Tag Archives: long haul flights

Etihad Airways introduces a new “Flying Nanny” program to keep the kids busy

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) has introduced a new “Flying Nanny” program that will be appreciated by parents flying with children (and probably other passengers around them). The airline has also introduced new in-flight entertainment for children. The airline issued this statement:

Do you ever wish that more help was available with children on long-haul flights, so you can sit back and have a little ‘me time’? With parents and their children in mind, you’ll find our ‘Flying Nanny’ on all long-haul flights operated by Etihad Airways.
Our Flying NannyOur specially trained Flying Nannies have been approved by Norland, the UK’s renowned childcare nursing college. They’re here to provide an extra pair of hands – whether it’s helping to get the children settled for bed, keeping them entertained or simply offering advice and support to parents.Every Flying Nanny will be equipped with a goody bag of games and activities to help keep the kids occupied, easing the pressure on you. They might be making their own hand puppets, trying origami for the first time, or joining other children in a drawing competition. They could even find themselves enjoying face-painting, learning a magic trick or having fun with food.
Our Flying NannyThe type of activities your children get involved in will be down to the creativity and ingenuity of both themselves and their Flying Nanny. Yet, even in the confines of an aircraft, the options are endless and our Flying Nannies are specially trained to make the most of what’s available onboard.And whilst we can’t take them off your hands completely, as we must cater to the needs of every family onboard, we hope our ‘Flying Nanny’ goes someway to making your experience with Etihad that little bit more relaxing and enjoyable.

In-flight entertainment

Etihad’s in-flight entertainment system includes a fun-filled children’s section, with a special interface that features our four much-loved animated characters: Kundai, Boo, Zoe and Jamool.

There’s a huge variety of entertainment on offer to keep your children entertained, all carefully selected with a younger audience in mind. Etihad also offers a parental lock feature, which allows parents to block unsuitable content at request.

For television and movie buffs, there’s our Kids Club for pre-schoolers and children under 12 years old, with a combination of live-action and animated titles. Teenagers also have access to their own section, offering Disney and a variety of popular Hollywood titles for their age group.

We also provide around 30-60 games across our fleet, together with a variety of music albums on our Audio-on-Demand section, including albums from teen-idols like Justin Bieber and Katy Perry.

Games and fun activities  with our children’s pack

In addition to the in-flight entertainment and Flying Nanny, every child over 3 years old will also receive their own children’s pack, containing enough games, activity books and stickers to help keep boredom at bay.

Copyright Photos: Etihad Airways.


Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

Austrian Airlines introduces a new cabin product for its long haul flights

Austrian Airlines (Vienna) has introduced a new long-haul cabin product and issued this statement:

As of now all passengers on Austrian’s long-haul flights benefit from the advantages of its new cabin. These advantages include a new level of seating comfort in Economy Class, an advanced board entertainment system offering non-stop entertainment, as well as innovative Business Class seats capable of being transformed into entirely flat beds. A total of 2,538 new seats were installed in the four Boeing 777 and six Boeing 767 airplanes belonging to Austrian’s long-haul fleet. An optimal array of seats ensures undisturbed flights. The Boeing 777’s Business Class provides four of five passengers sitting in a row with direct access to the aisle. This access is enjoyed, in fact, by every Business Class passenger in Austrian’s Boeing 767s. As before Austrian’s passengers are indulged by the prize-winning service and the first class DO and CO-catered fare. The menus provided in Business Class receive their final touches from flying chefs.

Austrian Long Haul 2 (Austrian)(LR)

The reconfiguration of the cabins has considerably boosted customer satisfaction, which has risen substantial 31 percentage points – among passengers on long-haul flights – since the launch of the new cabin. This result places Austrian Airlines among the peak of the evaluations received by the airlines comprising the world-spanning Star Alliance.

