Superb impressions – your best “short haul” flights – in Business or Economy.

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  • sparkyflier

    Chatting with a friend recently we talked about memorable flights when even in a relatively short flight the airline really made an impression. Not especially about the hard product but more about the crew and to some extent food.

    So thought to hear your experiences when everything just seemed spot on and the crew were able to really make you feel welcome, were attentive and enabled a very convivial cabin atmosphere – on flights of up to 3 hours or so.

    Of course much will be subjective and depend on your pre-flight expectations but would be good to hear of your experiences.

    To get the ball rolling here are some that come to mind for me:-

    – SQ SIN-BKK on an A340 in Y – many years ago – could not have been better

    – SQ BKK-SIN on an A330 in J a few years ago – such a convivial atmosphere and am sure everyone felt pampered

    – Jet Airways from Mumbai to Ahmedabad on an 737 in business/first. Service so attentive (bordering on harassment ha ha)and great meal on a very short flight

    – BA Bucharest -LHR in Club Europe – 3 outstanding crew from different generations/groups, including one of the Madrid based staff and over 3 hours it all worked really well. Very clubby feel indeed and BA crew at their best.

    – AA Dallas – Chicago on a 757 in economy. Plane was very old inside which did not bother me at all. Had selected this flight because it was a 757. And crew were folksy, charming and genuine. AA treats BA Gold/Oneworld Emerald better than BA does.

    I will give an honorable mention to Kenya Airways when a few years ago I took some long haul but also regional and domestic flights when the food was very reasonable for the time of day but it seemed each FA felt they were ambassadors not just for their employer but also the country itself. The shorter flights were all on 737.

    There are others but these come to mind first. What they all had in common was that the crew were all authentic and one did not feel that there was an “act”.

    So I look forward to hear your tales of when an airline’s service had the wow factor!

    Apologies for any typos once again.


    About 8 years ago I flew SIN-CGK in J on a 777.
    Flight time of about 90 minutes.
    Book the Cook Lobster Thermidor.

    Last year in Y with VY, LGW-VLC. I was fearing the worst and their service, particularly towards my son who needed extra assistance, went above and beyond.

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    Slightly cheating but best suite was Singapore Airlines in first on A380 from HK to Singapore. Outstanding suite and food and drinks but staff less friendly.

    Cathay A321 business from Hanoi to HK – I generally do not find Cathay crew too chatty, friendly or pro – active. However a young guy and an older lady were outstanding and chatting all customers and topping up drinks and were so efficient. However the personalities made the flight.

    In the old days and the Glasgow based BA shuttle crew were outstanding (only domestic in those days) and generally knew all what the regulars liked to drink and looked after very well. It was very sad when they lost their roles.

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    Peversely, some of my most memorable experiences were on Ryanair, friendly crew and prices so low, it made me feel great about the trip! e.g £5.00 from Malta to Luton.


    HKK to BKK in first must have been 777 maybe 2 of us in first I think, lovely crew, we took pics of me and then senior purser sat next to me ‘group pic’. Such lovely service food and wines.

    Other memorable ones. LH LHR – MUC 1980’s First Class, my work college had driven me to LHR in his 3 front seat low sports car, then the tiny lounge in T2 then lobster and called by name.

    1995 AA LHR – JFK my first ever upgrade on long haul me and my partner from Economy to Business 767, just amazing those sheepskin seats, they got us sitting next to each other before take off. I suppose it was the novelty factor. Warm nuts, champagne, I have the menu’s somewhere, I remember loads of food. We also got to meet President to be Clinton and were given an upgrade BOS – LHR. I stuck with AA for many years after that.

    FCO – LHR 1990’s I had to buy a ticket as I lost everything but L30,000 and my driving licence in Ostia (a common thing it seems). We had soup and I got back into the UK on my Licences and a letter from the police.


    Some many years ago Da-Nang to Saigon (Sorry HCM!) A300 in ‘J’. Treated like royalty!

    Not that long ago Bangkok to Chiang Mai in packed B747 again in J with a full lunch in 40 mins.


    Currently on a leisure break in SE Asia/Pacific, had some great regional flights, Vietnam Airlines, Garuda and Fiji Airways all have 2 x 2 ‘proper’ business class seats with decent service levels.
    3 flights with Vietnam Air on A321 aircraft, their cabin crews control the curtain between C and Y to prevent Y pax using the forward toilet, best bit though is that after landing/taxiing they close the dividing curtain again, with a crew member stood in the aisle, until all C class pax have disembarked, only then are Y pax allowed forward to disembark. Garuda cabin service below VN and FJ standards.
    Fiji lounge at Nadi very spacious with good catering standards, Fiji Airways used to be One World Connect but during our trip it was announced that they were now a full member of One World, given our experience rightly so. Due to fly NAN to LAX later today on one of their A359, looking forward to that.


