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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.
Pilots / Air India / 787 / Boeing 787 Dreamliner / AIrlines / Airline News / → All Tags
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.
Remember Halloween 2010? Boy, do we. You see, that was the year that the Steven Slater-JetBlue incident resulted in "Disgruntled Airline Employee" becoming the new "Postal Worker Gone Postal" hot Halloween costume.
Amusingly, the conviction behind Slater's decision still inspires some to dress up as him, since costume dealers continue to peddle the look. For example, the $39.99 ensemble re-interprets events with a faux pilot uniform (Slater was actually a flight attendant) and two frothy bier mugs (we'd like to see him go down the emergency slide with those).
Here's the full, hilarious description:
Fashion Travel / Flight Attendants / Pilots / Virgin America / Virgin / Banana Republic / Airlines / Airline News / Photo Gallery / Pinterest / → All Tags
We love it when airlines get new uniforms. Like, love love it and we're not even flight crew, so we can only imagine the elation at Virgin America as their employees don the new Banana Republic-designed uniforms.
Today is the very first day for the fresh outfits, which incorporate such flash as silk scarves, red trenches and red stripes on pilots' epaulets. If you're flying soon on Virgin America, now you know exactly what to say to quickly get on their good sidecompliment them on the new uniforms!
If you're not flying Virgin America soon, there's still a way to watch as the crew gets comfortable with styling the slicker duds; VX crew is encouraged to submit "selfies" (self-shot photos) to Pinterest and Instagram of themselves sporting the new gear.
Living in New York and talking about travel as much as we do, it's inevitable that the "Miracle on the Hudson" come up in conversation. Heck, we ran down the river on a blistery January day just to glimpse the thing. Still, everyone seems to have one question now: "what's Sully up to?"
Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, for those who've been living under a very heavy rock the last few years, was the captain of US Airways flight 1549 who successfully executed a water landing on the Hudson River with no loss of life, after bird strikes took out the Airbus A320's engines. He went on to fly again, but not for long. Sully retired just over a year later, in 2010, and went on to do a whole number of things (indeed, Wikipedia has a whole section just on his post-Miracle events and awards).