Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 243,450
2013: 330,818

Buy Wholesale products for your airline business on DHgate.com

JAUNTED- Onboard Concorde: What It Was Like to Fly Mach 2 Over the Atlantic Ocean

G-BOAF at the gate at London-Heathrow. Photo by Joe Corrigan / Jaunted.com.

G-BOAF at the gate at London-Heathrow. Photo by Joe Corrigan / Jaunted.com.

Earlier this week marked the 37th anniversary of the first Concorde flight and to help celebrate, Jaunted ran a story by Joe Corrigan who re-lived his JFK-LHR flight he took in July 2003. I wanted to share and here is the first two paragraphs of the story and the rest can be read on Jaunted. 

I don’t know quite what it was about Concorde, but ever since I first saw her as a kid, I was mesmerised. That shape, those lines—there was something about her that drew me in. I was 14 the first time I saw her with my own eyes, as my my uncle had discovered Concorde would fly into Sydney, my home town, on a round-the-world charter. Together we headed to the airport to see her land.

That aircraft, F-BVFC, zoomed in and landed with full reverse and later took off with full afterburner as I watched from afar. I was hooked. The experience was not only visual and aural, but earth-shaking. Everything in the vicinity shuddered under the engine power; you could feel Concorde slice through the air and this in itself made it all the more visceral. It became a dream of mine to fly on her, one I never thought likely to come true.

READ THE REST OF JOE’S STORY AND SEE MORE PHOTOS ON JAUNTED.COM

All The Juicy Details for Aviation Geek Fest 2013

agf13

Boeing, the Future of Flight and AirlineReporter.com are proud to share details on Aviation Geek Fest 2013 (#AGF13)…

TICKETS GO ON SALE ON SAT, JAN 26th AT 11AM PST

All tickets will be first come, first serve. There are 150 tickets (for each of the main events) up for grabs, so quite a few folks will be able to enjoy the #AGF13 experience. Yes, if you click on the links right now, it will show invalid, but the links will work when the tickets go on sale.

The event will run a bit differently this year. One person can do everything and you do not have to pick and choose.

Please check out this page for all the Aviation Geek Fest updates (I don’t want to have to update multiple pages).

Photo Tour of LAN Airline’s Maintenance and Training Facilities in Santiago

LAN's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner sits at their Maintenance facility at Santiago.

LAN’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner sits at their maintenance facility at Santiago.

Back in the day when the Boeing 787 was allowed to fly, I took LAN’s first 787 delivery flight from Everett, WA to Santiago Chile. During my short stay, I was able to tour their maintenance and training facility and I wanted to share what I was able to explore.

Boeing 767s get winglets installed.

Boeing 767s get winglets installed.

LAN has been going through a huge undertaking of upgrading their older Boeing 767s to each have winglets to increase their fuel efficiency. When LAN started the process, it would take them about 49 days to install the winglets. More recently,it only takes them two weeks.

Sometimes, the simplest way is the best.

Sometimes, the simplest way is the best.

One of the most interesting aspects was using old-school white boards and papers to keep track of where each aircraft is at in the maintenance process. At first, I couldn’t imagine why they wouldn’t upgrade to computers, but their process absolutely works for them and why fix something that is not broken?

The Airbus A318 still looks like a baby airplane to me. LAN currently operates 5 of the type.

The Airbus A318 still looks like a baby airplane to me. LAN currently operates 5 of the type.

Typically, it takes about 12 hours to replace a Boeing 767 engine and only nine hours to replace one on an Airbus A318.

Engine

P&W4000 engine being worked on.

LAN is able to re-work up to ten engines at a time and the shop runs 24 hours per day, six days per week.

This is an engine cleaning truck (pretty sure that they had a fancier name for it) that can drive to clean the engines of a LAN aircraft.

This is an engine cleaning truck (pretty sure that they had a fancier name for it) that can drive to clean the engines of a LAN aircraft.

I started to get TIREd at this point in the tour (okay, not really and that was a bad joke).

I started to get TIREd at this point in the tour (okay, not really and that was a bad joke).

CAE training facility in Santiago.

CAE training facility in Santiago.

LAN does not operate their own flight simulators or crew training, but outsource to CAE, which is located directly next to the airport.

You probably never will need to use a raft like this, but it is good to know that flight attendants know how to use it, if needed.

You probably never will need to use a raft like this, but it is good to know that flight attendants know how to use it, if needed.

These may look like fun (I wasn't allowed to slide down), but this is where flight attendants train how to evacuate an aircraft.

These may look like fun (I wasn’t allowed to slide down), but this is where flight attendants train how to evacuate an aircraft.

