Thousands of people flew Allegiant last year thinking their planes wouldn’t fail in the air. They were wrong. All major airlines break down once in awhile. But none of them break down in midair more often than Allegiant. A Tampa Bay Times investigation — which included a first-of-its kind analysis of federal aviation records — has found that the budget carrier’s planes are four times as likely to fail during flight as those operated by other major U.S. airlines. [more inside]
Vimes Short documentary on an airport parking lot in Los Angeles, where pilots, mechanics and flight attendant live in trailers. Feels like a J. G. Ballard novel.
Two and a half years after the disappearance of MH370 (original thread), China, Malaysia and Australia have announced the search will be suspended. Why had they been so confident in the first place? How could they have been wrong? (Popular Mechanics)
More than 80,000 people have been forced to flee the raging fire in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Now, two airlines have relaxed their rules about animals in aircraft cabins, offering a chance for all family members to stay together onboard.
The Understated Elegance of the Airline Scarf by Troy Patterson [New York Times]
“Though the scarf coordinates with contemporary gender politics, it also conjures an old romance of the skies, stirring visions of aviators in open cockpits with white silk rippling at their throats and of fighter pilots wearing flight scarves printed with roaring beasts. It is also polymorphously practical. Heather Poole, a flight attendant and writer, has described scarves deployed as ad hoc bikini tops, improvised curtain ties and all-purpose utility tools: “I’ve seen a scarf used as a lanyard, a belt, a sweatband, a ponytail holder, a napkin and a compression bandage.”
What started as an amusing way to capture to fleeting attention of airline passengers, either with animation (Virgin Air 2007) , body paint (Air New Zealand 2009), elaborate costumed productions (Air New Zealand again, 2012), or sudden viral sensations (Delta Airlines 2008), the airline safety video has now transformed into a production that doubles as a marketing arm by hoping for that elusive YouTube traffic. With the summer 2015 travel season starting the airlines have started rolling out their newest productions. [more inside]
In Flight [New York Times] [Interactive] En route from London to Tokyo, a pilot’s-eye view of life in the sky.
Kayak has analyzed a billion travel searches to produce the Travel Hacker Guide, which includes the most up-and-coming beaches and destinations. For North Americans, they found that you want to book Caribbean trips 2-4 weeks ahead, and European trips 6 months ahead. There is also a nifty map showing you how much it costs to get to various destinations. The New York Times has an interview about the report. Another analysis of a different data set found that US domestic tickets are best bought 57 days out, and the best day to shop for fares is Sunday. Data outside the US is less available, but at least one paper has found that it is better to buy in the afternoon, and that 3-6 weeks is the right window.
America's favorite in-flight purveyor of ridiculousness, SkyMall, has filed for bankruptcy, blaming the increased use of electronic devices on planes for the drop in sales. [more inside]
And if you're traveling with small children, we're sorry. Flight attendant gives the obligatory safety talk, with a twist.
A flight from Baltimore to Cleveland via Atlanta is $83. A flight from Baltimore to Atlanta directly is $112. So if you want to save money, you can buy the ticket to Cleveland, and just not get on the connecting flight. This is called a 'hidden city' fare, a trick used by frequent flyers and travel agents for years. Skiplagged.com lets you search for them. They're being sued by Orbitz and American Airlines.
JetBlue is adding luggage charges and packing more seats on its planes, and customers are freaking out. Is contemporary airline service so bad because the airlines are colluding to make you suffer, as Tim Wu writes in the New Yorker? Or because low-price, a la carte service is what fliers actually want, as Alison Griswold writes in Slate? For a data-rich deep dive into what passengers really hate about air travel, see "The Unfriendly Skies" (.pdf), a report on five years worth of air travelers' complaints to the US Department of Transportation.
On Friday, ATCSCC Advisory 20 of 26-Sep-2014 went out. When operators, controllers and airport managers saw the title, a gasp of disbelief was heard. The problem was simple enough to state in three words, and complex enough to cancel thousand of flights and cost hundred of millions of dollars: ZAU ATC ZERO. [more inside]
Malaysia Airlines MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing is missing.
Flight MH370, operated on the B777-200 aircraft, departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.41am on 8 March 2014. MH370 was expected to land in Beijing at 6.30am the same day. The flight was carrying a total number of 227 passengers (including 2 infants), 12 crew members.Rumors that the plane has landed in Nanning, China are debunked. Chinese media had originally reported Vietnamese officials saying they've picked up a signal, but this has also been refuted. There has been no contact nor distress signals, and the case is especially puzzling as the plane lost contact at the safest moment of the flight. [more inside]
Just in time for holiday travel, the FAA now approves use of portable electronic devices for the entire duration of your flight.
