The good news was that I had my camera and there were literally hundreds of things to photograph. The bad news is that my batteries died, so I didn’t get as many pictures as I wanted. But I was able to get a snap of this Boeing 307 Stratoliner “Clipper Flying Cloud.” It carried 33 passengers and could cruise at 20,000 feet. Enjoy!
It was quite a week in aviation, with topics including cracks in the Airbus A380′s wings, a snowstorm in the Pacific Northwest that shut down airports, American Airlines continues moving ahead in Chapter 11 and Memphis-based regional Pinnacle Airlines facing the same. So I had to fight to decide what made the top 10 this week.
I’ve been steeped in the business aviation side of the business since late 2008. After Boeing announced it was shutting down its plant in Wichita, the self-proclaimed Air Capital of the World, the New York Times came out with this profile of the city and its history with the Chicago-based company.
At the beginning of my journalism career, I covered topics including education, economic development and employment and training. So it was with great interest I read a blog post in Aviation Week’s Things With Wings blog: The Art of Attracting Top A&D Jobs. The post not only discusses what happened with Boeing in Wichita, but covers how other companies are making the balance between capacity and work.
I flew down to Austin on Southwest Airlines last week, and noticed that the carrier has begun its integration with AirTran Airways. So I read two stories last week with interest. One, in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, discusses how the Dallas-based carrier will dismantle Atlanta as a hub. The second story, in the Washington Post, covers how the carrier will keep 22 AirTran cities, but drop another 15.
Even before American Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, rumors were rampant that the carrier was a merger target for US Airways. Bloomberg BusinessWeek has a story about how US Airways is working on a plan that would “fix a weak domestic route system at American Airlines and boost revenue.”
Back in 1996, on my first day of work at the Regional Airline Association, I got to sit in on a call where a major airline executive had words with my new boss over a decision not to take sides in the fight over user fees to fund the Federal Aviation Administration. And now, 16 years later, the fight continues. The latest shot was fired when the White House responded to a petition asking that a proposed $100 per flight user fee be scrapped, according to a story in AOPA Online (my current employer).
Episode 181 of the Airplane Geeks podcast features my boss Craig Fuller, who discusses user fees, NextGen and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s Aviation Summit in Palm Springs, Calif. Finally, below is a video of Southwest Airlines installing its new EVOLVE interior in a Boeing 737. Enjoy!
My parents will be in UAE for the next two weeks, which prompted my choice of this week’s photo. Back in December 2007, I was invited to Houston Intercontinental Airport for the launch of service by Emirates to Dubai. It was a big deal, because the city had been trying to get this service for years, and it finally arrived. About a half hour before the aircraft landed, we were herded outside to the gate where its arrival was scheduled. I had a perfect view of the Boeing 777 arriving as the airport’s fire truck gave it a water cannon salute. Enjoy!
Back in April, I went down to Atlanta to do a series of stories on Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and my former employer, Delta Air Lines. During my visit to Delta, outside of spending time with my old colleagues, I insisted that we set aside time for a visit to the Delta Heritage Museum.
When I worked at Delta, I did volunteer work for the museum, and would spend many lunch hours there, breathing in the aviation history.Right before I left Delta, back in February 2006, one of my last jobs was to help organize the homecoming of The Spirit of Delta, a Boeing 767 bought by the carrier’s employees back in 1982. I wasn’t there for the final arrival of Ship 102, so I wanted to see it in its final home. Enjoy!
Editor’s note: kids, Aunt Benet is taking the week off to enjoy the holidays with the family. So please enjoy these best ofs this week. Happy Holidays!!
I know I usually do top aviation stories of the week, but I’m on travel, so I’m switching it up a bit. The announcement that Frontier Airlines is rolling out a new advertising campaign — complete with television commercials — made me remember how much I love a good carrier campaign.
I’ve always been a fan of good airline commercials. I like ones that make me laugh, that give me a sense of place and that show the wonderment of air travel. Below are links to 10 of my favorites, in no particular order. Which ones do you like? What did I miss?
One of the many things I love about leaving the country is landing at international airports. You get to see airlines — and aircraft — that you don’t always see at U.S. international airports. I got to go visit Korean Air back in April 2008. After landing at Incheon International Airport, I whipped out the camera and started snapping away at all the heavy iron. Below is an Asiana Airbus A330 Boeing 767 in what was then a newly introduced livery. Enjoy!
Back in December 2007, Emirates launched service between Houston Intercontinental and Dubai, and I was invited to the festivities. The event planners had herded us reporter types out onto the tarmac (sorry Dan Webb) to wait for the Emirates Boeing 777 to arrive. We had some time to kill, so I did a bit of wandering and found this Air France 777 being loaded up. Enjoy!
So I managed to finish my first week on the new job. LOVED it!! Now, onto the week’s aviation news.