Boeing 767 interior mock up for safety training.

Boeing 767 interior mock up for safety training.

A CAE Boeing 767 flight simulator. Do I want to go inside? Um, yes please.

A CAE Boeing 767 flight simulator. Do I want to go inside? Um, yes please.

Pilots get training in the Boeing 767 simulator.

Pilots get training in the Boeing 767 simulator.

Was able to sit in on two current pilots who were doing additional training on the Boeing 767. They just had one engine go out during landing and had to react appropriately — we all made it.

CHECK ALL 41 PHOTOS OF THE MAINTENANCE / TRAINING FACILITY

This story written by…David Parker Brown, Editor & Founder.

David started AirlineReporter.com in the summer of 2008, but has had a passion for aviation since he was a kid. Born and raised in the Seattle area (where he is currently based) has surely had an influence and he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.

@AirlineReporter | Flickr | YouTube

Mom’s Lack-of-ID Airport Adventure at Tuscon

This sign is actually lying. This photos was taken via an iPhone just minutes before getting through security without valid ID.

This sign is actually lying. This photos was taken via an iPhone just minutes before getting through security without valid photo ID.

This guest post was written by Jenny Brown, mother to David Parker Brown, the Founder of AirlineReporter.com. Notes in italics in the story are from David:

Unlike my son, a perfect flight is an uneventful flight. However, when I flew to Tucson in November, several events occurred that made my flight more of an adventure than I wanted.

It began when I boarded an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to Tucson (TUS) on November 14, the only non-stop between the two cities. I usually fly first class (I was flying economy next to the lavatories -David) mainly because I am a reluctant flier and it allows me to relax more and get on and off the plane quickly.

So, the first class passengers were settling in when I heard the flight attendant say to the pilot, “So, what’s wrong with the plane?” Not something I wanted to hear! The voice on the intercom eventually told us that the co-pilot’s instruments were not working in the flight deck and it would take about two hours to fix. We deplaned to wait at the gate. Periodically, we were given updates and thanked for our patience. How the voice over the intercom knew we were being patient, I don’t know (Wait, isn’t this story about your ID mom? -David).

After a bit over two hours, we were told that another plane was being brought in and we eventually made it to Tucson.

While in Tucson, enjoying my family for Thanksgiving, I for some reason was looking in my purse for my driver’s license. I couldn’t find it. Yikes… I am undocumented in Arizona! (Let’s not get too political here -David). How am I going to get back to Seattle? What do I do? Call my son of course!

Luckily he helped out and emailed Alaska Airlines as I checked out their website as well as TSA’s. I also called Alaska Airlines and Cindy reassured me that I would make it home. Much to my surprise, I discovered that a photo ID is not necessary to fly, even though so many make you feel that it is required.

A list of other identification was given, including voter registration and social security card. I had both in my wallet as well as an expired passport with a 16 year-old photo. Thank goodness I don’t clean out my purse (I have since talked to my mom about having so many ID’s and identity theft, but that is another story – David).

Top tier (that is sarcasm) iPhone photo of our Alaska 737 at TUS. Image by David (not that I really want to take credit).

Top tier (that is sarcasm) iPhone photo of our Alaska 737 at TUS. Image by David (not that I really want to take credit).

I was still nervous about getting through TSA on the way home. Fortunately, David was returning on the same flight (he came down later), so he was there as son and journalist.

At the ticket counter, the Alaska agent was again very helpful (Well, technically, it was a Delta employee who was being contracted out to operate the counter for Alaska, but that is okay, she was very nice -David).

Then there was no line at security (Yea, that almost never happens -David). The TSA agent was very understanding and accepted the ID I had available. David was taking notes and photos; he seemed disappointed that I wasn’t whisked away to a room for “interrogation”. Would make for a better story (No way, I am happy nothing bad went down. Although a nice frisking and detaining of my mom would have provided interesting content. -David).

Final Chapter: So after getting home safe and sound, I went to pick up my held mail at the post office the next day. The postal worker asked for a photo ID. I showed my voter’s registration and Social Security card to no avail. Finally, he reluctantly accepted my expired passport. I told him the postal service is tougher than the TSA. He said this is the US mail!

In my held mail was my driver’s license-sent by Alaska Airlines.

Flight Review: An AvGeeks First Flight on Virgin America

DSC_0086

I talk about airlines and airplanes a lot; it’s a part of who I am. Fairly often, my conversations about such topics end up on Virgin America. At this point, I am forced to divulge the fact that I had never been on Virgin America, a statement which is often met with a blank stare followed by the response, “really?”