Austrian Long Haul Cabin (Austrian)(LRW)


Austrian CCO Karsten Benz states: “We are gratified by the enthusiasm shown by our customers. The significant rise in their satisfaction is proof that our investments of more than €90 million have paid off.”

Top Copyright Photos: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by Austrian Airlines). Boeing 777-2Z9 ER OE-LPC (msn 29313) climbs away from Tokyo (Narita) bound for the Vienna hub.

Austrian Airlines: AG Slide Show

United Airlines upgrades its premium services

United Airlines (Chicago) now features 180-degree flat-bed seats and personal on-demand entertainment in the premium cabins on all scheduled, long-haul international flights from the airline’s eight North American hubs and between Seattle/Tacoma and Tokyo (Narita).

United has outfitted 183 international long-haul aircraft with United Global First and United BusinessFirst cabins, and offers more than 7,000 total flat-bed seats fleet-wide, more than any other U.S. carrier. Customers in the premium cabins receive a higher level of privacy and comfort, a multi-course meal with complimentary wine options and more-personal attention.

United recently launched turn-down service for customers seated in United Global First, offering travelers an added touch of luxury and a better sleeping experience on long-haul flights.

In addition to offering customers more flat-bed seats on more aircraft than any other U.S. carrier, United currently provides extra-legroom Economy Plus seating on nearly 650 mainline aircraft and approximately 150 regional jets.

United is also revamping the transcontinental “p.s.” Premium Service fleet of aircraft that fly between New York Kennedy and Los Angeles and San Francisco. Customers traveling on the revamped p.s. aircraft will experience an improved premium cabin with fully flat-bed seats, faster Wi-Fi Internet service, and personal on-demand entertainment at every seat. The fourth p.s. aircraft to be retrofitted enters service this month, and United anticipates completing the entire p.s. fleet by year-end.

United is also outfitting aircraft with satellite Wi-Fi, offering inflight connectivity on long-haul international flights. The airline expects to have more than 200 aircraft outfitted with satellite Wi-Fi before the end of the year.

United recently deployed the 200th aircraft with live television, giving United the world’s largest fleet of aircraft equipped with live television.

Copyright Photo: Michael Stappen/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-224 WL N18119 (msn 27561) arrives at Amsterdam.

United Airlines: AG Slide Show

Lufthansa cancels most of its flights tomorrow due to the strike by the Verdi union

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) will be impacted heavily tomorrow due to a strike by the Verdi union which represents around 33,000 of its employees. The airline is pre-canceling almost 1700 flights. Only a few flights will operate. The airline has issued this statement:

The Lufthansa Group’s flight operations will be considerably restricted on Monday April 22, 2013 as a result of the planned warning strike by the Verdi trade union.

Due to the announced strike actions on Monday, April 22, nearly all Lufthansa flights within Germany and Europe will be cancelled. Only a select few short-haul flights will operate on Monday, such as in Berlin, where strike actions should end by 2:30 pm CET. In all, only 20 of the 1,650 planned Lufthansa short-haul flights on Monday will operate due to the limited flight schedule.

In addition to the cancellations in Germany and Europe, massive flight cancellations and delays are to be expected for long-haul flights beginning Sunday April, 21. Of the 50 planned flights in Frankfurt, only six will operate; in Munich, of the 17 planned flights, only three will operate; whereas, in Dusseldorf all three long-haul flights are scheduled to operate as planned.

Flights operated by Germanwings will not be affected.

Lufthansa regrets any inconvenience to Lufthansa passengers caused by the threatened strike measures by ver.di and will do its utmost to minimise impacts on passengers. Passenger support and service has paramount priority.

Passengers are kindly asked to please check the status of their flight before leaving for the airport. Passengers for flights that will take place please calculate extra time at the airport.

An overview of currently cancelled flights can be found here:

Cancelled flights

Read the full news report by Reuters: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Nik French. The new Lufthansa 1955 retrojet is this Airbus A321-231 registered as D-AIDV (msn 5413) captured nicely at Manchester.

