Qatar Airways started flying the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in 2021 with a new business class product.
A total of 30 business class s2uites comprise the cabin with sliding doors for privacy.
New innovations including a wireless charging pad can also be found in the suites.
Qatar Airways has a new product to offer its premium cabin customers that are flying on the newest addition to the airline’s aircraft family.
Boeing’s 787-9 Dreamliner is now flying for Qatar Airways, with the Middle Eastern carrier the first in the region to debut the ultramodern jet.
The first models were delivered to Qatar Airways just before the pandemic and are finally getting acquainted with passengers. Welcoming passengers in business class is the airline’s new business class suite, found only on the 787-9 Dreamliner.
Qatar Airways has been steadily improving its premium product, culminating so far in the “Qsuite” that’s found on its Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 XWB family aircraft.
But while the Dreamliner isn’t quite large enough to accommodate the Qsuite, passengers will still have access to an enclosed suite with a sliding door.
Step onboard a brand-new Qatar Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
A total of 30 business class suites comprise the eight-row cabin located squarely between the first two boarding doors.
Seats along the cabin wall are configured in a reverse herringbone configuration, meaning they’re angled towards the window.
As these seats face away from the aisle, they’re ideal for passengers traveling alone and have unobstructed views of the window.
Center aisle seats, alternatively, are configured in a herringbone configuration, angled towards the two aisles in the cabin.
These seats are ideal for couples or companions traveling together as they are angled in a way that their headrests are nearly touching,
A version of the famous Qsuite double bed is not available on the 787-9 Dreamliner but couples can get a similar experience by lowering the seat partition when in lie-flat mode.
Passengers traveling independently, however, can simply raise the partition for additional privacy.
Each seat features a high-definition touch-screen display that features Qatar Airways’ Oryx One entertainment system. Flyers can access thousands of hours of content including movies, television shows, music, and more.
Also controlling the in-flight entertainment system is a large tethered remote with a touch-screen of its own. It also acts as a game controller.
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner has exterior cameras that can also be accessed through the entertainment system, offering top-down and forward-facing views.
And when it’s time to sleep, the seat reclines fully flat to a 79-inch bed.
Closeable suite doors offer greater privacy, similar to Qsuites. The doors don’t fully latch, however, and there’s a small gap in between the door and the seat wall.
A do not disturb feature is built into the seat number’s lighting system. Passengers can press a button to turn the seat number red, indicating that flight attendants shouldn’t bother them whether they be sleeping, working, or relaxing.
Seat controls can be easily accessed when in upright or lie flat mode.
In-seat power is offered at the seat with a 110v AC power outlet and USB charging port conveniently located next to the counter space. In-flight WiFi is also available for passengers to use.
Wireless charging is also available and compatible with Apple and Android devices. Airlines are just starting to introduce these types of innovations in business class, as Insider found on a JetBlue Airways flight from London to New York in Mint business class.
A smaller storage compartment can be found above the counter and is just large enough for a passport, small purse, or tablet. There’s also a small mirror for passengers to use.
When it’s time to eat or work on a computer, the tray table slides out directly from underneath the in-flight entertainment screen.
Passengers can adjust the length of the table, as well as its angles, depending on preference.
Qatar Airways is continuing its dine-on-demand offering in the cabin where travelers can order anything on the menu at any time during the flight. Passengers don’t have to abide by the normal airline notions of mealtimes.
Business class passengers receive amenity kits including items and toiletries such as an eye mask, socks, a toothbrush, and more. Qatar Airways also gives hygiene kits to each passenger including hand sanitizing gel, nitrile gloves, and a face mask.
Premium brands represented in the cabin and dining offering include Narumi, BRIC’S, Diptyque, TWG Tea, Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio, and The White Company.
“Our passengers deserve the best and I am confident that they will appreciate the larger Dreamliner variant for its unmatched comfort in the sky,” Akbar Al-Baker, Qatar Airways’ chief executive officer, said in a statement.
At least seven of the 30 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft that Qatar Airways has on order from Boeing have arrived at the airline. The new aircraft have slowly but surely been making their way across the Qatar Airways network.
From Doha, they’re scheduled to visit destinations over the next few months including Accra, Ghana; Amman, Jordan; Stockholm, Sweden; Athens, Greece; Barcelona, Spain; Madrid, Spain; Paris, France; Jakarta, Indonesia; Phuket, Thailand; Karachi, Pakistan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Manchester, UK; Muscat, Oman; Nairobi, Kenya; Oslo, Norway; Vienna, Austria; Tunis, Tunisia; and Singapore, among other destinations.
And while the product is not as groundbreaking as Qsuite, it still offers business class travelers an exclusive, private, and luxurious way to travel.
Airlines are walking back plans to vaccinate their staff despite federal mandates requiring them to do so.
CEOs at American Airlines and Southwest Airlines are indicating they won’t fire unvaccinated staff.
Around 3,700 American Airlines pilots remain unvaccinated with the holiday travel approaching.
