Yesterday, I flew with Air New Zealand. Recently I have collected airlines, flying on Lufthansa, South African, Thai, Eva, Air Canada and New Zealand. Airlines don’t really vary that much, at least 4 star airlines don’t (more details here). There are differences in the friendliness of staff, and the quality of the aeroplanes. I try to avoid Boeing 747s on the grounds that most of them are really old, and the entertainment systems are retro-fitted. This usually leads to the systems having more problems than on newer planes. Thai’s system of an over head projected movie on their 747s is rubbish. Crap movies and edited for children. Lufthansa do the same on their old 747s. Yesterday I flew in a 777, which is a great plane. I am being a bit geeky about this, but 767s, 777s, A330s, A340s are all good and most tend to have good individual entertainment systems. If I can, I will select a flight to use these aircraft. The 777 and A340s are also a lot quieter in the cabin. Thai airlines is my exception to the 747 rule, as the service and room (seat pitch) in economy is so good. Lufthansa’s 747s though should have been decommissioned long ago, but this is true of many of them. I know these two airlines are suffering the from Airbus’ delays on delivery for A380s…. the 747s wouldn’t still be flying if they weren’t behind schedule. United’s jumbos too are looking tired. And Delta’s…. well they match the whole experience in my opinion. I avoid Delta if I can.
Yesterday Air New Zealand offered 74 movies. Cabin crew were pleasant and attentive. I found the information given in general like asking everyone to return their seats to the upright position to be something all airlines should do. The inflight mapping was also really good. The major drawback was with the luggage handling in Heathrow. Priority luggage taking 30mins longer than standard luggage!
One question, why do people pull themselves out of their seats, by grabbing the seat back on the person in front? Use your own armrests, and don’t disturb other people! It isn’t rocket science!
If I have one tip though, that is to be nice to the cabin crew. Be charming. You’ll find that you get a lot better service, and if you ever get to fly the same airline and have the same crew, you wont regret it.