Category Archives: Uncategorized

Minneapolis/St. Paul prepares for Monday’s winter storm, halts evening arrivals

Delta Air Lines issued this statement:

Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport has halted all arrivals this evening due to weather conditions at the airport. Departures for remaining flights from MSP will start at 7 p.m. CT, pending an assessment of the facilities.

As a result of worsening weather conditions and resulting runway closures at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, Delta will cancel additional mainline and Delta Connection regional flights Monday. The airline has now canceled approximately 425 flights and diverted 30 others system-wide as a result of the storm with some further disruptions possible.

The narrow but powerful storm is expected to bring widespread heavy snow and high winds across the Plains with blizzard conditions in some areas. The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for parts of southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities until midnight Monday.

Conditions are anticipated to improve slowly as the storm passes this evening. The storm is expected to weaken as it continues moving east and is not forecasted to have an operational impact on major airports in Detroit and Chicago.

Delta is offering customers flying to, from or though the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes region the ability to make a one-time change to their travel plans via a travel waiver.


LATAM Airlines Peru launches a new route to San José, Costa Rica

LATAM Airlines Peru (Lima) on January 2, 2018 started new service between its Lima base and San José, Costa Rica.

The new route will be operated three flights a week with Airbus A319s on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Photo: LATAM.



North Star Air adds its first ATR 72-500


North Star Air (Thunder Bay, ON) has become a new ATR 72 operator. The carrier has added ex-Vietnam Airlines ATR 72-212A (ATR 72-500) C-FNSJ (msn 914, ex VN-B236).

Previously the carrier introduced the ATR 42 on July 14, 2017:


North Star Air operates a diverse fleets, besides the ATRs, including the Douglas DC-3 and DC-3 Turbo (below), Cessna 208B Grand Caravan (below) and Pilatus PC-12.




Route Map:

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 8.44.38 AM.png



airBaltic Boeing 737-500 skids off the taxiway at Moscow, no damage, no injuries

airBaltic issued this statement on social media:

airBaltic confirms that on December 6, 2017, due to heavy winds and slippery taxiway its flight BT428 with a Boeing 737-500 from Riga to Moscow, slid off the taxiway during taxiing after the landing in Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport.



Lufthansa is certified as a 5-Star Airline


From Skytrax:

Lufthansa has been Certified with the highest 5-Star Airline rating by SKYTRAX, the international air transport rating organisation. SKYTRAX has bestowed this distinguished honor to only nine other airlines in the world, and Lufthansa is the only European airline to earn this accolade.

The Certified 5-Star Airline Rating recognises the highest overall quality performance and excellence in ground and inflight product provided by Lufthansa to it’s customers.

A critical factor for an airline to achieve 5-Star Certification is consistency of standards, and this is where Lufthansa ranks highly across their network and different cabin types, with a core feature of the Lufthansa 5-star experience being consistent staff service quality across frontline customer touchpoints.

“The award is a well-deserved recognition of our major efforts to make Lufthansa one of the world’s leading premium airlines again,” says Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. “We have caught up because we made huge investments in our fleet, updated all our cabins, introduced digital services, opened new lounges and improved service on board and on the ground. The combination of premium offerings with the quality and professionalism of our employees has earned Lufthansa the status of a five-star airline,” Spohr adds. “Everyone at Lufthansa can be proud of this certification, especially our colleagues in the cabins and cockpits and on the ground who fulfil our premium promise every day in their interactions with our passengers. I am convinced that the most important factor in getting the fifth star was that we have the best employees.”

Edward Plaisted, CEO of Skytrax, said: “The achievement of 5-Star Airline status by Lufthansa is not only a great accolade as the first European airline to reach this target, but is a clear recognition of the improvements they have made in recent years, particularly in all areas of the front line service delivery.”

New Business class to be introduced by Lufthansa

The onboard service standards across all cabin types are meeting a high standard, and Lufthansa cabin staff service quality has developed to a point where it is very competitive within Europe, and performs well against many leading Asian and Middle Eastern airlines.

The seat product consistency is good across the Lufthansa fleet, with economy class seat comfort on widebody and narrowbody aircraft being competitive within the industry, whilst the premium economy seat performs close to Best Practice across much of the rating criteria.

