Category Archives: Airlines

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines
~ Worldwide: https://www.flyfrontier.com/ ~

I’ve had the pleasure of flying Frontier many times – the price makes it affordable means of travel, although if you’re luggage bound, it may not be your best choice – as they knickel and dime everything with this airlines. That wasn’t always the case, before the airline wars and indentured servitude, Frontier like all airlines once offered free luggage, free snacks, free beverages, and went out of their way to serve you. You just can’t find that with airlines any more, so the choices out there – this is a good one for the economically minded. However, they cut corners everywhere they can in order to pass on the savings to the customer. I once returned my car at Sea-Tac around 2 pm, and had to sit in line to check my luggage for 4 hours until the courtesy desk opened before they don’t open it until 2 hours before departure instead of having a desk where people can come for service normal airport hours.

They bill themselves as a ultra low cost airline carrier that has headquarters in Denver, Colorado. They are the 8th largest commercial airline in the United States flying to over 80 destinations in America, and 6 international destinations.

Rated: 3.5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

Canberra International Airport


Canberra Airport
Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia

The Canberra International Airport is the mainstream airport for the Australian Capital Terrority. It provides direct domestic Services to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. It also has direct daily flights to Albury and Newcastle in New South Wales. It however does not have any regular commercial international flights operating from its strips. It services much of the political government and embassy flights as well as tourism, sister city transportation, and commuters. While a small airport, I found it basic and friendly. No wifi was found during my visits in April of 2011. Rating: 2 stars out of 5. Visited month of April 2011 – Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Reviews.

Continue reading Canberra International Airport

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

Virgin Blue

Virgin Blue


One of Australia’s local airlines is “Virgin Blue” and is Australia’s second largest airline and the largest fleet to use the “Virgin” emblem. The name is a red livery and a spin-off of the Australian slang for “Blue” or “Bluey” for a red-headed male. “Virgin Blue” serves over 28 cities in Australia with its hub center in Brisbane. Founded by Sir Richard Branson, with a fleet of over 75 Embraers and Boeings in the Bowen Hills of Brisbane in August of 2000. They began with flights to Sydney from Brisbane, it evolved to cover almost all of Australians major cities. “Virgin Blue” took advantage of Ansett Australia failing in 2001 which gave it the advantage to become Australia’s second largest domesztic carrier rather than just a competitor. Copying pricing and strategy patterns of the United State’s Southwest Airlines and Ireland’s Ryanair by cutting out in-flight meals, printed tickets, etc. has given them a strategy that was successful for them. In February of 2011, Virgin Blue did a re-brand by announcing that the word “Blue” would be removed from its name in order to attract more business away from Qantas. They also built more revenue by utilizing their planes as flying billboards by painting them with adspace. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

Brisbane Airtrain Service

Brisbane Airtrain Service
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

The Airtrain is a innovative technological rail service that runs passengers and business from Brisbane’s city center to both the International and Domestic sections of the Brisbane International Airport as well as commuters and tourists to various parts of Brisbane.

Continue reading Brisbane Airtrain Service

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

Brisbane International Airport


Brisbane International Airport
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Brisbane’s International Airport, also known simply by the acronym “BNE” is Brisbane’s main airport with both internationals and domestic services. It is the third busiest Airport in Australia next to Sydney and Melbourne. The airport is located to the northeast of the city center. From 2008-2009, the Brisbane Airport saw over 18.5 million passengers. The airport is serviced by the Brisbane Airtrain that provides a full rail service from the city center to and from the International and Domestic areas of the airport.

For more Information, Photos, and Links:

Continue reading Brisbane International Airport

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

Qantas Airlines

Qantas Airlines

Australia’s finest and most popular airline, Qantas Airways used to be named as the acronym for “Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services” as well as brandishing the nickname “The Flying Kangaroo”. Originally manifesting first in Winton Queensland on November 16, 1920 flying from Darwin to Singapore. Qantas then developed its headquarters in the city Sydney and from there quickly grew to become Australia’s largest airline as well as the third oldest airlines in the world branching out with bases around the world. Labelled a “four-star” airline, and the seventh best airline in the world, from first hand experience I would rate this airline top caliber and quality with service and comfort for trans-continental flights. In 1921 Qantas moved its headquarers from Winton, Queensland to Longreach, then in 1930 to Brisbane, and finally in 1957 to Sydney. By the 1970’s Qantas was so successful that they built a 50 million dollar headquearters with twin skyscrapers taking over a city block in expanse within downtown Sydney. In the late 1990s, Qantas as a company sought out diversity with its aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programme staffing 1-2% as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers. Not only has Qantas previously set up support for Aboriginal artists, they have bought and donated Aboriginal Art as well, integrating it into the airline image. They have also focused some of their advertising and media off of the children’s choirs of Peter Allen’s “I Still Call Australia Home”, Australian scenery, the Australian Kola (especially as a counter towards an American campaign stating Qantas was destroying the Koala habitat by bringing tourists to him), the Qantas Wallabies (Rugby Union Team), the Socceroos (National Football Team), and the 2001 Australian Grand Prix. In 1990 Qantas began running the subsidiary known as “Australia Asia Airlines” running services between Australia and Taiwan. This airlines ceased operations in 1996 when Qantas was able to fly directly to Taiwan. Qantas flys over 20 domestic destinations and over 21 international including Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. Within its group it serves 60 domestic and 27 international locations. Qantas boasts of its iQ inflight entertainment network which is quite pleasing from firsthand experience. Featured on all classes of its Airbus A380 and its A330-200s. The iQ is a audio/video on demand network in the backs of each of the passenger seas with Panasonic Avionics systems enabled hosting expanded entertainment options, touch screens, wi-fi, mobile phone functionaliy, and USB/iPod connectivity. Movies, television shows, news, flight tracking, and information is provided. Qantas also published an in-flight magazine called “The Australian Way” which is accompanied by an online travel blog at http://travelinsider.qantas.com.au. Qantas shares a frequent flyer program with other partners in the the “Oneworld” airlines network which includes American Airlines, credit card carriers, car rental companies, hotels, and other businesses. Qantas offers full “included” meal and beverage services (including alcohol) for trans-continental flights as well as headphones, comfort packs, and snacks/drinks throughout the journey. My experience flying with them was top quality. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

