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2014: 269,302
2013: 330,818

8 Additional Photos of Crashed Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at SFO

Asiana Airlines Flight 214 burns at SFO. Photo by Nick Rose.

Asiana Airlines Flight 214 burns at SFO. Photo by Nick Rose.

Local San Fransisco photographer Nick Rose took these photos shortly after Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed at SFO. He as having lunch and heard about the crash and rushed to SFO. For the San Mateo Daily Journal, Nick photographed the airport’s last two crash drills [see read the first and second] and said it was “crazy,” seeing a real event.

He was kind enough to allow us at AirlineReporter.com to share his photos.

Parts of the 777 on the field while the United 747 waits. Photo by Nick Rose.

Parts of the 777 on the field while the United 747 waits. Photo by Nick Rose.

Continue reading 8 Additional Photos of Crashed Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at SFO

A Few Thoughts on Asiana Airlines Flight 214 Crash at SFO

Photo of the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 flight 214 crash from the NTSB.

Photo of the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 flight 214 crash from the NTSB.

There is no question that the crash of Asiana Airlines flight 214 is tragic and we are all looking forward to finding out exactly what happened. As more facts and opinions come in about the crash, here are just some of my raw thoughts:

  • It is not a miracle: I have been reading quite a bit about how so many people survived was a “miracle.” I am not trying to say that this was not amazing, but I think by just saying it was a “miracle,” really down plays all the hard work and effort that so many people have put in through the years to increase the chances of surviving an accident. Thousands of people have died from airline accidents and after each accident every aspect of the business is made safer. There have been many smart people in aerospace that have designed and built aircraft, the items inside and airports in ways to reduce the likelihood of injuries and deaths.  Finally, the passengers & crew on flight 214 and the emergency responders on the ground did an amazing job evacuating everyone. Even with the speculation that a fire truck might have been involved with one of the two deaths, the quick response and evacuation saved lives [read a good detailed account via the WSJ and Philly.com]. Call it a miracle if you must, but also be sure to follow up by appreciating the people that helped to keep this accident from being worse.
  • A little perspective: It is no question that the two deaths from this crash and those who will forever be scarred is no small thing. I cannot imagine what the family of those who were lost are going through and by no means am I trying to down play these loses. We are all lucky to be in a time where an accident like this does not cause more deaths. Statistically, in the US there are about 90 people who die each day in auto accidents. This is far, far less than even a fraction of the fatalities we see from airline accidents. Flying is still very safe and will only continue to become safer.

Continue reading A Few Thoughts on Asiana Airlines Flight 214 Crash at SFO

The NTSB Releases 8 Amazing Photos of the Asiana Airline’s Crash

Photo of the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 flight 214 crash from the NTSB.

Exterior photograph of the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 flight 214 crash from the NTSB.

The NTSB has just shared eight photos of the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 flight 214 crash via Twitter and we wanted to share. Words cannot do these justice.

Photo of the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 flight 214 crash from the NTSB.

NTSB investigators head tothe the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crash. Photo via the NTSB.

Photo of the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 flight 214 crash from the NTSB.

Photo of the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 flight 214 crash from the NTSB.

Continue reading The NTSB Releases 8 Amazing Photos of the Asiana Airline’s Crash

UPDATE 10: Photos & Details on Asiana Airlines Flight 214 Crash in San Francisco

Air shot of the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash at SFO via KTVU.

Air shot of the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash at SFO via KTVU.

As of 07/06 5:47pm PST, updates will be added to the bottom of the story and the main story will not change. 

Just before 11:30am today, an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200ER (registration HL7742) coming from Incheon, South Korea, landed before the runway at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) causing the aircraft to break up. Passengers were evacuated before the aircraft caught fire. There were 291 passengers (19 business and 272 economy) and 16 crew on the aircraft. According to Asiana Airlines, the passengers, “were comprised of 77 Korean citizens, 141 Chinese citizens, 61 US citizens, 1 Japanese citizen.”

Photos show debris before runway 28, showing that the aircraft hit the ground before making it over the runway. At about 1:15pm, local San Francisco TV station, KTVU stated that two passengers died and at about 4:15pm, the SF Fire Department confirmed those deaths.

San Francisco General Hospital spoke at about 3:15pm PST and stated that they have received 10 patients in critical condition. As of 5:45pm five of those passengers improved their condition. Out of 307 passengers on board, 181 were taken to multiple hospitals. According to the SF Fire Department, there were a total of 230 passengers who has some sort of injury after the crash. Originally there were 60 passengers who were reported missing, but as of 5:45pm there is only one.

Typically with situations like this, death/injury numbers will often change.

Continue reading UPDATE 10: Photos & Details on Asiana Airlines Flight 214 Crash in San Francisco

Behind the Scenes: How Singapore Airlines Prepares its Meal Service

Singapore Airlines goes item by item checking the food quality.

Singapore Airlines goes item by item checking the food quality at the Flying Food Group at SFO.

When it comes to airline food, most people have a pretty low expectation of what they will receive. That expectation has lowered even further over the past few years with the almost-complete elimination of free airline food served on domestic flights within the United States. To find a decent airline meal, one needs to take an international flight. Typically, the amount you pay for a ticket will correlate with the level of meal you will receive. How does a world class airline go about providing multiple meals for  up to 477 passengers on just one flight? I wasn’t sure, but when I was recently given the opportunity to check out how Singapore Airlines runs its food operation out of San Francisco (SFO), I could not refuse (note that my trip down and back were taken care of by Singapore Airlines and JetSuite).

