Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 91,887
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,013,487

AirlineReporter.com’s Ultimate Airline Winglet Challenge – Game On!

Can you tell which aircraft and airlines these winglets belong to?

Can you tell which aircraft and airlines these winglets belong to?

On the blog, I have done five Ultimate Livery Challenges and even one Landing Gear Contest. I decided to do something a bit different — an Ultimate Winglet Challenge. I have to admit that this one is probably the hardest on my end. Many winglets are just a plain color and many airlines look a like. The point was to try and find winglets that you might have a chance to identify the aircraft type and the airline, without being too easy, nor impossible.

Yes, I had to blur a few identifying numbers and words — sue me (actually don’t please). You uber AvGeeks might also notice which winglets that I flipped horizontally because of the nav lights. I just want to let you know that I know that you know.

No prizes on this one (other than getting an epic shout-out and link to site of your choice on the answer blog). For those of you who have not played before… here is the deal: take a look at these winglets, figure out what KIND OF PLANE AND WHAT AIRLINE THESE WINGLETS BELONG TO and then email your answers to david@airlinereporter.com (no, I am not signing you up for any spam). Even if you do not know all 10, make your best guess anyhow. Please do not leave any answers in the comments (I will have to delete them), but questions are always welcome.

I will keep the contest open until Sunday the 8th until about 5pm (give or take). Give it your best shot and good luck!

BREAKING: Allegiant to Start Charging for Carry-Ons Wednesday

It will cost you more to bring your carry-ons on your next Allegiant flight. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.

It will cost you more to bring your carry-ons on your next Allegiant flight. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.

Allegiant Air has stated that they will start charging for carry-on bags starting Wednesday, April 4th — and no, this is not an April Fools’ joke.

“Allegiant will begin charging for carry-ons for travelers booking new reservations beginning Wednesday (it will go live on our website late Tuesday night PDT),” Jessica Wheeler, Public Relations Manager for Allegiant confirmed to AirlineReporter.com.

Although the airline has not publicly announced the changes, they sent an internal memo to employes. Passengers will be allowed one free personal item (purse, briefcase, laptop), but anything larger will require the carry-on bag fee. Paying for the carry-on at the airport will run you $35, but buying online will save you some money. Allegiant has not confirmed how much the fee will cost if purchased in advance, but inside sources have explained that they expect it to be between $14.99-29.99 — which matches Allegiant’s checked bag fees. The difference in price is route specific and depends on the length of the flight flown.

From Allegiant, this shows how much your bags will cost on upcoming flights.

From Allegiant, this shows how much your bags will cost on upcoming flights. Yes, it is a bit blurry -- you don't need glasses. Image from Allegiant.

This is not a huge surprise, since Allegiant has previously stated that they were considering charging for carry-ons. With the success of Spirit Airline’s carry on fees (Spirit s the only other US-based airline charging for carry-ons), this seemed to be just a matter of time.

Allegiant, based in Las Vegas, is an ultra low cost airline that offers cheap, basic fares and then charge for additional services like seat reservations, boarding order, food and drinks and now carry-ons. This type of ala-cart pricing has been quite controversial, but does allow people traveling light, to travel cheap.

The model of ala-cart pricing and providing additional travel options (hotel, rental cars, etc) has worked out well for Allegiant — they were one of the most profitable airlines in 2011.

Passengers seem to complain about this type of pricing, yet they keep buying tickets. Why wouldn’t airlines look at additional revenue sources like this when they appear to work? If you don’t agree with an airline’s policies, show them with your wallet. Let the complaining begin…

A Run Down of Airlines and Their April Fools’ Jokes

As many of you have probably realized by now, yesterday was April Fools Day*. This was an opportunity for airlines, with a sense of humor, to break out their best creativity and come up with stories that are almost believable — almost.

