Airlines travels/extras/airplane_big


International Airlines

airlines/airasiastarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
This successful low-budget airline offers an outstanding alternative to infamous ground transportation options in Asia. (Although you will forfeit the great memories and friendships that are often formed during such long distance migrations.) AirAsia does charge fees for drinks, snacks, booking, baggage, use of your credit card, picking a seat, and for insurance, so be ready to pay more than 50% than the quotes fare and be sure to have some local currency or you may be subject to the worst exchange rate on land or air. Understand how military time translates; if you miss your flight (like I did) there’s no justice. In fact, they would not adjust my connecting flight (that I had not yet missed) after I had to repurchase my original flight for full fare. At the end of the day though, this carrier makes life a lot easier for those on the go.

airlines/air_canadastarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
A good alternative to United States carriers but then again, not that different. I flew them a couple of times from BC to California.

airlines/air_indiastarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
Never flew them, but I thought I would when I went to India. However, if I were flying to India from North America, I would choose an East Asian carrier and transfer with a several day layover. Not only will this be cheaper, but chances are, the plane ride will be a lot nicer. If I were coming from Europe (which I never have) I would fly a Middle Eastern carrier and do the same brief layover.

airlines/air_chinastarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
Constantly getting better. None of the horror stories I heard about this carrier materialize on my one flight from Chengdu to Lhasa. In fact, I was treated to some decent food, friendly staff and a good vibe all together. May not be Asia’s best airline, but don’t worry if you have to fly Air China; there are much worse options. The great thing about Air China is that once you are on the plane, you are in China with all its privileges and annoyances. Enjoy…

airlines/air_francestarstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
Not my favorite for trans-Atlantic flights, however, inter-Europe seems quite nice (at least the stewardesses did.) That 747-200 (no longer with AF) I flew from LAX to Paris was so jam-packed with passengers that I almost got a broken nose every time the person in front of me stretched. Then again, they got me there safely and when I landed, the first thing I did was go to the Eiffel Tower. Can’t beat that, can you?

airlines/air_madagascarstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
Affectionately known as Air Mad, the best thing about this airline is that half the time you fly them (internationally) you land in Madagascar. Other than that, this no frills carrier doesn’t gleam high on the rankings. They do have an excellent fragile handling capacity, so if you do manage to buy a djembei or a huge model ship, chances are it will arrive undamaged at the other end. Some of the staff will be pushy and rude if you get to the gate more than 30 minutes before departure.

airlines/anastarstarstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
Coach on this airline is as good as business on most others. Flying ANA on their state-of-the-art Boeing 777 was a pleasure indeed. Coach meals included salmon teriyaki, muscles & maguru sashimi, salad, bread, etc. In addition each and every seat had its own entertainment system meaning I could start and stop moves and play various games on my time. ANA has the friendliest attendants as well.

starstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
I flew these guys from LAX to Shanghai with a stop in Korea in 2001. The long-haul was on a B747-400. The plane was typical, but the food was great. The Korea to Shanghai flight was on a new 777 and I loved every minute of it. I have since opted for the 777 every time I fly. I understand this company his improved even further so I am eager to fly it again.

airlines/bimanstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
The alleged “ worst airline on the planet” as one traveler scribed on the wall of a hotel in Khao San Road, Thailand is actually not bad. This company chugs away offering the best trans-Asia fares. Some of their planes are a bit old, but their is a modernization plan in hand. I found the staff to be the friendliest in the industry. One ground staff even took me out for drinks the night before the flights after I reconfirmed my outbound flight for the next day. No other airline has ever done that and probably ever will. The food is OK, and some prefer not to eat it. And yes, some of the seat and tray tables don’t stay up. Then again, the pilots are highly trained and fly continuously in heavy monsoon conditions without problems. Some of the planes are new and some are old. I got the chance to fly on a Fokker 28, a plane (almost) as old as I am. I suggest a brief four-day layover in Dhaka. You will never forget it. Don’t worry about flying with these guys, and if you do have the opportunity, remember, you will be taking-off and landing in some of the most exotic countries on the planet. Enjoy!

airlines/british_airwaysstarstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
Highly-connected airline that flies to most places in the world, including some way-off-the-beaten-path spots in Africa and the Middle East. There are ample drinks and decent food on board, and once they even let me sit in the cockpit of a 747 for and hour while en route to London — best sunrise ever.

airlines/china_airlinesstarstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
Other than having a tendency to hot-rod 747s across the Atlantic in formation flying, this carrier is one of the better Asians, and therefore one of the better in the world. You get hot towels and good food served by sexy stewardesses. The only improvements I see are the need to update all their aircraft with the individual entertainment systems that they have some of the inter-Asian flights. The food is good and the staff is friendly enough.

airlines/egypt_airstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
The pride and glory of Egypt. My flight was on a Boeing 767 from Cairo to Asmara, Eritrea. The flight left at 3:40A right on time, unlike anything else in Egypt. The plane was new, the staff were brilliant and the food (I chose the veggie option) was terrible. I would fly them again, and despite recent problems, this is a decent carrier. The only problem I had (which was a big problem) was trying to buy a one-way flight out of Egypt. They absolutely refused to sell one-ways. Finally, though, they succumbed and issued a one-way for me to Eritrea.

