Category: AirlineReporter David Parker Brown

Pay the Anxiety Away – Flying United’s First C…

Pay the Anxiety Away – Flying United’s First Class:

We didn't actually get to fly a United 757, but we did get to see one, so that was cool.

We didn’t actually get to fly a United 757, but we did get to see one, so that was cool

I hear from family and friends (even strangers) all the time how they no longer like flying. It is much more stressful, the respect is gone, and the golden age has long expired. For sure, air travel has changed. It has become cheaper, much safer, and yes, more annoying. It can be a challenge for even a pro to get through an economy experience with a big smile. However, if you are one who flies with some (or a lot of) anxiety, the current flying experience can be terrifying. I don’t mean the flying at 35,000 feet in the air, but the smaller worries that can add up to one big worrisome mess.

Most people who meet me typically sees someone with an outgoing type A personality with little anxiety with flying. Sure, I have had quite a bit of experience, but when I was younger, it was very difficult for me — and sometimes, it still is. I would sweat, I would dry-heave, and I would fear the process of travel, but still loved flying.

I have improved my process for dealing with my anxiety, and flying has become much easier for me. I have been wanting to write a story about flying with anxiety for a while, but it seemed challenging for me to be effective with it, so it has been sitting in the “David Story Idea Bin” (man, some of the scraps in there…) Recently, my fiancé Brittany (we recently got engaged, yay us!) and I were set to fly from Seattle (SEA) to Maui (OGG) via San Fran (SFO) on United Airlines. We have been together for a while and done quite a few flying adventures. I know she has that sort of travel anxiety that I used to have, but loves to actually fly (I know, great catch right?).

I thought this trip might be a good opportunity to look at how flying with anxiety can be challenging and how one can make it better. Over and over again, I kept going back to how being able to pay your way out of anxiety can be a great option for some people! What better way to do that than to fly first class? Would the extra extra cost be worth the reduction of anxiety? If so, where is that tipping point? Keep reading to see what we both found.

Christmas trees (or non-denominational decorated trees) at SEA

Christmas trees (or non-denominational decorated trees) at SEA — we flew in December, so this makes sense. 

A while back, Brittany had one, very quick upgrade experience with domestic first (which in reality I don’t really call a full experience), so I was excited to see how much less stress and anxiety she would experience with this travel process versus the many other flights we have taken previously. She has tasted parts and pieces of the domestic first class experience, but this was her first time with the whole meal deal! Let’s break it down…

No lounge access with a United domestic first class ticket, but we found a nice spot at SFO to hang.

No lounge access with a United domestic first class ticket, but we found a nice spot at SFO to hang


What can first class do for you before your flight? This… :). No joke, there is something to be said about feeling a bit more excited about your flight and knowing you will be flying in a premium product. Makes it feel like your trip starts more on the airplane versus when you land.


On the day of our flight, we were dropped off by a friend (thanks Ray!) and we were at our gate just over eight minutes later. Oh, and we had to check both of our bags too! That was impressive. We were able to quickly find United’s premium check-in line, get our bags tagged, and we’re good to go. One of the benefits of flying on a premium ticket is having a greater employee-to-passenger ratio throughout your whole travel experience. Where there was one employee for the two premium kiosks, there were two for the ten economy kiosks next to us. For someone flying with anxiety, this is huge to have someone close by willing to show you how things work. Also, based on my experience, you are more likely to find the employees who smile more working the premium areas.

FLYING WITH ANXIETY TIP: Hanging out at the gate can be chaotic. Be sure to check with your airline if your domestic first class ticket will get you lounge access (most will not). If you want to spend the money, many airlines offer day passes for about $50 for the lounge. With food and drinks, that alone can be a good deal, but having better seating and less chaos (hopefully) can be amazing. 

Although we both have PreCheck (and ended up going through that line, since it was closest), we would also have had access to use the premium TSA line for having first class tickets. First off, if you do not have PreCheck, get it — worth every dollar if you travel with anxiety or not. But if you do not have PreCheck, not having to wait in those super long lines and having TSA agents yelling at you for an hour can be worth the extra cost of the ticket alone.

The view of our A320 from Seattle. Look close, you can see the tip of the tail!

The view of our A320 from Seattle. Look close, you can see the tip of the tail!


Although it seems that United changes their boarding process every time I fly them, when you have first class, you know you will be one of the first to board. With United, you can check two bags for free with a first class ticket, so really no need to fear if there might be space. However, if you don’t want to part with your things, since you will be boarding first, there will be plenty of space to put your bags.

FLYING WITH ANXIETY TIP: Use a paper ticket versus your phone. The screen might lock, your battery might die, but paper will always be there for you. Less to worry about and use your phone as the back up.

Once boarded on our flight to Maui, one of the flight attendants addressed us by our last names and asked if we would like a drink before take off. Always nice to be reassured we are in the right place! We didn’t get anything fancy, but they were quickly served. Of course if your choice is some wine or a mixed drink, they will be happy to serve you, and for many this too is a fun way to help with anxiety. Just don’t end up drinking too much — you could end up more anxious!

The United First Class seat gives you more room and with a 2:2 layout, less worry about who sits next to you!

The United first class seat gives you more room and with a 2:2 layout, less worry about who sits next to you!


“Who is going to sit next to me?” That is a question I often ask myself when I am sitting at my window seat waiting to see who comes into my row. Speaking with Brittany, this question is more vital to her when she is flying alone. You still might not know who will be sitting next to you in first class, but with a 2-2 layout in both the A320 and B737 we flew on, you have more space between you and your neighbor. Just having space is calming. I very rarely feel claustrophobic, but if I am crammed into a seat next to someone who is not respectful, I start sweating, and the flight seems 10x longer


Shortly after take off, the cabin crew came around to hand out the warm towels. Brittany took the towel and sort of looked at me, and without saying a word I knew she was asking “what do I do with this, I don’t want to do it wrong.” Ah, then it sort of hit me. There are some things in first class that I don’t even think about. What do you use this towel for? Your hands? Your face? Your seat? Yes. I guess after traveling the world in all sort of products, I just got to the point where I do what I want with it and don’t care what people think. She opted to wipe her hands on it, which was probably a good call. Of course, if you ever do hit a situation where you are not sure what to do with something, you can either say “no thanks,” ask the flight attendant, or my favorite is just act cool and watch what others do (I do this all the time at fancy dinners with 18 pieces of silverware).

After our wonderful smelling towels were picked up (nicely done with that scent, United), Brittany started to look in the back of the magazine. I asked if she was looking for the food options and she said “yes.” Another one of those moments for me. I let her know that they should come by and probably give us two choices that will sound super fancy, but boil down to chicken and non-chicken. I was right — we both had the chicken (I think the non-chicken was some veggie curry thing).

FLYING WITH ANXIETY TIP: I used to be pretty anxious about buying food on the plane. What if they run out, what if my card doesn’t work, etc. In those days, I would just make sure that I had food with me in my carry-on as a backup. 

After we were done with our meal, I was telling Brittany that my favorite food when flying is ice cream, since it still seems so magical to have ice cream at 35,000 feet. I was just about ready to say that I very much doubt United will serve it on a domestic flight, but just then it was offered. I think we both had the look of kids in a candy… err ice cream… store at that moment. Ice cream pretty much helps with all issues.

I tried to find channel 9, but no luck. Although listening to it might make people anxious.

I tried to find channel 9, but no luck. Although listening to it might make people anxious.


I love flying. I love being on a plane. I HATE that moment when the front door opens at the gate and then you have to wait for another 20 minutes to get off. Even today, this will cause me anxiety every time. Doesn’t matter if we are three hours early and just have to sit an extra five minutes; it gets to me. When you are up front, not only can you see what is going on, but you get to be one of the first off. And with less people in your cabin, there is enough room for everyone to stand at the same time.

FLYING WITH ANXIETY TIP: When I have that feeling “I NEED TO GET OUT NOW” I just stay seated and either read the in-flight magazine or catch up on my phone just pretending we are still flying. Let it be more of a nice surprise when it is your turn.

YAY! We had a great experience flying on United's First Class!

