A Plane To Avoid (most airlines have at least one)

I’ve adapted this article from a posting I recently made on the Flyertalk.com forums (the single best place on the web for learning how to travel well).

When you travel, sometimes you get what you get…..

I’ve done the LHR JNB (and back) run using South African Airways a few times now and previously it was on either a 747 or a high end variant of the A340. My flight out to JNB this time was on an A340-600, which was quite nice as economy class travel goes. So, I’ve always been reasonably happy with the entertainment.

I don’t sleep when flying economy (and I’m not that much better at it in business but I’m somewhat less cranky on arrival), so the entertainment is important to me. If I know the entertainment is poor (case in point, many American Airlines long haul flights, still), I plan my own entertainment, make sure the iPhone is fully locked and loaded and bring a good book along.

Last night’s flight on South African was an A340-200 and not what I expected. Entertainment was just the “main screens” (or teeny tiny screens if you’re in 62A/C) and consisted of one “child friendly” film, followed by complete darkness followed by another “child friendly” film starting before breakfast. Also, service wasn’t the best on this flight. I’d go as far as saying the FAs were a bit off, including one incident where I switched on the attendant light (seat belt sign was on) and waited almost 40 minutes for an FA to come along. In other words, the best part of eleven hours in prison.

Still, the flight had its upsides…… For some reason, they didn’t insist everyone put the blinds down. Flying past brightly lit towns and cities over North Africa (they all seem to have a brightly lit ring road and look like little islands in space) and then a brightly lit Paris at the very start of sunrise was a treat.

The moral of the story? For long haul at least, I should always know what type of aircraft I’ll be on in advance and plan accordingly. This time I just assumed good things based on previous experience instead of checking. The place to check out airliners is of course Seatguru and here is what they have to say about my Aircraft:


Now Seatguru is good but it doesn’t cover every airline. Nor does it cover every plane for an airline it does cover, but it’s the best resource I’ve found so far…..


~ by jasonhindle on December 13, 2009.

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