Tag Archives: Jon Ostrower

Rolling Aviation Thoughts

18 Apr
  • Have you seen the April issue of Airline Passenger Experience magazine?  Editor Mary Kirby has been hitting it out of the park with great content, with stories on the science of aircraft boarding, the fun of onboard retail therapy and the ongoing debate on paid versus free WiFi.  Full disclosure — I have a ball writing a regular column for the magazine (this month, I review the food offerings in JetBlue’s Terminal 5 at JFK Airport).
  • Former FlightGlobal reporter Jon Ostrower hit the ground running in his new gig as the aerospace beat reporter for the Wall Street Journal a day early, writing about how tornadoes in Wichita affected aircraft and aerospace manufacturers.
  • My flight instructor, Alyssa Miller, has a great job.  She spent this week writing for the AOPA Pilot Blog about a major photo shoot of the timed departure of 20 B-25 World War II bombers.
  • Was everyone else geeking out over the last “flight” of the space orbiter Discovery as it made its way to the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space museum yesterday?  I saw a lot of great photos, but the one shot by Steve Trimble of FlightGlobal (from his office in Old Town Alexandria, Va.) was by far the best I saw.
  • I know we all have to get paid, but one has to question the timing of Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines.  Weeks before the carrier filed for Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection on April 2, its board gave two top executives healthy pay raises even as it was asking for employee paycuts, reports USA Today.  Maybe the raises were justified, but the timing was not good.
  • I had to take a flight out of my hometown BWI Airport on Saturday at the crack of dawn.  I was surprised at how crowded both security checkpoints were in Concourse A.  But I saw a small sign posting about a new security line on the baggage claim level.  I scooted down, and the line was practically empty.  I had a good laugh with four other folks who saw me leave and followed me downstairs.  So check and see if your airport has lower level security lines!

I’ll end this rant with the video clip, below.  Mary “Runway Girl” Kirby left FlightGlobal in December and Jon “Flightblogger” Ostrower left last week.  But I always enjoyed their videos from the major air shows.  So enjoy their last one, from the Paris Air Show in 2011.

Top 10 #ThingsAvGeeksSay

16 Jan
Jon Ostrower, aka @Flightblogger strikes again! I was out of pocket on Jan. 13, 2012, so I missed Jon trotting out a great #avgeek hashtag and letting the community go to town. Since I couldn’t join in the fun, below is my list of the top 10 entries. Enjoy!
Die Hard 2 makes my head explode. #ThingsAvGeeksSay
Fri, Jan 13 2012 12:02:22
If I mention Oshkosh and you say anything with “bigosh”, you failed my IQ test. #thingsavgeekssay #avgeek #aviation #OSH12
Fri, Jan 13 2012 15:19:12

EAA AirVenture 2011 057
Sun, Jul 24 2011 20:00:00
I will only go on that cruise if we stop at SXM. Let me get the airport schedule… #ThingsAvGeeksSay
Fri, Jan 13 2012 13:03:17
747 Landing Sunset Maho Beach St Maarten
Tue, Jan 23 2007 21:39:46
Pan Am is a crappy show, but at least they showed a realistic Checkerboard Approach at Kai Tak #ThingsAvGeeksSay
Mon, Jan 16 2012 07:05:44
I’m flying to Honduras. / For vacation? / No, for the approach into TGU! #ThingsAvgeeksSay
Mon, Jan 16 2012 07:05:44

“Dibs on the window seat, @richardbranson.” #ThingsAvGeeksSay http://instagr.am/p/gxu9F/
Mon, Jan 16 2012 07:05:44
“The picture of that @British_Airways 747 is obviously a photoshop job” “How do you know?” “Those are CLEARLY CF-6′s” #ThingsAvGeeksSay
Fri, Jan 13 2012 12:13:12

Close BA 747
Sat, Jan 14 2012 16:50:03
Yeah, I spent $170 for two rides on a 737-200 a week before Delta retired them #ThingsAvGeeksSay
Fri, Jan 13 2012 16:34:37