YAY! We had a great experience flying on United’s First Class!


It all comes down to value. If it is really difficult for you to fly because of stress and/or anxiety, then it might be worth flying less and spending more for some premium aspects of the trip. Sometimes the cost of upgrading to first class isn’t that much, or maybe the airline offers a premium economy product. That option can give you many of the pluses to reduce your anxiety. Even with United’s lowest fares (a.k.a. get your butt from A-to-B), you can pay extra to check your bag, board sooner, etc. Figure out what gives you the most anxiety and see what might be worth the best value.

I used to hate paying the airline’s fees, because I felt they were winning by “stealing” my money. I would take red eyes, never check a bag, and starve because I wouldn’t buy food on board (even when I forgot to bring my own). All it did was create more anxiety and made my overall trip less enjoyable. Paying a little more to take care of yourself is okay!

So, is it worth spending the extra money? It depends. When spending my own money, I want to make sure I am still getting a deal and it makes sense. For me, I have flown United domestically in economy plenty, but never in first. No question it provided a much better and smoother experience for both of us. Brittany, especially, arrived to Maui ready to rock and roll instead of needing to calm down from the anxious flying experience. Keeping the one I love happy through the flying experience can be well worth the money! On the way home (we flew Hawaiian), we had an extra day to recover before going back to work, so it really wasn’t worth the upgrades.

It is all about priorities. Your mental health is important and possibly pushing yourself to save a few bucks might not be the best move. I totally get that most people can’t just upgrade to first all the time (us included), but find out what gives you the most anxiety and maybe there is a fee to pay to make that part of your travel experience a bit better.

Nothing to do with the story, but we flew an A320 from SEA-SFO and although the interior looked brand new, the front lav still had this wallpaper. Classic!

Nothing to do with the story, but we flew an A320 from SEA-SFO and although the interior looked brand new, the front lav still had this wallpaper. Classic!

What are your thoughts on someone flying with anxiety? Have any other ideas on things you can pay to feel less anxiety? Please feel free to share those in the comments.

Note: We were flying in economy already and United upgraded us to do this story. Opinions are all mine. Well, some are Brittany’s. But only our opinions!

The post Pay the Anxiety Away – Flying United’s First Class appeared first on AirlineReporter.

April 03, 2019 at 05:25PM Source:

The Rise of the “Reporter Empire”. A Look at o…

The Rise of the “Reporter Empire”. A Look at our Future Growth and Changes.:

Building an empire includes top hats and private 737s.

Building an empire includes top hats and private 737s

You might have noticed that after some down period (around two years), things have been picking back up again at AirlineReporter in 2019 (well, other than the last week or so with our servers). We are publishing more stories and being more active on social media. We have a renewed motivation and vision that goes beyond what you have seen on our pages for the last decade or so.

I am proud to announce that on top of still bringing you the awesome airline content you have come to expect, our brand will be expanding into some new frontiers. Over the years I have found that those who have an interest in airplanes also share similar passions with other transport related things. Our research has also found a number of other categories that you, our readers, want covered. Instead of putting everything on AirlineReporter, we have decided to create what I am calling the “Reporter Empire” where we have different sites that will cover the different niche topics. I want to take a sneak peak of what you can expect in coming in the next year or so. Of course I would love to get your feedback!

Airline Reporter

Do not worry, the bread and butter of what will do is not going anywhere. We will continue to provide the same great stories (some not so great ones too) that you have come to expect about airlines and aviation.

About ready to head north on the Amtrak Cascades. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren /

A choo choo for you – Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

Train Reporter

All aboard! We are planning for the site to go live by the end of April 2019. As you might know there are just about as many fans of trains as there are of airlines. People will go spotting for the special train with a unique or retro livery. We will cover any of the new looks, new routes and the possible huge expansion of the railroad with the Green New Deal.

Ship Reporter

This brand will really capture whatever floats your boat — literally. There are a million different cruise ship blogs out there and that is not what this is about. This is about real ships — cargo ships, tugs, ferries, submarines, etc. None of that frilly stuff here!

Old bus, new bus, big bus, small bus, we do them all! Photo: John K Thorn | FlickrCC

Old bus, new bus, big bus, small bus, we do them all! Photo: John K Thorn | FlickrCC

Bus Reporter

Not to get confused with our Airbus Reporter concept we are still working on (and might publish in the future). Here we are solely talking about your Greyhounds, your city buses, school buses (short and regular), and even some of those buses that have been turned into cool (or creepy) RVs.

I call him #A380cat (he is big boned)

I call him #A380cat (he is big boned)

Cat Reporter

We have found that 93% of our readers also love looking at cat videos and memes online. We found that another 7% lie about not liking cat videos and memes. It is okay, we won’t judge. This site will allow us to test out a new format. More photos, more videos, and way less words.

We are able to announce that the Editor-in-Chief of CatReporter will be Jason Rabinowitz, who has written for us, and is well known for Tweeting kitty cats (and sometimes planes).

The site's mascot: SockM - Photo: Jodimichelle | FlickrCC

The site’s mascot: SockM – Photo: Jodimichelle | FlickrCC

Sock Reporter

I don’t know about you, but it is just so hard to find a good pair of socks. Back in the day you have three choices: white, black, and tan. Today, there are so many shapes (well still mostly foot-shaped, but more length), colors, and styles it can drive a person mad. This might seem like a silly idea, but again our research shows us this is a topic that people want and there just aren’t many sites that cover it well.

We will do the hard work for you and put our best foot forward to review as many socks (men’s, women’s, and unisex) to let you know which are the best. You have probably loved our airline model and free airline ticket giveaways over the years and we will do the same on SockReporter. Free socks, foot powder, and if we play our cards right, hopefully a shoe horn to get your fancy new socks into your shoes, so you can show them off to the world!

Blaine Nickeson in the flight deck of a LAN Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner

I am watching you Blaine! (our Managing Editor)

Reporter Reporter

“Fake news” is one of the most popular phases said today. With this site, we will report on reporters. There are way too many people that cover way too many topics out there, but we will concentrate on others that report on airlines, trains, buses, cats, and socks (luckily not too many of those). We will call out when they give the wrong information and use a photo of a Aframax tanker, when obviously the ship involved was a Suezmax (I know, people actually make that mistake). And we are not safe. If any of our writers mess up, we will call them out!

The world is our oyster - Photo: Tatiana T | FlickrCC

The world is our oyster – Photo: Tatiana T | FlickrCC

Reporter Empire Future

Not only will these different brands allow us to bring you customized content, it will also allow us to do some cool cross-promotional stories. Who doesn’t want to read a story about a cat, dressed as an airplane, that is playing with a toy train, while riding a boat? With just having the one AirlineReporter brand, there is no way we could make that story happen (trust me, I have tried). But now with the power of the ReporterEmpire the possibilities are almost endless. This is really just the beginning. If you have more ideas on Reporter blogs we can start, leave them in the comments and maybe you can become famous!

The post The Rise of the “Reporter Empire”. A Look at our Future Growth and Changes. appeared first on AirlineReporter.

April 01, 2019 at 09:58PM Source:

Never Moving Servers Again

Never Moving Servers Again:

After about two weeks and many tears, I think we are finally on our new server. I will delete this test story later, but for now I will bask in the glory of finally getting this to work. How has your week been going? If you leave a comment before I delete this, I will send you some free AirlineReporter stickers (saying you want them).

Well, just found out I can’t upload new photos, so that is fun! I have my evening planned. Cheers!


  • Oh silly WordPress. You have to go back in and set the new default where you want photos stored. That not only allowed me to upload this sweet pic of my dad and me, but also all the thumbnails for our most commented stories weren’t there, and now they are!
  • So our email doesn’t work with the new server. Sigh. Have I just become an old man and don’t know how to do this stuff or has it gotten more difficult? I used to manage setting up IMAP and SMTP like a boss, but now there are 18 different things I have to set up first. For now I have all writer’s email forwarding to their personal, so we won’t miss any of your love letters!

The post Never Moving Servers Again appeared first on AirlineReporter.

March 27, 2019 at 01:36AM Source:

New Server For Us!

