Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 258,704
2013: 330,818

Why Is American Painting the Bottom of Their Planes?

Photo on the left shows the new painted bottom. The one on the right shows the old aluminum bottom.

Photo on the left shows the new painted bottom. The one on the right shows the old aluminum bottom.CLICK FOR LARGER.

You might be an airline nerd if this interests you. Warning: I am an airline nerd.

On the Twitterverse and, there were some questions around why American Airlines has started to paint the bottom of their new Boeing 737s. There was some speculation (and questioning if American is even really painting the bottoms), but officially from American:

“All 737’s have fluid discharge ports along the bottom Aft fuselage. AA has decided to paint the underbelly of the aircraft for aesthetic purposes and to prevent any contact of these fluids with the bare aluminum skin.”

Nothing too shocking, the bottoms have been painted to slow corrosion. I only hope that this is not a sign that American plans to keep this dated livery over the long-term. As I am sure you remember, the airline recently went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which would give them a perfect reason to get a new livery (even though I know there are a lot of American livery lovers out there).

Both photos taken by Drewski2112 at Boeing Field

Baltia Air Lines Gets Second 747-200 and Finally a Livery

Baltia Air Lines second Boeing 747-200 (N706BL) sits in Victorville, CA in September 2011.

Baltia Air Lines second Boeing 747-200 (N706BL) sits in Victorville, CA in September 2011.

Ah, Baltia Air Lines — the little airline that is trying. In 1989, the airline was founded with the hope of connecting New York to old soviet countries non-stop. It has been a long process and many felt the airline would never make it this far, but Baltia has been full of surprises.

It has almost been a year since I last took a look at the airline and they are making some pretty good progress. A big emotional step has to be seeing their second aircraft, a Boeing 747-200 (N706BL), in Baltia Air Lines livery for the first time.

Their first Boeing 747-200 (N705BL) was delivered to TAP Air, then bought by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). It still has not been painted in the Baltia livery and is undergoing maintenance in Malaysia. Their second aircraft, another Boeing 747-200 (N706BL), was delivered to Northwest Airlines in 1979 and put into storage in 2009 before Kalitta took ownership. They held the title for only about a year before Baltia purchased it.

In September 2011,  Baltia Air Lines was accepted into the FAA’s Safety Management Systems (SMS) Pilot Program, which will allow the airline to create a safety plan for the future.

“Senior Management at Baltia is committed to pursuing the safest operational environment possible. We are committed to implementing, developing and improving strategies, management systems and processes to ensure that all operational activities uphold the highest level of safety performance in the industry. Our Safety Management System will meet and exceed national and international standards.”

Yes, it is a big unorthodox to see a new airline start up using a Boeing 747-200, but who can complain about seeing one of these beauties flying in the US again? Will they make it? I am staying optimistic and hope they can at least get off the ground. Looking at their summary of tasks needed to be completed, they are on the home stretch.


Airline Love: Delta Air Lines Puts Down the Red Carpet

Delta Air Lines Bombardier CRJ-900.

Delta Air Lines / Mesaba Bombardier CRJ-900.

It is time once again to share an #AirlineLove story. This one is from Jason Rabinowitz (aka @yankees368) who recently took a Delta Air Lines flight from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Here is his story in his own words:

You recently wrote about how many of the emails you get bitch about some bad experience with an airline, but don’t often read about good experiences. Well, I have a good one for you. The airline is Delta. I know, I know, very unexpected. Delta and I have a very checkered history over the last four years, so this was something I felt had to be shared.

I was booked on Delta Connection/Mesaba from DTW to JFK at noon Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Security at DTW had no wait and a lot of TSA personnel, very nice. Aircraft was a CRJ900, not the biggest, but not tiny. For whatever reason, Delta has really cut back on their DTW-JFK route, and they are down to three a day (two on a CRJ900 and one A319). I am very surprised that they did not add capacity due to the holiday, but I digress.

When I checked in at a kiosk, I was presented with the screen asking me if I would like to put my name on the volunteer list to be bumped. I agreed and proceeded to the gate. The gate agent eventually called me up and informed me that the flight was oversold by three passengers. I happily took the opportunity to get a $400 voucher and be moved to LaGuardia Airport (LGA), as there really wasn’t any space going to JFK. I even asked for a first class upgrade, which she happily agreed to.

