With New Planes, Flying Is Looking Up
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (TheStreet) -- Especially in America, you seem to hear it a lot when flying these days: "I hate old planes."
Usually there's a rebuttal that safety doesn't mean fresh leather seats or the newest entertainment gadgetry, but most everyone prefers a new plane to an old one anyway. Add to the equation that you or your company are paying top dollar for full-fare business or first class and there's nothing worse than walking the gangway to be greeted by a cabin with tube televisions on the ceiling, ashtrays in the armrest and stained interiors.
|Air France has a stylish seat finish in its Airbus A380 upper classes, including creamy leather detailing and 2-2-2 cabin layout. It's among the first airlines flying the new fleet of planes.|
No matter what it feels like, the average age of the current American-owned commercial airline fleet is only around 14 years old. American (AMR) and Delta (DAL) Airlines operate a slightly older fleet, averaging 16 years of age, with the latter still operating a series of DC-8s owned by Northwest before a merger -- albeit with retrofitted interiors with modern amenities.Things are looking up for those in search of that new plane smell, though. The Airbus A380 is the chicest ride in the sky, and the A350 is due for 2013 deliveries; the Boeing (BA) 787 hits runways in midsummer, and the 747-8 lands early next year. If you're looking for the showstopper planes, though, you'll have to get tickets on a foreign carrier. Overseas companies have all the bragging rights. To date, five airlines operate the super-jumbo Airbus A380, but with unique passenger configurations and styles that aren't created equal. Lufthansa does a stylish economy ideal for families and budget shoppers, with newly designed ergonomic seats that are narrower to maximize legroom and recline position. Its business class isn't quite lie-flat, but first class offers Porsche amenity kits and spacious lavatories with oversize vanity and mirror inlay that tells water temperature. Best of all, Lufthansa is a Star Alliance member with three-class service and award ticket reciprocity with domestic carries such as United and Continental, so it doesn't require extra miles to book equal cabin service, including through its partnership with Emirates or Singapore Airlines. The carrier offers or is rolling out its A380 service between Frankfurt and Johannesburg, Miami, San Francisco and Tokyo.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Jim Cramer + 20 Wall Street pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Real-time trading forum
- Actionable trade ideas
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV