Regular AirlineReporter readers likely know by now that I am a Southwest Airlines loyalist. No, not every flight I take is with Southwest, but indeed, most are. There are many reasons for my loyalty which I think I have done well to document over the years. But with each piece discussing my loyalty to the LUV airline, I get comments, tweets, and emails urging me to take my loyalty elsewhere. The perennial argument typically focuses on a chance at upgrades, and, in general, feeling “rewarded.”
Any given year I typically fly just enough between my day job, leisure, and AirlineReporter gigs to renew Southwest A-List. Like so many of my frequently flying cohorts, by the time Q4 hits I’m often in panic mode, forecasting upcoming travel and ensuring I’m on track for status renewal. Because of this there typically isn’t much wiggle room for me to experiment with other carriers.
This year has unfolded differently. By September I was well ahead of schedule for renewal, with multiple upcoming trips sure to push me over the mark. Sadly A-List Preferred was not in reach. For the first time in years, I didn’t have to worry about renewal and had the opportunity to start revisiting some of the other carriers with more regularity. But was there any incentive to? And who might I focus on? My backup airline is typically Delta, my favorite of the legacies. I fly them a few times per year already so I likely wouldn’t learn anything new. What about United? As a Lifetime Titanium perk, Marriott Bonvoy granted me complimentary United Silver status. But United is my least favorite airline…
Is there a list of AvGeek wonders of the world? Probably not, but if there was, the new TWA Hotel at New York’s JFK International Airport was trying from the outset to make it onto the list. Initially I was worried that the project — build around the historic TWA Terminal at JFK — might be a victim of stratospheric expectations. But from the moment I walked into the historic gem of a building it was clear that the attraction was everything we all wanted it to be, and more.
Just like the beautifully restored Lockheed Constellation sitting on the premises, the TWA Hotel fires on all cylinders. It’s as much a museum as a hotel, with tons of exhibits about the jet age’s golden years. The staff is having a total blast, with 60’s-style uniforms to match. There’s even an infinity pool on the roof with an incredible view of the ramp and runways. I mean seriously, how can you beat all that??
If by this point you’re not itching to click the “Read More” button — and see all the photos and videos we took during our visit — we’re questioning your AvGeek credentials. Enjoy!
A little bit of Eastern Air Lines history! (which can be yours)
Looking for that perfect holiday gift for the avgeek(s) in your family? Need a little something for yourself?
We might have just the ticket for you. My name is Jeremy and I am an Avgeek, photographer, and friend/friendly frenemy of the guy running this site, David Parker Brown. Iam [still] selling a huge chunk of his airline collection.
For regular followers, you might’ve seen this before, we plugged it in April and a lot of you were able to snatch up some great stuff. But in case you were on the fence, there’s still well over 1,500 items left for sale.
A little bit of airline memorabilia for everyone!
There’s something for every AvGeek here: post cards, menus, paper ads, posters, bag tags, matchbooks, route maps, timetables, and even a small number of vintage hand bags…including a few Pan Am. And that’s only part of it – all in all there’s over 2,000 items for sale.
Easier than eBay, don’t have to travel to the big shows, and David knows where I live, if something goes bad on you (And I will make a visit to his house for you -David). There are lots of photos here but that’s only about 75% of the collection: the full list is located here on a detailed spreadsheet.
If you see something you like, shoot him me email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let a bit of airline history into your home in time for the holidays!
Sunrise on the flight deck over the Atlantic on an overnight eastbound leg from the U.S. to Europe -Photo: Doug Zschoche | Officer Wayfinder
Australian flag carrier Qantas Airways recently completed the first-ever commercial flight from New York’s JFK airport to Sydney. As part of a program dubbed Project Sunrise, the flight was a nearly 20-hour marathon that traveled just under 10,000 miles. Operated by a brand-new Boeing 787-9 on its delivery, it was one of three test flights the airline is doing to explore the viability of a non-stop service from JFK-Sydney. There were only 40 passengers onboard – all test subjects for Australian researchers and Qantas, who hope to perfect ultra-long-haul flying.
Qantas plans to launch the route in 2023, using a yet-to-be-determined airframe (the airline is exploring either the Boeing 777X or the Airbus A350ULR). Currently, the 25 longest flights in the world are all more than 8,000 miles in distance and have block times of 16 hours or longer.
Number 21 on that list is Newark to Hong Kong – which, when launched in 2001, was the longest flight in the world. Ultra-long-haul flying has become an arms race since then – with every airline seemingly trying to outdo the next with mind-numbingly long flights.
While there was much hype surrounding Qantas’ flight, ultra-long-haul flying has almost become commonplace. This flight was more of a PR stunt than anything, but was impressive nonetheless based on the history of how we got here.