Browsing Tag: Boeing 757

One of Allegiant Air's Boeing 757s (N902NV) while still in Everett, WA.

One of Allegiant Air's Boeing 757s (N902NV) while still in Everett, WA.

The journey from rumors that Allegiant Air was to add Boeing 757-200s during the summer 2010 to their fleet to now receiving ETOPS and Flag Carrier Status status from the Federal Aviation Administration has been long.

Last summer, it was a let down for Allegiant, when the FAA gave them authorization to fly the new aircraft type, but they would not give the airline ETOPS certification to fly over the water to Hawaii. Over the past year, Allegiant has been flying a few 757s on routes in the continental US to gain experience. That experience is finally paying off and starting at the end of this month, the airline will start service to Honolulu, followed by Maui in November. Allegiant’s non-stop service plan to Honolulu:

Las Vegas – begins June 29
Fresno, Calif. – begins June 30
Bellingham, Wash. – begins November 15
Monterey, Calif – begins November 16
Eugene, Ore. – begins November 17
Santa Maria, Calif. – begins November 17
Stockton, Calif. – begins November 18

Allegiant will also offer nonstop air service to Maui from:
Bellingham, Wash. – begins November 14

“This is an important day for Allegiant,” Andrew C. Levy, Allegiant Travel Company President, said. “Obtaining ETOPS and Flag Carrier status not only clears the path for our new service to Hawaii, but also opens up potential international opportunities and will play an important role in our company’s future growth.  Our operations team worked long and hard to ensure the completion of this certification and we thank them for their dedication in achieving this important goal.”

Currently, Allegiant operates a fleet of 58 MD-80 aircraft and four Boeing 757-200s. They still have two additional 757s that are being leased. Allegiant plans to put one 757 into service during fourth quarter 2012 and the second first quarter of 2013.

Allegiant is still planning to grow and is looking at other route options. Previously Levy has stated that the airline is looking at the possibility of flying to Canada, Mexico and even South America.

Icelandair's Boeing 757 sits at Seattle, waiting to be towed to its gate. Photo by Ben Whalen / AirlineReporter.com

Icelandair’s Boeing 757 sits at Seattle, waiting to be towed to its gate. Photo by Ben Whalen / AirlineReporter.com

My friend Ben recently made the trip from Seattle to France and had a number of choices to going. After quite a bit of research (and many questions to me) he decided on trying out Icelandair, which flies from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to Keflavík International Airport (KEF) before changing planes and flying to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). Since I have never flown on Icelandair, I asked him to write a review for me. Here is his Icelandair review in his own words:

ICELANDAIR REVIEW: SEATTLE TO PARIS

I bought the ticket online today, February 2nd, 2012 and the online process was a bit confusing. They first have you select your home airport and then the dates which are all simple enough.

This however is a bit confusing when you are used to the mm/dd/yyyy format, which most people use in the US. Icelandair has theirs in the dd/mm/yyyy format making me have to triple check that I was flying on April 7th not July 4th. Then unlike other websites where you can type in the airport code CDG for example I had to type the city name Paris. Okay, maybe these are not the biggest deals, but first impressions matter.

The rest of the ordering was simple enough. On the flight to Paris, I chose the cheaper economy class and on the way back it was only $47 more for the economy comfort. I figured it was worth the extra money to check out the differences. I was able to choose my seats for all of the legs except one where it showed no seats available, which is always annoying.

The economy class and economy comfort has a 3-3 layout. Photo by Benjamin Whalen / AirlineReporter.com

The economy class and economy comfort has a 3-3 layout. Photo by Benjamin Whalen / AirlineReporter.com

It is now April 7th, the day of my flight. I show up a few hours early and head to check in. Although they run only one flight per day out of Seattle, the airline had their own ticket counter with three lines: Economy, Comfort and Saga.

Because I was a bit early, there was no line and the front counter lady was extremely nice, checked my passport, and tagged up my luggage. My passport was in a cover and she organized my tickets and baggage claim tickets nicely in the different compartments then could tell by my fresh passport that I likely have not flown from the international terminal recently (wait Ben… “recently” wasn’t your last international flight like 13yrs ago? – David) and gave me directions.

I go through security and was disappointed that the body scanners weren’t operating; I was hoping to show off. My flight departed from the S-Terminal, so I the short train ride over. When I arrived at the gate the plane was parked across just sitting by itself away from the terminal.

Later, I found out that the flight from Iceland to Seattle lands an hour after the one from Seattle to Iceland leaves so one of their 757s sits on the ground 23 hours every day. About an hour before boarding they towed my aircraft to the gate.

Boarding was pretty painless and typical. They load first class (Saga) first then fill from the back.

