Blog Archives

#Shark(let)Week

So long as you haven’t been living under a rock (or in this case, aren’t a certain seal), you know that this week is once again #SharkWeek on the Discovery Channel.

While the idea of sharks and planes don’t normally come together (let alone tornados filled with sharks), Airbus has solved this quandary with Sharklets.

Sharklets are fuel-saving wingtip devices that replace conventional wingtips and are currently being installed on the new Airbus A320 family of aircraft to roll off the production line.  Some airlines are retrofitting their A320s, including JetBlue who famously captured the project in this YouTube video earlier this year (click the photo to watch):

JetBlue A320 with Sharklets (source: jetblue.com)

Sharklets reduce the amount of drag generated by aircraft lift, which requires less thrust and thus less fuel needed. If you know anything about airline economics, fuel is the top expenditure, which in turn can drive up ticket cost. Saving fuel saves money and perhaps airlines will share that savings with their passengers.

JetBlue isn’t the only airline to go shark, so has Virgin America and Air New Zealand. We’re told that while there is a big reduction in drag, this should have no affect on any in-flight entertainment containing drag queens.

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Posted in Air New Zealand, Airbus A318, Airbus A319, Airbus A320, Airbus A321, Airline, jetBlue, New York, Virgin America

Oh Baby, Baby!

He has arrived, the #royalbaby. The world is taking to social media to announce their joys over the birth of Wills & Kate’s little one. But once the Royal couple are in need of a holiday to the States to get away — and, of course, to introduce the baby to America — how might the world’s number one set of new parents get here? Here at Routehappy we specialize in make the trip as happy for them (or you) no matter whether you’re traveling like a prince, princess or the fourteenth footman downstairs.

American Airlines, LHR – DFW on a freshly steeped 777-300ER

Let’s say the Royal family wants to take a trip to Dallas/Fort Worth. You know, land of big hair and personalities — oh, and that quintessential American department store, Neiman Marcus. They can hop onboard American Airlines’ new 777-300ER from Heathrow and make the 10 hour or so hop to the big D. Onboard, we’d recommend they sit in these comfortable first class full flat pods.

AAFIRST

Air New Zealand, LHR to LAX on 777-300

Perhaps Kate wants to have high tea and trade Mommy (sorry, Mummy) tips with our very own Royal Mother in the US, Kim Kardashian.  For her, we’d recommend a hop on a true hidden gem. Air New Zealand flies from LHR with an ultimate goal of ending up in Auckland (AKL) of course, but since no aircraft can yet reach quite that far, they make a leisurely stop in Los Angeles (LAX). The London-LA leg is one of the best kept secrets in all of Hollywood.

Air New Zealand is known for their fabulous Kiwi staff, luxury and effervescence. When Kate needs that drink refreshed, she can belly up to the in-flight bar and select a delicious New Zealand wine (or two), chat with fellow passengers or head back to her full flat pod business class seat.

ANZKIA

British Airways, LCY to JFK, on A318

Before you question a possible typo at the end there, we did mean A318. This is an all business class flight that jaunts from London City airport to Shannon, Ireland, and eventually to JFK. The stop in Shannon is quite brilliant – it’s a United States pre-clearance zone which allows folks on certain flights to clear customs in Ireland and avoid the sometimes long lines at JFK. Here’s a look at this intimate cabin with just 32  full flat seats:

BA_Airbus_A318_cabin

British Airways, LHR to NYC (JFK or EWR), on a 777-200 or 747-400

If taking a brief Irish pitstop isn’t their jive, and the idea of a cozy private space seems more appealing, they may opt for a full flat pod in BA’s New First Class, offered on most flights to the US. Important note: supermodel Rachel Weisz isn’t included in the ticket price.

Seat - First Class Full Flat Pod - British Airways - New First - Rachel Weisz

Virgin Atlantic, LHR to JFK, on A330-300

Another exceedingly shiny way to get from LHR to JFK is Virgin Atlantic, in Upper Class. Virgin offers swish new full flat pod seating, a wide selection of on-demand entertainment, comfortable 1-1-1 seating layout, plugs, and a trial of Wi-Fi on most flights. Their new Dream Suites make the flight really comfortable and stylish.

Seat - Full Flat Pod - Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Dream Suite - A330 only

Naturally, one needn’t be related to Her Majesty to want a happier, more comfortable flight. And we at Routehappy don’t think you should have to pawn off the family jewels to pay for it! Find your own happiest flight — for the lowest price — at Routehappy.com.

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Posted in Air New Zealand, Airbus A318, Airbus A330, Airline, American, Boeing 747, Boeing 777, British Airways, Dallas, Flyer tips, Happiness Factors, London, Los Angeles, New York, Plugs, Seat Layout, Seats, Virgin Atlantic

Happiest flights – Patriotic Edition

Yesterday, we shared with you some of the happiest flights for July 4th, and nothing celebrates America’s birthday like the magic of flight. Heck, we invented the idea of air travel, didn’t we?

Routehappy users tell us that they love being able to find flights based on happiness and onboard amenities, all for the lowest price, so we were curious to find out what the happiest flights were on one day this week for each of the ten largest US airlines: AirTran, Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, Southwest, United and Virgin America.

So, what’s happiest all across the United States? Here’s a look:

10: AirTran’s happiest flight: Milwaukee to Atlanta

Flight 588 from Milwaukee to Hotlanta is the happiest flight on AirTran. Having Wi-Fi onboard can make the time fly real fast (literally).

9: Frontier’s happiest flight: Madison, WI to Washington (DCA)

Cheeseheads flying from Madison to Washington, DC have Frontier’s happiest offering, flight 1620. With a spacious, new E190 jet (and only two passengers on either side of the aisle) plus Wi-Fi, and an Excellent flyer rating, this is one happy flight to DCA!

F9

8: American Airlines’ happiest flight: San Francisco to New York

Being on a spacious widebody 767-200 on this Wi-Fi equipped journey helps keep folks happy on their way to the Big Apple.

7: US Airways’ happiest flight: Tampa to Charlotte

This Airbus A321 offers a little more room and Wi-Fi to make the trip from the Tarheel state to the sandy beaches of Tampa/St. Pete a pleasant journey. (Also, here’s a reminder on why the US A321 is a gem.

US-Airways-A321-seats

6: Southwest Airlines’ happiest flight: Sacramento to Denver

Break out the complimentary peanuts from the happiest seat of your choice and head from the Capital of California to the sometimes snow-capped mountains of Denver along with one of the friendliest crews in the skies.

5: Alaska Airlines’ happiest flight: Washington-National to Portland

One of AS’s newest routes on a spacious 737-800 between Portlandia and the airport closest to Barack Obama’s house is a hit with hipster flyers who like to stay connected with Wi-Fi.

DCA

4: Delta Air Lines’ happiest flight: Atlanta to Los Angeles

Grab your Ray-Bans and hop on this spacious 767 to El Lay. You might even see Ryan Seacrest on the plane. (In person, not necessarily via the on-demand entertainment).

3: Hawaiian Airlines’ happiest flight: Seattle to Maui

Seattle is a beautiful city, but often cloudy. Who wouldn’t be happy to hop on their way to the sunny beaches of Hawaii in a roomy 767 seat (with a nice, wide 32” seat pitch) and a Mai-Tai?

2: United Airlines’ happiest flight: Denver to Tokyo

The 787 is a feat of American engineering, built right on our lands. The 787′s advanced design means that you’re less tired and your skin is less dehydrated, and plugs ensure your electronics aren’t dehydrated, either.

UA787

1: Virgin America’s happiest flight: Washington-Dulles to San Francisco

Politicians who wear brown suits all week long for a mood-lit flight to get on their way back to the Left Coast. They also enjoy Wi-Fi and satellite TV to pair nicely with a selection of tasty drinks and treats.

So, what’s your happiest flight of the week? Tell us below and don’t forget to review your flights on Routehappy.com!

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Posted in Airline, Flyer tips, New York, Type of plane

Use Routehappy’s new Comparison Tool to compare up to four flights in detail

We’re excited to bring you a world first in our mission to find you the happiest flight: our powerful new Comparison Tool.
Routehappy Comparison tool
For the first time ever, you can compare up to four flights side-by-side, right from our results page. With Routehappy’s signature Happiness Factors displayed clearly, you can figure out which of the flights is best for your needs. Like these options from New York to LAX — which are separated by a single dollar:
Routehappy Comparison Tool NYC to LAX
Is great on-demand entertainment more important to you on a six-hour flight? Or would you trade it for two extra inches of legroom? Or how about a plane with the popular pairs of seats by the windows — perfect for snoozing with your sweetie?

More than ever, the Comparison Tool lets Routehappy help you figure out what’s really important for your specific flight. And it takes the guesswork out of figuring out which flight is better, like on these Air France flights from New York to Paris:
NYC to Paris - Routehappy comparison tool
Identical prices, just a couple hours’ differences in departure times, but look at the difference in happiness. Pretty cool, right?

Find your happiest flight with our new Comparison Tool right now!

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Posted in Air France, Comparison Tool, Happiness Factors, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Routehappy

Kuwait Airways… from New York to London?

KU: Kuwait Airways. Three days a week, Kuwait Airways flies between New York JFK and London Heathrow. Its planes are a bit old, punctuality can be approximate - but seats are roomier than most and the price can be half the competition's. Routehappy. Fly better.
Kuwait Airways’ seats — joint prizeholder with American Airlines for the roomiest seats across the Atlantic with a spacious 32″ + Wide rating — are a real hidden gem when flying New York to London. Know someone who’d want to learn about them?

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Posted in Airline, Genius tips, Kuwait Airways, London, New York

Airplane food can make you happy: Singapore Airlines and Gotham Bar & Grill

We’re always on the lookout for things that make you happier inflight. And one of the ways to happiness, we know, is through your stomach!

That’s why inflight food is one of the Happiness Factors we’re thinking about adding to Routehappy. We already track aircraft type, seat type, seat layout, entertainment, power, Wi-Fi, duration and connections, plus a flyer rating from real travelers just like you.

Read more about Routehappy’s signature Happiness Factors!

As part of our research, the folks at Singapore Airlines suggested that we come watch new dishes for their onboard menus being developed by the team at Gotham Bar & Grill, a New York institution.

Chefs at Gotham Bar & Grill work with Singapore Airlines to create innovative inflight food.

Three of the Gotham chefs were cooking and plating up potential options for the three chefs on the Singapore Airlines side.

The trick for food in the air is to aim for umami. That’s the rich, savory taste that you’d find in soy sauce, parmesan cheese, soup stock, and so on.

That’s because taste buds don’t work the same at 8,000 feet of altitude (that’s the equivalent to what you’d find inside most planes these days) as they do at sea level.

Singapore Airlines' chefs take great pride in figuring out how to translate food from kitchen to plane.

But, as British chef Heston Blumenthal explains in his work helping British Airways with their food, adding umami makes food taste much better in the air.

The food we tasted with Singapore Airlines was very umami-rich — a stuffed veal with marsala wine reduction and roasted (nearly caramelized) vegetables, for example.

Singapore Airlines' veal with marsala wine looks delicious.

Or a skin-on chicken breast with onions and a crispy polenta cake. Yum.

The key to keeping chicken tasty in flight: the skin.

And let’s not even talk about the desserts. If the pineapple cremeux with Thai green curry ice cream (yes, really — it was insanely great!) doesn’t make it on board then there’s no justice in the world.

Yes, Thai green curry ice cream. Sounds insane, tastes insanely good.

Yep, this is very much food for the front of the plane. But the principles of adding umami are the same for those of us who travel down the back too.

And as we tasted and chatted with the Singapore Airlines chefs, one of the most interesting things we observed was how much thought they were already giving to assembling each dish on board.

Singapore Airlines' chefs are careful to ensure that the dishes can be replicated on a plane.

A professional chef is just fine with eight to ten steps from pan to plate. But when your chef is a flight attendant, with just convection ovens, steam ovens and a microwave to make your restaurant-quality dinner — and serving dozens of other people in the cabin too — it’s clear why the team at Singapore Airlines are so keen to make the food elegant, delicious and simple.

The phone camera: tool of choice for today's modern airline chef.

Our favorite part of the process? Chef Chan taking pictures with her Galaxy Note tablet-phone. No, she’s not Instagramming this — it’s so that she can teach her crew how to replicate each step of the process.

We’ll be bringing you more on inflight food and other Happiness Factors we’re developing for Routehappy. Keep in touch with us here on the Routehappy blog, join the conversation on Twitter, or follow our Facebook page. We’d love to hear what makes food on a plane great (or gross!) for you.

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Posted in Food, New York, Routehappy favorites, Singapore, Singapore Airlines

Weather forecast: 50% chance of Wi-Fi. (We help make it 100% for you.)

Your flight is partially cloudy. Over 60 flights a day shuttle between Chicago and New York. But only half of them have Wi-Fi. That's two and a half hours where you could be getting things (or some vitally important Facebooking) done. Routehappy. Fly better.
Wi-Fi is just one of the Happiness Factors that Routehappy tracks. Think of us as the meteorologists of flight search. Use our expertise to find a happier flight right now!

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Posted in Chicago, Genius tips, New York, Type of plane, Wi-Fi

Turn on, plug in, and juice up.

plugs-new-york-may-15
Plugs are just one of the many Happiness Factors that Routehappy tracks and scores to help you find the happiest flight!

PS: know someone who could really use the tip-off about plugs on the Grandma Express between New York and Miami? We’ve got some handy one-click buttons right here to help you tell them:

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Posted in Genius tips, Miami, New York, Plugs

Seriously, look at that gourmet business class food.

"I remain consistently impressed by the Lufthansa dining options." -Seth M, in business class, EWR-FRA, on Routehappy
Want more of Seth M’s reviews and gorgeous photography? Or feel like learning more about Lufthansa? Routehappy has you covered.

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Posted in Flyer tips, Food, Frankfurt, Lufthansa, New York, Postcards

Virgin’s new lounge is pretty chic.

[Seats and tables in the Virgin Atlantic Newark lounge.] "Modern airside lounge (recently opened). Full meal and bar service, efficient service and friendly staff." -Mark R, Virgin Atlantic EWR lounge, on Routehappy
Check out more great shots from Mark R, or read more real flyer reviews of Virgin Atlantic on Routehappy.

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Posted in Airports, Flyer tips, Genius tips, New York, Postcards, Virgin Atlantic
Routehappy helps you fly better.
Now everyone can find shorter flights with roomier seats, on nicer planes, with better entertainment, plugs, Wi-Fi and more — from better airports.

 • Why flyers need happier flight search
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 • Happiness Factors and Happiness Scores

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 • Read the Routehappy launch press release

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