Continue reading Qantas Airlines

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

LAX: Los Angeles International Airport

LAX: Los Angeles International Airport
* Los Angeles, California *

LAX is the acronym and airport code for the Los Angeles International Airport. The Airport is located southwest of Los Angeles, along the beach, in he neighborhood of Westchester, 16 miles from downtown L.A. It is one of the world’s largest and most busy airports with over 59 million passengers annually. By 2009, it was the 7th busiest airport in the world. It is the hub for United, Alaska, and Amiercan Airlines, a prime location also for Southwest Airlines, Allegiant Air, Air New Zealand, Qantas, and Virgin America and a major gateway for Delta. It is also the base for the U.S. Coast Guard, the Coast Guard Air Station L.A. Facility with its world famous Dophin helicopters. With a land mass of over 3,500 acres it is one of the busiest airports in all of California next to San Francisco’s International Airport. By 1958 the airport was expanded and re-designed by the architecure firm “Pereira and Luckman” who “amped” up the Airport in anticipation of the “Jet Age”. By 1959, the first jet services arrived at LAX, connecting L.A. with N.Y.C. In 1981, a 700 million dollar expansion was completed to prepare for the 1984 Summer Olympics. The modernization renovation was never fully completed, and is why many wings and terminals at LAX are un-used. Severe damages were inflicted in 1992 with the Los Angeles Riots over the Rodney King beating. the “White Theme Building” resembles a “flying saucer sitting on four legs” with a restaurant suspended beneath the two intersecting arches that form the legs. This building was designated a cultural and historical monument by 1992. The airport was closed again in 1994 after massive destruction due to the Northridge Earthquake. 4 million dollars later, LAX was renovated with a “retro-futuristic interior” and lighting designed by Walt Disney Imagineering opening the “Encounter Restaurant” in 1997. By 2000, when L.A. hosted the Democratic National Convention, the construction of 15 acryllic glass cylinders, 10 stories high, were placed in a circle around the intersection of Sepulveda and Century Blvds, with additional cylinders of decreasing height following Century Blvd. eastward. These were designed by Nick Groh and Clint Woesner as a gateway to the airport and welcoming landmark to LAX visitors. LAX is designed with nine passenger terminals arranged in a “U” called a “horseshoe” served by a shuttle bus. There are also over 2 million square feet of cargo facilities at LAX. The “Encounter” Restaurant was temporarily closed due to security reasons after 9/11 and re-opened to the public on June 10, 2010. “Imperial Hill” or “Clutter’s Park” is a local’s favorite place for commercial aircraft spotting as well as a spot of grass in Westchester next to the In-N-Out Burger restaurant which allows for viewing low-flying commercial airlines and used as a prime filming location for such feats.


Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Friday, 8 April 2011


 



 



 



 



 



 


