Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 201,296
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,122,897





Flight Review: Seattle to Frankfurt via Condor Premium Economy

My Ride to Frankfurt - A Condor 767-300ER (D-ABUB)

My ride to Frankfurt, a Condor 767-300ER (reg: D-ABUB)

I recently decided to take a trip over to Frankfurt for a few days and, thankfully, I was able to take it in Premium Economy.

This was going to be my first flight with Condor, and also my first taste of a long-haul leisure carrier (think low-cost, but to vacation destinations).  I was flying on their non-stop service from Seattle to Frankfurt. Adding to the number of firsts for me were also a new airport (Frankfurt) and my first time flying internationally out of Seattle.

The Premium Economy section in Condor's 767

The Premium Economy section in Condor’s 767

The flight was scheduled to depart mid-afternoon, which for me felt a little bit different than normal.  Generally, I end up on flights departing first-thing in the morning or late in the evening.  So having most of the day to relax, make final packing arrangements, and spend time with my wife was a good thing.  The bad part is being prime time for international departures out of Seattle.  This meant that while the line for check-in with Condor was short, even with priority access, security would be an absolute mess.

Continue reading Flight Review: Seattle to Frankfurt via Condor Premium Economy

Singapore Airlines Unveils Premium Economy Product

The Zodiac manufactured seat represents Singapore's entry to the Premium Economy space.

The Zodiac-manufactured seat represents Singapore’s entry to the Premium Economy space – Image: Singapore Airlines

Many of Singapore Airlines‘ Asian and European competitors have entered the premium economy market over the past five years. It’s a growing segment. This left analysts and frequent Singapore passengers wondering if it was going to as well. After all, Singapore’s economy experience has not been anything below top-notch since its creation. Recently though, the airline announced that they would indeed be offering a premium economy product.

Ready to board! Checking out the new interior on this Singapore Airlines 777-300ER at the Boeing Everett Delivery Center.

A Singapore Airlines 777-300ER at the Boeing Everett Delivery Center

“Many of our customers have been asking for a Premium Economy offering and we are confident that what we are delivering will exceed their expectations,” said Singapore Airlines Executive Vice President Commercial, Mr. Mak Swee Wah. “The new cabin product is the culmination of two years of work, which included extensive research and focus group studies involving customers and our design partners.”

Continue reading Singapore Airlines Unveils Premium Economy Product

OneJet – The New (Private Jet) Airline Nobody Has Heard of… Yet

OneJet's gate area reminds me a lot of Delta's new Sky Club at ATL's F concourse. Check my ride outside the windows: a Hawker 400 - Photo: Dan Phalen

OneJet’s gate area reminds me a lot of Delta’s new Sky Club on ATL’s F concourse. Check my ride outside the windows: a Hawker 400 – Photo: Dan Phalen

Would you believe me if I told you that for under $300 you could fly aboard a posh executive jet? It’s true, thanks to the folks at the promising new upstart airline OneJet. Here’s their [very compelling] pitch: Due to airline consolidation and the resulting proliferation of hub-and-spoke networks, business travelers between many medium-sized city pairs are without non-stop service. Enter OneJet and their seven-seat Hawker 400s: For slightly more than a two-legged economy ticket with the other guys, passengers can ride direct, in style, aboard a modern lavish business jet.

When I first learned of OneJet via my friends at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell airport I was cautiously optimistic. I immediately began researching the company, its leadership, and business model. Far too often in this cutthroat industry with historically razor thin margins, things which seem too good to be true, simply aren’t. Or at least they don’t last. Imagine my surprise when I learned that OneJet has a cast of longtime industry veterans on board as their leadership and advisory team. Big names like Fred Reid, who after being being the president of Lufthansa went on to lead Delta and later become the first CEO of Virgin America. And not just airline leaders, but governmental leaders as well.

