Browsing Tag: Southwest Airlines

An American Eagle CRJ-200 taxiing at LAX, with a new Embraer 175 following. Photo: John Nguyen | AirlineReporter

An American Eagle CRJ200 taxiing at LAX, with an Embraer 175 following – Photo: John Nguyen | AirlineReporter

Let’s face it… the 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200 isn’t very popular.  At all.  You’ll find countless articles and blogs about how much flyers dread flying in it, and how all-around terrible the experience was.  Complaints were numerous: claustrophobic cabin, tiny overhead bins that fit only the smallest of carry-on bags, no first class, inoperable lavatories, and so on. This wasn’t limited to just one airline either; CR2s are found in the regional fleets for most of the major U.S. airlines.  Coincidentally, many of them are operated under contract by the same regional carrier, SkyWest Airlines.

Does the CR2 deserve its bum rap? Maybe, maybe not (but probably).  For some passengers, however, there is hope just over the horizon…

These will be the new Southwest ticket counters

These will be the new Southwest ticket counters

William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) has been Houston’s secondary airport since 1969, when (now George Bush) Intercontinental Airport (IAH) became the city’s main facility. Although Hobby has a long history of different airlines operating there, in more recent times, Southwest has been the dominate carrier — by far.

Part oil rig. Part airplane. All airport art outside Hobby's main entrance

Part oil rig. Part airplane. All airport art outside Hobby’s main entrance.

Currently Southwest has about 85-90% of the flights at HOU, with more than 150 departures per day. The airline has been instrumental with a new expansion at Hobby and hopes to increase the number of flights, especially to international destinations.

During a recently trip through Houston, I was invited to take a behind the scenes look at the construction of a the international concourse at the airport.

N280WN the new Missouri One pushes out of an ATI hanger in KC

N280WN, the new Missouri One, pushes out of an ATI hanger in Kansas City

I adore Southwest Airlines and I’m a proud Missourian. Can you imagine how excited I was to attend last week’s special event?! As soon as my Missouri-centric invite came through, I knew we were dealing with a Missouri One, but held back as I didn’t want to ruin the fun. Those who fancy themselves Southwest experts knew something might be up when N280WN (Penguin One- a SeaWorld plane overdue for de-livery as a result of contract termination) entered the paint shop in Spokane, Washington but never left. What could cause such a delay in the paint shop? A new livery, of course!

My first thought when I put two and two together: “Isn’t our state flag kind of boring?” Okay, fine. It is. But our state seal is pretty sweet and thankfully the folks at Southwest and their advertising firm GSD&M took a bit of artistic privilege. The result? My new favorite special-liveried bird. This isn’t the first time they’ve had little to work with, yet hit a home run. Has anyone seen Florida or Nevada’s state flags? Sort of dull, but absolutely stunning on a 737.

Fresh mini pretzels await packaging.

Fresh mini pretzels await packaging

King Nut and Summer Harvest: If you’ve ever enjoyed an airline snack at 35,000 feet and inspected the wrapper, chances are you are familiar with one, or both, of these name brands. They, alongside Peterson Nut Co., make up the King Nut Companies family. As a fan of the airline industry, and the companies that support it, I’ve long been familiar with King Nut, and have spotted their products on numerous airlines. Plus, here at AirlineReporter, we love telling the behind-the-scenes stories of the airline world.

A few years back, I was excited to learn that they sometimes sell direct to the public the same airline-branded snacks I’ve come to know, love, and expect up in the air. I’ve made it a habit to occasionally place orders with them online in order to bring AvGeek-themed snacks to various gatherings; we even had their product at my son’s airline-themed birthday party.

A sack of honey roasted peanuts passes through an X-ray

A sack of honey roasted peanuts passes through an X-ray machine

I guess you could say I’m nuts for King Nut (you knew at some point I had to make that joke – figured I should get it out of the way). And while I’m a fan of their products, I never took the time to really learn about what it takes to get these snacks into the hands (and bellies) of passengers.

That opportunity presented itself recently, when I was in the Cleveland area on business. It just so happens that the King Nut facilities are less than a mile from one of my company’s offices in Solon, Ohio. I reached out to Mr. Martin Kanan, President and Chief Executive Officer, to see about a tour and for a chance to learn about their company – he was happy to do so. Sit back, relax, grab some snacks, and prepare to drool over some seriously tasty snackage photos and facts…