Around the World

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





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

Flight Review: United Airlines 747 – Global First

I've always wanted to fly in seat 1A on a 747 - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

I’ve always wanted to fly in seat 1A on a 747 – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Recently, my wife and I took a trip to Japan to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.  Because we have two toddlers (who were NOT coming with us), we wanted to travel in luxury and make it something very special.

Besides being an AvGeek, I also happen to be very savvy with airline miles and hotel points.  While that’s not a topic AirlineReporter focuses on (there are lots of great sites out there that do), I booked all of our flights using United miles that I’ve collected through various means.

On the outbound, I booked us DEN-SFO-NRT, with the SFO-NRT segment operated by the 747-400 (the bulk of United’s 747s operate out of SFO to Asia, with a handful of 747 flights also based out of Chicago O’Hare).  I could have booked us on United’s direct flight from Denver, operated by a Dreamliner, but United’s 787 fleet doesn’t feature a first class cabin (which United calls “Global First”).  Also, I really wanted to check out the United Global First Lounge in San Francisco.

United Dreamliner on the ground at SFO...viewed from inside a Mercedes! - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

United 787 at SFO…viewed from inside a Mercedes! Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Full disclosure: on our last big trip without the kids, we flew Lufthansa First Class and got to visit the Lufthansa First Class Terminal.  Both were so good, I think it ruined us for any future flights.  As much as I love United, I didn’t have great expectations.  Here’s the shocker/spoiler: our United experience was really good.

Continue reading Flight Review: United Airlines 747 – Global First

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