My experience on ETIHAD Airways Business Class JFK/AUH/BKK rt |Abu Dhabi, UAE | Photo gallery of my last flight with ETIHAD Airways to/from Bangkok, Thailand. For the last three years, I have chosen ETIHAD – the national airline or the United Araba Emirates, as my official airline, when flying from the United States, to any point in the Middle East or Asia. And I cannot wait for the upcoming arrival of their brand new Airbus 380, starting next November 23rd, 2015 fron JFK to Abu Dhabi and connections, featuring their new Business Class configuration and the First Class Studio, First Class Apartments and the Residence, the best product on the air today, after a private jet experience. For more insight on my Abu Dhabi experience check out my Instagram Photo Gallery on my recent visit. Continue reading My experience on ETIHAD Airways Business Class JFK/AUH/BKK rt
The NEW American is looking pretty good | Airlines | A fews days ago on my way back from Barcelona to New York, I had the chance to try the new Business Class by American Airlines on the configuration for their Boeing 767-300ER Version 2. The first thing to mention, is that now, all seats have direct aisle access, which makes a HUGE difference. It feel to me that they have managed to create a product that goes in sync with other OneWorld members like Cathay Pacific, with a Business Class product that looks much alike. Continue reading The NEW American is looking pretty good
La Compagnie Boutique Airline | Airlines | Last week I was invited by the brand new La Conpagnie All-Business-Class Boutique Airline, to be among the first travel bloggers to experience and review their services, for their flights connecting non-stop New York (EWR Newark) to/from Paris (CDG Charles de Gaulle). La Compagnie operates with several flights a week on a full 74 Business-Class-Seats configured Boeing 757-200 known for its reliability, comfort, and fuel efficiency. The aircraft was previously operated by Icelandair. At the moment this boutique airline only counts with one aircraft, but they are planning to receive their second one next November, and they are even planning adding other destinations to their service. La Compagnie enters to the competitive market of the NYC to Paris route, with very strong players and some similar concepts like OpenSkies by British Airways. Flights depart from New York at 09.50PM, arriving to Paris at 11.30AM. On the way back, departing Paris at 5.45PM arriving to New York at 08.30PM. The story of La Compagnie officially began in October 2013, when DreamJet, their parent company was founded. Thanks to the association between air transport professionnals and bold entrepreneurs, La Compagnie was born on June the 16th of 2014. Watch the video of the cabin. Continue reading La Compagnie Boutique Airline
Off to Paris in full luxury again | Paris, France | Like Barbara Walters said once for her first fashion column many years ago… ” I hate my Job ” I have to go to Paris fly Business Class, hang around and stay at the top Luxury Hotels, eat at the best rated Restaurants … just dreadful. Off tonight for 4 days, back to France to review the brand new All-Business-Class La Compagnie Boutique Airline. Stays at Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris, Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel and the recently inaugurated The Peninsula Paris. Scouting for locations for Fashion Designer Rubin Singer and more. Quelle tragédie !!! But someone has to do it right.? Internet access and time will be limited, therefore I might not be able to blog or post as usual. I invite you to follow my hour by hour experiences, reviews and tips on hotels, restaurants, and more at my Instagram @CarlosMeliaBlog. Let’s keep the conversation going. Carlos Melia Luxury Travel Curator – www.carlosmelia.com Continue reading Off to Paris in full luxury again
Cathay Pacific Business Class to/from Asia | I just got back to New York after two amazing weeks in Asia, producing fashion shows and events for my partner, RUBINSINGER, in Singapore and Thailand. We flew from/to New York to/from Hong Kong, connecting to Singapore, on Cathay Pacific Business Class. It was such a great, relaxing and enjoyable experience. Their attentive flight attendants are always nearby to make sure your journey is a pleasant one. New Business Class experience for a total flight time was 16 hours to Hong Kong, with a brief connection of less than two hours, and then onwards 3 hours and a half to Singapore. Continue reading Cathay Pacific Business Class to/from Asia
OpenSkies BEST Non-Stop New York / Paris | Paris, France | Hi there everyone. !!! I am back. I took a few weeks break from work and the blog, and ran to Paris to assist, my partner Rubin Singer during Paris Fashion Week 2014. Lots to share, kiss and tell. Fabulous hotels, restaurants and tips, so we need to catch up indeed. But on this trip I got to experience for the first time OpenSkies by British Airways. I have used this airline in the past for clients and they all raved about it, so I decided to give it a try, and I must say I AM OBSESSED with it. Continue reading OpenSkies BEST Non-Stop New York / Paris