Boarding from the ramp. The carpet was a nice touch! Photo: JL Johnson

Boarding from the ramp. The carpet was a nice touch – Photo: JL Johnson

John Pistole, former TSA administrator, and John Porcari, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Combine these diverse industry leaders with others, each bringing decades of experience from other airlines, and it’s tough to discount what they are trying to do. 

OneJet had attracted my attention and I needed to know more. There’s no better way to get to know an airline than to experience it first-hand. Their inaugural flight between Milwaukee, WI and Pittsburgh, PA was in just one week; a few hours later I broke down and bought my $283.10 ticket…

Continue reading OneJet – The New (Private Jet) Airline Nobody Has Heard of… Yet

Memorial Day: Flying a Fallen Hero

Police and emergency services line up to show respect to the fallen soldier. Photo: David Parker Brown / AirlineReporter.com

Police and emergency services line up to show respect to the fallen soldier at LAX on an Alaska Airlines flight in January of 2014  – Photo: David Parker Brown | AirlineReporter

Excerpt from NYCAviation is written by Eric “Cap’n Aux” Auxier, who is an airline pilot by day, writer by night, and kid by choice. An A320 captain for a major U.S. airline, he is also a freelance writer, novelist, and blogger (capnaux.com).

I recently experienced one of the greatest and most heart-rending honors a modern airline pilot can have: Captaining a flight that is transporting a fallen soldier to his final resting place.

Escorting the hero was a military honor guard consisting of two of the soldier’s comrades, and two young Marines. Also onboard were the man’s father and a lovely, devastated young woman -girlfriend? Wife? Sister? I never found out. I never learned the soldier’s name, either. Or his rank. Or how or where he died.

But it didn’t matter. Because, like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, he was ours. He was us.

Coming on the heels, as it was, of the Aurora movie theatre tragedy, this flight was particularly poignant for all passengers and crew as well.

As soon as our preflight duties were finished, I ordered the gate agents to allow the party onboard. They were escorted down to the ramp, where they presided over a short ceremony as the casket was loaded into the forward cargo hold. Simple, precise, and crisp, the military detail saluted the casket then made a sharp about face to march away, reminding me of the Missing Man Formation often flown by jet fighters.

For six hours as we crossed the country, I contemplated my speech. As Captain of the flight, I was expected to say a few words upon arrival. At Top of Descent, I took a deep breath and keyed the PA:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. I’d like you to pay special attention to this announcement. (pause) Today we have the great, great honor of escorting one of our fallen soldiers to his final resting place.

Continue reading Memorial Day: Flying a Fallen Hero on NYCAviation.com

Flight Review: Kenya Airways – Flying “The Pride of Africa” to Nairobi

On the way to Nairobi, on a clear day you can se Mt Kilimanjaro, sadly not today Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

En route to Nairobi, on a clear day, you can see Mt. Kilimanjaro; sadly, not today – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

As part of a recent trip to Africa, I had to take a commercial flight from Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) to Nairobi (Kenya). There are essentially two options for this route; either the direct flight with Kenya Airways or via Zanzibar with Precision Air. Normally, I would take the more adventurous option, but as my trip was time-critical, I chose the direct Kenya Airways flight.

As Kenya Airways is part of the SkyTeam alliance, I was able to take advantage of my elite status on the flight. This not only included an additional baggage allowance, but also access to the local lounge (Tanzanite Lounge) in Dar Es Salaam. The lounge access was well worth it, as it was the only room in the whole terminal to be air-conditioned.

Boarding the pride of Africa to Nairobi Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Boarding “The Pride of Africa” to Nairobi – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Boarding was on-time and, as expected in true African fashion, was chaotic with no priority boarding enforced. Upon boarding the Embraer E190, I was surprised to find an actual business class cabin in a 1-2 layout. My second surprise came in the form of individual in-seat IFE at every seat, including economy. Whilst the size of the screen was relatively small, the selection of TV programs and movies was more than sufficient for the 90-minute flight.

Continue reading Flight Review: Kenya Airways – Flying “The Pride of Africa” to Nairobi