Archive for the 'in-flight' Category

Emirates Looking for A380 Crew

According to ATW News, Emirates has initiated the next phase in welcoming the Airbus A380 superjumbo into its fleet in August: hiring flight crew!

Here is a video of the Emirates livery A380 flying above Dubai:

The Aviation College of Emirates will begin accepting A380 personnel to its crew training program in early June. Emirates will have 489 seats in its A380, and plans to operate it with 24 cabin staff onboard a normal flight meaning that there is one flight attendant for every 20 passegengers. Just as a comparison, a regular narrow-body Airbus A320 or Boeing B737 flies with around 4-5 flight attendants per 150 passengers meaning that there is one flight attendant for every 30-35 passengers only. It is interesting that they plan to have a little more than about six complete crews for every aircraft. There will be 158 employees trained for the first four A380s scheduled to arrive in 2008 and they will be selected from current Boeing 777 and Airbus A330/A340 staff, Senior VP-Service Delivery Terry Daly told ATWOnline in Dubai. This also shows just how complicated of a process it is to introduce a new aircraft to an airline’s fleet.

In average, 90 new flight attendants join Emirates each week and the carrier currently employs 9,200 cabin staff from 116 countries. “Four years ago, the number of cabin crew was around 4,000. By 2012-13 we will have a total of 18,000,” Daly said. The carrier is sending recruiters throughout its worldwide network to hire more staff. He said just 5% of applicants eventually are hired.

by balint01

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Friday Fun – Enjoying Your Night Flight?

We previously had a series of good (and funny) airline commercials, here is one that is not advertising an airline, but is really funny and the scene is set on an airplane.

I hope you enjoy it.

by balint01

Flight Review: AirTran Airways

AirTran Logo 

Route: Atlanta, GA – Dayton, OH – Atlanta, GA
Operating Airlines: AirTran Airways
Travel Date: 30NOV2007 and 02DEC2007

Ticket Purchase

I have bought the ticket through www.airtran.com. The website is very simple, and thus very easy to use, very understandable, clear. It shows you all available fares in a very simple table with all flight details being displayed in small pop-up dialog windows. It is clear which flight is nonstop, and which ones involve a transfer. What is a nice feature that I have not seen before at other airlines’ sites, is that you can have a printer friendly version of the flight search results. So you can print your options and discuss it with somebody or attach it to a business trip plan, etc. Very handy, as mostly you end up with complicated, colorful search results which you can scroll for minutes and may be printed on four pages which then you have to somehow compile to see the actual information. This is a nice added value feature! After selecting your flights you get an overview, that includes the most important fare rules, terms and conditions, check-in information, and the option to add your a+ rewards number (frequent flier program of AirTran) as well to book a trip protection insurance. You also have the option to secure your seat when booking, which is at extra cost, but at an acceptable level I think. I chose 17F for both of my flights for an extra USD 5 for each flight, but could have chosen emergency exit seats with extra leg room for USD 20/flight. You can of course pay by credit card, but you can also use your PayPal account, with BillMeLater or with CheckFree account. In the last step you confirm your payment details and recieve a confirmation mail afterwards.

Offsetting Carbon Emissions 

There is no option to offset your carbon emissions on this website.

Check-In

I wasn’t worried about check-in at all, as I had pre-selected my seat, I knew I will have a window seat, still I received a mail 24 hours before the first flight that check-in is now available. I went ahead and checked in, where I could select another seat. (Actually on the way back I did so, as 17F didn’t have enough legroom due to some wiring at the bottom of the previous seat.) Online check-in at the website is also straight forward, and fast. You have other choices to check-in, such as the Bye-Pass Check-in kiosks at the airport, and you can also drop your luggage off at the sidewalk check-in areas at the Atlanta Airport so you don’t even have to carry your luggage in the terminal building, they take it away from your right where the taxi can drop you off.

AiTran B717 in Atlanta, GA, USA (by balint01)

1. ATLANTA, GA – DAYTON, OH (FL 702)

Aircraft: Boeing 717-200 (N923AT), relatively new aircraft operated by AirTran Airways – with special sticker: 100th Boeing Delivery
Class: Economy
Punctuality: Flight took off 10 minutes late, arrived at about the right time.
Boarding: Was very efficient, due to the boarding zones -printed on the boarding card- called one by one.
Seats: Comfortable, but not wide enough seats, with small legroom (especially as the bottom of the previous seat had extra wiring)
Flight Attendants: There were 3 of them, they were average looking, all of them seemed friendly.
Meals: Everybody is asked if they want snacks (small pack of pretzels) and a glass of soft drink (Coca-Cola products). For USD 5 you can also get beer, wine, shots or mini-cocktails. In business class these are included in the ticket prize for economy, you may pay onboard, or while checking in on the ByePass Kiosks before your flight, which would give you vouchers.
Entertainment: Free Satellite XM radio with optional headsets (but you can use your own, too) and on-board magazine: Go. Huge SkyMall catalog

