Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 93,970
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,015,570

5 Things That Bags Hate – An Open Letter From the Pan Am Bag

This is how I normally like to fly - in my own business class seat - Photo: Bag's Human

This is how I normally like to fly – in my own business class seat – Photo: Bag’s Human

Dear Humans,

It has come to my attention that many of you complain about the “inconveniences” of air travel. I think that you may not be appreciating what your loyal luggage goes through every time you fly (and thank goodness I’m strictly a carry-on bag – checked baggage has it MUCH worse!) Usually, aviation reporting and analysis is sorely lacking the luggage perspective, but AirlineReporter has given me this opportunity to set the record straight.

Consider the following elements of the passenger experience, and what your bags suffer through for your benefit:

Continue reading 5 Things That Bags Hate – An Open Letter From the Pan Am Bag

Bombardier CSeries CS300 Achieves First Flight

Bombardier CSeries CS300 takes flight for the first time - Photo: Seth Miller

Bombardier CSeries CS300 takes flight for the first time – Photo: Seth Miller | AirwaysNews

The full story was written by Seth Miller on AirwaysNews.com

The Bombardier CS300, the newest commercial aircraft on the market, made its maiden flight just after 11:00 a.m. yesterday at Montreal’s Mirabel airport. The larger CSeries variant follows the smaller CS100, which took to the skies 17 months ago.

For Bombardier, this is a significant step forward for a project which has seen its share of challenges. As a “clean-sheet” aircraft design, such challenges are not unexpected; Boeing and Airbus experienced similar delays with the 787 and A350, respectively. Bombardier’s new CEO, Alain M. Bellemare, described the event as “an inflection point” in the CSeries project, “where we’re finally reaching momentum and we can go to market with a solid product for our customers.”

The first CS300 taxis - Photo: Seth Miller | Airways News

The first CS300 taxis – Photo: Seth Miller | Airways News

The test flight came on the second day of the three-day window Bombardier allotted for the event. Initial plans to run the test flight on Thursday were hampered by cold weather, wind, and snow earlier in the week in Mirabel; that weather prevented final pre-flight testing from happening. It was colder yesterday than earlier in the week – probably the coldest first flight ever – but the low temperatures did not prevent the first flight.

With both the CS100 and CS300 now flying, the company is able to aggressively push towards the completion of the flight test regimen and enter the airliner into service. It is also worth noting that the CSeries plan is somewhat unusual in having both types flying test flights concurrently rather than a sequential process of EIS on the first followed by testing of the second. Delays in the CS100 test program can be blamed in part for these circumstances.

A special CS300 ice sculpture to celebrate the first flight - Photo: Seth Miller | AirwaysNews

A special CS300 ice sculpture to celebrate the first flight – Photo: Seth Miller | AirwaysNews

The CSeries aircraft promises a more comfortable passenger cabin combined with lower costs for the airlines and quieter operations for the passengers and those who live near the airports. While the interior of the CS300 is not yet on display to media, the noise aspect was demonstrated during the first flight departure; the CRJ900 – a quiet plane in its own right – was notably louder than the CS300 flying just ahead of it during the first flight departure.

Continue reading Bombardier CSeries CS300 Achieves First Flight on AirwaysNews.com

What to Do When Your Britannia 314 Only Has Three Working Engines in Libya?

Caledonian Airways Bristol 175 Britannia 314  taken in February 1969 at Sabha Airport - Photo: Ken Fielding

Caledonian Airways’ Bristol Britannia taken in February 1969 at Sabha Airport – Photo: Ken Fielding

Just after joining Caledonian Airways in February, 1969, I went to Tripoli, Libya, to help handle Caledonian’s Hajj contract, taking passengers to Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj Pilgrimage, sub-contracted by KLA Kingdom of Libya Airlines.  The contract was over eight weeks: three weeks ferrying Pilgrims outbound, a two-week hiatus while the Pilgrimage took place, and another three weeks for the return.  The contract was for two Boeing 707-320C’s and a Bristol Britannia.