The US airline industry is still reeling from President Joe Biden’s executive order mandating vaccines for federal contractors, including airlines. And despite recently announced vaccine mandates from some major airlines, travelers should be prepared to fly on airlines without vaccinated staff.
Southwest initially proposed placing unvaccinated workers on unpaid leave after December 8 but has since scrapped that plan, saying even those unvaccinated and without an approved exemption won’t be fired after the deadline passes.
“Employees who file for accommodation by the November 24 internal deadline will continue working past the December 8 federal deadline, while following all COVID mask and distancing guidelines, IF they have not received a final decision regarding their accommodation request by that date,” a Southwest spokesperson told Insider, adding that the strategy accounts for both a worker’s “effort to comply” and the time it takes to review an exemption.
Both airlines did not say how many workers remain unvaccinated or what will happen to those who remain unvaccinated without an exemption through the deadline.
Robert Isom, American’s president, only said that the “vast majority” of workers are vaccinated and a “minimal number” are expected to apply for exemptions. The Allied Pilots Association, the labor union representing 14,000 American Airlines pilots, currently estimates 3,700 pilots are unvaccinated, a spokesperson told Insider.
“Those that are [left unvaccinated] almost certainly will be on some sort of religious or medical exemption, and those that aren’t [exempted], we’ll continue to work with,” Doug Parker, American’s chief executive officer, told CNBC. “We don’t want to see anybody leaving American.”
Travelers taking to the skies for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, as a result, should not expect that every airline worker in airports or onboard planes will be fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated airline workers will remain past Biden’s December 8 deadline, whether with an exemption or without.
“There are airline workers who appear to just not want to be vaccinated and it’s unclear what their work status will be,” Henry Harteveldt, a travel analyst and president of Atmosphere Research Group, told Insider. “The majority of airline workers will be vaccinated.”
“Neither [Southwest or American] can afford to lose a critical mass of their pilots or flight attendants,” Harteveldt said, describing critical mass to be as little as 10% of a workgroup.
Regional carriers have also not yet announced vaccine mandates for staff, even those engaged in federal contracts, partnered with airlines that have announced vaccine mandates, or wholly owned by airlines that are federal contractors.
“Between Delta, American, and United, none of the regional carriers that any of us use are working towards a vaccine mandate at this point because they’ve concluded they’re not covered by the mandate,” Parker said in an October 21 earnings call.
Mark Goldstein, a labor and employment attorney and partner at Reed Smith, told Insider that there’s a strong case for regional airlines to be considered subcontractors under the executive order.
“The guidance issued by the federal government, it’s fairly broad,” Goldstein said. “One could arguably take the position that it applies to any subcontractors who are performing any services that in any way relate to a federal contract.”
The airline industry is facing unprecedented levels of violent incidents onboard airplanes as tensions rise over issues including the federal mask mandate. In the US, more than 3,200 cases of unruly behavior onboard aircraft have been reported by the Federal Aviation Administration as of early July.
One captain for a major US airline spoke to Insider on the condition of anonymity so he could speak freely on the pilot’s perspective of these incidents.
In-flight violence is rare for this airline industry veteran of nearly 30 years. But during the pandemic, he’s had to personally kick off a handful of passengers for unruly behavior while on the ground, some of whom were likely banned by the airline for their behavior.
One incident occurred in Los Angeles where a gate agent notified the pilot of a potentially problematic passenger, based on her mask’s messaging. “It said ‘fuck you’ right in big bold yellow letters,” he said.
The passenger ultimately turned the mask inside out at the request of the flight’s gate agent. Once on board, the pilot left the cockpit with the agent to speak to the problem passenger and confirm that she wouldn’t be an issue.
“No, captain, I told you I got it,” he remembered the passenger as saying. But after the encounter, the pilot heard the passenger refer to the agent as a “Karen.”
She was kicked off the plane and relegated to the next available flight.
Another incident occurred on a flight where two passengers tried to self-upgrade into an extra-legroom section. They were told they couldn’t and started flouting the mask rule, trying to take advantage of the eating and drinking loophole by eating Skittles.
Flight attendants reminded the couple to mask up in between bites, to which the female passenger responded: “Well, yeah, we’re eating now, bitch, so you can just fuck off.” The aircraft was nearing the runway for departure when the flight attendants made the decision to call the cockpit and get the passengers off the plane.
“I felt like the dad driving to the resort, turning around, swatting the kids, saying, ‘if you don’t settle down, I’m just going to turn this car around,” the pilot said.
Had the incident happened while in the air, a decision would have been made as to whether to continue on to the destination or divert.
Dennis Tajer, a captain for American Airlines and spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association, told Insider that a diversion would only be considered if a problem is uncontainable and the distraction was too great to continue on with a flight.
“Our goal in any unruly passenger incidents is to deescalate and contain [to] keep everybody safe,” Tajer said of diversions. “If for some reason that containment is in question, then it would be the captain’s ultimate call after consultation with [airline] security.”
