Here’s a roundup of some of the week’s best aviation stories and blog posts.
With much fanfare, Los Angeles International Airport opened its new international terminal today. I’ll have full coverage in Thursday’s paper and on www.dailybreeze.com
But for now, enjoy a video I took of Singapore flight No. 12 breaking a “ribbon” to officially open the new almost $2 billion building.
If you have access to the new Star Alliance lounge at Los Angeles International Airport, you’ll be in for a unique outdoor experience.
The lounge for elite and premium cabin passengers on some airlines will feature an outdoor patio with lounge chairs for sun bathing, an outdoor bar, fire pits and a water feature, airport officials told me Thursday. The space in the almost finished new Tom Bradley International Terminal will have sweeping views of downtown Los Angeles and the airfield.
“You’ll be able to enjoy the sunshine of Southern California,” said Mike Doucette, project manager for Los Angeles World Airports. “And daytime or nighttime, you’ll be able to watch planes approach on an outdoor balcony that’s landscaped and has a bar area on it.”
Outdoor clubs are a relatively new phenomenon, and Delta Air Lines has been rolling them out in New York and Atlanta with great fanfare. But despite the great weather in Southern California, all the airline clubs at LAX are indoors. This should represent a welcome change for premium Star Alliance customers flying internationally.
Air New Zealand will be running the LAX club on behalf of the other members of the alliance, which include Swiss, Lufthansa, Eva Air, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Thai Airways. (A full list of carriers can be found here, though not all those airlines will serve the new international terminal).
Doucette said original plans for the lounge did not include an outdoor element. But he said airline officials decided they wanted more space, and an outdoor patio seemed like a good place to put more seating.
“We’re trying to create something that is symbolic of Los Angeles and the California lifestyle,” Doucette said.
The new lounge should be ready for passengers in August or September, when the new terminal is expected to open. Until then, premium and elite passengers will have to wait for flights in the quaint but relatively small existing Star Alliance lounge.
You’ll notice none is based in North America, which is not really a surprise, as service standards here tend to lag behind the rest of the world. Asian and Middle Eastern carriers dominate the list. It’s also worth remembering that a good number of airlines on this list receive some sort of government support.
SkyTraxx says it it surveyed more than 18 million people before coming up with its list.
We should be getting the list of the top American carriers soon. Until then, perhaps it’s time to plan a trip on one of the airlines below.
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- ANA All Nippon Airways
- Asiana Airlines
- Cathay Pacific Airways
- Etihad Airways
- Garuda Indonesia
- Turkish Airlines
- Qantas Airways
Hungry for donuts at 30,000 feet? If you’re flying Singapore Airlines in first or business class from Los Angeles International Airport, you might be in luck.
The carrier struck a deal with iconic Los Angeles area purveyor Randy’s Donuts, which is delivering the sweets daily to the airline’s caterer. We spoke with James Boyd, Singapore’s spokesman, about how the deal went down.
Brian Sumers: Why the tie between Singapore Airlines and Randy’s Donuts?
James Boyd: Well, it’s part of our light bites menu. So basically between meals and whenever passengers are feeling a little bit peckish, we have a whole menu — everything from noodles to Singapore Chicken Rice, in some menu cycles. We also try to be reflective of the local communities that we serve and so Randy’s Donuts is such an institution in Los Angeles, we wanted to give people a little bit of a taste of home.