Sunday, June 17, 2018

PaxEx on board Royal Jordanian Crown Class

I have flown on board RJ's B787 at least twice annually on the AMM-DTW vv sectors in Crown Class (Business) for the last few years and will probably continue for a few more years. For the sake of transperancy and full disclosure I am an ex RJ employee who happens to fly J class on subload basis.

Crown class on board the B787 compared to the competitors is pretty basic. The seats are comfortable and become fully flat. The stowage area near the seat is hard to get to as it lies behind the shoulder and is very cramped so not much can be stowed.

There is no WiFi so forget about the joys of connectivity for business or social media. IFE is not too bad, but very basic compared to the likes of Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways or THY. None of the latest movie releases are carried, but the selection is adequate for a twelve (12) hours flight.

The on board service was much better at the time the B787 was introduced. As the fortunes of RJ took a downturn so did the on board service. The quality and selection of the food has suffered. The on board service has become indifferent with the occasional flashes of enthusiasm, to put it mildly.
The cabin service lacks the discipline required to be a real competitive business class. The cabin crew are more engaged with their colleagues than with passengers.

As the financial position of the airline improves, hopefully so will the service.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Great to be back

It has been more than one year since I have written last and I miss it. In the meantime a lot of water has flown under many bridges.

The US3 vs the  ME3 dispute has been resolved with both sides claiming victory; but more of a win for the ME3. The Open Sky agreements have been reaffirmed with no changes to their basic elements. The only concession was that the ME3 will not exercise 5th freedom rights from Europe to the USA in the near future; an issue that affects only Emirates at this time. Emirates instead is planning a Barcelona to Mexico City flight which is stirring controversy in Mexico. The Tourism Ministry loves it and Aero Mexico wants to fight it, never a dull moment.

The electronic ban is over; airports are now doing more inspections on electronic equipment before USA and UK flights. However, ICAO and IATA are looking at a ban on having passengers carrying personal electronic devices carried in checked baggage.

Norwegian finally got the authority to operate to the USA and the sky did not fall and jobs were not lost.

Last but not least, BREXIT promises to wreak havoc not only with UK aviation but  the sector on a global level.

These and other regional issues will be touched upon in the near future.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Electronics Ban

This first appeared on SimpliFlying  as a comment on the article #ELECTRONICSBAN

I traveled from DXB to DTW via AMS with KL and DL. At DXB security was the normal x-ray and walk through metal detectors. However, at the gate in AMS boarding DL all the names of the DXB connecting passengers were on the monitor requesting them to check with the counter. Simply all were required to undergo extra security measures, nothing unusual just a swab of laptops, iPads and tablets for explosive traces and the usual start it for me. This was done in AMM every time I boarded to DTW. So, if it is good enough for DL why is it not good enough for ME carriers. Why go for such an unsafe procedure of putting hundreds of lithium battery powered devices in the aircraft hold? A procedure EASA, the FAA, FSF, IATA and every safety organization has warned against?!!

Just saying

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

A French proverb meaning the more it changes the more it stays the same. It was great to fly on a B787-9 from DXB to SPL. The aircraft was spacious and the cabin was probably as advertised.
The IFE was great; the selection was good and the screens were the latest model.

I guess great thanks to Boeing and Technology in this case.

But then you hit what matters; the airline offering to mere mortals in economy class. The same ultra firm cushions that are not the best for an 8 hours flight, specially the bottom cushion. The same food offering that has not changed for years and mostly the professional and cold service offered sometimes with a smile.

A modern aircraft with a great IFE does not constitute a great passenger experience; it certainly helps. It is this human interaction during flight and on ground that matters, a concept that seems to allude most airlines. The lip service and rhetoric of improved on board services still stops at the curtain seperating first and business from economy.

So I suppose, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

US3 vs ME3

The rhetoric has calmed down since the earlier days, from accusations of complicity in 9/11 to massive subsidies and the inability to compete against rich states to the US3 just requiring the US government to seek consultation with the UAE and Qatar regarding subsidies to the ME3.

The rhetoric included issues ranging from subsidies to labor unions and gay rights.
It appears that subsidies are like beauty, strictly in the eye of the beholder. While the ME3 talk about equity the US3 talk about subsidy and then Chapter 11 is thrown in the mix as an undue advantage accorded to US industry. The US3 counter and rightly so that this is the law of the land but then without it the US3 would not be with us today.

As for labor unions; the ME3 employ expatriates who sign up for a package that  pobably is superior to whatever they can get at there home countries, so why would they care about unionizing.  But then labor unions are governed by each country's law, just like Chapter 11 I guess.

Similarly, the anti gay issue has nothing to do with fair competition. The ME3 have gay people in their staff, and as long as they do not break any pertinent country laws, they remain employed. But then do the US3 want the US government to discuss labor unions and LGBT rights laws in the UAE and Qatar, of course not, then why bring it up other than to muddy the waters. After all the track record in the USA when it comes to these two issues is not the most pogrssive, with laws enacted in individual States that roll back the rights to unionize and gay rights.

The position of the US3 is opposed by almost all segments of the industry from Aircraft manufacturers', OEM's, the travel and tourist industry, airports and cities. Then why all the screaming?
The US3 are making record profits and there is very little overlap in the international routes they operate with those of the ME3. Is it an anticompetitive sentiment and a myopic view of what constitutes competition? Partly yes, look at the postion taken against Norwegian 's application to operate to the USA or the stance of Delta against the EXIM bank as an indication. The ME3 counter with; compete on  service; invest in new modern aircraft, state of the art IFE systems and customer service on board and on the ground and passngers will come back.

The issue that really scares the US3 and their EU Lgacy airlines partners is 5th freedom rights from Europe and the ensuing comptition on the North Atlantic market. FedEx and that segment of the market oppose the US3 position because they do not want any changes to these 5th freedom rigths. Emirates Airline's Milan/New York route was opposed by both the US3 and the EU Legacy airlines because it directly affects North Atlantic traffic. Tim Clark, Emirate's president intimated last week that the airline might exercise its 5th freedom rights under the bilateral if it proves profitable. He basically declared if a European city asks Emirates to operate because they feel there isn't enough capacity to the USA then subject to profitability Emirates will operate. Etihad has that option but then they do not really need the bilateral to operate on the North Atlantic, they have their own EU approved equity partners; Alitalia, airberlin to name a few.

Welcome to the global travel market.


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