Sebha Libya Feb-69 - The Fort

The French Colonial Fort seen next to Sebha in 1969 – Photo: Ken Fielding

Part of the contract with the Britannia was for a 10-day series of flights from Sebha, a small oasis town about 600 miles south of Tripoli in the Libyan Desert.  The town’s most prominent feature was a ‘Beau Geste’ style French Colonial Fort on the edge of the airfield, on the only hill for 200 miles.  My hotel was the ‘Sebha Palace’, not quite what you expect when the word ‘palace’ is mentioned, but at least the rooms were en-suite.  My bathroom had a 360 volt water heater (and a 220 volt supply).  The wires were just pushed into the wall socket (no plug) and when it was switched on the lights dimmed and it took all day to heat enough water for a bath.  The hotel restaurant only served chicken (well, we were 600 miles from nowhere).  I had a bucket of fresh fish flown up from Tripoli on the ferry flight a few times and word soon got around.  The restaurant was full on those evenings.

Continue reading What to Do When Your Britannia 314 Only Has Three Working Engines in Libya?

Saying Goodbye to the Last US Airways Boeing 767

The last US Airways Boeing 767 flight, ready to go - Photo: | NYCAviation

The last US Airways Boeing 767 flight, ready to go – Photo: Justin Cederholm | NYCAviation

This story was written by Justin Cederholm for NYCAviation.com

Another chapter in the long history of US Airways was closed this past Thursday as they operated the final flight of their Boeing 767-200ER.  N252AU, which originally joined the USAir fleet in May 1990 as N652US, would be the aircraft to do the honor for today’s final flight.  The morning started at Philadelphia’s gate A18 with flowers adorning the gate area and a table full of fresh fruit, drinks, and pastries for guests on this special flight. Flight 767 departed Philadelphia (PHL) bound for Charlotte (CLT) at 9 a.m. with a full load of passengers and a dozen or so aviation enthusiasts looking to be a part of this final flight.  The short, uneventful hop down to Charlotte was greeted with a water canon salute from Charlotte’s Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) team.

US Airways employees celebrate the final 767 flight - Photo: | NYCAvation

US Airways employees celebrate the final 767 flight – Photo: Justin Cederholm | NYCAvation

Inside Charlotte gate D13 was decorated with balloons, a table draped with a ‘Happy Retirement’ table cloth and two retirement cakes for the Boeing 767.  The final crew posed for photos and cake was distributed.  Shortly thereafter boarding began for the final segment of Flight 767 back to PHL.  At least two dozen enthusiasts and employees were on board this final fight which had roughly 100 open seats.  Flight 767 departed CLT at noon for the final hour-long flight back to its hub.  The light load of passengers allowed us to congregate in the aft coach cabin to reminisce on past flights on the 767 and discuss new aircraft joining the fleet of the “new” American Airlines.  Before landing the pilot gave a speech on the history of the 767, its significance in the industry, and its history within the airline.

Continue reading Saying Goodbye to the Last US Airways Boeing 767 on NYCAviation.com

How to Upset Someone With a Fear of Flying

Boarding onto a 777 flight - Photo: Alan Light | Flickr CC

Boarding a 777 flight – Photo: Alan Light | Flickr CC

“You’re a travel writer,” people say to me. “But you’re afraid of flying? How does that work?”

It doesn’t. A terrible experience happened to me, where a flight from Lagos, Nigeria, to Accra, Ghana, kept losing altitude for 30 minutes straight. Storm clouds surrounded us, and I couldn’t see anything. The captain didn’t come on the loudspeaker to say there would be turbulence, or sorry for the inconvenience, or that we were totally safe and not crashing to the ground due to a terrible malfunction. People were screaming the entire time. I was about to vomit when finally I saw a village through the thick, white clouds and realized we were safely landing.

I’ve never been the same since. I’ve gotten better, sure — I usually have to fly in order to travel — but I’m not totally cured. Not many people are sympathetic to this fear, however, and it sucks. I find these are good ways to upset someone who has a fear of flying.

Continue reading How to Upset Someone With a Fear of Flying