New Server For Us!:

After a decade being with the same host provider, we are moving the site to greener pastures. We have been working hard behind the scenes for the last week+ to get everything ready (hence why content slowed down). We are about to pull the trigger on this and over the next 24hrs hopefully things will go smoothly. Thanks for your patience!

The post New Server For Us! appeared first on AirlineReporter.

March 25, 2019 at 11:11PM Source:

Checking out the Virgin America Influence on t…

Checking out the Virgin America Influence on the New Alaska Airlines Product:

Hello beautiful! My Alaska Airlines VIP Airbus A321neo.

Hello beautiful! My Alaska Airlines VIP Airbus A321neo. Yes, it is weird typing “Alaska Airlines” and “Airbus” together.

Change is inevitable — especially in the airline business.  Change can be all fine and dandy when you are talking about it conceptually, but when the time comes, it is not always easy. As you probably know by now, Alaska Airlines and Virgin America merged, and the red/white Virgin livery is quickly being retired. Virgin was known to be a bit risky in their branding and marketing…. and Alaska played it a bit more safe. Although Alaska will be sending the Virgin America brand into the history books, it has been important for Alaska to incorporate some of the Virgin culture into the new merged airline. Not just for the customers who loved the Virgin product, but also for the employees who are in the process of getting to know their new family.

Ironically the Alaska 737 with the More to Love livery celebrating their merger with Virgin was parked next to our A321 at SFO - Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMultimedia

Ironically, the Alaska 737 with the ‘More to Love’ livery celebrating their merger with Virgin was parked next to our A321 at SFO – Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMultimedia

I was recently invited to fly down to San Francisco (SFO) to get a first hand look of the new Alaska Airlines product that will soon be found across the fleet. At gate 54B, the airline had set up walls, and inside were a variety of new products to be experienced. Also, there were experts to answer your questions about what was new. There was a special treat, too. What better way to put it all together than to take a special VIP flight on one of their Airbus A321s (that previously flew for Virgin America, obviously)?

I was interested to see the balance Alaska decided on, and get a better idea of my hometown airline’s future.

"Just two years after acquiring Virgin America, we're thrilled to introduce a modern cabin that aligns the onboard experience across our fleet," said Ben Minicucci, president and COO at Alaska Airlines. "After extensive feedback from our guests and in collaboration with our partners, we've infused the Alaska Airlines cabin with key brand elements from Virgin America – the result is a premium experience at an affordable price."

Deplaning at SFO on the ramp — LOVE IT!

The Alaska Airlines VIP Event at Gate 54B

My day started early. Like 2:45 am early. But that is okay, as I had airplanes to see! When selecting my flight to/from SFO, I had a choice of flying an Embraer E175, Boeing 737, or Airbus A320. I opted for the E-Jet down to SFO (I freak’n love that plane), and the Airbus A320 back home. I chose the Airbus, since not only would this be the first time I will have flown an Alaskan Airbus (well, second at that point), but I figured it would be nice to compare it to the fancy new product I would experience during my trip.

My flight down was uneventful, and I was happy to de-plane from the ramp. The Alaska presence in Terminal 2 at SFO isn’t huge, so it was pretty easy for me to find our special VIP gate at 54B. I slowly made my way around the room, checking things out and learning about what’s new.

One of the first shiny objects I went to check out were the new uniforms. Now, this might shock a few folks, but I am not up with all the new fashion trends. I know what I like, I know what I don’t like, and I am not going to be able to offer a flowery description to go with it. That said, I really like these outfits. Like really, really like them.

Why does it matter? I at least know fashion is huge business, and when your employees look good, your brand looks good. Not to mention, if you wear an outfit for 14 hours, that you actually like, not only will you be in a better mood, but you are going to feel better about yourself.

The new Recaro seat. Kinda of. I mean, it is missing the tray and is bolted on the wall, but you get the idea.

The new Recaro seat. Kinda of. I mean, it is missing the tray and is bolted on the wall, but you get the idea.

Here is the big ticket item that most of you will probably care about — the seats (although yours won’t be bolted to a wall)! At first glance these probably look pretty familiar to the Alaska Beyond product you experience now. However, there are a few key differences (since I would have just re-written these in my own words and not have done as nice of a job, I have copied/pasted from Alaska below):

  • Ergonomically-friendly tablet holders at each seat that accommodate most tablets and smartphones. The holders free up tray table space and an added shelf keeps devices in prime viewing position. Flexible mesh pockets also allow for easy access to essentials during the flight.
  • Upgraded premium and main cabin seats now feature memory foam for added comfort.
  • Conveniently-placed and tilted power outlets at every seat (USB & 110V) that allow guests to easily locate and charge two devices at once. The electrical boxes under the middle seat have been relocated to provide more personal space for guests.
  • Cup holders throughout first class and premium class, so that guests can multi-task while they savor a craft beer, wine, or cocktail and have full use of the tray table.

Some fancy talk there, but these changes are legit and I will go more into my thoughts when I actually take it for a spin.

Pretty cool display with the seat in parts to better inspect it!

Pretty cool display with the seat in parts to better inspect it!

There was also a pretty unique first class seat display at the gate as well. Here are is the little write up from Alaska:

  • Redesigned first class Recaro seats that evoke the feeling of both performance and comfort, like a luxury car. The sculpted design features memory foam and a 40″ pitch, along with footrests to support guests of varying heights.

I might drive a 2009 Honda Accord (I mean, it is an EX with leather, sunroof, and a six-CD changer baby!), but I would say their new first class seat feels more like a nice, upgraded domestic first class seat. I only had a few minutes with it, maybe with more time it will start to feel like I am cruising in a BMW 7-Series.

In the end, those used to Virgin first class might be a bit disappointed (not much), but those used to flying Alaska are in for a treat. That’s a solid compromise as two brands, and experiences, get merged.

The best part of the gate area was the sweet food spread, including the world’s largest Alaska Airlines food plate. #nomnom

Flying the New Alaska Product on an Airbus A321neo

Standing around the gate area and looking at the different updates before boarding, I honestly didn’t get all the hype. Sure… each of these things was an improvement, but was it that much more than the Beyond product that Alaska already has, or does it include enough of the Virgin America influence? I was starting to think that it didn’t. Before I could contemplate it any further, I was told it was time to board and I made my way to seat 23D — a window!

If you want to experience what would happen if an Alaska 737-900ER Boeing Sky Interior cabin made a cute little A321 baby with a Virgin America discotech — this would be pretty darn close. Once again, let me pull from the elegant Alaska wording then give you some of my thoughts on all this:

  • Refreshed color palette from the updated bulkhead design to the carpet, bringing in neutral tones that are associated with relaxing environments against pops of Alaska’s signature blue.
  • Ambient mood lighting with calming, cool blue hues developed by lighting and color experts to complement the human body’s natural circadian rhythm. The result is lighting that changes throughout the flight to promote an uplifting energy during the day and calming energy into the evening.

A few years back, I would totally have made fun of that stuff about the LED lighting. However, after flying on many different airlines and cabins that use the lighting, I am a true believer. As long as the crew doesn’t change it from dark to “OMG EVERYONE WAKE UP NOW” bright.

Here’s the good and bad thing about these special media flights — they are fun. We cheered when we took off, everyone gets up and chats, we have some good food, and then we land. There are times where I get caught up in all that and forget that I have a job to do. Hence why you have three very nice photos of probably the coolest upgrade — but taken by Alaska. My bad.

Adding the fold-down shelf makes it so much easier to be entertained while eating, working, and not straining your neck. So simple. So good. But also probably so difficult to let passengers know it exists (be sure to tell your friends). It can hold your iPad, it can hold your iPhone, it can probably hold other stuff too.

No question when Virgin America’s in-flight entertainment system, called RED, came out, it was amazing. It was better than anything domestically by a long shot and better than most international products. I didn’t realize how much it had aged until my flight back to Seattle on an A320 with the RED system. As long as you have your own device of some sort, I vastly prefer Alaska’s product. The big plus that Red had going for it was being able to order food and drinks from your seat (that option is not available on Alaska flights).

