Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 258,704
2013: 330,818

LIVE BLOG: The World’s Longest Flight (SIN-EWR)

Heading out soon.

Heading out soon.

It is almost that time to board a Singapore Airlines Airbus A340-500 and be a part of the world’s longest flight. Okay, well I still have a few hours left. Before then, I will be checking out of my hotel, getting a short tour of the airport, probably relax in the lounge for a minute or two and then find my seat for the next 18 hours or so. I will be departing on SQ 22, which leaves about 10:55am local time [which is 7:55pm 10/13 in Seattle or 2:55am 10/30 GMT].

You can follow along the flight on FlightAware and hopefully on this blog. Here is the catch though; due to the flight plan there is a good chance that I won’t be able to access the internet the whole time and when I do, it could be slow. Have no fear though, if I cannot connect up, I will write the story as a live blog on my local laptop and be sure to update when I have a chance. Worst case, that means after I get settled into my hotel after arriving at Newark (aka worst case scenario).

Since I will be crossing about half the existing time zones (and the international date line), I plan to update based on time spent on the aircraft. Once I enter the cabin, I will start a timer and update the post based on the elapsed time. I am hoping to stay awake the whole time, but know that I might need a little nap. Also realize that on a flight this long, there might not be too much happening between, “oh starting this movie,” and “done with the movie,” so my silence might not mean I cannot connect to the internet, but because I am doing something boring. Well, nothing is boring while on this flight, but I don’t want to give away plot lines of a movie.

With live blogging and possibly having a Singapore Sling or two, I realize that the grammar might not be 100%. No worries, it will all be worked out as the flight progresses or afterwards, so try to have a little more flexibility for the short-term and we shall do just fine. Well, I think that just about lays the ground work for how this shin-dig will work out. Hopefully you will be hearing from me soon and if not, know that I am enjoying the flight and looking forward to sharing soon.

Continue reading LIVE BLOG: The World’s Longest Flight (SIN-EWR)

Air New Zealand Gets Hip with Betty White Safety Video

Due to the rapid popularity this new safety video from Air New Zealand, our guess that many of you have already seen it. But we wanted to make sure that if you haven’t, you get the opportunity and if you have — well heck, it is worth another gander.

Doing safety videos like this are cleaver for two main reasons. The first is it makes frequent fliers stop, watch and be reminded of what to do in case of an emergency. Secondly, they surely get Air New Zealand some nice publicity for coming up with some creative material.

Continue reading Air New Zealand Gets Hip with Betty White Safety Video

Photos: Delta Begins Receiving Boeing 717s

Say hello a freshly painted Delta 717! Photo Courtesy of Delta Air Lines

Say hello a freshly-painted Delta Boeing 717! Photos: Delta Air Lines

Two months ago a number of folks broke news that the much-anticipated Delta Air Lines Boeing 717-200 had finally started showing up in reservation systems. For aviation enthusiasts, it’s an exciting time when an airline brings on a new aircraft type, especially one like the 717. The 717 holds a special place in many hearts for a number of reasons, chiefly because it’s an ultra-modern descendant of the Douglas DC-9s and MD-80s which have a cult following with pilots and AvGeeks alike.

In 2011, Southwest Airlines acquired AirTran, a 717 launch partner who also happened to fly the largest fleet of 717s in the world. Aviation enthusiasts questioned whether Southwest would go against their all-Boeing 737 business model that had served them so well over the decades. Much to the surprise of many aviation industry analysts and insiders, Southwest announced they would indeed incorporate the 717 into their fleet.  However, those plans never came to fruition. In 2012, Southwest and Delta announced a sweetheart deal which would allow Delta to take possession of the former AirTran birds, allowing them to retire a number of older DC/MD variants and giving Southwest the ability to maintain fleet uniformity.

After digging around on Delta.com, I confirmed the first scheduled 717 flight was supposed to be 2343 on 9/19 from ATL to EWR. I had already booked a mini-vacation to the NYC area for that weekend, so the timing simply could not have been better. I almost canceled my outbound leg and booked this flight instead…almost. Understanding that new equipment is often subject to last minute changes,  I decided a call to Delta was in order.

Continue reading Photos: Delta Begins Receiving Boeing 717s

An Inside Look at Vancouver Air Traffic Control

Vancouver's Unique Tower dominates the airport skyline - Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com

Vancouver’s unique tower dominates the airport skyline – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com

If you are a big AvGeek, then the chances are you have listed in on air traffic control (ATC) somehow.  Be it onboard a United flight using their famous Channel 9, listening online using LiveATC, or through a scanner while plane spotting, it’s a familiar sound.  But have you ever wondered what life is like from the other side of the microphone?  Wouldn’t it be great to see what an airport looks like from the top of the tower, or what it is like to work inside an area control center?  Recently Nav Canada gave me that exact opportunity at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and I wanted to share.

Nav Canada, a not-for-profit private company, controls the airspace above Canada similar to the FAA in the United States.  Vancouver Tower stands tall above the airport at around 140m tall (460ft) and has 360-degree views of the entire area.  Although the day I visited the tower did not have the best weather (the cloud deck was really low, unfortunately) the view of the airport was still impressive.  On a clear day, you can see all the way to the mountains north of the city (towards Grouse) or down to Victoria in the south. But I was more there for the view inside than the clouds and mountains outside.

Continue reading An Inside Look at Vancouver Air Traffic Control

Live Blogging the World’s Longest Flight on a Singapore A340-500

Time to burn some miles on a Singapore Airlines A340-500 - Image: Bob Connolly

Time to burn some miles on a Singapore Airlines A340-500 – Image: Bob Connolly

While I like to think I haven’t totally become an old man, most of the time my weekends these days involve chores and relaxing.  But this week, when I get the usual “What are you doing this weekend?” question, I get interesting replies when I tell them I am about to fly about 50 hours and over 21,000 miles.

I am honored to have the opportunity to fly on the world’s two longest flights, which are both operated by Singapore Airlines and use the Airbus A340-500. After I take my less exciting flight from Seattle to LAX, I will board the world’s second-longest flight from LAX to Singapore (SIN). This flight (SQ 37) can be just over 18hrs and is 8,770 miles long.

I will be hanging out in Singapore for just about a day before boarding the Airbus A340-500 again to take the world’s longest flight, which is from SIN to Newark (EWR). It is about 9,500 miles and can be about 19 hours. For an average person this might not sound too exciting, but for me, I think this is going to be a great weekend and I want to share it in a unique way. Continue reading Live Blogging the World’s Longest Flight on a Singapore A340-500