Thursday, May 31, 2007

Southwest shows it PRIDE

Southwest launched a gay themed part of their website this week. Kudos to Southwest!

From the Southwest site...

"We Take Pride in Partnering With You!

Welcome to the first ever Southwest Airlines dedicated web page to the gay and lesbian community. We have so much fun stuff to help you get out and about, that we thought we'd put it all in one easy-to-find place. From gay-friendly destinations to gay events around the country, you'll find information to suit your needs."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Palmdale Gets United 777 service?

NEW United 777 service San Francisco to Palmdale (where the #$&@! is that?), or at least from the airport's home page you would think that is whats happening.

Well not really, its just Bombardier CRJ200 service on Skywest/United Express.

Have a safe flight - OutFlyer

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Trip report - Bombay to Delhi on Jet Airways 9W 370

Jet Airways 9W370 afternoon service from Mumbai to Delhi, India.
Club Premiere seat 3A. Departure tuime 15.45. Flight length 1 hour and 50 minutes.

The 737-700 was parked away from the gate and passengers were bussed to the aircraft as there are no jetways at the Jet terminal in Mumbai. The seating is 2 by 2 in Business class with five rows on this particular aircraft. Seating is similar to First class on aircraft flying in the United States.

Crew came down quickly with pre-takeoff refreshemnet drinks of watermelon juice or fresh lime. Domestic flight services are dry in India. Cold towels were passed by the cabincrew. Menu cards were then distributed describing a selection of vegetarian or non-vegetarian snacks as is the custom in India. There was also a lighter sandwich option available. On time departure with clear, professional safety briefing. Meal service was quick with hot meal option served, followed by desert and fruit. Tea and coffee was also avalailable. The meal service was wrapped up with a hot towel service.

We arrived ontime in Delhi after a short amount of circling while waiting for a landing slot. There is a quick bus ride to the terminal. Club Premiere were disembarked to a seperate brand new bus with leather seating. Jet airways are a very professional airline though newer airlines in India with their brand new Airbus aircraft are certainly matching them for quality of service and attention to detail. Jet will have to work hard to maintain standards to retain their market leader position.

If you do find yourself flying within India in the months ahead don't hessitate to fly Jet Airways or Kingfisher airlines, both are excellent and rival any top class world airline.

Happy global travelling.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Virgin America Cleared for Take-off

Congrats to Virgin America - they received their final DOT ok on Friday. With Southwest (Service to San Francisco, CA begins August 26, 2007) and JetBlue (already flying from SFO) and now Virgin America coming to SFO -- it should be an interesting Fall. Will we see $59 ow to JFK?

From Virgin America --

Burlingame, Calif. (May 18, 2007) -- The Department of Transportation (DOT) today granted final approval for Virgin America, a new low fare U.S. airline, to begin operations.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be cleared for take-off and for the opportunity to serve San Francisco, the Bay Area, California, and the American public,” said Virgin America CEO Fred Reid. “I applaud the DOT for approving our application and fulfilling their long-standing commitment to competition and new choices for travelers.”

In its final order, the DOT found that the company fully complied with all requirements regarding fitness, U.S. citizenship requirements and control. The DOT also acknowledged that this final approval had been contingent upon the Company's acceptance of several additional conditions that were made public in March when the DOT tentatively approved Virgin America’s application.

One of these additional conditions included a requirement for Mr Reid to step down following launch. That condition will remain although he now will be permitted to stay on as CEO for six months following airline certification.

“This has been quite a journey but I’m truly happy that we will be able to launch our airline. I plan to spend every minute of my time between now and then supporting my 200-plus talented teammates in that endeavor,” said Mr Reid. “When I said that this was never about one person, I meant it. Virgin America has a wonderful team who will take this airline to great heights, bringing exciting innovation and competition.”

Now that the company has been formally approved, the next step will be to seek a waiver to start selling tickets. The company is planning a mid-summer launch.

Virgin America’s first flights will be between its home base of San Francisco (SFO) to New York (JFK). The airline also plans to serve Los Angeles (LAX), Washington/Dulles, San Diego and Las Vegas within its first year of operations.

The airline expects to serve as many as 10 cities within a year of operation and up to 30 cities within five years of service. Additional cities under Virgin America’s consideration include: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Hartford, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Nashville, Newark, New Orleans, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Providence, Portland, Ore., Raleigh-Durham, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Jose, Calif., Sarasota, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa and West Palm Beach.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Southwest Returns to SFO

Southwest's new non-stop schedule out of SFO…

SFO-SAN (San Diego)

Flight# Leaves Arrives

1835 6:25am 7:55am

2688 8:30am 10:00am

2114 10:15am 11:45am

1836 12:10pm 1:40pm

420 2:05pm 3:35pm

1812 3:10pm 4:40pm

1837 6:20pm 7:50pm

651 8:45pm 10:15pm

SFO-MDW (Chicago – Midway)

Flight# Leaves Arrives

84 6:25am 12:35pm

2733 11:15am 5:25pm

2861 4:00pm 10:10pm

SFO-LAS (Las Vegas)

Flight# Leaves Arrives

1107 7:15am 8:45am

1194 8:35am 10:05am

672 10:50am 12:20pm

1170 3:45pm 5:15pm

184 6:00pm 7:30pm

513 7:00pm 8:30pm

1829 9:45pm 11:15pm

When Southwest left in 2001, they said the following to the San Francisco Chronicle

"We were not able to secure sufficient terminal facilities, and there is limited runway capacity at SFO," said Ginger Hardage, Southwest's vice president for public relations, said of the planned shift announced yesterday. "We weren't getting the critical mass that we need to run a cost-efficient, successful operation."

So now fast forward to 2007 – SFO doesn’t have anymore more runways and there are only two gates available in Terminal 1 for Southwest. Hmmm

At the very least, Southwest will keep United airfares in check – if/when United dumps Ted.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Trip Report - Horizon SFO-PDX-SEA

To build up some segments on Alaska Mileage Plan to make MVP Gold again for next year, I booked a SFO-SEA trip via Portland. For some reason Alaska chooses to use Horizon for Afternoon flights from SFO to PDX. Luckily it was a CRJ700 jet. I am not a big fan of these "jets" since they have small seats and cramped cabins. On the upside Horizon has the planeside "ala cart" system down -- its very easy and organized to leave your bigger carry-ons at the cart plane side.

The SFO-PDX flight was a very GENERIC Horizon jet -- featuring a plain while paintjob, with no livery. Inside the cabin was a Blue interior (?) and a different seating configuration than a normal Horizon plane.

The APU was not working on this generic plane, so our take off was delayed about 20 mins after an Air Start at the gate. Upon landing in PDX, I made a mad dash for my connecting flight -- only to find it hadn't boarded yet (10mins prior to departure). Soon I see the same flight attendants and flight crew from my previous flight boarding the PDX-SEA aircraft.

The CRJ from PDX to Seattle was a Horizon Livery CRJ700.

This aircraft has the typical Horizon interior with the the reddish brown leather seats. These seats had some tears and worn marks, but otherwise the cabin was fine.

The PDX-Seattle flight was very quick -- 41 mins total. The Flight Attendants did manage an express beverage service, which DID include free MicroBrew beer or local Red Wine.

All in all not a bad set of flights, however it took a whopping 35 mintues for Horizon to deliver the bags at the Sea-Tac Baggage Claim. There were all of about 10 bags on our flight and it took 35 mins! Not the best way to end a flight at 8:00pm after a long day.

Fly Safe!
Out Flyer