2017 EDITOR'S PICKS
Keeping an eye on airlines, mainly in the area of passenger comfort flying to and from a cruise, some news from Delta. Coming soon, cruise travelers flying from or through Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) will enjoy a more comfortable experience. It’s the latest step in a $1.9 billion plan; a serious investment in the Delta flight experience.
The Los Angeles City Council this week unanimously approved Delta’s lease and license agreement to enable the airline’s relocation to Terminals 2 and 3 at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), completing another vital step toward a to upgrade and connect the complex.
“This project is a giant leap forward in the modernization of our LAX terminals and will dramatically improve the passenger experience at our airport by making it quicker and more convenient for people to check-in and transfer flights at LAX,” said Mike Bonin, who represents LAX and surrounding communities on the Los Angeles City Council. “I’m also thrilled that this project was so broadly supported by neighbors, workers and business groups. This continues our promise to make LAX a world-class airport and a first-class neighbor.”
By relocating from Terminals 5 and 6 to the complex at Terminals 2 and 3, the future project will enable Delta to build a premier space for its LAX operations alongside its airline partners. It will also provide a secure connector to the north side of the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
“Delta is committed to Los Angeles and to continuing our work both inside and outside the airport to invest in this community,” said Ranjan Goswami, Delta’s Vice President – Sales, West. “We are excited to move forward with this project, which we know will enable an ever-higher level of service for our customers at this key hub.”
The lease agreement and relocation will expand Delta’s gates at LAX in tandem with the airline’s growth there. Since 2009, Delta has more than doubled its number of seats and grown from 70 daily departures to more than 175.
Long Haul Delta Flight Experience Focused On Passenger Comfort
In another move by Delta, the introduction of Delta One Suite, the first business class cabin to feature a sliding door at each suite is set to be rolled out soon as well. That’s significant for cruise travelers flying ‘across the pond’ for a European river or ocean cruise. It’s the most common flight to choose business class, especially for those who do not travel internationally often
Designed with an emphasis on exceptional customer comfort and privacy, the Delta One suite offers each customer a private space accessed by a sliding door with thoughtfully designed personal stowage areas, an advanced in-flight entertainment system and premium trim and finishes to create an unparalleled business class experience with a comfortable, residential feel.
he Delta One suite will debut on Delta’s first Airbus A350, due to enter service in fall 2017. Each aircraft will feature 32 suites.
In addition to full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access, which the airline introduced eight years ago, the Delta One suite features:
- A full-height door at every suite
- Sliding privacy dividers between center suites
- In-suite, customizable ambient lighting
- Dedicated stowage compartments for shoes, headphones and laptops
- Contemporary design featuring premium trim and finishes
- Memory foam-enhanced comfort cushion
- An 18-inch, high resolution in-flight entertainment monitor, the largest among U.S. carriers
- A universal power outlet and high-powered USB port at every seat
Also interesting, a number of cruise lines are offering reduced airfare from North America to European embarkation ports. Historically, air travel programs through cruise lines have been horrible values. In recent years, cruise lines have become more competitive in pricing. Cruise lines have also begun to consider passenger comfort in the flying experience as well. The subject of an upcoming post, a preview of the Viking Cruises air program provides a good example.
The hassle free Viking Inclusive Air program leaves the complexity of planning air travel with the air experts. Flight schedules are sent no later than 75 days prior to departure which allows Viking to negotiate the best deals and flights for our guests. This includes economy, Premium Economy and Business Economy Class.
Listed below are some of the benefits of Viking Inclusive Air.
- Best flights available
- Minimum connection standards, 90 minutes for large airports (London, Frankfurt, Paris & Rome), 60 minutes for mid-size airports (Amsterdam, Zurich & Brussels)
- Most arrival and departure times at your destination range from 9:00am to 5:00pm local time
- Automatic seat request, aisle and seat next to aisle when available
Of particular interest to cruise travelers considering international travel, the minimum connection standards. We always look for 3 hours between international connections and 2 hours between domestic connections. That allows a very nice buffer of time when flights are delayed and also allows plenty of time for checked luggage to make it to the next plane too. Viking’s standard may not hit that mark and addresses airport size rather than flight type but they are the only cruise line considering the issue at all. That’s a positive step in the right direction that would incur a deviation fee to make happen with other cruise lines.