Tag Archives: news

Strange But True Aviation News

strange store

Armrest wars. Inc. magazine reports on a fight between two lawyers on a Monarch Airlines flight from London to Malaga, Spain. One lawyer took exception when the other fell asleep and intruded on their shared armrest, which led to a shoving match.

You should have checked that map. A British Airways flight from London City Airport to New York JFK — with a stop in Ireland — had to stay overnight after the pilots realized that maps to the U.S. hadn’t been downloaded, reports the Sun. Passengers stayed overnight in Ireland and continued on their flight.

Thin — and young — is in. Russia’s Aeroflot, in an attempt to revamp its image, is allegedly removing “old, fat ugly” flight attendants from higher-paying international flights, reports Radio Free Europe. The airline didn’t comment, but a flight attendant said she was told that “only the young and thin will fly abroad for Aeroflot.”

That landing gear might be handy. An Air India flight from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport to Cochin was forced to make an emergency landing and was delayed for four hours after two engineers “forgot” to remove pins from the landing gear of the flight, reports Scroll.in. If the pins are not removed, the wheels cannot be retracted while the plane is in flight. The engineers were relieved of their duties while the airline investigates.

Some extra seats would have been nice. A Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 777 flight (with 409 seats) between Karachi and Medina, Saudi Arabia, took off with seven passengers who did not have anywhere to sit, reports Inc. So they ended up sitting in the aisles instead of the carrier turning around and removing the extra passengers.

Your Weekend Reads for March 3, 2017

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer screens an international passengers arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport Photo by Glenn Fawcett/CBP

You may have heard of a recent incident when passengers on a flight from San Francisco to New York were asked to show “documents” to U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents as they deplaned. The big question was whether Customs could require U.S. citizens to produce documents on demand that shows their citizenship. This article in the Atlantic says no, but with further explanation, because the answer isn’t quite so simple.

And on the heels of that, airports and civil rights lawyers are preparing for the next travel ban coming from President Donald Trump, reports Skift. Reports have the revised travel ban coming in the next few days with a promise that it will be rolled out in a more orderly way. It is expected to focus on six of the seven original countries (Iraq was removed) banned, but won’t target  travelers who already have visas to come to the U.S.

A first class Etihad Airways suite with the seat transformed into a lie-flat bed. Photo courtesy of Etihad

A first class Etihad Airways suite with the seat transformed into a lie-flat bed. Photo courtesy of Etihad

Thanks to my work, I’ve had the opportunity to fly in some great first class cabins. But as airlines worldwide have focused on upgrading their business class offerings, it leads to this question from APEX Media: Is the First-Class Cabin Becoming Obsolete? It was noted by attendees at the recent Business Travel Show in London that first-class products from the airlines were “conspicuously underrepresented.” The magazine noted that first class is effectively disappearing as airlines go through their fleet replacement processes.

Eighty-five percent of people who traveled by air in 2016 said they were “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their air travel experience, up from 80 percent in 2015 according to a study by Airlines for America, reports Marketwatch. And a new study by The Points Guy reveals that Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based ultra-low-cost-carrier Spirit Airlines is the worst carrier in America. The study looked at factors including price, convenience, headaches like lost baggage and extras like lounges and frequent flyer programs.

Scott Hamilton of Leeham News and Comment posts about AirAsia X’s long road to becoming profitable. Started in 2007, the long-haul unit of AirAsia was stymied after choosing the Airbus A330-200 and A340-300, two thirsty aircraft during a time when fuel prices were at record highs as it struggled to become profitable.  

32927117661_d6700cd198_z

It was big news when Delta Air Lines announced it was adding the Airbus A350 to its fleet after Boeing lost its battle to sell the Atlanta-based carrier its 787 Dreamliner. Delta recently gave the public a sneak peek of the A350-900 taking shape at Airbus’s assembly line in Toulouse, France. The A350, expected to be delivered this fall, will have 32 Delta One suites, 48 seats in the Delta Premium Select cabin and 226 Main Cabin seats, reports the Delta News Hub.

