PHOTOS: British Airways takes delivery of its first Airbus A380

A milestone for the British aviation industry, as the country's national carrier took deliver of its first Airbus A380, becoming the tenth operator in the world to receive the superjumbo.

First look inside Singapore Airlines' brand new premium cabins

View these amazing photos and video showcasing the airline's next generation of business and first class cabin products, set to be the new industry benchmark for premium air travel.

PHOTO: First Airbus A350 XWB’s engines powered up

Rolls-Royce's Trent XWB engines have run for the first time on the A350 XWB, moving the aircraft closer to its maiden flight.

Pilot becomes online sensation with stunning cockpit photos

Air Arabia pilot Karim Nafatni's amazing photos have not only attracted a massive online following, but the global media have also jumped on the appreciation bandwagon.

PHOTOS: Thomson becomes first UK airline to receive Boeing 787

Thousands gathered to watch Thomson's first 787 Dreamliner (from an order of eight) arrive at Manchester Airport, completing its delivery flight from Paine Field in Everett.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

PHOTO: Southwest Airlines unhappy with ‘leaked’ photo of airport worker

Did this airport worker drive to a pizza joint in his terminal stair car? [Photo: New York Post]Here’s the controversial photo that seems to have upset Southwest Airlines in the United States. Actually, it’s not the image as such, it's the article published by The New York Post about the image.

According to the newspaper, a worker from La Guardia Airport drove from his workplace to a nearby pizza restaurant in a terminal stair car… yup, that’s right, he was spotted cruising around New York's borough of Queens in the Southwest Airlines Vehicle.

The incident was similar to iconic scenes from television comedy Arrested Development. However, the situation is not a laughing matter for Southwest Airlines, as the terminal stair car is only permitted to drive on airport premises, which is reflected in its Port Authority license plate (marked “A 3537”).

“This is not acceptable,” Steve Coleman, a Port Authority spokesman told the newspaper. “We will immediately begin to identify the offending vehicle and driver and will take appropriate action.”

Passengers vs Airlines: 5 Recent Incidents That Have Resulted In Lawsuits!

Interestingly, USA Today has a very different story to report; with Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz stating the report is "completely" untrue. In fact, he believes the New York Post "spins that (photo) in a way that's different than what it really was."

According to Southwest Airlines, the driver actually works for Allied Aviation, which performs maintenance and ground services for Southwest at LaGuardia. He was not using the vehicle to reach a pizza joint, but was simply driving to Allied Aviation’s office on 19th Avenue.

"He was simply taking the equipment to their office for their standard upkeep and standard maintenance," Mainz tells USA Today. "So nothing out of the ordinary. It (the stair car) had all the proper plates and tags they need to do so. He certainly was not going to get pizza."

Even though the response from Southwest Airlines was incredibly fast, the photo has already gone viral on the internet and attracted a huge amount of attention from the international media.

What are your thoughts on the photo? Who do you believe is telling the truth? Leave your comments below and don’t forget to check out The Aviation Writer’s Facebook page for more aviation photos, videos and stories. Click here to visit… and don’t forget to like the page!

VIDEO: United Airlines pilot attacked by drunk passenger at US airport (explicit)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

PHOTO: Aircraft fills with fog during Delta Airlines flight in the United States

Smoke fills a Delta Airlines flight from New York [Photo: Reddit]
Here’s an interesting photo from a recent Delta Airlines flight in the United States… imagine boarding an aircraft and seeing this in the cabin!

Posted earlier this week on the popular website Reddit, the photo was taken by user ‘Ficcolo’ during his flight out of JFK International Airport in New York.

“Last night flying out of JFK....this happened and freaked us out. Disco rave flight!” he commented.

Apparently, the fog could be seen while the aircraft was still grounded, and remained visible until the plane had reached cruising altitude. It reached up to the chest level of passengers.

Comments suggest this was due to the hot 90 degree weather New York has been experiencing, coupled with an air conditioning system malfunction.

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“Basic science is able to explain the appearance of the fog in the cabin: hot humid air outside mixing with cool conditioned air from inside the plane, and the mist begins to form,” reported The Daily Mail.

“As the plane takes off, the air pressure in the cabin decreases. The temperature of the air also decreases and if it is rapid enough the air will cool enough for the water in the air to condense instantaneously, forming the fog that the passengers witnessed.”

Although the fog was not considered a safety concern, some passengers were naturally a little concerned. As a result, the captain waived a $7 charge for alcoholic drinks – helping to calm some nerves along the way!