Most of my domestic flights are on JetBlue and Delta, simply because of their much larger route network out of New York, where I am based. When I finally had the opportunity to give Virgin America a try, I immediately jumped at the chance. I flew from New York’s John F. Kennedy International (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO) and back in 12 hours as part of a media event, so travel was paid for by the airline (note: the airline paid for my trip, but all opinions are my own).

At JFK, Virgin America is based out of Terminal 4, which mainly houses international carriers. Virgins gates are in the A concourse, which is simply not where you want to be. With extremely limited restaurant and shopping options there, you will want to spend as little time as possible at the gate. Thankfully, Terminal 4 is undergoing a massive renovation which will remedy this issue. The terminal is in the process of unifying the two security checkpoints, and when complete, passengers will have access to a markedly wider selection of restaurants and shopping.

Virgin Americas gate at JFK T4 does not stand out in any way over any other domestic airline. There is no fancy seating, no nice lighting, and not so much as power outlet in sight. However, the instant you board the aircraft, things immediately start to change.

Most passengers will quickly notice the colorful mood lighting, which is a great upgrade from the typical dim white fluorescent tube lighting.  At first it might appear the lighting is all LED, like we are seeing in new Boeing interiors, but it is actually a combination of fluorescent tubes and white LEDs with a color gel on them.

It’s warm, inviting, and just overall pleasant. Once settled, I found the seat to be quite comfy. The adjustable head rest is a great addition to the black leather seat. At 6’2’’, legroom was not an issue, as I had room to stretch, something becoming increasingly rare in economy.

IMG_20130116_162032

Virgin America features one of the most advanced in-flight entertainment systems I have ever used, and I took this opportunity to put it to the test. The system, called RED, features movies and TV shows on demand, live satellite TV, food and drink ordering, and other information features. What I liked most about the system was how responsive it was. I never encountered any lag in the system, which makes the user experience quite enjoyable. I was thankful that the live TV was free, as I found the other selections a bit too expensive for my taste.  The satellite TV selection is limited to 18 channels compared to 36 on JetBlue, and certain channels did not work, but I was always able to find something to watch.

IMG_20130116_162958

One thing that did irk me about the entertainment system was that there seemed be a lot of features that either didn’t work, or weren’t yet available. For instance, on the main menu there is a button labeled “read,” but when clicked, a message told me that the feature is not yet available. A feature that is not yet activated should not be displayed as an option to the passenger.

I was able to follow up with Virgin American and they explained to AirlineReporter.com that they are, replacing the Read section with an Info Section, “that includes static content that will be updated every six weeks, but that relates to travel, destination and other info that is more ‘evergreen’ and that fits better with what guests want to engage with in-flight.”

Similarly, I had some issues with the program guide for the live TV. I would click on it and an error message would appear. That must have just been an isolated instance.  Additionally, I would like if some on-screen reference was made to the tethered remote in the armrest. Had the passenger next to me not removed it first, I probably would never had known it could be moved.

My favorite part of the Virgin America experience was probably the in-flight ordering process. Virgin has done away with the traditional cart down the aisle system, and instead passengers order what they want through their screen and a flight attendant delivers it. I was extremely impressed at how simple the ordering process was, and how quickly items were delivered. If I could change one thing, it would be the inclusion of any free food option, even if just a small bag of chips. All food is purchase only in economy, no freebies except for drinks.

Once arriving to SFO, I made my way to my hotel and did not really check out the terminal. The following day, I made an effort to arrive at SFO early in the morning and was relieved to discover how beautiful Virgin America’s terminal was. Wide open spaces, bright, restaurant choices to satisfy even the most picky of eaters. This terminal clearly reflected Virgin’s attitude.

Unlike the terminal at JFK, SFO features lovely seating areas, classy furniture, free wifi and power outlets everywhere. These upgrades go a long way when it comes to unwinding after passing through security, and I wish any of these features were present at JFK.

IMG_20130116_202218

Now that I have finally flown Virgin America, I can give an honest opinion of this high-tech, feature packed airline. While the airline did not disappoint, I’m not sure I would pay a premium over other airlines such as JetBlue for the privilege. The entertainment system may be more advanced and the mood lighting may create a brighter atmosphere, but overall, I felt the overall experience was different, but comparable. However, when compared to some legacy carriers that fly the route, I would absolutely consider upgrading to Virgin America.

The flight from SFO to JFK was a special media flight to fly the San Fransisco Giants World Championship Trophy to New York… stay tuned.

This story written by… Jason Rabinowitz, Correspondent.

Jason is a New York City native who has grown up in the shadow of JFK International Airport. A true “avgeek”, he enjoys plane spotting and photography, as well taking any opportunity he can get to fly on an aircraft.

@AirlineFyer | FaceBook |