The KLM 747-400 City of Nairobi sitting at the gate in Toronto. A sight that, not long after my flight, was no more - Photo: Matthew Chasmar

The KLM 747-400 City of Nairobi sitting at the gate in Toronto. A sight that, not long after my flight, was no more – Photo: Matthew Chasmar

How does one get to Rwanda, anyways? This is probably not a question many North Americans have asked themselves. But it is one I heard a lot recently, when I had an unprecedented opportunity to travel to the East African country of Rwanda. This was an incredibly unique experience in many ways, and the flights involved were no exception. For this trip, I flew from Toronto to Kigali (Rwanda’s capital city), via Amsterdam on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. This is one of only a handful of options for that particular trip, the others being Brussels and Turkish Airlines. So, this February, I found myself at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, ready to embark on one of the longest series of flights I’ve ever taken.

That's no plane! The first leg of my journey was a train ride into Toronto - Photo: Matthew Chasmar

That’s no plane! The first leg of my journey was a train ride into Toronto – Photo: Matthew Chasmar

I’ve always loved the plane spotting at New York’s JFK International Airport. A lot of America’s other biggest airports are dominated by hub operations from individual airlines, like Delta @ Atlanta, American @ DFW, United at nearby Newark. But JFK feels more like the United Nations of airports, with a variety of airlines from tons of countries. Here’s a quick video of a loop between some of the terminals at JFK.

If you want another way to virtually travel to New York JFK, check out our inside look at the airport’s new and VERY avgeek-friendly TWA Hotel, which we pass by in the video above. The plane spotting from the hotel’s roof is AMAZING.

We are in unprecedented times, with so many justified emotions and frustrations. What’s happening right now is not okay and should not be tolerated. Out of respect of our current situation, we have decided to pause publishing any new content on AirlineReporter.com for the time being. This will allow us the opportunity to genuinely listen, learn, and grow.

Although we might not have the answers today, we know that we want to be a part of the solution. We want to start looking at how we can help bring more diversity to the AvGeek community, to our stories, and to our writing team. If you have positive ideas on how to make our wonderful community more inclusive, we would love to have a discussion in the comments, or via email. We know that our actions won’t change the world, but hopefully we can do a small part in improving the airline niche that we love so much.

Thank you and stay safe, from the AirlineReporter leadership:

David Parker Brown, Editor-in-Chief
Blaine Nickeson, Managing Editor
Francis Zera, Editor-at-Large
JL Johnson, Managing Correspondent 
Manu Venkat, Senior Correspondant 

If you live anywhere in the South, you’ve likely heard the old joke that says “whenever someone dies, they don’t go to heaven (or that other place), without connecting in Atlanta!”

Having spent 14 years living in various southern cities and connected through Atlanta more times than I care to remember, there’s no doubt the scene at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) the other weekend is one that won’t soon be forgotten.

A peak into an empty "C" gates at ATL, thanks to an airport worker who allowed this pic while the door for employees was open.

A peak into an empty “C” gates at ATL, thanks to an airport worker who allowed this pic while the door for employees was open.

Recently, I needed to take a number of flights for family reasons, and in the current coronavirus climate, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My adventure took me  through one Delta mega-hub (Atlanta ATL) to another (Minneapolis MSP), where typically the flights would be full. However, this time they were only about 25 percent occupied. The ATL to MSP flight, usually an A321 or 757, had been replaced by a smaller 737-800.

No passengers and just 2 pilots occupy the "Plane Train" level at ATL below the C gates.

No passengers and just 2 pilots occupy the “Plane Train” level at ATL below the C gates.

Atlanta currently has multiple concourses closed with fully sheetrocked walls and security doors to allow only airport and airline staff to enter. The “C” and “E” terminals were just empty shells. TV screens packed with flight info now had just a couple active monitors.

BONUS: Feeling the impact of COVID-19 on the US Commercial Airline Industry

The food court in the E terminal had just one restaurant open: McDonald’s. They were so happy to see anyone that they gave me 10% off my McDouble — that 20 cents will go far someday, I just know it! You know it’s bad when even airport concessions start discounting prices.