New Business class to be introduced by Lufthansa

In long haul Business Class, Lufthansa currently has one of the most consistent fleetwide, long haul flatbed seats. A key factor behind Lufthansa gaining 5-Star Airline Certification is the recently announced new business class cabin and seat that will be delivered when the airline receives their first Boeing 777X aircraft. Short haul business class meets the European standard, based on economy style seating with middle seats left vacant. Lufthansa First Class seat product meets a high standard of personal comfort to customers, and the current product is well rated.

Lufthansa Signature Service

Lufthansa delivers a consistent standard of inflight entertainment across the fleet for programme choices, the quality and relevance of film, TV or music options, together with items such as headsets, reading materials, inflight WiFi and phone service.

On the ground, Lufthansa has continued the roll-out of its new Business and Senator lounge products, which are available with increasing consistency across the network. Customers can already see the refreshed interior décor and furniture in most lounges, and in-lounge dining quality and choices have improved. The “Welcome lounge” facilities in Frankfurt provide one of the best premium arrival experiences in the industry, and the First Class terminal in Frankfurt continues to delight those customers lucky enough to travel at the front end of the aircraft.

Lufthansa staff

Photos: Lufthansa.


Air Canada inaugurates the only nonstop flights from Canada to Melbourne, Australia

Air Canada Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner C-FRSR (msn 37178) SCL (Alvaro Romero). Image: 938302.

Air Canada’s inaugural flight, AC037 Boeing 787 Dreamliner service, departed Vancouver December 1, 2017 in the late evening, and arrived Sunday morning, December 3, 2017 to a water cannon welcome salute at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport. This arrival marks the only nonstop service linking Canada and Melbourne, Air Canada’s third destination served in Australia. Seasonal service now operates four times weekly between Vancouver and Melbourne until February 4, 2018 and year-round service begins June 1, 2018.

Air Canada’s state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft features 30 International Business Class lie-flat seat suites, 21 Premium Economy and 247 Economy Class seats with upgraded, and personalized in-flight entertainment at every seat throughout the aircraft.




Days of Operation




Vancouver (YVR)

Melbourne (MEL)

Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat

10:45 p.m.

09:45 a.m. +2 days


Melbourne (MEL)

Vancouver (YVR)

Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun

11:40 a.m.

07:30 a.m.

Copyright Photo: Air Canada Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner C-FRSR (msn 37178) SCL (Alvaro Romero). Image: 938302.



Alaska Airlines to put limits on “smart bags” starting on January 15, 2018


Alaska Airlines has made this announcement on their Alaska Airlines blog:

Alaska Airlines will put limits on “smart bags” starting early next year.

As of January 15, 2018 any bag powered with a lithium battery or lithium battery power bank will need to follow these requirements:

  • Smart bags will be allowed as carry-on baggage, if they meet carry-on size limits and if it’s possible to remove the battery from the bag if needed.
  • If the bag will fly as a checked bag, the battery must be removed and the battery must be carried in the cabin.
  • If it’s not possible to remove the battery from the bag, the bag won’t be allowed on the plane.

This policy follows the FAA’s general rules (PDF) regarding lithium ion batteries and also the growing concern by our industry around these batteries in our cargo areas.

“At Alaska, we are unwavering in our commitment to guest safety,” said Mike Tobin, Alaska’s manager of dangerous goods. “We love innovation and understand why smart bags are so appealing for travel. While these restrictions may pose a challenge to some of our guests, there have been no incidents to date with smart bags on airplanes and we want to keep it that way. As this technology continues to evolve, we will work with the industry and our partner airlines to evaluate all safety policies and provide clear guidance regarding the safe use of smart bags.”

Likely to be a popular gift this holiday season, these bags offer a variety of features, including GPS tracking, electronic locks and the ability to charge other electronic devices.

While rich with features, these bags are powered by lithium batteries creating concern for guest safety across the airline industry.

This week, the International Civil Aviation Organization determined that “baggage equipped with a lithium battery” should have restrictions limiting their allowance in an airplane cargo hold. This guidance has been issued due to the inconsistent nature of lithium batteries and the potential threat they pose when placed in a cargo hold.

Photo: Alaska Airlines.