Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Flight Review for 2014

Introduction


Thank you!

For those who been reading my reports, I hope you enjoy reading them. It never cross my mind that my website would gain more than 200,000 views, and because of it, I am motivated to produce better trip reports. 

Meanwhile, I am updating my old trip reports to improve the contents. 

My next flight will take place in March 2015. Scoot's 787-9 Dreamliner will kick start this year's reports. Stay tuned for it! 


My Flying Adventure in 2014 


2014 has been a roller coaster year for me, fortunately more good than bad. For flying, I have been quite lucky and I can't ask for more.  

Flying is my passion and to be able to try out the number of airlines I flown so far is a blessing. Not only do I get to experience the airlines' hospitality, I get to experience the culture of different countries which makes me wiser. Sometimes you have to experience the bad in order to be a smarter traveller and that happened to me a couple of occasions. 

So let me conclude my flying adventure of 2014 with you. 

Do take note: My in-flight experience on these carriers may be different from others especially on service, it depends on the type of crew you get. So keep an open mind when you fly on airlines that I don't rate. 

For this post, I will be rating every airline flown in 2014 and list the top airlines in different categories.  For example: Best in-flight service, best in-flight meal....etc

Hopefully you find the information useful for your future flights. 

2014 is a record-breaking year for me in terms of the number of flights flown. I doubt I break this record in 2015 but I never know. 

Without further ado, let's get started! 

My flights for 2014


Here is the map of my flights flown in 2014:



As you notice, I flew to mostly Asian cities and Helsinki was the only city outside of Asia in 2014, and hopefilly that would change this year. 

Airports visited for 2014: 

Jakarta (CGK), Denpasar Bali (DPS), Surabaya (SUB) - First time, Pankalanbun Iskandar Airport (PKN) - First time, Batam (BTH) - First time, Johor Bahru (JHB), KUL (Kuala Lumper KLIA1 and KLIA2 (First time), Subang Airport (SZB), Vietnam (SGN), Bangkok (BKK), Don Muang (DMK), Chiang Mai (CNX), Hong Kong (HKG), Makong (MZG) - First time, Taitung (TTT) - First time, Taipei Taoyuan (TPE), Taipei Songshan (TSA), Helsinki (HEL), Seoul Incheon (ICN), Seoul Gimpo (GMP), Jeju (CJU) - First time, Osaka Kansai (KIX), Osaka Itami (ITM) - First time, Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Sapporo (CTS) - First time

Airlines flown for 2014: 

SilkAir X 2 (First time), Kuwait Airways (First time), Garuda Indonesia X 2, Sriwijaya (First time), Malindo Air X 3, Citilink (First Time), Trigana Air (First time), Kalstar Aviation (First time), Tiger Mandala (First time and now defunct), Air Asia, Cathay Pacific X 2, Peach Aviation X 2, Eastar Jet X 2(First time), Vanilla Air (First time), Jeju Air (First time), Air Busan (First time), T'way (First time), Korean Air (First time), Air India (First time), Finnair X 2, Vietjetair (First time), Turkish Airlines, Kenya Airways X 2, EVA Air, China Airlines (First time), Mandarin Airlines X 2 (First time), Far Eastern Transport X 2 , Ethiopian Airlines, Jetstar, Royal Jordanian X 2, Uzbekistan Airways (First time), Nok Air (First time), Thai Smile (First Time)

Aircraft types flown for 2014: 


ATR72-600, Airbus A320, A321, A330-200,-300, A340-300, Boeing 737--400,-500,-700,-800,-900ER, Boeing 747-400, Boeing 767-300ER, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 787-8, CRJ1000, ERJ190

Short review on each airline

Air Busan

Aircraft type: Airbus A321
Route: Seoul Gimpo to Jeju 

Cabin photo of HL8213


This airline is a Korean Low Cost Carrier, a subsidiary of Asiana Airlines and I am impressed with the legroom space (34 inch). The seat is comfortable and the service was great! Can't ask for more on this short hop. A complimentary drink was served and that was it for this short 50 minutes flight. Overall rating: A+

Air India

Aircraft type: Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner 
Route: Osaka Kansai to Hong Kong

Cabin photo of VT-ANG



The airline's in-flight product is not bad and the seat colour makes me feel very cosy especially with the window shade dimmed. The meal was great as the catering was probably from Osaka. However, the service was mediocre, we were served by 40+ years old crew who were mostly grumpy, hardly any smiles from any of them. So overall rating: B-

Air Asia

Aircraft type: Airbus A320

Route: SIN-KUL-SIN

I have flown with this airline numerous number of times but only on SIN-KUL and return sectors. 


