A fine tribute to C-3PO – Image: ANA

It’s about time that Anakin’s robotic masterwork got some love.

ANA has done a series of fantastic special liveries for their partnership with Disney to promote the Star Wars franchise. Starting with the R2-D2 themed 787-9 that rolled out factory fresh, they moved on to a BB-8 themed 777-381/ER, and finally a combination of Astromech droids emblazoned on a 2002-vintage 767-381/ER.

The first flight of this scheme emblazoned aboard JA743A will be from Haneda to Kagoshima on March 21. From there it will work its way around the Japanese sky. Remember, at ANA the 777-200 is a purely domestic bird.

The final RAM 787 sits at the Everett Delivery Center - Photo: Jason Rabinowitz

The final RAM 787 sits at the Everett Delivery Center – Photo: Jason Rabinowitz

Years before the first iPhone went on sale, before Facebook knew everything about everyone, and even before this very blog, Royal Air Maroc placed an order for four Boeing 787 Dreamliners, with an option for an one more. The year was 2005, and the recently revealed 787 was picking up orders left and right.

Two RAM 787s seen at Paine Field in Oct 2010 with no plans to be delivered any time soon.

Two RAM 787s seen at Paine Field in Oct 2010 with no plans to be delivered any time soon

I won’t get into a history lesson about the 787 program delays since you can find that elsewhere, but let’s just say that RAM didn’t receive its first 787 from Boeing in late 2008 as originally planned. It wasn’t until 2014 that RAM would see its first 787, a full nine years after originally placing the order. Finally in late 2016, over a decade after the initial order was placed, Boeing completed delivery of all five of its 787s.

Will you be smiling that much when you fly Basic Economy? — Photo: United Airlines

Even though the vast majority of my flying is in economy, it’s sometimes hard for me to know exactly what economy class is anymore. In the good old days, it reliably meant a seat with enough legroom, a drink, a snack, and my fair share of space in the cargo hold. But under pressure from ultra-low-cost carriers, U.S. legacy airlines have chipped away at what they offer travelers seated aft of the wing.

That trend took a major jump forward — or, depending on your perspective, backwards — with the introduction of new no-frills “Basic Economy” fares that do the bare minimum to get you from Point A to Point B. Delta announced the rollout of its Basic Economy in select markets in late 2014, and has expanded it to other routes since then. United unveiled its own basic product late last year. Earlier this week, American shared that its own Basic Economy fares will be going on sale in February, starting with ten markets.

Is this new category of barebones fares good news for price-sensitive flyers? Or is it a new circle of hell in the sky? Read on for more on Basic Economy and what it means for you.


This is an Mi-26T; MChS Belarus uses it for firefighting – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Yup, that’s a flying barn. That’s what some pilots refer to it as in Russian. “сарай”.

It may have long, flat sides. It may even have a cargo door in the rear large enough to drive a tractor into. Let’s not forget that this is a helicopter. Not just any helicopter, either.

Those are not small trees in the background. It is hard to illustrate how large this thing is. – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

This is the Mil Mi-26. Specifically an Mi-26T. This one is based at Lipki Airfield on the east side of Minsk, home of a detachment of pilots and other staff who work for the Ministry for Emergency Situations of the Republic of Belarus.