Pilots also can’t leave the cockpit to deal with these problems directly as it would compromise the integrity of cockpit security and serve as an additional distraction from flying the plane. “We are on full alert at all times for all possibilities,” Tajer said of the cockpit environment.
Reporting unruly passengers takes away from that awareness, and also includes contacting dispatchers on the ground. Relevant departments and individuals are also looped in, taking them away from their primary work responsibilities.
“These [disruptive] people took attention away from several people who were just trying to operate the flight,” the anonymous pilot said.
Like many, he doesn’t want to have to wear a mask on an airplane but tells Insider that he has to ensure the safety of the aircraft and enforce the rules that his airline sets.
“I don’t like wearing the mask, I don’t want to wear the mask, I hate asking them to wear the mask,” he said. “But we don’t have any choice at this point.”
More travelers have been returning to the skies amid the vaccine rollout and returning to work.
Travelers with airline elite status, as a result, are starting to see their top perk of complimentary first class upgrades becoming less attainable.
Elite status still has perks like complimentary checked baggage and priority access to check-in lanes and while boarding.
There’s often no better way to travel than in first class, and the only thing better than flying in first class is not having to pay for it.
Complimentary upgrades to first class are a perk of having elite frequent flyer status with an airline. Just one upgrade can increase the value of a ticket by more than double the original purchase price.
As a Silver Medallion status holder with Delta Air Lines, I’ve had luck earning in scoring free upgrades to premium cabins during the pandemic. A trip I took on Delta in February yielded more than $800 in upgrades while a trip in May yielded more than $500.
But as more travelers return to the skies for business and leisure, first class cabins are filling up and complimentary upgrades are becoming harder and harder to come by. Some airlines are also dropping prices on paid upgrades to first class to entice economy class flyers to make the jump.
With summer over and Americans more at ease with flying, I wanted to see how hard it was to land a coveted first class upgrade on a recent trip.
I booked Delta on a recent flight from New York to Mexico City, Mexico to see how I’d fare as an elite status holder. Here’s what I found.
One thing I’ve learned when booking flights with the hope of getting an upgrade is that it helps to be strategic. When searching flights to Mexico City, for example, I opted for a flight on a wide-body aircraft as those aircraft often have a great number of first class seats than single-aisle aircraft.
I booked Delta’s Boeing 767-300ER aircraft for the five-hour flight to Mexico’s capital. That aircraft has a total of 26 first class seats available and 12 were open at the time I booked, just three weeks before the flight.
Delta clearly wasn’t having an easy time selling first class seats given the fact that so many seats were open and an upgrade from economy class was only selling for $138.68.
Part of me was tempted to just pay the upgrade fee and guarantee a first class seat. But I wanted to leave it to chance, even if it meant risking a long flight in economy class.
My chances of securing an upgrade seemed great but then the number of open seats started to dwindle as the flight’s departure approached. The 12 seats went down to eight the week before the flight, and then eventually to three the day before the flight.
As a Silver Medallion, my upgrade would be processed no sooner than 24 hours before departure. And there’s no telling how soon before the flight it would clear. So I headed to the airport with no upgrade.
My hope started to fade as I fell further and further down the upgrade list. It was par for the course as I held the lowest tier of frequent flyer status and only booked the flight three weeks prior.
I eventually settled to the ninth spot on the upgrade list and it was becoming certain that I wouldn’t be in first class on this flight. I was, however, first in line for an upgrade to Delta’s Comfort+ cabin which features extra legroom seats.
Delta was also selling an upgrade to those seats, but for far cheaper.
And while I’d normally take a seat in Comfort+ without issue, the only availability was for aisle and middle seats. I preferred to sit in a window seat for the long flight so I opted against the upgrade.
It was becoming clear that I would go without any upgrade on this flight. And that was fine with me as I’m no stranger to economy class and preferred a window seat over an upgrade.
But having elite status isn’t just about upgrades. At check-in, for example, I was able to use the exclusive Sky Priority check-in area and didn’t have to wait too long in line to get a boarding pass.
Just that perk alone made having the elite status worthwhile since it saved me at least 15 minutes of standing in line, from my estimation. After that, Mexico was just a flight away.
I scanned my boarding pass, however, and was given a slip of paper with a new seat assignment in the Comfort+ cabin. The downside was that it was for an aisle seat.
I didn’t get to ask the gate agent why I was given the aisle seat when I opted against it but I wasn’t all too happy with the upgrade. As ungrateful as it may sound, I truly valued the window seat more over the upgrade.
My new seat for the flight was 14F, an aisle seat on the far side of the cabin. At the very least, I wouldn’t be on the side of the aircraft that the sun was going to hit on the way down to Mexico.
The seat had all the standard economy class amenities but did offer 35 inches of legroom, between two to three inches more than in regular economy.
I sat down and got comfortable for the long flight ahead. The seat also offered a decent-sized in-flight entertainment screen, USB charging port, and 110v AC power outlet.
And to my luck, the window seat never filled up. I quickly moved over to occupy it once the boarding door closed.