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show

Iberia takes delivery of its first Airbus A330-300

Iberia A330-300 EC-LUB (77)(Apr) MAD (ASC)(LRW)

Iberia (Madrid) has taken delivery of the first of the five Airbus A330-302s that will enter service for the Spanish airline this year. The new type landed at 11:46 a.m. (1146) today at Iberia’s T4 hub at Madrid-Barajas airport.

The aircraft, A330-302 EC-LUB (msn 1377), is named “Tikal” and is equipped with IB’s new business and economy class interiors for long-haul flights.

In other news, the flag carrier is facing a new round of strikes by its employees on February 18 and February 22, grounding 415 of the 1,060 flights according to Reuters. The strike is also expected to affect Vueling Airlines and Iberia Express.

Copyright Photo: #SaveIberia. EC-LUB arrives at the MAD base. The new type is due to go into revenue service on the Madrid-Luanda route. Iberia had wanted to introduce a new livery with this new type but has decided to delay any new brand.

Iberia: AG Slide Show

Norwegian to lease long-range aircraft due to the delays in the Boeing 787 deliveries

Norwegian.com 787 (02)(Norwegian)(LRW)

Norwegian Air Shuttle (Oslo) has announced it will lease long-range aircraft as a stop-gap measure due to the delays in the deliveries of its new Boeing 787-8 aircraft. The carrier had previously announced an aggressive low-fare schedule for its new long-range destinations of New York and Bangkok based on the original delivery schedule. The grounding of the 787 due to the battery fires has interrupted the delivery schedule for all customers.

The company issued this statement (translated from Norwegian):

Boeing has warned of a possible delay in the delivery of Norwegian’s first Dreamliner that was supposed to have been delivered by the end of April, 2013. Norwegian will now secure replacement aircraft for the routes between Oslo and New York and Bangkok when direct routes start in late May.

In light of new information from Boeing, Norwegian will enter into an agreement with a leasing company that can fly the long-haul flights. Boeing has not produced any new delivery date or confirmation in writing of any delay. Norwegian is in contact with several European airlines flying long haul flights. It is not yet decided which company, if so, will fly these direct routes. All passengers who have booked flights with Norwegian will get more detailed information about the flights as soon as it is ready.

Image: Norwegian.

Norwegian: AG Slide Show

JetBlue to introduce its first in-house converted Airbus A320 Sharklet aircraft on February 21

JetBlue Airways (New York) will later this month become the first airline in the world to install Airbus “Sharklets” winglets as a retrofit on “Blue Yorker” (N821JB).  All new A320-family aircraft rolling off the production line – including the seven aircraft JetBlue is taking delivery of this year – will come with Sharklets already installed on the production line.

JetBlue plans to celebrate this milestone with an event at JFK’s Hangar 81 on Thursday, February 21.

According to the airline, “Sharklets produce better fuel efficiency for the aircraft – up to three percent less fuel burn on long-haul flights – providing fuel savings, range flexibility (reducing those winter-wind west bound fuel stops and arbitrary seat caps) while resulting in a smaller environmental footprint.  Further, the Sharklets will allow JetBlue to compete against other airlines who are currently flying more efficient aircraft (notably the 737-800).”

JetBlue’s Tech Ops Crew at JFK will retrofit five of the latest A320 deliveries, which were delivered from Airbus with reinforced wings that support Sharklets.  The airline anticipates the retrofit will take about four days to complete.  Older A320s (which make up the majority of our fleet) will have to undergo a more extensive program, including strengthening the interior of the wing structures before the Sharklet can be installed. This retrofit will take up the better part of two weeks, and will be conducted by a Business Partner under the close supervision of Airbus and JetBlue.

Copyright Photo: JetBlue has been an advocate of the winglet installation on both the forward- and retro-fitted A320s since 2006 when the airline participated in a project with Airbus and tested two designs on a this future JetBlue aircraft. One of the designs is pictured on Airbus A320-232 F-WWDL (msn 2755) which became N636JB on delivery.

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show


Iberia to drop long-haul service to Havana, Montevideo, San Juan and Santo Domingo on March 31, braces for strikes

Iberia (Madrid) is dropping all long-haul service to Havana, Montevideo, San Juan and Santo Domingo. The last flights will be operated on March 31, 2013. The airline is also dropping flights to Athens, Istanbul and Cairo, which will be suspended in mid-January 2013. The company has issued the following statement:

Iberia has announced details of its new commercial and routes policies under the Transformation Plan it announced recently. The plan is intended to restore profitability to the airline, which racked up operating losses of 262 million euros in the first nine months of 2012, and thus to ensure its future viability.

The plan calls for optimizing the Spanish airline’s route network in 2013, strengthening the most strategic and profitable routes, and dropping loss makers. Subsequently, it expects to resume growth if economic and market conditions allow, increasing revenues while cutting sales costs, to build a solid platform for future growth.
Iberia plans to improve connections to its busiest long-haul flights, achieve a better balance between business and holiday traffic, and augment its future growth possibilities. Within the Transformation Plan, it will boost services to some long haul destinations such as Brazil, Mexico, Miami, Central America and Chile and Ecuador. It will also increase capacity to some other short and medium-haul destinations, including London, Casablanca, Algiers, Dakar, Nouakchott, and Malabo.
The airline will drop some routes now dominated by holiday traffic, where it competes on unfavourable terms with other airlines. These include flights to Athens, Istanbul and Cairo, which will be suspended in mid-January. From 1st April it will also suspend flights to Santo Domingo and Havana. San Juan de Puerto Rico will be offered via Miami and Montevideo via other Iberia destinations in the region.
Iberia pledges to be flexible with customers holding reservations or tickets for flights on the routes to be dropped. It will offer full refunds or alternative travel on other carriers – on Vueling to Athens, Egyptair to Cairo, Turkish Airlines to Istanbul, and Air Europa to Santo Domingo and Havana.
Following these changes, Iberia group airlines will fly to more than 90 cities in some 40 countries, some of them new territories for Iberia, such as Ghana, Mauritania, Angola, and the city of Oran in Algeria and Los Angeles in California.
To generate new revenues and reduce costs, Iberia will offer all-new Economy and Business class sections on its long-haul flights. The new cabin interiors, seats, and entertainment options will be available on the current fleet of Airbus A340-600s, and the A330s to be delivered starting early next year. The company is also working to improve ground services, while seeking additional sources of revenue, such as the new VIP lounges in Miami and Buenos Aires.
In addition, SIMA is calling for  a meeting with Iberia and its unions next week in an attempt to reach labor peace and to avoid planned strikes against the carrier this month. The company issued this statement:
On December 7 Iberia management met with the strike committee and with the contract negotiation committees of the unions representing its ground staff and cabin crews in a bid to advance with negotiations and to avert the series of day-long strikes called for the week before Christmas. Since no agreement was reached, new meetings have been scheduled for next week. The SEPLA pilots union refused to meet with the company.

Spain’s SIMA labor conflict arbitration body has summoned Iberia and the striking unions to a meeting on Monday (December 10) to explore the possibility of mediation.

Iberia regards the strikes as both a disproportionate and unjustified response to its new Transformation Plan, since the airline has already agreed to negotiate the labor aspects of the restructuring plan, aimed at restoring profitability and ensuring the future viability of the 85-year-old Spanish airline.

Unions have called six strike days, five of them consecutive, for one of the busiest weeks of the year, which will worsen the company’s current loss-making situation and seriously inconvenience thousands of customers, while bringing no possible benefit to employees.

The company’s position is that a strike to protest the restructuring plan is out of order since it has already agreed to negotiate the labour aspects of its plan that was unveiled in November. It says the strike will seriously worsen the company’s situation in a year when operating losses had already reached 262 million euros by end of September.

