Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Lufthansa Crane Sponsorship

Lufthansa likes their crane logo. It is the best logo of any airline flying today (RIP Pluna).  The crane is a central part to the brand and is included in their kids programs too.  They also support a group saving crane habitats in central Europe. I enjoy well thought out branding and when companies support related and non-objectionable causes.
Lufthansa Crane Logo

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Channel 9 at the Airport Hotel

I stayed at the Sheraton Albuquerque airport hotel and had some fun looking out the window.  I requested a high corner room to have a good view of the airport action.  To increase the fun, I brought along my NASCAR/ Indycar scanner and set it to pick up the ABQ tower.  The reception was great and I had a good view and understanding of the action.  Add in the Flight Aware airport view and I was a well prepared spotter.  The only bummers were it was not a busy day and the airport closed the runway that takes planes closest to the hotel.  It was still a fun way to relax after a long drive.
Good View of the Action
Flight Aware’s airport information provides airport maps with tower and ground frequencies.  This is completely legal in the USA, but illegal in certain other countries, like the UK.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Virgin Australia's New 777 Business Class

Virgin Australia is upgrading their long haul business class seats and they look amazing. The 777-300ER cabin upgrades will start in November, 2015. They are also a Delta Sky Miles partner with decent award space, so I can try the new seats for 80,000 Delta points each way.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

British Airways Award Ticket Seat Selection Fee

I paid 50,000 miles and $557 in taxes and fees to British Airways for a business class ticket to London.  This was not enough for British Airways to give me a free seat assignment.  That will be an extra $113 for the USA - London segment. I'm flying premium economy back and the fee is $56. 
BA Seat Selection Webpage

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

United Express Bombardier Q400 (DH4) Seats

I got my first upgrade of 2015 since downgrading to Gold status.  I was the last to clear and was excited to try out a new first class cabin (for me at least).  I was flying MCI-DEN on a Bombardier Q400turboprop.  The seats and service are standard United Express, except the flight attendant was upbeat and never let my coffee go empty.  Row 2 is an exit row with plenty of space, but missing a window.  The best seats are 7 C & D in Economy Plus, their leg room goes for ever and they have windows. One tip no matter where you sit, bring ear plugs.  Bombardier's are quieter than other turboprops, but still much louder than jets. 
First Class Seats 2C and 2D, Reclined and Upright
First Class United Express Seats
Economy Plus Q400 Seats - Row 7 C & D

Sunday, April 19, 2015

New Southwest Seats

Southwest is introducing new seats on the 737 fleet and are touting them as the widest coach seats on any 737 in service.  They did not mention the actual width, so I suspect they are less than 18in wide, the Airbus A320 family standard.  Wider seats are nice, but Boeing widening the 737 air-frame to accommodate 18in wide seats would be much better, but will never happen do to costs.
Good News For Southwest Regulars

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Delta Ready For Anything

While very bored at AUS, I noticed Delta had tug tow bars sitting around the gate area for five different aircraft families, from CRJ to 757/767.  Delta wants to be prepared even though some of these are rarely, if ever, used.  Southwest only needs one for all their aircraft, so this is a good example of the value of fleet planning.
Delta Ready For Anything

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Changes Coming to IHG Rewards Club in 2015

I picked up the IHG credit card from Chase recently so I could get a free night and top tier Platinum status for a $49 annual fee.  There are also bonus points to be collected, but I won’t spend anything on it later because the earn rate is pathetic.  I liked this plan and shared it with friends. 
I Mostly Have Airplane Photos
This morning I read an email from IHG announcing changes to the program.  I will no longer have top level status because “beginning in July, we’ll introduce a brand-new membership level for our members who stay with us the most.”  This is immensely frustrating because I was paying $49 to be on the top level.  I’ll keep the card for the free night and, soon, midrange status, but I’ll less likely to recommend it to anyone.  Also points will expire after 12 months of inactivity.  If this is a worry, sign up for the IHG dinning points program and you’ll be fine.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book British Airways Avios Awards Now

Spend your British Airways Avios on premium cabin awards now!  Award prices become ludicrous on April 27th and there is likely to be a mad dash for award space just before the prices change, so booking will be almost impossible after April 20th.  You can also save your Avios for short direct flights in coach, but that's not inspirational and won't make a good story.
Book While It's Still Worth While

Monday, April 13, 2015

Bad Email Subject Lines - ANA Edition

"ANA's Website will be simple and easy to use!"  This isn't the best email subject line in 2015.  I would expect that from any website, especially for a respected multinational brand that advertises in The Economist.  Maybe something was lost in translation?
ANA Does Run A Good Operation, With a Great Product

Friday, April 10, 2015

Airbus Shop Sale - 40% Off

A 1:100 scale PacMin A319 delivered to the USA for less than €200 is a great deal.  Shirts, stickers, and other models are also on sale.  Orders to the USA have VAT removed, but the shipping charges are high, so it's a wash.  Good deals though, especially with the cheap Euro.
1:1 Scale Airbus Model, Not On Sale
Update:  The store selection and frequent sales makes feel like Airbus isn't renewing this group's contract.  Maybe there will be a new and better store soon, I just hope they keep the custom A380 t-shirt.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I Wonder What's Beyond This Fence

I drove 1,200 miles last weekend to visit a radioactive hole in the ground. There was a large crowd that outnumbered off site protesters about 400:1 and it was an interesting continuation of my nuclear weapons tourism. It was really fun!
Let's See What's On The Other Side
White Sands Missile Range Landscape
Me at Ground Zero

Monday, April 6, 2015

Best Looking Airplane Paint Designs - DHL

DHL has great looking race cars and aircraft.  The A300 and Dallara DW12 aren't very attractive shapes, but the DHL paint makes them look great.
Ryan Hunter-Reay in Long Beach
DHL A300 at Madrid

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Delta Posts Serious News Story on April 1

Delta announced a serious news story yesterday and disappointed me and every other April fools day fan. Delta's SkyMiles plan is a joke, but their corporate communications team is humorless. Booooo!
Dull Delta 
ATLANTA and SHANGHAI, April 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) is partnering with Ant Financial Services Group ("Ant Financial") and UATP to make it easier for Chinese consumers to purchase airline tickets via The move, which sees Delta become the first United States carrier to add Ant Financial's Alipay payment platform to its website, is part of the airline's ongoing effort to serve Chinese travelers. UATP's alternative form of payment processing initiative connects airlines with online payment brands such as Alipay.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Middle Seat in Business Class - Lufthansa 747-400

I had a middle seat in business class on Lufthansa.  It wasn't my fault, US Airways gave away my business class seat and I was rebooked by United 678 miles away and three hours before departure.  It could have been worse, Lufthansa's old 747 business class layout is 2x3x2 while United's 747 business class layout is 2x4x2.  The service was outstanding too and I had extra space in a bulkhead seat.
Could Be Worse