United will hopefully be going a new direction - Photo: United Airlines

United will hopefully be going a new direction – Photo: United Airlines

United Airlines’ CEO Jeff Smisek is no longer the CEO. Nor is he even on the board, which he used to chair. It’s a rarity for an airline CEO to make such a grand exit without telegraphing the move to not only the board of directors and shareholders, but even senior management.

There is usually one reason for this. The biggest fear any businessman can face: a federal investigation.

Runners at the CLT Runway 5K Run/Walk. Photo: Rob McKenzie for city of Charlotte.

Runners at the CLT Runway 5K Run/Walk – Photo: Rob McKenzie | City of Charlotte

The vast majority of any given airport’s footprint is dedicated to a region which fills the dreams of many aviation enthusiasts. The appeal of this magical venue (which goes by many names) enchants fans across the full spectrum of “AvGeek.” It’s a stage for incredible photography. It’s where airplanes sleep, where a lucky few get to work, and the general public is almost universally prohibited.

Runners cross the threshold of IAD's 19L. Photo: J. David Buerke for Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

Runners cross the threshold of IAD’s 19L – Photo: J. David Buerke | Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

The Aircraft Operations Area (AOA) is sterile and secured, yet something the flying public sees every day. Despite being ubiquitous, few get the chance to experience it first-hand. You can look, but don’t touch. Thankfully, there are exceptions to every rule and we’ve got a list of upcoming events.

Occasionally, airport operators open their gates to the masses, in support of community-engagement events. These rare occasions are an excellent opportunity to connect with aviation officials and fellow enthusiasts. More importantly, they are an excuse for plane lovers to geek out like a preteen on their first visit to Disney World. Grab your telephoto lens and lace up your running shoes, because we’re going for a runway run!

flightright

Waiting for a flight – Photo: flightright

Europe is a fascinating and diverse destination to fly to. Whether you’re touring the European Union (EU) for pleasure, or visiting on business, each country has distinct cultures, languages, and ways of life. Even though so many things are varied across the EU member states, there is one consistent thing that air travelers to any part of Europe should know about, and that’s your legal rights if your flight is delayed or canceled.

European Flight Delay Compensation Regulations

There is a section of pan-EU law that deals with passenger rights when airlines mess up. The law is there to ensure that if you cannot board your booked flight because of an airline error, such as overbooking, then you will either be safely transferred to your destination by an equivalent acceptable flight, or receive a full refund. This also applies to flights you’re booked on which are cancelled with less than 14 days notice.

The same goes for delayed flights: if a significant delay means you miss a connection or have other inconveniences, then acceptable alternative travel arrangements must be provided or a full refund given. In both cases, if you are connecting in the middle of a journey, then you mustn’t be left stranded at a foreign airport, and if you choose a refund you should also be given a flight back to where your journey began.

All of this is to ensure that air passengers aren’t left in limbo or have their travel plans destroyed because of airline error, but what’s not so widely known is that even after your journey has been successfully competed at the airline’s expense, you may be able to claim extra compensation for the inconvenience and stress that’s been caused.

Entering the ANA 777-300ER Inspiration of Japan first class cabin - Photo: David Delagarza | Airline Reporter

Entering the ANA 777-300ER Inspiration of Japan first class cabin – Photo: David Delagarza | AirlineReporter

Airline: All Nippon Airways (NH)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Departed: Houston Intercontinental (IAH)
Arrived: Tokyo Narita (NRT)
Class: First Class
Seats: 1D & 1G
Length: About 14 hours

It seemed to happen every day for two weeks –  I’d glance out my office window in Denver at about noon, just in time to see the contrail of a high-altitude wide-body fly by.  Being the diligent AvGeek I am, I would check out my flight tracker phone app to find out what I just saw.  The answer was the same every time: ANA Flight 173 – from Houston to Tokyo.  It felt like I was being teased — I had first class tickets booked on that very flight for our upcoming trip.  Seeing that plane in the sky, day after day, was just rubbing it in — today’s not the day.  But that day would soon come.

An ANA Inspiration of Japan Boeing 777-300ER - Photo: Aero Icarus | FlickrCC

An ANA Inspiration of Japan Boeing 777-300ER – Photo: Aero Icarus | FlickrCC

Flying this route was actually somewhat of a last-minute change to our itinerary, in which Bangkok was our final destination.  We had initially been booked trans-Pacific on United’s Global First service from Chicago to Beijing; however, a very short layover in Beijing combined with United’s poor on-time performance on the 747-400 was making me nervous. I had been keeping an eye on alternate routing when I found first class award availability on ANA and Thai Airways via Houston and Tokyo about three weeks prior to the trip.  Yes, please!  The Houston-to-Tokyo route is a new addition to ANA’s North American offerings, having just kicked off service in June.