Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Flying in Asia, ranking of my preferences

I am not frequent flier, but I always try some new airline. Flying in Asia is different from flying in European countries. First of all airplanes are bigger with more passengers and ticket prices are more expensive. It also seldom possible to check-in online as not many airlines and airports provide this kind of services. Yet, Asian airports are better connected with cities by subways and trains as they handle more people.

I came up with my personal preferences of the best airlines flying in Asia. Every time I try to use different airline, so now I can compare. What I value the most is ease of use – that seats are wide enough and soft, easy booking of tickets and check-in, smooth operation etc. What I don’t care is the food offered in flight. I am not flying to eat, but to get from point A to point B and airplane food is not healthy anyway. I also never tried airlines from Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia.

Top airline which I liked the best was Delta (former Northwest). Just for one reason – that their seats are pretty wide. Other airlines which come to my preferred list are Malaysia airlines and Thai airways. One can see that Malaysia airline is trying hard to win the customer – they bring bread and drinks after short intervals. I am not really into their food, but still I appreciate the service.

This screen will tell where Makkah is
Image: This screen will tell where Makkah is, Malaysia Airlines

Not the best, but good experience was with ANA, Air China and China Eastern Airways. ANA is cheapest and I am using it often. ANA seats are narrow and also surface is hard, so it’s difficult to sit. Sometimes ANA is concerned about my visa of the destination country, even border control is not into their business scope. China Eastern Airways I liked slightly better than Air China, just China Eastern Airways don’t have booking system in English, just in Chinese and seats are narrow. Air China has online booking system in English.

Boarding white Air China jet
Image: Boarding Air China jet. It was already 5th or 7th passport check in the airport. I am 130% sure that only those with right tickets got on the plane.

Next airlines which also provide good experience were KLM and Lufthansa. With KLM sometimes I flew old airplanes (on local routes), yet they have most liberal prices. One time we went out to airplane and other passengers were questioning among themselves if that aircraft will fly. But then flight crew was cheerful and if they were in such good mode, it seemed ok. Hope they can upgrade someday. Lufthansa has newer airplanes but I seldom can see their stewardesses at job but chatting at the back of airplane. Does Lufthansa need stewardesses at all ?

Airlines were experience was not so fully enjoyable were Cathay Pacific and SAS. Cathay Pacific operates around/from China. It was interesting that some passengers were walking around while airline took off. I was surprised and it was intense moment to see people opening luggage compartment, while airplane rises from ground. SAS flies to Copenhagen and has very strict luggage rules up till grams and what are they doing with things passengers have to leave in airport in hassle ?

Another thing which I noticed is that when trying to book Asiana airways or Korean air, is that it’s not possible to book flight earlier than 5 days before departure... System just don’t allow to book and says that day is too soon. I don’t know what I will be doing after 5 days really and I am not planning that far.

I mean its very subjective, other passengers might have different experiences. After all what’s most important for passengers is time.

Video: here I am enjoying flight out of Nagoya airport

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