Ted Reed of The Street.com wrote two interesting airline pieces last week. In the first piece, he writes about how the lack of a deal between American Airlines and its pilots could cause the Dallas-based carrier to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the last of the legacy carriers who have avoided this fate. In his second piece, Reed notes that Phoenix-based US Airways has two goals for 2012: cut its presence at New York’s LaGuardia Airport and upgrade its aging fleet.
Plans for a supersonic business jet have been floating around for decades. The latest player to enter the market, U.K.-based HyperMach used last week’s Dubai Air Show to tell Aviation International News that its 20-seat SonicStar will be able to fly at speeds up to Mach 4.0, allowing to fly from New York to Dubai in only 2 hours 20 minutes.
Regular readers know I am a fan — and student — of all things dealing with first and business class travel, as witnessed by the Facebook group I created: I Love Sitting In 1st/Biz Class (my Dec. 15 blog post about the group is here). So I’m passing along Jaunted’sreview of Delta Air Lines’ Economy Comfort product. My view? I’d pay extra for the room.
My 6-year-old daughter has become addicted to video Skype. She loves chatting with her grandparents and her aunt. So I’m betting she’d love being able to check in for her flight via Skype, which you can now do at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Trust me, I am NOT a regular reader of Perez Hilton. But I could not resist when I saw his hysterical rant about Spirit Airlines pop up on my Google Alerts. He rambles on about all the fees charged by Spirit. You won’t see me flying on that airline — ever — but I admire their business model. They charge ultra low fares, but charge fees up the ying yang. Don’t like the fees? Don’t fly the airline.
I’m a bit behind on my Airplane Geeks episodes, but I thoroughly enjoyed Episode 171, which featured former Air Force pilot Mark Jones. He had some great stories about training at Edwards AFB. At one time, my dad was deputy base commander there, and my sister worked on the flight line, so I was reliving all that when Mark was chatting.
And finally, I am a sucker for aviation/airline commercials. When they come on, I stop and watch in rapt fascination. Recently I saw one featuring the folks who build GE Aviation engines, where they got the chance to fly to Boeing Field Seattle to see their product hung on the 787 Dreamliner and actually fly on the 747, my favorite plane. And yes, I got a tear in my eye as they watched the fruits of their labor in total awe. Enjoy!
First, an apology. For some reason, Friday’s Strange But True Aviation News didn’t post (despite me writing it) thanks to some glitch I’m still trying to figure out. I’ll work out the kinks, and we’ll have it on Friday. Now, onto the news!
Guy Norris of Aviation Week blogged about an uncontained engine failure on a Delta Air Lines Boeing 747 flying from Detroit to Tokyo. His Things with Wings post contains some dramatic pictures of the engine after the failure.
I really enjoyed this CNN story — Nerve-racking ‘go-arounds’ routine for pilots — for two reasons. One, it’s a great primer on what happens when a plane has to do a go-around. Two, it was written by Brett “Cranky Flier” Snyder, and quotes my friend Mark Rogers.
Speaking of Mark, I thought of him when I read this story — O’Hare Worker Hurt in Baggage Incident — on the NBC Chicago website. The story is about how an industrial battery packed in checked luggage on a United Airlines flight from Lafayette, La., that stopped at Chicago O’Hare where the accident happened. Mark has done a lot of work on this particular issue.
When Airbus announced back in December 2000 that it was launching the A380 double-decker jumbo jet, I remember hearing all kinds of possibilities for the plane, from bowling alleys (not yet) to showers (see Emirates). The Airbus website says the jumbo jet can “seat 525 passengers in a comfortable three-class configuration, and up to 853 in a single-class configuration.” Transero isn’t quite at 853 seats, but says it will put in 700 seats on its recently ordered A380s, reports Reuters.
We’ve all done it (unless we fly Southwest Airlines) — start flocking toward the jetway when the gate agent announces boarding for a flight. We wait anxiously as they call the premium passengers, folks needed assistance, families with small children and travelers seated in exit rows. Then we make the mad dash onto the plane to get that valuable overhead bin space. The New York Times has an article about what airlines are doing to tame the boarding process. I, for one, am happy to pay a fee that allows me to board early in the process.
Finally, I’ll leave you with a question. JetBlue recently got a rare PR black eye after stranding passengers for seven hours on a plane parked at Hartford, Conn.’s Bradley International Airport. Below is a 1:18-minute video from COO Rob Maruster on the incident. Was it enough or should the airline have done more? See my poll, below.
Back in July, I got to spend the day at Chicago O’Hare International Airport to help United Airlines celebrate with Tom Stuker, who flew his 10 millionth Mileage Plus mile. You can read my Aviation Week Things With Wings blog post on the event here.
One of the gifts given to Stuker by United was his name on a Boeing 747. Up until then, I had been a real critic of what I called the new United Continental “Frankenlivery.” But once I saw it on the 747, I changed my mind. Enjoy!