Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird - Photo: American Air Museum | IWM Duxford

Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird – Photo: American Air Museum | IWM Duxford

Recently, I was delighted to get an invite to the Imperial War Museum’s (IWM)  inaugural re-opening of its American Air Museum (AAM) at Duxford in Cambridgeshire. The AAM opened to the public on Saturday 19 March 2016, after being closed for 12 months for major redevelopment work. I had the opportunity to get a sneak preview and to talk to some honorary guests, whose legacies form part of the new exhibition. A midweek event meant my trusty photographing sidekick of a son could not join me due to school. Given half a chance, he would probably have skipped to come with me.

Packed flight plan - photo: Alastair Long | AirlineReporter

Packed flight plan – Photo: Alastair Long | AirlineReporter

The AAM is housed in a concrete semi-conical building with a glass front that faces the airfield and, as you can see from the AAM’s floor plan above, it’s packed full of aircraft that showcase some of the very best in US historical aviation.

A330neo Airspace by Airbus Economy class - Photo: Airbus

A330neo Airspace by Airbus economy class – Image: Airbus

Last Wednesday, I attended the London unveiling of “Airspace by Airbus“- the European aircraft maker’s bold strategy to create a distinctive cabin brand that it hopes will represent the pinnacle of passenger comfort and aircraft operational performance.

Grey London Sky by Gherkin - Photo: Alastair Long | AirlineReporter

Grey London Sky by Gherkin – Photo: Alastair Long | AirlineReporter

I must confess to being perplexed by what Airbus could possibly display in the tiny Searcys space on the top floor of the Gherkin building, especially on a cold and grey London morning. Luckily, Airbus had quite a bit of colorful things to show off and I was intrigued on what Airspace was all about and when we might start seeing it on actual Airbus aircraft. 

Rumor has it Virgin America is looking to sell - Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Rumor has it Virgin America is looking to sell – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Airlines buying airlines. Mergers. These are the topics that rumors were made for. As I start hearing more rumors about the sale of Virgin America, I wanted to take a closer look at who might buy them — and who wouldn’t. Personally, would I buy them? No. I don’t have the money. If I did, it would be nice, though. A privately-held airline. Immune from Wall-Street capacity discipline bludgeons… heaven!

So now that we know I cannot buy Virgin American… who might?

LAX at sunset.

LAX at sunset

I would be willing to wager that most of the traveling public simply buys whatever airfare suits them best to get from Point A to Point B, and probably back to Point A. Whether it be the ever-popular nonstop, the obvious geographic connection, the shortest connecting time, and/or simply the lowest price, most people don’t really think outside the box when it comes to booking tickets. The carriers rely on the fact that customers will simply select from among the first few options they see when booking online; as such, there have been PR battles and even lawsuits over what order online travel booking sites list certain fares and airlines.

What you may not know is that fare rules (you know, those long-winded, multi-page things full of legal mumbo-jumbo you never read before clicking the box saying you agree to them and purchasing the ticket) many times have built-in flexibility that’s just waiting to be utilized for maximum effect, even on the cheapest fares…