Prepare for Take-Off Virgin-American airlines has a informational show that's better than an in-flight movie
"After all I had gone through, I couldn’t believe I was finally wearing the uniform. I had made it. I was going to fly. It was such an accomplishment." International Politics and the First African American Flight Attendants [more inside]
United Airlines holds plane so passenger can say goodbye to his dying mother. Kerry Drake broke down when it seemed he would miss the last flight to Lubbock, Texas, where his mother lay dying. Then something that an airline watchdog says "almost never happens," happened. Also on CNN.
American Airlines has been forced to cancel 300 flights this week as pilots, upset over a discouraging deal with their union (including pay and benefits cuts), have begun calling in sick in high numbers.
In 2011 Malaysia Airlines introduced what is believed to be the world's first airline integration with Facebook. In February Air France KLM announced its Meet And Seat program, allowing customers to scan other passengers' social media profiles. to select or reject seatmates. (Previously). It prompted safety and privacy concerns, while others said it showed how a company "gets" social media. In June airBaltic announced it would trial SeatBuddy to make trips more pleasant by seating like-minded people next to each other. Now, British Airways has decided to use the Internet to create dossiers on its customers, including using Google images to find pictures of passengers so that staff can approach them as they arrive at the terminal or plane. The Know Me service will initially be limited to first class passengers and other 'captains of industry'. So-called 'social seating' is part of an emerging trend to marry data-mining with customer service.
Air New Zealand latest in-flight safety video (SLYT). Cameo sketch-appearances by a variety of well-known people, including President Obama, Queen Elizabeth, and Snoop Dogg. Spot the others (mostly well-known New Zealanders). Presented by Ed O'Neil from Modern Family and New Zealand actress Melanie Lynskey from Two and a Half Men. Previously and previously.
Josef Hoflehner took a series of black & white wide-angle shots of planes that appear to be flying very close to the beach. [Previously]
Comparing airlines' Airbus A380s. Seven commercial carriers fly the A380. Here's a look at how each has used the space aboard the superjumbo jet. [LATimes photogallery].
Long exposure photos of airline traffic - like the mapping of flights with GPS, except more glowing. [more inside]
Tri-M.G. Intra Asia Airlines (Warning: Sound, Flash, airplanes) has taken regional airline website design to new heights (Warning: Airline banned in the EU for being unsafe). via
As your airline takes you from Point A to Point B, do you ever wonder about all the points in between? Enter MondoWindow (in beta today), which mashes up satellite photos, air traffic data, wikipedia, and flickr to show where your plane is, and what's nearby on the earth below, provided your flight has wifi. [more inside]
"A desperate Arizona man faced with a horrible family tragedy is praising a Southwest Airlines pilot today for displaying an act of human kindness some say is rare in the airline industry: he delayed a takeoff so the man could reach the bedside of his dying 2-year old grandson." Via. [more inside]
Aviointeriors SPA, an Italian firm specializing in aircraft seats, has patented and is marketing the Skyrider, a new saddle-style design of seat that reduces the pitch (distance between rows) by some 28% from 81 cm to 58 cm (32 inches to 23 inches). Reaction has been mixed, to say the least.
Flying 101. Kulula Airlines is a South African airlines with a great sense of humor. Yeah, I thought it was a hoax, too. It's not.
Air New Zealand's new on-board safety video has been released and this time it features the All Blacks. (YouTube) Following on from its last innovative safety video (previously), Air New Zealand has produced another quirky safety video, this time featuring the national rugby team, the All Blacks. And the soundtrack features the iconic hit, "Why Does Love Do This To Me?" (YouTube) by the The Exponents. Pure kiwiness.
Disabled traveler Rachel D. took a harrowing flight with United recently. Despite their stated policy, she was told repeatedly that "It's not in our contract to assist passengers with their luggage and we reserve the right to refuse assistance to anyone." This is not the first time United has had a problem with disabled people. (For reference, the federal Air Carrier Access Act that prohibits discrimination towards disabled passencers.)
The natural progression of airline fees has reached its apex (or nadir, depending on how you look at it): Spirit Airlines is now charging for checked and carry-on baggage. (via)
Apparently, bankrupcy isn't the only thing Japan Air Lines is fighting. The flight stewardess' uniform black market...