2. DAYTON, OH – ATLANTA, GA (FL 414)

Aircraft: Boeing 717-200 (N-963AT), aircraft operated by AirTran Airways
Class: Economy
Punctuality: Flight took off exactly on time, arrived 10 minutes late.
Boarding: Dayton airport was deserted on this Sunday night, no lines to que, just walk-through to the gate. Same zoned boarding used as in Atlanta, due to the low number of people plane was boarded very quickly.
Seats: As my seat was on the left side of the plane where you only have two seats, it felt a little bit more comfortable. I had a bigger guy sitting next to me, but as soon as doors were closed, he moved elsewhere, so we were both more comfortable.
Flight Attendants: There were 3 of them, average.
Meals: Same small pack of pretzels, same soft drinks as on the outbound flight.
Entertainment: Free XM satellite radio at every seat.

Overall Experience

AirTran just does what air travel is basically about: Takes you from point A to point B. Considered as a low-cost, it still offers free drinks on board which is nice, and I also liked the XM satellite radio. Other than that it does nothing more, nothing less. It’s good value for your money with efficient procedures (online booking, online check-in, efficient boarding). I paid USD 248 for my return ticket, and if I will ever visit my American families in Ohio from Atlanta again, I would take this flight once more.

by balint01

What Do We Eat On Board?

What do we eat on board? Do we eat the same as the pilots? Why do we always feel airline food tasteless? How come we get only a sandwich on the same route we had hot meal on during the outbound flight? How can we get prepared for the food served on our flight?

The Plane takes off, it reaches safe flight altitude, the pilot switches off the “Fasten seat belts” sign. For me this is the point when my first thought is: ok, now when and what shall we eat today? Somehow it belongs to travelling, just like when the train leaves the station and you immediately open your bag and start eating your sandwich. Although there must be some very scientific explanation to this phenomenon, I still believe that we are just bored and eating is nothing more than fun in thes ecases.

When my friends start telling me stories about their journeys, I can hear it many times: “food was not that good on the plane”. So let’s start by clarifying some misunderstandings as a first step:

– On 11 thousand meters high in a high pressure cabin with low humidity we loose 20% of our taste buds.

– Airline meals are almost never good.

Finnair meal - Helsinki-Budapest The reason is that by the time it gets on our tray, it goes through the following process: it comes out from the catering company’s production line, it is divided into portions, wrapped up in a box on a tray in a metal container, loaded into the catering car, taken to the plane and loaded into the galley. This process might take hours (as sometimes food for the return journey is also loaded at the original departure station) and in the meantime they are not refridgerated and they dry out. Therefore they all contain preservatives, so they are mostly like canned food.

Most airlines offer special meals like vegetarian, kosher, halal, low sugar, low colesterole, etc. These meals are prepared with special care, so they are better quality than the regular ones, so it is worthwile to ask for them when booking.

While earlier air travel was luxury, today it is business as usual for eevryone thanks to the low cost carriers. Regular network airlines have to comopete with them and decrease their costs. The most easily noticable cost cutting tool is decreasing the amount and quality of on-board food. Nowadays they serve only a sandwich on a short haul flight’s economy class.

The quality and type of meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a snack) depends on the time and duration of the flight. You can always find information about the meal served on the flight in the reservation systems, although it is not always displayed in e-booking engines, but the airline’s call center can give you information on it. If you find out more about the food in advance, you can protect yourself from a disappointment.

Malev meal - Budapest-WarsawThere is another way to get yourself prepared, though. Usually meals look much better on the airlines’ website than in reality (just like in the case of McDonalds). It was recognized by a very creative man called Marco Hart, who created a website: http://www.airlinemeals.net, where thousands of photos sent by travellers are displayed with airline meals in them. You can easily browse aong the pictures by airlines. Below the pictures you can find some background information: destination, date and time of the flight or description of the meal. There is a special section about crew meals, old pictures from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s and about special meals sorted by airlines.

 I hope my post will help you avoid those bad surprises, when the stewardess serves you with dry sandwich, omlet out of egg powder or that fashionable, but awful muesli bar. 🙂

By Szafi 

 

 

Sexy Stewardess Uniforms

It has been a long time I wanted to take the time and write this post. It is a little bit long, but I ensure you it is not just the photos that are interesting! 🙂

Who can become a flight attendant?

