Back in July 2008, I was attending an airports conference in Chicago. As part of the conference, we got to take a great tour of Chicago Midway Airport. I saw a lot of the Southwest Airlines fleet there, and I was lucky enough to get a snap of two Boeing 737s, including the one dedicated to the State of Maryland. Enjoy!
Back in April 2008, I was speaking at an event hosted by Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. As part of that event, our hosts took me, along with a nice group of airport communicators, on a tour of their facility. Nothing makes me happier than trolling around in the underbelly of an airport, the parts the traveling public normally doesn’t get to see.
The shot below was taken in Terminal B. A United Airlines Boeing 737 sits at the gate, waiting to make its turn. Enjoy!!
It was a rainy, dreary week, but the news marched on. And so will I, with my picks for my top stories.
- Surprise! The Boeing 737 MAX was not a surprise to Airbus, writes my Aviation Week colleague Guy Norris. “Airbus says Boeing’s decision to develop a re-engined 737 rather than an all-new aircraft was a predictable lower-risk move, but believes the European manufacturer’s head start with the A320NEO puts it in pole position for market dominance,” he writes.
- 10 years after the 9/11 attacks and nearly 10 years after Richard Reid attempted to blow up an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami using a shoe bomb, we are still required to take off our shoes at airport security checkpoints. But there may be a light at the end of the tunnel, with Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano telling NPR that airline passengers in the future will no longer be instructed to remove their shoes at airport security checkpoints. I’ve traveled the world, and only the USA still requires shoe removal.
- The Wall Street Journal’s Scott McCartney looks at 10 years of airport security, noting that “the costs of increased transportation security run to tens of billions of dollars a year world-wide, and authorities still are groping to close obvious vulnerabilities a decade after the 2001 terrorist attacks.”
- In airline WiFi news, Delta Air Lines used its blog to announce that it was putting Gogo inflight WiFi on all 250 of its Delta Connection regional jets. And in related news. Gogo released this cool infographic on mobile WiFi usage in the air.
- And finally, US Airways CEO Doug Parker chats with TheStreet.com’s Ted Reed on how his airline has changed since 9/11. Parker had just become CEO 10 days earlier. And the Dallas Morning News’ Airline Biz Blog published my 9/11 story, here.
Do you live in Chicago or will be there by September 25? I encourage you to go to the DuSable Museum of African American History to check out the exhibit Black Wings: American Wings of Flight. The exhibit uses a narrative arch that uses the Tuskegee Airmen as a jumping off point to tell the untold story of African American aviation in the last 65 years.
I hope you all have a great weekend!!
Budget Travel magazine last week did an interesting poll: Are quick trips abroad worth the travel time? Having done many of them myself, I say yes, wholeheartedly.
Having worked for 2 airlines and being friends with those still working for different carriers, these little 1 to 3-day trips are just the tonic I needed for a change of scenery.
Back on Dec. 18, 2004, I heard a story on NPR describing how an ice skating rink had been built on the second level of the Eiffel Tower. One of the people they interviewed mentioned that he made the trip over the weekend, because he was an airline employee.
At the time, I was working for Delta Air Lines, and my friend Stevie was working at US Airways, so we decided to leave Friday night and come back Sunday afternoon. Paris was unusually warm for January, and we had a grand time ice skating.
Later in the month, we had an unusual cold snap in Atlanta, which led to me and Stevie, along with some other airline geek friends, to fly down to St. Martin overnight. The trip was so quick I didn’t even have to pay the departure tax.
We hung out at the Sunset Beach Bar for some truly amazing planespotting and I even managed to get a bit of color. The bar is right across the street from the airport. If you’re an airplane enthusiast like me, this place is Shangri-La, because the planes literally are less that 20 feet above the beach when they land. And when they take off, the freaks are usually hanging horizontally on the fence or across the street on the beach, all to catch the jet wash.
You haven’t *lived* until you’ve stood on the beach as an Air France Airbus A340 takes off. Brings a whole new meaning to the word exfoliant!!
So I throw the question to you — have you done quick international trips? Where? And why?
Today’s post will be my only one this week. I’m on vacation, going to the family homestead in San Antonio. I hope you enjoy this week’s guest bloggers. Meanwhile, here’s today’s photo. There’s a park near my Dad’s house that’s on the final approach to San Antonio International Airport. So while my daughter and Papa are climbing the rock wall, I’m snapping away. Below is a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 jet that hit the frame perfectly. Enjoy!
P.S. Today is my birthday!!
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.
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!
I know, I’m stepping into the overweight people on airplanes — again. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a woman of size myself. But I do fit into an airline seat. You can see my March 3 post that outlines my views fully here.
So I was watching the “Today Show” earlier this week, and was subjected to another too-fat-to-fly-on-Southwest-Airlines story, featuring a woman named Kenlie Tiggeman. The video is below.
I applaud Southwest Airlines for having a policy for people of size on their flights. My problem is that it seems to be implemented on an arbitrary basis, despite having a pretty good Q&A on the policy. I do understand that one woman’s fat is another man’s average size.
It can be difficult — and uncomfortable — for thousands of Southwest Airlines employees to make that fat-or-not call. And it gets particularly sticky when a passenger of size has flown one segment without incident, like Tiggeman, then is confronted with the policy.
So here’s my question — we have overhead baggage sizers at check-in counters and gates. Can’t we have something similar — or even something as simple as a tape measure — to ensure people of size can be checked early in the process?