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

Ryanair

RyanAir
True to its name, RyanAir is a low cost Irish airline that is centered out of Dublin Airport, Ireland with bases in Dublin and London Stansted. They operate over 230 Boeing 737-800 aircraft with over 1,100 routes across Europe and Morocco from over 42 bases. They are infamous for their rapid expansion since their inception in 1985 with a boom that came about from the deregulation of Europe’s air industry in 1997 and because it has such a low-cost model. Ryanair is Europe’s largest low-cost carrier and the 3rd largest airline in Europe in terms of passenger numbers and the largest in the world in terms of international passenger numbers. Revenues now have risen from 231 million in 1998, to some 843 million in 2003 and net profits have increased from 48 million to 239 million, over the same period. Founded by Christy Ryan, Tony Ryan, and Club Travel’s own Liam Lonergan in 1985 – the first flight was a 15-seat Embraer Bandeirante turboprop aircraft that flew between Waterford and London Gatwick breaking the duopoly on London-Republic of Ireland flights at the time held by British Airways and Aer Lingus. THeir second route was Dublin-Luton to compete with the Aer Lingus / British Airways duopoly as well. With two routes and two plnes, they carried 82,000 passengers in one year. “No frills” and “no business class” became their motto. Inspired by America’s Southwest Airlines, they were convinced that Ryanair could make huge inroads into the European Market with this concept. The 1992 European Union’s deregulation of the air industry gave carriers from one EU country the right to operate scheduled services to other EU states thereby opening the doors wide for RyanAir to succeed and took on its largest expansion. They launched their interactive website in 2000 that became their prime method for booking seats. It is only possible to book seats with them via the website or Ryanair direct call center with no other possibilities officially offered. By 2003, they acquired their ailing competitor Buzz from KLM. Their 2006 half-year profits were 329 million in six months time and revenue rising by a third to 1.256 billion. In 2006 Channel 4 broadcast a documentary of its Dispatches series called “Ryanair caught napping” criticizing Ryanair’s training policies, security procedures, aircraft hygiene, and poor staff morale. This was denied by Ryanair who also claimed the filmmakers photoshopped the stewardess sleeping. In 2008 the Sunday Times reported that Ryanair was saving money by pressuring pilots to limit their discretionary fuel reserves which are in addition to the legal requirement for 5% extra fuel to be carried as a contingency with adequate fuel reserves to divert to an alternative airport with enough fuel to hold for 30 minutes at the destination airport. Ryanair has already suffered one incident in the past three years due to a low fuel situation. RyanAir in 2009 closed their operations to Valencia, Spain because on inability to reach agreements that cost 750 jobs. They then announced they were planning to offer United States bound flights for around 10 Euros by the end of 2009 which would need to be negotiated and relevant permissions obtained. By 2010 they plan to close all check-in desks requiring everyone to precheck online and only have counters for bag drop. This became a reality in October 2009. April 2010’s flight disruptions from Iceland’s volcanic eruptions Ryanair refused to comply with EU regulations which stated they were obliged to reimburse stranded passengers. Originally only willing to refund the price of an unused ticket, they eventually agreed to comply with EU legislation especially after Italy fined them 3,000,000 for failing to help passengers after cancelling their flights. In June 2010 they announced being back in the black with a 319m profit. My experience with RyanAir from Dublin to Bristol on June 10, 2010 – was definitely low budget and outside the price (which after taxes wasn’t really that cheap) wasn’t very enjoyable. The baggage process was a nightmare – they wouldn’t let you check in luggage until exactly 2 hours before the flight, and they have a really low weight limit on bags – I wound up having to repack my bags twice. (move items between the carryon and the checked meaning same amount of weight still entered the plane). They would get more passengers if they lightened up on baggage limits since all their competitors are equally nasty. For long-distance travellers coming from across the seas to use Ryanair for inter-Europe travel – this doesn’t really work and is a big check against them. Especially not being able to check in bags earlier. Boarding the plane was like Southwest, cue in line and grab what seat is available instead fo reserved seating. No drink service (for free) on the flight from Ireland to England – they did sell for higher prices beverages and food. They also had a steward hawk smokeless cigarettes on board which was nothing less than tacky. The staff was friendly and nice, servicable, etc. They gave out magazines on request but nothing in the seats to peruse (bad advertising move in my opinion). Over-all it was a quick and passable run, but the complete ‘lack of frills’ for price might still have me searching elsewhere for my next journey … as some of their competitors have just as affordable flights without the difficulties that RyanAir presents. Also for those who don’t have internet (and a printer) during their travels – ticket check-in is difficult. Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Continue reading Ryanair

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

Continental Airlines

Continental Airlines

One of the earlier airlines to be in existence, Continental has gone through many changes over its history, none more radical than its merge/takeover by United. It is an American airline based in Houston, Texas and is the fourth-largest airline in the US rated from revenue passenger miles. They cover most destinations in the U.S. and Canada, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Their three main hubs are Newark Liberty International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Continental began in 1934 out of “Varney Speed Lines” that ran airmail and passenger services in the southwest region of the United States. They took on the name “Continental Air” in 1937. They saw a major expansion in the 1960’s by adopting jet aircraft into their fleeet. In 1978 they took on International flights to Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. The 80’s saw ownership struggles which led to bankruptcy in 1983 and 1990. By 1996 there was a turnaround and more international routes were expanded by 2000. They branded partnerships with several other carriers through the years – running Continental Micronesia, ExpressJet Airlines, Continental Express, Chautauque Airlies, Cape Air, Colgan Air, CommutAir, and Gulfstream International (some of which they had ownership in and others they partnered with). On October 24, 2009 they left the SkyTeam alliance for the Star Alliance – spreading their access to over 2,423 daily flights with 130 domestic and 132 international destinations. They employ over 42,000 employees as of 2009 carrying a slogan “Work Hard, Fly Right.” By 2010 the Board of Directors between Continental and United approved a stock-swap deal combining two of the world’s largest airlines on May 2, 2010. They will merge and fly under the United Airlines name and logo. The new United will be run by Continental’s CEO – Jeffery Smisek, along with United Airline’s CEO Glenn Tilton. Their transaction is worth 3.2 billion dollars (USD). Continental was host to the first African-American pilot in 1963 when they were forced to hire him through a US Supreme Court decision based on a Colorado anti-discrimination law. He flew with Continental for 13 years until retirement in 1978, but his hire paved the way for the hiring of minority pilots for all US Carriers. They were also the first carrier to introduce the 747 into U.S. Domestic service with an upper-deck first class lounge and main deck “Polynesian Pub” that won awards for the most refined cabin interior among all airlines. They hosted a meal service based on their own Bleu-trained executive chef – Lucien DeKeyser. Through the years I’ve had several opportunities to fly with Continental. From what I remember though, their service and offerings have declined substantially through the years. This last flight I took in June of 2010 – from Newark to Dublin, well within the merger with United – I saw a very rude, moody staff that was very snappy (except for one male steward who was quite nice), crunched seating, and fill-the-plane-with-sheep mentality. On the plus side – there was no charge for checking luggage to Europe, a meal was served, and beverage service was good. The in-seat movie selections were good, and other than crunched space was an ok flight. Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

