My experience on ETIHAD Airways Business Class JFK/AUH/BKK rt

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

Photo Jan 09, 3 44 12 AMThe 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

La Conpagnie All-Business-Class Boutique Airline by www.carlosmeliablog.com
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

Porter Airlines Non-Stop Mont Tremblant

Porter Airlines Non-Stop Mont Tremblant by www.carlosmeliablog.comPorter 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

Air Berlin Non-Stop nach Berlin by www.carlosmeliablog.com 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

GermanWings my own tragic experience

20131012-165649.jpg 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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AEROMEXICO New York to Cancun

AEROMEXICO by www.carlosmeliablog.comAEROMEXICO New York to Cancun  |  Airlines  |  I flew Aeromexico from New York City to Cancun, to come to Riviera Maya. The experience was, although I flew on Economy, very enjoyable, not to mention that it is such an easy flight. Only in 3 hours, we were landing, early… shocking right, at Cancun International Airport. Member of SkyTeam, therefore you will collect miles with the Delta Airlines group. I flew on a brand new state-of-the-art Boeing 737-800, being the youngest fleet, I would risk to say, flying in between United States and Mexico. Departure at JFK International Airport was from Terminal 1. Cabin felt clean and with new. Onboard Aeromexico features comfortable seats, individual entertainment system with a nice selection of movies, music, TV shows, games and even, same as Virgin Atlantic, the message service in between seats. I was surprised they still do not offer WiFi Connection, but I think none of the competition does either on this route. My flight was early in the morning, therefore on a 3 hours flights they served Breakfast, which you can see in the photo below, with the option of Omelette or Waffles. They only did one round of beverage, which should have been twice instead. Bathrooms are rather small, so keep that in mind if you have issues moving. The feature only two classes on this flight, Economy and Business. It would be great to see a Premium Economy as well. As for Business, all I can say is that they had a total of 12 seats which look very comfy. I will try to be upgraded on my way back, to give a full report on this. OH and I forgot to mention that the overhead bins were quite wide and deep. Overall a great experience, and I would not hesitate to fly them again in the future. To me Aeromexico, was the same positive surprise and experience as I enjoyed a year ago with Aeroflot, also member of SkyTeam. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends  Continue reading AEROMEXICO New York to Cancun

AirBaltic exorbitant Hidden Fees

AirBaltic exorbitant Hidden Fees Airline   |  Airlines  |  Sometimes I ask my self, how do this wonderfull airlines manage to have fares sometimes upto 50% lower than regular ones. either there is a hidden trick, or regular airlines are overcharging way too much. Well the truth is none of the above, the truth is that the low cost concept is a total scam, full of hidden and overpriced fees pf which you end up as their victim, once you at the airport hostage of a situation without anyone to assist or protect you rights.
So you buy the concept of low cost airlines, go to their websites and find EUR 55 fares to fly from Paris to Riga and another x amount of Euros to connect to Stockholm. You get excited, and that is when you fell in the trap. Even people like me, avid travelers sometimes get screwed airlines like this.
Once you get to the airport, then the show begins. So get ready for what it will hit you.  Most low cost airlines should be called or refered as “Hidden Fees Airlines“.
This was my case with AirBaltictoday, flying Paris to Stockholm via Riga in Latvia. I got to the check IN counter at Charles de Gaulle, and as soon as the agent saw me and my bags he was drooling over the fact that he was going to reach his daily quota, with another international traveler, tricked by the low cost scam.FYI I had 2 pieces of luggage. (1 suitcase and 1 carry on, for a total weight 39 kg). So I said to my self, ok Carlos, you know the game, they will charge you EUR 20 per bag and maybe a little extra weight, after all you are not that overweighted. I mean travelling for over 3 weeks across Europe, with 39 kg does not sound crazy AT ALL, does it.?

The agent tells me, well I need to charge you for two pieces of luggage (which your total allowance of weight per person is 20 kg) Just ridiculous. And on top of that 19 kg of extra luggage. So I looked at him and I say in the coolest way ever, ok just charge it.  He replied to me, well I need to explain you the charges… And that is when I knew they were going to rip me off big time, and so they did BIGGGG TIME

To make this joke, excuse me story meant to say, short this is what they charged me, of course needless to say, on top of the EUR 280 that I paid for my OW ticket, which YES was INDEED quite reasonable.

2 Pieces of luggage EUR 60. Extra Weight EUR 570 (yes you read right. Imagine my face). My first thought was, Thank God I am only flying one way and not round trip with them, otherwise it would have been over EUR 1014 of just extra luggage.

You work so hard to make your money, and thieves like this just take the money from you without any shame. The worst part is that the official authorities allow them to do this. I would like to know, who regulates that each extra kili is valued EUR 30. Plain,simply and excuse my English… fucking ridiculous, total rip off.

I will let you to make your own conclusions, but as for me is concerned, I cannot let this happen without warning all of you. If you are visiting Europe and traveling with fairly reasonable amount of luggage, stay away from AirBaltic, or prepare to go through the same I did… A TOTAL AND SHAMELESS RIP OFF.

At least I would not feel this impotence if I would have spent the money in clothing, a great night stay in a luxury hotel, a beautiful dinner or a fabulous travel experience.

So now you know… Low cost airlines like AirBaltic trick you to think they are an affordable option to fly, but in the end they charge you the same or sometimes more than regular airlines, over Hidden Fees. Stay away from them.!!! Or certainly from AirBaltic. I am not going to lie, the flight was very good, despite that of course they do not even give you a glass of water for free on board…. But I do not like companies that lie and abuse their clients, so I DO NOT ENDORSE nor RECOMMENDS flying AirBaltic. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends


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Lufthansa’s brand-new Business Class


Lufthansa’s brand-new Business Class  |  Lufthansa’s brand-new Business Class comes to the U.S. market along with the new Boeing 747-8 and Carlos Melia and Carlos Melia Recommends have been invited to be among the first to try it. I will be flying to Berlin next Thursday and I will be reporting from onboard the new state of the art aircraft . Stay tuned. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends

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American Airlines 955 to Buenos Aires Business Class

American Airlines 955 to Buenos Aires Business Class | New York to Buenos Aires | Good Evening everyone, welcome on board flight AA955 with non-stop service from New York City all the way down to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Almost over 10 hours overnight flight, but hey when flying on the Business Class cabin, it only feels like two movies, a dinner and a morning breakfast. This time the seat was originally 11A but then the freindly crew moved me to a better 12E where I had a full empty business class row of three seats for my own leisure and comfort.

Continue reading American Airlines 955 to Buenos Aires Business Class