Thoughts on the Virgin America Influence

As we cruised at 36,000 feet above California, and I was eating my sweet ice cream (which Alaska serves to first class passengers on trans-cons and Hawaiian flights), it came to me. Each of these improvements neatly laid out might not be so obvious on their own, but when you see all of them working together, flying high above it all, it becomes much more obvious. This truly is a new Alaska with some of Virgin culture mixed in — they nailed it.

Are the Virgin diehards going to be 100% happy with everything? Probably not. Will any of the Alaska loyalists be unhappy with the changes? Probably. But that is okay. You cannot make everyone happy, and if we have seen anything from airline mergers of the past, coming together and moving forward can be brutal (for employees and passengers).

Our VIP pilots that will soon likely learn how to fly with a center yolk as well!

Our VIP pilots that will soon likely learn how to fly with a center yolk as well!

Next Steps for the Product and That Airbus Fleet

This sort of total change takes time. By early 2020, the airline expects 36% of their mainline fleet will have the updates. All new 737 Max 9 aircraft will be delivered with the new interior (although with the current headlines, who knows if that will be delayed) and I am very interested to see how this will look with the Boeing Sky Interior. There is also still the question if Alaska will keep the Airbus aircraft in their fleet. They still have them on lease for the next four to five years, and they plan to announce what they will do with the Airbus by the end of the year.

It is still weird seeing the Alaska livery on the Airbus A320, but I am pretty sure it looks good.

It is still weird seeing the Alaska livery on the Airbus A320, but I am pretty sure it looks good

What do you think of the new Alaska Airlines changes? If you flew Virgin America, do you think they have done the airline justice? Is this a good compromise or did they miss the opportunity to do more? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Disclaimer: Alaska Airlines provided for my flights, but all opinions are my own. 

The post Checking out the Virgin America Influence on the New Alaska Airlines Product appeared first on AirlineReporter.

March 18, 2019 at 04:49PM Source:

From 2013: Live Blogging The World’s Longest F…

From 2013: Live Blogging The World’s Longest Flight on a Singapore Air A340-500:

Heading out soon.

Heading out soon.

My commentary from today, Oct 12, 2018: If you are connected to the airline world, you have probably seen that Singapore Airlines has re-taken the title of offering the world’s longest flight by re-starting their Singapore to Newark route. To celebrate the re-starting of the flight, using an Airbus A350ULR (That ULR stands for Ultra Long Range btw), I wanted to share my story from about five years ago where I live blogged taking this flight on an Airbus A340-500. Read below to experience a bit of the past and follow along our friend, Chris Sloan, on Airways as he starts his live blog adventure taking the flight today. If you have not experienced one of these super long flights, it is worth trying… at least once. Although, even five years later, I am not sure I would do SEA-LAX-SIN, be only on the ground for about a day, before heading home on SIN-EWR-SEA. I love flying, but I think I prefer to have a bit more time on the ground before taking those ultra long flights back-to-back (but I am also five years older and have a harder time recovering)!

My full story re-posted from October 13, 2013: It is almost that time to board a Singapore Airlines Airbus A340-500 and be a part of the world’s longest flight. Okay, well I still have a few hours left. Before then, I will be checking out of my hotel, getting a short tour of the airport, probably relax in the lounge for a minute or two and then find my seat for the next 18 hours or so. I will be departing on SQ 22, which leaves about 10:55am local time [which is 7:55pm 10/13 in Seattle or 2:55am 10/30 GMT].

You can follow along the flight on FlightAware and hopefully on this blog. Here is the catch though; due to the flight plan there is a good chance that I won’t be able to access the internet the whole time and when I do, it could be slow. Have no fear though, if I cannot connect up, I will write the story as a live blog on my local laptop and be sure to update when I have a chance. Worst case, that means after I get settled into my hotel after arriving at Newark (aka worst case scenario).

Since I will be crossing about half the existing time zones (and the international date line), I plan to update based on time spent on the aircraft. Once I enter the cabin, I will start a timer and update the post based on the elapsed time. I am hoping to stay awake the whole time, but know that I might need a little nap. Also realize that on a flight this long, there might not be too much happening between, “oh starting this movie,” and “done with the movie,” so my silence might not mean I cannot connect to the internet, but because I am doing something boring. Well, nothing is boring while on this flight, but I don’t want to give away plot lines of a movie.

With live blogging and possibly having a Singapore Sling or two, I realize that the grammar might not be 100%. No worries, it will all be worked out as the flight progresses or afterwards, so try to have a little more flexibility for the short-term and we shall do just fine. Well, I think that just about lays the ground work for how this shin-dig will work out. Hopefully you will be hearing from me soon and if not, know that I am enjoying the flight and looking forward to sharing soon.

All aboard! Okay, I am cheating a bit here. This is a photo of me on the LAX-SIN A340-500, but you get the idea. Today my shirt is blue.

All aboard! Okay, I am cheating a bit here. This is a photo of me on the LAX-SIN A340-500, but you get the idea. Today my shirt is blue.


I just made this pre-post. There will probably not be too much more to share until I am about to board. Stay tuned.

A fun view from the loo at the Singapore Changi Airport.

A fun view from the loo at the Singapore Changi Airport.


Wrapped up a nice tour of Singapore Changi International Airport and I have to say I have never been invited into a bathroom during a tour before. This is one epic view from the loo. Now resting quite comfortably in the Silver Kris Lounge waiting to board the fight in about an hour and 15 minutes or so.  The weather is down right nasty outside now, but SQ 22 is still showing “on-time.” Might walk around a few laps of the lounge to prepare for the long flight and show-off the special socks that I am wearing.  It is only 9:15am local time, but 6:15pm at home (Seattle). Does that mean I can drink a beer? Why yes, I think it does.


Heading down to the gate to board the A340-500. At SIN, passengers need to go through security at the gate, so want to give myself enough time. Will hopefully be checking back in soon, but it might be a while before I can get a signal with the on-board Wi-Fi. Until then – cheers!

A nice welcome onboard the flight.

A nice welcome onboard the flight. It almost seems like a prom date-pose.


We are now at about 30,000 feet and heading northeast. Boarding started pretty close to on-time. We were able to select one of two jetways to board and I chose the one which seemed to have the fewest passengers; that gave me the opportunity to request a photo with one of the flight attendants. Upon finding my seat (36F), I made myself comfortable. Per usual, flight attendants came around and offered magazines, newspapers, and pre-flight drinks.

Although I wasn’t very interested in the reading material, I was up for a glass of champagne. Before the front door shut, each passenger was asked what beverage they might enjoy after take off – for me, it was a Singapore Sling (when in Rome, right?). I quickly made friends with the professional business woman sitting across the aisle in seat 36K (and I shall call her “36K”). We were able to talk about how sad it is the flight is ending, the blog, politics, air travel, business, and a few other things. It is always nice to make friends on long flights.

Seat 36F. This is where I am currently sitting and will be doing so for quite sometime.

Seat 36F. This is where I am currently sitting and will be doing so for quite sometime.

Our taxi to the runway was another 28 minutes and we lifted off at +48min. The wings flexed up quite a bit during take off, which was a little surprising since they are filled to the brim with fuel. 60 minutes after boarding the aircraft, we reached an altitude of 10,000 feet, meaning I was able to break out the laptop and make this update.

The internet is a bit slow and it seems that my bandwidth allowance might go quickly so I am a little weary to upload any photos (Editor: David splurged later for these photos). Now it’s time to figure out which movies that I want to watch. There are many choices, but I went through four during my flight to Singapore.

Good food and good drinks. Thanks to my friend in 36K for taking this.

Good food and good drinks at about 2hrs into the flight. Thanks to 36K for taking this.


Man, time flies when you are having fun. Just after my last update, one of the flight attendants came around asking what meal would I prefer. The choices were chicken, beef, or fish (Singapore makes them sound much fancier than that). I first went for the beef but was told that the selection was no longer available.

