Air France KLM Flying Blue Credit Cards

Flying Blue is the frequent flyer program of Air France-KLM, a member of the Skyteam alliance. There are a number of Flying Blue credit card options available to residents of the Netherlands, France and Switzerland.

Whilst Flying Blue is not renowned as the most generous frequent flyer program around, for those who are locked-in to travel on Air France KLM, these Flying Blue credit cards may help increase mileage earnings.

Award miles can be redeemed for flights on Air France/KLM, Transavia and other Skyteam airlines.

Below we will profile each card for the respective countries. We will also look at alternative options for UK and US residents.

Flying Blue Credit Cards (NL)

American Express has 4 Flying Blue credit cards in the Netherlands – Entry, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

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How To Get an Emergency Exit Row Seat

For economy travellers, getting a seat in one of the emergency exit rows is a prized asset offering significantly more legroom comfort. In this article we look at ways of securing the exit row and give an overview of (paid) options offered by various international airlines.

As we saw in our previous post getting the best airline seat, the exit row has a number of advantages:

  • increased legroom – from a few inches more seat pitch to a few feet of space. On a long-haul flight this extra legroom could make a big difference.
  • no seat recline in front of you.
  • in an emergency situation you are closer to the exit door and may escape faster if the route is clear.

Some possible drawbacks of exit row seats:

  • hand baggage must be stowed in the overhead lockers for take-off and landing.
  • on larger planes the emergency slide box can protrude into the exit row window seat impeding legroom.
  • exit row seats can be narrower due to tray tables being stowed inside the armrest.
  • some emergency doors have very small windows.
  • the view to the ground will be impaired by the wing.
  • at seats with significant legroom, other passengers can congregate in the area, feeling that it is “public space”.

If you sit in an exit row seat, you should always study the safety card carefully as you may be required to assist the cabin crew in an emergency. Airlines and aviation authorities have strict occupancy rules for exit seats – you must be able to understand the crew and open the door unaided.

Getting an Exit Row Seat

In the old days you could often turn up early at the airport and ask to sit in the exit row – this request was often granted. While this can still be the case for some airlines, the situation has become a little more complicated.

Nowadays, exit row seekers have to contend with a number of factors: elite status frequent flyers, online check-in (OLCI), transfer passengers and paid-for seat assignments.

Many airlines will allow their top tier frequent flyers the chance to pre-assign exit row seats at time of booking. In addition, the exit rows may be taken by passengers who are first to use online check-in. Transfer passengers are often at an advantage because when checking-in for their first flight, they can already choose seats for their connecting flight.

However paid-for seat assignements where exit row seating can be purchased is becoming more common in the airline industry. Airlines are forever finding ways to maximise revenue.

This does mean that non-status passengers can have a chance to secure a seat in the exit row, albeit for a price…

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How To Get the Best Airline Seat on Your Flight

Getting the best airline seat in your class of travel requires doing some homework before you fly. Here are some basic tips for trying to secure your best choice seat on your flight, especially if you have to fly economy class…

1. Know Your Aircraft – Familiarise yourself with the different types of aircraft and configurations used by the airlines on the route(s) you plan to travel. Most airlines will have their seating plans available online which can give you a rough overview of the layout. You should also consult one of the specialist airline seating websites (SeatExpert / SeatGuru / SeatPlans) which provide interactive seat maps which illustrate the pros and cons of each seat.

The latest industry trend is to pack ever more seats into economy class with some wide-body aircraft going 10 across (3-4-3) rather than 9 across (3-3-3). We will also see the Airbus A380 go 11 across (3-5-3) rather than 10 across (3-4-3). In such a cramped space, securing a good seat will be more important than ever.

If travelling as a couple then you may prefer to choose aircraft with 2 seater rows. Many regional jets have 2-2 or 2-3 configurations; wide-body aircraft with 2 seaters include Boeing 767s and Airbus A330s and A340s. The last 3 or 4 window rows at the back of many Boeing 747s also have 2 seaters – which can be popular.

If considering travel in business class then do check the cabin layout of your airline and aircraft type, as the differences can be significant. From generous 1-2-1 configurations (Austrian, Etihad, Virgin Atlantic) to the more dense 2-4-2 layout of British Airways, with seats facing front and back.

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Private Jets: Fractional Aircraft Ownership Guide

Fractional aircraft ownership is a consideration for those who fly between 50 and 400 hours per year in private jets. It is essentially the purchase of a “fraction” of an aircraft from a company which owns, manages and operates the plane.

Fractional aircraft ownership programs usually last for periods between 2 and 5 years. However, it can sometimes be possible to terminate a contract early or sell it on the open market.

An important consideration for fractional ownership is choosing the type of aircraft – how many passenger seats are needed and where/how far will you travel.  Aircraft can range from a light jet of 4 passengers to a large cabin jet with global reach.

The size of the aircraft fraction or share depends on the number of hours you need to fly per year. In terms of annual flying hours this is:

1/16 share = 50 hours (250 hours over 5 years)
1/8 share = 100 hours (500 hours over 5 years)
1/4 share = 200 hours (1,000 hours over 5 years)
1/2 share = 400 hours (2,000 hours over 5 years)
Full share = 800 hours (4,000 hours over 5 years)

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