Saturday, September 24, 2011

Turndown Service on American Airlines

Duvet and pillow; light-weight day blanket; slippers; pajamas and
amenity kit for premium class.
Premium Class amenity kit.
This month American Airlines enhanced their first-class passenger service with turndown service starting for passengers flying on flights between the United States and London's Heathrow Airport and in October on select flights between the U.S. and international destinations.

The service will offer first-class passengers a quilted bed-topper custom designed to fit American's Flagship Suite onboard Boeing 777s, pajamas and slippers. Other added amenities include a lightweight day blanket, premium duvet and pillow, amenity kit featuring Dermalogica skincare products and other travel necessities. American is the first and only U.S. airline to offer the service and helps it to enhance the travel experience like their their Oneworld Alliance partners.

Competition is stiff for first-class passengers who are important for each airline's survival since these passengers pay the most for their airfare.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Airline Boarding Procedures Determines First Access to Overhead Bins

(photo: a380spotter/flickr)
Not all airline boarding procedures are the same and knowing the method an airline uses will help save some headache especially if you're eager to snag an overhead bin for your carry-on bag.

Usually most airlines employ the same method with allowing their first class passengers board first, then those requiring special assistance and then those holding elite level with the airlines. At this point each air carrier employs one of several methods for boarding. Each method is supposed to help turnaround the plane and have it off the ground by departure time. Adding to the confusion are airlines allowing economy passengers the privilege to board early at a price.

American Airlines boards by group numbers starting with passengers seated in the rear of the plane. Hawaiian Airlines boards by row numbers starting with the last rows while Southwest Airlines uses an open-boarding system. Airlines do not make easy as these procedures are not clearly advertised. You can call or email the airline before booking your ticket or you can ask the check-in or gate agent at the airport. As many of us realize if you're the last group of passengers to board, the odds are you will have check your bag, stow it under the seat in front you or ask for help to make room for your carry-on which may mean your bag is stowed rows in front or behind you.

An editor of Consumer Reports researched how the largest domestic airlines conduct their boarding and he found it can be complex. Here are the various methods he discovered:

*Method 1. Rear to front, usually by zone.
*Method 2. WILMA (as in window-middle-airline); first window, then middle, then aisle seats board, all rows simultaneously.
*Method 3. WILMA, rear to front, by by zone.
*Method 4. Reverse pyramid: rear window, followed by rear middle, front window, front middle, rear aisle, then front aisle seats.
*Method 5. Random seating, with assigned seats.
*Method 6. Open seating by group, with no assigned seats, the method made famous by Southwest.
*Method 7. Open seating, all passengers simultaneously (better known as "The Mosh Pit")

Click HERE to read the full USA Today article regarding the madness that is airline boarding methods.

(photo: AIRticulate/flickr)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Grossest Things Flight Attendants Have Seen Passengers Do

Passenger resting his feet on the bulkhead. There was another photo
I could have used but I chose the one that grossed me out the least.
(photo: beezkneez/flickr)
The travel blog website published a story by a Sara Keagle, a flight attendant for over two decades, about the grossest things flight attendants have seen passengers do. The author pulled from her own experience and those of fellow flight attendants to come up with the list.

Among the incidents she reported are these untidy morsels:
Going No. 2: A passenger used the tissue (out of the tissue box dispenser in the restroom) to clean up after their bowel movement. They then placed the used tissues back into the tissue box. A fellow flight attendant reached into the tissue dispenser for a tissue and...discovered the issue firsthand.

Lost Panties: I was helping clean the plane at one of our out-stations so we could turn the plane on time and found a pair of bloody panties in the seat pocket. This is why we wear gloves.

A Little Laundry: A first class passenger took off his soggy socks and dried them by putting them over the air vent above his seat. Passengers all the way back in coach complained about the smell.

Impromptu Snacking: A first class passenger picked something off his bare feet...and ate it. I saw it myself!

In my experience one of the most common foul things that other passengers do is using any surface available as a foot rest with their bare feet. Not as gross as the incidents reported by the author but still bothersome. (Click HERE to read the comments that accompanied the photo above.)

Click HERE to view the full list. Be careful, I almost coughed up my dinner after reading the article.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Korean Air A380: Duty-Free Sky Shop

(all photos: Korean Air)
Last month Korean Air was the latest airline to inaugurate the massive Airbus A380 jumbo jet into service and became the first to fly the plane with regular service across the Pacific between New York's JFK and Seoul Incheon. One unique feature of Korean Air's version of the plane that been drawing attention is the onboard duty-free shop. In a first, passengers can browse actual items in a physical shop rather than through brochures that has been the common method for onboard duty-free shopping.

Plans are to outfit the the airline's order of 13 A380 jets with a duty-free shop at the back of the main deck. The Sky Shop (as it is named on the jet) takes the place of 13 economy seats, a lavatory and storage closet. The shop will focus on high-end goods such as makeup, perfume, jewelry and watches. Pricey bottles of perfume and liquor are magnetized to ensure they do not fall off the shelves during turbulence.

The airline reports that that Korean passengers tend to buy more duty-free products compared with Europeans and South Americans and Korean Air's flights tend to sell out of items. Though the airline loses revenue with the loss of seats, the airline's view is that they will make more money with duty-free sales and selling advertising space in the shop.

Each shop is designed with five display units, each of which can hold up to 66 pounds of merchandise, and has the room to display 64 different individual items. After take-off, the shop crew will take products out of storage and set up the store. First class passengers will have priority visit to the duty-free shop followed by business class and then passengers flying in economy. Orders are placed at the shop with a crew member, one of whom will later deliver the goods to the passenger's seat.

Click HERE to learn more about the Korean Air A380 which the airline advertises as "Where Dreams Are Made." The video below is about the design of the duty-free shop.

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