Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 201,296
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,122,897





Sixth-Annual Copper River Salmon Hootenanny with Alaska Airlines

Welcoming a 53lb Copper River salmon to Seattle

Welcoming a 53lb Copper River salmon to Seattle

In what town do people get up before 4:00am to greet some fish? In the land of the flying fish, of course!

This was the sixth year in a row that I woke up earlier than I probably should to greet my breakfast, which was flying in on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-400 Combi. Why? Well, it is a special (aka delicious) kind of breakfast; some Copper River salmon.

Also, I  enjoy the fun event that Alaska Airlines puts on each year to celebrate the official start to the salmon season.

The Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-400 Combi (reg N762AS) arrives to SEA

The Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-400 Combi (reg N762AS) arrives to SEA

Why are these salmon different? Well, they like to travel — about 300 miles from the ocean to their spawning grounds and that type of journey requires lots of energy (aka fat). That fat gives the fish its special flavor for which many people are willing to pay a premium.

Continue reading Sixth-Annual Copper River Salmon Hootenanny with Alaska Airlines

In-Flight WiFi: So Complicated. Very Satellites. Much Dollars. Wow.

WiFi is becoming common, but doesn't mean it isn't complex - Photo: Jason Rabinowitz

WiFi is becoming common, but doesn’t mean it isn’t complex – Photo: Jason Rabinowitz

A few weeks ago, Gizmodo ran an article claiming to rank and explain every major U.S. carrier’s WiFi system. At Routehappy, a big part of my job is to do exactly that. I need to know exactly what WiFi system is installed on every airline fleet and subfleet in the world, how it performs, what its limitations are, and how it ranks in the overall ecosystem. When I read through this article, I couldn’t help but notice it contained a few errors.

It’s a very complicated ecosystem, but not so complicated that it can’t be figured out. While the article does a great job of explaining how in-flight WiFi works and the technology behind it, I felt it was necessary to clear up which airlines currently offer what systems. Gizmodo’s 1-9 ranking is unchanged.

Below are excerpts from the original Gizmodo article, with my comments added under each.

Continue reading In-Flight WiFi: So Complicated. Very Satellites. Much Dollars. Wow.

I Love the Tupolev Tu-154

An Air Koryo Tu-154B-2 parked on the ramp at FNJ. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.

An Air Koryo Tu-154B-2 parked on the ramp at FNJ – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

I have a strange and obsessive love for the Tupolev Tu-154. How obsessive, you ask? Well, take a look at my model cabinet. That’s right. I own every possible Tu-154 model out there. I even have a few custom ones on order.

No one can say I don't love the Tu-154. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

No one can say I don’t love the Tu-154 – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

I seek out 154s to fly on; I have three lined up this year.

So, what makes this plane so awesome? Well, I was going to do an article last year about what it was like to fly on an 154M, but then Jacob flew on a better M on almost the same day. So we’ll have to wait for the 154Bs later this year (the older, rarer version of the 154).

Until then, let’s discuss the history of this aircraft.

Continue reading I Love the Tupolev Tu-154

Flight Review: Cathay Pacific Business Class Flying Across North America

Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER at JFK - Photo: David Montiverdi | Flickr CC

Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER at JFK – Photo: David Montiverdi | Flickr CC

Recently, I needed to get from New York (JFK) to Vancouver (YVR) and, surprisingly, it was not easy to find a flight that didn’t include a crazy set of layovers and several hours of travel time. I was not expecting to find a non-stop Cathay Pacific 777-300ER option — done!

- Photo: Katka Lapelosová

Preparing for the flight out of New York in Cathay business class – Photo: Katka Lapelosová

The flight is special, since it is a transcontinental, but is operated as an international flight, since the stop in Vancouver is part of a longer hop to Hong Kong. Because of this, the flight lands in YVR at 1am, which means you should do some planning on getting to your final destination, since options will be limited.

It’s not a long flight – only about five-and-a-half hours – but it doesn’t mean one can’t enjoy the premium experience.

Continue reading Flight Review: Cathay Pacific Business Class Flying Across North America

Kenmore Air Makes a Splash with the Wild Orca Seaplane

The Wild Orca seaplane in all its glory. Fun fact: though the DHC-3 is nearly 2x as long as an adult male orca, a fully grown orca will weigh nearly twice as much as this plane. Photo: Lee Zerrilla

The Wild Orca seaplane in all its glory. Fun fact: though the DHC-3 is nearly 2x as long as an adult male orca, a fully-grown orca will weigh nearly twice as much as this plane – Photo: Lee Zerrilla | AirlineReporter

At a sun-filled event, Kenmore Air unveiled the Wild Orca seaplane, a 1954 de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Turbo Otter that’s been dressed up in the familiar markings of Orcinus Orca.

Inside and out, this plane has been made over with all-things Orca, from the sleek, stunning paint job to the custom embroidery on the cabin bulkhead.  The whale paint job isn’t just for fun, however, and as it traverses the skies of the Pacific Northwest, hundreds or thousands of feet above the water, its goal is to bring attention to our friends below the surface.

The tale of the tail begins with longtime Kenmore Air pilots Anna Gullickson and Michael Hays.  In 2014, the pair founded Wild Orca, a Washington State-based non-profit aimed at raising public awareness and funds for these majestic mammals and the organizations that support them.  Listening to either of them speak, it becomes apparent that their bird’s-eye perspective gives them a personal connection to the Northwest’s Orca population.

Continue reading Kenmore Air Makes a Splash with the Wild Orca Seaplane