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Miles flown for stories
2015: 290,939
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,212,540


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Airline Livery of the Week: Dutch Antilles Express

Dutch Antilles Express Fokker 100 (PJ-DAB) landing at St. Maarten.

Dutch Antilles Express Fokker 100 (PJ-DAB) landing at St. Maarten.

Using this photo is not really fair. Almost any livery is going to look good landing at St. Maarten. When you take a look at her livery on the not-so-exciting ground you can see it really is nothing special.

Dutch Antilles Express (DAE) is a small airline based in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. The airline only has a fleet of five: three ATR 42s and two Fokker 100s.

Even though the airline started back in 2005, their about us section of their website still has, “under construction,” which is not very re-assuring.

Image: TVL1970

Southwest Gives More Details on the AirTran Purchase

AirTran Boeing 737 landing in Atlanta.

AirTran Boeing 737 landing in Atlanta.

As I am sure you know, Southwest is try to purchase AirTran. This is a very interesting process since we are looking at two low cost carriers becoming one and Southwest taking on a new aircraft type: the Boeing 717.

There are still a lot of questions out there about the merger and I was hoping to get some more insight while hanging out with Southwest in Dallas for their yearly media day. Unfortunately at this point there aren’t a heck of a lot more answers, but I at least have a few more pieces of information.

The big thing to remember is that Southwest and AirTran are still separate companies and competitors. Even though it looks like this buy-out should go through with no issue, AirTran is not about to give up all their secrets until the deal is final. This doesn’t mean that Southwest isn’t working hard already, they just don’t have all the answers right now. Southwest currently has 30 different teams in seven different categories to prepare for the new larger company.

The addition of the Boeing 717 to Southwest’s all Boeing 737 fleet is something that definitely piques my curiosity. Southwest stated they feel this will be one of the smoothest transitions. AirTran already has a good system with their 717 and 737 aircraft and they plan to keep AirTran’s current system of organizing the different planes.

When asked about the Boeing 717 and Boeing 737-500, which are designed to serve similar markets, Southwest stated that the 737-500’s will be coming off lease in 2013-2015. At that time, they will want to have a newer small aircraft to replace them. They made it sound like the Boeing 717 would do that perfectly, but I am not so sure. I wonder if the Boeing 717 is the right aircraft type to provide smaller markets. It seems it might be beneficial for Southwest to look at not being an “all Boeing” airline and start looking at Bombardier C-series aircraft.

Another big interest is Southwest being able to start flying out of Atlanta (ATL). They seem very excited to get AirTran’s slots and are already planning to serve at least 24 new destinations from ATL that AirTran doesn’t currently serve. Southwest stated they aren’t looking to directly complete with any airlines in ATL (aka Delta), but am guessing there is more talk of competition behind closed doors. Southwest explained they hope they could offer airfares as much as 40% lower to ATL than the competition (aka Delta). Now that sounds like competitive talk to me. It looks like ATL will become quite important to Southwest. They stated that Atlanta might quickly become the largest city in their network, flying up to 2,000,000 passengers to the airport.

Some media voiced their concern about loyal AirTran passengers who are used to Business Class, Wi-Fi on all their flights and assigned seats. This is a big change to transition to all economy, Wi-Fi on some aircraft (will be all by mid-2013) and open seating. Southwest didn’t seem too concerned. They stated they know there are quite a few loyal Southwest passengers who would love to fly them into ATL, but just can’t do it right now. They also plan to educate fliers to promote Southwest’s unique brand of service.

Southwest stated that they aren’t looking to eliminate AirTran with the buy out, but that they hope to learn from them in every way they can to make a bigger and better airline.  With Southwest announcing they will be flying into larger airports like Newark on top of buying out AirTran, it is anyone’s guess what Southwest might do next. There was talk of flying longer distances possibly Hawaii (which was mentioned half a dozen times), South America and more. I say… game on.

Southwest Airlines Announces $5 Wi-Fi on Their Flights

Southwest Boeing 737-700 (N495WN) that is just hanging out on the ground providing Wi-Fi. That bump tells you it has internet.

Southwest Boeing 737-700 (N495WN) that is just hanging out on the ground providing Wi-Fi. That bump tells you it has internet.

I am currently sitting on a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 with Wi-Fi (N495WN). I am on the ground and going no where. I have been spending the day with Southwest at their Dallas headquarters with their yearly Media Day. One big announcement given today is that Southwest will only be charging $5 for Wi-Fi. It doesn’t matter what device you are using (laptop vs phone) or how long your flight is, it will only be $5.

Right now there are only 32 aircraft with Row44 internet installed, but Southwest is in full swing getting their other aircraft installed. They hope to have all their Boeing 737-700’s equipped by the end of 2011 and the entire fleet by the middle of 2013.

This special $5 fee is an extended introductory fee. Southwest says the Wi-Fi will be $5 during the entire installation process and they aren’t sure where it will go from there.

Currently, you will have to pay $5 per leg that you fly, but they hope to have it changed where $5 will get you internet for your whole flight with stops. Also, at this time you can’t see online which flights will have internet, but Southwest will send you and email the night before and let you know you can get internet.

More Photos of United’s New Livery: Airbus A380 & Boeing 787

The photoshopped United Airlines Boeing 747-400 in new livery on the left and original photo on the right.

The photoshopped United Airlines Boeing 747-400 in new livery on the left and original photo on the right. Click for larger version.

So, the photo of the Boeing 747-400 in the new United livery I posted last week is a fake. I apologize, since I didn’t know it when I posted it, but does it matter? It is still cool looking. You awesome airline geeks realized it because the engines were wrong. United flies Pratt and Whitney engines and these engines are GE. Nice catch! The creator of the image, Mark B, wrote to me and confirmed that he did in fact used a photo of an Air Canada Boeing 747-400 to make his photo. He also shared two others of an Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner that I wanted to share as well.

What a United Airline Airbus A380 might look like in the new United Livery. Click for larger.

What a United Airline Airbus A380 might look like in the new United Livery. Click for larger version.

In the comments of my last United livery post and around the internets I keep seeing people hating on the new United livery. I really dis-liked it too when I first saw it, but it is starting to grow on me. Yes, like most of you I would have rather seen a brand new livery, but I understand why they kept the United name, along with the Continental colors.
Even though I am not in love with the new United livery, I really like it on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Click for larger version.

Even though I am not in love with the new United livery, I really like it on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Click for larger version.

I think it is odd for us airline geeks to see the Continental colors with the United name. No matter what decisions they would have made, people weren’t going to be happy. Both airlines have amazing histories, something was going to have to be lost for both. I am just looking forward to a United retro livery shown on this Boeing 747-400.
Original Photo Credits:
Boeing 747: Bailey
Airbus A380: FishAir
Boeing 787: Boeing