Tag Archives: Benet Wilson

Random Aviation Photo

Over at my Facebook group “I Love Sitting In 1st/BizClass,” we were having a discussion about  the cover photo I posted. There were concerns over a United Airlines snack box picture I used for this week’s art. So below is a photo of United Airlines food that is befitting the members of my group. I took it at my recent sneak peek of London Heathrow’s new Terminal 2. Enjoy!


Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: Who The Media Should Be Calling


A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 departing from Zurich International Airport. Photo courtesy of Aero Icarus via Flickr.

I have been sitting here in Baltimore watching the ongoing general media coverage of what happened to Flight 370 with a mx of bemusement and outright horror.  My phone has been ringing off the hook and my email inbox has been bombarded with media organizations from around the globe asking me to comment on the ongoing saga.

This shows me how desperate the general media are to find  experts to theorize on what might have happened to the Boeing 777 and its 239 passengers. Aviation accidents are one of the areas I don’t feel comfortable commenting on as a “media” expert. But after more than 20 years in the aviation business, there are a cadre of great aviation journalists that the general media SHOULD be calling, and I’ve listed them below. Put them on speed dial!

Jon OstrowerWall Street Journal: Before Ostrower, a Chicago-based aerospace reporter, came to the Journal, he was the air transport editor for FlightGlobal. Before that, he wrote the independent Flightblogger blog, considered the source of information on all things Boeing aircraft. He’s forgotten more than most of us know about the Seattle aircraft manufacturer.

Rob Mark, Jetwhine.com and Aviation International News:  besides being a licensed commercial pilot and the writer of the safety section of AIN, Mark has flown every current commercial aircraft from the Airbus A380 on down. He speaks regularly on aviation issues for FOX News and can do the same for you.

Christine Negroni, freelance aviation journalist: Negroni was on my original top 10 list. She’s written about aviation and safety for publications including the New York Times, Huffington Post, the Dallas Morning News and all the major television networks. She also covered aviation for CNN and wrote a book about the crash of TWA Flight 800. – See more at: http://www.aviationqueen.com/?s=speed+dial#sthash.XewmrFZz.dpuf


Graham Warwick and Guy Norris, Aviation Week and Space Technology: my former colleagues have been in the business for decades. Warwick, AvWeek’s managing editor for technology, has a strong background in aircraft engineering and design. Senior Editor Norris is a long-time, respected aerospace journalist who has written books on aircraft manufacturers, including Boeing.

Stephen Trimble, FlightGlobal: Trimble, FlightGlobal’s Americas Editor,  is one of the pre-eminent aerospace and aviation editors in the field.

Frank Jackman, Flight Safety Foundation: my former Aviation Week colleague covered the overhaul and maintenance side of aviation for more than 20 years. He is now Editor-in-Chief of AeroSafety World magazine and director of publications at the foundation. – See more at: http://www.aviationqueen.com/?s=speed+dial#sthash.XewmrFZz.dpuf

Best Of Aviation Queen: Does IATA Have The Answer To Better Airport Screening?

Editor’s note: I’m taking the week off for vacation, so check out some of my favorite blog posts of 2013. Airports around the world have struggled to work with their governments to to find a good balance of checkpoint security efforts since the aftermath of 9/11. The organization representing the world’s airlines weighs in with its thoughts. The post below first appeared on the blog on June 24. Enjoy!


The security checkpoint at BWI Airport.  Photos by Benet J. Wilson

My former colleague Lori Ranson is a respected freelance aviation journalist. She recently wrote an excellent piece for Mary Kirby’s (another great aviation journalist and former colleague) APEX Editor’s Blog entitled “IATA seeks to restore humanity to airport screening.”

Ranson went into fascinating detail about what the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an organization that represents the world’s carriers sees as the airport checkpoint of the future, first released in 2011.  In a nutshell, IATA wants to bring back the humanity in the screening process, allowing passengers to keep on shoes and jackets, and leave laptops in their bags, among other things.

“COF’s goal is to create a security framework that moves away from a one-size-fits-all approach to procedures built on a risk-management approach supported by optimising and enhancing technology, improving data management, and using biometric identification and behavioural analysis to strengthen security screening, increase check-point operational efficiency and improve the passenger experience at screening checkpoints,” writes Ranson.

When I read this, and read the words “checkpoint of the future,” a bell went off in my head. During almost six years of covering airports and aviation security for Aviation Week and Aviation Daily, that concept became a central theme for the Transportation Security Administration.

Back in April 2008, TSA announced — with a media event at Washington National Airport — that it was unveiling what it called the Airport Security Checkpoint of the Future. We were all shuttled out to an empty hangar, where we saw a mock-up of that checkpoint.  You can read my AvWeek Towers and Tarmacs blog post on that event here.  It was based on a study done by Palo Alto, Calif.-based innovation and design firm Ideo.

The concept was put in place at my hometown Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport about a month later. Elements included things designed to calm the checkpoint process, including: soothing lights; new age music and bird tweets (yes, bird tweets); profiles that personalized TSA screeners; an area to throw out trash and items that couldn’t be taken past security; and more clearly designed queues.  You can hear my 3-minute podcast on my experience going through the checkpoint here.

So IATA jumping into the checkpoint arena is interesting, since this has been the turf of the Transportation Security Administration, partnering with airports.  IATA is stepping up its efforts to test technology that weeds out “known travelers” from those with higher risk factors.  So it will be interesting to see what IATA will be able to achieve by its 2020 deadline. You can see a video on the checkpoint of the future here.

– See more at: http://www.aviationqueen.com/does-iata-have-the-answer-to-better-airport-screening/#sthash.zUwP010b.dpuf

Best Of Aviation Queen: Random Aviation Photo

Editor’s note: I’m taking the week off for vacation, so check out some of my favorite blog posts of 2013. In June, I got to hang out with the Airplane Geeks at the Smithsonian’s annual Be A Pilot Family Day. I snapped this photo of friend and Geek Rob Mark as we walked though the museum. The post below first appeared on the blog on June 27. Enjoy!

Last week I got to hang out with the Airplane Geeks at the Smithsonian’s annual Be A Pilot Family Day out at the Washington Dulles outpost of the Air and Space Museum. I got there early, which gave me plenty of time to snap pictures, which you can see on my Flickr account, here.  Below is a shot I took of Geek Rob Mark, who, despite his age, is still enamored with aviation. And you can listen to the show, which I got to co-host, here. Enjoy!!

9052740327_7fe9594835_b – See more at: http://www.aviationqueen.com/random-aviation-photo-96/#sthash.DC6FKAov.dpuf

Best Of Aviation Queen: 10 Must-Have Travel Apps

Editor’s note: I’m taking the week off for vacation, so check out some of my favorite blog posts of 2013. Everyone is always looking for the best travel apps, so here are some of my picks. The post below first appeared on the blog on Aug. 13. Enjoy!

Last week, my friend Jim asked me a question about a travel app. He said that I should do a blog post on my favorite travel apps, and I agreed. Apps have revolutionized the way we travel, and I have 10 in my travel apps folder on the iPhone that I can’t live without, in no particular order. Enjoy!

  1. MyTSA (free) – I have to give props to the Transportation Security Administration for creating an app that uses crowdsourcing to tell how long security lines are at airports and if there are any flight delays. It also allows users to type in an item and check if they can bring it in their carry-on or checked baggage. Finally, it offers a guide that answers the most common security questions.
  2. Smart Traveler (free) – this official app from the U.S. State Department is great for my international travelers.  It offers information including official country information, travel alerts, travel warnings, maps and U.S. embassy locations.
  3. Next Flight ($2.99) – this one is most valuable if you’re experiencing a flight delay or want to catch an earlier/later flight. Type in your city-pair and travel date, and the app shows all the flights available that day. That can be very handy if you get a less-than-helpful gate or ticket agent.
  4. Flight + ($3.99) – this app is the perfect companion to Next Flight. It offers the ability to track any flight in the world, check out flight boards at hundreds of airports, weather, maps and the ability to sync with calendars and share flight information via e-mail, text message, Facebook, and Twitter.
  5. GateGuru (free) – TripAdvisor bought this handy little app, which has expanded greatly since the acquisition. The JourneyCard section provides all your day-of-travel information in real time, including security wait times, flight delays, gate changes or layover time adjustments. The Airport Card is GateGuru’s calling card, offering maps, details and reviews of food/beverage and retail outlets and weather.
  6. Packing + TO DO (99 cents) – if you’re like me, sometimes you forget to pack key items (underwear). This app has a catalog of 800 items and allows you to customize your packing lists. You can also access the lists in the cloud. And the app is very handy in case your luggage is lost, because you can give a detailed list of items you packed.
  7. Kayak Pro (99 cents) – this is my go-to app when checking on airfares. It covers every carrier except Southwest, and gives dozens of options and price ranges. The app also lets you check hotel and rental car deals, book hotels, track flights, manage your flight, check bag fees and view maps for more than 100 airports.
  8. Hotel Tonight (free) – let’s say the worst happens; your flight is delayed or cancelled, and you’re stuck. This app offers amazing same-day deals at hotels in dozens of cities across the world. And these are not Motel 6-type facilities (no disrespect to Motel 6). Most of them are chic boutique hotels at bargain basement rates.
  9. Taxi Magic or Uber (free) – Taxi Magic allows you to book, track, pay for and get receipts for cab rides, all from your smartphone. Uber is similar to Taxi Magic, but it offers a range of cars (from UberX to Lux) to fit your budget.
  10. The Plane Rules (free) – With all the myriad rules airlines have in place when it comes to travel. Frequent flyer guru Terry Tripler’s app is a godsend to travelers who may not know the rules when it comes to airlines’ contract of carriage, liability for flight schedules and rules for same-day standby and flight changes.

– See more at: http://www.aviationqueen.com/10-must-have-travel-apps/#sthash.YDnOEPWl.dpuf