The flight was delayed by around a half-hour due to maintenance troubles on the aircraft. But we were soon on our way and bound for Mexico.
The in-flight service began shortly after takeoff with the beverage offering. Alcohol is complimentary for Comfort+ passengers but I went with soda water as it was much too early to begin drinking.
Next came the snack service, which consisted of a snack basket being passed around with more premium offerings than what is served in regular economy class. Selections included chocolate chip cookies, potato chips, Kind bars, Biscoff cookies, and more.
This was the first time during the pandemic that I got to pick from a snack basket that was being passed around. Snacks are very clearly back on Delta.
I was surprised, though, when flight attendants said that this would be the first and last time that snacks would be distributed, and I made sure to grab extras on their advice. I know Mexico isn’t classified as a true international destination when it comes to the in-flight service but it was still a five-hour flight.
And it didn’t seem like I was missing too much in first class. Cold boxed lunches were served and they didn’t seem overly appealing.
With the in-flight service out of the way, I turned to my laptop to help pass the time. The extra legroom offered by the Comfort+ seat made working on the computer far easier than a standard economy seat.
The rest of the flight continued uneventfully as we made our way across the Southeast and over the Gulf of Mexico.
A second drink service began around an hour before landing, and it was late enough in the day where I felt comfortable imbibing.
I choose a Miller Lite from Delta’s beer selection that also included Heineken, SweetWater 420, and SweetWater IPA.
The descent into Mexico City was perhaps one of the most enjoyable of my flying career. This was my first time landing in Mexico City and I couldn’t believe how expansive and colorful the city was while surrounded by mountains.
Touchdown at Mexico City International Airport marked the end of the flight and it was a great experience. The small touches of Comfort+ made for an enjoyable flight down without costing a penny extra.
I said goodbye to my Comfort+ seat and headed off of the plane. The total value of my $376.20 ticket was $402.
Looking back, I should have purchased the upgrade for the bargain price of $138.68. But first class upgrades will truly be worthwhile once Delta restores hot meals to the cabin.
This was my sixth Delta flight of September and I did manage to score upgrades on two flights between Seattle and Fairbanks, Alaska. But other flights I took elsewhere in the Delta network similarly yielded poor upgrade results.
So while flying Delta might not yield a first class upgrade every time, there’s still additional value for an elite status holder.
“His whole garden was splattered in a very unpleasant way,” said Karen Davies, ward councilor for Clewer East, during the October 14 meeting. “He was out in his garden at the time and it was a really horrible, horrible experience,” the local lawmaker continued.
The “whole garden, garden umbrellas, and him” were “covered” in poop, Davies explained. “It’s absolutely dreadful,” she said during the meeting.
Davies said that there are several incidents every year in which “frozen sewage” is dropped along flight routes. Windsor is on the flight path to London’s Heathrow Airport, which is about 8 miles away from the historic town.
In June, The Sun reported that Portsmouth, in southern England, locals were left “terrified” after “frozen poo” fell from the sky.
But, Davies said that raw sewage landing in someone’s backyard is much rarer. Another councilor suggested that the summer’s warmer weather might have contributed to it.
Whitfield parish councilor Geoff Paxton, who has worked with airlines for four decades, said what happened was “so rare” and one he had not seen in a long time. He added that modern toilets on planes are vacuum secured and are normally reliable as they rely on pressure suction to work, so this unfortunate situation must have resulted from aircraft failure or a failure to adequately service it.
According to the Maidenhead Advertiser, the Windsor resident was unable to claim any insurance from the ordeal as the cost of the damage was relatively low.
The Embraer Phenom 300E is the focus of NetJet’s latest aircraft order, with as many as 100 planes joining the fleet starting in 2023.
Take a closer look at the Phenom 300E.
NetJets is making a big bet on a small plane.
The Embraer Phenom 300E is the focus of NetJet’s latest aircraft order, with as many as 100 planes joining the fleet starting in 2023.
The order is valued at more than $1.2 billion should NetJets take its full share of aircraft, continuing the lucrative relationship between Embraer and the Berkshire Hathaway-owned company.
While the Phenom 300E will be brand-new to NetJets’ fleet, the fractional-ownership company has been flying the original Phenom 300 since its first order in 2010. It’s one of the best-selling business aircraft in the world as a favorite among private aircraft operators and the wealthy jet set.
Take a closer look at the Phenom 300E.
The “E” in the Phenom 300E stands for “enhanced” and new technology in the cabin sets aside the Phenom 300E from the original Phenom 300, as Insider reported when the aircraft was first debuted.
“The Phenom 300E not only elevates the passenger experience with an intelligent design, it also improves our customer’s ownership experience by driving aircraft value through simple cabin maintenance and redesign capabilities,” Jay Beever, Embraer Executive Jets’ vice president interior design, said at the time.
The standard configuration for a Phenom 300E includes six club seats and a two-person divan. But in a high-density configuration with only one pilot, as many as nine passengers can fly on the aircraft.
