Stories by David Parker Brown

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:

I might as well get this out of the way right at the start: I am a Trekkie. I have tried to love Star Wars and I can appreciate it for what it is. But I have just never been able to get into it and I know not too much about the franchise (spoiler alert: I think Darth Vader is Luke’s father and Luke is Princess Layla’s sister which caused some family awkwardness all around).

However… when you put a nice looking Star Wars livery on a 737, I can sway my sci fi space nerd alliances for one morning. This week (on what was appropriately May 4th), Alaska Airlines unveiled their newest special Disney livery.

It has an eye catching black background with many Star Wars-themed designs and a beautiful green Millennium Falcon “emblazoned” onto the tail. And this isn’t your rattle can paint job. It took 228 gallons of paint, 540 work hours, and over 27 days to complete. 

This is the seventh Disney-themed aircraft for the airline; this one celebrates Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The aircraft’s official name is “Star Wars Transport to the Disneyland Resort,” but you can just call her “SWTttDR” for short.

What is love? Letting your gal sit left seat in a 727!

On July 10, 2021, my beautiful wife and soulmate Brittany Brown passed away due to colon cancer. Now, that is a sentence that I never thought I would be writing on AirlineReporter… or anywhere, for that matter. She was diagnosed on December 13, 2019 with Stage 2 (just two months after our wedding and three days before her 31st birthday), and she fought with all her might, but this cancer was unbeatable. #fuckcancer

As I make my way through the different stages of grief and remember all of our time that we had together, I have realized how much of a perfect travel partner she was for me – and how I was for her. During the year and a half that Brittany battled cancer, I was not very public about our situation — only some close friends and family knew. So, why share this very personal life experience on the blog? There are a few reasons.

To honor some of the great travel memories that we experienced. To share some stories that will have a home on AR. It will be therapeutic for me. And I trust you. I have been doing this airline blog thing for over 13 years. This website is a passion for me, the other writers and hopefully for many of you. When our lives get complicated, content slows down (or stops), and that is okay. Many of you have been through your own ups and downs and I cannot even begin to say how grateful I am for the love and support of the AvGeek community through everything.

The SlingPlane 5001-200NWN

There are too many stories out there that promise new kinds of airplanes, amenities, and airports. We are not going to lie… when we see these stories, we get pumped.

”Radical…we can”™t wait until we fly in an electric airliner that flies at three times the speed of sound and takeoffs and lands at an airport racetrack!”

We are told that these things are coming “very soon,” but we wait and wait and wait. Nothing. We have gotten sick and tired of getting emotionally AvGeek hurt (that is a thing) because these technologies never come through. Instead of just sitting around, we decided to do something about it!

INTRODUCING THE SlingPlane 5001-200NWN (No Wings Needed)

We knew this endeavor of building our own plane was not going to be easy, but we have made such tremendous progress. We didn”™t want to make the same mistakes of the others who had tried before us, so we quickly skimmed all their business plans (aka looked at the photos) and made solid assumptions on what went wrong. Here are the most common issues we found that led to failure:

I want to fly, but I just wouldn't do it right now.

There are many people right now questioning if it is safe to fly. It is a valid question, but I do not have the answer. For me personally, I have decided not to fly and I probably won’t be in the air for quite some time. Let me share some of my thoughts about the current situation, explain why I am not ready, and provide some advice for those who end up flying.

I love the airline business and it has pained me to watch the industry suffer. Hearing about the financial losses and seeing aircraft lined up in the desert is one thing, but employees losing their jobs is devastating.

For the most part, I think airlines and their employees have done an amazing job tackling this unprecedented situation. They have kept passengers informed on new safety procedures and have promoted the quality of the cabin air. No question this builds trust.

I am less worried about the airlines, but more concerned about the uptick in COVID, the other aspects of traveling, and most importantly: other passengers.