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Joel Chusid’s Airline Corner – March 2015

Joel Chusid’s Airline Corner – March 2015

Assistant Editor Joel Chusid

Assistant Editor Joel Chusid

By Assistant Editor Joel Chusid

The Clampetts are Back

In the past few months, the global media has breathlessly reported on a series of incidents in China where passengers did seemingly unthinkable things on board commercial airliners. These ranged from throwing hot noodles at a flight attendant on a Thai AirAsia flight enroute to Nanjing over a seating dispute to numerous cases of passengers opening emergency exits on a number of different airlines at various stages of flight, before takeoff, while taxiing to a gate after landing and, thankfully unsuccessfully, in midflight. The reasons varied, to protest an extended delay, to “get fresh air” or “get off quicker” or inebriation. A rural farmer lit up a cigarette in the lav on a Cathay Pacific flight. Most, if not all, of these passengers ended up in jail, and the Chinese government introduced a “National Uncivilized Travel Record”, a sort of no-fly list for bad behavior, on which the errant passengers names were recorded. Why? Well, as living standards in China have risen, more and more passengers have taken to the air for the first time whereas in the past the train was the most common mode of inter-city transportation. China does have an enviable high speed rail system, but train tickets now can sometimes cost the same as an air ticket. This brings back memories of American Airlines’ introduction of “Value Pricing” in 1992, which resulted in a fare war that made flying too cheap to pass up for people who hadn’t previously flown. Those passengers new to air travel, were called, in airline speak, “FIRID” (for “first time flyer”), although they became known as “The Clampetts” and that summer of full flights was labeled “The Clampett Summer”. The Clampetts were a fictional family on a US situation comedy called “The Beverly Hillbillies” that ran in the late 1960s who had struck it rich, but were unfamiliar with creature comforts of living in a mansion. Stories that summer about passengers unfamiliar with airline travel, such as not opening a window, smoking, not knowing what to do with a seat belt and much more emerged among the employee ranks. These kinds of incidents also happen elsewhere, due to the unfamiliarity of an airplane in emerging nations. Although these incidents are far from comical; they can result in expenses, inconvenience to others and, yes indeed, a threat to safety. In the meantime, when flying in China, keep an eye on your fellow passenger as this era, too, shall pass, as air travel becomes more routine.

Speaking of Smoking

Why do airplanes still have no smoking signs lit up? Can you believe it’s been 25 years since flights (of six hours of less) became no smoking in the U.S.? Not long after that, all flights were smoke free. The rest of the world soon followed. The American Heart Association and other health organizations celebrated that anniversary on February 23 of this year. There are some of us who remember upon check-in, being asked “smoking or no smoking” and when boarding passes reflected that option and yellow nicotine stains were obvious around air vents – and seats had ashtrays. Most airlines relegated smoking to the rear of the cabin, which meant the back of the economy class section but also the last row or two of first class. Essentially, after takeoff, when today the announcement about electronic devices is made, it used to be the “smoking is now permitted” PA. Some passengers in the non-smoking section would congregate near the rear galleys to grab a smoke. On some airlines, such as Lufthansa, as I experienced, “to be equitable”, smoking was permitted on one entire side of the aircraft.

Noah’s Ark

Yes, the “Ark” is coming to New York’s JFK International Airport. Not quite Noah’s, but it’s for animals and their travel experience. The new $48 million, 178,000 square foot transport and quarantine “terminal” will handle 70,000 domestic and wild animals annually when it opens next year. The Ark is designed with its customers in mind to reduce the stress of travel, with an animal arrival and departure lounge, gourmet food, showers, an overnight pet resort called “Paradise 4 Paws” and veterinarian services. The facility is being designed out of the former Cargo Building 78 and will feature climate controlled vehicles for transfer to and from aircraft. For horses, planes can taxi directly to the terminal. Of note is the livestock handling section which has been designed with the input of famed animal welfare advocate Temple Grandin.