Flash forward 15 minutes later at the gate and my seat assignment turns into 22C! Thats the last row on their A319. Hardly first class, but I am happy to be in a seat. I hopped on Twitter, asked @DeltaAssist what the deal was, and they apologized and gave me another $25 voucher. Now we are at $425 voucher credit + $6 meal voucher.

Just before our 12:10pm push back, air traffic control stops traffic at LGA until 1pm. Uh oh, I know how these 1 hour delays turn into 2 then 3 then 7, so I needed to act fast and get something to eat. I asked the flight attendant if the door was still open and if I could grab something to eat, and they said sure! However, when I went up the jet bridge, the gate attendant informed me that I could not deplane and re-board, as she plane would no longer be secure. She then offered to personally escort me to the food court right around the corner while I grabbed a snack, with a smile on her face the entire time! Wow.

The flight was bumpy but fast, and now I am at LGA instead of JFK. I figured I would take a shot in the dark and ask a Delta red coat if they would provide a coupon for a cab ride to JFK. A few smashes of the keyboard later, she prints out a voucher and tells me to wait for a car. Holy crap, the car they called was an all black Cadillac Escalade, all for me. Again, wow!

For whatever reason today, everyone at Delta went above and beyond what they needed to do, and made my day easy (and profitable). I first started flying Northwest Airlines (which merged with Delta) when I moved to Michigan in 2008, right when they probably gave up. For what its worth, things didn’t start to go downhill until the Delta name was slapped on the ticket. It once took me 3 days to get from DTW to JFK! Yowza. Now, this summer I got from Lansing’s Capital Region International Airport (LAN) to Yankee stadium in 4.5 hours. Delta has come a long way.

So, where should I go with my $425 voucher? (I say come to Seattle -David)

(Guest) Airline Liveries of the Week: Hot Air and Trans Caribbean

Recently Ken Fielding shared two very interesting photos with me and I wanted to share them. I figured that it would make sense to do it on the Livery of the Week, since these two liveries are pretty sweet. Here are his photos and information on the airlines in his own words:

Hot Air Vickers Viscount (G-OHOT) taken at Manchester in April 1989

Hot Air Vickers Viscount (G-OHOT) taken at Manchester in April 1989

Apart from a mention in a ‘Defunct British Airlines’ list… nothing!  So I decided to approach from the aircraft, G-OHOT.

The aircraft was one of three that had been operated by British Midland (BMA) for many years and was sold to British Aerospace in a part-exchange deal when BMA took delivery of their new B.Ae ATP’s.  All three were sold at auction in Oct-87 to Sean T. Hully (Sales) Ltd.  Mr Hully, trading as Hot Air in Mar-89, put the other two into service from Heathrow to Paris & Qimper in France.  The airline only lasted the summer of 1989 and the aircraft were sold to British Air Ferries (BAF).  However, although G-OHOT was in full Hot Air livery, it never operated for Hot Air and was leased to Baltic Airlines (another Sean T. Hully company!) and stayed with them before being sold to BAF in Nov-89.  I also have a photo of it in BAF livery in Oct-90.
Trans Caribbean Boeing 727-200 (N8790R) taken at New York JFK on July 9, 197070

Trans Caribbean Boeing 727-200 (N8790R) taken at New York JFK on July 9, 197070

Trans Caribbean was New York based and originally date back to the late 1940’s operating DC-3’s and DC-4’s on New York/Puerto Rico charter services.  They were granted full scheduled service status for New York/Puerto Rico services in Feb-57 with DC-6’s.  They added two DC-9-30’s and the first of 4 DC-8-51’s joined them in Nov-61, followed by a DC-8-61CF in Dec-67.  They took delivery of two B727-200’s in early 1969 and were absorbed into American Airlines at the end of 1970.

Check out Ken’s other photos on Flickr

Photo: Four Airbus A380s Sitting in a Line

Lufthansa, Singapore Air, Emirates and Qantas Airbus A380s sit in Toulouse

Lufthansa, Singapore Air, Emirates and Qantas Airbus A380s sit in Toulouse. CLICK FOR LARGER.

Photo was taken by A380_TLS, who also has a lot of other great photos from Airbus in Toulouse. Hat tip to Jon Ostrower for pointing this out.