Friday, June 22, 2007

Trip Report - Delta SEA-CVG 737-800

I had to fly from Seattle to Newark recently, normally I would select Alaska Airlines -- but their transcons are usually very full and for last minute bookings -- First Class is booked up already and the only open seats are middles. So I decided to book Delta Airlines, since DL flights count as Elite Miles/Segments for Alaska's Mileage Plan.

After seeing the full Gate area, I asked the Gate agent if First Class on the Seattle-CVG flight was full. He said he had one seat open -- if I switched out my Alaska MVP Gold number for my Silver SkyMiles number. So minutes later I got my First Class seat assignment in Row 4 on the new-ish 737-800.

Seat 4F is not a bad seat, its the last row in first class and their is a decent divider between First Class and Coach. There is overhead video and inflight phones in the center armrest.

To my surprise there was a FULL breakfast in First Class -- the tray was overflowing with a Bagel, fruit, and a combo of Cheese Omalette, Ham and Potatoes. There was no choice of meal offered, but otherwise the inflight service was VERY good. The flight attendant frequently came around checking on passengers. This service was MUCH better than recent Alaska or United first class service experiences.

Upon landing in Cincinnati, I went to the Delta Crown Room above B14. Well, first I went all the way to the A concourse to discover the Crown Room near A7 was not open on the weekends.

I asked the Crown Room agent to switch out my SkyMiles number for my Alaska Airlines MVPG number for the connecting flight. She said that was not allowed -- urgh!

Minutes later I found I had 5 voicemails all from Delta Airlines requesting that I call them about my flight. I found it odd that the Crown Room agent did not say anything -- since she had been in my reservation prior. In any case, she seemed a bit confused and said it probably was my Continental connecting flight had been delayed or canceled.

I had booked my SEA-CVG-EWR intinerary on, but every DL agent I talked had no information on the CO leg from CVG to EWR. It was very fustrating, you would have thought these two airlines would have better integration, but I guess they do not.

I am not totally clear what happened to my CVG-EWR flight, but the Crown Room agent rebooked my from CVG to Atlanta connecting to a Delta Flight from ATL to Newark. It was a long trip on Delta.

Delta Agents and Flight Attendants seem to be in a better mood these days. Atlanta is still a mess and seems like semi-managed chaos every time I pass through.

Good: Delta Inflight Service, Customer Communications on the Plasma Screens in the Gate Area
Bad: Atlanta, irregular operations for Continental Codeshare flights

Trip Report - Alaska SFOSEA 737-700

This was the 8am flight from San Francisco to Seattle on a Saturday. Since it was early on a Saturday morning the Alaska Airlines Board Room was empty. This Board Room is the smallest (I think) of all BRs, but it is very well located and well used. It also overlooks the ramp area for the Alaska Gates, so you can see your plane arriving. Not a bad place, it could be bigger -- but there really isnt any room to expand.

The flight was on a 737-700, the smallest mainline plane Alaska has in its fleet.

I have mixed feelings on the 737-700:
- The overhead bin space in First Class is somewhat tight since the curve of the plane impacts the first bins on either side, making them not deep enough to store your bag length-wise.
- The seats are generally the new Alaska thin seats, which are comfortable and not as beat up as the 737-400 seats usually are.
- There is no wall between First and Coach -- only a fabric curtain. Which provides almost no sound-proofing from Coach passengers.

The best seats in First Class for the Alaska 737-700 are located in row 2.

Alaska serivce is usually pretty good. The flight attendants are a bit more professional that the normal United variety. The "breakfest" consists of a danish and some fruit. This meal has not been updated in years, but its not bad and better than nothing.

Alaska is my current favorite airline, mainly since I have Gold status and upgrades are fairly easy and I live in Seattle. I always thought Alaska is good -- but not great. But at the very least they are consisitant with their website, airport and inflight service -- which is a good thing.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Trip report - London LHR to DEL 777 Service

BA 257 17.10 Departure - Arr 06.15 following day

British Airways operate two flights daily from London to New Delhi. Both flights are operated by 777 aircraft in the summer period when passenger traffic is light to Delhi due to the high summer temperatures in North India. The 777 cabin has standard 2.4.2 across seating in Club World with flat beds. The new british airways Club doesn't curently operate on these routes. During the winter schedule both flights are operated by 747-400 aircraft. The flight was good if uneventful and the catering out of London is excellent (though catering on the return leg - on both BA256 and BA142 - is trully dreadful however - watch out you have been warned).

The flight was very full in World Traveller (Economy) and World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy). The Premium Economy cabin looked tired and BA will soon have to upgrade this if they want to stay competitive with the new Virgin Atlantic product which is excellent in comparisson.

Summary - Good flight and great time to arrive in Delhi as the airport is very quiet in the morning. BA will have to upgrade their catering out of Delhi though the catering out of Heathrow is excellent. Loking forward to trying out the new club world ... watch this space .

Happy Global Travelling!