Not everybody qualifies for a stewardes. Flighat attendants need to go through a 6 weeks to 6 months training period that includes psychological, IQ and physical tests (depending on the airline’s requirements). Safety training includes, but is not limited to: emergency passenger evacuation management, use of evacuation slides / life rafts, in-flight fire fighting, survival in the jungle, sea, desert, ice, first aid, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), defibrillation, ditching/emergency landing procedures, decompression emergencies, Crew Resource Management and security.

But even those, who pass these tests and trainings, may fail. Some airlines have height and weight requirements. While airlines using bigger jets have minimum height limit, because air hostesses cannot reach the overhead compartments, regional carriers have maximum height limit as the ceiling of the aircrafts is very low. Weight is almost always a concern. Even if they do not communicate it, almost all airlines hire only girls with regular weight. Neither underweighing, nor overweighing applicants are accepted. Even later if somebody gains some weight do the airlines give out a new uniform to anyone.

Playmates, beauty queens

Sex has always been associated with flight attendants. There have been several playmates and former bueauty queen working as stewardesses. No wonder that if we take a look at the series of known women who worked as flight attendants before or after they became famous.

Some of them were:

  • Ester Codet was a playmate of the motnh in October 1974
  • Avis Miller was playmate in November, 1970
  • Julie Woodson was playmate in April, 1973
  • Jennifer Hosten was Miss World in 1970, first to win this title for her home, Grenada.
  • Kate Linder is still an active US actress
  • Evangeline Lilly is a Golden-globe nominated actress, most known for her role in Lost. She worked for Air Canada.

Ester CodetAvis MillerJennifer Hosten

Kate LinderEvangeline Lilly

History of airline uniforms

Old Delta Airlines uniformThe first stewardess uniforms were designed to be durable, practical, and inspire confidence in passengers. The first stewardesses for United Airlines wore green berets, green capes and nurse’s shoes. Other airlines, such as Eastern Air Lines, actually dressed stewardesses in nurses’ uniforms.
Perhaps reflecting the military aviation background of many commercial aviation pioneers, many early uniforms had a strongly military appearance; hats, jackets, and skirts showed simple straight lines and military details like epaulettes and brass buttons. Many uniforms had a summer and winter version, differentiated by colours and fabrics appropriate to the season: navy blue for winter, for example, khaki for summer. But as the role of women in the air grew, and airline companies began to realise the publicity value of their stewardesses, more feminine lines and colours began to appear in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Some airlines began to commission designs from high-end department stores and still others called in noted designers or even milliners to create distinctive and attractive apparel.

Famous fashion designers – famous uniforms

British Airways new uniform designChristian Lacroix designs uniforms for Air France. British Airways flight crews and staff now sport designs by Givenchy star Julien Macdonald. Los Angeles-based celebrity designer Richard Tyler presented Delta Air Lines’ new line-up alongside his ready-to-wear collection during New York Fashion Week. Korean Air launched new outfits by Italian designer Gianfranco Ferre, including pants for the first time in the airline’s history.

Sexiest airline uniforms

And now let’s look at the list of the most sexy airline uniforms:

1. Hooters Air

Hooter AirHooters Air

2. Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines

3. Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia AirlinesMalaysia Airlines

4. Delta Airlines

Delta Air LinesDelta Air Lines

5. Thai Airways

Thai Airways

6. Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways

7. Gulf Air

Gulf Air

8. Air France

Air FranceAir FranceAir France

9. Wizz Air

Wizz Air

10. Sky Europe

Sky EuropeSky Europe

If you liked this collection, check out our other post about special aircraft paintings and our other post about airline meals!

By Szafi

Our blog is moving to a new place. Please drop us an email to intairline@gmail.com, if you would like to receive updates about our blog!

Indonesian Boeing Loses Part of Wing Inflight

Many people around the world thought it’s not fair for the US and the EU to introduce and maintain a list of airlines which they ban from their airspace and classify as “not acceptable” basically in terms of flight safety. Besides saving their airspace from possible accidents, they are trying to protect their citizens by providing them with a list of airlines they believe is not safe to fly. The reason is usually the lack of proper technical maintenance at these airlines. ALL air companies of Indonesia have been on these lists since they were introduced, and many people did not like the idea of putting all aviation companies of a certain country on the list. But the recent events in Indonesian Air Transport show the list is (at least very close to being) right!

