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With the weather the UK’s been having over the past few weeks (flooding-snow-flooding), we’re pretty sure the whole nation is dreaming of a holiday. Pretty good timing, then, for British Airways to start a week-long flight giveaway to stressed out commuters.
All this week, you’ll find a BA stand at London Victoria Station. It’s not the normal handing-out-flyers stand, though; no, this is a flight simulator that awards free flights to the best “pilots” in the station.
It’s not a state of the art simulator, of course. This is more the kind you’d see in an arcade game. Every day this week, it’ll be loaded with a different airport approach, and your job is to land the plane. That alone is fun enough. But here’s the best bit: every 15 minutes, the person with the highest score in those 15 minutes will win a pair of flights to the airport in question. Yes – they’re giving away 60 flights a day. This is inspired.
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When was the last time you flew in a plane piloted by a woman? What about two women, both pilot and co-pilot? It's possible to not even know since passengers rarely see their flight crews much anymore, but they are up there. Trust us.
Starting this week, travelers on Lufthansa will get to see the very rare occurrence of two women in the cockpit...before even stepping onboard a plane. Famous Berlin-based photographer Kiki Kausch has installed her triptych, titled "A380 Female Cockpit," at the JFK Business Class lounge.
The three images capture two normal Lufthansa pilots, Fleur and Karin, at work in their office, which just happens to be the cockpit of one of the airline's A380 superjumbos en route from Frankfurt to Singapore (LH 778). The photos were actually taken as the plane cruised high above Afghanistan, the ethereal light of sunrise over the Hindukush illuminating the women.
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Can you handle one more airline holiday video? We promise it's good, and not a flashmob for once!
Back in October, Delta got a few good flights attendants and pilots and ramp staff and red coats out on the tarmac at LAX in the wee hours of the morning to film what would be their 2012 Holiday Card to the world. Above is the finished product, which takes marshalling (signalling at aircraft with those handheld lightsticks) to a new, awesome level andshockershows airline employees smiling!
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What began as one floor is now an entire building, and their original two coast-to-coast flights are now a respectable route network. We're speaking of Virgin America, whose headquarters outside SFO in Burlingame, California we recently visited for a look at the cogs turning behind the scenes.
Virgin America celebrated their fifth anniversary this year. That makes them the baby of the bunch, for both US airlines and Virgin. Heck, Virgin Atlantic has been flying since 1984 and Virgin Australia since 2000. Indeed Virgin America isn't shy about their newbieness; they take pride in it. Google them and the first words you'll see below the link to their official site are "A brand new airline dedicated to making flying good again."
You know what else is new? Their cabin trainer and A320 flight simulator still have that "new plane smell," since they were introduced as recently as October 2011 and May 2012, respectively. Home to many photo shoots (and in-flight service training, duh), the cabin is outfitted with everything from the deep mood lighting to working overhead bins and those massage chairs in First Class. Before a flight attendant can ask if you'd like another in-flight absinthe, she or he must first pass muster here.
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It’s been well over a year since the very first Boeing 787 Dreamliner took to the skies, and since then it’s been mostly men having all the flying fun when it comes to sitting up front. Thankfully the ladies finally got their chance to take control in the cockpit, as it looks like a couple female pilots from India are the first women to fly the Dreamliner.
Just recently—October 12 to be exact—an Air India flight did its thing between Delhi and Kolkata, but in doing so it made history as the first flight with women seated in both the pilot and co-pilot seats. Captain Rashmi Miranda and Captain Sakshi Kumar said it felt like any other flight, but they did admit to stopping to snap a picture for the aviation scrapbook.
We knew that British Airways was giving its planes some Movember love, but it seems the pilots are getting in on the act as well. Take, for example, the gents who flew us last week; two out of three of them were sporting their finest facial hair.
Now, by and large, we like our pilots clean-shaven here at Jaunted. Like a tucked-in shirt, clean-shaven says said pilot didn’t go out last night; he slept for a reasonable number of hours in order to get us safely to our destination. Unless it’s carefully tended, stubble risks looking like he fell out of bed into the plane, which is definitely not something to ponder during take-off. But hey, since it’s for charity, we’ll let that fly.
