I had the chance to attend the celebration of United Airlines uber frequent flyer Tom Stuker, who hit the 10 million mile Mileage Plus mark in July 2011. As part of that event, the nice folks at the airline took us on a great tour of its flagship Chicago O’Hare hub. I’m a huge fan of the lights that spark up the escalator tubes that connect the airport’s terminals. I snapped this as we took our walk. Enjoy!
I am the mother of a six-year-old. I’ve been traveling with my daughter since she was 10 days old. So when I read in USA Today that United Airlines recently decided to drop pre-boarding for children, my first thought was “good for them.”
I regularly fly on Southwest Airlines, which stopped pre-boarding for children under age 5 back in 2007. I would set my clock 24 hours in advance to get an A pass for my flight. But since Southwest started the $10 Early Bird fee, I just buy that, ensuring that I get the time I need to get my daughter settled (she wears a CARES harness).
When pre-boarding was still available on Southwest Airlines, I saw travelers abusing the system regularly, with children much older that 5 boarding, or entire families with older children taking advantage of pre-boarding.
With a little advanced planning, I believe that parents can make the adjustment accordingly. So what do you think? Did United make the right call here, or should they continue allowing pre-boarding for children?
In July 2011, I got to attend the celebration of United’s first 10 million mile flyer. My Aviation Week Things With Wings blog post on that event is here. The event was held in a Red Carpet Club lounge at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, but we had time to wander around. Sitting at the gate right across from the party was an Airbus A320 painted in United’s Friendship livery. I just happened to catch the pilot giving the windshield a pre-flight cleaning. Enjoy!
Back in November 2008, I was working on a story for Aviation Week on the opening of the new fourth runway at Washington Dulles International Airport. I was there to do an interview and photo shoot with Bobby Sturgell, who was then the acting administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration. One of the bonuses was that we got to go up in the Dulles tower. The view up there is grand, and I snapped the photo of a United/TED Airbus A320. Enjoy!
This is always the week I look forward to. The holidays are completely over, and it’s back to work for everyone, including the airline/aviation industry. So Happy New Year one last time, and let’s get to it.
- Normally, this pair of stories would have gone straight to Strange But True Aviation News on a Friday, but I thought it warranted being an interesting story. California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks), a strong opponent of gun control, says he “forgot” he had a loaded .45 caliber pistol in his carry-on bag, which was discovered by Transportation Security Administration (TSA), reports NBC Los Angeles. The TV station followed up with a blog post: The Guns of Tim: Five Lessons, including: Donnelly was allowed to board his flight while others were detained and even arrested.
- During my time as Aviation Daily’s airports and security editor, I wrote about — and saw — my fair share of airport scanning machines. So I found this story from Pro Publica comparing millimeter and backscatter machines.
- Speaking of security, this story in Aviation International News talks about how TSA Administrator John Pistole is starting to respond to critics, including House Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), over his agency’s policies and way of doing business. “[To] those who say that we’re inefficient or bloated, I’d be glad to sit down and go through the books and say, ‘OK, how would you staff this differently?’” Pistole said in an interview with Bloomberg News last month.
- I’m one of those aviation geeks that could spend my life visiting aviation museums. I didn’t know about the Carolinas Aviation Museum until I heard it was receiving US Airways’ “Miracle on the Hudson” Airbus A320 for its permanent display. Which is why I really enjoyed this blog post over at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer — complete with pictures — about the museum.
- I’m old enough to remember the mini controversy that ensued when United Airlines paid for the rights to use George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” in its branding and advertising campaigns. But now the song has become so closely affiliated to United that my daughter knows it as the UAL theme song! So I was happy to hear from our friends at the Chicago Tribune that the Chicago-based carrier will continue to use the song.
Let’s end this post with one of my personal favorite commercials United Airlines used with “Rhapsody in Blue.” It’s called “Dragon,” and it was created for the Beijing Olympics. Enjoy!