On March 20, 2012, Arkansas’ Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission voted to rename the city’s airport the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport to honor its former governor and his wife, the former Secretary of State. And now state Rep. Jason Rapert (R) has filed a bill that could remove their names from the airport, reports NPR.  The bill would forbid the state from naming facilities built with public money after people who are still alive.

Here are my four picks for more stories you should read over the weekend. Enjoy!

17096557489_f0c56cdd15_kEDITOR’S NOTE: Benét J. Wilson is a freelance aviation/travel writer based in Baltimore who is available for your writing and branded content/content marketing projects. She’s the Air Travel Expert for About.com. Follow her travel-related magazines on Flipboard: Best of About Travel, a joint curation venture with her fellow About Travel Experts; Travel-Go! There’s Nothing Stopping You, all about the passenger experience on the ground and in the air; and Aviation Geek, a joint magazine sharing everything you need to know about the commercial aviation industry. Check out her travel-related boards on Pinterest and follow her on Twitter at @AvQueenBenet, on her Aviation Queen Facebook Page and on Instagram at aviationqueen.

Strange But True Aviation News

Strange hand

Big plane, small route. United Airlines dispatched a Boeing 747 jumbo jet to fly from San Francisco International to Los Angeles International Airport. Why? To help hundreds of passengers affected by record rains and winds that wrecked havoc on the airline’s West Coast schedules causing delays and cancellations, reports Travel Skills.

I guess she really wanted that drink. A woman on an EasyJet flight from England to Spain caught drinking her own vodka was escorted off the plane and met by met by two police officers and three security guards, reports AOL. When she was leaving Spain, the airline had canceled her return, forcing her to buy a ticket on another carrier.

Coke isn’t it. A pilot known as ‘the Flying Dutchman’ is going to jail for 23 years after being convicted of smuggling cocaine worth nearly $3 million, reports the International Business Times. He was caught and arrested while sitting on the toilet in his hotel room.

Armrest wars. Inc. magazine reports on a fight between two lawyers on a Monarch Airlines flight from London to Malaga, Spain. One lawyer took exception when the other fell asleep and intruded on their shared armrest, which led to a shoving match.

Strange But True Aviation News

made_at_www.txt2pic.com-3

Birds on a plane. A photo originally posted on Reddit of a Saudi prince who boarded a flight with 80 falcons in tow, reports Business Insider. The UAE allows falcons to get their own three-year passports, according to Atlas Obscura. Airlines including Flydubai, Qatar Airways and Etihad allow falcons on its planes.

Booted off over a baby. A woman seated in first class on a Delta Air Line flight from New York to Los Angeles claims she was removed because her baby would not stop crying, reports the Independent. She was asked to move to the back after her fellow passengers complained about the noise.

Kicked off over cleavage. A woman says she was booted from a Spirit Airlines flight from New Orleans to Fort Lauderdale because she was allegedly showing too much cleavage, reports WPLG-TV. Another woman claims she was kicked off for offering tissue to the original woman who was crying over her ejection. The airline claims that the woman was intoxicated and had been asked several times to cover up before she was removed.

Dude! Where are your clothes? A man who had just taken part in a charity swim across Lake Malawi tried to board a South African Airways flight — wearing nothing but his Speedo, reports the Telegraph. He explained he forgot to bring a change of clothes, but wasn’t allowed to board the flight.

I hope he enjoyed the ride! After being removed from a United Airlines flight from Orlando to Chicago for erratic behavior, things got worse for a man from Calgary, Canada. The man hopped into an employees-only elevator at Orlando International Airport where he stole a luggage cart and drove across a taxiway, reports CBC. He was arrested and charged with trespassing and grand theft.

 

Your Weekend Reads for February 23, 2017


When it comes to the investment world, Warren Buffett is like that old commercial: “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” So the airline industry was most certainly listening after Business Insider reported that the Sage of Omaha’s latest investment brings his stake to $10 billion. That breaks down to $2.1 billion in American, $2.2 billion in United, $2.4 billion in Southwest and $3 billion in Delta.

