Episode Description

With Joe Cheung off celebrating his anniversary, the inmates were once again given the keys to the asylum. Unfortunately, they left Joe Cortez and Trevor in charge of the podcast. In this episode, the two talk all about the recent Skytrax World Airline Awards, and their biggest takeaways from the announcements. Did Etihad really deserve best first class? What about the best economy class? And… shawarma? All will be revealed in Episode 59, and hopefully order will be restored by Episode 60!

Episode Notes


2:14: Trevor and Joe share updates on their latest adventures

11:48: Introducing the Skytrax World Airline Awards

13:29: Best First Class Cabin

19:50: Best Business Class Cabin

29:31: Best Premium Economy Cabin

33:37: Best Economy Cabin

39:54: Best Regional Airlines

44:14: Cleanest Airlines in the World

45:26: Best Low Cost Carrier

52:20: Predictions about the next Skytrax World Airline Awards

57:18: The Top Ten Best Airlines in the World

1:09:44: The Last Word: Koryo Air One-Star Rating

1:12:24: Shawarma, anyone?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments or hit me up on Twitter.

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Music: “She” by Still Pluto


Joe (Cortez): Episode fifty nine! It couldn’t come soon enough here on the Saverocity Observation Deck Podcast. Thank you for joining us for what should be a very entertaining hour plus or minus on everything going on in the aviation world today how you do it or whatever. I am your host pro-tem if you will Joe Cortez. Joining me as always, my partner in crime Trevor. What’s going on my friend?

Trevor: It is just a great day in paradise here Joe. How are you?

Joe: Oh, you know, oh I would I wouldn’t call Columbus paradise but it’s not a bad day here. It’s pretty temperate. Good for a summer day. Our friend Joe Chong is off celebrating an anniversary I believe.

Trevor: I think so. Yeah.

Joe: Yeah and so happy happy anniversary to the young couple.

Trevor: Exactly. Congratulations and happy anniversary to Joe and and Mrs. Joe.

Joe: Congratulations to Mrs. Joe for putting up with them for as long as yeah she has. I mean we’ve been putting up with him for two years and yet here we are coming back keep going back.

Trevor: Yeah but I think she deserves a whole lot more accolades. I mean you know over many years plus plus plus two kids plus you know all the miles and points stuff I mean I think our significant others all deserve a lot of credit for that. This is a fun hobby but it can it can definitely get you know wearing on top at times.

Joe: You know and you’ve got to give you’ve got to give Mrs Joe credit for putting up with it because it is you know driver it is a very tax it can be very taxing hobby at times and it can have its toll but it does have its rewards too and having somebody who understands and who gets that wants to be a part of it that’s pretty special.

Trevor: Oh totally definitely.

Joe: But enough talk about enough talk about that and things I don’t nothing about. We’re here to talk today about the twenty some Indeed Skytrax World airline rewards as released in Paris at the Paris Air Show. Before we get into that Trevor, you and I both had a couple of adventures that prevented us from being on the last podcast.

Trevor: That so true. Yes, so I had a lesser adventure all say. I went to Austin. Austin, Texas flew Southwest again it was a longer flight on Southwest. I love the companion pass but some of these wonderfully it’s are getting a little bit more painful that at the three hour range but rented silver car was really impressed with a brand new Audi, what is it? An A6 I think it was. Yeah, yeah I was very impressed. I actually tried to do a little bit of sourcing out in Austin that was less easy to do in an Audi A six but we still ended up sending out I think it was four four boxes. So I had a lot of fun. Also got to catch up with Ivan at the Scion L on Twitter if if you’re you’re familiar with him who lives in Austin. Had a ton of fun though that is just such a fun city.

Joe: Now they say Keep Austin Weird for Texas well is it for the United States? Is it as weird as they say it is?

Trevor: I don’t I don’t know that I understand that part. I found Austin just to be amazing. I found I mean if that’s weird and I don’t want normal.

Joe: That’s a good point. I’ve never been to Austin but everyone comes back raving at what a very forward-thinking City it is and how it’s a very progressive city and it’s one of the stuff on my list to go there pretty soon.

