Category: IFTTT

Aviation Institute of Maintenance to Offer Dro…

Aviation Institute of Maintenance to Offer Drone Pilot Training at Summer Camp:

The Indianapolis campus of Aviation Institute of Maintenance will be holding a 5-day drone camp June 25-29. Camp will feature simulator training and instruction on FAA drone operation regulations.

By Brian Stauss

The Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) will be holding an instructional drone camp Monday, June 25 through Friday, June 29 at its campus located at 7251 W McCarty St, Indianapolis, IN. The camp begins at 9 a.m. and runs until 12 noon each day. The camp will be geared towards high school students and recent graduates.

Camp participants will learn how to pilot the campus’s DJI Phantom 3, through a combination of simulator and hands-on training. FAA sUAS regulations will also be covered throughout the week. Upon completion of the 5-day drone camp, participants will be prepared for the FAA Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Remote Pilot certification test.  Additional camp details can be found at

“This is an exciting opportunity for youth interested in learning more about the growing field of Unmanned Aircraft Systems,” says Andy Duncan, Campus Executive Director of Aviation Institute of Maintenance’s Indianapolis campus. “With the expanding government regulations regarding drone operations, AIM wanted to come up with a fun way to educate aspiring drone pilots.”

The camp is open to 2018, 2019, and 2020 high school graduates. There is a $25 registration fee to attend the camp and a limited number of spots are available. For more information regarding Aviation Institute of Maintenance’s drone camp, or to register, contact AIM’s Indianapolis campus at (317) 243-4519.

About Aviation Institute of Maintenance

Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) is a network of aviation maintenance schools with campuses coast-to-coast across the United States and headquarters located in Virginia Beach, Va. AIM students are trained to meet the increasing global demands of commercial, cargo, corporate and private aviation employers. AIM graduates are eligible to take the FAA exams necessary to obtain their mechanic’s certificate with ratings in both Airframe and Powerplant. AIM’s campuses are located in the following major metro areas: Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Mo., Oakland, Calif., Orlando, Fla., and Norfolk, Va. Learn more at:

The post Aviation Institute of Maintenance to Offer Drone Pilot Training at Summer Camp appeared first on AIM Blog.

via AIM Blog

Photo Review: Hong Kong Airlines’ Club Autus L…

Photo Review: Hong Kong Airlines’ Club Autus Lounge:

If you had to pick any place to kill some time, Hong Kong International Airport ain’t a bad choice. It’s a beautiful piece of architecture, it offers great runway views, and it has a lounge scene that’s arguably second to none. Most of its best known lounges belong to hometown juggernaut Cathay Pacific, which sets a pretty high bar for excellence in the ground experience at HKG.

Enter player two: Hong Kong Airlines. Their inflight product was a joy to fly on their A350s — you can read that review here. During our brief time on the ground in Hong Kong, we made sure to drop by the airline’s brand-new “Club Autus” Lounge at the HKG midfield concourse, where most of the airline’s long haul flights depart. The lounge delivers all the necessities plus some bonus creature comforts, and does it with style — if sometimes a very quirky style. But after a few hours getting watered and fed, taking a shower, and enjoying some stellar runway views, we’d give Club Autus two enthusiastic thumbs up.

Read on for more photos and details about the new player on HKG’s lounge circuit.

Club Autus is available to Hong Kong Airlines business class passengers, Fortune Wings program premium status holders, and can also be purchased for HKD 350 (~$45 USD) by anyone else flying the airline.

At the center of Hong Kong International Airport’s midfield concourse, a sign points flyers upstairs to Club Autus’ entrance. The lounge opened late last year. Previously, Hong Kong Airlines’ only lounge at the airport was Club Bauhinia, located in the main concourse. That space is still open, and is now probably less crowded than it used to be thanks to Club Autus’ opening. Bear in mind that if you buy a voucher, you’re not allowed to hop between lounges, so you’ll have to pick one.

Just past the entry desk, a shelf welcomed travelers with reading material. I had a hard time figuring out how to describe Club Autus’ style, which featured lots of wood and earthy tones with a few real plants. Forest-contemporary, maybe?

There’s a variety of seating near the entrance, including a set of broad curved tabletops.

BONUS: A Helicopter Flightseeing Tour of Hong Kong

Running the length of the center section of the lounge is the bar and dining area — a really nice looking space decked out with honeycomb shelves.

The bar is staffed and features a signature cocktail that’s contains a layer of rose syrup.

If you’re not in the mood for something boozy, there’s a huge selection of teas further down the bar, along with coffee and juices.

Food is one of this places’ strong suits. The highlight is a made-to-order noodle bar. You place your order at the counter and take a seat somewhere in the lounge, and someone will bring your noodles right to you.

Then there’s a significant spread of self-serve salads, snacks, shu mai, and some heavier fare.

I was saving my appetite for the flight, so I skipped the noodles and grabbed a small sampling of the snacky stuff. Then I scoped out a place to sit. The full time I was there, the lounge was never so crowded that it was hard to find a place to sit, though the seating closest to the entrance did get a bit crowded. I can’t speak to crowd factors in the early morning or later in the day, though.

Past the dining area, there was some couch-style seating that wrapped around a small computer station, which also had a printer.

BONUS: ANA Ambassador Report – Two AvGeeks Visit Hong Kong

Next was a small nook with high-back chairs surrounded by some snazzy shelves. Although the terminal roof is cavernous, the ring-like ceiling fixtures in this portion of the lounge gave it a more cloistered, comfy feel. 

The rearmost part of the lounge offers the best view of the ramp. So obviously that’s where I chose to hunker down.

Rest & Relaxation

There’s a dimly lit nook towards the back of the lounge with a few nap stations, along with a massage chair.

The lounge offers travelers shower facilities. The shower room was large, looked great, was spotlessly clean, and had the full range of amenities.

BONUS: Photo Tour of Asiana Airlines’ Business Class Lounge at Seoul Incheon International Airport

It was definitely one of the best in-airport shower experiences I’ve had. Feeling nice and refreshed, I headed for my gate.

The Verdict

Hong Kong Airlines offers a strong inflight product on its new A350s, but does it have the ground experience to match? After dropping by the new Club Autus, I’d say it absolutely does. The main ingredients for a competitive flagship lounge — made-to-order food, sleep spaces, showers, and views — are all present and accounted for. Clearly a lot of attention went into Club Autus’ style and design, and the result is a genuinely great looking space. It’s a bit hard to know exactly what brand image Hong Kong Airlines is trying to cultivate, but based on Club Autus, it feels like they’re going for amenities on par with their local full service competitors (namely Cathay) but with a less formal, more whimsical style.

I wouldn’t list Club Autus in my personal list of my top five favorite lounges, but I’d give it a strong 4.5 stars out of 5. It’s definitely worth dropping by if you have access, and if you don’t have access but you have a layover longer than two hours, you may find a HKD 350 (~$45 USD) voucher worth it — especially if you’re in need of a meal and shower.

Now it’s time for us to hear from you. What’s your take on Club Autus? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

The post Photo Review: Hong Kong Airlines’ Club Autus Lounge appeared first on AirlineReporter.

June 14, 2018 at 04:34PM Source:

United Quietly Tests Selling Economy Plus as P…

United Quietly Tests Selling Economy Plus as Part of the Fare:

Just this week, United quietly started filing a handful of fares that include Economy Plus seating in the Newark to Ft Lauderdale market. The fares are pretty terrible right now, and they aren’t showing on the website just yet, so this is clearly a very preliminary test. If this does become the norm, United will once again find itself following Delta’s lead.

Today, United sells tickets including a regular seat assignment when available, but if you want to buy an extra legroom Economy Plus seat, you have to buy it as an add-on. That can happen during the purchase process or at any time before travel. When you go to, it looks something like this:

Then when you pick your flight, United gives you a bundle option on the next page:

I’d never really examined this upsell before, but it is a terrible value. The price seems to have been set at $1 below the most expensive Economy Plus seat. On this flight, that lousy exit row middle seat is running $89. Every other Economy Plus seat (many of which are better than a middle seat) are cheaper. So you should skip this, and when you do, you’ll go to the seat map where you can choose to add-on an individual seat:

This particular flight was for June 25. I picked that day because United’s new Economy Plus fares appear to be limited to 14 day advance purchase or higher, and it was June 21 when I first tested this. When I price the regular fare in Sabre, I get the same fare as I got on

But, if I use the new “EP” brand code, it gives me this Economy Plus option:

Of course, this fare is even worse than United’s upsell with a $114 premium. So why would anyone buy this? Well, there may be a reason for a corporate traveler. If a company won’t allow ancillary purchases to be expensed, then this could be a way for a traveler to still get the same seat without going out of pocket. (Then again, with 14 day advance purchase on these fares, it may have more limited appeal to corporates.) But if that’s how United is approaching this, corporates are going to find out quickly and be really mad that they’re getting fleeced. That’s why my thought is that this is really just a test, and those fares were set high on purpose.

The mechanics work similarly to how Basic Economy works. At United, Basic Economy fares book into N class but are also based on the lowest selling regular fare in the market. With Economy Plus, it books into B class but again relies on being a bump above the lowest selling regular fare. (This may be somewhat confusing since American actually uses B class for Basic Economy, but then again, how many people need to know that or even care? Not many.)

This brings up a ton of questions. I asked United for answers, but I unsurprisingly didn’t get any. Airlines don’t talk about future pricing for legal reasons.

  • Does United plan on rolling this out to all markets or just a subset?
  • Will United allow travelers to have the choice of buying Economy Plus in the fare or as an add-on? Or will United move toward the Delta model where it’s all in the fare?
  • What does this mean for elite travelers? Will they now have to upgrade into Economy Plus the way that they upgrade in Business? There are lot of variations on this question.

I like the idea of having an Economy Plus fare because it would allow United to sell premium economy fares internationally — remember, the new true premium economy cabin is coming soon — that would include Economy Plus seats on a domestic leg. But I also like the ability to just pick a seat outside the fare.

Were I a betting man, I’d say that United will end up doing pretty much what Delta has done, but we’ll just have to wait until United decides it’s ready to start talking.

June 14, 2018 at 01:45PM Source:

Cranky Concierge is Hiring for Overnight and W…

Cranky Concierge is Hiring for Overnight and Weekend Concierges:

I haven’t written about it much, but Cranky Concierge has been growing a lot. We’re now up to 14 people on the team, but we need at least one or two more. Specifically, we need more people to help with nights and weekends.

That job has changed since I last posted about it. We now have teams, so instead of having to be available when a specific client is traveling, our concierges now work shifts. It makes it much easier for concierges to plan their lives, and the existing team has been really happy. But we need more help, so, if you’re interested, please keep reading.

You can find the full job description here. Read through the whole thing, and if you are interested in joining the team, you can send over your information as requested in the job description to

We’ve built a great group over here, and if you’re looking for a flexible way to earn some money while flexing your AvGeek skills, then this will be right up your alley.

Back to our regularly-scheduled programming tomorrow…

June 13, 2018 at 01:45PM Source:

Icelandair to the MAX!

Icelandair to the MAX!:

A huge crowd gathered to come see Icelandair’s newest addition to its fleet.

During a recent trip in April to Switzerland, I was able to make use of Icelandair’s Stopover option #MyStopover, and spent a weekend in Reykjavik to attend an employee-only plane warming party for the first Boeing 737 MAX 8 added to Icelandair’s fleet.

In February and March, Icelandair took delivery of their first three Boeing 737MAX 8 aircraft, TF-ICE, TF-ICY, and TF-ICU. The airline has 13 more MAX-series jets on order, with the next three scheduled for delivery in 2019, with the final delivery of this order slated for 2021.

The dark patches in the grey sky made for some nice contrast

The 737MAX features Icelandair’s updated livery, which has a simpler look. The blue is a lighter hue, the underbelly is grey, the words on the tail have been omitted so it only has the logo, and the yellow fuselage stripe has been removed. The aircraft were delivered without seats — they and the in-flight entertainment system were installed in Keflavik by Icelandair Technical Services.

There was a several-day delay, before the first scheduled revenue flight, but, very quietly on April 13, TF-ICE made its first revenue flight to New York (EWR) and back, just in time for the party.

On the morning of Saturday April 14, TF-ICE made a quick repositioning flight from Keflavik (KEF) to Reykjavik City Airport (BIRK), where Icelandair’s upper management, along with some lucky employees, invited guests, and members of the press were about to board this brand new Boeing 737MAX for a sightseeing flight over Iceland.

TF-ICE took to the skies at 11:21 a.m., heading towards the interior of the country before heading up to Akureyri for a fly-by of the airport to honor the birthplace of Flugfélag Akureyrar back in 1937, which today is Icelandair. Icelandair CEO and President Bjorgolfur Johannsson’s hometown of Grenivík was circled (he was onboard the flight), before heading back to Reykjavik. The party was about to get started.

While TF-ICE was underway, the preparations were in full swing on the ground. Icelandair had invited its employees along with family to come check out the newest addition to the Icelandair fleet. Eagle Air’s hangar was set up for some food, fun and entertainment. The word went around the organizers had planned with about 700-800 people for the event, but apparently nearly 2,000 people RSVPd. So a second food truck was organized to make sure enough food was at hand.

Icelandair organized media access to the old tower at the Reykjavik Airport. It features a nice balcony that provided a superb view of the runway. Two fire trucks got in place for a water cannon salute, and the return of TF-ICE was only minutes away. As the plane returned from its sightseeing flight, it came in over downtown Reykjavik and then did a low flyby over the runway.

At 12.44 p.m., after a one hour and 23 min. flight, TF-ICE, which is named Jökullsárlón (a glacier lagoon) touched down at Reykjavik airport. The crowd was standing in a half circle in front of the Eagle Air hangar awaiting the water cannon salute. TF-ICE back taxied on the runway and as it got into position for the salute, only one of the fire engines ended up discharging water for the salute — it appeared that the other fire engine had an issue with its water cannon. It still was a nice welcome.

TF-ICE took up its parking spot, air stairs were pulled up to the jet and the lucky participants of the scenic flight deplaned with big smiles on their faces into the waiting crowd on the ground. Maintenance crews quickly laid down some plastic covering onto the carpet in the aisle of the plane, as there were about a lot of people to walk down the aisle to get a glimpse of the interior of this new Boeing 737 MAX. A long line formed, and everyone patiently awaited their turn to get on board and be able to have a look. The food trucks were cranking out burgers and pizza, beverages and Kleina, the Icelandic mini-doughnuts were available inside the hangar. Icelandair made sure the youngest visitors were well taken care of — they hired a musician who sang and danced. It was very heartwarming to hear the kids singing inside the hangar.

I was able to have a look at the interior of the jet right after the scenic flight, while the maintenance crew were installing the carpet covers. I also walked through the aircraft again at the very end of the event with the very last visitors. Icelandair uses seats from Avio Interiors out of Italy. The aircraft features 160 seats in economy (3+3 abreast), with 16 seats in Saga class arranged 2 + 2 abreast, which is their premium product. The 737 MAX features Boeing’ Sky Interior with LED mood lighting and large overhead bins.

The new Boeing 737 Max 8 features “Advanced Technology” split-tip winglets for improved aerodynamics and CFM International LEAP-1B engines, which contribute to about a 14% reduction in fuel burn compared to a 737NG. The pilots told me that they were impressed with the performance of the 737 MAX.

CFM International LEAP-1B engine

As the event started to wind down, the last few people made their way up the stairs to go have a look at the interior. Captain Hjálmarsson did a pre-flight walk around while posing a for a few pictures.

A fair number of attendees stuck around to watch the departure. Many pitched in to help clean up inside the hangar while the ground crew readied the jet for departure. Shortly after 3 p.m., the LEAP-1B engines roared to life, and captains Hjálmarsson and Baldursson taxied the jet down the taxiway before turning onto runway 19. The engines spooled up, lots of moisture got kicked up, and TF-ICE leaped off the ground in no time for its short repositioning flight back to Keflavik.

The post Icelandair to the MAX! appeared first on AirlineReporter.

June 12, 2018 at 04:52PM Source:

David Neeleman on the A330neo and Doubling TAP…

David Neeleman on the A330neo and Doubling TAP’s Presence in the US (Across the Aisle):

I’ve lined up a handful of interviews here on the blog which you’ll see in the next few weeks. Today, I’m starting with David Neeleman. As you know, David has been behind a lot of different airline projects, most famously the founding of JetBlue. But today we’re focusing on TAP Air Portugal. Since David and the team took over TAP a couple years back, the airline has been transformed, but there’s a lot more change coming with a whopping 71 airplanes on order, and I had questions.

Every time I do one of these, there are at least one or two comments asking for information that I didn’t cover. This time, you can go find it yourself. This Friday (June 15), David will be promoting TAP’s stopover program on the ground in Brooklyn at the corner of Bogart and Grattan Streets from 3p to 4p ET with what the airline is calling an “Aviation Geek Meet-Up.” Head on over, get some goodies, and you can ask him all the questions you’d like. It’s an AvGeek dream. Now, on to the interview.

Brett Snyder, Cranky Flier: We are here to talk about TAP, and I’m specifically interested in the A330neo that you’re taking delivery of. Do you have one on the property yet?

David Neeleman, Co-Owner TAP Air Portugal: We haven’t got it yet. We’re gonna get it in September. It’s flying around — it’s got our colors on it — it’s flying around the world on test flights, but it hasn’t been certified yet. I’m actually gonna go next week to fly to Toulouse and then fly it back to Lisbon on a part of its certification journey.

Cranky: You won’t get the keys until September, and when do you expect to have it in service?

David: It’s about a year late so we’re kind of frustrated. There have been issues with the engines like everyone else, but we’re gonna get it and get them pretty quick. We’ll get 18 of them in 15 months with 7 by the end of the year so they’re going to be coming like popcorn.

Cranky: I didn’t realize it was that accelerated. Where are you planning on putting these into service first?

David: Probably North America. Probably JFK and Boston. Brazil’s obviously a great market for us, Sao Paulo and Rio [will follow] closely after. We have 4 A330-300s that are ex-Singapore Airlines that are going away and then 7 old Pratt-powered A330s. We’re gonna have retired 15 airplanes when they come on.

Cranky: So it’s primarily replacement.

David: Yes, primarily with some growth. And we’re getting [14] A321LRs for growth. Because the LR is going to be able to do a lot of the Transatlantic as well, southern and northern. So we’ll have a few units of growth and then we’re gonna have replacement.

Cranky: Are the 330neos that are coming going to have the same seats you have today?

David: It’ll be an upgraded seat. I don’t have exact details, but it’ll have lie flat, big screens, the whole bit. I think it’s going to be 35 [Ed note: actually 34] biz class seats on it and a premium economy section. [The 96-seat Economy Xtra section is an extra legroom section like Economy Plus, not a true premium economy]

Cranky: That’s new for you, right?

David: Yeah.

Cranky: My biggest question about the neo… it hasn’t been the most popular aircraft. It’s taken a few hits lately with Hawaiian going away from it and American choosing the 787. Why is this the right aircraft for TAP when others are coming to different conclusions?

David: I can’t speak for Hawaiian or American but it’s common to our existing fleet, so our pilots can fly the neo and the [A330]-200 so that’s important for transition and all that. And the economics are really good. I don’t know, Boeing’s being pretty aggressive with the 787, and the 787-9 and -10 are good airplanes, so it just depends on the individual airline. [The A330neo] is a great airplane, gonna offer us fuel economy. Our -900[neo] which is equivalent to an [A330]-300 are going to have lower fuel burn than an [A330]-200. So we’re going to have almost 300 [Ed note: actually 298] seats onboard in total and we’ll be burning less fuel than we’re burning today with 274, and our customers are going to love it.

Cranky: You talk about what routes it’s going to go on first, it’s replacement routes, but as you mention you have a few extra shells for growth. What does this open up for you that you can’t do today? Are we going to see you here on the West Coast?

David: Yeah, we totally plan on flying to the West Coast. In the Bay Area there are a lot of Portuguese that live there, and a lot of traffic to the Azores in the summer time. There’s a lot of Portuguese, and we think it’s a great market for us. It’s not just the West Coast, but we’d like to do equal the number of cities in North America as we’re doing in Brazil. We have 10 markets in Brazil, and we think North America including Canada can support 10 cities.

Cranky: How many today? You have 4 or 5? I guess it depends how you count Newark and JFK.

David: Toronto, Boston, JFK, Newark, and Miami, so we have 5 today with at least 5 to go.

Cranky: This we should see in the next couple years?

David: Yeah, you’ll see some next summer and the summer afterwards. Between the next few summers, you’ll see us get to 10.

Cranky: TAP obviously is an old-line carrier [that’s] been around for ages, and you stepped in to make a push to reinvent the airline. I know a big part of that is making Lisbon as a gateway to Europe, trying to increase connecting flows. How has it been working? Has it been going as you thought?

David: Yeah. Portugal is having a moment like no place ever has. People are loving that place. It’s unbelievable how much is being written and said. What we’ve done to that place, we brought more service from more places. Our [free] stopover program will bring in an extra 150,000 customers a year. And those people talk to their friends and relatives and associates at work saying “Wow, have you tried going to Portugal? It’s amazing.” The airport’s brimming with people, and we’re working closely with the government and ANA [Ed note: the Portuguese airport operator] to get it expanded as quickly as we can.

Cranky: What’s the split local versus connecting traffic?

David: Depends on where you’re talking. Brazilians go beyond more — more than 50 percent. But North America we’re getting more than 50 percent who stay in Portugal. We fly a lot from Northern Brazil, so we’re the only way to Europe without going back down to the South of Brazil. It’s like if you live in New York and you want to go to London, you have to go via Denver. That’s what people in Brazil have to do. We carry about a third of all traffic between Brazil and Europe because of what we have. The proximity between Brazil and Lisbon and pretty close, 7 hours away.

Cranky: From the US, it’s mostly Portugal destination. Is that something you want to change? Are you really trying to push to grow connecting?

David: Yeah. I’d like to have more.

Cranky: One way I know you do that, you have really low business fares. I guess in coach as well. But that’s part of the strategy, trying to drive [traffic] through price, or is that something that will shift now that you have the new aircraft with a newer, upgraded product?

David: We have more seats to sell. It’s more of a leisure market, so you know, we charge less. No different than JetBlue with Mint, they charge less than American does.

And that’s as far as we got. Again, if you have questions for David, go ask him yourself from 3p to 4p ET on Friday at the corner of Bogart and Grattan Streets in Brooklyn.

June 12, 2018 at 01:45PM Source:

Who the F*&@ is Primera?

Who the F*&@ is Primera?:

It’s been awhile since I did one of these posts, but the time has come to take a look at Primera, an airline you may be surprised I’ve ignored for this long. After all, Primera had aggressive plans to use narrowbodies to fly between the US and Europe this summer. While there have been problems, it is actually flying on some routes. So let’s take a look.

Primera started out as an Icelandic company back in 2003. Its original focus was the usual story for an upstart in a cold weather climate: carry leisure passengers in cold places to the sun. It did just that primarily as a charter operator. That changed over time, and while the sun-chasing element is still there, it’s now doing it mostly with scheduled flights. The company relocated to Riga, Latvia with a subsidiary airline operating out of Denmark. You can see its European destinations here:

As you can imagine, Primera’s routes are pretty much taking the dots on the top half of the map and connecting them with the dots on the bottom half. The number of destinations may make you think it’s bigger than it is. The airline has, according to its website, 10 737s buzzing around Europe, and that’s it for now (but MAXs are on order). It seems to have carved out a decent niche, and that would normally be the end of the story. But Primera has decided to dream very big.

The airline made a big splash last year when it decided to take A321neos and fly them across the Pond. This summer, Primera is flying twice daily from Newark (one to Paris/CDG and the other to London/Stansted), once daily from Boston (3 weekly to Paris/CDG and 4 weekly to London/Stansted), once daily from Toronto (3 weekly to London/Stansted and 4 weekly to Paris/CDG), and toward the end of the summer it begins flying 5 weekly flights from Washington/Dulles to London/Stansted. I find this all very confusing, because the best I can tell, it only has two neos flying right now, so the math doesn’t add up. I know it has had to get creative — Newark to Paris is on a 767 right now — but presumably this is all due to not having enough airplanes in the fleet just yet. Eventually this should be all A321neo if it can make it long enough to get all those airplanes in the air.

The neo is configured with 198 seats onboard, which isn’t all that dense. (Hawaiian’s A321neo has 189, but all-coach operators can easily squeeze in over 220.) It does have two cabins, similar to what you’ll find on most longer-haul low-cost airlines, but it’s not an overly-generous premium cabin.

There are 16 seats in the premium economy section. This looks to be a fairly standard premium economy offering. Here’s the photo the airline shares.

Don’t be fooled. That first row does have a nice leg rest, but you can clearly see the rows behind do not. It looks like it’s just a domestic-style First Class seat with a footrest in most rows. You get a meal, a small amenity kit, and a power outlet when you fly. Oh and you get water. If an airline has to point that out as Primera does on its website, I’m not sure how “premium” it really is.

In the back, Primera provides the usual no-frills offering that you’d expect on an airline like this. One article says that the airline has 30-inch seat pitch in the regular seats which isn’t all that tight. But there is also an extra legroom section which apparently has two more inches, not all that roomy. You have to pay for any seat assignment, of course, and any food or drink you might want. The only thing included without charge is a USB power outlet.

The airline has strangely chosen the generic slogan of “Fly better, fly Primera Air.” The point, however, isn’t supposed to be that you’re flying “better” but rather that you’re supposed to be flying CHEAPER. And it IS cheaper at a quick glance. Looking at one way fares, I could get a coach seat the next day for $799 with no frills from Newark to London. I could also get premium economy for only $899 on that same flight. And if you have any kind of advance purchase, rates plunge. On July 7, when I checked on Friday, it was $279 with no frills to London or $749 in premium.

So what do I think of this? I don’t get it. An efficient widebody can get you lower seat costs than even the most efficient narrowbody. So on major Transatlantic routes like the ones Primera is flying, it’s going to be hard to compete. Even Norwegian knows to put 787s on those routes (when it isn’t leasing in some stray aircraft out of necessity). Sure, Primera can be a spill carrier in the summer when fares are high on the other airlines, but the rest of the year will likely be a bloodbath. This isn’t likely a sustainable model.

To me, the more interesting idea is that one that Primera had to scrap this year. It was going to fly from Birmingham in the UK over to North America this summer. A321neo delivery delays, however, killed that plan. That’s not entirely correct. It did start flying from Newark with a leased National 757, but with neo delivery dates slipping, it pulled the plug for all flights from June 21. It says it’ll try again next year.

That kind of market seems far more promising. There isn’t any Transatlantic service to speak of from Birmingham now, and a narrowbody could create a decent niche, especially during the summer. But we won’t know if that’ll work or not since the service is gone.

Primera apparently likes to think of itself as one of the “world’s top low-cost long-haul carriers,” but that distinction appears to be based upon weekly departures, not exactly a helpful metric. Just because you’re getting bigger doesn’t mean you’re doing well. This summer was a big jump for the airline, so we’ll see if the results are positive or not. Chances are, summer may be ok if enough people find that the airline exists, but when demand falls off into the fall, that’s when it will get tough. Personally, I’m hoping Primera makes it until next year. Then we can see if that Birmingham plan might work.

June 11, 2018 at 01:45PM Source:

Cranky on the Web: Billions of Dollars Pour In…

Cranky on the Web: Billions of Dollars Pour Into LAX, Singapore’s Longest Haul:

Los Angeles’ Massive Airport MakeoverIcons of Infrastructure
I stopped doing freelance writing a long time ago, but Icons of Infrastructure asked me if I’d take a crack of some of the projects being done at LAX, and I was happy to jump back in the game. This piece focuses on just three projects – the northern part of the Midfield Satellite Concourse, the Delta SkyWay, and the Landside Access Modernization Project. Read the article for details.

Is now the right time for SIA’s relaunch of the world’s longest flight?Travel Daily Media
I didn’t write about it here on the blog, but Singapore has its new A350-900ULR aircraft coming in and that means Newark is back (with LA to follow). I was asked about why it failed before, and whether it’ll work this time around.

June 09, 2018 at 01:45PM Source:

3 Links I Love: Airline CEOs Gather in Sydney,…

3 Links I Love: Airline CEOs Gather in Sydney, Heathrow Steps Ahead, Elite Airways:

This week’s featured link:
So Long, Sydney: Take-Aways From IATA’s Meeting of World’s Airline ExecsStuck at the Airport
I’ve still never been to IATA’s annual general meeting (AGM), because there always seems to be some kind of conflict. One day I hope to go since it’s quite the impressive gathering of airline CEOs. I didn’t find all that much newsy coming out of the event this year, but Harriet put together a brief synopsis with some links for those who want to see more about what went on.

Two for the road:
Heathrow Airport: Cabinet approves new runway planBBC
Another step forward for Heathrow’s 3rd runway. Now they say 2026… sure, right. I’ll believe it when I see an airplane landing on it.

John Pearsall of Elite AirwaysBill Green’s Maine
The opening shot of this local program seems to be about the Maine-est thing possible. Frankly, Elite is an airline that’s been around for a long time doing a lot of random things, and I’ve almost completely ignored it. Apparently 757s are now coming? I don’t understand how this airline even exists, but something tells me that the profitable sports charter business allows them to try other strange things (like Bimini, which surprised Bill Green as well) and still survive.