Cabin shot of 9M-AHI



A typical Low Cost Carrier's cabin which consists of 5 front rows with better legroom space and the rest are standard. The in-flight meals are not bad even though I haven't tried all of it yet. Cabin service is pretty much on and off; I had good service and also not so good ones with this airline. Overall rating: B-

Cathay Pacific

Aircraft flown: Airbus A330-300 and Boeing 777-300
Route: SIN-HKG (A333) and HKG-SIN (B773)


Airbus A330, B-HLO Y Class Cabin


Boeing 777-300, B-HNK Y Class Cabin


Cathay Pacific is one of the top airlines out there and I wasn't disappointed especially with the in-flight service. Crew on both flights were friendly and professional and I definitely look forward to flying with this airline again. It may not have the best IFE (In-flight entertainment system) or seat, but the reliability and in-flight service makes up for it. My rating: A-

China Airlines

Aircraft flown: Boeing 747-400
Routing: TPE-HKG

Cabin photo of B-18212



I was told China Airlines has better in-flight service than EVA Air so my expectation was slightly higher. I know this is just one flight but I was shocked with the service, that was how bad it was. I have to fly a few more times to give a proper verdict though but for first impression - disappointing. This is the old Y class seats on the Boeing 747-400 which would be retired by this year, replaced by the Boeing 777-300ER which I hope to try in the near future. Overall rating: D 

Citilink

Aircraft flown: Airbus A320
Route: BTH-CGK

Cabin photo of PK-GLA


Cabin interior looks strange with that foldable drink holder but the seat was comfortable enough at least for short haul. In-flight service was decent, not surprisingly since this airline is under the management of Garuda. Overall rating: B+

Eastar Jet 

Cabin photo of HL8205, Boeing 737-700


Cabin photo of HL8269, Boeing 737-800



I have to say how impressed I was with the service on both flights. The cabin crew were attentive, friendly and their command of English was good. I can't ask for more for a good crew. As for the cabin, the seat pitch is pretty tight and the interior is of the older type.  My overall rating: B+

EVA Air

Aircraft flown: Airbus A321
Routing: HKG-TPE


This was my 9th flight with this airline, my first after becoming a star alliance member. I can see the vast improvement both on-ground and in-flight. I was not disappointed at all. The seats were comfortable and in-flight service was not bad. Looking forward to flying with this airline again in the near future. Overall rating: B+

Ethiopian Airlines

Aircraft flown: Boeing 767-300ER
Routing: BKK-KUL


Cabin photo of ET-ALC 


This was my 2nd time flying with this airline, the first with the airline's cabin interior. The airline has so many different types of Boeing 767 configuration that it confuse even the frequent flyers. This cabin feels very nostalgia and won't please the fussy travellers. However, the airline is phrasing out this aircraft as they will be replaced by the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350. As for the service, I found it to be quite decent. The African crew were friendly and professional, was quite happy with their service. Overall rating: B-


Far Eastern Transport

Aircraft flown: MD-82
Routing: TSA-MZG-TSA

Cabin photo of B-28017, MD-82


As much I enjoy flying the MD-80, the seat pitch of this configuration is very tight and uncomfortable especially on a full flight. To make things worse, the service on board wasn't good due to the unfriendly nature of the crew. My rating: C- 

Finnair

Aircraft flown: Airbus A340-300
Route: SIN-HEL-SIN

Finnair's ex-Air France cabin, OH-LQG


Finnair's own Y class cabin, OH-LQB 



I managed to fly on the airline's A340 different Y class cabin and you can really the difference especially flying on this long haul route. Flying on the ex-Air France machine makes you feel ancient but the Finnair's owned aircraft is definitely better. Service on both flights were disappointing. Overall rating: C- 

Garuda

Aircraft flown: CRJ1000 and Airbus A330-200
Routes: CGK-DPS and DPS-SUB

 Airbus A330-200 Y class Cabin, PK-GPH


CRJ1000 Y class cabin, PK-GLI


I haven't flown on the previous generation of Garuda but I have to say this airline has improved by leaps and bounds and my flights with this airline didn't disappoint. The service on board both flights impressed me and the seat comfort is good especially on the CRJ1000. Overall rating: A

Jeju Air

Aircraft flown: Boeing 737-800
Route: ICN-NRT 

Cabin interior of HL8263

A Low Cost Carrier from Korea based in Jeju. The seat pitch is similar to other 737NG Low Cost Operators but is bearable for the 2 hours flight. What impressed me is the in-flight service, the crew were very hospitable and friendly, I will not hesitate to fly with this airline again. Overall rating: B+