I set my TiVo to find aviation programs for me. #thingsavgeekssay #avgeek #aviation http://twitpic.com/86vtnd
Fri, Jan 13 2012 16:02:43
The 727 just looks so much classier without winglets and hush kits. #ThingsAvGeeksSay
Mon, Jan 16 2012 07:05:44
The Jaunted blog summed it up nicely: The best Twitter hashtag this week: #ThingsAvGeeksSay! http://bit.ly/xtnuB4  And if you enjoyed this, check out my post on Jon’s last effort, #avgeek theater: http://bit.ly/kRwGVs

Top Five Interesting Aviation Stories – Oct. 24-28

31 Oct

Now up – some interesting stories from last week’s aviation news, for your reading pleasure. And this is my 200th post! W00T!! Enjoy!

  1. Did you guys see Jon Ostrower’s coverage of last week’s ANA launch of Boeing 787 service? If you didn’t, check it out here, on his Flightblogger page.  He covered this event so closely I was surprised he didn’t actually pilot that Tokyo-Hong Kong flight!
  2. I’m breaking a little rule with this story, which came from Germany’s Der Spiegel on Oct. 20, entitled “Lufthansa ‘Can No Longer Be Top Dog Everywhere’.” In a long-ranging interview, Lufthansa CEO Christoph Franz, whose airline has been on a buying spree in the past 10 years, says that factors are forcing the carrier to focus more on European operations.
  3. My friend Geoff Fischer has done a fantastic guest post over at Brett Snyder’s Cranky Flier blog entitled “Best. Flight. Ever. First Class on the Cathay Pacific 777-300.”  After reading it (and seeing the pictures), I’m ready to book my flight — NOW!
  4. Jay Evensen, a writer for the editorial board Deseret News, writes about how the Transportation Security Administration’s efforts to scan for guns is lacking in a nation that carries them regularly — even occasionally getting them past airport security checkpoints.
  5. The AirportIMC blog posts about the social media and branding efforts of Akron-Canton Airport to see if the promise — “a better way to go” — matched the actual experience.  Read the post, but writer Sean Broderick says YES!

I’m catching up again with my Airplane Geeks episodes, but I really enjoyed Max Flight’s Episode 169.5, a series of short snippets from the recent 2011 AOPA Aviation Summit.  Take the hour to listen — the time really flies by!

Best of Aviation Queen: 10 Aviation Blogs You Should Be Reading

27 Jul

Editor’s note: I’m in Oshkosh, Wis., this week for the EAA AirVenture show, so I’m pulling out some best-of.  We’re always looking for that great travel/aviation/airline blog to read.  Below are 10 among the many I read.  This post originally appeared on Jan. 25.  Enjoy!

I have been an avid reader since age 2 (I swear – and my Dad will confirm it).  I read books, magazines, cereal boxes, billboards and just about anything else with letters.  And for someone who loves to read as much as I do, the Google Reader is a godsend.

I have myriad interests, and the Google Reader allows me to get feeds from blogs covering those interests: aviation, business aviation, journalism, multimedia and social media.  So let’s take a look in my Aviation folder so I can tell you some of the  blogs you should be reading.  This is by NO means my complete list, and the list below is in no particular order.