Each seat has its own in-flight entertainment system, although I wish there were more options. Photo by Benjamin Whalen / AirlineReporter.com

Each seat has its own in-flight entertainment system, although I wish there were more options. Photo by Benjamin Whalen / AirlineReporter.com

It was a full flight but I didn’t have any trouble getting my stuff in the overhead bin. Everyone had a pillow and blanket on their seats and the IFE system displayed fun facts about Iceland such as the prime ministers phone number is listed in the phone book and that every Icelander can trace their family back to the original settlers.

As we were taxing, the IFE system started working. You could pay $4 for headphones provided by the airline or use your own. The IFE consists of about 30 movies and 11 TV shows, but they most only showed the pilot episodes. I thought this would be plenty, but after 24 hours in the air (round trip), my choices felt quite limited.

The food service started as soon as we started to level off. Being fairly close to the front of the economy section, I only had to wait about 15 minutes to get my food and beverage. But the food doesn’t come free and everyone must pay, which takes time.

You have to pay for the food, but it isn't too bad. Photo by Benjamin Whalen / AirlineReporter.com

You have to pay for the food, but it isn’t too bad. Photo by Benjamin Whalen / AirlineReporter.com

After choosing the main hot meal and a beer, the flight attendant said it would cost twenty four hundred — uh WHAT? At first she thought I was being cheap but then realized I was just an ignorant American and gave me the cost in US currency — $18. Not too cheap. I noticed that a good majority of people declined a meal and drink.

Upon arrival in Iceland I had 50 minutes before the next leg of my trip to Paris. We were led off the plane through a series of passageways and then we had to go through security again. The downside to this is I had a liter of water in a Nalgene bottle I had filled up in Seattle and it was chug it or lose it. There was no opportunity to dump it out.

Once through security and getting my passport stamped into Iceland, I still had time to check out the gift shop before heading to my gate (thanks for not getting me anything –David). Boarding in Iceland was a bit different. The gates were just in the hallways and the flights weren’t announced. Because it was a hallway, people just naturally were lined up and they just started boarding without announcing anything. The remaining leg of the flight was pretty uneventful.

Upon arrival in Paris we disembarked and by the time I made it to the baggage claim I only had to wait two minutes for my bag to arrive.

The signs diving the different classes can be moved to offer quite a bit of versitility. Photo by Benjamin Whalen / AirlineReporter.com

The signs diving the different classes can be moved to offer quite a bit of versatility. Photo by Benjamin Whalen / AirlineReporter.com

BACK HOME, PARIS TO SEATTLE ON ICELANDAIR

The check-in process was a bit odd in France. The notes on the ticket for comfort Economy stated there would be a separate check-ins, however there was only Economy and Saga check-in. After 20 minutes in line the gate agent was quite abrupt and told me to stop when he was the next free agent. When he finally let me approach and after a minute of looking at my passport he just handed me a ticket and pointed to the security line.

I thought his abruptness may have been a language barrier thing as I am non-French speaker in France but then I heard him speak fine English to the next person asking questions.

When buying my ticket for this leg there were no seat options available. Turns out I got put in seat 4A, which was actually a Saga class seat. I was able to sit in the 2-2 Saga class, but still received Economy Comfort level of service. There were moveable signs on the seat backs marking the separation from Saga and Economy Class seats.

The Saga seats were plush with plenty of leg room the info card said 39″ pitch in first class, 33″ in comfort and 32″ in coach. The only other difference I noted was a much nicer pillow. It was not a bad deal having a Saga Class seat with a lower level of service.

Food in economy comfort is free, except for spirits and champagne. I had the sandwich of the day which was a chicken and a cheese thing, a gull beer, and an Icelandic milk chocolate bar. All of which tasted decent (I say this after spending a week dining on French cuisine).

I was able to sit in Saga Class, which has a 2-2 layout, but still received Economy Comfort service. Photo by Benjamin Whalen / AirlineReporter.com

I was able to sit in Saga Class, which has a 2-2 layout, but still received Economy Comfort service. Photo by Benjamin Whalen / AirlineReporter.com

After landing back in Iceland, I had 90minutes and was excited to check out the lounge that you have access to with an upgraded ticket. We were guided out of the plane and directed through passport control after which I could easily locate my gate however could not find the lounge.

The airport at KEF looks very simple and clean with hardwood and glass everywhere. The challenging part is there is not much seating at the gates which are long hallways so people are standing around crowded a bit.

This time I was in an actual comfort class seat it is an economy seat with an inch more leg room and the center seat has a tray folded down. I got lucky with my seat being 9C because it was by the loading door and gave me an extra four feet of leg room. If you get this seat, I suggest boarding last, since I had the whole plane squeezing by me as they boarded.

The seven hour flight from Iceland to Seattle was pretty uneventful, which I prefer on a flight. We landed on time even after taking off a few minutes later than scheduled.

Overall I would recommend Iceland air when traveling to Europe. They seem to have the scheduling down for very short layovers. Their whole fleet is 757s which seems to take less time to load. If you choose economy either plan to pay for the food or pack your own. The only other downside is their IFE is quite limited I watched all the tv shows and most of the movies. If the ticket is not much more, I wold suggest springing for economy comfort. It gets you much better service more legroom and not having to fight over the shared armrest.

