I’m still dreaming of the day that an airline approaches me to advertise their service and while I’d hate to detriment any future relationships with brands, here are brief, honest thoughts naming, praising and shaming airlines I have flown with.
Athens > London
I booked business class as it was a cheaper fare on a Monday than economy was on a Sunday and was highly impressed with the service and food on offer. The separate check in counter, business lounge (which allowed me to catch up on my blog), food, drinks, newspapers and expedited luggage delivery really changed my expectations as to what I expect from airlines.
London Southend > Dublin
Southend Airport was much further away than I’d realised though I did like the smaller, quieter airport compared to what I had come to expect flying in and out of London. This was also the first flight I’d ever been on where they forced me check in (at my cost) my carry-on luggage – the allowed size is minimal.
We had to walk out on the tarmac to board the plane which reminded me of flying between regional airports at home.
Auckland > Noumea return
Somehow not at all memorable…
Air New Zealand
Assorted domestic and international flights to and from NZ
Air New Zealand is my favourite airline given its Airpoints program, friendly kiwi hospitality and perks such as Koru hour. Their monthly Kiaora magazine and regularly updated safety videos can be relied on for entertainment.
American Airlines and British Airways felt very similar to me. Similar planes and service. Good hospitality, but not exceptional enough for me to have much to report.
Air New Zealand make you feel like a VIP every trip, whoever you are and whether or not you’re travelling in a Space Seat. When I get to visit a koru lounge it becomes a highlight of my trip.
Rome to London
I had a non-changeable ticket with Alitalia for a flight I was deemed to miss due to a cruise travel company changing times on us. I booked a second flight with the same airline on the same day and was lucky enough to be upgraded to Business Class after check in.
LA > New York
They have mixed reviews about their customer service online but I found American Airlines absolutely fine flying across the states. Your standard, full service long-haul flight airline.
LA > London
Also not that memorable but had a similar feel to flying with American Airlines or Qantas.
New York > Miami return
I struck an issue when I went to check in at the airport as I discovered a checked bag was not included with my fare (booked by a travel agent who should have known better given I had checked luggage on every other leg of the journey). I had to pay airport hiked bag prices. Cute snacks and and complementary soft drinks were served.
I later met a Delta pilot in a hostel in Dublin who said Delta were great to work for – he commuted from Baltimore to New York for work and obviously had some amazing travel perks.
Assorted flights between the UK and Europe
Known to be tough on check in times and luggage limits this is no frills. But as long as you’re prepared to abide by the rules its a cheap way to get around Europe without being as strict as Ryanair are reputed to be, or causing me the kind of stress which JetStar have done.
New Zealand > London return via UAE
Booked due to their Star Alliance connection so I could accumulate Air New Zealand Airpoints, but I would not fly through Abu Dabi again. It was around 38 degrees at 5am when I had to cross the tarmac from an overpacked bus to the terminal. It was a horribly busy airport without sufficient signage and so few of the internet portals worked.
On board had cute complementary amenity kits even in povoclass, had a decent movie selection and the airline service was fine. It was just their hub airport which was unbearable.
Between Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand as well as to the Gold Coast
Not known for their service but for their cut prices. I’ve had my fair share of delayed flights but never missed one due to their cut off 30 minutes prior to departure (though I have come very close). Given their crowded planes, lack of free snacks, the boarding process where you feel like cattle and have to cram your luggage in, it can be a stressful experience to fly with JetStar.
I also HATE the manky ripped JetStar magazines with coffee spills, missing pieces of pages and completed puzzles – a regular seat pocket check would not go astray. I was once forced to check in a piece of oddly shaped cabin luggage but they did not charge me for it (it was well within weight restrictions).
One point I do like and have started doing (when Air New Zealand’s prices are out of control on the date I want to fly) – if you pay an extra $19 on top of the standard ticket you get free date and time changes, a $10 voucher towards your next flight, free seat selection and a $10 food and beverage voucher – that wine and cheese can change the whole experience.
Auckland > London via KL and Rome > Auckland via KL
Given the events of 2014 I’d be unlikely to choose to fly Malaysia again. However the service was exceptional and the snacks and water kept coming when I was unable to sleep on long flights. There is however something very scary about hearing a long safety message in a foreign language followed by a seemingly much shorter English version – what were they telling the Thai speakers that they were not telling the rest of us?!
London > Rome return
One a cruise company booked me on as part of a fly and cruise packages and conveniently fly from London Gatwick. Both the checked and carry on luggage limits were smaller than ideal but I was carrying my entire life with me at the time.
Between Wellington and Australia and Auckland to Los Angeles
I like that Qantas flights to Australia still feed you regardless of the airfare paid unlike Air New Zealand where a meal works out rather expensive to add on. I’d probably fly with them more if they weren’t on their own loyalty program – the rewards stack up quicker when you just have one.
Los Angeles > Vancouver
On a surprisingly small plane, we were seated in the second to back row. One air steward moved those in the back row further up the plane before take-off then the two of them sat in the row behind us and bitched, gossiped and visibly ate sandwiches en-route. The most unprofessional attendants I have ever seen though enjoyed the two glasses of coke they bought me.
Auckland > Rarotonga and Auckland > Apia (Samoa)
The Virgin Australia service was nothing special on the routes I have flown. Take your own laptop if you’re flying on a saver fare when flying between New Zealand and the Pacific for entertainment unless you hire a device from them. I can’t wait for the day I experience Virgin Business Class as it is often held up as a brand service example.
What’s your best or worst airline experience? How about naming, praising and shaming airlines you’ve flown with!