Around the World

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

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My Challenge to Only Spend $100 for a Weekend in Kansas City

My travel map for the USA... Could I tick an extra state off that list?

My travel map for the USA… Could I tick an extra state off that list? – Image: TravBuddy.com

Each year I set some travel goals for myself; that way throughout all the craziness that may happen during the year, I have a guideline of the things I want to see or do. OshKosh was on my list, as well as my trip home to Australia back in April. I was able to complete those and needed some additional challenges.

I realized fairly late in the year, after returning from New Zealand, that I had left a goal off my list. Being new to living in the USA, I want to see more of this country that I now call home. I had set a goal to add at least one more state to my list of those visited (I was sitting at 42 and I decided that I wanted to make it to at least 43 by the new year).

My colleagues at Airline Reporter found out about this and thought they would have a bit of fun with it. I could check off a state, but I had to do it for less than $100 and make a whole weekend out of it. I accepted the challenge.

Continue reading My Challenge to Only Spend $100 for a Weekend in Kansas City

Delta Unveils a Special “Spirit of Seattle” Livery – Alaska Responds

Delta unveils special "Spirit of Seattle" livery on a Boeing 737 in Seattle. Image: Delta.

Delta unveils special “Spirit of Seattle” livery on a Boeing 737 (N809DN) in Seattle – Photo: Delta Air Lines

In October, we gave our $.02 on the Delta expansion in Seattle, home base of “partner” Alaska Airlines.  Delta had announced new service on a number of routes that Alaska was already serving.  In theory, this was to feed Delta’s growing international gateway from Seattle.  We opined that it was possible Delta and Alaska were going to start playing hardball.  A couple of days later, news broke that Delta pulled the plug on providing ground services at some Alaska remote stations.   Things haven’t gotten much better in the meantime.

This past week, Delta announced a further expansion in Seattle, launching flights to Vancouver (5x daily) and seasonal service to Fairbanks, Alaska (you can guess who also flies there).  Delta and Alaska are now competing on ten routes out of Seattle.

The Spirit of Seattle seen from the air. Image: Bernie Leighton

The Spirit of Seattle seen from the air – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

Last week, Delta unveiled their newest special aircraft, a Boeing 737-900ER named the Spirit of Seattle.  This is a big deal, because it is rare for Delta to do any sort of special livery. But it seems that Seattle is special enough.

“For 80 years, our customers, employees and partners in Seattle have embraced Delta, and our growth here would not be possible without them,” said Mike Medeiros, Delta’s vice president – Seattle. “The Spirit of Seattle aircraft will proudly bear its name as it travels around the country as a representation of Delta’s history in Seattle and a sign of our thanks and commitment to our future here.”  Delta also points out that they’ve spent $14 million enhancing their passenger facilities in Seattle.

Would Alaska respond? Oh yes…

Continue reading Delta Unveils a Special “Spirit of Seattle” Livery – Alaska Responds

Flying Over 21,000 Miles to Singapore in Four Days – Who Needs Sleep? Part 1

Boarding on Singapore Airlines' A340-500 at LAX.

Boarding Singapore Airlines’ A340-500 at LAX

THE START OF THE JOURNEY

Hot damn – over 21,000 miles in less than four days is quite the adventure, but I signed up for it with smile. To cover the world’s two longest flights, I recently traveled from Seattle (SEA) to Los Angeles (LAX) to Singapore (SIN) to Newark (EWR) and back home again to Seattle. Lots of miles, lots of time in the air, and lots of good fun.

I have already shared my live blog of the world’s longest flight, but I want to tell this story of what the whole epic process was like.

Although I was looking forward to a big high-end adventure, it all started with a bus ride to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, followed by an economy flight on Alaska Airlines to LAX. I felt that with each step towards Singapore I was going a bit more upscale.

Checking in at LAX.

Checking in at LAX – Photo: David Parker Brown | AirlineReporter.com

Getting down to LAX was easy and uneventful. I took an early flight to make sure that I had plenty of time to check out the new international terminal at LAX, but I always forget that the ticket counters do not open so early. Luckily, there were some food options that allowed me to eat before I was able to check in (have to say that the food quality at the Daily Grill was quite disappointing this trip).

I checked in and was escorted by the airline to the new Star Alliance Lounge for a tour. I was hoping to also have the time for a full tour of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal, but with the lounge and Airbus A340-500 tour, I wasn’t able to – next time.

Continue reading Flying Over 21,000 Miles to Singapore in Four Days – Who Needs Sleep? Part 1

Alaska Unveils its Latest Disneyland Scheme

 

N570AS, "Adventure to Disneyland" taxis to the gate after flying in from painting photo by Bernie Leighton | AIrlineReporter.com

N570AS, “Adventure to Disneyland” taxis to the gate after flying in from painting – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AIrlineReporter.com

Alaska Airlines, in conjunction with Disney and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, has debuted its latest Disney special scheme. The newest version, which AirlineReporter exclusively spied a day ahead of the official launch, features popular characters from Disney-Pixar’s Cars franchise.

The aircraft was officially rolled out this morning in a ceremony at gate C-9 of Seattle Tacoma International Airport. The plane departed for Santa Ana’s John Wayne Airport due to its proximity to Disneyland. What made this flight special, other than the fact that it was the first commercial service of a new special livery, was that it was a surprise for four children on a very special holiday. Coming from as far away as Barrow, Alaska, these kids were being treated to an amazing vacation adventure from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

If there was any doubt Alaska and Disney were going to make a big deal out of this, I was blown away when I arrived at the gate.

Continue reading Alaska Unveils its Latest Disneyland Scheme

Alaska Airlines Shows Off “Employee Powered” Livery

Check out that sparkle on the tail. Image: Alaska Airlines

Check out that sparkle on the tail – Photo: Alaska Airlines

Earlier this month, an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 (N568AS) showed up at Paine Field with a special livery. Although the photos showed that the airline was up to something, it wasn’t obvious how cool this special livery was going to turn out.

It is more than just about looks – it’s really about celebrating those who work for the airline.  Not only does the livery sport a very sparkling tail, but also the signatures of more than 8,500 employees.

“Look closely and you will see the words “Employee Powered” by the L1 door,” said Ben Minicucci, executive vice president of operations and chief operating officer during the aircraft’s debut. “This aircraft is dedicated to you as a thank you for all you have done for this airline.”

Continue reading Alaska Airlines Shows Off “Employee Powered” Livery