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The Boeing 747 is known as the Queen of the Skies, but even royalty sometimes needs to step aside for the next generation. Just this year we saw United ditch their jumbos between San Francisco and Sydney, Air New Zealand took the planes out of their fleet, and over at ANA they’re not using the big birds any more as well. Next to retire the planes is Delta, but you will have a few years of farewell before the head to the big hangar in the sky.
Right now the carrier has around 16 of the planes kicking around, as most of them were acquired back with Delta shacked up with Northwest Airlines. Apparently the planes ain’t what they used to be—too big, not fuel efficient, etc.—and it looks like Delta will be taking them out of commission as soon as 2017.
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We’ll go ahead and admit we have our doubts about Avatar Airlines. There’s been a few articles here and there as well as a couple of press releases, as this new carrier attempts to share their vision and create a little buzz ahead of what is, hopefully, their first flights.
As is usually the case when a new airline tries to enter the market, there’s little detail about the larger plan with Avatar Airlines. They’re setting up shop in South Florida, and they plan to exclusively utilize Boeing 747s to operate domestic flights. That should make for a nice novelty, as jumbo jets rarely run routes that stay in the States these days.
Australia Travel / Sydney Travel / United / Airplanes / Airplane News / 747 / 777 / SYD / LAX / SFO / → All Tags
April 1 may be known for April Fools' Day pranks, but the United 777s that dotted the tarmac at Sydney Airport were no joke. Yesterday marked the first day for United's regular LAX and SFO service to Sydney to be operated by all 777-200s, instead of the older 747-400s. The last UA 747 to depart Sydney said "so long" on March 31, and with it goes the worst plane to fly between the US and Australia, in terms of passenger comfort and entertainment.
Our friends at Australian Business Traveller detailed the change after it was announced, and noted that this means fewer seats in all classes. Overall, however, the news is excellent for travelers on the 14-hour non stop flights.
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Well, it's been a good run. Today marks the end of Boeing 747 service on Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA). The double-decker Queen of the Skies first took to the skies for ANA in 1976, flying Tokyo-Sapporo and Tokyo-Fukuoka.
ANA flew 47 of the jumbos, and its 38-year career ended with a domestic flight from Naha to Tokyo-Haneda. That final aircraft will now make its funeral flight to the recyclers.
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Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't that way overnight. Every Thursday, we're going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that's decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.
We can probably all agree that the 1970s weren't exactly a standout decade for fashion, hairstyles and politics. However, it was during this time that many international airlines hit their stride with jet travel, just as it became the fashion for the average person to dump their disposable income into discovering new corners of the planet.
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Did y’all cowpokes know there’s a newly crowned “World’s Longest Nonstop Flight?” With the retirement of Singapore Airlines flight 21/22, an unnaturally long 18hr 50min nonstop flight between Singapore and Newark, comes the new champion of distance: Qantas Airlines 7's 15h 25min nonstop from Sydney, Australia to Dallas, Texas.
It doesn’t take a math genius to realize that the flying time difference between the newcomer and the old-timer is a dramatic 3hr 25min. You could watch “Titanic” from start to finish in that exact time (the movie is literally 3 hr 25 min long). However, we certainly don’t want to make light of a 15-hour flight.
Let us not forget that while Singapore’s flights were longer, they were also running a completely business class cabin with no economy option. For Qantas, a few hundred passengers on the new longest flight will be spending their 15+ hours sitting upright in economy, chewing Xanax to make the pain go away. Just kiddingEconomy in one of Qantas’ 747-400ERs really isn’t all that bad (though we’d still suggest spending a little extra for Premium Economy like we did).
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The king is dead, long live the king!
Just before dawn across the world at Singapore-Changi Airport, an Airbus A340-500 touched down and taxied to its gate. The passengers filed off, followed by the flight crew, and there was no fanfare for this last arrival of the longest flight in the world.
At nearly 18 hours and 9,500 miles, Singapore Airlines' SQ 21/22 between Newark and Singapore was a monster of a nonstop which only accommodated 100 travelers in all-Business Class comfort. All good things must come to an end, however, and Singapore dropped the route in order to trade in the old, gas-guzzling, four-engine A345s for some shiny and efficient A350s to come.
It's a smart move, but a sad one regardless. Singapore 21/22 will live on through the stories of those who flew it, and we're proud to add our hour-by-hour account to the aviation history books.
Moving on, another flight route must now ascend to the throne and claim the title of "longest flight in the world." For that, look no further than Texas.
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Hey, what's the deal with the unmarked Boeing 747 in the background of test track shots on BBC Top Gear?
A quick Google search revealed that we're not the only curious ones, as the plane is part of a Wikipedia article on the former airfield where Top Gear films:
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The Dutch are good at many thingsmaking cheese and growing tulips would be traditional examples, but a much more modern one is their ability to provide a good lay.
Wait a second. We’re not talking about Amsterdam’s infamous red light district; shift focus across the city to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and the KLM aircraft buzzing around it, where passengers are now enjoying a good lay…all the way back in lie-flat seats. It’s here you’ll find the current palette for Dutch talent, in the features and service of KLM’s brand new World Business Class.
Where once buying a Business Class ticket on KLM meant reclining just enough for a comfortable nap, it’s now all about the lie-flat bed and a proper snooze. In fact, some 70% of business class used to be awake for the full, hot breakfast before arrival; the new seats mean more sleeping in, however, and the uptake on breakfast is down to 20%. We’re living proof of this; we drooled in deep sleep and awoke to the farmland of Holland, with only enough time before landing to scarf down a cinnamon roll.
There's an airline out there quickly working to revamp their fleet with brand new seats. Sure, that describes a slew of carriers, but there's only one we know of now using carpeting made of recycled flight attendant uniforms. This is just the tip of the innovative iceberg, but can you beat us to the punch by guessing the airline from this snapshot?
· The airplane obviously has two levels, as evidenced by this staircase.
· The colors at play here are integral to the brand identity of the airline.
· This carpeting will likely see lots of clean-up from spills of gin, cheese, and chocolate.
Think you know? Throw your best guess into the comments below, and return Monday to see if you're correct when we unveil a full, first look at the entire cabin.
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If you're one of those frequent flyers who hoard miles for the ultimate trip, now is your chance to burn some of them for a once in a lifetime experience, even though you won't even leave the ground. Kinda.
Qantas is opening up something typically only reserved for their own pilots, and giving members of its frequent flyer program the opportunity to play in one of their A380 flight simulators in exchange for a substantial chunk of earned points. For those jetsetters who have at least 275,000 points, the super-jumbo simulator could be yours (and you can bring a friend).
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Houston has a problem.
Or, rather, Houston had a problem, as their bitterness from being passed over when NASA handed out Space Shuttles may be staunched by the delivery of the special 747 carrier plane instead.
Okay, so the home of Mission Control will likely never heal from the pain of the Shuttle decision, but a consolation prize does mean the city's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center will have something other than laboratories, training rooms and the mission control center to show off to visitors. According to Space.com, the modified 747 "Shuttle Carrier Aircraft" will be disassembled with Boeing's help, shipped to Houston, and reassembled within a brand new, $12 million, six-story building at Space Center Houston, adjacent to Johnson Space Center.