Showing posts with label Airbus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Airbus. Show all posts

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Smokey Cold Engine Start

On cold days, jet engines have smokey start ups when first turned over in the morning.  It looks troubling until a pilot explains the behavior as normal and nothing to worry about. It makes an interesting show though. 
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Sunday, April 27, 2014

US Airways A319 In American Airlines Colors

I spotted my first US Airways plane in American Airlines paint.  N809AW was in the US Airways fleet (AW stands for America West, the airline that took over US Airways and now American), but recently received a fresh coat of paint.  US Airways is making very fast progress.
US Airways A319 Now In American Paint

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Airbus Shop Sale

The Airbus Shop is having a sale!  30% off select items, mostly clothing; the PacMin models are still full price.  They are located in German, so shipping is a tad expensive, but the prices online include 19% VAT which is taken off at checkout, so Americans get 19% everything.  I've ordered from them before and the products are top quality, but the lead time on a custom A380 shirt is over 4 weeks.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lufthansa Slim Line Airbus Seats

Slim line seats are coming to the US, Southwest is adding narrow seats and extra rows on their jets.  Lufthansa (and Swiss and Austrian Airlines which they own) has updated their Airbus fleet with these seats.  They are super skinny and have almost no padding. They are fine for a one or two hour flight, but I wouldn't want to be stuck in them for longer than 2 hours.  I do like the seat pocket redesign that provides more knee room.
Lufthansa Slim Seats
Leg room and seat back design
Center seat blocked for business class

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

More Pictures I Like

I took my new camera (Nikon D7000 with my not as new Nikkor 70-200mm 2.8 lens) on my Christmas trip to see the family and kept it handy on the flight back.  I grabbed some fun (mostly US Airways) pictures along the way.
US Airways A320
US Airways A321 Take Off
US Airways 767-200

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Vote for Me!

I entered an Airbus contest on Facebook and am in the finals, but I need your help! Vote for my Lufthansa photo here: https://apps.facebook.com/contestshq/contests/303002/voteable_entries.  Thanks!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Airbus A350XWB - Go Buy One

Airbus has a new website out promoting the A350 XWB.  The first one is being assembled and flight testing should start next year.  It looks like a great jet to fly and United has some early orders placed.  I'm excited.
A319 - A Smaller Sibling of the A350

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Salzburg and Vienna to London on Austrian Airlines

The friend I was travelling with wanted to have a Von Trapp style experience while in Austria so we took the train to Salzburg.  It’s about a two hour trip from Vienna and $75 each way.  Our train out was delayed over an hour, so don’t plan on punctuality.  Salzburg has a quaint old town with expensive hotels.  Luckily there is a Crowne Plaza and HolidayInn less than a 10 minute walk away.  The Holiday Inn had a friendly staff, recently renovated rooms, flakey free wifi, and gave a nice platinum welcome gift of a bottle of Austrian wine.  The price was right too.
Salzburg and the Funicular, Take It, Don't Walk
Nice Park
More Nice Parks
Salzburg’s highlight real includes the castle at the top of the bluffs (take the funicular railway), a lovely park on the other side of the river, Die Weisse (best food and best beer on the trip), and the old town with shops, restaurants, churches, and the Mozart house (and a NORDSEE).  This can all be done in a day with an overnight stay as to not feel rushed and enjoy an evening in town.
Die Weisse Was Amazing
NORDSEE Also Good
After two full days, we went back to Vienna to catch a flight to London.  We took the CAT, City Airport Train, to Vienna Airport and were able to check in and check out bags at the train station (the train ride is about half the price of a taxi to the airport).  The train was comfortable and we glided to the airport with ease, went through a fast security lane, had our passports stamped by customs, and settled in at the Austrian Airlines lounge.
Check In Desks at City Airport Train Station in Vienna
CAT to VIE
Austrian Airlines recently opened a newly renovated terminal at Vienna International Airport with a new check in area, new lounges, and new gate areas.  The lounge had plenty of seating, fast wifi, good drinks selection, and tasty food.  I also checked out the Priority Pass lounge (thank you Palladium card) which didn’t have a view and had similar food.
Austrian Airlines Lounge at Vienna Airport
Priority Pass Lounge at Vienna Airport
Boarding for the flight to LHR was delayed for no obvious reason and no information was given.  Once boarding started I was first down the jet bridge (Star Gold status perk) and settled into my own row.  About a dozen Austrian Olympians were on the flight.  I talked briefly with a swimmer, so I checked “talk with an Olympian” off my London to do list.  The flight boarded and departed quickly. 
VIE to LHR Flight Map
The cabin crew was very friendly and started the service quickly.  I had a soda and half a sandwich (it had an odd taste, but was free).  The flight went smoothly and we quickly arrived at LHR (The Economist makes time fly).  On approach we went up the Thames and saw all the classic London sights.  I was prepared for a long queue at customs, but there was no wait at all.  Further, the arrivals hall was full of helpful and cheery volunteers, a great experience at LHR, especially since I read about nightmarish conditions leading up to the games.  We were able to get a fast start to out 14 hour layover in London and we walked to the Tube station and headed to the Arsenal station.
Austrian Airlines Coach Meal in Europe

