Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 93,970
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,015,570





Going Above & Beyond: Taking a Flight to Nowhere to Check out Alaska Airlines’ Passenger Product

It's not every day that you see any sort of 737 in the Museum of Flight parking lot. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

It’s not every day that you see any sort of 737 in the Museum of Flight parking lot – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Over the past few years, Alaska Airlines has been making gradual enhancements to its overall product. New seats from Recaro, in-seat power, Wi-Fi from Gogo, Starbucks coffee, and tablet-based in-flight entertainment (IFE). These improvements have all come together to create a product Alaska is calling Alaska Beyond. The most noticeable addition to their product is improving upon their dining options.

To complete the Alaska Beyond project (the last few aircraft will be reconfigured by the end of April), Alaska decided to have a party. Now, that’d be great on its own, but they made it even more impressive by taking a 737-990ER (N462AS, if you wondered) out of service for a day, and gave a two-hour demonstration of the product in flight. Who was to attend? Well, media, stakeholders in the Alaska Beyond product (including Tom Douglas, three-time James Beard award-winning chef), and Alaska’s 0.01% top-tier frequent flyers.

Woodinville Winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle has formed a new partnership with Alaska Airlines. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Seattle-area winery Chateau Ste. Michelle has formed a new partnership with Alaska Airlines – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Inside the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field, Alaska got the party started with wine from their newest partner, Chateau Ste. Michelle, along with Beecher’s cheese.

After enjoying the ground party, we were ready to head into the sky. We began to head back to the parking lot (yes, the parking lot) to embark on our flight.

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Opinion: A Passenger Terminal at Paine Field? Finally!

While KPAE will have Boeing heavies gracing its skies, it is about to get smaller, scheduled, visitors.  Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

While KPAE will have Boeing heavies still, it is about to get smaller, scheduled visitors – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Snohomish County was going to get a passenger terminal one way or another. American development corporation Propeller Airports has been granted a long-term land lease, to the tune of an eventual $25 million, to construct a two-gate terminal at Paine Field (KPAE). This is the airport, as most of you probably know, where Boeing builds the 747, 767, 777, and most 787s.

The airport will be operated as a public-private partnership between Propeller Airports and Snohomish County. Paine Field currently operates with a total of 305 daily movements (very few of them are actually Boeing’s). The airport has been described as operating at a mere 45% capacity. This terminal will likely kick that up an additional 5%, better translated as an additional sixteen aircraft movements.

No matter how close to residential areas the airport is, the public good and possible economic development for Snohomish County outweigh the complaints of ever-quieter airliners landing at Paine field.

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The “Battle in Seattle” Now Involves Delta, Alaska, Football, & Planes

A Delta Aircraft getting ready to be boarded by Seattle Seahawks as they head to Phoenix for the Superbowl - Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com

A Delta plane getting boarded by the Seahawks as they head to Phoenix for the Super Bowl

Sunday morning in Seattle, people should be drinking their morning coffee, reading a paper (or this site, obviously) or going for a morning run. But when the Seahawks are headed for the Super Bowl, the city takes on a different vibe. Streets are lined with people along the drive from the team’s offices and training facility at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center (VMAC) in Renton, to SeaTac for their journey to Phoenix.

The airport was surrounded by fans, family, and friends of airport staff who were plane-side to wave farewell. But their departure leads to a bigger, more important, question for AvGeeks: who, and what, were they flying?

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Flying High at Ground Level – Checking out Alaska Airlines’ New Flight Simulator

The HUD on Alaska Airline's newest flight simulator

The HUD on Alaska Airlines’ newest flight simulator. Notice Mount Rainier off in the distance on the left.

When Alaska Airlines recently reached out to me, asking if I would like some time in their brand-spanking-new Boeing 737-800 flight simulator, I didn’t know if I should reply with just “yes,” or “hell yes.” (I actually think I went for the latter).

The simulator was so new that it hasn’t been added to Alaska’s training schedule (that will start next week). That was a huge benefit, because it allowed me to experience the simulator for over an hour. I have had the opportunity to be in six other simulators, but typically they are in high demand, so the max time in one is about 15-20 minutes. I was excited to give this one a full-on ride.

Taxiing at Seattle Tacoma International Airport. The attention to detail was amazing.

Taxiing at Seattle Tacoma International Airport. The attention to detail was amazing.

Captain Burton, our instructor Dave, PR guru Halley and I had a great time (I felt special that I was given the Captain’s seat). We flew by downtown Seattle, made a difficult approach into Juneau, completed a foggy aborted landing, and more. The only thing Captain Burton wouldn’t let us do is a barrel roll — that’s okay, but I had to ask.

To learn more and follow along with my simulator adventure, check out the full story (with more photos and video) on Alaska Airlines’ new blog. When you are done there, you can also check out more photos of the simulator and Alaska’s flight operations center on our Flickr.

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2014 World Airline Award Winners

Emirates Airline Boeing 777-200LR with GE-90 engines. Photo by Brandon Farris.

The 2013 World Airline Award winner was Emirates; who will it be this year? Photo: Brandon Farris

The 2014 World Airline Awards were held recently, in conjunction with the Farnborough Air Show, and the winners have been announced.  In a star-studded event held at the old Royal Aircraft Establishment’s Wind Tunnels, the winners were announced by Skytrax, who manages the awards. Some of the winners this year came as a bit of a surprise.

The World Airline Awards are an independent and totally non-biased process, with nearly 19 million people voting online (between August 2013 to May 2014) to decide who has the best services, cabins, cabin crews, and even lounges.  This is not just for your big name full-service airlines; even Low Cost Carriers have their own categories!  More than 105 different nationalities participated in this year’s survey and helped to define who was going to be named “World’s Best Airline”.

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