Video flight review: Flying Middle East Airlines in business and economy on the Airbus A330
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During the COVID-19 crisis, our team has temporarily ceased taking review trips. However, we have resumed the publication of new flight, hotel and lounge reviews, from trips taken before the lockdown. We hope this will help you choose once we’re all ready to start booking trips again.
As part of our final trip of 2020 before the coronavirus lockdowns became our reality, TPG UK head of video Jean Arnas and I flew from Paris to Beirut on board Middle East Airlines (MEA). Lebanon’s flag carrier does not serve the United States, but it is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, meaning you can earn and spend Delta Air Lines miles on it. The airline flies to London and Paris among several other European cities, and has an extensive network in the Middle East.
MEA serves the Paris route with its long-haul Airbus A330-200, the flagship of the fleet, allowing us to put its economy and business-class products head to head.
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Check out our experience on board in the video review below:
Business class: Jean Arnas
TPG paid: 42,500 Delta SkyMiles + £140 tax ($174).
Jean was rather disappointed by the ground experience in Paris, but was more impressed when he stepped onto the aircraft. He found lots of space in the cabin, with endless legroom. He also liked the big pillow, blanket, large screen and delicious meal, which were all surprising on a relatively short flight. He found the crew to be efficient, too.
On the downside, he thought that what the seat had in spaciousness, it lacked in privacy. And although the crew were efficient, they were rather cold and unfriendly.
Economy class: Nicky Kelvin
TPG paid: £251 ($312)
I thought the cabin and seat felt relatively fresh and comfortable, and I had no complaints in that regard for this length of flight. There were some amenities, including a blanket, pillow and headphones, which were nice to have on a short day flight, but were not the greatest quality.
The food was plentiful and very tasty, and the crew were efficient and, unlike the biz-class flight attendants, friendly and fun They even gave me loads of tips on what to do when I landed in Beirut and seemed genuinely excited that I was going to explore some of their country.
One downside is the layout of the MEA A330 cabin. Bizarrely, MEA does not split its economy cabin on the A330 into two like most airlines, which creates one giant mega-cabin. And when you’re in the middle, you’re not close to crew service or toilets.
Finally, because MEA is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, I credited the flight to Flying Blue, which is the loyalty program of Air France and KLM. But the 496 miles earned, worth $5.95 at TPG’s current valuation, aren’t going to get me too far!
Featured photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy
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