Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 128,383
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,049,984





Starbucks, Dunkin, & Lift – Oh My! Coffee Keeps Passengers Going

Delta signs Starbucks as their new Coffee provider - Image: Starbucks

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

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.

Continue reading Starbucks, Dunkin, & Lift – Oh My! Coffee Keeps Passengers Going

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?

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

Amazing Experience: Flying an Alaska Bush Plane Through Glacier Bay National Park

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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. Continue reading Amazing Experience: Flying an Alaska Bush Plane Through Glacier Bay National Park

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

Alaska Airlines Goes Green in Nome, Alaska

Wind power for Alaska Airlines up in Nome, Alaska.

Wind power for Alaska Airlines up in Nome, Alaska. Photo from Alaska Airlines.

So where the heck is Nome, Alaska? It is pretty darn as close to the middle of no where as you can get, although it is on the western edge of Alaska. It is a small town of less than 4,000 people and transportation to destinations outside the city is difficult to come by. Roads connect Nome to smaller cities up to 54 miles away, but there are no roads connecting the city to the rest of the world. For the town to operate, it requires transportation via water and air.

Air travel becomes a necessity to get goods and people to and from remote areas in Alaska and Alaska Airlines is one of a few airlines operating out of Nome – it is also the largest.

Nome has long days in the summer, short in the winter and is the end destination of the Iditarod dog sled race. The remote city is also known for its fierce winds of 80 to 90mph. With being so remote, having strong winds and long days of light in the summer, it makes sense for locals to look at alternative sources of energy and that is just what Alaska Airlines has done.

Recently the airline built a 30-foot wind turbine next to the Nome Terminal and installed solar panel array on the roof.  According to Alaska, “the project is the first foray for Alaska Airlines into using wind and solar power to produce a significant amount of an airport’s electricity – and it appears to be the first time a domestic carrier has pursued alternative energy for an airport operation.”

Alaska is hoping that the turbine and solar panels will produce around 15,000 kilowatt hours of power per year, which is about 6 percent of the terminal’s load. If successful, the concept may be expanded to other rural airports in Alaska, said Ron Suttell, Alaska’s director of facilities planning and administration.

“The turbine was selected because it performs well in turbulent air, it is engineered to continue producing electricity in harsh climates and high winds, and the design eliminates icing issues on the blades,” Chris Andree, Alaska Airlines’ regional manager of properties and facilities, who oversaw the project for the airline.