This is a departure from my usual database security post; hope you don’t mind my switching gears today.
Here is the ranking of the airlines that I currently use. Scores are 0 – 10 with ten being over the top great.
I spend way too much time on the road. Yes, I do enjoy it but let’s just say I would prefer to sleep in my own bead. I have become all too familiar with different airlines and airports. Understand, everything here is my personal opinion. I’m rating these airlines by customer service at the airport and customer service on the flight, seat comfort, boarding process, food, and pricing.
My first choice is always going to be fly myself. I purchased my 1948 Navion, N4281K about 25 years ago and fly it every chance I get. 81 Kelo is capable of 1,000 nm nonstop and still have twenty gallons of reserve fuel. She’s IFR certified, reliable and roomy. When flying her, I always arrive in comfort, style and at times very tired. I really need to get an autopilot installed. When weather or distance becomes an issue I let the professionals fly. I have lost too many friends too “I got to get there.” Remember takeoffs are optional, landings are mandatory.
Category: International Travel
If I am going to be stuck in a metal tube hurtling through space at five hundred miles an hour for fourteen hours, by golly I’m going to be comfortable.
Aeroflot is becoming my goto carrier for international travel.. Some of y’all are saying “what #1 for Aeroflot on international trips? I have even got that from friends in the airline industry. First off to dispel that issue. Aeroflot is flying new Boeings and new Airbus planes. When flying to Tallinn Estonia a couple years ago, Aeroflot had the best prices for the this trip. I took one for the team and was very pleasantly surprised at the high quality of their customer service. In November, I will be flying Aeroflot again to Sofia Bulgaria. Note: I have only flown Aeroflot in the Business Class cabin.
- Customer Service at airport score 5
Checking in with Aeroflot is pretty standard; nothing stands out either great or poor. The business class lounge in Moscow is quite comfortable with professional attendants. The food is standard fare for a business class lounge, pretty average, not great but not bad either.
- Customer Service on plane score 9.5
All I can say is WOW! This level of service disappeared from US carriers decades ago. I wish other carriers would take some notes from Aeroflot, they are doing a lot of things right. First, when you get on the plane you are greeted by white glove wearing Stewards and Stewardesses. After being seated, if you are wearing a jacket, it’s hung up and the Stewardess asks you “How shale I address you.” Paying attention to little details like this make me appreciate their service.
Business Class on Aeroflot international flights is the standard lay flat seat. They’re very comfortable and I have no problem sleeping on them. Yes I can completely stretch out my 6 foot 3 inch frame in their business class seat.
It’s about standard, except the greeting you get when you get on the plane is much nicer than most any other airline.
The food served was as close to gourmet as you can get on an airline. My last trip dinner was blackened sea bass and guacamole, and a great mimosa was served with my breakfast.
Pricing is competitive for business class travel; there are cheaper options for international business class travel.
I have not used Aeroflot’s site to book tickets. I normally start at http://flights.google.com and pick one of the sites like expedia to book. I’ve had issues in the past booking with a carrier who is not US Based, where my credit card get denied and then have to call up the bank to resolve it.
When connecting in Moscow make sure you have a paper copy of your boarding pass for your connection. My first trip through I did not have the paper copy of my boarding pass for my connection. The young lady at passport control did not speak any English but I could tell she was not pleased with me She was holding up my phone and kept telling me нет.. I had to go back and find an Aeroflot employee to print the paper copy to get through passport control to get my connection.
There are few things I would like to see. One is it would be great if Aeroflot offered more flights into and out of Washington DC and operated out of BWI, the other is needing a visa to get out of the international terminal. I realize there is nothing Aeroflot can do about the visa issue. Remember if you are flying Aeroflot international, you will be connecting in Moscow. The international terminal in Moscow is a depressing place to be. Fortunately I have been able to escape to the business class lounge.
I took Icelandair for the first time last May to Helsinki and really enjoyed the flight and the service. In the morning the flight attendant gave me a shot of carrot juice with ginger that I loved and to date I have not been able to duplicate it at home. Besides receiving a travel pack for Saga Class, you also get a noise canceling headset.
- Customer Service at airport score 5
If you are flying Saga Class be sure to stop in the Saga Class lounge in Reykjavik. The food there is great and the seats are very comfortable; it’s my favorite lounge of all.
- Customer Service on plane score 6
The flight attendants on Icelandair are professional and friendly. While flying home from Helsinki, one took the time to explain some of Iceland’s history and the belief in Elves. It’s the attention to little details that count.
The Saga Class seats are the same seats you would expect on a domestic first class flight.
So why would I rate a boarding process. Where the British have mastered the use of the queue, Icelandair takes the Viking approach, everyone storms the gate. Yes, at first I thought this is quite odd, then realized it’s just the way they do it. There is nothing that even remotely resembles a queue.
The food served on Icelandair is really quite good. I really don’t remember what I had to eat, only that I enjoyed it quite a bit.
The cost of flying Icelandair is quite competitive, but you need to be aware, the Saga Class seats are pretty much the same as premium economy on other airlines. So, when you shop for prices that is your point of comparison.
If you find yourself on a layover in Reykjavik make a point to go to the Blue Lagoon http://www.bluelagoon.com/. I had a two hour in water massage when I had my layover and it was outstanding. Now only if I could convince other airlines to offer massages during long layovers.
BA operates out of BWI, so when I traveling to London I will go ahead and fly BA. However I had a very bad experience with BA a couple of years ago when I took my mother to Helsinki with me. My mother needs a wheelchair; during our layover the BA contractor who takes care of the wheelchairs was very rude to my mother. This is a case of, one strike you’re out.
All BA employees are professional and attentive. Note to BA, when I served in the US Navy I picked up an expression. One oh shit can destroy one thousand complements. Now that said, earlier this year I was flying from BWI to London and there was a blizzard moving into BWI the day before my flight. I contacted BA to change my flight and was told it would be $800 to change my flight. I than lodged a complaint on twitter, tagging BA. The social media team contacted me and move my flight no charge. Fixing an issue before it becomes an issue is important. We saw there was going to be a blizzard. I would have scored this 0 because of that one rude contractor however; on average BA is about average when it comes to customer service at the airport.
What can I say; British Airways flight crews are very British. On my last trip to London, I remember getting on the plane and the flight attendant offering me a glass of champagne, nice touch. I have flown BA in both Business Class and Premium Economy. There is a difference in the level of service, but I don’t have any complaints.
I’m 6’ 3” tall, in the business class section I can not completely stretch out when I turn the seat into a bed. The seats in premium economy are the same seats you would expect when flying domestic first class.
I believe the British invented queueing and they have it down to a science.
There is nothing spectacular about the food on BA; really it’s about average. I can’t think of anything that stands out either good or bad about their food.
BA Business Class always seems to be a little more expensive than other options. I normally wind up flying premium economy when flying BA and sometimes upgrading my ticket at the airport.