Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 93,970
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,015,570





Airline Sampler- Part 2: Flying in 1st Class on United’s 787-8 Dreamliner

N27908, United's 8th 787. Photo Courtesy of BriBri (CC BY-SA 2.0)

N27908, United’s 8th 787. Photo Courtesy of BriBri (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In part one of this series I provided an overview of my airline sampler trip (5 airlines over 4 days) and offered my thoughts on my very first flight with Virgin America, from Dallas to San Francisco. Here we pick back up at SFO for a quick journey down to LAX in the first class cabin aboard a United 787-8.

This leg of my airline sampler was actually the catalyst for the entire trip. I happened to stumble upon an announcement that United would be briefly returning the 787 to domestic service for once weekly (Friday) service from SFO-LAX. I didn’t get the opportunity to check out the Dreamliner when United had them on domestic runs when they were first introduced. After a number of friends booked their own 787 experiences only to be disappointed by the wrong plane at the gate, due to operational issues, I decided to hold off. I was skeptic for too long and wound up missing my opportunity. Some time had passed and United now had a number of 787s in service, so I figured that the time was right.

The economy fare was very attractively priced at a meager $72.10 — what a bargain! When United.com solicited me to pay an extra $29 for economy plus I jumped at it.

As a Boeing fan-boy, I was excited, but that joy would soon evaporate like spilled Jet A on a hot day. It pains me to report that problems began before I ever stepped foot on the plane…

Continue reading Airline Sampler- Part 2: Flying in 1st Class on United’s 787-8 Dreamliner

Review: Qantas First Lounge at Los Angeles (LAX)

Entrance to the new Qantas First Lounge - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Entrance to the new Qantas First Lounge – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Recently, Qantas opened a new lounge in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).  The Qantas First Lounge serves first class passengers from Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Japan Airlines, along with oneworld Emerald and Qantas’ own top-tier elites. As such, it is a good-sized lounge.

Beautiful bar in the Qantas First Lounge - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Beautiful bar in the Qantas First Lounge – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

I had a long layover in Los Angeles as part of my trip to Santiago with LAN Airlines to check out business class on their 787-8 Dreamliner, so we were able to arrange with Qantas to visit their new lounge and experience what it had to offer.  It didn’t disappoint.

Continue reading Review: Qantas First Lounge at Los Angeles (LAX)

Flight Review: To Santiago & Back with LAN’s 787-8 Premium Business Class

LAN 787-8 Dreamliner at takeoff - Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

LAN 787-8 Dreamliner at takeoff – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Recently, LAN Airlines invited me down to their headquarters in Santiago de Chile, Chile, to check out their new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. While LAN was the first carrier in the Americas to operate the 787-8, the new stretched 787-9 offers an all-new Premium Business hard product.  Unfortunately, at the last minute, the special event was called off due to “operational issues.”

LAN dreamliner entryway

Dreamliner signature entryway on LAN’s 787-8 – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Since flights to Santiago had already been arranged I decided to still make the trip, which would give me a chance to experience LAN’s 787-8 Premium Business class, check out Santiago briefly, and also take a look at the airport experience on both ends. All-in, I’d only be gone from home in Denver for 55 hours – not too shabby for 13,000 miles of travel.

Continue reading Flight Review: To Santiago & Back with LAN’s 787-8 Premium Business Class

Flight Review: Eva Air Royal Laurel Business Class on a Boeing 777-300ER

Eva Air Boeing 777-300ER.

Eva Air Boeing 777-300ER in flight – Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMedia

Another week, another flight. This time my adventure started at Los Angeles International, with a ticket in hand on EVA Air to Taipei. The occasion? To give the carrier’s Royal Laurel (RL) business class a good, thorough testing.

With no line present at the Royal Laurel Desk, check-in was quick and simple. A staff member escorted me to the lounge, managing to whisk me right past the hulking mid-day security line. This does not appear to be a normal procedure for RL passengers, though the premium line looked to have a 15-minute back-up.

EVA utilizes the finely appointed Star Alliance lounge in LAX, thanks to being part of the alliance since mid-2013. Time was short on this visit, though long enough to snag a finger sandwich and a few deserts.

Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMedia

Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMedia

Boarding began on time, and I quickly squirreled away my bags above my seat: 1A. A selection of juices and water was on tap for pre-departure drinks. I went with apple, my new favorite as of late.

Continue reading Flight Review: Eva Air Royal Laurel Business Class on a Boeing 777-300ER

Flying Andy Granatelli’s Indy 500 Race Cars on a TWA Boeing 707

A TWA Boeing 707 freighter on Runway 25-Right at LAX.  Notice that engines 1 and 2 are in reverse and that the spoiler fully deployed - Photo:  Jon Proctor

A TWA Boeing 707 freighter on Runway 25R at LAX – Photo: Jon Proctor

Here’s a little background about a wonderful encounter I had with racing legend Andy Granatelli in the late 1970’s.  At that time, I flew for Trans World Airlines on their Boeing 707 and 727 aircraft.

In April and May of 1978, my regular assignment (trips for the month) was to fly a 707 freighter from Los Angeles to Indianapolis. Typically, we would launch very late in the evening around midnight, and arrive in Indy at around 6:00 am local time. A day-and-a-half later, we’d fly a return flight to Los Angeles at 6 pm. That gave us a 36-hour layover in Indy.  On our first trip of the month, I got to the airport quite early, as I had been on vacation the previous month and had lots of accumulated paperwork to attend to. At about nine in the evening, I bummed a ride with a TWA mechanic from the hangar to the TWA cargo facility on the other side of the airport – probably the most harrowing part of my three-day trip.

As we arrived at the air freight terminal, I noticed two large box vans – both painted with the legendary STP logo. The TWA mechanic and I walked over to the vans and looked inside… one was filled with tires, crated engines, tool boxes, and other motor racing equipment.  The second van had two Indy 500 race cars inside!

Continue reading Flying Andy Granatelli’s Indy 500 Race Cars on a TWA Boeing 707