Jetstar Asia

Aircraft flown: Airbus A320
Route: KUL-SIN

Cabin interior of 9V-JSS


The seats are the newer ones in the airline's fleet and its more comfortable than the older ones but I prefer the safety cards and magazines to be at the seat pocket. As for the service, I find this set of crew disappointing. All four of them were seen at the front cabin for most parts of the flight.
 Overall rating: B

Kalstar Aviation

Aircraft flown: Boeing 737-500
Route: PKN-CGK

Cabin interior of PK-KSP


The seat pitch is tight but comfortable for my back. The cabin crew were friendly and professional. One of them smiled at me when she gave me the snack box. This set of crew is one of the best I had on my Indonesia trip. I hope to see this airline expanding to other parts of Indonesia. 
Overall rating: A- 

Kenya Airways

Aircraft flown: Boeing 787-8 
Route: BKK-HKG-BKK

Cabin photo of 5Y-KZB


An improvement over the older Y and J class products on the older aircraft. Better seats and IFE system on a new aircraft is a right direction. It may not have the nicest cabin interior, but the seats and IFE system works for me. As for the cabin service, its not too bad. They were professional and friendly. Overall rating: A-


Korean Air

Aircraft flown: Boeing 747-400 
Route: GMP-CJU

Cabin photo of HL7493


I booked purposely on this flight was to fly on the Boeing 747-400, an almost empty one in fact. It was a memorable one as I was allowed to roam around snapping photos of the cabin and my 60th airline card was signed by the cabin crew. The seats may not be the latest but it was comfortable and the crew were top notch! Overall rating: A+ 


Kuwait Airways

Aircraft flown: Airbus A340-300
Route: KUL-CGK


Cabin interior of 9K-ANB



Cabin interior is similar to Finnair's A340-300 (OH-LQG). Fortunately, the airline has ordered new aircraft to replace this (Airbus A350 and Boeing 777-300ER) so regular passengers of this airline have to bear a bit longer. Cabin crew were friendly and professional, but reserved. It was a good flight! Overall rating: B


Malindo Air

Aircraft flown: ATR72, Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 737-900ER
Routes: SZB-JHB, KUL-SIN and CGK-KUL respectively


Cabin shot of ATR 72-600, 9M-LMK



Cabin shot of Boeing 737-800, 9M-LNM




Cabin shot of Boeing 737-900ER, 9M-LNK


This airline has a fantastic cabin interior on both ATR and Boeing. Even though the ATR doesn't offer IFE system, the seats are comfortable with ample legroom space. As for the Boeing 737-800 and -900ER, they share the same interior and I am definitely impressed with the airline's in-flight products and the cheap air fares. Cabin crew service on the other hand is a hit-and-miss. Overall rating: A-


Mandarin Airlines

Aircraft flown: ERJ190
Routes: TSA-TTT-TSA


Cabin shot of B-16821



The spacious interior of the ERJ190 always impresses me and this is no different. The seat is very comfortable with a good amount of legroom space. Cabin crew were on the spot - professional and friendly. Overall rating: A

Nok Air

Aircraft flown: Boeing 737-800
Route: DMK-CNX

Cabin shot of HS-DBH


An outdated cabin with very tight seat pitch and not-so-comfortable seats. Luckily, the flight duration was only an hour, however that was compensated by the wonderful service I got from the crew. Not only were they helpful, they were cheerful and smiling through out the flight to passengers. Very good set of crew I must say. Overall rating: B+


Peach Aviation

Aircraft flown: Airbus A320
Routing: HKG-KIX and CTS-KIX


Cabin shot of JA801P



Cabin shot of JA808P (Newer cabin)


The seats on both old and new interior are comfortable, legroom space is the same as other A320 Low Cost Carriers but the leather seat is pretty comfy. The service on board both flights were excellent, especially the Hong Kong to Osaka crew. Best Low Cost Carrier among the ones I flew on so far. Overall rating: A+ 

Royal Jordanian

Aircraft flown: Boeing 787-8 
Routes: KUL-BKK-KUL

Cabin shot of JY-BAF


I am pleasantly surprised with Royal Jordanian's new Y and J class products. The airline has certainly impressed me with their new products and the Thai crew who are much friendlier than the Middle Eastern crew (my previous flight with the airline). The seats are comfortable and service was not bad. Only thing I had to complain about is the in-flight meal on the afternoon flight, the passengers should have been served with hot meal not sandwiches. Overall rating: B+


