The inaugural flight from Mexico City arrived in Seattle to a traditional water-cannon salute
On Wednesday, November 1 at 7:57 p.m., the inaugural Aeroméxico flight from Mexico City to Seattle touched down eight minutes ahead of schedule. After a brief taxi, the Boeing 737-800 lined up for the traditional water cannon salute, courtesy of the Port of Seattle Fire Department.
“Seattle was the largest North American market without nonstop service to Mexico City,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman. “Mexico City is an important gateway to Mexico and Latin America, and Sea-Tac provides numerous regional connections to cities throughout the Pacific Northwest.”
A United 737-900ER flying the friendly skies – Photo: John Nguyen | AirlineReporter
“Thanks, United” – it’s not a phrase you hear very often these days, but I want to give some credit where credit is due. Just a few weeks ago, after finding a great fare, my wife and I decided to take a long weekend trip to Cancun at the end of February. We were looking forward to sitting on the beach, soaking up some winter sun, and enjoying drinks at one of Cancun’s many all-inclusive resorts. Well, a lot has happened since then.
Areas affected by Zika virus – Image: CDC
First, the Zika virus became big news. In case you’ve been living in a cave for the last few weeks, Zika has been spreading like wildfire throughout South America and has recently been making inroads into Mexico and the Caribbean. On the surface, Zika doesn’t sound so bad – it typically has mild flu-like symptoms and tends to clear up pretty quickly. However, doctors have recently noticed a scary trend, wherein babies born to women who contracted Zika during pregnancy exhibit alarmingly high rates of birth defects. This led the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to issue an unprecedented travel warning, recommending that pregnant women avoid travel to all affected areas. Concerning, but still not worth canceling a trip over, given that neither of us were pregnant.
Sir Richard Branson and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger speaking at San Fransisco Airport on Tuesday (I was told that the guy to Branson's back-right is someone famous, I don't know...)
The last few days I have been surrounded by all things Virgin America while celebrating their first international route from San Fransisco (SFO) and Los Angeles (LAX) to Toronto (YYZ). Tomorrow I will post about the fun stuff that happened, but first let’s talk about some interesting news Virgin America announced while at SFO on Tuesday: they are planning to fly into Mexico.
The send off in San Fransisco was quite the scene. There were decorations, food, pink champagne and a few security guards to protect the special guests.
Not only were many of Virgin America’s leadership there, including CEO David Cush, but also Virgin’s leader Sir Richard Branson, San Fransisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. They were all there to celebrate Virgin’s growth, new route to Toronto and creation of jobs in California and San Fransisco.
“San Francisco is proud to have Virgin America as its hometown airline,” said Mayor Newsom. “Over the last few years, they’ve created hundred of new jobs, lowered fares and helped make SFO one of the nation’s few growing airports.”
Early on, Virgin America was excited to announce they are looking to fly into Mexico. The airline filed with the Department of Transportation on Tuesday to fly from SFO to Los Cabos and from LAX and SFO to Cancun. Virgin America hopes to start the flights this winter. The airline states after they get these flights up and running, they will concentrate more on creating more domestic routes.
“Today is a great day for airline competition, for our teammates and for travelers,” said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush. “When more airlines compete, consumers win with lower fares and better service. At a time when most airlines are contracting and consumers expect less and less, we’re proud to be growing, operating responsibly and offering travelers a very different kind of flight experience.”
Virgin America is still a relatively new airline, starting operations in 2007. Although the airline wears the “Virgin” name, and is the brain-child of Sir Richard Branson, he only has a 25% stake in the airline. By law, no more than 25% of a U.S. airline may be owned by foreign interests. They provide low fares, but amazing amenities. They have the best domestic in-flight entertainment system I have experienced and have a very fun, party-like atmosphere on board their planes.
A bit more:
* Rough video I streamed live from my iPhone
* Video of Branson and Schwarzenegger on the flight from LAX to SFO
Aviacsa Boeing 737-200 at McCarran Int'l Airport in Las Vegas
Due to reports of irregularities of Aviacsa’s airline maintenance, Mexico has demanded no more of their planes fly and have 60 days to fix any issues. The airline has a fleet of 26 planes, serving 17 cities, including Las Vegas.
The airline is defending themselves saying the problems were only “cosmetic — opaque logos, dull lights and scratches on the wings.”
The Transportation and Communications Department however stated that the issues found “put passengers at risk,” and it would be odd for a government to shut down an airline due to faded logos. The fact that 21 of their planes are Boeing 737-200’s and the others are Boeing 737-300 (as of Sept 2008), they are not new planes and could likely have other issues. Source: AP Image: gTarded