Then I asked for the chicken. I was very nicely informed that she thought those meals are spoken for as well and left to double check. Sure enough, my meal was to be the fish. Luckily I am not a picky eater, but this is one of the down sides of sitting back in row 36. If I would have planned ahead, Singapore Airlines has a “Book the Cook” option where you can customize your meal. But I like to fly by the seat of my pants and I ended up with fish. Well, it is not just fish. The official description on the menu reads, “Wok fried garoupa in garlic chili sauce, seasonal vegetables, and friend rice.”

The fish that I did not want at first, turned out to be amazing. Yes.. those are two glasses of red wine, both great in their own way.

The fish, that I did not want at first, turned out to be amazing. Yes…those are two glasses of red wine, both great in their own way.

Before trying the main fish, I was able to enjoy some starter fish comprising of a “trilogy of salmon with mesclun salad.” At the 2hr 15min mark, my fish (err garoupa) was served. I have to say that I am glad that it turned out I wasn’t able to have the beef – my fish was amazing.

After finishing the meal, it was on to desert. I never pass up an opportunity to have (Viennetta) ice-cream at 30,000 feet and I was not disappointed. My meal was complete at about the 3hr mark. I decided to try some desert wine, which is not normally my thing, but why not? It was a 2009 Chateau Filhot and put a great end to the meal.

It never gets old having ice cream while flying -- especially when it is this fancy.

It never gets old having ice cream while flying – especially when it is this fancy.

Although I am pleased with my meal, I am regretting my choice in movies (White House Down). I always feel that one should not be judged by the movies they watch while flying; it’s a time for “guilty pleasure” movies. Currently the cabin has gone dark and many passengers are starting to sleep. I have plenty of energy and am about ready to start my second movie while going through some photos of this trip. Our trip status is showing that we have about 14.5hrs left of flight and I feel so lucky to be here right now.

My camera picks up way too much light. In reality it is much darker than this.

My camera picks up way too much light. In reality, it is much darker than this.


I wish this update was a bit more glamorous. I have spent the last hour updating the live blog, adding photos and putting it on Twitter. At $1/MB, I was trying to be a bit conservative, but heck this is a historic flight in the making so let’s splurge on some photos!

I still haven’t even finished White House Down yet. Not sure that I should, it might be time for a new movie.

Small touches, like real flowers in the lavatory go a long way. Also, this I my Laviator shot.

Small touches, like real flowers in the lavatory go a long way. Also, this is my laviator shot.


I used to know what the different colors of the Singapore flight attendant uniforms meant. While refilling my wine glass, I posed the question to one wearing green and she explained: Purple = Inflight Supervisor; Red = Chief Stewardess (their terminology, not mine); Green = Lead Stewardess; and Blue = Flight Stewardess. The color on the men mean the same but they are called “Stewards.”

During this flight and my previous one (LAX-SIN), I have asked quite a few people (off-record) what the A345 means to them. I have started to realize that those who fly on the A340-500 (crew and passengers) have formed this special “family relationship” that is amazing and difficult to describe. These flights are more than just a job or a way to get from point A-B.

Boarding the Airbus A340-500 in Singapore.

Boarding the Airbus A340-500 in Singapore

When you stop to think about it, this sort of makes sense. There are only five A345s in the fleet and they only fly on two routes. The frequent passengers get to know the flight crew, the flight crew get to know the passengers, and they all get the know the aircraft.

So far, I have not met one person who has not made it very clear that they are sad (even upset) that these flights are ending. That being said, the majority of passengers and crew understand the reasons for moving away from the flights.

There really has been this energy onboard both of my flights that I have not found anywhere else. It is more than just the product, more than just the service.

At this point, I am not feeling tired and ready for the next 12 hours. Still waiting to find out how White House Down ends.

The cabin might be dark, but I am prepared.

The cabin might be dark, but I am prepared. And I need more wine.


Most of the last hour and a half has been about relaxing and trying to re-connect to the internet. At this point, I have been able to successfully do both. The cabin is still dark, with just a few passengers staying awake. The idea of a nap is starting to sound pretty darn good, but I am able to hold off – for now.

As I write this we have just hit a pocket of pretty good turbulence and the seatbelt sign has been turned on. Not the best timing since I kind of need to use the lavatory.

I finally finished White House Down – not my favorite. After starting a few other movies and opting out, I am now about 30min into Dead Man Down, but not confident that I will finish it.

Time to wake up!

Time to wake up!


Almost on the mark of exactly nine hours, the cabin was quickly transitioned from dark into full-on lighting. At first there was a deep red and then I’m pretty sure I saw some purple before it went all white.  I would like to think that a transition like that might take a good 5-10 minutes, but this one took about one. Luckily, I was already awake.

The signs were pointing to the fact that the second meal service was about to begin. After taking a walk down the cabin to use the lavatory (no more turbulence), I have found that many are choosing to still sleep.

I have just realized that I have no idea if it is light or dark outside. My guess would be that it is light. I just asked 36K if should wouldn’t mind opening her shade a bit and it turns out that it is completely dark outside – wrong again.

This is also a special moment since we are about halfway through the flight. It almost seems impossible that we have been flying this long and I am almost sad that it is halfway over.

Some fuel to keep on going. Still no sleep.

Some fuel to keep on going. Still no sleep.


I have to admit that I have not been able to re-connect to the OnAir internet in over two hours (I knew that it would be a challenge). Yes, I am writing everything up live on my computer, but this darn system keeps teasing me. Multiple times it has made me think that I am connected.  Pro tip – you never want to count on in-flight internet, especially for business purposes.

Once in a while it will show the admin panel for the blog before it kicks me off again. Trying to get back onto the internet has become my main form of entertainment. Not sure if that is good or bad, but I have been connected now for at least a good 30 minutes.

The cabin is currently dark.

The cabin is currently dark. Well, my darn camera takes in too much light. Really it looks WAY darker than this.


USA! (and all that jazz). At this point, we have moved into US airspace via Alaska. So close to Seattle (my home), but we shall continue on to Newark. The previous meal service (which I did not fully partake in), has stopped and the lights in the cabin have gone black again.

Shockingly, I am still awake and might be able to push through the remaining seven hours that we have left (maybe). Time once again to find a movie that I might enjoy.

Some of the refreshing options in the bathroom. I just stuck to soap and the toothbrush.

Some of the refreshing options in the bathroom. I just stuck to soap and the toothbrush.


Well, I did it – I ended up falling asleep. I did not put my seat into a flat bed, but still found it comfortable enough (or I was so tired) that I took a little siesta. Not going to lie, I am a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to stay awake, but what can you do?

At this point, there are only three hours left in the flight. Easy.

It is time to once again use the lavatory, since I feel like it’s time to brush my teeth. There are no amenity kits on this flight (thanks to @thatjohn for the heads up), but the restroom provides a few different options.

I am really starting to feel the lack of humidity. My lips, nose, and skin are getting pretty dry and lotion/chap stick doesn’t seem to be doing much help any more. I am still thoroughly enjoying the flight, but I am starting to look forward to my shower when I get to the hotel.

The cabin is still dark, but I can see that there is light coming from the outside. It makes sense since we are flying over Canada, north of Bismark, and it is 2pm in NYC. With almost every flight that I have been on, where the cabin is dark and it is light outside, someone opens their shade just to get a peek, which floods the aircraft with light. So far, that has not happened, but I am willing to bet that it will. Well, maybe not, since this flight is mostly filled with frequent fliers who know better.

I plan to put a little faith into another movie: Snitch. I am starting to feel a bit hungry and I am not sure if we have another meal service, but I might try one of the snacks.

I saw this stupid screen so many times promising me internet, but never giving it to me.

I saw this stupid screen so many times promising me internet, but never giving it to me.


I have actually settled into this movie Snitch. Not sure if it is the long flight or the movie is actually entertaining. For hydration, I decided to go a little fancy; sparkling water with some lemon.

Once again, I am finding it difficult to connect to the internet to make an update. It keeps teasing me and making me think I am connected, but then it disconnects me before I can do anything. I have to say that I am quite annoyed. What is even more frustrating is that some data is still sent/received, which I can tell since I keep being charged even though I can’t do anything with it. Oh well.