Porter Airlines Non Stop to Mont Tremblant | Mont Tremblant, Canada | Happy to share with you all my enjoyable experience on the ground and in the air with Toronto based airline Porter Airlines. This was my first time flying them, Non-Stop service from Newark International Airport EWR (New York) to Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada. From the moment I arrived to the airport, check-in was quick and smooth. Once at the gate, and have the great surprise to enjoy their own lounge (next to gate B51), exclusive for Porter Airlines passengers, regardless the class of service of fly. Fresh Starbucks coffee, juices, water, cookies and most important FREE WiFi. Continue reading Porter Airlines Non-Stop Mont Tremblant
Air Berlin Non-Stop nach Berlin | Berlin, Germany | After a ten days break, I am back to work and ready to take over 2014 with a full year of global travels and adventures. During this break, first in over six years, we visited Berlin in Germany, over New Years Eve. Since we were going there only for 7 days, we looked for the most direct and easy way to get to our chosen destination, and after some research, I found out that Air Berlin, was the only option, as for that moment, connecting New York City and Berlin, with no stops. Continue reading Air Berlin Non-Stop nach Berlin
DELTA Airlines Experience JFK/ROM-LHR/JFK | Airlines | For my recent trip to Europe, I flew Business Class DELTA Airlines from New York JFK to Rome, and return from London, back to New York. I must say, I was happily surprised by their seats, service, meals and overall experience. Punctual, comfortable and smooth, despite a lightning struck our aircraft Boeing 676-400, just as we were taking off London Heathrow, which caused quite a scene and noise onboard. The incident was clarified by the Captain, not as quick as the entire crowd would have liked but comforting. The highlights were: Seat was very comfortable, full flat 180º bed, BusinessElite seats that cradle you from head to toe. If you are traveling solo, I like the concept of single window seats. Meals, celebrity chef and Napa tastemaker Michael Chiarello, were quite good and in perfect portions, with a nice selection of wines. Services was impeccable and very polite throughout the entire flight. Downfalls to me were: The entertainment system was not operating correctly, at least at my seat, which made watching the movies, rather unpleasant throughout the seven hours flight. Noise-canceling headsets could be improved. Amenity Kit is basic. Bathrooms are small for a Business Cabin.
Checkin IN at JFK New York was nothing to be mentioned other than as most other airlines you are granted PRIORITY Access through security points. In London Heathrow, you get access to a separate private check in area, were the entire process is easy and seamless. As for the lounges, when flying BusinessElite, you get access to the Delta Sky Lounge in New York, and the SkyTeam shared lounge in Heathrow. Note that flying BusinessElite, you are not allowed to bring any companions, only if you have a high status on their Frequent Flyer Program or you hold a Platinum of higher AmericanExpress card. The lounge in New York was way too overcrowded, so we decided to leave, being most seats taken and almost no food left. The lounge at Heathrow was much more enjoyable, featuring two levels, and the tranquility you would expect from a lounge.
Fly in a flat-bed seat and sink into complete relaxation with full 180º recline. Speaking of full, you’ll also enjoy a full-size pillow, direct aisle access, more privacy and oversized personal entertainment screens. Stay productive, stay entertained or stay rested — the choice is yours. It’s nice knowing it’s all right there when you need it. Each flat-bed seat is outfitted with an electrical outlet and USB port, so you can keep your electronics powered up.
I must point out the excellent Lost & Found service by Delta Airlines. One of the members of our group, lost his phone on his flight from New York to London. A week after, when checking in, he was taken to the Lost & Found area, and his phone was there waiting for him, in a plastic bag, identified by date, flight number and seat. I must be fully honest, and say that I was not expecting much from an US carrier, as mentioned above, I was greatly and happily surprised by Delta Airlines International. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends
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GermanWings my own tragic experience | Airline | So this is what happens when you decide to go cheap trying to save some money when traveling within Europe. I had to fly from Venice, Italy to Edinburgh, Scotland, my next destination. Those of you who have been to Venice, and Marco Polo Airport, know very well that it is not the most friendly nor efficient airport in the world. To top that, the airport is too small for the 23 million tourist this lovely city receives every year. For that you must always keep in mind two three things: (1) arrive to the airport way in advance, knowing that the boat ride from Venice to the Airport or the boat + shuttle, will take at least 40 minutes. Once you get there the lines for check in are endless and same with the security check points. (2) If your flight is delayed, know that most airlines use local handlers. This handlers represent at least 10 airlines each, so trying to talk to one of the agents will be a daunting, and almost impossible experience. (3) If your flight gets cancelled, ACT FAST or you will be stranded for days, or paying ridiculous prices for your flights, and if you get stranded, most airlines will make your life impossible to compensate your hotel stay, and trust me last minute hotel bookings at busy Venice, can get extremely expensive.
