It’s the week before the Paris Air Show, and every aviation journalist worth their salt — including me — has been in full frenzy mode, whether we’re going or not (I’m not). But I have to take care of you, my loyal readers, so let’s go!
I would be remiss if i didn’t lead you to the link — here – for Aviation Week’s full coverage of the show, including news, blog posts, photos and Twitter. And if you want to keep up with the show via your iPhone, there’s an (AvWeek) app for that, here. Commercials over!
- One of my journalist friends sent me a tweet with a link to this Middle Seat Terminal blog post on Airbus’ vision of what planes will look like in 2050. While I love all this stuff, I also know the likelihood of us seeing it on an actual plane is slim and none. But I love engineers who dream!
- In a topic near and dear to my heart, my airport soul sister Harriet Baskas uses her At The Airport column for USA Today to ask a good question: Should you pay for Wi-Fi? She writes about how airports are considering offered tiered service–free for a limited time, then paid. On the one hand, I know airports are trying to boost their non-airline revenue as carriers continue to cut costs, and Wi-Fi helps with that. But on the other hand, travelers are spoiled by airports including Phoenix, San Francisco and Boston that offer free Wi-Fi, compared to those who don’t, like my hometown Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
- I just love listening to the Airplane Geeks podcast, and Episode 150 (congrats guys!) was one of the best ever, with aviation legends John & Martha King as the guests. Did you know they can fly blimps? Cool, huh?
- Speaking of fees, the general media were abuzz after the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported that U.S. airlines collected almost $5.7 billion from baggage fees and reservation change fees in 2010, reports ABC News. Having worked for two airlines, I know why they charge these fees — because you, dear traveler, refuse to pay the higher fares they want to charge you. But I enjoyed this article in the Atlantic on the top 12 most annoying fees.
- I’m a business traveler. I’m also a mother who started flying my daughter around the country when she was only 10 days old. Which is why I enjoyed this article from BBC that asked the question: who’s more annoying: business travelers or babies? I vote for business travelers, because babies do eventually tire. I was lucky, because my daughter always slept, uh, like a baby on flights. And as she got older, she was so used to flying, I still get compliments about her behavior, even now at 5 years old.
It would not be Friday without this week’s episode of “Strange But True Aviation News,” complete with a different sexting scandal, an unusual airline fee and what happens when you have a potty mouth on the plane.
And finally, for those of you living in the Washington, D.C., area, I hope you can come out to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center at Washington Dulles Airport for the annual Become a Pilot Day and aviation display on Saturday, June 18. My favorites — the Airplane Geeks — will be reocrding their podcast, and I’ll be out there with my daughter (the self-dubbed Princess of Planes) to support them. One of the geeks, Rob Mark of Jetwhine, has more details here. Please come by and say hello if you’re out there!
Ah, we all lived to tell the tales of another week in the wild and wonderful world of aviation. I had so many choices for this week’s top five it was hard to decide. So here goes!
- All of us true aviation geeks have been following the Boeing 787 Dreamliner since it was an idea in the head of company engineers. The aircraft has had its problems coming to market, which is why we were all glad to see this story at AviationWeek.com by my colleague Leithen Francis: “ANA 787 Validation Flights Starting Soon.”
- Ah, summer. Time to hit the road and try and cash in some of those frequent flyer miles you’ve been hoarding all year. But not so fast. You may want to read this Wall Street Journal Middle Seat blog post ranking the airlines on frequent flyer seat availability. SPOILER ALERT! No surprise, Southwest Airlines ranked number one for seats available (love you, Rapid Rewards!), while US Airways and Delta were at the bottom of the list.
- USAToday.com contributor David Grossman is filling in for our good friend Today In The Sky columnist Ben Mutzabaugh. On Wednesday, he did an interesting post on cities chasing air service throw out subsidies to get it. After writing about and working for a regional airline, the awful truth is when the money runs out, most times., so does the service, kids. Sad, but true.
- My airport soul sister Harriet Baskas (of the great Stuck At The Airport blog) has a fascinating article over at MSNBC.com on how Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport handled 10,000 stranded passengers after severe hail storms delayed hundreds of flights. And I could have been among those stranded had I been on the delivery flight of American Airlines’ first Boeing 737-800, as reported by our Twitter friend @AirlineReporter (aka David Paul Brown). But if I was going to be stranded in any airport, I’d want it to be DFW, and I tell you why here.
- I’m not a big professional basketball fan (but love me some college hoops), but I have watched a few games in the playoffs. I know that American Airlines has two arenas (in Dallas and Miami) bearing its name, and this article on CNBC.com explains just how much that’s worth to the Dallas-based carrier, especially if the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat face each other in the finals.
I must put in a quick plug for my day job. Aviation Week has partnered with Airbus to create the cool Ultimate Guide to the Paris Air Show iPhone app. My colleague Rupa Haria blogs about it here.
On the media side, you can catch me in two interviews: with Paula Williams of Your Marketing Co-pilot and with Dan Webb of the Airplane Geeks (I’m on first) for the Bits & Pieces podcast episode.
Speaking of the Geeks, I’ll be hanging out with them at the Become a Pilot Family Day and Fly-In June 18, 2011, 10 a.m. – 3p.m., at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center next to Washington Dulles International Airport. Max, Rob, Dan, and David will join Milford and Charlie from FlightTime Radio to broadcast live from the museum. If you’re in the area, please come out to see us. You never know what kind of swag we might have to give away!
And last — but not least — Strange But True Aviation News is back after a week hiatus. We’ve got someone trying to master his domain inflight, we see what happens when TSA holds a terrorist drill and forgets to tell a key party and more guns at airport security. Enjoy your long weekend!