My first Alaska Air E175 pulls up to SLC

It has been a few years since I first flew on an Embraer E-Jet. That was on Air Canada, from Seattle to Toronto and I was sitting up front. The very long (for a smaller aircraft) flight was a breeze, but being in first class surely helped.

Since then, I have not had the opportunity to fly on another one. When I saw that Alaska Airlines was adding them to their fleet (via SkyWest and Horizon), I was excited. I figured it would only be a matter of time before I would get the chance to fly one, and when I recently took a trip down to Salt Lake City (SLC), I got my opportunity.

On my flight down, I flew on an Alaska 737-800 — been there, done that. But when I looked at my flight options back home, I saw that there was the option to fly on the E175. Yes… that please.

Spotting from the hotel at ATL.

Spotting from the hotel at ATL.

Being an AvGeek since I could walk, and currently a private pilot, I have always wondered if I could fly a real airliner.  I always felt confident that I could, but that little part of me wondered if there truly was anything special I lacked; could I safely land one if I had to? I’m sure many of you have thought about needing to take the controls of an airliner to save the day and I wanted to put my skills to the test. Of course, not in a way that would actually put people in harm’s way.

I recently decided to make the journey from Boston (BOS) to Atlanta (ATL), where I thought I could test out my skills. The quick flight of two-and-a-half hours (depending on winds and approach) from BOS into ATL passed very quickly. My son and I arrived in Atlanta just as dusk approached. Our first stop was checking into the Renaissance Hotel. We booked the “Aviator’s Package” — yes, an AvGeek’s dream hotel. They handed us a cool bag with a bunch of airplane goodies as well as passes to the Delta Flight Museum. They then directed us to our room on the 10th floor corner, which overlooked the approach end of 26R and the Delta maintenance parking area.

A Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-200 – Photo: Aero Icarus | FlickrCC

Eating dinner, courtesy of room service, out on the balcony listening to the hum of jet engines, jumping up to snap pictures of the next beautiful airplane either landing or departing, and just overall enjoying the ATL evening activity, dusk turned into night and the bustle continued. The tower was lit in a really cool blue/green color and the sea of airplane navigation lights was like staring into the night sky looking at stars.

Our seat on the ride of a lifetime – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

Groundbreaking. Iconic. Gigantic. Gorgeous. There’s a lot of words you could use to describe the 747-400, but as of 2017 there’s a new word that gets added to the list: disappearing. Most airlines are rushing to retire the aging beauty. A few airlines, like British Airways, plan to keep the Queen of the Skies around for a while longer. But in general, if you want to make sure you get one more flight on the aircraft that — for many of us — is the ultimate AvGeek icon, you should make it happen soon.

A ride on a 747 is special, no matter where you’re sitting. However, it’s extra awesome if you’re in the first few rows of the main deck, which give you a one-of-a-kind partially forward facing view. You can actually see the runway ahead of you as you take off and land! We made sure to include a ride on a United 747 in seat 1A as part of a recent around-the-world Star Alliance tour, and from an AvGeek perspective, it was the flight of a lifetime. We took plenty of photos and videos for your viewing pleasure — read on to re-live the magic with us.

A view that should be on every AvGeek’s bucket list – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

A bunch of awesome dorks watching airplanes land at LAX

One of the best parts of this gig, is being able to hang out with like-minded people. Those who can go on and on about airplanes and airliners and no one rolls their eyes and everyone smiles. The group that cuts a conversation half way through to watch a plane land and no one minds. If this sounds familiar, you probably should come to Dorkfest and hang out in September.

See that park below? And the IN-N-OUT? That could be you. Well, you wouldn’t be the park and restaurant, but you could be there, which is even cooler! Photo – Bernie Leighton

Brett Snyder, the guy behind Cranky Flier, has put together this event/non-event for quite a few years now. It is quite simple. 1) Show up at the IN-N-OUT by LAX anytime between 11a-1p on September 23rd. 2) Watch airplanes. Talk airplanes. Eat food at food place. No tickets, no reservations, no scheduled activities — simple. Plus, if you want to go super legit, you can also participate in the 4th Annual PHXSpotters- NYCAviation Spotters Event at LAX.

No matter what, it is going to be a grand time. A few of us from AR will be there (including myself), so hope to see you there!