Faster internet, beds for napping on, more legroom: here’s how technology is making flights more comfortable
Travelers are employing technology to upgrade their trips at every turn. This consists of checking set for your flight on your own phone, surfing the web while flying over the national country and requesting a ride with a ridesharing app as soon as you land.
So it’s no real surprise that technology is creating more opportunities for airlines as planes are more efficient. Aircraft manufacturers are building in more choices for travelers and for airlines.
A few new planes are turning up within Anchorage. Month last, United flew a 737 MAX 9 between Houston and Anchorage. Nonstop. Year last, United operated a 757 on the 3,266-mile route. However the 737 is better, which explains why United ordered 100 of the planes. If you’d like a lot more than 30 inches of pitch between your seats, you need to pay more for United’s “Economy Plus” or high grade. By comparison, both Delta and Alaska offer at the very least 31 inches of pitch between Anchorage and Seattle.
Between Anchorage and Seattle, the 737-800 may be the real workhorse. Month we flew on a fresh 737-800 with Alaska Airlines earlier this. It had the brand new plane smell still. The overhead bins were huge. There is mood lighting. We sat in the “premium” section, so there is a supplementary 4 inches of legroom (about 36 inches of pitch). There have been USB power outlets at every seat. It had been a good flight.
Because of the technological options, every airline has a unique spin on how best to configure the plane. Delta includes a heavier seat so that it can truly add a seat-back TV. Alaska offers its stand-alone tablet for travelers to view movies still. Both airlines offer their streaming library if you wish to watch movies by yourself tablet or phone. Alaska and Delta offer in-flight internet also. Delta supplies the faster “2ku” service. I paid about $20 one-way from Seattle to Anchorage merely to take a look. It offered considerably faster connections than Alaska’s option, although Alaska is upgrading to the faster service also.
Sun Country Airlines also flies the 737-800 to both Seattle and Minneapolis. I haven’t flown the plane, however the seating chart says it is the same pitch as Delta and United: 31 inches. That is vital that you me, since I’m 6 feet, 4 inches tall. Although Sun Country rents tablets so travelers can observe movies, it generally does not offer in-flight internet.
For Alaskans traveling nonstop from Anchorage to Seattle or Portland in the summertime, JetBlue gets the most legroom: 33-34 inches of pitch. But due to JetBlue’s satellite service, the TVs only have several movies and the web fails north of Seattle.
Once you can Seattle, though, things have more interesting. For instance, JetBlue has had several A321s (a “stretch” version of the A320) and added reduced cabin called “MINT.” It isn’t on every flight, nevertheless, you can fly Seattle-New Seattle-Boston or York in a lie-flat bed. It isn’t just the bed, either. The menu features dishes from Saxon + Parole in NY, some fancy cocktails and wines. For the cross-country nap, there is a big down bed comforter and a fluffy pillow.
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To contend with this premium service, Delta re-introduced its lie-flat “Delta One” service on specially-outfitted 757s between Seattle and New York/JFK. The closest I’ve reached those seats is approximately five rows back on my last flight to Hong Kong. However the social people looked so happy and relaxed after their long nap. One extra for Delta customers: usage of Delta’s SkyClub prior to the flight. This is actually the nicest lounge at Sea-Tac.
When JetBlue configured the A321s for MINT, they upgraded all of those other cabin also. You can find bigger screens and fancier seats. The cabin crew said every one of the A320 interiors will be upgraded. And on the east-west routes, the DirecTV and internet worked!
Delta and JetBlue both have ordered new Airbus A220s, which were engineered by Bombardier from the ground up. They offer wider seats in a two by three configuration, a quieter ride and bigger windows.
From Seattle, travelers get access to some beautiful new planes. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is operated by Virgin Atlantic, Norwegian and Xiamin Airways, amongst others. If you book a Delta trip from Anchorage to London, the Seattle-London/Heathrow leg could be operated by Virgin Atlantic. I was impressed flying on Norwegian’s 787 between Oakland and London. I was in the least expensive of the cheap seats, yet I had about 32 inches of pitch. There is a lot of headroom—I possibly could touch the ceiling in the cabin barely. The windows were much bigger and the ride was quieter.
Delta is dropping its Seattle-Hong Kong nonstop in. Starting April 1, 2019, Cathay Pacific, an Alaska Air mileage partner, begins owning a four-times-weekly nonstop to its hub in Hong Kong. The airline shall operate the high-tech Airbus A350 on the route.
Philippe Lacamp is senior vice president for the Americas with Cathay Pacific. He credits the A350 to make Seattle-Hong Kong a viable route specifically. “Seattle’s been on our radar for many years,” he said. “Cathay Pacific is really a top quality premium carrier, therefore the continuing business market is vital to us. However the A350 we can offer competitive fares.”
Like the 787, the A350 is really a wide-body aircraft made to trim fuel prices and utilize the latest technology to boost the travel experience. Some frequent travelers choose the A350 on the 787. Ben Schlappig writes the “One Mile at the same time” travel blog. He says the A350 is quieter, is convenient and contains windows better. I’m still smitten with the 787. However when I had the opportunity to fly an A350 from Johannesburg to Singapore (Singapore Air), I opted to visit on Emirates through Dubai to obtain additional Alaska Air miles.
Watch for more new planes, like the Embraer E175, to fly more routes in Alaska. Although it’s smaller, you can find no middle seats! Technology does matter with regards to passenger comfort really. With new planes, travelers have significantly more options to create their trip convenient.