I decided that I would like to eat and confirmed that there are no further scheduled meal services. I had a few selections that I could custom order and I went for a “cheese omelette with chicken sausage, grilled tomato and potatoes,” and some coffee off the “Light Bites” menu.

The last meal of the flight.

The last meal of the flight.


I am eating my meal and have to say that it is not bad, but not really my favorite. Sure, it is asking quite a bit of a meal to be created almost 24 hours ago, fly on a plane nearly all day, and then taste like a champ. It is not that bad, but just not up to the quality of the other meals I have experienced on Singapore.

The internet is still flirting with me, maybe I can re-connect here soon. I am realizing that I probably should have started my timer at take off versus when I got onto the plane. Although 16.5hrs on the clock, we are at about 15.5hrs of flight time.

I can see the light outside -- it wants in.

I can see the light outside – it wants in.


The flight from LAX to SIN took almost exactly 17 hours from walking onto the plane to landing. This is now the longest flight that I have ever been on and another two hours still remain. I feel like celebrating, but the cabin is pretty dead right now with most people sleeping (it is still dark). I am amazed at how fast this flight is going.

A flight attendant just went through the cabin offering some goodies to the few passengers who remain awake. The Snickers, chips, and cookies were tempting, but I am still full from my meal. I am about halfway through the movie Snitch – too invested to move on to something else.

We have just hit another pocket of turbulence and the fasten seat-belt sign is back on. Doesn’t seem to be a real inconvenience, since no one but the flight attendants are moving around right now.

Time to see if I can connect to the internet again – my expectations are a bit low.

Time to wake up and prepare to land!

Time to wake up and prepare to land!


The lights are starting to come back on in the cabin with only about an hour of flight time left. The transition to full-on white light is going much slower than last time, which is nice. At this point I am totally giving up on trying to connect to he internet – who needs it? About 30 minutes ago I was connected long enough to send out a tweet, but that was it. I still feel accomplished.

No one ended up opening up their sun shade while the cabin was black, but my guess is a few will be opening soon as passengers wake up. I am looking forward to seeing some natural light once again – it has been too long.

The movie Snitch is now over. It made an okay airline movie and with not much flight time left, I am watching a documentary…I think it’s about insects or is it about old time movies, I am not so sure?

I was just given a warm washcloth and some orange juice. Both feel and taste amazing at this point (to be certain, the juice was the one I tasted, the cloth I felt). I almost feel refreshed enough for a few more hours of flight, but all good things must come to an end.

Time to get all my stuff out of their hiding spots and fill out some paperwork for Uncle Sam.

Time to get all my stuff out of their hiding spots and fill out some paperwork for Uncle Sam. Oh and have some OJ.


We have received the announcement that we will soon be descending to Newark and reminded that we need to fill out the US Customs form.

The cabin is now bustling with life. Passengers, who all look a bit disheveled (me included) are gathering their belongings and there is a line at the lavs about five people deep. Sure, people can have fancy clothes and watches, but being on a plane for so long is a pretty good equalizer.

Unfortunately, a passenger near me must have decided to put on some of those interesting scents which were located in the lavatory – it now smells a bit strong. I guess with 100 people who have not showered in over 24hrs all locked in a tube, it could be worse.

Hello New Jersey. Thanks to my friend in 36K for taking his photo for me.

Hello New Jersey. Thanks to 36K for taking this photo for me.


As I was looking out the window at the clouds, I realized that it had been a really long time since I have seen, or been on, the ground. Actually, the longest in my life. It was kind of cool.

Humorously an announcement was made for people to be sure to save their work since the internet would be shut off shortly. I am pretty sure that I actually laughed out loud.

No matter how long a flight is, there will always be an end to it and almost exactly 18 hours and 35 minutes from when I first boarded the aircraft, we safely landed at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. Our actual flight time was 17 hours and 50 minutes. We arrived early, meaning that we had to wait a while to get to our gate. I used the last few minutes to really absorb my experience and realize that this will likely be the longest non-stop flight that I will ever take in my life. Surreal.

I said my goodbyes to the crew and 36K before slowly making my way off the plane and back to reality.

Good bye friend. You will be missed.

Goodbye friend. You will be missed. Parked at the gate at EWR.


Oh crap, more of my thoughts? Like I haven’t shared enough already right? Do not worry, you are almost done.

This one crazily amazing flight, which I will be sad to see go, but also understand why. I thought after flying LAX-SIN-EWR over a weekend, I would be completely burnt out, but oddly I am not. I really think that says a lot to the level of quality that the Singapore product and service offers. I am so very thankful that Singapore Airlines gave me this opportunity to fly the world’s two longest flights and record the experience as a historical perspective.

Who knows. This flight might just be gone for a little while. Future versions of the 787 or the A350 might make these routes more economical. But until then, they will be missed by thousands.

Before ending, I want to take a moment here and recognize a pretty amazing crew that took care of me and the others around me. As I mentioned earlier, when you fly on the A345 you become a part of the family. I want to thank Malkeep Kaur, Lim Peuysan Sandra, Ng Junhao Joel, Roy Jean Jian Ming, Michelle Woo Yina, Dephne Chin Qianyu, Belinda Lim Qwglin and the rest of the crew for doing an outstanding job!

And a final thank you for following along on this journey. I had a great time and am happy that I could share!

The post From 2013: Live Blogging The World’s Longest Flight on a Singapore Air A340-500 appeared first on AirlineReporter.

October 12, 2018 at 06:15PM Source:

How to Apply, Interview, and Land An Airline J…

How to Apply, Interview, and Land An Airline Job!:

Taken in Hamburg at Lufthansa Technik. It sort of has that generic “get a job” vibe to it. That’s my balding head chilling on the couch.

I am often asked “How do I get an airline job?”

Luckily, I have some background in this area. I worked as a career counselor at the University of Washington for about five years (go Dawgs), I currently recruit for a $3 billion company in the greater Seattle area, and I have talked to hundreds of airline insiders over the last decade. Through my experiences I have learned a few things (at least I’d like to think so) about getting airline jobs. I also get to see the same mistakes over and over and “omg are you kidding me” over again. I decided to combine my worlds a bit here and give some advice on how to get an airline job (in reality, this advice works for most other jobs as well).

To be clear, these are my personal opinions and thoughts on jobs. Not those of any airline, nor my current or previous employers. These are overarching and for sure will not work for all companies, positions, and people. I like to think I am more right than wrong, but look forward to seeing your ideas and opinions in the comments. I love giving job advice and talking about airlines, so this story could easily go over 10,000 words. Do not worry, I kept it under 2,500 (Editor’s note – it’s 2,566) and I was able to hit all the major pieces.

When looking for a job, always assume that competition will be fierce. Let’s say there are 200 applicants that applied and the hiring manager only wants to phone interview eight. That is not always easy, since there are likely going to be more than eight qualified applicants and 192 people that need to be rejected. This is where small details matter. If a hiring manager has a hard time finding information on your application or you make a few minor errors — you can quickly end up with the 192. Do not be one of them! This is really about quality vs quantity and my advice might be some tough love, but I want you to get that airline job!

Searching for a job is like searching for a matching tug to your plane (I know, that was lame)

Searching for a job is like searching for a matching tug to your plane (I know, that was lame)


There is no magical website to find jobs. And the websites you look at will depend on the type of jobs you are searching. You can use your sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, GlassDoor, etc, for some research, but it is best to create a list and keep track of different airlines’ job webpages. Click through them every few days to see if any new jobs have posted. Many jobs pages will have a way to set up alerts, so when new jobs post, you will be notified — use those.

Be prepared to hear from an employer. I cannot tell you how many people do not have their voicemail set up (you get the “this person’s voicemail box has not been set up”) or don’t listen to their voicemails. If there are other viable applicants, companies aren’t going to spend a lot of time getting a hold of you before moving on to the next person. I probably hate voicemail more than most people I am calling, but if you want the job, you need to be prepared to accept a message from an employer.

Print off (or save to PDF) every job description that you apply to. By the time you get invited for an interview, the chances are the job description has been taken down and you likely won’t remember what the job was and that makes the “why would you make a good fit” question hard to answer.