  1. CrankyFlier - Brett Snyder is the little brother I never wanted but got stuck with anyway (I say that with love in my heart).  But seriously, Brett writes a humorous, yet informative blog on the whimsies of the airline business.  He offers a take that only someone who became a travel agent at age 12 and had his grandmother book a hotel at Los Angeles International Airport so he could watch the planes.  And bonus – he also writes about travel over at BNET.
  2. Flightblogger - What can I say about Jon Ostrower?  This man has forgotten more information about the Boeing 787 Dreamliner than most of us will ever know.  Did you read “The price of Boeing’s 787 sales success?” I rest my case.
  3. Delta/JetBlue/Southwest blogs – When airlines jumped into blogging, I was a bit apprehensive, because I’ve seen some really bad corporate blogs that had no personality, only regurgitating the latest talking points.  All three of these carriers tapped their own employees, who bring their unique voices to these blogs making them actual must-reads.  Delta gets bonus points for ANY post from archives manager Marie Force and Southwest gets the same for Flashback Friday posts!
  4. Air Transparency -  I heard airline employee Jesse Ziglar speak on an episode of the Airplane Geeks podcast and I was hooked.  Ziglar works his magic by explaining the good, the bad and the ugly of how the airlines work – in language my 5-year-old daughter can understand.  His topics include weather delays, the tarmac delay rule, deicing aircraft and crew uniforms.
  5. Chris Elliott’s Elliott.org - I wonder when Chris ever finds time to sleep, with writing this website and writing on consumer travel issues for National Geographic, Tribune Media Service, the Washington Post, MSNBC, USA Today and CNN.com, among others.
  6. PlaneBusines Banter/Plane Buzz - The subscriber-based Banter and free Buzz are both penned by Holly Hegeman, who offers her own unique humorous/serious take on the business of airlines.  I’ve been reading her since she was the airlines analyst for The Motley Fool, and I take her work seriously enough to pay for my own subscription to the Banter.
  7. The TSA Blog - before I moved over to the business aviation beat, I wrote about airports and airport security.  When one of the public affairs folks gave me a call almost three years ago to pitch me on the blog launch, I admit I was HIGHLY  skeptical.  I thought the blog would read like the old Soviet government update reports.  I was wrong, and continue to admit it.  This blog has done a lot to put a human face on an agency that’s more vilified than the IRS.  Blogger Bob and his team have done a good job in explaining, as much as possible, what TSA does and why.  Bonus points for allowing comments and taking the time to answer as many as possible.
  8. Swelblog/Swelbar on Airlines - Bill Swelbar is a Research Engineer in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s International Center for Air Transportation.  He gets into the weeds — but always interesting — on airline/aviation policy.  A recent post, “Unbundling, Rebundling and Now De-Commoditization,” he breaks down how the airlines have been forced to adapt in things including how they sell tickets and how to keep passengers loyal to their brand.
  9.  I’m Black And I Travel - One, because I’m both.  Blog owner Greg Gross and I are kindred spirits, letting the world know of our travels and expounding on the joys of travel from our own personal experiences.  And Greg has given me access to a large community of black travel bloggers, which has helped me expand my own network.
  10. RickSeaney.com - If you want to keep up with air fares, Rick is your guy.  He’s the CEO of FareCompare.com, created to keep track of airfares for airlines worldwide.   You can also watch fares from your hometown via Twitter.  What’s not to love?

So that’s my list.  What are you reading? I’m always looking to add to my folder!  Also, in the next few weeks, I plan on doing a reader question edition of this blog. So if you any questions, now is the time to start submitting them. Thanks!

Forget The Top 5 – I’m Playing #AvGeekCinema!!

13 May

Kids, today was a rotten day.  I fell so behind on all my work and was pissed.  So I’m on the Acela train home and checking my Twitter account.  I fell smack into a game created by Jon Ostrower (@flightblogger) called #AvGeekCinema.

It’s an easy game — you just take a movie title and turn it into an aviation film classic.  For example, one of my submissions (I had WAY too much fun with this) was “Star (Alliance) Trek II – The Wrath of Constellation.  OK, you really have to be an aviation geek to enjoy this game.

So I decided to come up with my top 35 favorites, excluding my own (I have to stop-I need to sleep).  I had to stop searching after 300 entries, but I looked for clever titles or ones that made me laugh out loud.  My personal favorite was from Lfboyd: Seven 47 brides for seven 47 brothers.  Enjoy!!

