Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 360,327
2013: 330,818

Virgin America — Still Got It?

After being at LA for less than 12 hours, it was time to board my Virgin America flight and head home.

Virgin America Airbus A320 – Photo: David Parker Brown

It has been a while since I’ve flown on Virgin America, and to be honest I’ve sort of missed it. The purplely-pink mood lighting, good food, and that awesome entertainment system; it was a light cutting through the otherwise dark and dank scene of American domestic economy flying.

Thus I was rather looking forward to getting back in the air with Virgin, spurred on by its new codeshare partnership with China Airlines (which I recently sampled and detailed here). Arriving at SeaTac on November 30th, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I expected mayhem but was instead met with relative calm.

Space means weight, which means money. Photo: David Parker Brown.

The economy seats in Virgin America’s Airbus A320 – Photo: David Parker Brown

Virgin provided me a ticket in its Main Cabin Express (MCE) block of seats. The benefits are slight, basically amounting to early boarding after first class, seating in the first few rows of economy as well as guaranteed overhead bin access. The service and product are otherwise identical to the rest of the economy cabin.

Boarding was a bit chaotic, mostly thanks to the gate agent never actually announcing that it was time for MCE to board. Suspecting that I’d missed something, I joined the boarding line which now included main cabin passengers, and was ushered on the plane and into seat 5A.

Continue reading Virgin America — Still Got It?

Delta Air Lines and Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound Head to the “North Pole”

Carollers greet families as they deboard the jet.

Carolers greet families as they deboard the jet at the “North Pole”

Earlier this week, Delta Air Lines offered a very special charter flight to the North Pole with VIP guests. Children and families of the Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound boarded a specially decorated Airbus A330 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport before being whisked away on a quick trip to a winter wonderland.

The pilots for Delta flight 1225, service from Seattle to the North Pole, check emails before the flight.

The pilots for Delta flight 1225, service from Seattle to the North Pole, check emails before the flight.

Upon arrival, the guests were treated to different games, entertainment, Blitz from the Seattle Seahawks, the Coca-Cola Polar Bear and of course Santa, who took some time out of his busy schedule to interact.

We had photographer Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren there to cover the event and afterwards he said, “I have to say that it was one of the heartwarming three hours I’ve had in awhile.” He was excited to share the experience via some photos.

Continue reading Delta Air Lines and Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound Head to the “North Pole”

Flight Review: Delta’s Upgraded Transcontinental Economy Comfort

Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 at JFK

Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 at JFK – Photo: David Parker Brown | AirlineReporter

Delta Air Lines recently upgraded their Economy Comfort cabin for trancontiental flights from New York to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. I recently had a trip from JFK to SEA and decided to give the upgrade a shot.

The big changes? The addition of pillows, blankets, sleep kits, Luvo snack wraps, free adult beverages, and frozen yogurt bars.

“Delta continues to invest in Economy Comfort with upgraded amenities for customers when they fly one of our transcontinental routes from New York to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle,” said Jeff Robertson, Vice President – Product Development, Sky Clubs and Marketing Communications. “Adding pillows and blankets for comfort as well as Luvo wraps and mid-flight snack offerings improves the travel experience for our premium economy customers so they arrive at their destination rested and refreshed.”

These come with the standard upgrades that all Economy Comfort seats give passengers: up to 4″ additional legroom and ideal location for boarding/de-planing.

The big question – is $100 worth the additional extras you get with Economy Comfort? Although I was quite tired during this flight (this was the fourth and final leg of a four day, 15,000 mile journey), I was willing to find out.

Continue reading Flight Review: Delta’s Upgraded Transcontinental Economy Comfort

Tips for Success from Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson

Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines. Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines

Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines – Photo: Delta

Last month, I had the opportunity to participate in a small group interview of Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines.  Anderson is a long-time industry insider and the chief one of the largest airlines in the world. Domestically, Delta is often ranked by Fortune as one of the Top 50 most admired companies and is a long-standing member of the Fortune 500, presently occupying spot 51 by 2014 rankings.

When asked a rather mundane question about daily routine, Anderson responded with pure gold. Rather than provide a hurried, rehearsed, and insincere response that many would come to expect from a top-level executive, Anderson instead walked us through a typical day and highlighted what he referred to as his best practices.

Anderson’s relaxed and inviting demeanor is one that naturally commands attention. However, when he began reciting his secrets to success, those of us with backgrounds in business and leadership were captivated. When a Fortune 500 CEO takes their time to volunteer advice, those looking to further their own success and careers should take note.

Without further ado, Anderson’s Tips for Success…

Continue reading Tips for Success from Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson

Exploring the Newly Renovated Delta Flight Museum

Current and retired Delta employees line up in their native uniform

A crowd gathered before a beautifully restored 767 inside a climate-controlled hangar on the outskirts of Delta’s corporate headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Attendees included executives, local and regional politicians, select employees, media and various VIPs. There was a marked excitement in the air. The facility had been closed to the public and shrouded in secrecy for six months, so all were excited to explore the newly renovated Delta Flight Museum.

The unveiling of the museum, which had been personally overseen by Delta CEO Richard Anderson, was timed to coincide with Delta’s 85th anniversary of passenger operations.  After opening remarks by Anderson, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, attendees were treated to a short video illustrating Delta’s history. Following the movie and a short awards ceremony attendees were invited to enjoy the festivities and have a look around the multi-room, multi-level facility.

The museum occupies the same footprint as Delta’s original maintenance hangars which were established in the 1940s.

Delta Flight Museum Exterior

Visitors are assured they have indeed arrived at the right place when driving by a 757-200 restored in the “Classic Widget” livery. For extra assurance a DC-9-50 in the modern “2007 Widget” livery that sits just across the way.

BONUS: Learn more about the Delta 757-200 and DC-9 at the museum

The exterior of the facility is undeniably Delta: Bright euro-white with large block letter titling: Delta Air Lines… (Air Lines; two words — they’re sensitive about that). Delta widgets adorn the pavement, the building and are strategically incorporated within the museum’s design inside and out, allowing for a sort of AvGeek easter egg hunt for those looking for a challenge. Continue reading Exploring the Newly Renovated Delta Flight Museum