Filmmaker Kevin Smith was booted off a Southwest Airlines flight last night for being too fat. Oops, sorry, for some sort of nebulous "safety risk". Needless to say, Southwest is rapidly discovering what happens when you mistreat a customer with 1.6 million Twitter followers and a lot of spare time (not to mention a movie coming out).
The exotic blend of international travel, the authority of commanding the ever larger and faster airliners, and those dashing uniforms turned heads, drew autograph hunters and attracted groupies. Pilots also made a lot of money. Today it is different. Captain Dave Ryter earned so little when he was a co-pilot for a major airline that he lived in a gang area of Los Angeles, commuted for hours to work and made less money than a bus driver. A pilot's life: exhausting hours for meagre wages
Sometimes music really is a weapon. Big surprise, United Airlines messed up some luggage and refused to do anything about it. But I have to give props to this guy for taking a bad situation and making something positive out of it. Bonus points for the song being pretty catchy. I wonder what would happen if that song was so popular that the record label wanted it on the in flight music station...
"Innocuous onboard flirting is condoned: Emirates' rules require attendants to politely accept a business card or phone number if it's proffered by a passenger." Inside the life of an Emirates Airlines Flight Attendant.
Nothing to Hide. Air New Zealand has introduced new ads and an in-flight safety video which uses body-painted uniforms to ... get your attention. SFW due to strategically placed drink carts, seatbelts and camera angles.
Airlines Use Terrorism Law to Punish Unruly Passengers. Since 2003, more than 200 airline passengers have been convicted of felonies for violating terrorism laws, many for incidents only involving yelling, cursing, or behaving drunkenly. One such passenger, Tamera Jo Freeman, was arrested and convicted for "an act of terrorism under the Patriot Act," after she spanked her children for toppling tomato juice, cursed at the flight attendant who confronted her, and tossed the juice can on the floor.
Oh, it's a big, pretty white plane with red stripes, curtains in the windows and wheels; why, it looks like a big Tylenol!
Mark takes us on the A380 (warning: image heavy) from Dubai to New York with meticulous photographic detail. For $7300 you can fly the A380 with access to amenities like showers and a full-service bar, and stroll down to see the plebs in steerage. Arguably the last time a flying hotel was tried in earnest was the post-WWII Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, a staple of Pacific routes until jet-powered 707s appeared on the scene.
The Department of Homeland Security has expressed interest [PDFs] in forcing all commercial airline passengers to wear a taser bracelet that can be used to incapacitate anyone on an airline. This video, from the company that will produce the bracelets, explains how the bracelet would be put on the passenger at the point that they clear security, and would not be removed until they leave secure areas. It would take the place of boarding passes, carry personal and biometric information about the passengers, track and monitor every passenger via GPS and shock the wearer on command, immobilizing him or her for several minutes. DHS official, Paul S. Ruwaldt of the Science and Technology Directorate, office of Research and Development is also excited about the possiblility of using it as an interrogation tool at airports. Ah freedom, who knew it smelled like burning flesh?
A fairly convincing website for a fake airline added to the outrage some felt in Philadelphia when newspaper ads promised airfares based passengers' weights. "Philadelphia to L.A., $2.25/pound" read the ads.
After just eleven months of operation, Skybus has ceased operations and declared bankruptcy. It's the third American airline to do so in the past week. That, plus the fact that the FAA is coming under fire for its failure to spot missed inspections, makes this a pretty ugly week in American aviation.
Woman sues American Airlines for not preventing in-flight masturbation. Oh sure, they can tell breastfeeding mothers to cover up, but when it comes to American Airlines and a fellow passenger ejaculating into a sleeping female passenger's hair? No problem!
After taking possession of a brand spankin' new Boeing 777-300ER airliner, the pilot decided to celebrate by buzzing the airfield, landing gear retracted, at 28 feet above the ground [YouTube]. Killjoy airline executives promptly fired his ass.
Why is your plane late? Airlines can make more money selling 70 airplanes worth of tickets per hour than they could if they limited themselves to the 60 airplanes per hour that the runway can handle. A long but excellent post on what is causing the delays at the airport.
It smells like dirty socks, wet dog, oil, chemicals, gymnasiums, burning, vomit, and more. It induces blurred vision, disorientation, shaking and tremors, vertigo, seizures, loss of consciousness, respiratory failure, depression, sleep disorders, salivation, nausea and diarrhoea among other symptoms. Is "toxic airline syndrome" the new Gulf War Syndrome? [more inside]
Remember when air travel was viewed as glamorous and exciting? Of course you don't. So check out this collection of vintage flight attendant photos: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3