Flying first class is pretty sweet. Having your own private jet is a bit better. But having an entire Boeing 757 airliner all to yourself is pretty baller (yes, I used “baller”). Even if you are not a fan of Donald Trump and all his antics, it is hard not to be a fan of his custom Boeing 757 private jet. This video features Amanda Miller from The Apprentice giving a tour of the aircraft. I am assuming she was chosen not for her acting and narrating skills, but if you put it on mute, the video is still quite entertaining.

The aircraft, registered OY-SHA was first delivered to Sterling Airways in June of 1991. Then it was sold to Mexico based TAESA in 1994 with registration XA-SPG. Still rather new, Paul Allen’s (co-founder of a little Seattle-based software company called Vulcan) purchased the 757 and registered it N115FS for only about a year before re-registering it to N757AF.

Thanks to @jetcitystar for pointing this out.

Allegiant Air Boeing 757-200 (N902NV) while in Las Vegas.

Allegiant Air Boeing 757-200 (N902NV) while in Las Vegas. Yes, this livery looks even better in person -- one of the best on a 757 in my opinion.

Allegiant Air has gained approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to start operating the Boeing 757-200. Today the 757 (N902NV) will start service between McAllen-Miller International Airport (MFE) and Las Vegas (LAS). You might have to be a true airline nerd to appreciate an airline starting to use a new aircraft type. I have enjoyed following Allegiant Air’s acquisition of Boeing 757s, see the re-painting, to seeing one in the buff getting its interior installed at Paine Field.

Currently, Allegiant flies a fleet of 51 MD-80 aircraft and this is the first time they have added another aircraft type. The airline owns a total of three Boeing 757s, but two of them are being leased with other airlines until mid-2012. Allegiant also plans to purchase two additional Boeing 757s that will enter service during the first quarter of 2012.

“This is an important day for Allegiant,” Andrew C. Levy, Allegiant Travel Company President, said. “The addition of the Boeing 757-200 will play an important role in our company’s future growth. Our operations team worked long and hard to ensure the completion of this certification and we thank them for their dedication in achieving this important goal.”

Allegiant was hoping to start flying to Hawaii, but the FAA required them to get experience operating the Boeing 757 over land before earning Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards 180 (ETOPS), which is required to fly to Hawaii.

It is unlikely that the Boeing 757, configured with 217 economy seats, will remain on the MFE to LAS route, since the airline is hoping to initiate service to Hawaii, Mexico and Canada via Las Vegas and Orlando. The city and airport are pretty excited about the Boeing 757 that they made a video highlighting the new aircraft coming to the airport on YouTube.

Image: gTarted
Video found via Airliners.net

One of Allegiant Air's Boeing 757s (N902NV) at Everett, WA.

One of Allegiant Air's Boeing 757s (N902NV) at Everett, WA.

Allegiant Air, based in Las Vegas, is one of those wildcard airlines. One can never really know what they might do next and that keeps things very exciting. At a recent Low-Cost Airlines World Conference, Allegiant President Andrew Levy talked about the future of the airline, which might include international destinations and a loyalty program.

According to Aviation Week, Levy is “very excited” about the posibility of international growth. Allegiant is looking at the possibility of adding flights to Mexico and Canada via Las Vegas and Orlando.

Allegiant hopes to have a fleet of six Boeing 757s to supplement their fleet of MD-80 aircraft by the end of 2012. The airline has already announced the desire to start flights to Hawaii and Levy has noted that the aircraft would have the range to fly from Las Vegas to the northern area of South America. The Boeing 757s could also be used to fly to Mexico and add capacity on domestic routes.

It appears that Allegiant could see a use for more than just six Boeing 757s. “If it’s as good an asset as we think it’s going to be for our network, we’ll certainly be buying a lot more,” Levy stated at the conference. Levy will not yet estimate a number, noting that Allegiant doesn’t know how successful the six they already have will be.

When asked about the timeline of getting more aircraft and the additional routes, an Allegiant spokesperson stated they are “targeting” Hawaii for 2012, but there are no specific timelines for the international routes.

Levy also announced the airline is looking into a loyalty program, but it will be one not like other airlines. Instead of rewarding customers for the number of flights or miles flown, it would create loyalty for the entire Allegiant brand; online packages, hotels, rental cars, etc. “We don’t need a loyalty program to get people to buy our air,” Levy stated. “If you’re in Des Moines, Iowa, and you want to go to Vegas, you’re going to buy our air. What we want you to do is buy the hotel, the car and maybe one day buy hotels in places that we don’t even fly.”

Allegiant is breaking the Ultra-Low Cost carrier mold of only having one aircraft type and looking to fly some longer international routes. I can’t wait to see what this little airline from Nevada might be able to