    Many many years back would have been very early eighties Qantas (customer was paying) from Sydney to Hong Kong and vv.
    About 6 round trips over two years.
    The 747 with the lounge upstairs. Often traveling with business friends. Great atmosphere food and crew and of course we drank the plane dry being young (30ish) and surrounded by Australians……..
    We were under contract to a very large multinational to teach there senior staff how to do business internationally and of course we always stayed at the Peninsula ( I had a small flat in HK but was living mostly in Sydney for the life of the contract – of course I never mentioned my (very)humble HK abode.)

    Again early days Cathay from HKG to LHR. I was on the second ever (flight CX201 as I recall. until 1983 we used to stop in UAE on the way but after mods were made the jumbo could make it all the way to LHR (just -fog was a problem).
    Cathay was a small airline in those days and I was well known -often getting a jump seat or upped to first. The service and food was impeccable as were the crew (mostly Thai-Japanese -Filipino and yes with a sprinkling of Europeans.

    Those were very much the halcyon days of international air travel – I still very much enjoy travel with CX and the perks of being a Lifetime Diamond. The ‘glitz’ may be much reduced but the comfort and entertainment has greatly improved. It’s good also to see the Thai,Japanese and Filipino ladies back in the cabin in increasing numbers -more smiles and that personal touch – the local ladies are always efficient but a generally different personality that is more remote and less personal.


    I flew HKG to London and VV a lot between 1980-1983
    The stop over was always Bahrain (not UAE) and the 747 service was to Gatwick LGW.

    Cathay knew that getting business class passengers all the way out to Gatwick was a trial compared to the close proximity of LHR. Competition on the route was BA and BCAL.

    So Cathay introduced a free limo service from anywhere in London to Gatwick. The cars were nice Volvos with a driver in uniform with peaked cap! That free limo service was a huge attraction & did persuade me to go out to LGW.

    Some of the sexist advertising wouldn’t be allowed today. One TV ad was “I wish they all could be Caledonian girls” sung to the tune of The Beach Boys “California Girls”.

    Advertising was definitely targeting male business travellers in those days.

    However despite the alluring BCAL ad I preferred the Filipinas, Thai & Japanese girls on CX.

    CX was a small airline in Europe then and all the lounge staff at LGW & HKG knew us regular travellers well.

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    …Yes it was definitely Lgw-Bah-Hkg vv (I guess it may have been different for Lifetime Diamond members 😆)..and I’m pretty sure Cathay commenced services to Lhr in the 1990’s…some 10 years later…


    Back to the ‘short haul’ thread….

    Best short haul flight hands down was Oman Air business class on the short hop from Muscat to Dubai. Incredible solo seat on the A330, pre departure drinks and cold towels, printed menus and a delicious meal of scallops and eggs (sounds an odd combination I know but was delicious).

    Worst was a United ‘red eye’ from LAX to Newark in Economy where the two crew serving my aisle had very very obviously fallen out with each other and arguing as they made their way through the cabin with the trolley whilst throwing the meagre offerings at the passengers.

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    Thank you for the above contributions and especially to RF2 for reminding it was to hear stories for short haul flights – up to around 3 or so hours.

    RF2 also reminded me of my Oman Air flight from Muscat to DXB in Business which was all good and on a 737 and the only negative factor was being sat with my boss at the time having had the whole day with him!

    Another one was actually Turkish from IST to Ankara – a totally full flight on an A320 yet everyone in Y got a picnic basket of food/snacks and a drink – all in 45 minutes!


    I think Champagne and a snack on the Singapore Airlines sectors SIN-KUL would qualify on my list.

    BA used to roster the B767-300ERs on one rotation LHR-ARN-LHR daily. It wasn’t uncommon it would be the original Club World configuration. Later-on, the B767-300ERs were swapped for the B788.

    Hardware and F&B, I must admit the TK A321s between ARN and IST rank high. Incredible comfortable seat for that distance. F&B tends to be stellar from DO & Co.

    It’s also nice to be seated in row 1 of the American Flagship First cabin on the B777-300ERs from JFK to MIA.

    On the flip-side of this, anno 2006-2008. SAS was the launch customers of the Bombardier Q-400s and they spectacularly had a couple of belly-flops where the landing gear came apart after landing. Anyway, SAS would roster this on ARN-GVA-ARN. Occasionally, the headwinds made for a refueling stop in CPH on the way back. A turbo-prop, in Business Class for €1,400 return fare which clocked 4 hours ARN-GVA. I did it twice before I swapped to LH via FRA/MUC.


    Cairns to Darwin back in 2007 chasing the sunset. Stunning and beautiful and captain finished it with panache with his thank you speech.

    In Economy but a very quiet flight.

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    Nick Pike

    Not quite in the spirit of the OP’s request, but best shorthaul was undoubtedly on Emirates from Dubai to Kuwait in First on the A380. And I even had time for a shower (indeed, if I am honest, the only reason I took the flight was to experience a shower in flight….)

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