I am often asked “what’s the best way to improve my chances?” The answer is almost always networking. If you know someone who works at the company (no matter if in a totally different department) reach out to them. See if they know anything about the position, team, or the hiring manager. The hope is they can put in a good word for you. Having a current employee put in a good word is huge for most companies and will increase the chances of getting an interview. If you do not know anyone, then you can use tools, like LinkedIn or Twitter, to find someone. You can even start networking before there is a job for you to apply to; start building that relationship early. The big thing with this is do NOT cross the annoying line. As in pushing too hard, emailing too much. Once you cross that line you go from helping your chances to greatly hurting them.

I have always loved this photo and never really been able to use it, so here it is!


If you have not done this yet, Google your name in quotes (“First Name Last Name”). Most employers, at some point, are going to do the same. Look to see how the public can view your social media presence. Some people don’t take chances and lock down all their social media. That can be smart, however, seeing that you love airlines is a good thing. There is a balance.


Your resume is the key to your success! So so so so many bad resumes. I get they aren’t the easiest thing to do, but there are many free online resources to help. The biggest piece of advice I can give is work backwards from the job advertisement. The airline is telling you what they want. They will typically have job duties, minimum requirements, and desired requirements. A recruiter is going to spend only a matter of seconds (literally seconds) taking a first look at your details. If they don’t find key words on the top half of the resume — off the “no” pile you might go.

For most jobs, keep it simple. Black and white, bullets, third person, prove to me you can do my job and do it well. Using fancy formats, adding color, doing crazy designs, or trying to go creative can end up annoying the recruiter. You want to avoid annoying the recruiter. Unless you are applying to a marketing position, keep it simple.


The resume shows that you have the skillsets to do the job. The cover letter lets you share your passion for wanting to do the job and work for the airline. Make sure it is answering “What are your best skillsets and why do you want to work for my airline and in aviation?” Often times this is your first impression, make it count!

Take the time to make a custom cover letter each time. I know, it is time consuming and annoying (hey, I hate taking my own advice), but recruiters can tell when you are taking the same cover letter, for every job, at different places and just changing the job title and company name. And let me tell you that when you accidentally forget to change the company name, you aren’t starting off on the right foot!

Know your audience. The tone of your cover letter (and really interview, too) should be geared towards the company’s culture. A cover letter to a fun-loving airline like Southwest should be different than one to the more conservative and more luxury-focused Singapore Airlines. I would love to see how swapping those two would work out (don’t try it please).

Spell check! I am shocked… SHOCKED how much bad grammar I see. I am not even talking advanced stuff here. Not capitalizing an “i” or writing to me like you are Snapchatting isn’t going to make you friends. This isn’t just your resumes and cover letters, but emails to the company as well. Have others read your resume and cover letter before you submit them. Not only can they edit the grammar, but maybe they will think of other things you can add.

Be mindful that the interview rooms might have a distracting view.

Be mindful that the interview rooms might have a distracting view


All your hard work paid off and now you have an interview. This is where you really need to start prepping hard. If you have an interview, they are saying they feel you can do this job; now you need to show you are a good fit, and reaffirm your abilities.

You are going to be nervous. If you aren’t nervous, then you are making me nervous. I love job interviews. I enjoy being on the spot, thinking through the answers, reading the room, and trying to make some short-term connections. I know I am not what you would call “normal” (probably why I am a recruiter), but even I am nervous each time I go into one. That is a normal feeling and don’t let it discourage you too much. I have seen too many people sort of give up thinking they were giving poor answers, where in reality they were doing great. And most hiring managers are going to understand you are going to be nervous. One way to help is practice. OMG practice.

I don’t care how prepared you think you are or how well you have done in previous interviews, you need to practice pretty much non-stop until go time. Head to and look up the company. There is an interview section that people will share what the interviews look like and the questions you might be asked. Google interview questions — it is likely most of the questions you will be asked are behavioral-based (“tell us a time when…”). You know they are going to ask why you want this job and/or to work for the company. This seems easy, but so many people mess this one up.

Look at the job description (that you hopefully printed and saved) and practice talking about how your skills match what they are looking for. Have family/friends ask you questions and give feedback. Video record and watch yourself (I know, I know, but you want this job right?).

A big plane, carrying big career opportunities

A big plane, carrying big career opportunities

Okay, now that I just worked you all up, take a deep breath and make sure you do not overdo it. I don’t want you sounding like a robot just repeating memorized answers. I like to memorize bullet points of situations that can be used to answer different questions.

Suit it up. I don’t care what the dress code is at the company. Unless they specifically tell you not to wear a suit, wear a suit. (Okay maybe with Southwest you could get away with shorts and a suit top — man I would love to see someone try that). If you do not have a suit, it is well worth the investment. Many stores offer pretty cheap suits, and totally it’s okay heading to the local thrift shop. In the end, if your budget is too tight, then dress as nice as you can, ironing your clothes, and shining those shoes.

The day of your interview, leave early enough that your car can break down, you can catch a cab, and still make it on time. I like to leave so I will be to the parking lot about an hour early. But do not go in to the lobby until you hit 15 min early. It is really hard recovering being late to an interview.  Start smiling from the second you leave your house. Someone cuts you off, smile and do nothing. When you arrive, hold open doors and elevators for everyone (hopefully you are doing this anyway). Treat everyone at the company with the respect that they deserve. Anyone could be interviewing you or give feedback.

Leave your phone in the car. Leave your phone in the car. Leave your phone in the car. Oh, did I mention, leave your phone in the car?

At the end, they are likely going to ask if you have any questions. Yes. Always have questions. The best questions are ones that will show you have done your research “With your recent merger with Westcoast Airlines, how is their reservation system going to integrate into yours?” Obviously make it job specific. Also good to ask what their expected timeline is for hiring, make sure to mark that down. Please don’t ask “what is the typical day?” It is asked way too much, there is no typical day, and you should have a pretty good idea, since you applied to the job.

Welcome on board to a new career!


Sometimes your interview will be with one person, other times a group. If it makes sense, ask for business cards or at least have the contact for the main person. After the interview is over, send a thank you note via email. Totally great if you can work in something from the interview into your note. Now, if you want to go pro, bring a few paper thank you cards with you. Fill them out in the lobby (or away where they can’t see you), then you can give them to the front desk staff. “But David, no one does paper thank you cards anymore.” You are right. So if you do them, you stand out.

Earlier you asked when they hope to make offers. I would suggest if you have not heard anything in a day or two after that date, then do a quick follow up. In the end, if you get rejected, it is okay to ask for feedback. Most companies have policies to give limited (or no) feedback, but you might get a nice nugget of information to use next time.

Now, if you get the job: party time — you have earned it!!!


Applying over and over and getting rejected over and over sucks. But you have to keep trying to smile and keep going. Often when people get frustrated they go into the numbers game. Which is just applying to as many jobs as they can and hoping for the best. That might work, but you will likely end up with a job you aren’t happy with and even more frustrated than if you still didn’t have a job. Instead, try doubling down on the networking and spending more time on the application.

I worked with a student years ago who came in depressed. She said she applied to almost 200 jobs and had one interview that didn’t go well (I thought she was exaggerating, but turned out it was like 185 jobs). She was using the same cover letter (just updating the company) and resume, not following up, and not networking. After a few weeks of working with her, she was getting multiple interviews and it only took about three months to get a job she was super excited about. I have seen this sort of result happen over and over again for more than a decade. Like most things, the harder you work at it, the better results you will see. Oh yes, there can be lots of luck involved in job hunting (like who your competition might be), but why not increase your odds? In the end, all you need is one interview and one job offer.

I know these are just my ideas and I would love to hear what you think in the comments. What has (or has not) worked for you?

The post How to Apply, Interview, and Land An Airline Job! appeared first on AirlineReporter.

April 27, 2018 at 05:22PM Source:

Last Day to Win Two Free Airline Tickets

Last Day to Win Two Free Airline Tickets:

Fly time on Allegiant Air!

