Despite owning a prestigious reputation, Air France’s premium cabins had been, until recently, objectively mediocre. For an airline that once battled British Airways to first feature beds on board, it lagged behind its competitors only a few short years after installing them. While fully flat became the new norm, angled flats, which just aren’t up to snuff anymore, remained the default in Paris until late-2014. Since then however, the carrier has revitalized its fleet and also its business class offering. New planes, like the 787 I flew on, are highlighted by a brand new top-of-the-line reverse herringbone seat. It’s been a return to grace — there aren’t many better ways to cross the pond nowadays — and I couldn’t have been more pleased with this leg of the trip.
Air France has long enjoyed a prestigious reputation, seen by many as a standard bearer for sky-high luxury. When the airline rolled out a completely redesigned business class in 2014, featuring a new hard product and improved ground services, it was intending to solidify its place at the top of the competitive premium transatlantic market. The onboard experience has done just that, garnering plenty of positive publicity in the years since its introduction. The recently renovated lounges have not attracted similar amounts of attention, although they probably should. Don’t read too far in to this coverage (or lack thereof), the Salon for Air France’s international business passengers is excellent through and through.
While Air France and KLM are the respective flag-bearing carriers of France and the Netherlands, they merged together in 2004 to form one of the largest airlines in Europe. The partnership has been, by and large, hugely successful, although the travel experience is rather inconsistent. Continue reading “Airline Guide: Air France/KLM”
Alliances play huge roles in higher flying, and in order to really elevate your travels, it’s best to understand how they operate and shape the industry. The strategic partnerships formed between airlines all over the world create unique opportunities and easily allow passengers to go to places in ways that would otherwise be much more difficult and/or expensive. Despite how useful alliances can be, they’re not particularly easy to understand, and I often get a number of questions about their basic functions. To help clear up some confusion, here’s a list of FAQs!
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 “Airline Guide: Delta Airlines”
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.