  1. ATC_Ben: Despicable Fee
  2. Airlineguys: Red Eyes Wide Shut
  3. Gwitty: The Mooney over Paradour
  4. Ridge Legend: Gone With The Window Seat
  5. Binky Airways: Never Say Nacelle
  6. Marfo: Crouching Tiger Hidden Lounge Dragon
  7. Charles022: Schindlers Standby List
  8. Chicofrostie: Three Men and a BMI Baby
  9. MaxPilot: the Dakota Wears Prada
  10. Spaetow: The Hurt Overhead Locker
  11. Fresh1angel: Sex in the Citation
  12. Dansleezer: Boeing John Malkovic
  13. Avspook: Taliban vs Predator
  14. SamStratton: How the WestJet Was Won
  15. Toshiba_Bill: Aisle Be Home for Christmas
  16. DTWScott: My Fare Lady
  17. Derekschatz: A310 to Yuma
  18. IvnHwk: The Unbearable Light of Boeing
  19. Flyddw: Prop Shaft (he’s a bad mother, shut yo mouf)
  20. Douglas_Clark: The KingAir and I
  21. Geekygirlau: the Thin Red Line Maintenance
  22. Hharteveldt: JetBlue Velvet
  23. Gingertotty: Meet the Fokkers
  24. Boeingairplanes: The African Queen of the Skies
  25. Airport_girl: the Cockpit and the Pendulum
  26. Migmarqs: The Eternal Sunshine of a Low-cost Airline
  27. NYCAviation: men in black boxes
  28. Adam Johnson285: Me, Myself and Iran Air
  29. Hnrarebirds: Silence of the NOTAMs
  30. Pubspotter: The Chronicles of Narita
  31. LandingShort: Deice Age
  32. TheGrandVizer: There’s Something About Mary (Kirby)
  33. Eddyfp: I know what you flew last summer
  34. Widestance: White Men Can’t Jumpseat

And @Flightblogger says it perfectly:  #AvGeekCinema is proof enough that the aviation community online is alive, well and thriving! Amen!

My Top 5 Aviation Stories Of The Week

4 Apr

We’re closing the book on another week in the wild world of aviation, so let’s go right to my top stories.

  1. Not to toot my own horn, but I do a post over at AvWeek’s Business Aviation Now blog on what is happening with the Bell-Agusta 609 Tiltrotor aircraft.  Back in the 1990s, this aircraft — the civil version of the V22 Osprey — was being touted by partners Bell-Boeing as a potential game changer for commercial aviation. But it hasn’t quite worked that way.
  2. Flight Global’s Jon Ostrower has a great story on the 10-year anniversary of the never-built Boeing Sonic Cruiser.  He writes the plane got caught between the need for “higher, faster, farther” aircraft to those that delivered “faster, better cheaper” results.
  3. The Wall Street Journal’s Deal Journal blog links to former NetJets Chairman David Sokol’s interview on CNBC the day after he resigned from parent company Berkshire Hathaway.  The blog also did a cool recap of Sokol’s CNBC interview as it was happening.
  4. The Seattle Times writes about how Alaska Airlines apologized and announced plans to compensate passengers whose flights were canceled after a computer outage.  And kudos to Alaska Airlines President Brad Tilden and Horizon Air President Glenn Johnson for posting an apology video on the carrier’s YouTube channel.
  5. Farecompare.com’s Rick Seaney uses his ABC News column to offer travelers 10 ways they can win the airline fee wars.

The week would not be complete without “Strange But True Aviation News” from Aviation Week’s Things With Wings blog.  And we’ll end with a Pan Am commercial from the 1980s touting its first and Clipper Class cabins.  Enjoy!

Top 5 Do-Not-Miss Aviation Stories Of The Week

11 Mar

It was a busy aviation week, with Heli-Expo show in Orlando and Asian Aerospace in Hong Kong, but all of that was dwarfed by the earthquake that struck Japan.  So of course, my lead pick for the week will cover that, and there’s more news below.