Copyright Photo Above: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Up-close nose view of Icelandair’s special Aurora Borealis color scheme on Boeing 757-256 TF-FIU (msn 26243).

The Northern Lights, Outside and Inside

Icelandair, in recognition of the Aurora Borealis, has introduced a new livery on one of its Boeing 757s that flies back and forth between Europe and North America, via Iceland, of course. But in addition to the paint job of the plane named Hekla Aurora, the airline has fitted the interior with blue and green LED lighting that brings the natural phenomena inside. The company says it celebrates the Icelandic stopovers they are known for, since it is one of the places in the world where the Aurora Borealis can be seen most often. Actually Reykjavik is a cool (as in fun, not temperature) place for a stopover, where 365 days a year, one can breathe clean air, eat fresh seafood, or swim in one of the many naturally indoor or outdoor heated pools or relax in the man-made Blue Lagoon, which is right near the airport.

Copyright Photo Below: Richard Vandervord/AirlinersGallery.com. A side view of TF-FIU.

Amenity Kit Retro

American-Piedmont amenity kit (MBI)(LRW)

Above Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. The Piedmont Airlines version of the new American Airlines legacy carrier amenity kits.

Since we’re talking liveries, American Airlines has introduced special liveries of its predecessor companies. That’s not unusual, but now it’s taken the same idea to its amenity kits, which are distributed to first and business class passengers on long-haul international routes. The kits, which contain the usual items like eye masks, moisturizer, toothbrush and toothpaste and such, are sized to be used as a cover for mini tablets. They’ll be debuted over several months.

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Icelandair video: The making of Hekla Aurora Boeing 757-200 logo jet

Icelandair (Keflavik) has now officially launched its special Northern Lights color scheme on the pictured Boeing 757-256 TF-FIU (msn 26243). The airline has produced this video which explains how the special livery was put together. The airliner was actually painted two months ago as we previously reported.

Top Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. TF-FIU departs from London (Heathrow).

Icelandair logo-1

Video: Want to know how Hekla Aurora was made? Check out this video from Icelandair and see the new northern lights plane features in-cabin Aurora Borealis mood lighting!

Icelandair continues:

“Watch a team of amazing artists paint an entire Icelandair plane into the beautiful northern lights. A world first, bringing the northern lights to an airport near you. This livery is a part of our #MyStopover campaign. You can take an Icelandair Stopover in Iceland for up to 7 nights at no additional airfare on your way between Europe and North America. ”

Icelandair aircraft slide show:

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La Compagnie to add a new route from London Luton to Newark

La Compagnie (Paris) has announced it will add the London (Luton) – Newark route on April 24. The new route will be operated four days a week with its 74-seat business class Boeing 757-200s.

La Compagnie logo-2 (LRW)

Copyright Photo: Jacques Guillem/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-256 F-HTAG (msn 29307) taxies at Paris (CDG>

Videos:

http://video-api.wsj.com/api-video/player/iframe.html?guid=9DB799C5-31FF-4B57-B5B2-01532ABDA2D6

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Icelandair finds tentative labor peace with its pilots, rolls out a new Northern Lights logo jet

Icelandair Group (Icelandair) (Keflavik) and the Icelandic Airline Pilots Association (FIA) have signed a tentative collective bargaining agreement that is valid until September 30, 2017. The agreement will now be presented to FIA members that will vote on the agreement.

Björgólfur Jóhannsson, President and CEO of Icelandair Group: “If ratified, this new three year agreement with FIA is an important milestone that will enable us to aim for continued organic growth.”

Copyright Photo: Matt Varley/AirlinersGallery.com. Icelandair has just painted its Boeing 757-256 TF-FIU (msn 26243) in this striking Northern lights/Aurora Borealis color scheme at Norwich.

Icelandair aircraft slide show:

La Compagnie to fly from the London area to Newark with its second Boeing 757

La Compagnie (Paris-CDG) is moving into the London area market.  The new business class airline is planning to launch a new route from a London area airport to Newark in March 2015 after it takes delivery of its second 74-seat Boeing 757-200 per the Wall Street Journal.

