Over the Caribbean Sea – Photo: David Delagarza | AirlineReporter
That’s one small flight for a 737, one giant leap forward for Southwest Airlines and Houston Hobby Airport (HOU). In a sign of things to come, Southwest added to its daily Aruba service out of Baltimore and Orlando with a seasonal weekly flight between Houston and Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA). Last Saturday, I joined Southwest for the inaugural flight between Aruba and Houston. This flight was the first international commercial arrival into Hobby airport.
I â¥ Aruba, the unofficial theme of the island – Photo: David Delagarza | AirlineReporter
Although Hobby Airport does not have customs and immigration facilities, Southwest is able to operate the flight thanks to the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) preclearance facility in Aruba, which allows passengers to clear customs and immigration prior to departing for the United States. This October, however, Hobby Airport is scheduled open a new five-gate international terminal, complete with customs and immigration facilities, which will enable Southwest to further add to its international offerings at Houston.
For many, taking a ride on the 737 is nothing to write home about. How about flying on a 737-700 with only 44 seats in it? That spark your interest? Typically you will see the 700 with 128-140 seats, so that is a big change.
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has announced that they plan to start operating a business class-only 737-700 from Houston (IAH) to Stavanger (SVG) starting on August 20th of this year. The 737 will be wet-leased from PrivatAir and it will wear the SAS livery. According to their press release, the inside of the plane will offer, “SAS Long Haul Business Class concept on board… along with modern in-flight entertainment system and full-service meals and service.”
Two stories that I have come across this week that I really wanted to share:
Will Southwest Airlines be able to start flying international flights out of Houston? Image: John Murphy / Flickr
Southwest and United Airlines Battle in Houston
The short of the story is that Southwest Airlines is looking to start flying internationally from William P. Hobby Airport (HOU). United, which has a main hub out of George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) does not like this idea and is fighting to stop Southwest.
Southwest is pushing back hard with their website FreeHobbyAirport.com. They are asking locals to join in on the fight to start allowing international flights from HOU. The site is a bit salesy stating that Southwest just wants to help the people of Houston, but I am sure profit is a factor in there as well.
I am a firm believer in competition. If there is the space and demand, let’s allow Southwest to fly internationally. It will only cause United and other airlines to step up their game.
Although, if I was United Airlines, I would probably also be trying to slow down Southwest’s progress.
Read more about this story on Brett Snyder’s CrankyFlier.com.
A group from Aviation Geek Fest pose in front of a 777 GE90 engine on the Boeing factory floor. Photo by Boeing.
Be Proud to Be an AvGeek
Paul Thompson, who is an airline veteran and self-proclaimed AvGeek, recently wrote a story on APEX on his perspective on being an aviation lover and his experience with Aviation Geek Fest 2012.
One should not be embarrassed loving aviation and airlines. There are many of us out there and having events like Aviation Geek Fest allows us the opportunity to get together and share our passion. I had no idea how many AvGeeks were out there until I started this blog almost three years ago, but so happy to see so many that share my passion for airlines.
Houston Airport's Food Court
Sometimes bad things happens and there is no one to blame. Some how William Ogletree, a lawyer from Texas, didn’t get that memo. Ogletree was flying from Houston to Las Vegas back last December and went to the food court in Terminal C for some food. When leaving, he accidentally left his $800 black leather jacket, which unsurprisingly, someone ended up stealing.
Yea, that sucks, but it is a fact of life. I have lost a few coats in similar fashions (not $800 ones thanks goodness), but I didn’t blame anyone but myself. Ogletree on the other hand is threatening to sue the City of Houston, Continental Airlines and the food court’s management for failing to have “collected the coat, kept it in a secure place and held it for a reasonable time” until he was able to claim the jacket. The bitter passenger claims the defendants, “breached their duty” in connection with how they “manage lost and found items for which they are responsible.”
The letter written to the defendants, obtained by The Smoking Gun, shows Oggletree gave them ten whole days to pay him the $800 or they would also be burdened with, “court costs, attorney’s fees, investigation, expert witnesses and other damages.”
I am sorry you lost your coat Mr. Ogletree, but seriously get over it. It is not the city, the food court or Continental Airlines’s fault (I don’t even get how could come close to blame Continental — for not asking every passenger if they remembered their coats?). There are only two people to blame. Oggletree and whomever stole the jacket.
No official word if Ogletree ever got his money or his jacket.
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Source: JetBlue’s B6 Blog Image: jgdillard