Silkair

Aircraft flown: Airbus A320 and Boeing 737-800
Routes: SIN-KUL-SIN


Cabin shot of 9V-SLB



Cabin shot of 9V-MGA


This is a comparison between the old and new Y class products. The old Y class on the A320 has better legroom space than the 737's. I chose the old Y class seats for this reason alone. The new seats on the Boeing 737 are hard and uncomfortable and I avoid them in the near future if possible. The only positive spot about both flights is the good service from the crew. Overall rating: B-


Singapore Airlines

Aircraft flown: Airbus A330-300
Route: KUL-SIN


Cabin photo of 9V-STT



The airline's Y class product is probably one of the best in the market but the shocking service I had on this flight especially at the end made me wonder, as I was getting off the aircraft. Overall rating: B-


Sriwijaya Air

Aircraft flown: Boeing 737-500
Route: SUB-CGK

Cabin photo of PK-CLI



What I was not happy about this airline was not the 3-hours delay, but how they handled it. Seats were very cramp and service was mediocre. The airline's slogan - Your Flying Partner; my answer is 'No'. 
Overall rating: D-


T'Way

Aircraft flown: Boeing 737-800
Route: CJU-GMP


Cabin photo of HL8235


A typical Korean Low Cost Carrier cabin but the seat isn't comfortable. However, the service was decent but not as polished as the others. Therefore, I rate them the lowest among the Korean carriers flown so far. Overall rating: B-

Thai Smile

Aircraft flown: Airbus A320 with sharklets
Route: CNX-DMK

Cabin photo of HS-TXN


The cabin interior caught my eye when I was making my way to my seat. It gives me a warm and cosy feeling and the seat is pretty comfortable. The service on board was good; crew were friendly and professional, though slightly reserved. Overall rating: A


Tiger Mandala

Aircraft flown: Airbus A320
Route: CGK-SIN

Cabin photo of PK-RMN 
(This aircraft is now with Indigo, registered as VT-IDA.)


Its a pity this airline disappeared from aviation. The cabin seats were uncomfortable due to the tight seat-pitch especially at the back. The crew were average; some of them seemed to be inexperience, from the way they interacted with the passengers. Overall rating: C


Trigana Air

Cabin photo of PK-YSF



I was disappointed to be flying on the 737-400 instead of the 737-200. Well, life goes on. Cabin seat is hard and seat pitch is tight. The cabin crew were busy with their own stuff most of the time. Only thing that caught my eye was the attractive 'Kebaya'. Other than that, it was a mediocre flight. 

Overall rating: D


Uzbekistan Airways

Aircraft flown: Boeing 767-300ER
Route: SIN-KUL

Cabin Photo of UK-67004



I was pleasantly surprised with the cabin. The seats are comfortable and the IFE system apart from the language setting, is impressive. However, the service was a disappointment. The crew disappeared just before take off and only appeared after the aircraft reached its gate. Overall rating: B- 


Vanilla Air


Aircraft type: Airbus A320
Route: NRT-CTS


The cabin seats are standard, not much difference from the other Low Cost Carriers. Somehow I feel the seat pitch seems to be tighter than the others. The service onthe other  hand was excellent, as expected from the Japanese. Overall rating: B

Credits to the respective photographers from airliners.net.



Do take note: This "award" is based on my flying experience with these airlines and has nothing to do with Skytrax or others. 


Charles Ryan's Airlines Award for 2014

Best Premium Airline flown: Garuda Indonesia



Best Low Cost Carrier flown: Peach Aviation



Best in-flight meal: Kuwait Airways


Absolutely delicious, one of the few meals that I wouldn't mind a second helping. 


Most comfortable economy class seats: Air Busan 


Mainly for the 34-inch legroom space. 


Best in-flight crew: Korean Air on KE1221 (HL7493)


For being very accommodating and helpful. 


Fastest flight:  Kenya Airways KQ861 BKK-HKG (We were 40 minutes early)




Most enjoyable aircraft to fly on (Tough decision): MD-82 
It was a toss between this and the 787 Dreamliner. 

Not for the cabin but for the aircraft's performance which never fails to impress me. 



Airline flown with the nicest livery: Royal Jordanian



Airline with the nicest cabin interior (Y class): Malindo Air


Most Interesting Airport: Sapporo Chitose Airport 

You can check out more photos of this airport over here.



Best Airport Experience: Seoul Incheon Airport 

It was a tough decision between this and Hong Kong Airport. What was the deciding factor? The on-ground service. Changi Airport is a position behind these 2. 

Conclusion

It was a great year for flying, breaking my personal record of flights as a result. I don't normally fly a lot but I manage to do so because of time and more importantly, great deals I picked up along the way. 

Thanks for reading and do follow my 2015 adventure.

Cheers
Charles Ryan Teo