Rumor: Wataniya Airways Bankruptcy

This is shocking and very sad news that is going around. Wataniya Airways will be announcing its Bankruptcy very soon and shutting down completely and will no longer be operational. I honestly thought they would be able to reorganize themselves and adjust their issues to get the airline back on its feet. I didn’t think that it would reach this point, and I don’t care what others may say Wataniya Airlines had excellent service and I was very happy traveling on their airlines, they made it enjoyable to travel again. Now we are back to the old options of Jazeera Airways, Middle East Airlines, and Emirates Airlines for travel within the region.

If you have purchased tickets from Wataniya Airlines you only have 45 days to get a refund for any tickets. And it will probably insane over the next few weeks if this is the case.

Continental Business First Boeing 757

ContinentalBusinessFirstSeats

Business and First Class travel is something to look forward to in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, but not in the US. Usually in the US the Airlines are outdated, the staff are somewhat not in the best mood and your stuck in your seat until you get to your destination. I usualy try to avoid flying long trips within the US, I usually try to take a long haul flight that lands in the city of my choice so that I can drive to my next destination or a short trip away. And the airport security experience is another story in the US, and the tedious security procedures.

That is my usual experience but this time around I have had a very different and extremely surprising experience. Usually I fly Southwest or United Airlines when I’m in the US because they are usually on time and get me where I need to go but this time around I took Continental and booked BusinessFirst and to my shock they had sleeper seats on the plane. The entertainment system had a few updated movies and tv shows, with a very detailed flight map with information. The seat was very very comfortable and becomes fully flat, and it is comfortably wide. They are upgrading their fleet and most of the Boeing 757s are done, and 777s are completed, but they are still working on their 767s. This surprise was a nice turn around for a US airline which is usually lacking in comparison to its International counterparts but in this case the flight was comfortable, I watch one show while having some yoghurt and then passing out for the rest of the flight. Now Continental has jumped to the top of my preferred list for airlines to fly within the US. And they have merged with United so lets see what the results of that will be as well, I hope they continue to improve their service.

British Airways – Price Insanity

BritishAirways

British Airways have been up and down for the last few years, price increases and major service outages and deterioration. I have a lot of mileage with them and whenever I chose the dates to go somehow they don’t work out and its annoying, they black out a lot of dates for different reasons. I tried to book for Eid but literally the week before and after Eid is blacked out, so I check to see how much the tickets were and it was just purely insane. Kuwait to London round trip unrestricted business class ticket was for 1340 KWD on British Airways, and an extra 400 KWD would take you to Los Angeles or San Francisco at these prices. I decided to check Emirates for the same dates and it was a lot cheaper, 842 KWD which is almost half of British Airways. I used to be a loyal flyer on British Airways but over the years they have lost me as a client, for trips in the region I stick to Wataniya and for long trips I try to fly on Emirates. A lot of people fly on British Airways for the comfort of a direct flight to London but I don’t mind the switch in Dubai, its not a really an inconvenience for me but I understand when families are flying together and its easier for them. British Airways think they can just charge ridiculous rates and get away with it, its very sad.

British Airways – Downgrade

BAMileageCard

I used to fly British Airways a lot a few years ago, but ever since they had their first set of protests back around 2006 things haven’t been going so well for them. British Airways used to be my most preferred airlines to travel on, there is something that I like about them and I always enjoyed walking around Heathrow Terminal 4, maybe it was the bookstore, or HMV, or WH Smith which kept me so entertained over the past years of going through it. I got this downgrade from British Airways from a Gold Member to a Silver, and now from Silver to Blue and I’m not really annoyed with them as much as I am saddened by the state it has reached. Its not what it used to be, and I loved their lounges and I still like their style. Especially recently I remember they have had some insane price increases which has led me to try other airlines such as Lufthansa and Emirates, and I have had some good experiences. Still I don’t feel that I am losing much from the downgrade as I never really felt any benefit from their Mileage program.

Cairo Airport – VIP Lounge

This makes entering and leaving from Cairo Airport so much easier, I signed up for the VIP service through my travel agency and it turned out to be even better then I expected. When you leave the plane there is a bus that takes all the passengers to immigrations, but in my case a car was waiting for me and takes me straight to the VIP terminal.

You even have your own immigrations and they go get your luggage for you. I just waited in the lounge for everything to be stamped and to go through simply, and within 5 minutes I was out the door and on my way to the hotel. They have made it so easy and simple to go through that it is really worth it to use this service, and once you experience it you will not stop using it. The lounge area is very nice with separate rooms for all the guests and you can still sit in the middle area instead of the nice room. There is free wireless available for your use all over the VIP Terminal, I think that this is the best service they could have provided to passengers arriving into Cairo.


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Economy Seat Ranking for 2009

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Over the past year I have gone to some odd places, and on different airlines and I have gotten a really good experiences and some really horrible ones during traveling. Sometimes things go really wrong and sometimes it goes so smoothly your surprised. Well out of all the airlines I have ranked the economy seats based on the criteria below, and the higher the ranking the better the ratings of each but I’m going to number each but the results are below. This is of course excluding the attitude of the stewards on the plane, this is just pure seat comfort and relaxation throughout the trip. Up top is Wataniya Airways, with nice leg room, a reclining back, wide seat, and you don’t feel like you are packed into a truck like a bunch of sheeps. The worst out of the lot is Jazeera Airways, and they are just really bad, the seat is tight, I have to take my phones and wallet out my pocket to fit without feeling pressure on my legs.

Ranking Criteria:

  • Seat Comfort
  • Leg Space
  • Seat Reclining
  • Seat Width
  • Amenities

Ranking (Top to Bottom)

  • Wataniya Airlines
  • GulfAir
  • British Airways
  • Emirates Airlines
  • Royal Jordanian
  • Oman Air
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Jazeera Airways

British Airways Lands in Las Vegas

Now this is an interesting development from British Airways, out of all the large airlines operating in the region British Airways has been on the more expensive side. This new route has seemed a bit odd to me since its not the most successful route, and Emirates used to fly there but they stopped because a lot of the times their planes flew empty. It seems they want to take a knock at Virgin Atlantic over this route, I didn’t know they viewed them as that much of a threat. I don’t know how much more bookings this route will bring them but I know the British Airways is hurting the most from all the major airlines.

I was checking the booking for British Airways to Las Vegas from Kuwait and it came out to be 1590 KWD which is a lot less damaging then the quote I recieved a couple of months ago for Virgin which was a ridiculous 4260 KWD. I even called to make sure that they aren’t quoting British Pounds, but they were serious about that price and it was the same online.

Link: Luxist

Review: Emirates San Francisco Flight

After flying sixteen hours to and from the United States on a new Emirates route. I think that everyone should be flying on this plane since it was such a good experience. I broke it down to give people an idea. The plane was a brand new Boeing 777, they are flying the Airbus 380 to London and New York, I was hoping to get it to San Francisco but not this time around.

Price:
I was looking at three options to fly to San Francisco, and the shorter the stop in between the better. I was looking at British Airways, Lufthansa and Emirates Airlines. I expected Emirates to be the most expensive but I was wrong. For a business class seat Emirates was 22% cheaper then British Airways, but 9% more expensive then Lufthansa. British Airways also had the longest layover and Emirates had the shortest layover. Emirates also had the newest planes. Overall the price was very good for the quality and service I was getting.

Comfort:
The seats are quite wide, wider then British Airways sleeper seats and Lufthansa. You also get a huge screen in front of you, I haven’t seen a bigger screen on any airlines yet. When the seat is completely flat it is angled down slightly but you won’t suffer any back pain, or at least I didn’t. I tend to sleep on my side and some times on BA flights I would wake up feeling a little sore after a long flight. On the Emirates flight both going and coming I was very comfortable.

Food:
The food selection was decent, I always get hungry on the plane and hope for good food. Emirates Airlines had decent food, it was pretty good but I expected it to be better.

Entertainment:
I think Emirates have perfected the best Flight Entertainment System available. They have the ICE system which has a lot of movies for you to choose from and to watch at anytime, and the best part is that you can watch it while you are parked in the terminal, so you can start the movie or show before take off. Sometimes waiting on the plane you get bored to death but not on a long haul Emirates flight. I started the movie the moment I sat down.

Staff:
The ground staff at the new Terminal 3 in Dubai were decently helpful. The ground staff at SFO airport were very helpful, and this is the first time I see an airline who has staff up to the gate to help you when you arrive and when you depart, they were excellent. I was impressed by them and they wanted to make sure my things arrive in Kuwait and out very quickly. On the plane the staff was very nice, and while everyone was passed they kept asking if I wanted anything, and I just asked for a hot chocolate once and so they kept bringing me some, and I have to say that it was pretty good.

Rating:

Emirates New Flights

Recently Emirates has been making some big announcements, they now have 3 very long haul flights. They are really taking over some of these long haul flights, I know someone who just tried the Brazil flight and they said it was very comfortable for 16 hours. It is a little bit more expensive then planes with stop overs. BA Flight from Kuwait to London, then London to San Paulo is cheaper then the Dubai to San Paulo for 400 KD. So sometimes it might be a little bit more expensive but still very convenient flights to have, some of these flights are booked up ahead with no availability for a few months.

  • San Paulo, Brazil
  • Los Angeles, United States (Sept 08)
  • San Francisco, United States (Oct 08)