How’s this for an AvGeek irony: it’s hard to planespot from a plane. Sure, while you’re on the ground there’s tons of aircraft around. But once you’re in the sky you’re zooming by other planes so rarely — and so quickly — that it’s hard to catch any of them. But one recent flight I took was a fun exception to that rule.
Thanks to a winter wave of employee COVID infections and a high-profile system meltdown, Jetblue had a tough past year from an operational perspective. But they rebounded from those issues, and their onboard economy product still shines strong — especially the free high-speed inflight internet (“Fly-Fi”).
Fly-Fi is one of JetBlue’s major points of differentiation, and they know it
To minimize touch points in the COVID era, you can use your smartphone to control the screen
Fly-Fi is a high-bandwidth satellite-powered system that’s now available across the fleet. It provides gate-to-gate connectivity so you could start using it from the moment you board. On my flight from New York to Mexico I waited to log on since there were great takeoff views to be had.
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.
N755NW, a 42-year old NWA DC-9-41 Blasts Out of STL
Happy New Year! Heck, happy new decade while we’re at it.
With the closing of each year I invest a considerable amount of time in reflection before setting my goals and aspirations for the future. A perennial resolution I have set (and then catastrophically failed to meet) has been to make sense of the ~150K+ PlaneSpotting photos I have amassed since diving into the hobby over the summer of 2009.
While trying to determine what goal – if any – I would set around this, an intriguing question dawned on me. How has PlaneSpotting changed in the past decade? Sure, we didn’t have JetTip, ADSBexchange, or FlightRadar24 to allow for surgical, dare I say lazy, spotting. We just had to show up, maybe listen to ATC, and see what the day would bring. But how has what we might see changed?
Well, I have photographic proof of what aviation looked like at a number of airports over the course of 2010. In retrospect, it was a good travel and spotting year for me. What if, perhaps, I set a mini goal to at the very least look at every photo shot over that one year and highlight particular items of note? I spent a number of hours over the past weekend doing just that. One clear difference? My skill and equipment have come a long way over the past decade! But I digress.
Click through to join me for a stroll down AvGeek memory lane for a year which proved transformational to the AvGeek world.
We #AvGeeks are easy to please. Just give us a good view of the planes, and we’re golden. Too few airports in the US have official planespotting points, but San Francisco International (SFO) just made that situation a bit better. On February 6th it unveiled a new outdoor observation deck at the very tip of the international terminal’s G concourse.
How good is it? Very good. How close are you to the planes? Very, very close.
It’s post-security (AKA airside) so you need to be flying United or one of its Star Alliance partners to have access. But don’t worry landsiders: later this year SFO will open a pre-security observation deck in T2.
For now, read on for more info and photos from SFO’s new observation deck!
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.Â 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?