Vietnam Airlines 787 Lands at Washington National Airport!

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Jul 06 2015

In 1998 a United DC-10 made an emergency landing at Washington’s National airport. It was a Chicago – Baltimore flight that was first diverted to Dulles (after being held over Cleveland) and then to National due to weather. It was low on fuel, had 300 passengers on board, and had little choice but to make the landing. Emergency equipment deployed to the airport’s longest ~ 7000 foot runway.

I remember at the time being surprised that National was the diversion airport given the airport’s postage stamp size and short runways. Widebodies don’t normally operate there. Indeed, I wondered as well how they were going to manage getting the plane out of National, though presumably that was done with minimum fuel (and passengers offloaded, and bused to Baltimore).

That’s why I was surprised to see what I understand is a Vietnam Airlines 787-9 intentionally fly from Washington Dulles to National airport this morning.

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Which Airline Has the World’s Best Business Class?

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Jul 06 2015

Business class, to me, is all about the seat. There aren’t many airlines where the food and wine are remarkable, though better business class offerings will be fairly good. Mostly you want personal space to work effectively and to sleep so that you wind up at your destination reasonably rested rather than beaten up.

The best business class experiences make the overall journey seamless, from checkin and security to a lounge to wait for your flight to priority immigration on the other end and even an arrivals lounge for a shower when you land (so you can go straight away to meetings, and because your hotel room may not yet be available with early morning arrivals).

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American Award Space ‘Back to Normal’ (Cough)

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Jul 05 2015

I value my American miles for partner awards, but most members look to redeem American miles on American flights and that’s gotten very hard. It used to be exceptionally easy. Sometime in mid-2012 premium cabin awards to Europe really tightened up. About 18 months ago premium cabin awards to Asia tightened up, and awards to South America did as well.

About a week ago I wrote about American removing saver awards entirely from some domestic markets. Starting a month from now, there were only three days through the end of April where you could find a saver award flying Austin – Dallas. That’s a short, cheap one hour flight where American offers at least 14 flights a day.

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How to Get Emails When Delta (And Other Airline) Award Seats Open Up

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Jul 05 2015

Expert Flyer is one of my favorite tools. It has several important uses for frequent flyers — but since September Delta has prevented the site from displaying anything about the airline’s flights.

Fortunately they’ve brought back searches for Delta saver awards, and that means you can use their automated tool to email you when the award seats you want on a given flight open up!

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American Eliminating First Class From 2 Of Their 3 New York – London Flights

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Jul 05 2015

As American retrofits its Boeing 777-200 fleet, their only aircraft that will retain a first class cabin is their Boeing 777-300ERs.

The 777-200s get a good business class seat (similar to American’s 787 business seat), but once reconfigured no longer have a first class cabin.

Effective December 17 American is putting reconfigured 777-200s in for 2 of their 3 New York – London flights, apparently to free up aircraft for Sydney service.

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What’s the Best Hotel Breakfast?

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Jul 05 2015

I’ll take a good quality restaurant breakfast (not the standard US airport hotel buffet) over a club lounge, foregoing evening options. But for a mediocre restaurant breakfast I’ll prefer the quick service of the lounge.

There are hotels that offer some amazing breakfast spreads, especially in Asia. If I had to pick one city with the highest average it’s Kuala Lumpur. The best single hotel breakfast I’ve had was probably the St. Regis Bali. And the chain with the best breakfast benefit for top elites is unquestionably Hyatt.

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What’s the Best First Class for West Coast – Asia?

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Jul 05 2015

The choice here is ultimately going to be driven by availability, although there are plenty of airlines worth checking given the miles that are available.

Consider that it’s entirely possible to use a different airline for the outbound as the return — not just to try different products, but because schedules and availability may differ, especially for an outbound to North Asia and a return from Southeast Asia.

I’d generally rank the first class products of airlines flying from the US West Coast across the Pacific as follows:

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Review: Delta Business Class, Sydney – Los Angeles

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Jul 05 2015

After missing my Virgin Australia flight to Los Angeles and spending the night at the Rydges hotel at the airport, I was re-booked onto Delta’s own Sydney – Los Angeles flight.

I was actually excited to be able to compare Virgin Australia’s 7-across business class to Delta’s four-across. Delta operates the flight with a Boeing 777 fitted with (not reverse) herringbone seats and unfortunately no internet. So not the airline’s best product, but decent enough.

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