Archive for June, 2013

A reward for packing light

Posted on: June 8th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

The baggage fees introduced by American carriers have created a strange situation.  In an effort to avoid baggage fees, travelers try to cram as much as they can into their carry-on bags, often trying to fit over sized-baggage into the overhead bins.  As a response some carriers have begun allowing passengers without carry-on baggage to board first.

American Airlines announced that it would make this practice official policy.  Those who pack light – without any carry on baggage – will now be able to board before groups larger than two, but not before uniformed members of the armed forces, first- and business-class passengers, and elite frequent flyers.

This is probably only really good news for passengers on short trips who don’t already have elite frequent flyer status.  Ultimately it will depend on how strictly the rule is enforced.

Read more at www.economist.com

What makes air passengers happy?

Posted on: June 7th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

JD Power & Associates’ 2013 North American Airline Satisfaction Study is out and it’s telling us just what it takes to keep air travelers happy.  Turns out it might just be as simple as a smile from their flight attendant and in-flight wi-fi.  Passengers who were greeted warmly ranked their satisfaction scores up to 106 points higher than those who were not greeted with a smile at check-in.  Travelers who had wi-fi on board were also happier than those who did not.

This survey, and others like it, helps point to the important issue of in-flight satisfaction, which new companies like Routehappy (launched in April 2013) hope to capitalize on.  Routehappy allows users to search for flights according to a certain happiness rating based on things like seat layout, seat comfort, noise level, length of layovers, number of stops, entertainment options, and wi-fi availability.

Personally I’d have to agree with BBC Travel’s informal poll.  In-flight comfort is the biggest factor for me on a commercial flight.  I can bring my own entertainment, but I can’t fix how much leg room they give me.

Read more at www.bbc.co.uk

Fees Take on New Altitude

Posted on: June 6th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

The report from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics is in. In 2012 American air carriers took in $6 billion in fees from their passengers.  That’s a 3.8% increase in baggage fees and a 7.3% increase in reservation charges since 2011.  Despite that increase, passenger volume increased only by 0.8% between 2011 and 2012.

Read more at www.nytimes.com


Find a Good Flight School

Posted on: June 5th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Finding a good flight school can be difficult.  There are so many different choices, at so many different price points, and varying qualities. If your goal is to become a professional pilot you need a way to find out which school can offer you the things that you need.

Private or Commercial? 

Your first step is to determine which type of license you’re after.  Do you want to fly commercial aircraft or fly small planes for fun? The time and money commitments are very different, as is the outcome.

Part 61 or Part 141?

Part 61 and Part 141 are the two types of flight school.  The number refers to the part of the Federal Aviation Regulation under which it operates.

A Part 61 school will give you more flexibility with your schedule.  However, it will also require more flight hours before you can obtain your license.  A Part 141 school requires 35 hours for a private license, while a Part 61 requires 40.  This doesn’t make a big difference for private licenses, but if you’re looking for your commercial license you’ll find that a Part 61 school requires 250 hours while a Part 141 school only requires 190.

Visit the School

How do you find out if you like the school you’re interested in?  Visit it! Tour the facility, talk with the instructor, talk to other students if you can.  Ask them about what they like and dislike, the teaching style, and any other questions you have.

Learn to Fly Locally

If you live near Lake Placid, NY, you might be surprised to find that flight instruction is available locally through Adirondack Flying Service at the Lake Placid airport.  You can choose the experienced instructor who best fits your personality and interests.  Give us a call if you’re interested in learning more.

Read more at blog.aopa.org


The Dreamliner flies again

Posted on: June 4th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

After months of rigorous testing and a bit of a redesign the 787 Dreamliners have returned to the skies! The airships were grounded last January due to an issue with overheating battery which caused a parked craft to catch fire in one incident.  United Airlines operated their first flight since the grounding on the 20th of May between Houston and Chicago and had no problems.  The airline plans to send the Dreamliner on its first international route on June 10th, from Denver to Tokyo, and then has plans to introduce more throughout the year.  They plan to introduce eight of the Dreamliners by the end of 2013.

Several other international airlines also plan to increase their Dreamliner service over the year, but there may be some reason to be cautious before booking your first flight on a 787.   During one of the Dreamliner’s test flights in May a switchboard was damaged due to a loose nut.  While this didn’t affect passenger safety, it does suggest there might still be a a few kinks to be worked out.

Read more at www.economist.com

Pilotless flight trialled in UK shared airspace

Posted on: June 3rd, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

In April of this year a Jetstream airplane became the first “unmanned” aircraft to fly through shared airspace in the UK.

The 16 seater aircraft carried no passengers, and take-off in Warton was handled but a pilot on board.  The remainder of the 500 mile flight to Inverness was handled by another pilot on the ground, overseen by the National Air Traffic Services.

During its journey it flew through airspace with passenger carriers.  The aircraft contained many on-board sensors to help it detect and avoid an hazards.

This could have very big implications for the future of aviation.  What kinds of passenger carriers will we see in the future? Will pilots even be necessary in the air?

Read more at www.bbc.co.uk