Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 242,760
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,164,361






Hello Kitty! Quite the Hoedown in Texas with EVA Air

Houston sees its first Hello Kitty EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER

Houston sees its first Hello Kitty EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER (reg: B-16722)

It is hard to be a part of modern society without at least having a basic idea that Hello Kitty exists. I really had my first true run-in with the girl (she is not a cat, apparently), when covering the new international terminal opening up at Haneda Airport in Tokyo. They have a Hello Kitty store there, and while I have seen some backpacks and other knick-knacks with her image previously, I had no idea of the scale, nor the culture that surrounds this global brand. I was a bit impressed.

Dancing with Hello Kitty -- where else? Texas!

Dancing with Hello Kitty — where else? In Texas!

When I was recently invited to cover EVA Air’s inaugural flight from Taipei (TPE) to Houston (IAH), with a Hello Kitty celebration, I still was skeptical of the power of the cat-looking icon from a country that is not even the airline’s own.

However, after not only experiencing the event, but also a 15-hour-40-minute flight on the Hello Kitty-themed plane, I have to say that I am starting to respect it, but maybe not for the reasons you might imagine.

Continue reading Hello Kitty! Quite the Hoedown in Texas with EVA Air

Air New Zealand to add U.S. Service via Houston

Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner ZK-NZF – Photo: Kris Hull

Air New Zealand on Thursday announced a North American expansion, adding Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport as their fourth U.S. destination. Air New Zealand currently serves Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Honolulu, in addition to Vancouver, Canada to the north.

BONUS: Flying Like a Boss in Air New Zealand’s Business Premier Seat

Service to Auckland was long-sought by Houston; Continental Airlines (prior to their merger with United) had announced service in 2010, only to cancel the service in 2012 prior to introduction.  That said, the route likely makes good sense for Air New Zealand, given their status as a member of the Star Alliance.  United’s giant presence at their Houston hub will allow for significant feed to the Air New Zealand flight, along with smooth connections for inbound travelers to the U.S. east coast and Latin America.

Continue reading Air New Zealand to add U.S. Service via Houston

Flying from Aruba on Southwest’s Inaugural International Service to Houston

Over the Caribbean Sea - Photo: David Delagarza | AirlineReporter

Over the Caribbean Sea – Photo: David Delagarza | AirlineReporter

That’s one small flight for a 737, one giant leap forward for Southwest Airlines and Houston Hobby Airport (HOU).  In a sign of things to come, Southwest added to its daily Aruba service out of Baltimore and Orlando with a seasonal weekly flight between Houston and Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA). Last Saturday, I joined Southwest for the inaugural flight between Aruba and Houston.  This flight was the first international commercial arrival into Hobby airport.

I ♥ Aruba, the unoffical theme of the island.  - Photo: David Delagarza | AirlineReporter

I ♥ Aruba, the unofficial theme of the island – Photo: David Delagarza | AirlineReporter

Although Hobby Airport does not have customs and immigration facilities, Southwest is able to operate the flight thanks to the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) preclearance facility in Aruba, which allows passengers to clear customs and immigration prior to departing for the United States. This October, however, Hobby Airport is scheduled open a new five-gate international terminal, complete with customs and immigration facilities, which will enable Southwest to further add to its international offerings at Houston.

Continue reading Flying from Aruba on Southwest’s Inaugural International Service to Houston

SAS to Operate Business Class-Only 737 to Houston

A standard SAS Boeing 737-700 without a fancy interior.

A standard SAS Boeing 737-700 without a fancy interior – Photo: Aero Icarus | Flickr CC

For many, taking a ride on the 737 is nothing to write home about. How about flying on a 737-700 with only 44 seats in it? That spark your interest? Typically you will see the 700 with 128-140 seats, so that is a big change.

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has announced that they plan to start operating a business class-only 737-700 from Houston (IAH) to Stavanger (SVG) starting on August 20th of this year. The 737 will be wet-leased from PrivatAir and it will wear the SAS livery. According to their press release, the inside of the plane will offer, “SAS Long Haul Business Class concept on board… along with modern in-flight entertainment system and full-service meals and service.”

Continue reading SAS to Operate Business Class-Only 737 to Houston

Southwest and United Battle in Houston -and- Why Being an AvGeek Rocks

Two stories that I have come across this week that I really wanted to share:

Will Southwest Airlines be able to start flying international flights out of Houston? Image: John Murphy / Flickr

Will Southwest Airlines be able to start flying international flights out of Houston? Image: John Murphy / Flickr

Southwest and United Airlines Battle in Houston

The short of the story is that Southwest Airlines is looking to start flying internationally from William P. Hobby Airport (HOU). United, which has a main hub out of George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) does not like this idea and is fighting to stop Southwest.

Southwest is pushing back hard with their website FreeHobbyAirport.com. They are asking locals to join in on the fight to start allowing international flights from HOU. The site is a bit salesy stating that Southwest just wants to help the people of Houston, but I am sure profit is a factor in there as well.

I am a firm believer in competition. If there is the space and demand, let’s allow Southwest to fly internationally. It will only cause United and other airlines to step up their game.

Although, if I was United Airlines, I would probably also be trying to slow down Southwest’s progress.

Read more about this story on Brett Snyder’s CrankyFlier.com.

A group from Aviation Geek Fest pose in front of a 777 GE90 engine on the Boeing factory floor. Photo by Boeing.

A group from Aviation Geek Fest pose in front of a 777 GE90 engine on the Boeing factory floor. Photo by Boeing.

Be Proud to Be an AvGeek

Paul Thompson, who is an airline veteran and self-proclaimed AvGeek, recently wrote a story on APEX on his perspective on being an aviation lover and his experience with Aviation Geek Fest 2012.

One should not be embarrassed loving aviation and airlines. There are many of us out there and having events like Aviation Geek Fest allows us the opportunity to get together and share our passion. I had no idea how many AvGeeks were out there until I started this blog almost three years ago, but so happy to see so many that share my passion for airlines.