Last year I found ten airlines that went all out on Aprils Fools, but this year there didn’t seem to be as many who were in the spirit. Here are the ones I found:

How would you like to spend your next flight standing up? All images by Air New Zealand.

How would you like to spend your next flight standing up? All images by Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand offers STRIGHTUP Fares for those willing to stand while flying

From Air New Zealand’s press release: Air New Zealand’s Domestic airline is proud to introduce STRAIGHTUPFARES™, the next step in the evolution of affordable domestic air travel on sale to anyone who can ‘stand it’. The special fares are part of the airline’s Grabaseat™ promotion.

For the April 1, 2012 launch date, the airline has installed hand holds on the cabin ceilings of selected aircraft to allow even more passengers per flight. The new “seating” plan can accommodate up to 69 extra passengers standing in the aisle for the duration of the flight, massively increasing Air New Zealand’s capacity and drastically lowering ticket prices.

The fares are offered at three different levels: STRAIGHTUPFARES™ – The standard offering includes carry on baggage only, STRAIGHTUPBAG™ – Includes carry on bag and one checked in bag up to 25kgs, and STRAIGHTUPDELUXE™ – Includes carry on bag and one checked in bag up to 25kgs, inflight refreshments and a interactive handhold.

Fare restrictions:
* Height restriction: 150cm Minimum height, excluding wheelchair passengers.
* Girth restriction: STRAIGHTUPFARES™ 100cm max waist, STRAIGHTUPBAG™ 120cm max waist, STRAIGHTUPDELUXE™ 150cm max waist
* Standing passenger must possess at least one fully functional arm and one fully function leg or equivalent. Wheel clamps provided for wheelchair passengers.

Going to their special STRAIGHTUPFARES website, they quickly point out that this is not real. 

Who wants to go to space? Spirit can take you there. Image from Spirit Airlines.

Who wants to go to space? Spirit can take you there. Image from Spirit Airlines.

Spirit Airlines Offers $9 Each Way Trips to the Moon

What is funnier than Spirit offering to take you to the moon is their ability to make fun of themselves. They are known as an ultra low cost carrier and charge for everything (even your carry-on). So they might have $9 each way fares advertised, but adding in your space suit, oxygen mask, tang, government service fee (good thing that is not hidden) and the rocket fuel, you are looking at a $1,203,000,025.97 ticket. Classic.

TOFUnuts on Southwest? Please no. Image from Southwest Airlines.

TOFUnuts on Southwest? Please no. Image from Southwest Airlines.

Southwest Airlines Now Serving TOFUnuts Onboard

Mmmm. TOFUnuts. Thank goodness this is a joke. From the airline’s press release:  Southwest Airlines today begins serving a delicious onboard snack in addition to the carrier’s legendary peanut offering, TOFUnuts. With the same salty taste, TOFUnuts contain more protein than Southwest’s lightly salted peanuts. Customers who stop in the airport terminal for that savory cheeseburger can wash away the guilt knowing that a packet of TOFUnuts will help lower bad cholesterol. Other benefits include appearing younger as Customers step off one of the carrier’s LUV jets since the isoflavones in the TOFUnuts scavenge free radicals to prevent premature aging.

“We didn’t think we could top our world famous peanuts, but this little baby has real potential,” said Kevin Krone, Southwest Airlines Vice President of Marketing, Sales, and Distribution. “If you aren’t in the mood for our traditional peanuts, then get on the tofu train. I mean, a snack food and healthy skin—sign me up!” Read more

The new VVS1 will be able to take up to three people down to the Earth's core. Photo from Virgin.

The new VVS1 will be able to take up to three people down to the Earth's core. Photo from Virgin.

