Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 201,532
2013: 330,818

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Ramp Operations – What’s Going on Out There?

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 in the midst of a turnaround at YVR.

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 in the midst of a turnaround at YVR. You can see the yellow air conditioning hoses under the bridge.

Your flight has landed, and the plane is pulling up to the gate. You’re ready to spring into action as soon as you hear the “we’re stopped” chime.  But instead of jumping up and waiting in the aisle, why don’t you relax in your window seat, and look outside?  You do have a window seat, don’t you? There’s quite the dance of people and equipment happening, all to service the plane and get it ready for its next flight.

The turnaround actually begins long before the plane lands. Equipment is pre-positioned at the gate, supplies and catering are prepared, and ramp and terminal staff get ready for the arrival.  As the flight turns onto the taxiway after landing, the crew gets their gate assignment from ground control, or in the case of a major airport, ramp control. The plane’s Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) will have been started to provide an electrical and pneumatic supply after the engines are shut down. The APU is a small jet engine, generally located in the tail cone.  One of the first airliners with an APU was the tri-jet Boeing 727, and its APU was located in the wing root.

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Bahamas-Bound: Touring the New Nassau Airport (Part 2)

Check-in area of the new international terminal at NAS - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter.com

Check-in area of the new international terminal at NAS – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter.com

This is the second installment in my visit to The Bahamas.  For Part 1, covering my inbound travel “experience” and amazing first-night welcome, click here.

Our first scheduled event for the day, and main reason for my visit, was a tour of the brand-new Lynden Pindling International Airport International Terminal.  No, this isn’t the terminal you’ll use for U.S.-bound flights; those operate out of their own (although also very new) terminal, which has a CBP Pre-Clearance facility.  Rather, the new terminal supports all non-U.S. international flights, primarily to Canada and the U.K., and also flights to the “Family Islands” of The Bahamas.

Continue reading Bahamas-Bound: Touring the New Nassau Airport (Part 2)

Touring Denver International Airport: Preparing for the Future

South Terminal Construction at Denver International Airport - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter.com

South Terminal construction at Denver International Airport – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter.com

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with staff at “my” airport, Denver International Airport (known amongst flyers as DEN, but locally as “DIA”).  DIA is the 5th-busiest airport in the US, and 13th-busiest in the world.  During the few hours I spent with them, I got an up close and personal view of the massive expansion project in progress; the largest construction project at the airport since DIA was originally built 20+ years ago.

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Not Your Grandpa’s LaGuardia Airport: Delta Improves the Passenger Experience

Building A Better Airline For New York

Delta Air Lines is “Building A Better Airline For New York.”

While attending school in Michigan from 2008 to 2012, I flew home to New York City on Delta Air Lines quite often. The schedule from Detroit Metro (DTW) to John F. Kennedy (JFK) was quite lite, with only a small handful of flights per day, while most flights went to LaGuardia (LGA). I did everything within my power to avoid flying into LGA. Even if it meant paying slightly more, I did not want anything to do with LGA.

Deltas terminal at LGA was cramped, overcrowded, and lacked any food options of a higher quality than Burger King. LGA was a downright unpleasant experience. Flash forward to 2012 and Delta began their “Win New York” program, involving expanded flight schedules and spending massive amounts of money to revamp the passenger experience.

In the summer of 2012, Delta purchased a majority of US Airways landing slots at LGA, becoming the dominant carrier at the airport and expanding into terminal C. While construction in terminal C is still on-going and not expected to be complete for quite some time, the transformation of terminal D is astounding. I was invited by Delta recently to check out the new improvements.

For the time being, the check in and security areas remain unchanged. Once you move beyond the entry way, however, changes are immediately visible. The first thing passengers will see after moving through security is a brand new food court and shopping area. I am happy to report that Burger King is gone, replaced by Taste of Custom Burgers by Pat La Frieda.

Feel like having a glass of wine and a full service meal? Take a seat at Taste of Prime Tavern. Maybe you just want a cup of coffee, or a bag of chips? It’s all available in the new food court. These restaurants are referred to as a “taste of” because once the check in area is expanded, these restaurants will be expanding as well.

