The Irish and American flags were flown as Aer Lingus’ inaugural flight taxied to the gate
On May 18, yet another European airline started non-stop service to Seattle: Ireland’s Aer Lingus is now connecting Dublin with Seattle four times weekly.
The first ever pre-cleared transatlantic flight into Seattle, Aer Lingus EI 143 touched down ahead of schedule at 4.55 p.m.
Until this inaugural, Dublin was the largest European city without direct service from Seattle. Aer Lingus is using an Airbus A330-200 on the route, and flies on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday from departing at 5.35 p.m.
An Aer Lingus A330-200 landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
The Port of Seattle Fire Department welcomed Aer Lingus with a customary water cannon salute
Flying the flags
Aer Lingus COO Mike Rutter said “We are delighted to commence Ireland’s first and only direct service to Seattle, Washington State, with four direct flights each week. Seattle as a destination holds great promise for Aer Lingus given the strong business ties between the two regions making this an important route for business travel as well as leisure trips as exemplified by the high demand for business class tickets on the route to date.”
With the strong demand Aer Lingus is seeing in this route, the airline is apparently already looking at eventually increasing the frequency from four to seven flights per week.
One of Alaska Airlines three newly-converted 737-700 freighters on the ramp at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Ever wonder about the process of loading, unloading, organizing, tracking, and planning the cargo side of a cargo flight?
Wonder no more — Alaska Airlines recently invited us to watch (and then ask a metric ton of questions about) one of the airline’s new 737-700 freighters on a recent visit to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
“Alaska Air Cargo serves as a lifeline to many of the communities in Alaska where we fly,” said Jason Berry, managing director of cargo for Alaska Airlines.
“Offering reliable and consistent service is critical for us. The addition of our modern fleet paired with our proprietary navigation procedures allows us the ability to bring true scheduled service to the far north,” he said.
Alaska Airlines Ramp Service Agent (RSA) Carlos Arenas, foreground, prepares to pass a bag of mail to Lead RSA Metin Mehmedov. Both are working in the aft belly hold of the aircraft.
In preparation for the induction of Alaska’s first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, the company’s strategy was to retire the remaining 400-series “classics” from its fleet. The five combis and single dedicated freighter were all 400-series aircraft.
According to Berry, those 400s were also getting extremely cycle-heavy, which meant they had so many takeoff/landing cycles that they were nearing the end of their useful life for Alaska Airlines.
“The decision to convert three 737-700 Next-Gen passenger aircraft to freighters meant we retain much of the same fleet commonality in terms of training and maintenance and it would give us the right-sized aircraft to still serve all the same communities we provide main deck cargo lift to today (-800s could not land at some of our current scheduled airports such as Adak, Kodiak, Petersburg, and Wrangell),” he explained.
And what’s become of those old cargo planes? Berry said all six were sold to leasing companies. “I believe you can find them for sale as we speak. I speculate that someone will eventually purchase the aircraft and convert them to full freighters.”
Air France flight 338 arrives at Sea-Tac Airport March 25
Following an absence of over six years, Air France is once again flying to the U.S. Pacific Northwest, using a Boeing 777-200ER with a three-class cabin for flights from Paris-Charles De Gaulle (CDG) to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on an initial schedule of three flights per week. Seattle is Air France’s 12th U.S. gateway.
Of course there was cake
The new SEA-CDG service will operate on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, increasing to five per week during the summer peak season (June 19 – Sept. 1) by adding Mondays and Tuesdays to the schedule.
Welcome aboard! Photo: Kristin Atkinson
Your first time is something you’ll always remember. Maybe it was with the love of your life or you were even with your parents or had a close family member nearby. You may be nervous, not fully knowing what to do. Feelings of excitement, joy and even some bumps up and down happened. But a helpful hand guides you through a very exciting ride and you end up with a great touchdown.
Yes, that first time you ever fly in an airplane is pure joy and everlasting.
Yet for some, the thought of going through a crowded airport, getting into a pressurized tube with wings flown by a total stranger at speeds exceeding 500 mph, thousands of feet in the air, can be terrifying.
Thankfully there are programs at many airports to help nervous travelers.