Richard Branson launches journeys to the centre of the Earth through Virgin Volcanic

From the “official” press releaseRichard Branson launches journeys to the centre of the Earth through Virgin Volcanic. Academy Award winning actor Tom Hanks to join first expedition. Only 500 people have been to space, only three people have been to the bottom of the ocean, but no one has ever attempted to journey to the core of an active volcano. Until now.  Using patented carbon-carbon materials pioneered for deep space exploration, Virgin is proud to announce a revolutionary new vehicle, VVS1, which will be capable of plunging three people into the molten lava core of an active volcano. Read more

WestJet says no to kids? Origional photo from Andrew Sieber. Click for orig.

WestJet says no to kids? Origional photo from Andrew Sieber. Click for orig.

WestJet Introduces Child-Free Cabins

From WestJet’s websiteAirline unveils Kargo Kids, a travel program to create a serene travel experience. WestJet today introduced Kargo Kids, an exciting new program allowing guests to travel on select child-free flights, creating a quieter and more relaxing inflight experience, while children travel in a “special VIP” area of the aircraft. “As Canada’s low-cost airline, we are constantly looking for innovative and fun ways to enhance the guest experience,” continued Richard Bartrem. “The initial feedback on Kargo Kids has been quite positive and we’re looking forward to the peace and quiet while we get families where they need to be.”

WestJet even went as far as making a video

If I missed any, please let me know in the comments!

Boeing Offers New 737 Business Jet – Get Yours Today!

The exterior of the new Boeing Business Jet 737. Hi-Res, click for larger. Photo from Boeing.

The exterior of the new Boeing Business Jet 737. Hi-Res, click for larger. Photo from Boeing.

The Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) is one awesome machine. The airplane is a 737-700 with the wings and landing gear from the 737-800. This provides the ability to carry up to nine fuel tanks and gives the aircraft additional range. The biz jet is capable of going up to 5,600 nautical miles at Mach 0.80. Yea, all the facts are interesting, but what interests me the most are the photos of this aircraft.

The first version of the new BBJ was delivered to a private businessman from the US in early March after it went through interior modifications at Jet Tech, located in Spokane, WA.

Not too shabby. The interior of 737 BBJ. Hi-Res Image: click for larger. Photo by Boeing.

Not too shabby. The interior of 737 BBJ. Hi-Res Image: click for larger. Photo by Boeing.

This BBJ is the second for the customer. “Our repeat customers aren’t limited to governments and charter companies, but include private individuals who love the comfort and capability of their BBJ so much, they buy another one,” said Captain Steve Taylor, BBJ president.

The master bedroom of this 737 BBJ. Hi-Res photo: click for larger. Photo by Boeing.

The master bedroom of this 737 BBJ. Hi-Res photo: click for larger. Photo by Boeing.

This aircraft is configured to carry only 19 passengers. Knowing that the commercial version can be configured to carry up to 149 passengers, that means this BBJ has plenty of space for each person.

According to Boeing, the aircraft, “has all the amenities of a home including a large personal stateroom with a king-size bed, private lavatory and shower. It also has a smaller guest stateroom with divans that convert into beds enabling the BBJ to sleep up to 8 passengers.”

One could get a lot of good cooking done in this kitchen in the BBJ 737. Hi-Res Image: click for larger. Image by Boeing.

One could get a lot of good cooking done in this kitchen in the BBJ 737. Hi-Res Image: click for larger. Image by Boeing.

In the well appointed kitchen, there is island, convection/microwave ovens, a refrigerator, wine cooler and trash compactor — not too shabby.

The BBJ starts out at $57million, which is not cheap and will that will only get you the airplane. Most customers will spend an additional $20-25million on the VIP interior. Of course, this is chump change compared to get the Boeing 747-8VIP, which is listed at about $300million and costs, on average, $140-250million for the interior. Better start saving now.

 

An Inside Look at Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner Flight Simulator

The enterance to the Boeing Flight Services in Seattle, WA. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.com

The enterance to the Boeing Flight Services in Seattle, WA. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.com

Boeing Flight Services (BFS) offers eight locations around the world that provides pilot, maintenance, composite and cabin crew training.  Around the world, Boeing offers 80 flight simulators (eight are for the 787). The locations for the 787 training facilities are located in London, Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo and of course Seattle. We recently had the opportunity to take a behind the scenes look at the pilot training part of the BFS facility located south of Seattle,WA.