Taste Of Prime Tavern at LGA Terminal D

Taste Of Prime Tavern at LGA Terminal D

Flyers of competing New York airline jetBlue may find this food court familiar, and they should. The company behind the redevelopment of terminal D at LGA is OTG, the same company that operates the food shops at JFK terminal 5. Many design elements of the food court are similar to that at JFK.

Adjacent to the food court are a few small shops, but they aren’t your typical magazine and soda shops. One store features high end products from Brooklyn Industries, a bit different that the usual “I <3 NY” shirts you typically find.

Beyond the food court, terminal D has had every detail upgraded. Expanding on a pilot program at JFK, Delta and OTG has placed iPads everywhere. Nearly every seat and table has an iPad propped up, waiting for passengers to interact.

When first touched, the iPad prompts the passenger to select their flight, so that any status updates about their can be sent to them. After that, highly visual menus appear, inviting the passenger to order up some food, or even purchase some souvenirs before their flight. After paying with the attached credit card reader, orders are delivered to the passenger’s seat in about 10 minutes.

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Keep an eye on your flight status while at the sushi bar

I came across a passenger using an iPad while waiting for her flight, and asked her what she was using it for. She explained that she was actually accessing her bank account, and that she much preferred using the iPads rather than her own phone. Access to the internet is free with the iPads, but wifi for personal devices is not, which may explain why some passengers would chose to use the iPad. Whatever the motivation for use, this amenity seems to be a hit.

iPads everywhere!

iPads everywhere!

The real highlight of the renovated terminal are the restaurant options. Marcelo Surerus, Manager of OTG at Delta’s Terminal D at LGA, showed off the wonderful restaurant options his team has worked to bring passengers.

I was able to taste generous portions of pizza, sushi, seafood, steak and fries, even chocolate and vanilla gelato for dessert. All of the food was seriously tasty and competition for some of the best restaurants in New York City.

Steak and fries at LGA terminal D. So good, I had to ask how it was prepared.

Steak and fries at LGA terminal D. So good, I had to ask how it was prepared.

After Delta took over terminal C from US Airways, they quickly built a connecting bridge to terminal D. Terminal C is not up to the same level as D quite yet; there is still quite a bit of work left to be done. Some restaurants are still under construction; however, the SkyClub is open for business. If you find yourself with enough time before your flight, it is worth the walk over to terminal D for a better food selection.

It is clear that Delta is taking its “Win New York” program seriously. The airline’s LGA terminals have seen a complete overhaul and expansion, while a brand new terminal is being built at JFK. After a short period of time, I no longer avoid LGA- I prefer it. The experience at JFK for Delta is currently far below that of LGA, a change I am sure most people did not see coming. Next time you find yourself at LGA with a few hours before your flight, try the steak- medium rare.

ADDITIONAL DELTA LAGUARDIA PHOTOS:

This story written by… Jason Rabinowitz, Correspondent.

Jason is a New York City native who has grown up in the shadow of JFK International Airport. A true “avgeek”, he enjoys plane spotting and photography, as well taking any opportunity he can get to fly on an aircraft.

@AirlineFyer | FaceBook |

Heathrow Luggage Tunnel: The complex world of baggage

Work in progress: The tunnel has been dug underneath the airfield of Terminal 5

Work in progress: The tunnel has been dug underneath the airfield of Terminal 5

As part of Heathrow’s £900m (roughly $1.5 billion) overhaul of their luggage system, The British Airports Authority (BAA) is building a massive underground tunnel to transport bags between two terminals. The tunnel will run for over a mile, evading subway lines and underground fuel tanks.

Currently luggage transfer between Terminals 3 and 5 can take over an hour – the new tunnel will save about 20 minutes.

You may remember Heathrow had major luggage problems last year with the opening of Terminal 5, but this very public upset did not prompt the tunnel plans, supposedly, nor will it entirely prevent lost luggage in the future. A BAA spokesperson said, “There are so many different reasons why bags can go missing…. Baggage is a very complex world.”

Construction is happening 24 hours a day, with the hope of opening the tunnel by the end of 2011.

I don’t know, but spending multi-million dollars to shave an hour-long baggage wait down to 40 minutes seems a bit wasteful to me, especially in these harsh economic times.  And people don’t even get to go down into the tunnel which seems like the coolest part!

                                                                                                                                 Source: The Guardian Image: MailOnline