There’s even a private lavatory in the back of the plane.
NetJets customers will be able to fly nearly coast-to-coast without having to stop for fuel owing to the Phenom 300E’s 2,010-nautical mile range. Full transcontinental flights, however, will likely require stops.
Lights jets are the entry-level jet of choice for new entrants to private aircraft charter as they’re among the least expensive to charter. And the pandemic has created a new market of first-time private flyers.
“The increase in private or personal travel that we’re seeing is offsetting the vast majority of the business travel that we’ve seen erode this year,” Patrick Gallagher, president, sales, marketing, and service at NetJets, told Insider in August 2020. That trend has continued into 2021.
A recent report from Honeywell Aerospace forecasts light jets to be 35% of new jet purchase plans, in a survey of more than 1,522 business jet operators. NetJets’ latest order is already proving that forecast accurate.
The first aircraft will be delivered to NetJet’s US and European fleets in 2023.
The shipping crisis is driving some companies to ship their goods via air charters.
A trans-Pacific Boeing 777 air freight charter has hit $2 million – more than double its peak pre-pandemic price.
It could cost even more to ship out of Vietnam, as the manufacturing hub faces multiple disruptions.
The shipping crisis is boosting demand for air cargo, with desperate retailers sending the price of an air freight charter to record levels.
According to Air Charter Service, a trans-Pacific charter on a Boeing 777 costs around $2 million a pop. According to the UK-based air charter service, the pre-pandemic peak price for such a charter was $750,000.
It could get even more expensive for companies trying to ship goods out of Vietnam with rates in the $2.5 million to $3 million range, said Edward DeMartini, vice president of air logistics development for North America at Kuehne+Nagel, per American Shipper.
Vietnam is a major manufacturing base for clothes, shoes, and electronics. But a months-long lockdown and recent worker exodus from the country’s business hub have caused operational disruptions on the factory floors and at ports.
Such bottlenecks come amid recovering demand from the US and Europe, stressing global supply chains.
“We’re chartering like mad,” Marc Schlossberg, executive director for air cargo at New York-based Unique Logistics, told American Shipper.
Sportswear giant Nike is one of those using more air freight, reported trade publication Retail Dive.
“If you had asked me a few years ago whether anyone would take an option of an aircraft positioned in at that price, I would have said it’ll never happen, but some shippers have simply been left with no other options,” said Dan Morgan-Evans, Global Cargo Director at Air Charter Service in a website post earlier this month.
Around 90% of the world’s traded goods are carried via ocean freight, as it’s typically four to six times cheaper than air freight.
But Morgan-Evans said the company was starting to receive calls from “retailers who normally wouldn’t dream of chartering” to cope with an increase in shipping demand.
While there are signs the shipping crisis could be easing, it’s still crunch time for retailers racing to put goods on shelves ahead of Black Friday and Christmas.
“October is probably going to be one of the worst months [ever] in terms of airfreight transportation for the shipping community,” said DeMartini, according to American Shipper.
Flight attendants don’t enjoy the same luxurious seats that some of their passengers do on long-haul flights.
Secret compartments in the back of airplanes have bunks for flight attendants to rest.
Cabin crew rest areas are tight quarters with no windows or forms of entertainment.
Airlines are constantly raising the bar when it comes to luxury and comfort for passengers as airliners are flying further than ever before.
But while passengers reap the benefit of glitzy lie-flat business class seats and even couches in economy on some airlines, not all onboard get to enjoy the same level of opulence, namely flight attendants.
Hidden in the back of wide-body aircraft are the small compartments in which flight attendants spend their downtime. They’re aptly named crew rest areas and are where flight attendants will go when they have a break from service or their other responsibilities.
The areas are off-limits to passengers and even their entryways are discretely embedded into an aircraft’s architecture to help protect against unwanted visitors.
On a recent tour of an Airbus A350-900 XWB, I went up into the crew rest area to see how the cabin crew spend their breaks. Here’s what it was like.
Crew rest areas for the cabin crew are often located towards the back above the economy class cabin. I could very easily see how the average passenger might walk right past the small ladder and doorway that’s simply marked “crew only.”
Its location makes sense as it’s hidden away from passengers in an area not frequented by many passengers. In all my years of traveling, I’ve never seen a flight attendant climbing up into the bunks.
Just a few steps, though, and I couldn’t even tell that I was on an airplane anymore. There were no passenger seats or even windows in the space, just bunks.
Only six bunks comprised the crew rest area, with not much room for anything else.
Storage is limited to a small closet with a coat rack to hang uniforms during the rest period.
Pockets along the main aisle also had some space in which to store items.
Each bunk came equipped with a pillow and blanket kit wrapped in a seatbelt. It looked to be similar to what economy passengers receive in the cabin below.
Seatbelts are required in the bunks in case of turbulence as even flight attendants must abide by the seatbelt sign.
But other than a pillow, blanket, and reading lamp, the bunks were devoid of any form of entertainment. The in-flight entertainment screens that graced the cabin below were nowhere to be found in the crew rest area.
The reasoning behind that is because airlines want their staff to use the space for what it’s intended, rest. Watching movies or television shows would only serve as a distraction from that.
I’m sure it doesn’t stop flight attendants from using their phones, however, and a curtain provides privacy in each bunk.
I didn’t get a chance to lay down in one of the bunks but it was hard to imagine resting in such tight quarters. Though, I’m sure it’s a better alternative to, say, the last row in economy class.
Plus, the commute isn’t too bad and just requires descending back down the steps in the galley. Flight attendants can also communicate with other crew members using an intercom in the rest area.
To be honest, the compartment resembled the living quarters of what I’d imagine a futuristic space ship might look like. Having zero gravity would certainly have helped with moving around this space, for sure.
Pilots, alternatively, have their own rest areas towards the front of the plane near the cockpit. They don’t have it much easier than flight attendants.
Long-haul flights, however, wouldn’t be possible without these rest areas due to legal rest requirements. Ultra-long-haul flights like the ones between Singapore and the US can exceed 18 hours and require flight attendants to take shifts serving the cabin.
The setting might not be as luxurious as a lie-flat business class seat but it still offers privacy and a brief reprieve from work duties.
But those with a fear of tight spaces should certainly consider the rest area when contemplating a career as a long-haul flight attendant.
The choice to provide meals aligns JetBlue with all the current airlines flying between the US and London. Meals are standard in economy on transatlantic flights to the UK and the offering shows that JetBlue isn’t taking the budget carrier route of charging extra for meals.
The meal service is an important part of any flight as it passes the time, entertains, and breaks up the boredom of a long-haul flight.
I flew JetBlue to London in economy class and back in business class. Here’s what dining on the airline was like in both cabins.
My restaurant for the outbound flight to London was the economy class cabin onboard JetBlue’s first Airbus A321neoLR, and I even scored a table near the window.
Instead of perusing a paper menu, however, all meals are on display through the seat-back entertainment screen. I was immediately brought back to the times of Virgin America, which had a similar ordering style.
JetBlue chose Dig, a New York City-based eatery with an emphasis on healthy farm-to-table dining, to cater the economy class meals. I hadn’t yet tried Dig’s offering, despite working in New York City, and was eager to sample it.
“Dig has earned a big following in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, where customers love the fresh ingredients and customizable concept,” Jayne O’Brien, JetBlue’s head of marketing and loyalty, said in a statement. “We wanted customers in the air to have the same freedom to design their own meal, just like they would if they were dining at a Dig restaurant.”
Ordering was quite simple and intuitive, starting with the main. Three options were available from which to choose only one, with two meat/poultry options and a vegetable option.
Each choice, to my surprise, had a list of the ingredients and a short description. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that level of detail on an economy class food menu. On offer for the dinner service was charred chicken with brown rice in a lime juice with herbs….
Beef and chicken meatballs in a tomato ragu with farro and basil…
And spiced eggplant with turmeric cauliflower rice and toasted quinoa.
Next came the list of sides to accompany the main. Two sides could be selected from three choices available.
The options included a Dig Acres tomato salad with soft farm cheese, pickled onions, and mint…
Chilled sheet tray carrots with garlic, herbs, and a lemon peel…
And mac and cheese in a three-cheese blend with whole-wheat pasta and crispy panko breadcrumbs. To be honest, it was hard to pick since all three seemed ideal to accompany the main.
But just like that, I had the perfect meal queued up and ready to go. There was nothing more I had to do or say, and the anticipation was already building before takeoff.
The empty middle seat in my row also presented another opportunity: use the screen to order an additional meal. My rowmate, a JetBlue employee, and I decided to test out the system and ordered an additional meal to the empty seat.
I also took a look at the interactive drink menu that listed all the beverages available on our flight.
JetBlue offers complimentary soft drinks, beers, wines, and liquors in economy class.
The in-flight service began once the mood lighting in the cabin turned pink. Two flight attendants geared with service trolleys walked up and down the aisle to serve the cabin.
I opted for the traditional gin and tonic in honor of JetBlue’s first flight to London. The classic drink consisted of Bombay Sapphire gin and Canada Dry tonic water.
Next came the part we were all waiting for, the meal service. Flight attendants once again started at both ends of the cabin, making their way towards the middle.
A large black insulator case on top of the service trolley served to keep all the meals warn. It reminded me of a pizza delivery box but it did the trick.
The presentation was also unlike anything I had seen in economy, with the food served in small reusable containers. It was certainly presented better than the traditional microwaveable dinner-style packaging to which I’m accustomed on other airlines.
Also on the meal tray was a water bottle and two sauce cups containing sriracha and garlic mayonnaise. This differs from, say, the dinner roll, small side salad, cheese and crackers, and perhaps a dessert that other airlines will pack onto the tray.
I opened the lids, however, and found more than enough food to satisfy, and everything looked delicious. I quickly dug in, no pun intended, and effectively cleaned my plate.
The highlight was the mac and cheese which was the perfect comfort food for a long flight. I didn’t love the cold carrots and was surprised by their temperature in comparison with the hot food but it was still tasty.
Next came the meatball main and while the presentation was similarly delightful, I do have to say that I didn’t love the meatballs. They were alright but as someone that takes joy in making meatballs from scratch, I thought I could have made a better meatball.
The tomato salad, however, was incredibly fresh and delightful. It was a perfectly healthy option for the flight. I was too full to clean the tray but I made sure to enjoy the second serving of mac and cheese.
An ice cream cookiewhich capped off the evening meal service, which was the highlight of the meal. And with that, it was off to bed for the rest of the transatlantic crossing.
For those still hungry, though, the JetBlue “pantry” was open for business with a selection of the carrier’s signature snacks.
I was woken up just a few hours later by a JetBlue flight attendant, at my request, during the morning meal service.
There weren’t any choices this time around and all passengers were given the same box of breakfast goods, including a pain au chocolate served warm and fruit salad.
Once again, the light meal hit the spot and prepared me to take on the day in London. Chocolate bread is also a personal favorite when in Europe and I’m glad JetBlue thought it would be ideal for London flights.
Landing in London completed the culinary journey that accompanied the flight, and the next few days were spent enjoying the local UK cuisine.
JetBlue has been working with the Delicious Hospitality Group to cater Mint business class flights since November. Any traveler that’s flown Mint since then has had the opportunity to test out its culinary offering.
DHC under chef Ryan Hardy is known for its New York City restaurants including Pasquale Jones, Legacy Records, and Charlie Bird. Each restaurant has its turn onboard and Pasquale Jones was up for my flight to New York.
Ordering meals in business class is slightly different than in economy, and traditional menus were left on each seat. Dinner was served on the 2:05 p.m. flight to New York, with five options from which to choose including baby greens, roasted carrots, shrimp curry, chicken Milanese, and cavatelli.
Before the meal, however, a blood orange mimosa was served for the pre-departure beverage. It was quite refreshing and set a positive tone for the flight ahead.
A beverage menu also listed which cocktails, beers, and liquors were available to order. Traditional cocktails were on offer including an old fashioned, margarita, and a dirty martini, as well as JetBlue concoctions.
The meal service began shortly after takeoff with a tasting trio of olives, cashews, and anchovies. I’m not an anchovy fan but I can’t hold that against JetBlue, especially as the other two snacks were delightful.
I also ordered a “mint condition,” consisting of gin or vodka with ginger, lime, cucumber, and mint. It reminded me of a mojito and I very much enjoyed it.
Next came the main course, with four plates and a lot of food. Travelers can choose three of the five main course choices and I opted for the chicken Milanese, cavatelli, and baby greens.
The baby greens served as the salad for the meal and included sweet potato and buttermilk dressing. It was light, fresh, and delicious.
The chicken Milanese was basically a plain chicken cutlet, a dish I’ve eaten since I was a kid, accompanied with lemon and some greens. It was quite tasty but a bit bland without any sauce or cheese.
I was the most nervous about the cavatelli since I’ve never had a great experience with tomato sauces on airplanes. It wasn’t my favorite dish on the tray but it was quite the Sunday gravy with a full bowl of pasta with sausage ragu with pecorino romano on top.
And finally, a dinner roll was served on the side with an “emergency kit,” as chef Ryan Hardy calls it, of olive oil, spicy olive oil, and salt.
“I think we can really fix just about anything. If we have great salts, great olive oil, some hot pepper, and some lemon,” Hardy said when debuting the new Mint offering in November, “because those are critical to the cooking that we do in our restaurants.”
Dessert immediately followed dinner and flight attendants rolled the desert cart down the aisle. On offer were a cheese plate and vanilla gelato with blackberries and almond crunch.
A cheese plate, in my opinion, is the best way to end a meal and I’m glad to see that JetBlue recognizes that. My only complaint was that there weren’t enough crackers to accompany the delicious cheeses.
While certainly tasty and well-presented, I can’t say it was among the best in-flight meals I’ve ever had.
A selection of coffee and English tea was also available but I was fully content after the meal. The next few hours were spent working and resting.
The good food continued as we crossed the Atlantic with flight attendants passing around a selection of snacks, including Walker’s shortbread cookies. I was glad to see it wasn’t JetBlue traditional snack basket and had premium brands.
I also tested out the dirty martini and found it a little too dirty for my taste. But I did appreciate the odd number of olives in the drink.
The pre-landing “supper small plates” were served just under an hour before landing as we approached New York. A selection of three choices was provided, from which I could select two, including Italian clam soup, panzanella, and a panini.
I opted for the panzanella and panini, which were accompanied by a pretzel roll. It was a surprisingly good amount of food and I didn’t even think I was hungry enough to eat again. But I was and I did.
Flight attendants also brought over the before-landing snack from economy, purely for demonstration purposes, consisting of a warm pretzel and fruit salad. I didn’t indulge but both definitely would’ve sufficed had I been in the back.
Landing in New York came all too soon and it was safe to say that I didn’t need to have dinner that night at home. But if I had to choose between the two JetBlue meals I had, I think I’d choose the meal I had on the flight I took in economy class.
Government-owned Alitalia ceased operations on October 15, marking the end of its 74-year era.
Alitalia has been replaced by ITA Airways, a brand new airline that will not be responsible for the old carrier’s debt.
ITA plans to buy 28 Airbus jets, create a new aircraft livery, and launch a new loyalty program.
Alitalia has officially ceased operations and handed the baton to newcomer ITA Airways, which stands for Italian Air Transport.
Italy’s national carrier Alitalia has had a rocky past full of financial struggles, employee strikes, and other damaging events, forcing it to make the decision to cease operations on October 15 after 74 years of service. The airline stopped the sale of tickets in August and has committed to refunding all passengers who were booked on flights after October 14.
On Thursday, the airline flew its final flight from Cagliari, Italy to Rome, according to FlightAware, officially sealing the fate of Alitalia. On Friday, the country’s new flag carrier ITA took its place with a new livery, airplanes, and network, flying its first route from Milan Linate Airport to Bari International Airport in southern Italy.
Here’s a look at Alitalia’s storied past and the plan of its successor.
Alitalia as a brand began in 1946, one year after World War II ended, first flying in 1947 within Italy and quickly expanding to other European countries and even opening intercontinental routes to South America.
The full name of the airline was Italian International Airlines, a joint effort between the United Kingdom through British European Airways – a precursor to British Airways – and the Italian government.
Air France-KLM Group, the parent company of Air France and KLM as well as several smaller European airlines, then offered to buy the struggling airline but couldn’t get labor unions on board and the deal collapsed.
The third attempt in two years to sell the airline came after the Air France-KLM Group deal collapsed with an investors group forming the Compagnia Aerea Italiana to purchase the airline, despite heavy pushback from labor unions.
It wasn’t long before Alitalia was plagued with issues ranging from union strikes to underperforming subsidiaries and even a sting operation that saw Alitalia employees arrested for theft, according to contemporaneous news reports.
With a new investor in tow, Alitalia began cost-cutting measures but facing a backlash from employees due to planned job cuts, the airline began bankruptcy proceedings and the government announced Alitalia would be auctioned.
When the airline ceased operations, its successor, Italia Transporto Aereo, took its place. Alitalia’s last flight flew from Cagliari, Italy to Rome on October 14, and ITA launched operations with a flight from Milan to Bari, Italy on October 15.
Under European Commission rules, MilleMiglia cannot be bought by ITA and must be put out for public tender, meaning another airline or entity outside the aviation industry can purchase the program. There are an estimated five million MilleMiglia miles that customers have not been able to use.
However, ITA was able to bid on Alitalia’s brand, which it did the day before its launch. The airline bought the Alitalia name for €90 million ($104 million), though ITA executives say they don’t plan on replacing the ITA name.
ITA began operations on October 15, the day after Alitalia’s last flight. The new airline secured €700 million ($830 million) in funding earlier this year, which helped it purchase some of Alitalia’s assets.
Moreover, ITA plans to renew its fleet with next-generation aircraft, which is expected to make up 77% of its fleet in four years. According to ITA, the aircraft will reduce CO2 emissions by 750 thousand pounds from 2021 to 2025.
As part of a carbon-reducing project, the first 10 flights to depart Rome on October 15 will use sustainable aviation fuels made by Italian energy company Eni. The project will contribute to the EU’s “Fit for 55” proposal, which strives to reduce carbon emissions by at least 55% by 2030.
ITA introduced a new livery on launch day, which includes a light blue paint scheme representing unity, cohesion, and pride of the nation, as well as homage to Italy’s national sports team, which wears sky blue during competitions. On the tail will be the Italian tricolor of red, white, and green.
In regards to its network, the carrier launched with 59 routes to 44 destinations. ITA plans to increase its routes to 74 in 2022 and 89 by 2025, while destinations are expected to increase to 58 in 2022 and 74 by 2025.
As for the over 11,000 Alitalia workers, 70% were hired to work for ITA, which has 2,800 employees. 30% of that came from outside Alitalia. The company plans to add 1,000 new jobs in 2022 and reach 5,750 employees by 2025.
ITA has set up a loyalty program called Volare, effective October 15, which is split into four levels: smart, plus, premium, and executive. Customers can use accrued points for any flight in ITA’s system.
According to ITA executives, the company plans to join a major international alliance, though it has not stated which one it prefers. Alitalia was aligned with the SkyTeam alliance, which is comprised of carriers like Delta, Air France, and KLM.
While it is the end of an era with the closing of Alitalia, there are high hopes for its successor. “ITA Airways has been created to intercept the recovery of air traffic in the coming years on the strength of the foundations of its strategy: sustainability, digitalization, customer focus, and innovations,” said ITA CEO Fabio Lazzerini.