Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 228,152
2013: 330,818

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The Eagle Rises from The Ashes; American Airlines Inaugural 777-300ER Flight PART2

American’s First Boeing 777-300ER, N718AN, seen at DFW Gate D-23, the day of departure flew the inaugural flight. It signifies the birth of a new airline.

This is a continuation of Chris Sloan’s (@Airchive) report on flying on the inaugural American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER to Sao Paulo. Be sure to also check out PART 1 of the series.

The day began with a contingent of press crawling around and photographing the cabin, more on that later. The 2 Boeing 777-300ERs were at Gate D-23 (our inaugural aircraft) and another unpainted at D-24 for an employee event and to be used as backup. For an inaugural, the gate events were remarkably low-key. Missing were the obligatory ribbon cutting, cake cutting, ice sculpture, and balloon canopy.

Business in the front and party in the back! Reactions to the new livery were mixed: The updated Eagle icon, “billboard” American typography, and silver mica paint were generally well received. The flag on the tail was critiqued as being gaudy and incongruous with the elegance of the fuselage. In person, it is much more appealing and grows on you.

Downplaying the event seemed intentional because in this transition period with so much “up in the air”, AA had to strike the right tone in not wanting to seem extravagant or over-the-top. With this being mostly a revenue flight with very few VIPs, many in the gate weren’t even aware of the significance of the moment.

We won’t be needing ETOPS today with most of our flight over land.

There was a small snack buffet including 777 commemorative cookies, some “New American” signage, and a few words from American CEO Tom Horton and Chief Commercial Officer Virasb Vahidi with a particular shout out to the onboard products design team led by Alice Lieu. With that, the boarding began of this entirely sold out flight.

Continue reading The Eagle Rises from The Ashes; American Airlines Inaugural 777-300ER Flight PART2

The Eagle Rises from The Ashes: American Airlines Inaugural 777-300ER Flight PART1

American’s First Boeing 777-300ER, N718AN, seen at DFW Gate D-23, the day of departure flew the inaugural flight. Much more than just a new aircraft joining the fleet, It signifies the re-birth of an iconic airline. Image from Chris Sloan / Airchive.com.

This is a multi-part story written by Chris Sloan (@Airchive) on the changes at American Airlines and the inaugural Boeing 777-300 flight to Sao Paulo.

On January 31, 2013 American Airlines launched their first Boeing 777-300 ER into service with attention that rivaled any airline’s launch of a new type in recent memory. On the face of it, even though American became the first operator of the 777-300 in the United States, this event would almost seem overkill if for that reason alone. After all, American began 777-200 flights back in 1999 and the first 777-300 was first delivered to an airline, Cathay Pacific back in May, 1998. The first 777-300ER entered service nearly 10 years ago with Air France. Boeing’s two stretch variants of their venerable cash cow, the 777, easily have become the type’s most popular versions with over 680 orders and deliveries between them out of the entire 777 program’s 1,380 orders and deliveries. (as of December, 2012). In an era of smaller airliners, American inaugurated the 777-300, the largest new airliner by a U.S. carrier since the last Boeing 747-400s entered service with U.S. airliners in the late 1990s.

This inaugural, flight 963, from Dallas/Ft. Worth to São Paulo, Brazil in the author’s view is one of the most significant in the airline industry in years because it is about something much bigger than just the launch of a new airliner, it’s about the re-birth of a proud American institution that happens to bear the name of our country – American Airlines.

American Airlines Electra at Port Columbus International Airport (CMH) in 1967. Image by Bob Garrard.

American Airlines Electra at Port Columbus International Airport (CMH) in 1967. Image by Bob Garrard.

American Airlines problems are well known. After becoming the world’s largest airline with its 2000 acquisition of TWA, the 2000s were not kind at all to the Silver Bird. TWA and American merged during an economic downturn and by most accounts, the merger was anything but an unqualified success.

American shed most of TWA’s assets, routes, staff, and many of its aircraft. On September 11th, 2 of American’s airliners, their crew, and passengers were forever lost in the atrocities of this horrible day. As if things couldn’t get any worse, the world’s airline industry hemorrhaged with the U.S. legacy carriers losing more money during this time then they had profited in their entire history. All of them declared Chapter 11, with the exception of American. Under the category of “no good deed goes unpunished”, this decision would come back to haunt American for years.

Continue reading The Eagle Rises from The Ashes: American Airlines Inaugural 777-300ER Flight PART1

Inside the Flagship Detroit American Airlines DC-3

The Flagship Detroit's American Airlines DC-3 at San Francisco.

The Flagship Detroit's American Airlines DC-3 (NC17334) at San Francisco.

During my last trip down to San Francisco (SFO) and their showing off of Terminal 2, I had the opportunity to check out the Flagship Detroit Foundation’s DC-3 (NC17334) with classic American Airlines livery.

The foundation is a nonprofit organization made up of 1500 members whose main goal is to keep the DC-3 travelling across the country promoting the history of aviation — what a great cause.

The aircraft was built in 1937 and was the 21st DC-3 that American Airlines received. American ended up operating 84 DC-3s until they went out of service in 1949. NC17334 is the oldest DC-3 still flying today.

The DC-3 was purchased by the Flagship Detroit Foundation in August 2004 and was restored. Today it is flown around the country to remind people of the history of flying. It is surely one of the most impressive DC-3s that I have seen that still flies.

Check out the other goodies:
* 12 of my photos of the DC-3 (check the sweet B757 seen through the cockpit)
* 73 photos of NC17334 on Airliners.net
* Video taken from the DC-3 over Niagara Falls
* Photos from the Flagship Detroit’s site

An Inside Look at American Airlines Admirals Club at San Francisco

The atmosphere inside the Admirals Club at SFO really feels like the city. I especially love the trees.

The atmosphere inside the Admirals Club at SFO really feels like the city. I especially love the trees.

American Airlines (AA) has many clubs around the world and it takes something special for one to stand out and the new Admirals Club at San Francisco International Airport’s (SFO) new Terminal 2 does just that.

When walking in, you can tell this club is different.  Straight in from the door is a sitting area with (fake) trees that feels like you are sitting at a cafe at some square in San Francisco. The colors, the furniture and even the fire place “captures the spirit and culture of the city,” Nancy Knipp, President of American’s Admirals Club explained to me while we sat under the trees. The club is designed to let passengers know that they are in San Francisco.

There is everything you would come to expect from a high-end lounge: luscious seating, free Wi-Fi, business center, bar, showers and free snacks. Having your flight delayed or being early is no big deal when you can hang out in this lounge.

The seating was very comfy and welcoming. No problem finding an outlet, they are everywhere.

The seating was very comfy and welcoming. No problem finding an outlet, they are everywhere.

The new club is a huge improvement from their old one at SFO – literally. The new club is about 95,000 sq feet and can now seat 165 people versus the 90 of the previous club.

If you do not have elite status with American Airlines, you can still get a day pass for the club for only $50. Not a bad deal if you have some time to burn in at the airport. The nice part of AA’s day pass is you have access to all their Admirals Clubs for the day, no matter their location. This is very handy if you have a stop or two during your trip.

SEE ALL SEVEN PHOTOS OF THE AA ADMIRALS CLUB AT SFO