June 08, 2018 at 01:45PM Source:

Why Won’t American Let Me Use Miles on a Conne…

Why Won’t American Let Me Use Miles on a Connecting Flight? (Ask Cranky):

It’s time for another Ask Cranky. This one is a follow-up on a post I wrote last December.

I read your post in December [about American opening up more award space on connecting flights] and I am NOT seeing this space open up. In fact it has gotten worse. I’m trying to fly from Houston to Champaign, IL and despite [a MileSAAver] being available on both Houston to Dallas/Ft Worth and Dallas/Ft Worth to Champaign, I cannot book [a MileSAAver] from Houston to Champaign.

Is there anyone at American you can reach out to and see why the situation has not improved? I have tried calling and speaking to their agents and even supervisors, but they say, “The computer says no.” I am frustrated.

Good catch here, and sure enough, this is happening. It’s the exact opposite of what American said it was doing last December, so it had me a bit puzzled initially. But I suppose it does make sense.

You’ll remember back in December I said this:

Thanks to improved revenue management techniques, American has become much more skilled at maximizing its revenues on every flight it operates. So if the airline is going to open up more award availability, it wants to do it in a way that can have the lowest impact on ticket revenue.

In the original example, that meant American was fine selling cheap award tickets from Richmond to LA via Philly but not on the two local markets where it could get a high fare. But this can work in reverse as well. Let’s take a look at what Jon was talking about.

No need to share the dates here, but you can rest assured that these are all on the exact same date. First, here’s the availability from Houston to Dallas/Ft Worth:

Then there’s Dallas/Ft Worth to Champaign:

And finally, here’s the Houston to Champaign display:

We can really dive in and examine why this might or might not make sense on these specific flights, but I can guarantee you that American isn’t doing that manually.

Sure, Houston to Dallas is a big market with competition and cheap fares. So if American can take 7,500 miles instead of the $100 it’s likely to get on a fare, then that’s not bad at all. Might as well open things up and let travelers burn their miles. And on Dallas to Champaign, well, it’s an incredibly tiny market (less than one person a day) so the airline might think keeping seats open could help move people on to that flight instead of going via Chicago. But again, that’s a TINY market, and American can’t really be bothered getting into that type of detail.

Instead, what’s probably happening here is that American is setting up rules and letting the computers decide when to open up availability. Recently, American gained the ability to limit those by true origin and destination (Houston to Champaign) instead of just by individual flight, so that allowed the airline to manage things much more intricately. I have no idea how sophisticated the system is, but certainly the expected ticket price, mileage amount, and demand should come together and allow American to make a decision on whether it makes sense to give mileage seats at the low level or not.

This might be good for travelers, but frankly, we will never know. How so? Well, since American can control availability by full origin and destination and not just by flight leg, that means it may find that it’s worth opening up space more often than it used to.

Let’s zero in on that Dallas/Ft Worth – Champaign flight. Before, American had the binary option of leaving mileage availability open or closed for anyone who wanted to take that flight regardless of actual origin and destination. American might have made the decision in that scenario to not open it up. But now that it can open it just for the few people traveling on the local route, it may feel safe opening up availability that never would have existed before.

It’s also possible that before, American just would have left this open for anyone, and now it’s shutting down availability on connections because it has the ability to do so. That baseline is what we don’t know, and it’s why we can’t tell if this in particular is good for bad for travelers.

What I do know is that American has shown interest in giving people more opportunities to burn miles. That means that overall this is going to make more seats available. That doesn’t mean that in every situation there will be more availability, but more broadly, it does.

This does add complexity, and it’s already created an issue that’s fairly annoying. Jon can buy two tickets from Houston to Champaign for 20,000 miles if he’s willing to split them. Of course, if he’s checking a bag that’s likely to be problematic for him. But his other option is to spend a whopping 50,000 miles which would just be crazy. It would be nice if American had the ability to allow end-to-end redemptions, but I doubt that’s something we’ll see anytime soon.

In summary, this is frustrating for travelers who used to know you could just piece itineraries together flight by flight. But it should result in greater availability overall, so it’s not necessarily bad. What we do know is that this is reality, and it’s not going to change regardless.

June 07, 2018 at 01:45PM Source: