attract enough people to be profitable?”

Read the original article on Business Insider

JetBlue’s first flights to London this summer are now on sale and round-trip fares are under $600

big ben london england
JetBlue will soon touch down in London.

  • JetBlue Airways has set August 11 as the start date for flights to London, UK.
  • The New York-London route will start first while the Boston-London route will come in 2022.
  • Both Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport in London will see daily flights from New York.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

JetBlue Airways is finally ready to make its London debut.

August 11 is the official launch date for JetBlue’s flights between New York and London, UK, the airline announced Wednesday.

It’s JetBlue’s first time crossing the Atlantic in its 21-year-history, having announced the service in April 2019. And while the pandemic delayed the inaugural flight until August, the airline is keeping its promise of a 2021 debut.

JetBlue will first stretch its transatlantic legs by flying two routes to London’s two major airports, Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. Chief executive Robin Hayes said in a statement that the pandemic actually “opened the door” for JetBlue to access its airports of choice in the London area.

“We’ve always said that JetBlue would serve multiple London airports, and we’re pleased to have secured a path at Heathrow and for long-term growth at Gatwick, which offers speed, low costs, and convenient accessibility into Central London,” Hayes said.

Heathrow will receive the first flights from JFK on August 11. A daily round-trip service will be offered, with the outbound departing New York as an overnight flight at 10:10 p.m. and arriving at 10:10 a.m.

The return flight departs London the next day in the early evening at 6:10 p.m. and arrives back in New York at 9:43 p.m. A likely homage to James Bond, the flight number for JetBlue’s Heathrow-bound flight will be 007.

Flights to Gatwick will then begin on September 29 with similarly daily flights from New York but a slightly different schedule. The outbound flight departs from New York at 7:50 p.m. and arrives in London at 7:55 a.m. while the return flight departs London at 12:00 p.m. the next day and arrives in New York at 3:33 p.m.

Serving the routes will be a never-before-seen aircraft in JetBlue’s fleet, Airbus’ A321LR, or Long Range. JetBlue plans to have three of the next-generation aircraft in its fleet by the end of the year, with all of them flying between New York and London.

Bostonians will have to wait until 2022 to fly non-stop to London on JetBlue when more of the aircraft arrive.

Inside the aircraft will be JetBlue’s newest products in economy and business class. London-bound aircraft will feature 24 business class seats and 117 economy class seats.

New Mint business class seats intended for London flights were debuted by JetBlue earlier this year. Each seat is a private suite with an enclosable door, a fully lie-flat seat, and new amenities like wireless charging pads and laptop drawers.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo’s with new Mint business class.

Mint Studio seats, found in the first row of the cabin, are the highlight of the aircraft. The larger spaces offer greater room for passengers and can even accommodate a second passenger with a separate cushioned seat that comes with its own tray table.

Access to premium lounges in New York or London, however, has not yet been announced. The perk is a key benefit of flying transatlantic business class.

Economy class will see JetBlue’s standard mix of standard legroom “core” seats and extra-legroom “even more space” seats. Core seats will offer 32 inches of legroom and 18.4 inches of width.

The airline’s newest in-flight entertainment system will also be featured offering on-demand movies, television shows, games, and more. High-speed satellite WiFi will also be available for free.

Flying JetBlue Airways Airbus A320 New Phase 2 Interior
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A320 with a new interior.

Complimentary meals crafted by the New York City-based restaurant group Dig will also be served in another first for JetBlue. The JetBlue “pantry,” a self-service snack bar, will also be available to all passengers.

JetBlue’s announcement comes as more countries open their doors to Americans but entry to Europe this summer is far from guaranteed for all tourists.

The European Union also announced on Wednesday a plan for vaccinated travelers to be let into the region, the New York Times reported, just in time for the summer. But the UK, no longer a member of the European Union, has still held off on giving a timeline for vaccinated Americans to visit.

Read More: 7 airlines poised to win big now that Norwegian Air exits the lucrative transatlantic market it once dominated

Fares for London flights start at $599 round-trip in economy while business class fares can be had for as low as $1,979. The low fares are part of JetBlue’s goal of disrupting the market by offering affordable pricing combined with a high-frills offering.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I flew on Southwest and Alaska, the two airlines competing to be the best of the West Coast and the winner is abundantly clear

Flying on Alaska Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Alaska Airlines during the pandemic.

  • Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines are in competition to be the airline of the West Coast.
  • Both are similar but each has its strengths like Alaska has a greater West Coast route network.
  • Southwest is a great option for leisure travelers but Alaska has more perks for business flyers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The West Coast of the US stretches more than 1,000 miles with no shortage of major cities from San Diego to Seattle.

newport beach

All the major US airlines serve this important region of the country but two are battling for dominance, Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

Southwest Airlines vs Alaska Airlines
Comparing Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

Alaska is based in Seattle, although its name suggests otherwise, and is a mid-tier US airline with the bulk of its operations on the West Coast.

alaska airlines

Southwest, on the other hand, is the country’s largest low-cost carrier with a nationwide presence. And while the West Coast is an important region for the airline, it’s just one of many Southwest serves.

Southwest Airlines

Both carriers have sought to grow market share on the West Coast during the pandemic. Southwest added Santa Barbara and Fresno to its California route network while Alaska has added routes from existing cities.

Golden Gate Bridge

I flew on both airlines this year to see which one was truly the airline of the West Coast. Here’s what I found.

Flying on Southwest Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Southwest Airlines during the pandemic.

West Coast connectivity: Alaska serves 29 cities up and down the coast, including smaller cities like Everett, Washington; Santa Rosa, California; and Medford, Oregon.

Paine Field in Everett, Washington
Paine Field in Everett, Washington.

Read More: I flew on Alaska for the first time since it stopped blocking middle seats and it was the closest to normal I’ve seen during the pandemic

Southwest serves 15 West Coast cities and plans to serve two more this summer. Bellingham, Washington flights will also open sometime this year.

Southwest Airlines
A Southwest Airlines aircraft departing from Los Angeles.

Winner: Alaska Airlines. The airline’s connectivity between West Coast cities large and small cannot be beaten by Southwest’s existing network.

Southwest Airlines vs Alaska Airlines
Comparing Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

What comes with the ticket: Every Southwest ticket includes free seat selection anywhere on the plane after boarding, two checked bags, a carry-on bag, and all the onboard amenities.

Flying Southwest Airlines during pandemic
Flying Southwest Airlines during the pandemic.

Southwest has open seating so any open seat is available for passengers.

Flying on Southwest Airlines COVID-19

Alaska does allow free seat selection for economy but charges extra for seats close to the front and exit row seats.

Flying on Alaska Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Alaska Airlines during the pandemic

Alaska, like many full-service carriers, has also embraced restrictive basic economy fares that replaced its cheapest fares. The product is generous with and limited advanced seat assignments and a free carry-on bag but flyers will have to pay more for better seats and checked bags.

Flying on Alaska Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Alaska Airlines during the pandemic

Southwest doesn’t have change or cancel fees for any ticket.

Flying on Southwest Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Southwest Airlines during the pandemic.

Alaska has eliminated change fees but not for basic economy fares, known as “saver” fares.

Flying on Alaska Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Alaska Airlines during the pandemic

Winner: Southwest Airlines. The flexibility and free extras offered by Southwest put it well and above Alaska. It’s worth noting, however, that even Alaska’s basic economy fares are more generous than many of its competitors.

Southwest Airlines vs Alaska Airlines.
Comparing Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

Boarding: Alaska boards its aircraft in groups that are assigned based on seat location and fare class. First class boards first, followed by elite status holders, those sitting in “premium class.” Economy then boards back to front, for the most part, and basic economy flyers board dead last.

Flying on Alaska Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Alaska Airlines during the pandemic

On Southwest, however, passengers are given a boarding number and group that’s determined by how early they check-in for the flight. Once on the plane, they can select any open seat.

Flying on Southwest Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Southwest Airlines during the pandemic.

Winner: Southwest Airlines. Alaska’s boarding process relegates basic economy passengers to the very last section while even the passenger with the cheapest ticket on Southwest has the opportunity to board earlier if they check-in at exactly 24 hours prior to departure.

Southwest Airlines vs Alaska Airlines.
Comparing Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

Onboard amenities: Both airlines are in the process of modernizing their fleets but older aircraft remain. On Southwest, for example, I flew on the 737-700 fleet on my most recent trip and it was the furthest from modern.

Flying on Southwest Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Southwest Airlines during the pandemic.

But its updated aircraft have a great, modern look, as I found on flights from New York to Orlando in 2020.

Flying on Southwest Airlines COVID-19

Read More: I flew on Southwest Airlines during the pandemic and came away impressed by how well the largest low-cost US airline handled social distancing

Alaska has the same issue. Its newer Max aircraft is a show-stopper but older aircraft seem tired.

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight
Flying on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft.

Both airlines also offer paid in-flight WiFi and streaming content.

LAX Day Trip Alaska Airlines
Water onboard an Alaska Airlines flight from New York to Los Angeles.

Alaska does surpass Southwest, however, by offering in-seat power to keep devices charged.

Flying on Alaska Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Alaska Airlines during the pandemic.

Winner: Alaska Airlines. Both airlines offer similar products but Alaska just eeks ahead with in-seat power.

Southwest Airlines vs Alaska Airlines.
Comparing Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

In-flight service: Both airlines have restored portions of their in-flight service since the pandemic began. Alaska, for example, serves soft drinks and snacks.

Flying on Alaska Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Alaska Airlines during the pandemic

Southwest just brought back Coke, Diet Coke, and 7UP, as well as more snacks.

Flying on Southwest Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Southwest Airlines during the pandemic.

Read More: Southwest is reverting to its normal boarding policy and bringing back fan-favorite in-flight amenities

Before the pandemic, however, Alaska sold meals and snack boxes while Southwest just stuck to drinks and small snacks.

LAX Day Trip Alaska Airlines
The contents of one of Alaska Airlines’ picnic packs.

Winner: Alaska Airlines.

Southwest Airlines vs Alaska Airlines.
Comparing Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

West Coast feel: Alaska has its roots in the West Coast and that shows in its branding. The colors are vibrant, there is a focus on West Coast brands in the in-flight service, and the airline is based in Seattle.

Flying on Alaska Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Alaska Airlines during the pandemic.

Southwest has a generic appeal as it connects the US through bases across the country with no specific ties to the West Coast. There’s no West Coast feel.

Flying on Southwest Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Southwest Airlines during the pandemic.

Winner: Alaska Airlines: There’s an undeniable feeling when flying on Alaska that it’s more in tune with the West Coast vibe than Southwest.

Southwest Airlines vs Alaska Airlines.
Comparing Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

National connectivity: Alaska is highly concentrated on the West Coast while Southwest has bases across the US.

Flying on Alaska Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Alaska Airlines during the pandemic

Southwest doesn’t have the sprawling West Coast network that Alaska does but it does offer connections between most of the region’s major cities and connections to the rest of the country through its mid-continent bases in places like Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas, and Dallas.

Flying on Southwest Airlines during pandemic
Southwest Airlines aircraft at Denver International Airport.

Alaska only has hubs in the West Coast cities of Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland, requiring a stop in one of those cities before heading east. The airline does partner with airlines like American to offer mixed-airline itineraries but that could be difficult if the airlines are in two different terminals.

LAX Day Trip Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport.

Winner: Southwest Airlines. Having more mid-continent bases allows for more convenient journeys with lower travel times for customers.

Southwest Airlines vs Alaska Airlines.
Comparing Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

Business traveler amenities: Corporate travelers have different priorities than most leisure travelers and will often spend more for seats in premium cabins and access lounges.

Flying on Alaska Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Alaska Airlines during the pandemic.

Alaska has premium lounges in six airports, and partners with American and Qantas on lounge access for members. Southwest does not have any lounges.

Alaska Lounge Seattle
The Alaska Lounge at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Alaska’s jet aircraft also have first class cabins, the domain of the business traveling road warrior, while Southwest does not.

Flying on Alaska Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Alaska Airlines during the pandemic.

A special section of economy is also available on Alaska. Called “premium class,” seats in the section offer additional legroom and come with complimentary alcoholic beverages.

Flying on Alaska Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Alaska Airlines during the pandemic.

Alaska is also a member of the Oneworld airline alliance and Alaska’s elite status holders can use their benefits on other airlines like American and British Airways, and vice versa. Southwest is not a part of any airline alliance.

american airlines

Southwest does have a special fare for business travelers, called “Business Select,” that includes extras like priority boarding and free alcoholic drinks (suspended during the pandemic).

Flying on Southwest Airlines COVID-19

And Southwest does have better connectivity outside of the West Coast. A business traveler in St. Louis looking to fly to New York couldn’t even choose Alaska if they wanted to.

Flying on Southwest Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Southwest Airlines during the pandemic from Miami International Airport.

Winner: Alaska Airlines. Business travelers have more premium amenities at their disposal on Alaska, if the choice is between Alaska and Southwest.

Southwest Airlines vs Alaska Airlines.
Comparing Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

Airline of the West Coast: Alaska Airlines. Both airlines are incredibly similar but Alaska has more West Coast-oriented amenities to help it pull ahead of Southwest.

Southwest Airlines vs Alaska Airlines.
Comparing Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

Read the original article on Business Insider