Author (L) Ed Sleeper (R) on the author's solo flight on his 16th birthday - Photo: Linwood Lothrop

Author (L) and Ed Sleeper (R) on the author’s solo flight on his 16th birthday – Photo: Linwood Lothrop

Veterans Day in the United States is a time where we as a country pause to remember those who have served in the armed forces. There are many of us in the aviation enthusiast community who got into the hobby because of their service in, or interaction with, the military. I’d like to share with you the story of a remarkable man who was an accomplished military and civilian aviator; United States Air Force Colonel Edward B. Sleeper (Ret.).

I’ll spare you the long story about how I came to meet Ed and be involved in his exploits, and just tell you a bit about him. I’ll throw in a few of the exploits as a bonus. He would’ve wanted it that way.

A Douglas WB-66D Destroyer on display -Photo: Alan Wilson | FlickrCC

A Douglas WB-66D Destroyer on display – Photo: Alan Wilson | FlickrCC

Ed entered Air Force aviation cadet training in 1956, graduating as a navigator. He saw service in this role in the B-66 and B-52. He eventually entered pilot training in 1964, and was assigned to the C-130. He flew several combat missions in Vietnam. Later assignments placed him around the world in numerous positions and during all of this, he helped raise a family and completed a masters degree.

A Spirit Airlines Airbus A319 is in the background with Lufthansa Orchestra playing

A Spirit Airlines Airbus A319 is in the background with the Lufthansa Orchestra playing

I have had the pleasure of checking out Lufthansa Technik (aka MRO – maintenance services) in both Frankfurt and more recently in Hamburg. I was curious about why they were starting operations in at Rafael Hernández Airport (BQN) in Puerto Rico, which is about two hours west of San Juan.

Puerto Rico is known for it welcoming beaches, but they are hoping to grow in aerospace

Puerto Rico is known for it welcoming beaches, but they are hoping to grow in aerospace

The schedule for celebration included a concert on the evening of Halloween and a less formal event the next day, with a visit from Puerto Rico’s Governor Alejandro García Padilla. The Lufthansa Orchestra was part of both days and they don’t just play for any ol’ event. In fact, this was the first time they have played outside of Europe.

Why was this so important? I wasn’t exactly sure before my trip, but after talking to quite a few people and seeing the facility myself, I was impressed with the positive impact the new operation would have on aviation in the region and even more so, the people of Puerto Rico.


Travelport has rounded off an 18-month branding project by launching a new high-end B2B commercial entitled ‘We’re There’. The video portrays how Travelport is redefining travel commerce through innovative technology solutions, while conveying how every single second, everywhere in the world where travel is searched, shared, bought or sold, Travelport is there. The film ends by revealing that every journey, itinerary and location shot in the ad, and those undertaken by the crew that made it, were searched, booked and paid for on Travelport’s Travel Commerce Platform.

Established in 1971, Travelport now has  400+ of the world’s leading network airlines and low-cost carriers, 650,000+ unique hotel properties, 35,000 car rental companies, 12 major rail networks and 67,000+ travel agencies at their disposal whilst also providing distribution, technology, payment and other services for the $8 trillion global travel and tourism industry through 3 succinct strategies:

– Connect, share and promote
– Search, sell and pay
– Partner, build and innovate

Screenshot 2015-11-07 23.05.15

Gordon Nardini, Senior Director, Marketing at Travelport commented: “Our ‘We’re There’ commercial not only helps us explain the value that our platform brings to the travel industry, but also the very human side of our business, which is about helping people to get wherever they need to be all around the world, for a huge range of reasons. The film shows how we help the travel industry and the world’s travellers in so many different ways.”

Penni Hardy, Senior Manager, Global Brand, Travelport added: “Travelport believes passionately in getting the best brains together, and this commercial has been a creative collaboration between the brand teams in Langley and Atlanta, the team at Purple Creative and Connected Pictures. Everyone who has been involved has made their mark and we’re very proud of not only the final film, but also the way we have all worked together to make it happen.”

You can watch the commercial here, see their website or follow them on Twitter.

NOTE: This is a sponsored post written by Travelport and shared with our readers. 

LH 747-8I

My ride for the next 9 hours, a Lufthansa Boeing 747-8I – Photo: Colin Cook | AirlineReporter

I recently received an invitation to join some friends that were headed to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. Given that I consider myself a bit of a beer drinker, I knew I had to join them. I wanted to challenge myself to make the trip as economical as possible, while still traveling in style. I had some points burning a hole in my pocket, and there are often good, premium award options available through some travel partners.

I knew I would have enough points to get me home in business class (because after an eventful Oktoberfest, who would want to fly in coach?), so I needed to find an option to get me to Europe. I ended up booking a direct flight from Seattle to Frankfurt on Condor for a very reasonable $445. The crew on this flight was very friendly and the overall experience was good; just be prepared for a small 30-inch seat pitch on a long-haul flight.

Flying upstairs on a 747 has always been a bucket list item for me – and I was finally able to accomplish it! In my search for award travel, I was able to transfer my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines MileagePlus. From there, I booked the flight I wanted: Business Class on a Lufthansa 747-8I. I knew Oktoberfest would be the trip of a lifetime, but I was honestly even more excited at flying upstairs on the ride home.

As I arrived at the Munich airport for my short hop to Frankfurt, I noticed that my flight had been canceled. When I checked with the Lufthansa staff, I found out they had re-booked me on a direct flight from Munich to Chicago.

Now this just wouldn’t do, as that was on an Airbus A340. Most travelers would be happy being on the direct flight, but I asked them to re-book me on another flight so I could still fly on the 747-8I. After some confused looks, I was back in business (pun intended) and booked on the 747.