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Air Canada to Europe - A319 & 767

A friend from high school called me up late last month wondering if we could do a trip overseas in July.  My schedule had some flexibility to it so I started finding trips we could do on United MileagePlus miles.  We were able to settle on Barcelona, Vienna, and a half day in London for 60,000 miles; a very good deal. 
Air Canada A319 at Denver
The first leg of the journey was from Denver to Toronto to Barcelona.  My friend was originating in Chicago and we planned to meet at the international Maple Leaf Lounge in Toronto.  I was flying an A319 to Toronto connecting to a Boeing 767 to Barcelona. 

The Airbus part of my flight was great.  There was plenty of leg room and a FREE video on demand entertainment system.  The system has a great collection of new and classic movies, along with games, a map, and music.  I watched The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly.  It happened to finish just as we were landing and made the flight go very quickly.
Air Canada's Free Video On Demand
The service was friendly too.  The lead flight attendant looked like a jovial lumber jack that could be in tourism commercials.  I also got a kick out of the bilingual announcements, as required by law, not the makeup of the passengers.

After landing it was a quick walk to the transfers desk, stamp in the passport, and a quick walk to the lounge.  To speed the trip, Toronto Pearson Airport has moving walkways that go faster in the middle than at the ends.  It was my first time using them and it was fun to see the clever solution to an engineering puzzle. 
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge YYZ Bar
The Maple Leaf Lounge is on the second level (my friend walked right by it and spent a while looking for me on the departures level) of the international terminal.  This is their flagship lounge and it has plenty of seating broken up into different areas so noise doesn’t travel and to give a more private feel.  It also has free wifi, conference rooms, showers, a business center, and of course self-serve bar and hearty snacks.  The drink spread was very good, but the food was superb.  Air Canada’s lounges have some very good soup offerings and this was no different.  There was also some very tasty pasta available that reminded me of grandma's. 

I left briefly to find my friend and check out the duty free prices.  We were able to locate each other and went to the lounge for a pre-departure toast to our trip.  Our flight had a maintenance delay, so we were able to make a few more toasts before departure.  The aircraft for the trip to BCN was a 767 that Air Canada had not converted to the new business class and video on demand in coach.  The seats also were not very comfortable, so before we pushed back, I knew I was in for a long trip.
Leg Room in Coach on 767, Where's the TV?
The meal service started soon after takeoff and I enjoyed a very tasty chicken dish. The brownie was also very good.  Soon after dinner, I tried to sleep.  It didn’t go well.  I went to the back of the plane to see if any sets of 3 seats were open to lay down on, but enough people already had that idea and I was out of luck.  I wound up taking a set of two free seats, built a pillow fort, and tried to fall asleep.  I don’t know why, but nothing worked.  I might have been out for 30 minutes tops.   After a seemingly endless struggle, I spotted land (Spain looks like the American southwest from the air) and we started our approach.  Landing took us over a few sights and we quickly taxied to the gate, so fast that the crew hadn’t finished the French version of the announcement.  I was soon off the plane, not rested at all, but excited to experience Barcelona.
Tasty Chicken Dinner on Air Canada 767

Thursday, July 12, 2012

United Orders New 737's

United ordered (full press release here) 100 of Boeing's new fuel efficient 737 MAX airplanes to start updating the current fleet.  Deliveries will begin in a few years.  United also ordered 50 737-900ER jets to replace some 757's in the fleet with deliveries starting next year.  This is a good move for United to lower operating costs and I bet they got a great price on the planes because Boeing is hurting for narrow body orders.  I prefer the Airbus interior so I'm not jumping for joy on this move.  Also the 757 has 4 more first class seats than the 737-900ER and boarding is done through the middle door, so first class has a very private feel.  
United 737 MAX, photo from United Airlines
Strange that this was not announced at the Farnborough Air Show going on right now.  Airbus loves to announce orders at airshows to show off in front of the press.  Boeing prefers to announce orders as they come, but the timing and order size would make this an air show highlight.  Maybe a missed opportunity by United and Boeing.

Friday, June 8, 2012

United Airlines A319 First Class Lunch / Dinner

Even the flight attendants are excited about the shrimp salad.  It’s also the most consistent offering for lunch or dinner, so you won’t be surprised like with strange looking wraps.  I was flying from John Wayne to Denver around lunch on a United Airbus A319.  The first class lunch offerings on the two hour flight were a warm wrap or a cold shrimp salad, both came with soup.  I went for the salad.  It has six peeled shrimp on a large collection of lettuce and other salad parts.  It is a filling portion size and fairly colorful and diverse.  It came with two vinaigrette dressing cups, croutons, small side of fruit, roll, and a delicious gumbo soup.  United’s soup is superb and the gumbo, Cajun something at least, is the best yet. 
United Airlines First Shrimp Salad Lunch
The flight was fairly bumpy once we got over Colorado.  The crew made a quick and friendly service in the 8 person first class cabin.  Once the turbulence started, everyone took their seats and buckled in tight.  We also had an aborted landing due to unfavorable winds.  On the glide in, the engines suddenly wound up and we gained altitude and made a 90 degree turn.  We landed on the second try and the cabin applauded (this was more unsettling for me than the textbook go around just executed).  The cockpit crew explained what happened once we pulled onto the taxi way and made this irregular operation seem commonplace.  The professionalism of United’s pilots is second to none.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

United Airlines Domestic First Class Lunch

Soup's on!  The soup on United Airlines was the only redeemable quality of the in flight meal experience in First class on my flight that day.  I took an A320 from LGA to DEN and had the choice between a cold chicken salad and a warm wrap.  I went with the wrap, my seatmate had the salad.  Both wound up looking gross.  It was edible, but I wouldn’t recommend it on the ground.  The soup served was a cream of something and very good.  The cookie was an oatmeal raisin and I passed.  It’s hard to screw up fruit and United didn’t mess it up.  The roll was ok too.  It turned out to be filling and a great excuse to load up on wine, so the meal wasn't that bad.  Lufthansa and other European carriers do a much better job with catering, even on 90 minute flights.
United Airlines Domestic First Class Meal A320
United food isn’t always awful; there was a cold pasta and chicken meal on red eye flights last year that was great, even by on the ground standards.  Here is a fun picture from take off.  I took some cool pictures and had a nap, so the flight wasn't a total disappointment.
Taking off from LGA, United A320 First Class

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Shopping

There are a few ways to thrill an aviation nerd at Christmas, like a flight to Peru, a stay at the newest W, and airline gear.  Luckily the latter option is in a reasonable price range.  Airlines and manufactures run online stores that sell a wide array of logo gear, models, and other interesting trinkets.  I’ve ordered from Boeing, Airbus, United, and US Airways.
A380 shirt in the A380 cockpit
My favorite item is the custom A380 t-shirt from Airbus.  I ordered a shirt for my first A380 flight, a first class trip on Lufthansa.  It was a great trip and I’ll go into more detail in a future blog post.  I wore the shirt on the flight and the flight crew loved it.  They took pictures with me and I also got to visit the cockpit and meet the captain.  It was a great item and got my trip off to a great start.  Other passengers and lounge attendants also got a kick out of it.  The downside of Airbus’ store is that they ship from Germany and have a rather high minimum order amount. 

The Boeing store operates through Amazon.com and has a wide selection of models and t-shirts.  I picked up a Boeing tee and some of the cartoon airplane stickers.  There is also a retail location in Chicago at the Boeing headquarters; it’s right by the Merta station and worth a look if you are in the area. 

Almost every airline has an online store and most of the products are focused on employees, but they do allow anyone to place an order.  US Airways has a good store with lots of models, posters, and retro tees from brands they have absorbed.  Sign up for their email list, they run good promotions on occasion.  United’s store it outsourced and seems to be closing because everything is on clearance.  They recently ran, without thinking it through all the way, a free shipping promotion with no minimum order.  I picked up some luggage tags, a Ted teddy bear, and a Ted sleep kit all for under $10. 

An airline related gift could be that special and unique thing the you or the airline nerd you know would love of Christmas.  There are quite a few, though not well advertised, options out there so give it a look.  


UPDATE: It appears the United shop has closed.  None of their URLs work any more.