 

Three of the big four U.S. airlines — American, Delta and United — have been in an ongoing battle to stop the expansion of the Big Three Middle East carriers — Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways — in the U.S., claiming the latter receive government subsidies that create an unfair playing field. And now data from the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office finds that foreign airlines increasingly took market share from U.S. airlines on their own turf, reports Skift. The data found that Qatar Airways’ passenger traffic to and from the U.S. soared by 46.5 percent in 2016, while Emirates flew 3.5 million people to and from U.S. airports, a 15.4 percent increase over 2015.

Anyone who knows me knows that I believe that allowing cell phone calls on flights will be tantamount to another circle of hell. I expressed my opposition to this back in 2013 in this opinion piece for CNN. The U.S. Department of Transportation received more than 7,000 comments on a proposal continue to ban inflight phone calls, reports the Los Angeles Times. The cast majority of commenters were against allowing inflight calls.

I’m a big fan of Twitter, and I’ve been impressed by how airlines including JetBlue, Delta, American and KLM have embraced it to connect with their customers. The Transportation Security Administration has taken a page from the airlines’ book and uses its own @AskTSA Twitter account to put a human face on the agency and answer travelers’ questions, reports the Wall Street Journal (subscribers only).

Photo courtesy of Air Canada

In October 2004, Air Canada tapped award-winning singer and national treasure Celine Dion to help launch its major rebranding effort. Thirteen years later, Canada’s flag carrier has done it again, and Skift spoke with Tyler Brûlé of Monocle and London-based branding consultancy Winkreative to discuss the airline’s latest new look. “Brûlé says the change was catalyzed by Air Canada President Ben Smith, who wanted to position the brand as premium across the globe, with the ‘desire for cut-through and to stand out on tarmacs around the world,’” wrote Skift.

Industry insiders know that airlines make their money from passengers who pay for premium cabin seating. We’ve also seen how carriers have been adding and taking away amenities for those sitting in economy class. The struggle to find the best balance in serving coach passengers while still watching the bottom line continues, according to FutureTravelExperience.com. “While we are a million miles away from a golden age of economy class travel, recent developments suggest that some carriers are making efforts to distance themselves from the so-called `race to the bottom,’” it writes. It notes Delta Air Lines’ plan to bring back free coach meals on 12 of its longest domestic routes, while British Airways has gotten pushback after it decided to remove free meals from short-haul economy flights.

 

Jason jpg

Earlier this week, aviation writer Jason Rabinowitz tweeted about the warnings that travelers see when they book the new bare-bones Basic Economy fares on American, Delta and United. In exchange for much lower fares, passengers don’t get to choose their seats, there are no refunds, they board last and can’t use overhead bins. I replied on Twiter that despite all the warnings, there would still be passengers upset over the terms, and this article in Inc. magazine has proven my point. Despite the airlines emphasizing that Basic Economy travelers can’t choose their seats, the writer complains about one of United’s stipulations: “Please note that customers traveling in a group, including families, will not be able to sit together.”

 

If you happen to be stuck in Basic Economy with no place to put your stuff, you may want to consider buying the hottest thing since wheeled luggage: The Airport Jacket, which was launched on Kickstarter. For $180, you get a jacket that has 14 pockets, two detachable compartments and a duffel bag that the designers say can hold a laptop, iPad, two pairs of shoes, a pair of jeans, three T-shirts, two pairs of shorts, underwear, a light sweater, a dress, a liquids bag, wallet, phone and passport.

Here are my five picks for more stories you should read over the weekend. Enjoy!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Benét J. Wilson is a freelance aviation/travel writer based in Baltimore who is available for your writing and branded content/content marketing projects. She’s the Air Travel Expert for About.com. Follow her travel-related magazines on Flipboard: Best of About Travel, a joint curation venture with her fellow About Travel Experts; Travel-Go! There’s Nothing Stopping You, all about the passenger experience on the ground and in the air; and Aviation Geek, a joint magazine sharing everything you need to know about the commercial aviation industry. Check out her travel-related boards on Pinterest and follow her on Twitter at @AvQueenBenet, on her Aviation Queen Facebook Page and on Instagram at aviationqueen.