Since the strikes are scheduled for December 14 and December 17-21.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A340-642 EC-IZY (msn 604) pushes back from the gate at Miami bound for the Madrid hub.

Iberia: AG Slide Show

IAG to drastically downsize Iberia in order to return it to profitability

International Airlines Group-IAG (London), the holding company for both British Airways (London) and Iberia (Madrid) has announced drastic plans to downsize Iberia in order to return the airline to profitability. IAG has also announced it will proceed to acquire a controlling interest in lower-cost Vueling Airlines (Barcelona).

The following statement was issued today:

A comprehensive plan to save Iberia after record losses and return it to profitability was announced today by International Airlines Group (IAG). Iberia’s transformation plan will introduce permanent structural change across all areas of the business with the aim of stemming losses and returning the Spanish airline to profitability.

Transformation Plan Highlights:
  • Stem Iberia’s cash losses by mid-2013.
  • Turnaround in profitability of at least €600 million from 2012 levels to align Iberia with IAG’s target return on capital of 12 per cent by 2015.
  • Network capacity cut by 15 per cent in 2013 to focus on profitable routes.
  • Downsizing its fleet by 25 aircraft – five long haul and 20 short haul.
  • Reduction of 4,500 jobs to safeguard around 15,500 posts across the airline. This is in line with capacity cuts and improved productivity across the airline.
  • New commercial initiatives to boost unit revenues including increased ancillary sales and website redesign.
  • Discontinue non-profitable third party maintenance and retain profitable ground handling services outside Madrid.
  • The transformation will be funded from Iberia’s internal resources
In the short term the transformation will focus on stemming the losses and creating a profitable route network. This will include suspending loss making routes and frequencies and ensuring there is effective feed for profitable long haul flights.
As well as halting Iberia’s financial decline we will establish a viable business that can grow profitably in the long term. Short and medium haul operations will be transformed to compete effectively with low cost carriers who have successfully established themselves in Iberia’s home market. The plan will see comprehensive productivity improvements and the introduction of permanent salary adjustments to achieve a competitive and flexible cost base.
Iberia has many advantages. It has an excellent geographical position to serve Latin America, along with historical ties; a strong brand and the ability to grow long term at it hub.
A deadline of January 31, 2013 has been set to reach agreement with the unions. If agreement is not reached, deeper cuts and a more radical reduction in the size and scale of Iberia’s operations will take place to secure the natural long haul traffic flows at Madrid and safeguard the company’s future.
Rafael Sánchez-Lozano, Iberia’s chief executive, said: “Iberia is in fight for survival. It is unprofitable in all its markets. We have to take tough decisions now to save the company and return it to profitability. Unless we take radical action to introduce permanent structural change the future for the airline is bleak. However this plan gives us a platform to turn the business around and grow.
“The Spanish and European economic crisis has impacted on Iberia, but its problems are systemic and pre-date the country’s current difficulties. The company is burning €1.7 million every day. Iberia has to modernise and adapt to the new competitive environment as its cost base is significantly higher than its main competitors in Spain and Latin America.”
“Time is not on our side. We have set a deadline of January 31, 2013 to reach agreement with our trade unions. We enter those negotiations in good faith. If we do not reach consensus we will have to take more radical action which will lead to greater reductions in capacity and jobs”.
Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive said: “We want Iberia to be strong and successful. For too long the narrow self interest of the few has damaged the long term future for the many. We will not hesitate to take the necessary steps to protect the interests of our shareholders, our customers and our employees.
“This turnaround plan is critical for Iberia and for the future of Spain.  A strong and profitable Iberia can create jobs and boost tourism, a key driver in Spain’s economic recovery”.
Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. Iberia will look drastically different in 2013 with many European routes like Madrid-Geneva being dropped or replaced by lower cost carriers. Iberia’s Airbus A319-111 EC-HGS (msn 1180) taxies at GVA.