The most recent review published on The Higher Flyer evaluates international business class onboard American Airlines’s now-retired fleet of Boeing 767s. There’s nothing particularly exciting nor noteworthy about the experience, but with lie-flat seats, direct aisle access for all passengers, and upgraded dining options on offer, your expectations for a product marketed as “Flagship Business” are likely going to be met but not exceeded. It delivers all that you could want in decidedly-average fashion, but because the fares are prohibitively expensive, it’s nearly impossible for me to recommend it. When compared to significantly cheaper, if not better, alternatives, it’s the textbook definition of a terrible deal… although some might disagree with that assessment. There’s an inherent ambiguousness to higher flying reflected here, and that poses an interesting question: what makes a “good value” good?Continue reading “On perceiving “good” value”
A recently-refurbished plane remains retro thanks to an underwhelming premium product
Across its expansive fleet, American Airlines features eight different kinds of business class seats. Naturally, as you might expect, some are better than others. On one end of the spectrum you have excellent reverse herringbones found on its Boeing 777s and 787-9s. On the opposite end, on its Boeing 767s, you have staggered seats that would’ve been state-of-the-art 15 years ago. Of the these two extremes, they share unlikely commonalities: AA installed them on its planes only as recently as a few years ago, and it typically charges comparable, astronomically-priced fares for both. If the airline brings the goods — so tasty dining options and warm, amicable service (among other things) to complement a comfortable chair that reclines 180 degrees — then it can get away with this pricing model. If it doesn’t, well, such a poor value isn’t “higher flyer” and it probably isn’t worth your time. By those metrics, the business class experience on AA’s 767s is, while more pleasant than economy, probably one to avoid.Continue reading “American Airlines 767 Business Class Review”
The Daily Flyer
Welcome to the fifth edition of “The Daily Flyer,” The Higher Flyer‘s daily newsletter gathering up and summarizing some of the day’s most important happenings in the world of airlines, hotels, award points, and other travel-related things. Today’s feature — for February 19, 2020 — explores how current trends in the U.S. airline industry (as named by Skift) affect passengers. Other topics include ways to make unbearable flights more bearable, whether or not metal credit cards are tacky, increased fallout from the coronavirus in the travel industry, and a new lounge on the way at Washington Dulles.
The Daily Flyer
Welcome to the second edition of “The Daily Flyer,” The Higher Flyer‘s daily newsletter gathering up and summarizing some of the day’s most important happenings in the world of airlines, hotels, award points, and other travel-related things. Today’s feature — for February 12, 2020 — covers the lesser-noticed effects that the coronavirus has on the travel industry, as well as an impending reshuffling in the World of Hyatt, American Airlines’s roll out of a less-crappy Oasis product, and a glimpse in to Delta’s future at Tokyo Haneda Airport.
Spending lots of money without getting any tangible pleasures in return isn’t fun, no matter how important a purchase might be. Nobody likes saving and then subsequently dropping thousands of dollars to, say, repair the roof. A leaky ceiling sure is problematic, and you’d save a bit on heating costs in the long run, but no one is getting hyped about buying new shingles. That necessary investment can’t compare to the thrill of driving a luxury car straight off the lot, or better yet, flying around the world in first class.
The most common question I get from THF Consulting clients is: “what’s the difference between economy plus and premium economy? There is none, right?” While the names are quite similar, they’re not interchangeable; in terms of quality, the latter is miles ahead when it comes to the hard product… and in theory, the soft product too. The two nevertheless are better than regular economy, but that’s not always clear on paper. In order to maximize your purchasing power as a traveler/your higher flyer potential, it’s important to be aware of those differences so that you always know what kind of airfare you’re buying.Continue reading “What’s the difference between Economy Plus and Premium Economy?”
A Hilton DoubleTree masquerading as a quaint boutique hotel in the heart of Madrid
Hilton as a brand doesn’t have a particularly aspirational reputation. Sure, its hotels are mostly comfortable and are more than serviceable, but the average Hilton usually lacks the glamour or pizzazz or charm that a mid-level Hyatt or a legacy Starwood property (RIP) might have. Hilton’s DoubleTrees are some of the worst offenders when it comes to generic corporateness — they’re typically marketed to business travelers, and utilitarian design doesn’t lend itself well to pleasing aesthetics — but the brand’s sole property in Spain is an obvious outlier. While “DoubleTree” might not evoke images of boutique luxury, the one in Madrid should very well challenge your assumptions.