  1. The Discovery Channel has some amazing footage and photos of Japan’s Sendai Airport being hit by a tsunami caused by the earthquake.  And Aviation Week’s London team handled coverage of this event from the airline side.
  2. Fred George of Business and Commercial Aviation magazine did a post on the Business Aviation Now blog on how building general aviation airports can spur economic development.
  3. One of my favorite guest columnists over at the Cranky Flier blog, “The Cardinal,” posts on how San Juan, Puerto Rico, is ripe for a new carrier to serve it and Spirit Airlines would be a good fit.
  4. The Wall Street Journal’s Middle Seat blog posts about airports chapels, seen as islands of tranquility in a busy facility.  My favorite airport churches are: Phoenix Sky Harbor on level 3 of Terminal 4; the chapel at JFK’s Terminal 4; and Our Lady of the Airways Chapel at Boston Logan’s Terminal C.
  5. It’s a bit late, but Flightblogger did a great Movie Monday post March 7 on a PBS series covering the mystery of Air France Flight 447.

Like the swallows to Capistrano in the spring, Friday is “Strange But True Aviation News” day from AvWeek’s Things With Wings blog.  We have a Virgin Blue flight attendant who mistook a toddler for a carry-on bag, a passenger trying out his karate moves on an air marshal and Cindy Lauper’s ability to calm passengers with song.  Enjoy, and remember, kids-I can’t make this stuff up!!

It’s Friday Link Love!

25 Feb

Of course, we lead with Strange But True Aviation News over at the Things With Wings blog.  Kids, we have TSA body scanner “issues,” an airport worker going for the fences, a major food malfunction on an easyJet flight and the never-ending debate of flight attendants versus passengers.  And remember – I can’t make this stuff up!

In other news, my Aviation Week colleague Mike Mecham reports on Boeing’s efforts to find a successor for the 737.  AvWeek’s Rupa Haria has some cool video of Korean Air’s Airbus A380 jumbo jet on the Things With Wings blog.  And airlines are bringing up the “H” word — hedging — as strife in the Middle East causes oil prices to rise, reports AvWeek’s Darren Shannon.

Queen Elizabeth II needs help cutting the royal travel budget, reports website Monsters and Critics. Her Royal Highness is willing to pay someone up to $120,000 to become Head of Royal Travel’ at Buckingham Palace.  Nice work if you can get it — but would YOU want to have to handle travel for the upcoming royal wedding??

The Cranky Flier offers us a cool look at the specs of aircraft painting.  The Airplane Geeks continues recommendations for its avgeeks reading list, including four suggestions from me, your Aviation Queen.  And Flightblogger posts about how Boeing came up with the unique color scheme for my beloved 747-8i.

My Blog Roll – Continued

10 Feb
  • Boeing Co. – Not only do they make my favorite plane, the 747, but I really like the way they use their employees to tell the company’s story.  You can see my Aviation Week profile on Boeing’s efforts at the Things With Wings blog.  You MUST check out this great story and video on three generations of the Danitschek family who have worked on the Boeing 767.
  • Business Aviation Now – Of course I have to include the official blog for Aviation Week’s business aviation team, because it feeds my baby.  But we also cover all the latest bizav news and trends every day.
  • Cranky Flier – Full disclosure: I’ve been friends with this blog’s founder, Brett Snyder, since 2001.  He’s like the little brother I never wanted, but I still think his blog is one of the best aviation-related ones around.  He brings an insider’s view (one gained by working for airlines including America West and United) that offers a thorough — and humorous — explanation of this crazy business.
  • Flight Wisdom – I like this quirky little blog that covers air travel and the experience of said travelers. Anyone who can offer an explanation on the difference between an airplane geek and airline dork is good in my book.  Wisdom and I share a love of Gilbert & Sullivan operettas and had the chance to see “The Pirates of Penzance” last December. My only complaint is that he doesn’t blog enough for my taste!
  • Flightblogger – What can I say about Jon Ostrower? This guy has forgotten more about the Boeing 787 program than many people will ever remember.  He is living the same dream as me — actually getting paid for our hobby.  I’m also a BIG fan of his Movie Monday posts.

10 Aviation Blogs You Should Be Reading

25 Jan

I have been an avid reader since age 2 (I swear – and my Dad will confirm it).  I read books, magazines, cereal boxes, billboards and just about anything else with letters.  And for someone who loves to read as much as I do, the Google Reader is a godsend.

