ASIA

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About Singapore’s New Flight

Singapore Airlines’ new planned ‘longest flight in the world’ (non-stop to Los Angeles) will come at a price premium and offer upgraded seats and service. It isn’t quite the Lufthansa all-Business Class model, but coach will have wider seats and greater pitch. The flight will be scheduled for 16 hours from Singapore to Los Angeles and 18 hours from Los Angeles to Singapore. A similar length flight is planned for Singapore to New York — though New York is nearly three thousand miles West of LA, its over-the-pole routing will prevent substantial additional flight time.The current longest flight is Continental’s Newark-Hong Kong non-stop service.

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Couldn’t do this in the U.S.

Malaysian Airlines is in a scuffle with its employees union because Malaysian Airlines has grounded air hostesses over the age of 40, and a senior airline executive defended the move by saying that passengers … “prefer to be served by young, demure and pretty stewardesses, especially Asian ladies.”

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Is coach unbearable on purpose?

Tyler Cowen’s recent post on price gouging referenced a common misconception about airline pricing: It is sometimes argued that airlines keep coach quality low deliberately, to raise the demand for business and first class tickets. I don’t know if this is true.. In fact, it isn’t true. Or at least it doesn’t seem to fit the current evidence for domestic flights at all. Airlines only sell about 10% of their first class seats domestically. 90% of first class seats are occupied by frequent flyer awards, upgrades given to frequent travelers, and airline employees. Coach quality has, in general, been rising. American made a fleetwide decision to add 2″ of legroom at every seat by removing a row of seats (They’ve retrenched a bit on some very low yield routes, but this enhancement is still true…

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Mobile phone ticketing

With internet booking of airline reservations now in the mainstream, a Malaysian discount airline is introducing cell phone text messaging as a way to book tickets. It takes about 8 messages back and forth. Asian markets are a bit ahead of the US in doing business electronically via mobile phones, but as the technology improves and becomes more mainstream this will eventually take hold in the US as well.As for me, I’m a little skittish because I don’t yet feel comfortable shopping in all the ways that I shop before buying using just a mobile device. It’s a bit too cumbersome still. But I do use my mobile device to check schedules, on time departures, and flight availability. Booking should be next.

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Upgrading on Northwest

Reader Les took me up on my offer yesterday to explain specifics about upgrades. He wrote: Thanks for your wonderful site. I really look forward to seeing it every morning. Any specific Northwest suggestions? Hi Les, Thanks for the compliment. Tell me where you fly to and how many miles a year you fly and I’ll make some specific suggestions. In the meantime, I’ll say that Northwest really has an outstanding frequent flyer program. Their first class doesn’t really compare to some of the other airlines, but the loyalty program is really great. The best way to get upgrades on domestic flights with Northwest is to be an elite — fly more than 25,000 miles. Even Northwest Silver (25k/yr) flyers have a really good upgrade percentage — especially out of DC (ed- I surmised the…

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