In some of the more bizarre airline news we've come across, Hainan Airlines has begun the recruitment of a whole crew of fresh pilots to take their planes, including their Dreamliners, up into the sky. That's not the bizarre part. A crucial step in the recruitment process is a body-odor check. Yep, a recruiter smells the pits of potential pilots; boy, that's the pits.
After an extensive assessment process of technical skills and personality interviews, the flight deck hopefuls have to get their underarms smelled for potential offensive body odor. Since the airline's pilots do interact with passengers, it makes sense to ensure that no interaction turns sour because of a little foul smell. A recruiter has even noted the parallel to the on-the-job duties by saying, "If they can keep their cool in this test, they aren't going to sweat in the cockpit."
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Dominic Howard-Jones. The embodiment of BA’s "To Fly, To Serve" slogan
Zany cabin crew might be par for the course these days (if you fly Southwest or Jetblue at least), but it’s not often you get a pilot who gets the whole plane laughing, especially if you’re flying fusty British Airways, right?
A huge exception would be the man, Captain Dominic Howard-Jones, who flew us from Pisa this last week. Or, as he would say, “drove the beast” down to Pisa. From boarding to disembarkation, he kept us entertained (though never irritated), doing the usual piloty announcements with his own personal twist, as if he was actually happy to be leading this flight, rather than going through the motions.
For example, the cabin crew were “gallant staff,” the plane became “the beast,” the co-pilot was “driving us” and, at Pisa, we may as well sit down again because the jetbridge was making “excruciatingly slow progress” towards us.
Just the other day we were going on and on about American Airlines and how they’re looking for plenty of flight attendants. That’s still the case, but now the carrier is also looking for a few good men and women to sit up front in the cockpit.
American Airlines is very much trying to reduce costs and what not as part of its bankruptcy, and there’s ongoing discussions between the airline and the pilots union. However, even with all this stuff going on, it looks like American wants to hire around 2,500 brand new pilots to fly passengers to here, there, and everywhere. Around 1,500 of them would be replacing retiring pilots, so it’s not like they’re just firing people in hopes of scoring lower paid employees.
As American focuses more and more new routes to additional international destinations there’s clearly a need for more people to fly the planes. Right now there’s about 7,500 pilots serving aboard American Airlines, so if you ever wanted to be one of them now’s the time to do so.
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November 2. That would be the day to avoid movie theaters if flying makes you nervous or, you know, watching CGI airplane crashes freaks you out. This is because Denzel Washington's new movie Flight premieres that night and it's going to be a doozy.
Watch the trailer above, but be prepared for the graphic crash scenes. If it makes you feel any better, all passengers survive a la "Miracle on the Hudson," though this aircraft isn't landing in any rivers; it's landing upside-down.
You’d think that with heightened security around the globe that it would be somewhat tricky just to stroll aboard an airplane dressed up like a pilot. Well we guess it’s not that challenging to do so, as it looks like someone just got away with an act straight out of Catch Me If You Can.
Over the weekend, a man in a pilot's uniform was arrested while innocently sipping coffee at Italy's Turin Airport. His not-so-innocent previous adventures included riding up front in the cockpit jumpseat of an Air Dolomiti flight, after passing as a legitimate pilot to both security screeners and apparently the cabin crew. Forged identity cards and a snazzy uniform were a couple of his keys to success, but after a run-in with local law enforcement it appears that the party is over.
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These are United pilots, but you get the idea
We might have missed something, but we’re pretty sure American Airlines was low on cash and filed for bankruptcy not too long ago. That hasn't stopped them from spending, as they’ve ordered a whole bunch of new planes and even have been giving away trips to meet Michael Bublé.
Their latest purchase? iPads! Other carriers have been pretty quick to adopt the iPad, but now it looks like American Airlines is ready to jump right into the tablet world. The plan is for pilots to shelf all the traditional paper-based materials, as it’s now going to all be on the company-issued iPad.