US Airways

US Airways
www.usairways.com * 1-800-428-4322 * Flying Denver to Phoenix to Portland

US Airways started as a mail carrier called “All American Airways” in 1939. US Airways is the fifth largest airline in the United States. As a premiere member of the Star Alliance, it has access to a fleet of 353 mainline jet aircrafts and 319 regional jets; serving over 200 destinations in North America, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Europe and the Middle East. US Airways employs 33,765 people worldwide and operates 3,130 daily flights (2008 stats). In 2005 when US Airways and America West merged, the Airline majorly changed and formed the vast enterprise it is now. I’ve come to know this year of US Airways to be a friendly, fast, efficient, and affordable airlines that I seem to be using a lot towards the end of 2009 and beginning of 2010. One of their major hubs is the Phoenix International Airport. For the flight from Denver, it seems the last few times I’ve flown this airline, there is always a transfer from Colorado to the Phoenix Airport. (In December I flew from Denver to Phoenix to Orlando – This time from Denver to Phoenix to Portland). As I write this review, I’m aboard one of their planes from Phoenix to Denver, after hopping the initial flight from Portland to Phoenix. A week and a half ago I decided to attend the Faerieworlds Winter Celebration in Eugene, Oregon and cruised Kayak.com to find the most cost-effective flight available. The first page of displays were all “US Airways”. A flight leaving Thursday the 28th of January 2010 from Denver at 6 pm to Phoenix, with less than a hour layover, and onwards to Portland, Oregon. I was able to pay for the ticket online (routed to Cheaptickets from Kayak), get travel insurance for $15, pre-check in and print my tickets at home before heading to the airport. The only thing that bothered me from US Airways in the process was the fact they appeared to have raised their rates for checked luggage which I’m strongly opposed of any airline charging extra for checked luggage. This put a dampener on my trip as I couldn’t afford checked luggage and would have to pack on carryons. This meant I could not bring my bodypaints, my faerie wings, or my costumery. I’d have to pick up some paints once I got there and my unique costume would have to be sans wings. :: Sigh :: They allow one carryon and a personal item like a laptop bag or purse. (45 linear inches with max. weight of 40 lbs) I got to the Denver Airport in an hour and a half drive from Colorado Springs, went through security which seemed pretty packed, and on to the US Airways gate. I found a place to plug in my laptop with no issues, and was aboard the plane in no time. They got off on time and arrived in Phoenix a little early. The transfer to the Phoenix flight to Portland was on time and arrived in Portland early. Since I last minute booked the flight, I only had middle seats available to me, but that was ok as it wasn’t too tight a ride. The US Airways planes appear more spacious than the recent experiences/flights I had with United and Frontier. Of course very little food selections offered on the plane, not that I’d pay those outrageously high prices for chips or snacks. Free complimentary beverages as is the standard for US flights regardless of the airlines you go on. I’m not drinking sodas these days so I can’t state whether they give you the can or not (which when I was a soda drinker that was an important thing) – but the juices and water is poured in a cup, so I assume so. The stewardesses were friendly and hospitable. I quite enjoyed the flights. On the return trip during January 31st … much more comfortable and positive experience home – streamlined loading and unloading, no delays, early arrivals, and friendly / hospitable staff. This time I had window seats both flights home, with leg room to stretch since the middle seats were unoccupied. US Airways puts out a nice little magazine called the same as their name, with nice glossy color photo pages and good articles. They recently implemented a rule that you cannot store laptops in the seat-back pockets. I checked my bag in for the flight home, it cost me $20 online baggage checkin (I think $25 if I didn’t do it online). Baggage drop-off at the Portland airport was quick with no waiting, and streamlined. My travels this time around with US Airways has been a positive and enjoyable experience. Thank you US Airways! Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. Flown 1/28/2010 & 1/31/2010.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

Hawaii Go! Airlines


Boarding the plane for Big Island


Hawaii Go! Airlines
Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii to Hilo, Big Island, Hawaii * http://www.mesa-air.com/ * http://www.iflygo.com/

Wednesday, August 6th, 2009 I travelled from Honolulu to Hilo with this company I’ve never heard of. A friend hooked me up with a buddy pass to try this airline out and to go see an old high school friend of mine. (Thank you Kit!) It was a small airline departing from a different section of the Honolulu main airport. Extremely friendly service and a very comfortable (and short) flight between the islands. We walked out the gate and boarded up the stairs, seated nicely, and treated well. I’ll definitely be flying Hawaii Go! again! It has become one of my favorite smaller airlines. Go! is based in Honolulu as a regional brand of the Phoenix, Arizona based ‘Mesa Airlines’. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.