I have myriad interests, and the Google Reader allows me to get feeds from blogs covering those interests: aviation, business aviation, journalism, multimedia and social media.  So let’s take a look in my Aviation folder so I can tell you some of the  blogs you should be reading.  This is by NO means my complete list, and the list below is in no particular order.

  1. CrankyFlier - Brett Snyder is the little brother I never wanted but got stuck with anyway (I say that with love in my heart).  But seriously, Brett writes a humorous, yet informative blog on the whimsies of the airline business.  He offers a take that only someone who became a travel agent at age 12 and had his grandmother book a hotel at Los Angeles International Airport so he could watch the planes.  And bonus – he also writes about travel over at BNET.
  2. Flightblogger - What can I say about Jon Ostrower?  This man has forgotten more information about the Boeing 787 Dreamliner than most of us will ever know.  Did you read “The price of Boeing’s 787 sales success?” I rest my case.
  3. Delta/JetBlue/Southwest blogs – When airlines jumped into blogging, I was a bit apprehensive, because I’ve seen some really bad corporate blogs that had no personality, only regurgitating the latest talking points.  All three of these carriers tapped their own employees, who bring their unique voices to these blogs making them actual must-reads.  Delta gets bonus points for ANY post from archives manager Marie Force and Southwest gets the same for Flashback Friday posts!
  4. Air Transparency -  I heard airline employee Jesse Ziglar speak on an episode of the Airplane Geeks podcast and I was hooked.  Ziglar works his magic by explaining the good, the bad and the ugly of how the airlines work – in language my 5-year-old daughter can understand.  His topics include weather delays, the tarmac delay rule, deicing aircraft and crew uniforms.
  5. Chris Elliott’s Elliott.org - I wonder when Chris ever finds time to sleep, with writing this website and writing on consumer travel issues for National Geographic, Tribune Media Service, the Washington Post, MSNBC, USA Today and CNN.com, among others.
  6. PlaneBusines Banter/Plane Buzz - The subscriber-based Banter and free Buzz are both penned by Holly Hegeman, who offers her own unique humorous/serious take on the business of airlines.  I’ve been reading her since she was the airlines analyst for The Motley Fool, and I take her work seriously enough to pay for my own subscription to the Banter.
  7. The TSA Blog - before I moved over to the business aviation beat, I wrote about airports and airport security.  When one of the public affairs folks gave me a call almost three years ago to pitch me on the blog launch, I admit I was HIGHLY  skeptical.  I thought the blog would read like the old Soviet government update reports.  I was wrong, and continue to admit it.  This blog has done a lot to put a human face on an agency that’s more vilified than the IRS.  Blogger Bob and his team have done a good job in explaining, as much as possible, what TSA does and why.  Bonus points for allowing comments and taking the time to answer as many as possible.
  8. Swelblog/Swelbar on Airlines - Bill Swelbar is a Research Engineer in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s International Center for Air Transportation.  He gets into the weeds — but always interesting — on airline/aviation policy.  A recent post, “Unbundling, Rebundling and Now De-Commoditization,” he breaks down how the airlines have been forced to adapt in things including how they sell tickets and how to keep passengers loyal to their brand.
  9.  I’m Black And I Travel - One, because I’m both.  Blog owner Greg Gross and I are kindred spirits, letting the world know of our travels and expounding on the joys of travel from our own personal experiences.  And Greg has given me access to a large community of black travel bloggers, which has helped me expand my own network.
  10. RickSeaney.com - If you want to keep up with air fares, Rick is your guy.  He’s the CEO of FareCompare.com, created to keep track of airfares for airlines worldwide.   You can also watch fares from your hometown via Twitter.  What’s not to love?

So that’s my list.  What are you reading? I’m always looking to add to my folder!  Also, in the next few weeks, I plan on doing a reader question edition of this blog. So if you any questions, now is the time to start submitting them. Thanks!

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