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

The new airline commenced scheduled flights from Paris (CDG) to Newark on July 21, 2014.

Copyright Photo: Jacques Guillem/AirlinersGallery.com. The first aircraft, Boeing 757-256 F-HTAG (msn 29307) is pictured at the Paris (CDG) base.

 

 

Icelandair to resume operations at Orlando International Airport on September 4, 2015

Icelandair (Keflavik) will resume services to Orlando International Airport (MCO) starting on September 4, 2015. The airline is also adding an extra weekly flight to the sunny destination taking the service up to four times a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The carrier is moving from Sanford back to MCO. The airline drops Orlando service during the summer months.

Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-256 TF-FIZ (msn 30052) arrives in Zurich.

Video: Just Planes video of the Icelandair Boeing 757:

Icelandair: AG Slide Show

Icelandair is coming to Portland, Oregon next summer

Icelandair (Keflavik) will begin seasonal nonstop service from Portland, Oregon to Reykjavik, Iceland via Keflavik International Airport beginning on May 20, 2015 and continuing through October 21, 2015. With this new route, Icelandair now provides flights to its third gateway in the Pacific Northwest region of North America, and 14th overall in the United States and Canada.

Icelandair’s 2015 route network is the largest in the airline’s history with flights to more than 20 destinations throughout Europe. As a result of this announcement, the Portland metro area’s 2.3 million residents will gain access to one of the regions fastest elapsed flying times to popular European destinations including London, Copenhagen, Paris, Stockholm and Munich. With low fares in three cabins of service, personal in-flight entertainment, on-board Wi-Fi access, and the exciting option of booking an Icelandair Stopover in Iceland at no additional airfare for up to seven nights, Icelandair is excited to bring this refreshing new alternative to Oregon.

Service from Portland International Airport (PDX) will operate on Wednesdays and Fridays with departures at 3:40 pm (1540), arriving at Icelandair’s hub at Keflavik International Airport the following morning at 6:15 am (0615), with a total flight time of just over seven hours. Return service departs Keflavik on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:15 pm (1715), with same-day arrival in Portland at 6:15 pm (1815).

Icelandair offers service to Iceland from Boston, New York-JFK, Washington (Dulles), Seattle/Tacoma, Denver, Toronto (Pearson) and Edmonton, with seasonal service from Newark, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Sanford (near Orlando), Portland, Vancouver, Halifax, and Anchorage.

Route Map:

Icelandair PDX 9.2015 Route Map

The company is also increasing the frequencies next summer on the Newark, Toronto and Washington routes.

In other news, an Air Iceland pilot allowed his passengers to get an up-close view of the simmering Bárðarbunga volcano. Icelandair posted this report and photos on their website:

Icelandair Group passengers Erla Vinsý and Odee were two of a few lucky customers on board a recent flight with our sister company Air Iceland during the morning of September 3, 2014. With the flight path routing over central Iceland, the chance of seeing the volcanic fissure eruption in the Bárðarbunga area quickly turned into a rare opportunity thanks to clear skies, and the Air Iceland pilot didn’t let the moment pass them by. Taking a short detour via a circle back around the eruption area, passengers on both sides of the aircraft were treated to an aerial view of the eruption while flying safely over the center of the action, allowing Erla and Odee to take these unique photographs of Iceland’s nature and power in action. With brightly-colored lava seeping through the earth’s crust and steam billowing from below the surface, the passengers and crew of this Air Iceland flight were provided a memory they won’t soon forget. Tourists in Iceland are now booking all available charter flights for sightseeing into the uninhabited interior of Iceland where the volcano is putting on its show. For amateur and professional photographers and filmmakers alike, this is the chance of a lifetime. We would like to thank Erla and Odee for sharing their photographs with us!

Bárðarbunga volcano photos

Copyright Photo: Luimer Cordero/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-256 TF-LLX (msn 29311) arrives in Miami with a partial livery.

Icelandair: AG Slide Show