Trevor: Oh and so we stayed at the Hyatt Regency which is across the river but I mean it’s a very walkable city in the downtown area you probably want to car if you’re going to go outside of the downtown area but you could spend an entire weekend without even getting getting a rental car. And just walking around I mean it’s really truly gorgeous I highly recommend visiting

Joe: That is also I’m glad you’re able to have that adventure I on the other hand have a completely different adventure I was the guest of Calle M. Royal Dutch Airlines a flight to Amsterdam aboard their seventy seven in the New World Business Class. Now, Trevor This is all stuff you are absolutely. Already indoctrinated in but this isn’t the first time that I’ve actually flown a real true business class in probably about twelve years to be honest with you. It was fasinating to see how the upper half lives with each of the the individual little cabin spaces you had giant relatively speaking entertainments rains and of course your favorite part the lay flat full seats now that was a weird experience for me laying flat sleeping in the airplane but on the seventy seven it was an incredible experience because you didn’t feel like you were dried out and you didn’t feel like you had a terrible sleep at the end of it and of course both are fair parts of flying that business class on Calle M. or the blue Delft houses that you get full of gin at the end of the trip as a gift from KLM to the business to the world business class flyers. And I now have a small collection and a book on. On which each of the houses and what they were mauled off of.

Trevor: That is awesome that is that is truly awesome you know believe it or not I have yet to fly Kayla.

Joe: Really?

Trevor: I’m almost tempted to try to hop on that fifth freedom flight if I have an extra little extra time in Singapore on an upcoming trip but I I I really don’t have a lot of experience with Sky team in general. But what it does what do you think of the seat?

Joe: I mean it was comfortable don’t get me wrong it’s very comfortable. It was a little weird because again you’re sleeping so low to the floor when it goes to a complete one eighty degree lay flat and I I honestly had a hard time getting to sleep at first because of that because it was very alien for me if you will but…

Trevor: Do you remember what kind of seat it was?

Joe: What you mean?

Trevor: Like you know like you’ve got the reverse herringbone you’ve got the staggered you’ve got the throne you’ve got the…

Joe: Oh, I’m sorry. It was it was a it was a one two one configuration. With each of the middle seats playoff facing inward.

Trevor: OK.

Joe: Does that make sense?

Trevor: So that sounds a lot like a reverse herringbone seat.

Joe: Oh yes, the the middle seats were also reversed tearing down the window seats were all were all lined up and each window seat had its add its own corresponding window on the seven eighty seven with the auto with the dimming window and everything so one to one reverse herringbone configuration into what I said it was a very colorful seat I truly enjoyed my time in business class it was all this very surreal to me and very different but it was a really comfortable ride to be honest with you. And I express my deep gratitude to Caleb for inviting me as their guest and the Pulitzer hotel in Amsterdam for hosting me the entire two days and if you go to my Twitter at Joe Cortez you can see plenty of my photos I took from my time in Amsterdam my time being a guest to KLM which you’ll read about here in the coming weeks on fire talk and frugal travel guy and the pictures of the hotel in the polls are and what an incredible experience all of it was.

Trevor: So that’s interesting that you as you stayed at the Pulitzer of all places. Is that a foreshadowing of things to come?

Joe: Oh yes well well yes there will be review of it naturally. What I will say about the Pulitzer is if a number once referred hotel is a part of the preferred hotel resorts. A chain of independent motif hotels it was a really a great experience. The hotel was actually built around several old canal houses they had bought the property bought several canal houses connected the mall through different corridors and each room in each house has its own little story of what it was before the Pulitzer bought those who go tells and try to put it together so so yes there’s a little foreshadowing on that. As foreshadowing is for me winning a Pulitzer Prize I think I have a better shot of flying with Hans The first before getting that kind of accolade.

Trevor: Tons of first is easy.

Joe: Says you.

Trevor: So, I’ve got to ask what was your favorite part of this? You know tell me a little bit more. Did you were you just a guest of care of KLM for the flight or were there briefings meetings media media day sort of things going on? Was this related to a particular event or announcement that they were going or to they just want to highlight their seven eight seven?