Currently, Boeing has orders for 873 787 Dreamliners. For each new aircraft that gets delivered, there need to be pilots, technicians and flight crew that require training.   Boeing works with their airline customers to provide a customized training package.  They can choose to have their entire staff trained, or just a handful of trainers who return to the carrier armed with all the knowledge they need.

The room we were in had four simulators. Two for the 787, one for the 737 and one for the 767. Notice how they are painted in different Boeing liveries. Photo by David Parker Brown / AirlineReporter.com

The room we were in had four simulators. Two for the 787, one for the 737 and one for the 767. Notice how they are painted in different Boeing liveries. Photo by David Parker Brown / AirlineReporter.com

How long it takes for a new pilot to be trained on the 787 depends on their previous experience. Since the 777 and 787 cockpits are so similar, it only takes pilots five days to be trained on the Dreamliner. A pilot who has flown other Boeing products (like the 767 or 737), it can take 13 days and if a pilot has never flown a Boeing product, it takes 20 days.

The section of the facility we visited held four simulators: two for the 787, one for the 737 and one for the 767. Before getting into full simulator, pilots will start out on a desktop simulation, which students are able to view a 3-D virtual 787 to learn about the aircraft before taking the controls.

Inside the Boeing 787 flight simulator. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.com.

Inside the Boeing 787 flight simulator. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.com.

Next, pilots move to the flight training device that looks like a desk-mounted simulator and lets the flight crew become familiar with the instruments and airplane systems better before hitting the fully operation simulator.

Before each flight in the full simulator, pilots will sit down with their Boeing instructor to go over the details and expectations of the flight. Boeing flight instructors, on average, have 15,700 total time and at minimum, they are required to have at least 5,000 hours with 1,000 of those in training.

The flight instructor's chair inside the Dreamliner flight sim. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.com.

The flight instructor's chair inside the Dreamliner flight sim. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.com.

Pilots normally fly for four hours in the simulator and afterwards, trainers will go step-by-step with the pilots using playback from the simulator.

When entering the simulator, the first thing that stands out is the large chair in the middle of everything.  The chair appears more at home on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise than the simulator we’re standing in. The chair, affectionately called “Captain Kirk’s Seat”, is where the instructor is direct and manage the simulation along with being able to see the same visualization that the pilots are.

In flight over Japan in the 787 flight simulator. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.com.

In flight over Japan in the 787 flight simulator. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.com.

Due to the number of media on the tour the full motion capability was switched off, but that did not stop from making the experience enjoyable. Flight instructor Captain Greg Beard pressed a few buttons on the trainer chair and everyone was whisked away at the speed of light to Narita International Airport in Tokyo. Capt. Beard sat in the co-pilot seat as he smoothly took off the Dreamliner to take a tour around Tokyo.

Being in a few 787 cockpits (not during flight), it is easy to say that the simulator is very accurate to the actual Dreamliner.  Beard confirmed this by explaining that all the same software and options on the actual aircraft are in the simulator – actually there are more. The simulator can be programed to have either the GEnx engines or RR Trent 1000 (there are few differences in the flight deck of the two). The simulator can also be used for the future 787-9 model as well.

A view of the HUD (heads up display) while sitting at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.com.

A view of the HUD (heads up display) while sitting at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / NYCAviation.com.

Although the Boeing 787 is a complex machine, it has been built to make flying as easy as possible. It is not cheap to purchase your own 787 simulators. They are manufactured by Thales, cost about $15-$18million each.

SEE ALL 43 PHOTOS OF THE BOEING 787 DREAMLINER FLIGHT SIMULATOR

This story was a joint effort by AirlineReporter.com and NYCAviation.com.