Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 201,532
2013: 330,818

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Like Airplanes? Like the Internet? All Access at Gogo

Inside the gogo Network Operations Center - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Inside the Gogo Network Operations Center – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

As a frequent flier, the novelty of in-flight internet has (mostly) worn off for me.  After a full day of presentations, tours, and demonstrations at Gogo, I can promise you that I’ll never take it for granted again.  Gogo invited me as part of a group of journalists from both the travel and tech sectors to take part in a day-long “all access” event at their headquarters, near Chicago O’Hare airport.

gogo's "Social Media Command Center" - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Gogo’s “Social Media Command Center” – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Gogo is the largest provider of in-flight connectivity, with over 2,000 commercial planes equipped and 6,000 business jets. Originally known as Aircell (and a lot of equipment I saw still had that name on it), the company was founded in 1991 to provide in-flight telephone access. In 2008, Gogo launched in-flight broadband on their first commercial flight, and our lives as fliers has never been the same.

Continue reading Like Airplanes? Like the Internet? All Access at Gogo

Flying First Class…On a United Q400

United Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 at Durango - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

United Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 at Durango – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

As a Silver Premier member with United Airlines (their lowest-level elite tier), getting a complementary first class upgrade happens almost as rarely as spotting a unicorn.  In a year and a half of being an elite, I’ve gotten two first class upgrades.  Recently, upgrade number two came in an unlikely form; on a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400.

That’s right, folks – United is offering a first class cabin on planes with propellers.  I caught my upgrade on a quick business trip from Denver (DEN) to Durango (DRO), Colorado.

All of United’s Q400s are actually operated by Republic Airlines, one of many regional carriers for UA.  They are configured with 71 seats; seven in first class, 10 in Economy Plus, and 54 in economy.  As to be expected on a regional plane, “first class” really only meant a wider seat, more legroom, and a free beer.  Well, we got some pretzels too.   Continue reading Flying First Class…On a United Q400

First Southwest Flight With Family

Southwest Boeing 737-700 fresh from the factory

Southwest Boeing 737-700 taxing at KPAE

In the summer, my wife and I were planning a Christmas trip to Disneyland with our two toddlers (ages 2 and 4).  We were looking to get out of cold Denver for the holidays, and had visited Disneyland in December a few years ago and thought all of the decorations were really cool.  We decided to pull the trigger in late summer and I went work booking our travel.

I’m a very loyal United Airlines flyer, being Denver-based, and try to fly them exclusively.  However, flights to the Los Angeles-area at Christmas, even months in advance, were ridiculously expensive.  I’ve also recently come to grips with the fact that, having a newly-two-year-old daughter, four airline tickets really start to add up.  So, I looked at the options on Southwest Airlines (WN) and was shocked – less than $200 round-trip for direct flights between Denver (DEN) and Orange County (SNA), which was less than half the cost of other options.  I had never booked myself on WN, but couldn’t pass up the huge cost difference, especially for such a short flight. (Note – since I booked my “first” WN flights, I actually ended up flying on them to the Bahamas on a short-notice trip).

Continue reading First Southwest Flight With Family

Southwest Pulls a Dreamlifter and Lands at Wrong Airport!

Photo of WN 3014, evacuated on the airfield at the wrong airport! - Photo: Scott

Photo of WN 3014, evacuated on the airfield at the wrong airport! – Photo: Scott Schieffer

Details are still coming in, but according to @scottDallasTX and other media sources, Southwest Flight 3014, from Chicago (Midway) landed at the wrong Branson, MO airport this evening (cause there are tons of Branson airports).  Again, details are coming, but it appears they landed at the College of the Ozarks airport (PLK), with only a 3700′ runway.  Does anybody know – is that long enough for a 737 t0 take off?

This is strangely reminiscent of the situation last month where a Boeing 747 Dreamlifter, operated by Atlas Air, landed at the wrong airport in Wichita.  When fields are in close proximity, mistakes can happen.

Tweet from a passenger on WN 4013

Tweet from a passenger on WN 3014 – via Twitter

According to Scott, the landing was efficient, but scary.

More to follow!

Update (7:20PM PDT): It looks like the Southwest Boeing 737-700 CAN take off with this limited runway, albeit likely empty.  Expecting a big day tomorrow for internet viewers?  (H/T to Managing Correspondent @BigMalX).

All Things 787: Blogger Profile

Boeing shared this photo of the 787-9 flying over Mt. Rainier.

787-9 Dreamliner flying over Mt. Rainier – Photo: Boeing

We don’t feature a lot of writers on our “Blogroll” section of the site, but All Things 787 has been a mainstay.  Started by Uresh Sheth (@ureshs) in 2008, the site digs in to the nitty gritty of 787 production and delivery details.  As a data geek, I’ve spent many hours delving in to the spreadsheets on All Things 787, and as a frequent flier, I’ve often looked at delivery positions, hoping for a future flight to be serviced by a new-build Dreamliner.  The site has had over 5.3 million views since its inception, which means many others share my same interest.

What has always impressed me the most about All Things 787 is the amazing detail (which, translated, means Uresh has to have exceptional access and sources).  As Uresh is a friend of Airline Reporter, I recently reached out to him for an interview about his site, the 787, and the readers that help fuel his enthusiasm.

Detailed delivery status of Boeing 787 - Image: All Things 787

An example of the detailed delivery status of the Boeing 787 – Image: All Things 787

Continue reading All Things 787: Blogger Profile