Checking out Singapore Airlines makes sense. For them, food is not just something they give to passengers to make sure they don’t go hungry; they see it as part of the in-flight service. It is an experience both via taste/sight and a positive interaction with the flight crew. How does an airline prepare a meal for someone who has spent $5000.00 or even $20,000.00 on a ticket and are used to the best things in life? Well, it is not easy, nor cheap. Each year, Singapore Airlines spends about $500,000,000.00 just on their food service alone — that is quite the investment.

The room has food all around from first, business and economy levels of service.

The room has food all around from first, business and economy levels of service.

At each main Singapore Airlines hub in the US, it selects a caterer to produce the food. At SFO, it uses Flying Food Group, which also provides airline catering for a number of other airlines, even though all of Singapore’s recipes are unique.

Frequent fliers on Singapore do not want to see the same food week after week, so the airline needs to keep the selection new. Because of this, Singapore Airlines changes most of its entire menu each quarter. Hidden away in Singapore Airlines headquarters is a list of all the food that will be served in the coming quarters. The menu is not just a broad, “we will serve chicken and salad,” but a list that is extremely detailed, down to the exact last gram of everything, how many nuts will be on that salad and how much the entire meal will weigh.

The Singapore food tasters need to come in hungry, since they will be leaving full.

The Singapore food tasters need to come in hungry, since they will be leaving full.

There is no down time when it comes to the food. Just after the previous quarter’s food goes live, Singapore sends the next quarter’s menu to the Flying Food Group, so that they can start preparations for following quarter. Their chefs work on successfully creating the new menu and once they have all the food from each of the three classes completed, they invite Singapore Airlines in for a Menu Presentation to visually inspect each and every item and then taste test the food — this is where my visit comes in.

After landing at SFO, I was driven  to the Flying Food Group building, located just down the street from the airport. The building is not the most beautiful on the outside, but it is more about what is on the inside. After being checked in, I put on an official food tester garb and was taken to a back room, which had hundreds of different food options on display. Representatives from both the Flying Air Group and Singapore Airlines went item by item, going over every aspect of each main dish, side dish, sauces and the plate layout.

The chef shows off his creations.

The chef shows off his creations.

Once the food is agreed upon, photos are taken that will be placed on the aircraft, so that flight attendants will know what the final serving should look like. But before anything can be finalized, the food needs to be tasted. It is a rough life, but to be able to write the best story possible, I decided I should probably try some of the food.

We were escorted to another room, where samples of the food were being served. From the soups to salads, to main entrees, I have to say that they were good — really good. During the sampling it was determined that one of the soups was a bit too spicy and Singapore requested that it be toned down a bit and the caterer agreed.

Making quality food at a restaurant on the ground is difficult enough as it is. Creating a meal, that will not be eaten for another ten hours and it still needs to taste world class is a whole other level. One question is how much should the caterer cook the food vs how much does it get cooked on the plane? For example, chicken will be cooked about 60% on the ground and the rest in the air, where steak will only be cooked 30% before being loaded onto a plane.

Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 can hold 471 people. Times that by multiple meals and things can get challenging.

Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 can hold 471 people. Times that by multiple meals and things can get challenging. This A380 is seen waiting at Narita in Tokyo.

No matter what level the food is cooked, once it is ready, it is “blast chilled.” Now, do not call this “freezing” the food — I got the feeling that calling it that is borderline insulting. In the blast-chilled process, the food is taken to just above freezing very quickly, but doesn’t cause all the damage at the cellular level that freezing does. The food is then loaded onto carts, then to a truck, then off to the airport to be loaded onto the aircraft. It is an impressive ballet of trying to time things just right so the food does not go too long before being consumed.

Delays in the airline business are inevitable. While passengers begin to stress about arriving late, there are people who are thinking about the food. If a delay pops up early enough, the food’s preparation is held off until later. If the food is already made, it will be stored in a freezer at the caterer. The worse case scenario, if a flight is delayed after the food has already been loaded onto the aircraft, there are times, where the call is made to dump the current food and have the caterer bring over a fresh supply. It is a costly waste, but better than passengers getting sub-par food or worse, sick.

Lobster, quail eggs and caviar make for an impressive meal.

Lobster, quail eggs and caviar make for an impressive meal.

It is difficult, but having to destroy food is part of the airline catering business. At the end of each flight, there will always be left over food. Either from passengers who didn’t finish their entire meal or for whole carts of food that were never used. Due to international regulations, all food that returns to the US on an international flight needs to be destroyed. The carts are loaded back onto the caterer’s trucks, taken to the facility and placed into a huge oven before being disposed of. This is to assure that there are no food-borne bugs that could cause an international incident.

Serving the same quality of food in economy as you do in first class could also cause some sort of incident — folks who pay more, expect a higher level of food. First class meals are prepared using three different types of ovens: steam, convection and microwave. Each item is individually cooked before being served to the customer. Economy food is made to be more efficient and less time consuming. If you order scramble eggs as a First Class passenger, they will break open real eggs while in-flight and prepare them right there on the plane for you. However, if you are seated more towards the back, you are getting pre-prepared eggs from the ground.

And then, the meal ends up on the plane. This photo is from 2010 on Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class.

And then, the meal ends up on the plane. This photo is from 2010 on Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class.

What amazed me the most about this was how much process, time, energy and money is involved to get food to passengers. The crazy thing is this is only for  SFO flights, (there are only three: Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore) and each of these steps are repeated around the world.

If you get bored of the Singapore menu before the quarter runs out, you also have the options Book the Cook program, which allows you to order a custom meal.

I have had the opportunity to fly on Singapore Airlines A380 previously, and I had no idea the work and preparation that went into my food. Airline food might never be the same for me. I am always going to think about how the meal was planned, cooked and the detailed process it experienced before reaching my palate.

View all 23 photos from the Singapore Menu Presentation