American 777-200ER departing from LAX with the iconic Theme Building and control tower, as seen from the Imperial Hill viewpoint – Photo: Jason Rabinowitz
Airlines are AWESOME! They enable travel at a rate faster and cheaper than at any point in human history, and at an uncompromising level of safety. They enable business and connect us with the world in ways which, just a few generations ago, would have been considered impossible. For some of us, airlines sustain our relationships. AirlineReporter exists because of our collective passion for airlines, travel, and aviation. But being a fan of any particular industry comes with some risk.
Sometimes good companies and organizations do bad things. And when that occurs, it’s important to first understand what’s happened, and then take action. In a civilized society, we do our best to look past minor disagreements and remain focused on the big picture. But what about egregiously misleading marketing? How does someone who loves the airline industry declare mutiny on one of their trade groups? For months we’ve pondered this question and have struggled in an identity crisis as a result. So we will do what we do best… we’ll cover this conundrum from a unique perspective.
#StopAirTaxNow! Have you seen these ads around social media? In today’s crazy political environment, it’s just another call-to-action marketing campaign. You know the routine: Trigger folks at the mention of taxes, urge them to phone their elected officials, pick up their pitchforks, and maybe start a revolution. Overreaction? Possibly. But these things are a slippery slope. What sets this campaign apart is that it is funded by airlines we all know and rely on (and sometimes love).
Let’s dig in…
TPA Airport’s CEO Joe Lopano, an AvGeek!. – Photo: Ashley Iaccarino for Tampa Airport
How AvGeek-friendly is your airport? In many areas, it seems a lot more than in prior years. All across the U.S., the trend of airports opening up, being more engaging, and accommodating aviation fans continues in favor of the enthusiasts. This airport community engagement behavior is most deserving of praise, as there still remain some airports clinging to draconian, misguided harshness.
Two airports, Louisville (SDF) and Tampa (TPA), have recently caught my eye with their own outreach programs. They are doing great work, work that lays the foundation for others to adopt, and roll out on their own terms. At the end of the day, a safe airport is one with an engaged and well-informed general public. These airports get it. Does yours?
One of KCI’s new electric buses – Photo: Kansas City Aviation Department
Today, countries all around the world are celebrating Earth Day. We recognize that transportation accounts for the vast majority of climate-changing emissions, and for what it’s worth, the industry and its supporting partners are starting to as well. Some could argue that the change is coming too slowly and that’s hardly contestable. The solution to climate change isn’t something we will solve overnight, or, apparently, in the 48 years since the first Earth Day. However, we at AirlineReporter are optimists and do our best to highlight the positives wherever we can. Enjoy this story about how a medium-sized, midwest airport is taking steps to sprinkle a small bit of sustainability into their own operations.
Late last year my hometown airport quietly deployed four brand-new 100%-electric buses to their fleet. Why should AirlineReporter readers care? Because being first is important. The Kansas City airport was the first U.S. airport to deploy all-electric buses alongside their existing fleet. Not Portland, not San Francisco, nor Austin – Kansas City. An airport in a so-called “red state” beat dozens of others on a short-list of airports in progressive and environmentally-friendly states. As a plug-in driver myself, I’m proud to see Kansas City International Airport lead its peers. Excellence deserves praise, and that’s exactly what I intend to do.
JetTip makes it easy to get notified when unusual aircraft are scheduled to visit your local airport. Sure, my avgeek friends *might* have told me about this MD-80F that visited KBFI last month, but it’s also nice to be self-sufficient.
There are lots of online aviation tracking and spotting tools available to AvGeeks and folks with a legitimate business concern for tracking aircraft.
JetTip is a new entry into the spotting category, created by Nick Benson. The web app is a one-trick pony, but it does that trick really well. Once a user is logged in (and paid up, natch; it’s not free, the service costs $5/month), they’re able to select the airports they’re interested in, choose from a variety of notification options for when interesting aircraft have filed for either arrival or departure, and away you go.
The app is web-based, which means there’s not a phone-specific app. On iOS, for example, I just bookmarked the site by saving a link to the home screen, and it simply launches the site in my default browser. Easy.
A good friend was a beta tester for this app and became quite a fan. That made me curious about it, so I contacted the developer to ask for a review and I was given free access. I wasn’t actually sure that it would impress me enough to end up with a story, but it turns out that I was quite wrong about that.
I’ve been using the app for a few months now, both locally and while traveling. Here are my observations.