Boarding the plane for Big Island


Boarding the plane for Big Island

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

Northwest Airlines

Northwest Airlines

Flight NW 217 from Portland (PDX) to Honolulu (HNL) on Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Journeying on one of my favorite all-time airlines, Northwest, which appears merged with Delta, journeying to one of my all time desired locations to visit – Hawaii. This completes my visiting all 50 of the United States. It was a 757, no supplied meals (could purchase separately), free beverages (and they gave us the can with the drink (always a plus), and peanuts. They charged $20 per bag for luggage (not nice), and $2 for headphones (most airlines give them free). But they did have inflight entertainment/movies, and the GoGo inflight internet service which was nice. It was a 2,602 mile journey to Hawaii. I left at 5:15 PM from Portland, and arrived at 7:59 PM in Hawaii. It was a 5 hour and 44 minute flight, and we arrived early. The staff was extremely friendly and the flight very comfortable. Nice. Thank you Northwest! Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

Northwest Airlines came to be on September 1, 1926 by Colonel Lewis Brittin, under the name Northwest Airways, used as a reference to the historical name for the Midwestern United States that derived from the Northwest Territory. In the beginning, Northwest was not established for passengers, but raither for the U.S. Postal service in delivering mail between Minneapolis and Chicago, using open cockpit biplanes such as the Curtiss Oriole and the 1929-built Waco JYM. Northwest Airlines is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines and is based out of Eagan, Minnesota. Their three main hubs are Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, and Memphis International Airport. For Asian flights, it operates out of Tokyo Narita International Airport (Japan). Transatlantic flights are operated from its European hub at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol thru its sister KLM. In October of 2009, its operations control center was relocated to Delta’s headquarters in Atlanta. As of 2006, Northwest became the world’s sixth largest airline for domestic and international passengers. They carry more passengers across the Pacific Ocean than any other U.S. Carrier. It filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 31, 2007. Regional flights are operated under the name Delta Connection by Mesaba Airlines, Pinnacle Airlines, and Compass Airlines. It moved to the Delta Airlines name on April 14, 2008 and finalized in October 29th, 2008 making Delta the largest airline in the world.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

Lufthansa Airlines


Lufthansa


Lufthansa Airlines * Chicago, Illinois to Dusseldorf, Germany * March 27/28th, 2009 *

This was my first trip with Lufthansa, as I’m usually a British Airways customer. I’m quite pleased with my Lufthansa experience – not only was the staff professional and polite, helpful, and courteous – the flight was safe, hospitable, and comfortable. Sleeping in economy is a nightmare on any airline, but they made it as comfortable as they could. Unlike what the American domestic flights have taken into practice of charging for alcoholic beverages, food, and snacks … Lufthansa on their international flights give you quite a few free alcoholic beverages to take the edge out of the journey, free dinner and breakfast, and beverages. Free movies that you can select and manage from the inset film screens. In addition, they didn’t lose my luggage, unlike my experience with previous airlines like British Airways where my luggage was always lost when I set down in Germany. Thank you Lufthansa!

Deutsche Lufthansa AG is one of the largest airlines in Europe in terms of overall passengers carried, and the flag carrier of Germany. The name of the company is derived from Luft (the German word for “air”), and Hansa (after Hanseatic League, the powerful medieval trading group). The airline is the world’s fifth largest airline in terms of overall passengers carried, operating services to 209 destinations in 81 countries. Together with its partners Lufthansa services around 410 destinations. It has the third-largest passenger airline fleet in the world, when combined with Lufthansa CityLine, Air Dolomiti, Eurowings, Germanwings, Augsburg Airways, Contact Air, and SWISS, operating 531 aircraft. Lufthansa corporate headquarters is in Cologne, with its main base and primary traffic hub at Frankfurt Airport in Frankfurt am Main with a second hub at Munich Airport. Lufthansa is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance. Star Alliance was formed in 1997 together with Thai Airways, United Airlines, Air Canada and Scandinavian Airlines System. The Lufthansa Group operates more than 500 aircraft and employs worldwide 105,261 people of 146 nationalities (31 December 2007). In 2008, 70.5 million passengers flew with Lufthansa (missing: Germanwings, BMI, AUA, Brussels Airlines). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lufthansa. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

Lady of the Rhine, Part 2: Chapter 3A – Arriving in Dusseldorf

, Segment A


Brea walking down the loading tube

Saturday, 28 March 2009
Dusseldorf, German

The air dragon Lufthansa was a perfect adventure across the Atlantic Ocean. Arriving at 7:15 am, after food, booze, movies, and drinks – all free, unlike the plane trips found domestically in the states where you have to purchase everything extra, Sir Thomas Leaf and Princess Breanna were quite satisfied customers. Cramped travels, it was difficult to sleep on the plane – so quite jetlagged the duo were. Customs was non-existent, a simple line and a check of the passports, no searches or luggage concerns. Luggage was not lost (unlike every other time travelled to Germany) and it was probably the smoothest air arrival these two ever experienced. Lady Vanessa and Lord Christian were awaiting our arrival and soon we were into their carriage back to their flat. A pit stop to currency exchange proved the rate of exchange is horrible and to the detriment of the American dollar. Lady Vanessa had quite a spread laid out for us of fresh German baked bread picked up from the bakery, yogurt, ham, and juice; guest beds made with towels and Easter chocolate laid awaiting, and much conversation to be had. All of the adventurers were quite exhausted, so sleep was on schedule for the remainder of the day – as evening fun was planned after they awoke.
Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Part 2: Chapter 3A – Arriving in Dusseldorf

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines

http://www.southwest.com/

Originally Air Southwest, it changed its name to Southwest Airlines in 1971 servicing their first flight on June 18, 1971. Southwest Airlines is headed by Gary C. Kelly. Kelly has served as the airline’s CEO since 2004, replacing James F. Parker, who had been the CEO for the last 3 years. Southwest Airlines is currently the largest American based low-cost airline with headquarters in Dallas, Texas servicing its most numerous flights to Las Vegas. Southwest carries the largest number of passengers each year than any other airline and owns the second largest passenger fleet of aircraft in the world. They host over 3,500 flights daily. Southwest is also one of the world’s most profitable airlines, posting profits for the 25th consecutive year in January 2008. They became popular for their short hops, no-frills service, and simple fare structure which is what they still remain famous for. They manage their own website and refuse to syndicate with the multi-fare search engines like kayak.com, orbitz.com, priceline, etc. Tickets cannot be purchased through common online venues like Orbitz or Travelocity; a minority are booked through travel agents. Most of Southwest’s tickets are issued directly by the airline over the phone or online at the company’s website which features Web-only fare discounts. They are well known for their rapid turnaround keeping its aircraft on the ground for a short twenty minutes to maximize profits. Southwest Airlines currently flies to 64 destinations throughout the United States. The airline will add its 65th destination in March 2009 when it begins service from Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota and it’s 66th destination will be in New York at LaGuardia Airport. Unlike other major airlines, Southwest allows passengers to change reservations without additional cost. While this provides flexibility to customers, Southwest does not allow same-day standby travel on a different flight (usually a free service at other airlines) without upgrading to maximum fare. Customers are not assigned seats; rather, they are assigned to one of three “boarding groups” depending on their check-in time (earlier check-ins get to board earlier), and are left to choose their own seats on the plane, which helps the airline to board passengers faster. Southwest historically allowed three pieces of luggage to be checked in free as opposed to the limit of two on the domestic flights of some other U.S. airlines. Starting January 29, 2008, passengers will be able to check up to two bags for free. A third bag will be checked for a $25 . You may also check a 4th through 9th bag for a charge of $50 a piece and any other pieces after that are $110 a piece. Unlike most services today, they still serve snacks on board even short flights. Southwest has had their fair share of lawsuits and legal pressures, the most recent in March 2008 when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors submitted documents to the United States Congress, alleging that Southwest allowed 117 of its aircraft to fly carrying passengers despite the fact that the planes were “not airworthy” according to air safety investigators. In some cases the planes were allowed to fly for up to 30 months after the inspection deadlines had passed, rendering them unfit to fly. Records indicate that thousands of passengers were flown on aircraft deemed unsafe by federal standards. Southwest declined comment at the time, and US Representative James Oberstar advised a hearing would be held. On March 12, 2008, Southwest Airlines voluntarily grounded 44 planes to check if they needed further inspection. Federal Aviation Administration claims that Southwest Airlines flew almost 60,000 flights without fuselage inspection. Southwest Airlines could be facing a $10.2 million fine if they violated FAA regulations. There have also been rumors that the FAA knew about Southwest Airlines violations but decided not to fine the airline because it would disrupt the service of Southwest. Regardless Southwest has had only three major incidents of note and has never had a passenger fatality due to an accident. My flights to the Pacific Northwest with Southwest over the Xmas holidays of 2008 were spectacular from Denver to Portland, and Seattle to Denver. Mucho thanks to Southwest for everything they do. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

Air Canada Jazz (Seattle, WA to Vancouver, B.C.)

Air Canada Jazz Seattle, Washington to Vancouver, British Columbia
Operated by Air Canada, partnered with United Airlines. This plane is a small city-hopper jet and when I emphasize small, I mean small. Too small to dock with the terminal, so as the Air Canada flight arrived, I walked down the catwalk stairs, out onto the runway around the baggage carts and up the stairs to the Air Canada Jet, very small, my carry-on didn’t fit in the overhead, but was able to half-scrunch under the seat. It was tight, friendly, and like an airline out of the past. I haven’t been on one of these city-hoppers for ages. Even though it was only a 1/2 hour flight, they still served beverages. Crazy. Very pleasant staff anyhow. They were on top-of-it with the customs forms and gave them as you boarded the flight. Luggage arrived quickly and efficiently, fastest luggage delivery I’ve experienced in my travels, that was impressive. Even though it was cramped, I enjoyed the flight. Rating 3.75 stars out of 5 (for city-hopper jet experience) .. flown 3/21/08.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

Sea-Tac Airport (SEA) – Seattle

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA-TAC)
http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/www.portseattle.org/seatac/ * Sea-Tac (Tacoma/Seattle, Washington) * the intersections of State Route 518, State Route 99 and State Route 509 in the heart of Washington State.
Conveniently located 1.5 miles from Interstate 5 – Sea-TAC (SEA) is abbreviated by a acronym-like name based off of Sea(ttle) and Tac(oma) as the two main hubs it represents. A urban transportation city or suburb called “Seatac” is home to the international airport and gateway to the Pacific world. Its the main hub for Alaska and Northwest Airlines and serves as a international gateway for North America, Europe, and East Asia. In 2007 Sea-Tac served nearly 31.3 million passengers, making it the 17th busiest airport in the United States. According to Wikipedia, The top five carriers at Sea-Tac in number of passengers carried in 2007 were Alaska Airlines (35.0%), Horizon Air (13.1%), Southwest Airlines (8.7%), United Airlines (8.6%), and Northwest Airlines (6.7%). In 1944 the Airport was constructed by the Port of Seattle to serve the citizens of Washington State since Boeing Field was taken over by the military during World War II. The first scheduled flights took place in 1947. It became an International airport shortly after with its first direct service to Tokyo. Today it’s a hub of activity serving Seattle’s very busy economic and business sector – especially after Seattle took over as a digital hub with Microsoft and Adobe setting up shop in the area. My visits to Sea-Tac have been numerous through the course of my life, and each and every visit has been a pleasant and efficient experience. Wifi, services, restaurants, and shops. Since 911, however, the security and check-through with the authority can get piled up and is not as efficient as alot of other airports. Getting to the car rentals for the most part are very efficient, and while public transportation can be tricky at SEA-TAC, it is efficient (but very costly) especially if trying to get to Seattle or Tacoma. Cabs can charge higher than a daily car rental. Be prepared for the additional expense. Enroute to Vancouver, British Columbia I didn’t have to worry about ground transportation on this visit, but didn’t particularly enjoy the out-onto-the-runway hopping onto a small jet trip on Canada air jazz, mainly because i don’t like small planes, it was however a good flight. Rating : 4 stars out of 5. Last Visited 3/21/08.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

United Airlines

122514-006

United Airlines
2008-2014 Overall rating: 4 stars out of 5
Reviewed by Thomas Baurley, Eadaoin Bineid, Leaf McGowan, and Etain De Danann

Flying the friendly skies has been a good motto for United. We have overall found efficient friendly and great service. We can’t discount a solitary airline for following suite with all the other airlines for the new charges of luggage, infants, food, and other additional services – though a recommendation to all airlines if they want to please their customers, not to knickel-and-dime them on their flights – one of the fastest ways to lose a customer. United has fluctuated with these tactics through the years causing me at some points to use other airlines while using them at other points because they always seem to have some of the best flight prices available in the market. Overall, they are one of my favorite airlines. Following are experiences and reviews for various travel experiences.

December 25, 2014: A good experience with united from check-in to arrival. Flying out of the Medford airport, we had a smooth check-in, and when on board the plane from Medford to San Francisco, the stewardess asked the passenger assigned next to us to switch so that we could sit together with our little one. A small plane, but comfortable enough. Free beverages served mid-flight and we set down safely in San Francisco. At SFO we boarded our plane for London – easy load in although they no longer seem to invite passengers with children early boarding and they loaded passengers from the front of the plane to the back. It was very difficult getting to the back of the plane being in group 4. Holding a toddler that long is very rough. The stewardess however asked an assigned passenger to the seat next to us if she could be relocated elsewhere allowing for us to have a middle seat free – giving our son the ability to stretch out rather than have to hang out on our laps. This made the flight much more bearable. Movies were good, stewardesses friendly, and helpful. Overall it was a good flight. Rating : 4 stars out of 5.