Batavia Boeing 737-400 (by airliners.net)

Let’s see the latest occurance of a flight threataning situation in Indonesia (following two deadly crashes this year) from last night:

A Boeing 737-400 operated by Batavia Air – a low cost airline on the Indonesian market since 2002, operating 36 aircraft including Airbus A319 and A320’s besides the older Boeing 737 family versions (-200, -300 and -400) – took from Jakarta Sukarno-Hatta airport, carrying 144 people (138 passengers and 6 crew). Not so long after take-off (about 15 minutes according to some of the news sources) a piece of the wing has simply fallen off the aircraft. Some reports claim it was a 2 m piece, while others are mentioning an “only” 40cm×50cm part. It doesn’t really matter how big it actually was, the fact that a part of the wing just falls off of an airplane carrying passengers is scary enough in my opinion and should not happen! According to some reports, the separated chunk of the wing landed close to the airport, others say it fell on a residential house. The plane was bound to fly to Pontianak on Borneo island before turning around and safely landing at the airport. Nobody onboard was hurt.

Fortunately this third relatively bigger incident in Indonesian Aviation this year did not claim any lifes, unlike the two crashes earlier in 2007 by Garuda and Adam Air, where a total of 123 casulties were suffered. We hope there will be no more aviation safety news from Indonesia this year, and that the domestic airlines will start taking air safety seriously following such accidents and incidents!

by balint01

Flight Review: British Airways

We have been considering writing flight reviews for some time, and now finally here is the first one.

British Airways Logo

Route: BUDAPEST-London/Gatwick-ATLANTA
Operating Airlines: oneworld: British Airways and Malev Hungarian Airlines
Travel Date: 06NOV2007

Ticket Purchase

I have bought the ticket through www.ba.com, which was a very nice experience. The website provides you with lowest price options on and around the days you have searched for showing the options in an easy-to-understand, coloured format. After selecting (confirming) your travel dates, it gives you a detailed list of all the available flight combinations, also colored so that you can easily recognize the cheapest option. What I really liked about the flight descriptions, that it explicitly tells you operational information after or between the concerned flights. For example it would tell you “Warning – your connection will involve travel between airports by coach or bus, the cost of which is not included in your fare.” And this text would be displayed between those two flights, where one arrives at Heathrow, while the other leaves from Gatwick. Really easy to understand, and very visual. After selecting your flights and providing passenger details you can pay for your trip with your credit card and upon successful payment, you receive a confirmation email immediately (as expected). The site also takes you immediately to the “Manage My Booking” section, that provides very usefull information and allows you to manage your booking. For example you can save time at the airport by filling out the APIS data (required for entry to the USA) online, you can also add frequent flier number if you forgot to add it at the time of the booking, and can change or upgrade your flights right from here, but can check the online entertainment options, including the movies you will be offered, too.

Offsetting Carbon Emissions 

You can also follow a link from the “Manage My Booking” page to offset your carbon-dioxide emissions with Climate Care (http://www.climatecare.org/britishairways/calculators/) using a pollution calculator. For this particular return flight my emmission is 1,86 t of CO2, which costed me EUR 20,75 to offset. Climate Care has also sent me a British Airways co-branded Certificate to certify that I have offset the CO2 generated by my return flight.
(Being curious I have also checked the Lufthansa website partnered with myclimate.org, launched a few months ago, and to my surprise for the same route it calculated: 1,705 t of CO2, and suggested a compensation of EUR 34. Where the difference comes from, I don’t know…)

Check-In

To be in control of my seats, I chose to check-in online. It opens 24 hours before the actual flight (each flight opens individually). Unfortunately check-in for the BUD-LGW segment was not available on the BA website, as it is operated by Malev Hungarian Airlines. But for the British Airways flight, I could check-in flawlessly, where I got a pre-assigned seat, which I could change while using a seat-map of the actual aircraft that I was going to fly. The process is very straight forward, and easy to understand I think. After the successful transaction I printed my boarding pass on a normal A4 size paper, that included a bar code for later identification at the airport. The website also gave me check-in summary after completing it. Unlike some other airlines, BA did not replace this home-printed paper with a magnetic stripe “traditional” boarding pass at the airport, this was the only boarding paper I used to get on my flight.

Due to the above mentioned situation I also used the check-in desks at Budapest, where they checked me in quickly for the Budapest-London segment, but they had no information of my other already self-checked-in segment. They could not confirm if I actually have 35A as my seat or not, but she said she can not do anything with my second flight (the systems blocks her) and suggested that I look for a BA transfer desk at Gatwick. She could check-in my luggage all the way, though. Upon arrival to Gatwick I contacted BA Ticket desk in the transit area, and the lady there was also very nice, told me that indeed I have 35A, but even though my luggage was checked-in all the way in Budapest already, she does not see it in the system. So I gave her my bag-tag, which then she recorded in their system.

