This is the reason that most of us fly, being able to look down at the earth below us.
Flying around the U.S. is something that so many people do on a regular basis. The process used to be much more stressful. Having to track down a travel agent or even buying your ticket at the counter, hoping that there was a seat available. Today, we are able to book our tickets online, months in advance and can have increased confidence that we have a seat on the plane. But even in today’s hi-tech aviation business, there are still times that almost make it feel low-tech and high-stress. I experienced one recently on a flight to Las Vegas. That weekend in Vegas may have been fun, but for this AvGeek it was extremely stressful and I am not even sure if it was worth it.
There are many people who have airline benefits and have the ability to fly for free around the world. I have flown on these “buddy passes” before and previously, and it was not that bad of an experience. However, this trip to Vegas has seriously made me reconsider ever using one again.
Delta has partnered with Starbucks as their new coffee provider – Photo: Starbucks
I will be the first to admit (and I have) that I am a coffee addict. So to surprise no one, I am talking about something close to my heart, and my stomach. Coffee on-board a flight (or while waiting for one) is a big thing, not only to me, but to so many other travelers.
The Delta 737 called “The Spirit of Seattle” seen from the air – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
Airlines are not known to have the world’s best coffee. Heck, some might even call it plain awful. An airline’s choice of coffee can be an important one, not only to keep the passengers happy but also for their budgets. More and more airlines are taking their choice of coffee quite seriously and I decided to hold the cream and sugar and dive on in.
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?
The Yakutat Coastal Airlines de Havilland Otter – Photo: David Delagarza
Having recently embarked on a fair number of adventures around the world, one of the questions I sometimes get asked is what my favorite airline is. No one expects the answer: Yakutat Coastal Airlines.
Never heard of them? I’d be surprised if you had. Their fleet is pretty limited, at two aircraft, and they only have one full-time pilot, Hans Munich. The passenger experience is a bit different as well. The seats are uncomfortable. There is no food or drink available on board. You even have to load your own luggage into the hold. But you’re not going to find many others operating the charter routes they do, and the in-flight views couldn’t be any better.
Our flight was the culmination of a grand adventure my wife and I took, along with a small group of friends, in the summer of 2012. The main reason for the trip was a twelve-day whitewater rafting trip on the Tatshenshini and Alsek rivers through Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska), Kluane National Park and Preserve (Yukon Territory), and Tatshenshini-Alsek Park (British Columbia.)
Just getting to the starting point of the rafting trip was a logistical adventure in and of itself. It all started with a Southwest Airlines flight from Denver to Seattle, followed by an Alaska Airlines flight to Juneau, Alaska. Then, we hopped on the Alaska State Ferry for a spectacular four-hour trip up the Lynn canal to the small town of Haines.
In Haines, we stocked up on food, rented rafts and other gear, and hired transport for the final 100-mile drive to to the north. Our launch point into the wilderness was at the end of a rough road in Yukon Territory, at a place called Dalton Post. We spent 12 days on the Tatshenshini and Alsek rivers running rapids, watching Bald Eagles soar overhead, embarking on some magnificent hikes, and trying to avoid grizzly bears.
The last few days of the trip brought us over the international boundary and into Glacier Bay National Park, where we had the opportunity to get up close and personal with glaciers. The highlight of the river trip was floating on Alsek Lake, surrounded by dozens of towering icebergs. Once we reached the end of the river trip at Dry Bay, there was no road to greet us – a grass landing strip was our only connection back to civilization.