The Higher Flyer


2017 Guide

2017 Guide: Singapore Airlines


Singapore is a modern day city-state, and despite being no more than a tiny island at the tip of Malaysia, it is home to one of the world’s premiere airlines. With help from its centrally located hub, Singapore Airlines connects passengers to and from every inhabited continent. It is efficient in its operations, and is considered to be the second largest carrier in the world, as measured by market capitalization. Singapore Airlines isn’t famous for its convenience though; its business class is undoubtedly the best in the world, and its offerings in first, premium economy, and standard economy classes are among the industry leaders too. The only thing better than your seat is the quality of the care you’ll receive. Singapore Airlines prides itself on its in-flight service and accommodations — check out its marketing materials if you don’t believe me, many prominently feature flight attendants in action — and you won’t be disappointed by it. Add in a versatile loyalty program (KrisFlyer), and you have an airline that should be on every higher flyer’s radar.

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2017 Guide: Air Canada


Despite enduring significant financial troubles throughout the 2000s — it entered bankruptcy once and had another close call later on — Air Canada has since rebounded and is currently in the middle of a renaissance. With brand new planes, kind service, and a decent loyalty program, Canada’s flag carrier is far and away the best North American legacy carrier. While Delta and Alaska may be worthy competitors, neither of them can offer the value that their counterparts from the North can. Add in a weak Canadian Dollar (1 CAD = ~0.75 USD), and flying Air Canada frequently becomes the most affordable option too, especially on international segments. If you don’t mind connecting via Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, higher flyers can’t go wrong with Air Canada.  Continue reading “2017 Guide: Air Canada”

2017 Guide: American Low Cost Carriers


Low cost carriers, like Southwest, JetBlue, and Spirit, play interesting roles in the landscape of the American commercial aviation industry. When Southwest Airlines was established in 1967, it made a business model focused on minimizing operating costs mainstream, and that correspondingly changed the dynamic of air travel forever. Continue reading “2017 Guide: American Low Cost Carriers”

2017 Guide: United Airlines


For higher flyers, United Airlines arguably offers the greatest potential for enhancing your travel experiences and flying higher. Not only is it the best among the Big 3, it’s also one of the best in the world. Continue reading “2017 Guide: United Airlines”

2017 Guide: Delta Airlines


Delta, by many accounts, offers the best product for day-to-day domestic travel. Of the Big 3, Delta is the only one that doesn’t genuinely suck, and no matter which cabin you’re in, it’s a fine way to get around both the country and the globe. Continue reading “2017 Guide: Delta Airlines”

2017 Guide: Alaska Airlines


When I’m talking with people who aren’t very familiar with higher flying, they usually ask me, “what kind of miles should I be collecting to maximize my dollar?” I get a lot of surprised looks when I say “Alaska Airlines.” I’m not naïve; the regional carrier, which primarily operates out of the Pacific Northwest, probably isn’t the first company that jumps to your mind when you think of international first class travel. Continue reading “2017 Guide: Alaska Airlines”

2017 Guide: American Airlines


When American Airlines merged with US Airways in 2013, the two combined to become the largest carrier in the United States, at least in terms of fleet size, daily passengers, and destinations served. The process, which took several years and was finalized in April 2015, had its fair share of hiccups. Now that the dust has cleared though, higher flyers are left with the conveniences that come with a huge route network, an advantageous loyalty program, and a promising vision for future air travel in the United States. Continue reading “2017 Guide: American Airlines”

2017 Guide: oneworld


oneworld is the smallest of the three alliances (14 member carriers), but it is far from lacking. It provides customers exceptional coverage in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Oceania, but unfortunately it does lack in Africa. There are some excellent member airlines of oneworld too, such as Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways and Japan Airlines, which all complement American Airlines’ massive domestic route network in the United States. Although there are lots of world-class products available, they can be a bit challenging to attain with miles/points.

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2017 Guide: SkyTeam

The Leftover Alliance

SkyTeam is the youngest of the three alliances, but despite that, it boasts a relatively large number of members (20). As a result, travelers can fly to most everywhere in the world (sans Oceania) with ease. Access to Europe and Asia is particularly strong, as consumers have a lot of choices. Award availability can also be pretty decent, and some programs, like FlyingBlue of Air France and KLM (and others), have some fantastic bargains, even in the United States. Bear in mind that some refer to SkyTeam as the “leftover alliance,” because some of its carriers are considered second-tier in terms of their service offerings, accommodations, and overall reputations. Be wary of this as you look to fly higher.

Key Facts

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