Malev B737-700 (HA-LOL)

1. BUDAPEST – LONDON GATWICK (BA 4450 operated by Malev: MA 612)

Aircraft: Boeing 737-700NG (HA-LOL), new, clean, comfortable aircraft operated by Malev Hungarian Airlines
Class: Economy
Punctuality: Flight took off 10 minutes late, arrived exactly on time.
Boarding: After a long-long queue at the security (airport’s responsibility) I had to rush to the gate, otherwise it was OK
Seats: Full leather seats in both classes, with average legroom
Flight Attendants: There were 4 of them, 3 young girls and 1 older purser. Two of the girls were very good looking, all of them were very friendly.
Meals: We got hot breakfast of scrambled eggs, beans and a wurst as well as freshly warmed/heated buns. Also got orange juice and tea, could have gotten a wide variety of soft drinks, or wine or beer.
Entertainment: There are LCD screens above the seats per every three-four rows in the aircraft, which play Malev and Hungary PR material throughout the whole flight.

G-VIIF Boeing 777

2. LONDON GATWICK – ATLANTA (BA 2227)

Aircraft: Boeing 777-200 (G-VIIF), not so new, at some places worn-down aircraft operated by British Airways
Class: Economy
Punctuality: Flight took off 10 minutes late, arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
Boarding: The security at Gatwick was very long, I was happy I had a three hour layover so I didn’t have to run, and I could relax while standing in the line. It was confusing that when finally they put up on the screens that we need to go to gate 55, while walking there I caught the last few words of an announcement saying that passenger flying to Atlanta should proceed to gate 59. It doesn’t sound that bad, but the gates are on two different sides of Gatwick, so it would have caused a running excercise if the announcement proves true. As I wasn’t sure if it was about my flight (there was another flight to Atlanta about an hour after mine) I went to the gate which was on the screens – it was a good decision as that was our gate. After the gate-boarding pass check-in there were seats available for only about half of the passengers, so either be there early or arrive late! Other than that, boarding went smoothly.
Seats: Full leather seats with proper legroom, as comfortable as a regular economy seat can get. Tip: if legroom is important for you don’t get a window seat, as the entertainment cables go on the window seat’s chairleg, which reduces free legroom. It doesn’t really leave you the option to put a laptop bag under the seat in front of you for example.
Flight Attendants: They really did their job of serving meals and overlooking the passengers for security. That’s all they did. No special smile or service, dry English manner.

Main meal on BA2227  Snack Meal on BA 2227

Meals: Not so long after take-off we received a small pack of snacks with drinks and later on the main meal. The choice was chicken or pasta, I took the chicken with assorted vegetables (potatoes, broccoli and mashed carrots). The taste was good, just like that of the standard salad (with fish) and the blackberry pie. The Twix chocolate bar tasted as everywhere around the world. The bun was not fresh and not warmed, not tasty at all. The white wine was OK, but it’s probably not award winning, either. Shortly before landing we got another “meal” which was a small pre-packed sandwhich with a small carrot-cake with raisins and a pack of dried fruits. Drinks were served once again. During the flight if somebody wanted to get snacks or extra drinks, the kitchen in the back of the plane was always “open”.

Dangling armrest on BA   Dangling armrest on BA 2.

Entertainment: Every passenger in economy has their own LCD screen and built-in remote control in the armrest. My armrest was really worn-down and actually broken. The dirty looking plastic cover was living it’s own life, as you can see on the pictures above. It should be dangling around like this, it was annoying. Just like the fact that I tried 2 headphones where each had only one side working, then I put on my own headphones which just worked properly. As it is a Skype enabled one, the flight attendants spotted it and brought a third one to try, which finally worked on both sides! It may only be me, but I always get a half- or non-working headphone set on my long-haul flights at first… On the other hand, the radio stations were OK, and the movies, too. The movies start at un-announced times, all movies starting at the same time. I watched three of them: Die Hard 4, Ocean’s Thirteen and Knocked Up.
Amenities: Each economy passenger received a bag of socks, and toothbrush-toothpaste.

Overall Experience

Despite the minor glitches on the BA flight with the entertainment (armrest and headphones) I would take this flight again, I had a good time onboard both oneworld flights. A big advantage was the convenient schedule (leaving Budapest at 7:10 and arriving in Atlanta at 16:25) and the pricetag: this return flight costed USD 1072, with the purchase taking place exactly one week before the departure (so relatively late).

by balint01


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