Being all these said, for my flight from Venice to Edinburgh, I researched into the many available low cost airlines, and found that the best option price-route-connection wise was GermanWings, well so I thought.
Always when I travel within Europe I have two huge concerns, first Baggage Weight, and second Flight Cancellations, specially when flying low cost airlines. But since I read some reviews online, and the fact that GermanWings belongs to the Lufthansa Group, one of my favorite airlines, I felt very comfortable to choose them over EasyJet, Vueling and many others in the market.
I must say I was quite excited to try a new airline, so this morning I got ready for a great experience… well silly me. The flight was scheduled for 8.40AM. So at 5.30AM I was picked up by a private riva at my hotel in central Venice. All was perfect, checked in and proceeded to the gate.
The nightmare began, and I will make it very short, not to bore you and to get the exact message straight. First announcement was that the flight was delayed. Therefore being that I had a connection, I was not making my second flight. Then I found out that Cologne to Edinburgh only flies once a day, meaning I would be stranded in Cologne. Asked the agent at the gate and she, in a very polite way told me F..K OFF that she was just a handler and that Germwings had no representatives in Venice, that I would have to wait till arriving to Cologne to have more information. PERFECT Customer Service, way to go AVIAPARTNER. Handing me next a lousy voucher for a crapy breakfast at a filthy cafeteria. But I decided to remain positive, and thought… Well if worst comes worst, I will have to sleep over in Cologne, city I do like and been there before, hoping they would take care of my transfers and accommodation. So sat close to the agents to check on them.
Almost two hours passed and they could not careless about the complaints and needs of my fellow passengers, specially those like me missing their connections, being stranded in Cologne, since the network of connections by GermanWings is very limited. I overheard, the flight is CANCELLED. Public announcement they did almost 30 minutes later, playing with the time, lives and opportunities of their clients.
I stopped for a minute, took a deep breath and said.!!! I need to get out of here now. GermanWings will not help me or any other grounded passengers, and I will be on waiting-list for the following day with only one already sold out flight and connection and many angry passengers trying to fly out. Ran to the first Internet machine at the airport. Logged into my Travel Agent booking engine, and searched for the first flight out of Venice to Edinburgh, either with optimal connections or even heading to London, Manchester or Glasgow. I would rather take a train next, than having to trust any other low cost European Airline.
I found a flight to Lufthansa Venice / Frankfurt / Edinburgh. It seems my fate today was tied to Lufthansa Group, the one I have always love and trusted blinded, but no so much anymore. Ran to the ticketing counter, hoping there would be seats available yet, and that my poor other fellow victims of GermanWings, wouldn’t have done the same.
INSIDER Travel Agent TIP: when this happens, if you can, get hold of your travel agent, he/she will know exactly what to do. If that is not an option, buy a round trip ticket. Round trips are usually cheaper than One Ways when booking last minute. This was the case with mine, saving over USD 200.
Thank God and the travel agent angels, there were still a few seats available. So I explained to the Lufthansa agent the situation, trying to see, being both airlines part of the same group, if they will extend any courtesy, special fare…. anything. Her answer was …” GermanWings is Lufthansa Group but it is not Lufthansa…” Hmmmmm still trying to understand what she meant with that? If you do, please let me know.
To end the story, EUR 275 and over 7 hours delayed from my original flight schedule, I made it to Edinburgh. The great news is, by Lufthansa being part of Star Alliance, I got miles with UNITED Airlines…. Fabulous worst US carrier. Really can it get any worst? Now I have more miles to fly United.
The whole point of this post is to make you aware that not usually LOW Cost ends up being HIGH Cost, read my other experience a year ago when flying AirBaltic from Paris to Stockholm. Most times cheaper is not the best option.
I am not complaining nor furious about the fact that the flight was first delayed and them cancelled, that happens everyday, even to the best airlines in the world. The important part is how the airline, their employees and handlers deal with it, and help travelers with their disrupted itineraries, hopes and needs. What I AM complaining about is the lack of professionalism, empathy, communication, and customer service by GermanWings. It was despicable, rude and inoperative. I am beyond surprised and disappointed, to learn that a group like Lufthansa Group is behind this negligent airline and partner.
That’s why I always choose, when in Europe to travel by speed trains.
Of course my flight with Lufthansa was perfect as usual, departing sharply on time and arriving way before schedule.
Stay away from GermanWings, Advise by experience, or better said lack of it. Today travel is all about experiences and GermanWings is not fitted to be part of any. GermanWings Flight 0815 – Venice / Cologne / Edinburgh. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends
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