As I post this, no one has guessed the exact answer that could win you two free tickets (aka $400 in vouchers) on Allegiant Air. If you haven’t put your guess in yet, head on over to the original story and guess! I think it’s a pretty good AvGeek question that requires a bit of research. People are guessing close, but no one has it yet. The best part is that the closest answer will win. I was sort of fearing that someone would guess it on day one, but I am very happy to see that the answer is not readily out there.

We will be closing the contest at 5:00pm PDT today (Monday, March 12th), so do not delay! Good luck. (I am closing the comments on this story, so there is no confusion on where to put your answer)

The post Last Day to Win Two Free Airline Tickets appeared first on AirlineReporter.

March 12, 2018 at 04:19PM Source:

Win Allegiant Air Tickets & Fly to Somewhere W…

Win Allegiant Air Tickets & Fly to Somewhere Warm!:

An Allegiant Air McDonnell Douglas MD-83 - Photo: Tomas Del Coro | FlickrCC

An Allegiant Air McDonnell Douglas MD-83 – Photo: Tomas Del Coro | FlickrCC

I have always loved Allegiant. How can you dislike an airline that has no qualms with being an ultra-low-cost carrier? They can get you from point A to point B for cheap. Often point B is a pretty sunny place that you want to go to and relax, so it makes it all that much better. They also serve many small airports that have no other service. Not to mention they are still rocking the maddog MD-80 (although fly on them soon — they are expecting to be rid of them by the end of this year).

I’m chatting about them today, as we have two tickets on hand that we want to give away to our readers (that’s you). There aren’t too many restrictions for the tickets and it isn’t hard to get signed up. Keep reading to find out how to get a good summer trip planned.


Here is what you need to answer: How many departures did Allegiant have out of Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) in 2017? Put your guess in the comments and the person with the closest answer wins. No Price is Right rules here, so going over is okay. If we end up with more than one person with the right answer, the first who guessed will win.

Not required, but it would be cool if you are also following us on Twitter and our Instagram accounts. While you are at it, be sure to follow @Allegiant. Without them, this would be a contest for a blank piece of paper. A huge thank you to Allegiant!

When filling out your comment, make sure to use a valid email address. I will not be doing anything with that address other than emailing the winner (and you will get comment notifications unless you unchecked the box). Only one comment per person. If you cheat (I have my ways), then you are banned from the contest and I might publicly shame you (Editor’s note – we endorse this). The contest will be closed at 8pm Pacific time on Monday, March 12th. I will lock down the comments, update the story with the answer, and let the celebration begin (well, at least for one person and their guest). Please only guess if you are pretty darn certain you can use these tickets — I don’t want them to go to waste.

Allegiant's route map out of Orlando (SFB)

Allegiant’s route map out of Orlando (SFB)


I have two $200 vouchers (so $400 total) that you can use to have a good time flying on Allegiant. You win, I will email those to you and you need to book and travel by October 2, 2018. Since Allegiant worked so hard creating the small print on the bottom of their vouchers, I am going to just copy and paste:

This roundtrip ticket is in the form of a $200 voucher and must be used towards airfare or air + hotel packages booked by Allegiant and may be applied to convenience fees, baggage fees and taxes. Vouchers only valid when redeemed online at or through the Reservation Center, at 702-505-8888. Voucher is not redeemable for cash and is valid toward one transaction; no change or credit will be issued and not valid towards any onboard purchases. Allegiant reserves the right to cancel, alter routes/times or suspend air service without notice. Not all air service is year round, so some destinations may not be available at time of booking. Voucher must be redeemed by October 2, 2018, and travel must be completed by October 2, 2018. Lost or stolen vouchers will not be replaced, and expiration date cannot be extended.

If you win, it would be cool to send over some pictures of whatever adventure you end up on. Good luck!

The post Win Allegiant Air Tickets & Fly to Somewhere Warm! appeared first on AirlineReporter.

March 05, 2018 at 05:22PM Source:

Unveiling the Boeing 737 MAX 7: The Runt of th…

Unveiling the Boeing 737 MAX 7: The Runt of the Family:

Mini-max 7!

Mini-max 7!

“Who cares?”

I knew I would hear that from observers when covering the unveiling of the first Boeing 737 MAX 7 in Renton, WA this week. I get it. Sure, the MAX 7 is the runt of the MAX family, but often runts can grow up and do amazing things, like going fast.

This is going to be one fast plane to fly. The entire MAX family, from 10 down to 7 will have the same CFM LEAP 1-B engines. With the 7 being the smallest and lightest, I am sure it will become a favorite to fly for pilots. Of course being fun to fly isn’t really a great business case for airlines, and so far they haven’t bought many.

Where the entire MAX family has accumulated over 4,300 orders, from 93 customers from around the world, the MAX 7 has only 63 of those orders from four customers in the U.S. and Canada (Southwest has dibs on 30, WestJet has 23, Canada Jetlines has five and ILFC has the final five). Is there a bright future for this airplane? Personally, I hope so.

The aircraft almost blends into the gray Seattle skies.

The aircraft almost blends into the gray Seattle skies

Let’s dive a bit more into Southwest’s relationship with the plane. As they currently operate about 500 737-700s, I would think they are an obvious 7 customer. Sure, Southwest is moving more towards the MAX 8, but those orders won’t cover the 737-700s that will need replacing in the upcoming years.

Even for the 30 7s that they have on order, they won’t be taking delivery for a while. They plan to take their first one in 2019, then six more soon after, but the other 23 have already been deferred to 2023.  Talk about an un-luved runt. I wanted to learn a bit more how the 7 will fit into their future plans and they replied with the following:

“We remain excited to take delivery of our first Boeing MAX 7 in 2019 as planned. We did recently align the MAX 8s and the MAX 7s delivery schedules to match our expected growth while also better aligning the delivery of the MAX 7 for the time period when we expect to have more 737-700 retirements. Configured with 150 seats and all the Customer comforts and operational efficiencies of the 737 MAX family, we expect the MAX 7 will be a good fit for our fleet and network strategy. We’ll be incorporating the first seven MAX 7s into our fleet in 2019 to begin experiencing the expected operating benefits.”

The nose of the first 737 MAX 7 at the Renton Boeing factory

The nose of the first 737 MAX 7 at the Renton Boeing factory

So why is Boeing moving forward with the 7 MAX, without much love? Well, they are hoping that once it gets into service and airlines can see the benefits that the aircraft offers, customers will come flocking.

Maybe, but I think I remember similar sentiments with the 747-8I and we know how that turned out (if you don’t know, sadly not well). Also, there will be some tight competition for customers. Of course you have the recently famous BombardiAirbus CSeries, which doesn’t directly compete, but obviously close enough that it has caused Boeing to worry.

The more direct competitor is the Airbus A319neo, and according to Boeing, the MAX 7 will “fly 400 nautical miles farther than the A319neo, on 7 percent lower operating costs per seat.” I always take these statements with a huge grain of salt, since the MAX 7 hasn’t flown yet and the A319neo hasn’t yet been delivered to a customer.

So there might not be much business love for the 7 right now, but there was sure a lot of love by the employees who help to build the aircraft. The media was able to arrive early to get photos, before Boeing had some employees come out to see their plane. They were excited. Really excited. I mean, these were the people who see these planes day in and day out. Yet, here they were taking selfies and photos of themselves in front of their creation — it was very cool. Number of orders didn’t mean squat — they were proud of their mini-MAX.

I got to ride a scissor lift to take this photo. That was pretty rad (and a little scary)

I got to ride a scissor lift to take this photo. That was pretty rad (and a little scary).

Do not get me wrong. I have a love for this plane. Just the fact that it is a runt with not many orders makes me want to love it more. Not to mention that you will see all the excited AvGeeks getting the chance to ride on one of just a few 737 MAX 7s flying around North America.

The bad news is it will be a while before we can fly on one. The first MAX 7 will start test flights here soon and then will be delivered sometime in 2019. The good news is that leaves additional time for some airlines to pick one of these up.

You can also see some additional photos on our Flickr page

The post Unveiling the Boeing 737 MAX 7: The Runt of the Family appeared first on AirlineReporter.

February 06, 2018 at 07:03PM Source: