Tag Archives: Continental Airlines

Random Aviation Photo

UAE flag carrier Emirates began offering direct flights between Houston and Dubai in December 2007.  As part of the festivities, I was flown out to Houston for the first flight and a press conference.  The press was herded out onto a tarmac at Houston Intercontinental to await the Boeing 777.  We had a great vantage point and some time to kill, so I whipped out the camera to take some shots.  I caught this Boeing 737 on its way to a nearby gate.  Enjoy!

Photo by Benet J. Wilson

Best of Aviation Queen: Quick Trips Across The Pond-Well Worth It

Editor’s note: kids, I’m still recovering from Thanksgiving week, so you get one more best-of for today.  This post originally appeared on the blog back on Aug. 30, 2011.  Enjoy!

All photos by Benet J. Wilson

Budget Travel magazine last week did an interesting poll: Are quick trips abroad worth the travel time?  Having done many of them myself, I say yes, wholeheartedly.

Having worked for 2 airlines and being friends with those still working for different carriers, these little 1 to 3-day trips are just the tonic I needed for a change of scenery.

Back on Dec. 18, 2004, I heard a story on NPR describing how an ice skating rink had been built on the second level of the Eiffel Tower.  One of the people they interviewed mentioned that he made the trip over the weekend, because he was an airline employee.

At the time, I was working for Delta Air Lines, and my friend Stevie was working at US Airways, so we decided to leave Friday night and come back Sunday afternoon.  Paris was unusually warm for January, and we had a grand time ice skating.

Later in the month, we had an unusual cold snap in Atlanta, which led to me and Stevie, along with some other airline geek friends, to fly down to St. Martin overnight.  The trip was so quick I didn’t even have to pay the departure tax.

We hung out at the Sunset Beach Bar for some truly amazing planespotting and I even managed to get a bit of color.  The bar is right across the street from the airport.  If you’re an airplane enthusiast like me, this place is Shangri-La, because the planes literally are less that 20 feet above the beach when they land. And when they take off, the freaks are usually hanging horizontally on the fence or across the street on the beach, all to catch the jet wash.

You haven’t *lived* until you’ve stood on the beach as an Air France Airbus A340 takes off. Brings a whole new meaning to the word exfoliant!!

So I throw the question to you — have you done quick international trips? Where? And why?

Top Five Interesting Stories Of The Week

  1. All the true airline geeks (including me) were excited over a major aviation event this past weekend — the final steps to a complete merger of Continental Airlines and United Airlines.  In this phase, the airline now has a single reservation system, a single check-in and one frequent flyer program — MileagePlus. But there’s always some problems when you’re merging two systems, including “late flight departures and arrivals, missed connections, problems at check-in kiosks, long lines and extended wait times to reach reservations agents as United agents tried to master the new system,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
  2. I’m a fool for anything written about my favorite aircraft — the Boeing 747.  So I thoroughly enjoyed a blog post by my former Aviation Week colleague Guy Norris, who gave us a sneak peek of the inside of a VIP 747 delivered to a Middle East customer in the Things With Wings blog.
  3. Back in late 1999, I took a trip to Israel for the delivery of the first ATR-72 to Arkia Israel Airlines. I was in New York City for a family event, so I flew on TWA to Tel Aviv. I could do several blog posts about that particular flight, but one of the things I remember is the flight attendants rolling down the aisles selling TWA-branded items — and being quite aggressive about it. Which is what I thought about when I read this New York Times article on the new revenue sources airlines are now chasing, including insurance, branded items and TV commercials.
  4. With Terrafugia Inc, about to debut its flying car at the New York Auto show next month, I read this Lifehacker blog post on the first true flying car.  The AVE Mizar was a Ford Pinto merged with a Cessna Skymaster plane. The wings were detachable, and that was the plane’s downfall.
  5. Back in the spring of 2005 when I was working for Delta Air Lines, I had to go out to Salt Lake City for a business meeting. One of my co-workers took me to the home of a flight attendant who had turned his basement into a Delta/Pan Am museum, complete with a reconstructed first class cabin, uniforms, travel posters and a huge pile of memorabilia. One thing he had was the wine-in-a-can Delta served passengers in the 1970s. So I thoroughly enjoyed a  post from Mary Kirby of the APEX Editor’s blog on Delta’s selections of wine in a box.

With the big switchover this weekend, the Continental Airlines name is no more.  So I’ll end this post with a classic commercial from the 1970s that featured a young Farrah Fawcett in the “We Really Move Our Tails For You” tag line. Enjoy!

Suing Over Turbulence? Really? Really?

I shook my head in amazement when I read this story — Turbulent flight lands in court — in the Houston Chronicle.  This story seems better suited to my Friday column, Strange But True Aviation News.

Long story short, Colleen O’Neal is suing Continental Airlines (who she bought her ticket from), United Airlines (Continental’s parent company) and Pinnacle Airlines (the airline that flew the turbulent flight) after experiencing severe turbulence during thunderstorms and tornadoes that were happening during her flight in October 2009.

I take issue with this lawsuit.  First and foremost, airlines cannot control weather.  And weather can change in an instant.  Once you’re up, the crew is responsible for making your flight as safe as possible, but they cannot change the weather.

I guess we’re all entitled to our day in court, but for the life of me, I don’t understand how it even got to this point.  So what am I missing here?