Joe: All this will be revealed in next few weeks on frequent flyer talk for Frugal Travel Guide but to give you guys some preview of what they would be writing about KLM is actually working right now to become the most sustainable airline in the world and what they mean by sustainable airline is they want to reduce their carbon footprint across across every where they fly around the world. They want to reduce their waste output. They’re making everything all the service materials in cabins recyclable. They’re experimenting with biofuels that you know one of their flights right now is actually Phil Hughes with biofuels a flight every day from L.A.X. to Amsterdam is powered with a can blend of biofuels that is used for the flight so I was working very hard to become the world’s most sustainable airline and even though they’ve been named the most essential airline by Dow Jones for several years now they want to increase that even further and they want to get to a point where their carbon footprint and is the cart with the car but were they put out is neutralized equal to that that they put that the entire nation of the Netherlands puts out as well so it’s very fascinating stuff the way they’re working and what they’re doing in order to make themselves a more socially responsible company.

Trevor: That that is really impressive I totally didn’t realize that I mean I know that we’ve seen a couple of you know airlines kind of highlight that they’re going on biofuel or or you know otherwise you know are are are you being courteous to the environment but I didn’t realize that that was you know the can was was kind of at the forefront of that.

Joe: They definitely want to be further on the forefront about and they’re going a step further in social responsibility where it’s not just reducing emissions and reducing their waste footprint but they’re also working to create more social responsibility opportunities not only within the company but outside the company they’re working with several different companies to ensure that the things they serve like the coffees and the Chocolate or all fair trade certified so that people who are providing these also get a fair working wage as well and you know a lot of companies talk a big game about social responsibility in being good corporate citizens to the world KLM is actually living that out and for that alone makes meaning create makes me have actually an incredible fan of K L M. And I’m actually very excited to tell their story as it pertains to social responsibility in the future.

Trevor: That is really awesome you know it’s interesting though just just kind of looking at the sky tracks that sky tracks doesn’t necessarily have anything that highlights on social responsibility as far as there are awards but maybe you want to talk a little bit about kind of the background for Skytrax as a bit of a segue.

Joe: Very very astute observation and great set up there Trevor as you mentioned this contract war does not mention that which is what we’re going to discuss today on June twentieth at the Paris Air Show at the Paris Air Show they hold every two years they announced the winners of the twenty seventeen World Airline awards now for those who are very familiar the world airline wars has been has been compared to kin to the Oscars. This would be this is effectively the Oscars of the aviation industry if you win a Skytrax World Airline award it is verification not only from the industry but from flyers around the world that your products are truly the most premium products of vailable in the marketplace today. There are several different areas of ways of measurements for their awards methodology but it’s not just measurement from their independent group it also goes through floods of course from fires as well to give you an idea of how many votes were cast of this nineteen point eight seven million eligible surveys went into this from one hundred five countries between the survey period between August twenty sixteen and May twenty seventeen covering three hundred twenty five airlines around the world. So, arguably this is the biggest single survey of airlines air quality around the world and how airlines are really competing and what they’re doing to attract flyers to their products now and in the future. So, let’s go ahead and jump in a little bit I’m going to save the world’s top twenty airlines for the very end. So, let’s talk about some of these other categories for us and let’s start with talk about premium class. Best of first class, no surprises here, top five in order: Number one, Edion Airways. Number two, Emirates. Number three, Lethanza. Number four, Air France. Number five, Singapore Airlines. Any surprises Trevor?

Trevor: You know, I didn’t really think that there were any surprises relative to the best first class. I’ll say it this way I am not a huge fan of [inaudible 13;57] apartments. And I and I am a little bit surprised that [inaudible] Airways does get the number one slot for first class yet they do not serve caviar in first class.

Joe: That that is a complaint only you would have. That is literally only a complaint you and maybe a handful of of Middle Eastern Flyers would have.

Trevor:  Fair point but I’m just saying I think that’s an interesting and important observation I mean when you look at Emirates Emirates unfortunately has a little bit of a dated product right now for first class but they do have the shower. They have the bar although that’s also business class. Lufthansa has a wonderful new first class product I think you know rightly so that they’re there where they are. Air France kinda meh. Singapore is in the process of kind of you know kind of revamping their first class or suites product. And A&A’s product is kind of been out there for a while Cathay Pacific was one I was really surprised with as low as it is.


[END OF 15 MIN.]