airlines/el_alstarstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
Definitely a secure airline; once I was seated on the plane, after my interrogation, I felt as snug as a baby. I really did. Yes, they do question every traveler and they scrutinize high-risk individuals. At the time, I was an early twenty-something traveling alone with Arab stamps in my passport— prime suspect. But don’t worry, they won’t question everyone like they did me. I didn’t care actually, I knew the plane wouldn’t leave without me, and it showed me how safe they really are. Rumors have it that some of the planes have antimissile technologies. Pretty neat. All the pilots are highly experienced ex-military. The food isn’t anything to write home about, but the praying rabbis on the plane is. All in all, if you have a chance to fly them, choose them, you will never forget it and you will have a better time.

airlines/emiratesstarstarstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
An outstanding company that provides a memorable experience flying to the most exotic destinations on earth in luxury, even in coach. Fly Emirates. Great service, great amenities on board, and great food, especially flying from East Asian destinations. Layover in Dubai was interesting to say the least. Just have a blanket with you if you are laid-up overnight. Try to opt for their lounge.

airlines/ethiopianstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
I have to say that I like this company. Not only is it the biggest and one of the safest carriers in Africa, but every time I ride with them it was shear excitement. From taking off on dirt runways to sky-bomb dive landings, this company gets you where you need to go in the most remote sections on earth. Most of the pilots are ex-air force and may need to be reminded that they are no longer flying fighter planes. Other than that the planes are in new to decent conditions and remembering what the toilets where like on the ground, I often sometimes waited to get on board to use the lavatory!

airlines/evastarstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
I flew EVA from Bangkok to LAX on their 747-400Combi plane. I don’t like this configuration as the whole point of flying on a big airplane is to have a big airplane. This plane was cut in half, the front for passengers and the back for… who knows what? Other than that the service was perfect and the food outstanding.

starstarstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
This airline saved my ass and for that, it will always be one of my favorites. The 12 hour flight to Tokyo was pleasant in all regards, but when I arrived to my hotel and realized that I left my computer on the plane, panic struck. I called the airline and not only did they provide counseling, but when they found my computer (which they told me they would during my counseling session) they hand delivered it to my hotel room the next day in bubble wrap and paper—all for the cost of about $9. I love JAL! Damn good food too, especially on outbound flights that originate from Japan.

airlines/jet_airwaysstarstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
India’s best airline. This company began as a low-cost yet comfortable airlines with its fleet of new 737s. The company has now emerging as a global player with one of the highest ratings in the industry. If you have to fly to or around India, choose them; it is worth the extra ten bucks.

airlines/klmstarstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
KLM took me to Amsterdam; KLM also gave me me the chance to experience a controlled emergency landing, complete with mid-air fuel dumping. I like the company mainly because I like most things Dutch. Other than that, nothing is really too exceptional about this carrier, but it’s a solid 4-star for sure.

airlines/malaysiastarstarstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
Another great airline, maybe one of the best. From the moment you step on, even in coach, the treatment is superb. Everyone gets a little toiletries bag and a menu. The food ranks up there as some of the best and the staff are quite sincere and caring. The planes are in great condition. One of the best Asian carriers and therefore one of the best in the world. I love this airline. Special props for their unique Argentina → South Africa → Malaysia → Australia route.

airlines/mexicana_logostarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
This is your typical north American carrier in all regards except for one difference. The gigantic and free flowing bottle of Sauza tequila that sits plush in the middle of the drink cart. The food, I thought, was excellent to. Chicken enchilada and good, slow cooked refried beans. The planes are decent and in good condition.
March 2009 update: The company is slipping. The planes are looking older and neither the service nor the tequila are as good, so lowering to 3 stars.

airlines/philippine_airstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
This is not my favorite Asian airline. The check-in is quite militaristic in that they weigh all your bags down to the ounce. Anyone ever slightly over is charged an instant $100 extra. The food on the planes is good enough and the staff are nice to foreigners. The planes don’t have any frills.

starspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
Book early, pay less, and they’ll get you there. Other than that forget everything else. And if you don’t book early, then why bother? This airline’s seats don’t recline, there are no magazine racks, no comp drinks or peanuts, nothing, nada, zip. In fact, they are thinking of charging for the loo and have also looked into stools with seatbelts. Definitely plays into the time/money equation. Good luck getting those cheap fares; someone with better planning skills than you will probably have already snatched them up. Enjoy the fluorescent yellow plastic interiors! (And the 1.5 hour treks to and from obscure airports.)

starstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
I think you are allowed to check about 20 pounds of gear, beyond that, anything you saved on the ticket price will be handed over to the check-in agent at the airport. Nonetheless, a decent no-frills airline with a good safety record. Enjoy your time in China.

starstarstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
Have you ever wanted to not get off the airplane? Well, I experienced that here. Singapore is really the best. The ratings don’t lie. They practically carry you onboard, even in coach. You get the hot napkin treatment prior to wonderful meal and every seat has its on individual entertainment center. The staff is perfect, proper and still warm and friendly. I am just dying to see what first-class is like…

airlines/sri_lankanstarstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
A sweetheart of an airline. Nice planes, good food, friendly staff. The only really problem was getting a ticket from India, which was a true pain in the ass. I was told that coach was entirely sold-out and was persuaded to fly first. So I did, but upon entering the plane, I realized that I may have been sold a more expensive ticket unnecessarily. First-class was great though and included a special line for immigration. My bags were the first out in the claim area as well. Now that’s a first!

starstarstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
Smooth as silk indeed. The food on this airline is quite possibly the best in the world (for coach.) The stewardesses are darling and the planes are (mostly) new. I was disappointed that my seat didn’t have the individual entertainment system, even though each seat has a monitor and a joystick for the functionality. Maybe they weren’t finished upgrading all of their planes. Definitely in Asia’s top five best carriers.

airlines/xiamen_airlinesstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
Darling little company that does the trick especially when you fly from Xiamen to Guilin. The staff are quite attentive and they give you plenty of snacks and complimentary beverages, even on short flights. Big warning about flying domestically in China: Be sure to be checked in more than ½ hour in advance or you’ll have an empty seat next to you the way I did.

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Domestic Airlines

airlines/alaskaairstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ] Alaska Airlines is a reliable, family style business. The company flies planes daily in some of the worse weather conditions on Earth and still has a great safety record. They used to be the highest rated airline in the United States.

airlines/americanstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
American flies almost everywhere and seems to be on-time most of the time. Although their extended leg room program is discontinued, most of the planes are in good condition. Some of the older MD80 planes do need a new paint job. (The cracks on the engine paint don‘t do wonders for nervous travelers.) OneWorld is a decent network with many partners worldwide. AAdvantage requires 25,000 miles for domestic US flights, $50 if not booked within 21 day, and there is a mandatory $5 security fee per booking. I found it difficult to use my miles when trying to get more popular flights.

airlines/americawest_logostarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
I have only flown them to Las Vegas and it was a good time. The staff are laid back and friendly which makes the flights seem a lot more comfortable and stress free. America West proves that a well placed smile can go a looooong way. The company has never had a fatal accident.

airlines/continentalstarstarstarspecials [ fleet ] [ destinations ] Continental has the advertised newest fleet in the United States. The planes I flew on were new and nice. The service was good. Continental has a neat route that includes many islands in Polynesia and Micronesia. I hope to fly that route one day.

airlines/deltastarstarstarspecials [ fleet ] [ destinations ] This airline has just undergone a facelift and looks like it is set to continue operations. I haven’t flown recently.

airlines/hawaiianstarstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
The aloha airline has the highest quality of standards of all US carriers. They still provide free food and their customer service is unsurpassed. The great thing about flying Hawaiian is that you are either going to or coming from Hawaii. The 767s they fly to the mainland are comfy and clean and they still serve food and multiple beverages.

airlines/jet_bluestarstarstarstarspecials [ fleet ] [ destinations ] I have not yet flown JetBlue but really want to. I can tell you this though, the fact that they have individual entertainment systems at every seat places them at the top of my list.

airlines/nwastarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] In teaming up with KLM, Northwest has expanded its service worldwide. Not my favorite carrier, but they seem to be trucking along and still in business.

airlines/southweststarstarstarspecials [ fleet ] [ destinations ] Southwest is my favorite budget domestic airline. I have not flown JetBlue yet because they do not fly out of an airport near me. This no-frills carrier gets the job done. They make a profit every quarter and really care about repeat customers. The RapidRewards program is excellent you get one free round-trip for four flights booked online. Their ticket symbol is LUV and really, there is a lot of LUV at this company because they do care. Flying cross country can involve several layovers. The company has never had a fatal accident.

airlines/unitedstarstarstarspecials   [ fleet ] [ destinations ]
It’s always an adventure with United. Sometimes five-star, sometimes one-star. Since SFO has a United hub, I am continually opting for another adventure with this carrier. They recently upgraded me to biz on a flight to Europe, so currently United has a soft spot in my heart.

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Mobissimo Travel
The Mobissimo search engine performs real-time queries of the multiple Web sites that travelers traditionally check manually (plus dozens of others that are often overlooked.)

SKYTRAX — Airline Quality
The ultimate guide to airline product and service standards.

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Airline Blacklists

List of air carriers banned in the European Union

(August 29, 2005)

French list

Air Koryo, North Korea
International Air Service, Liberia
Air Mozambique (LAM), including its subsidiary Transairways
Phuket Airlines, Thailand

Belgian list

Africa Lines, Central African Republic
Air Memphis, Egypt
Air Van Airlines, Armenia
Central Air Express, Democratic Republic of Congo
International Air Tours Ltd., Nigeria
Johnsons Air Ltd., Ghana
Silverback Cargo Freighters, Rwanda
South Airlines, Ukraine

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