January 23, 2014: We had a top rating experience with United flying from Shannon International Airport (Ireland) to Newark, New Jersey connecting to Orange County California. Vast improvements seem to have been made with United services on our experience January 23, 2014. We had an unfortunate incident on January 22nd whereas my wife displaced her knee cap (patella) and was on crutches with a need for a wheel chair. United was right on with great personal service to accommodate us with a wheel chair and a staff member to cart my wife to the plane and helped with my burdensome luggage while having a baby strapped to me in a sling. Of course we still have issues with the weight restrictions and prices for checked luggage -overweight and more than one – as international flights should allocate you with 2 checked luggage each when traveling as such, and the child should get one now that we have a fee for an infant in the lap. Granted most airlines take advantage of their customers as the industry is moving away from the give-a ways us older patrons are used to expecting for free. Nonetheless, the staff was very friendly and helpful in accommodating our needs and checking luggage for us. The wheelchair attendant came and picked us up, stopped for us to grab some food for the trip, cruised us through duty free, and checked us in – cutting the lines onto the plane to get us settled before others piled in. That was super appreciated and made our flight. Very efficient with Shannon Airport’s pre-check through customs made traveling very easy – would want no other with foreign travel in the future. Without asking and a very surprise addition, United upgraded us on the Shannon-Newark flight to extended legroom front row so no additional pain was added to my wife’s knee – that was appreciated beyond words – thank you United. Plenty of movies to watch for free, two free meals catered to our gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian desires with plenty of free beverages made United shine in our eyes. It was a very pleasurable flight across the great pond. Arriving at Newark we were carted to our gate, waited our 4 hours layover, and boarding first with handicap assistance onto our flight- this time normal economy seats, so a little cramped. Overhead for all to see a free movie was a nice surprise for the domestic flight. Very appreciated. Plenty of beverage services came through, though one of the stewardesses was pretty worn out holding her friendly demeanor as best as she could. The flight to Orange County was fine and unloading us was very helpful as a stewardess helped me with my bags to the gate since i was overloaded with baby strapped to me with carry on luggage for both me and my wife weighing me down. The handicap assistant took my wife to baggage claim and a agent down in baggage claim had a trolley ready to help us get our luggage to our car and helped us load the vehicle – that was super appreciated and wonderful given our handicap situation. United – you rock. 2014 Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.

2013: As with most of the airlines these days, United has been decaying in what used to set them apart from the rest. No more free food during domestic flights, and one meal over international flights. Though as of recent, this had changed. During a January 23 flight from Shannon Ireland to Newark, connecting to Orange County California, we were graced with two free meals – catered to our gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan preferences. Plenty of drinks were bestowed upon us for free during this flight. So vast improvements in 2014 with United service pushing our ratings of them up to 5 stars. They keep you hydrated, but blankets and pillows are a rare oddity you have to ask for during domestic flights but very readily available during international flights. Seats seemed more cramped in 2013 flying experiences but improved greatly during 2014 for whatever reason, and movies on domestic flights are no longer free on the modern planes, older planes have them for all to see free (at least during our 2014 experience). In the modern planes – Swipe your card in the seat and then you can watch a show. Of course, they don’t put the price tag on that option anywhere to be found (2013). Winter of 2013 -wWe were flying with a baby, internationally from Los Angeles to Shannon, Ireland, with a connecting flight in Newark. First off, their web page stated that a child was rationed a checked bag and a carry-on. We had to pay a fee for the infant to sit on our lap (used to be free) and they don’t let parents with small children board before others anymore. Flying economy, you queue like the rest, even though you have to hassle other customers with the extra time it takes to settle an infant on board, and risk with the others cramming in at the same time upsetting the baby which could upset the pacifism of the trip (2013). Luckily we have a quiet baby who didn’t make a peep during the trip – all 22 hour length of it. The international flight we took Winter of 2013 was much better than a domestic, much smaller plane than they used to use, and cramped. One meal and a basic breakfast from Newark to Shannon. Plenty of drinks, but no more free alcohol over international waters like what used to be. Nickel and diming their patrons just like all the other airlines for anything they want, except movies – we did get a good selection of shows to entertain us during the journey. Overall, the flight was okay. Still upset about the extra $100 they charged us for the checked luggage with the baby. Airlines now are making it so difficult to travel by air with the added enhanced security checks, the queuing process, luggage restrictions, extreme costs for extra or over-weight baggage (In 2012 I flew to Ireland using them as a hop-over to Aer Lingus. Aer Lingus allowed two free checked bags, but since I was using them for a connection, they charged me $300 for luggage – 2nd and 3rd luggage each $100, and $100 for one being over their limit – even though their partner allowed me 2 free luggage and a third for $50, and had higher weight limits). (Aer Lingus eventually reimbursed me for that issue) While I still like United, I’m searching for a new partner and favorite (unless United changes some things). 2013 Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

United Airlines

Back in 2008, United seemed to be one of the more popular airlines with cost-effective and efficient flights. My employer booked me on this airline, and while I at the time preferred Northwest Airlines, the experiences I had in 2008 had been more than satisfactory. I did board an international flight that was bound for Tokyo with a stop-off in Seattle (where I got off) where I boarded Air Canada for the remainder of my flight to Vancouver, British Columbia. Free headphones, travel magazine, juice/soda, and a biscotti. The seats were comfortable and already had a pillow and blanket without having to ask for one. The seats of course, were crammed, just like any other flights in economy, but more comfy than the usual (except Northwest). Plenty of overhead space and under-seat storage, so i didn’t have too many issues. The Flight personnel very friendly and helpful. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. (2008)

Continue reading United Airlines

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share