“I was grateful for my tiny bottles of vodka and juice. Worst turbulence ever after such a long Tarmac stay and fogging,” added Ficcolo.

MORE PHOTOS: Passengers disembarked after HOLE noticed in American Airlines Boeing 777 wing



Guest Post: Ever Wondered How To Hire A Private Jet?

Private jet hire is a lot more accessible and versatile than some may think
Private jets are often associated with the rich and famous, the powerful and influential, the corporate and the prosperous. But the reality of things is that private jet hire is a lot more accessible and versatile than some may think.

Imagine being able to board a flight at your closest destination? Imagine not having to wait around to check in and hand over your luggage? Imagine jetting off direct to your destination in a plane that offers luxury cabin space and exclusive in-flight service?

These are just a few of the benefits of flying privately.

  • As the holiday season approaches, why not fly out your family in style? Avoid the commercial queues and enjoy a whole new way to travel. Whatever you’re destination, whether you holidays take you around the UK, across Europe or even transatlantic, make sure your flight matches your holiday.
  • Organising a business trip and looking for hassle-free and impressive ravel options? A private jet is the answer. Fly out board members, representatives, employers and employees all across the world. It’s important to make meetings on time and stress-free, making the direct nature of private jets even more inviting. 
  • It’s the event of the summer, but how are you going to get there? With thousands of people travelling on the same day or weekend, the idea of sharing a cramped commercial flight is no one’s cup of tea. Avoid the crowds, sit back and enjoy the finer things in life as your private jet flies you to sporting events, music festivals, weekend breaks, natural wonders and global phenomena’s. 
If that hasn’t persuaded you, then maybe a look at how simple it is to hire a private jet will seal the deal…

I Am The Passenger…

Simply get in touch with a  reputable and established private jet hire company and let them know how many people you will be looking to fly out to you destination. Family, friends, your friend’s friends, colleagues, business partners, even pets! The more the merrier.

Destination

Next, let them know where you’re looking to fly to. The best private jet charterers offer flights around the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not only that, they can reduce positioning costs by sourcing your nearest and most available flight, cutting down on transport and chauffeur charges.

Which One Would You Like…

  • With a whole fleet of jets, helicopters and corporate flights available, you can choose which aircraft is perfect for your travel. 
  • Looking for privacy? Then a light jet may be the perfect choice for smaller groups as you hop around the country or across the continent. 
  • In need of more cabin space to stretch those legs and really enjoy your travelling experience? A medium sized Jet is more than capable of accommodating small parties all over the world.
  • Is luxury and size top of your agenda? A heavy jet, capable of carrying 30 passengers will literally make you feel on top of the world as you wine, dine and socialise in their extravagance cabin space. 
Advice

Whilst all this may be daunting, its important to remember that advice and guidance is but a phone call away. By acquiring the services of a leading private jet charter, your as….

So, forget the queues, pack your bags and experience a new way to travel!

Phil Warrington looks at just how simple it is to hire a private jet and why more people are turning towards this luxurious and bespoke service. He recommends Charter A Ltd; private jet hire specialists who have grown a reputation as one of the leading names in Private Jet Charter.



Friday, June 28, 2013

PHOTO: Passengers disembarked after HOLE noticed in American Airlines Boeing 777 wing

There are numerous ways an airplane can be impacted by bird strikes and airlines won’t always notice the damage straight away.

Earlier this week, for example, American Airlines was forced to delay a Frankfurt-bound flight at the last minute after a hole was noticed in the right hand wing of a Boeing 777-200.

The incident was reported by The Aviation Herald and I’ve included a passenger's photo of the damaged aircraft on this page – check out the leading edge of the right hand wing. The bird strike occurred on a previous flight.

Passengers had already boarded the airplane when the hole was noticed, but luckily the damage was spotted before the flight departed from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in the United States.

American Airlines was fast to react, arranging a replacement Boeing 777, with passengers delayed by 2 hours and 45 minutes in total. The damaged plane, meanwhile, was grounded for around 30 hours while it was fixed.

Below are some links to other stories about aircraft damage that might interest you! Also, don't forget to sign-up to The Aviation Writer's FREE newsletter to keep updated about the latest aviation photos, videos and stories. Click here to register.




Thursday, June 27, 2013

PHOTOS: 7 great images from the first British Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner delivery

We’ve been covering the first British Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner quite a lot on TheAviationWriter.com.

Back in May this year, for example, we were treated to images of BA’s Dreamliner being rolled out of the Boeing factory (click here to view them), then earlier this month we shared photos of the aircraft’s first flight (click here to view them).

Since those posts were well received, here’s another update… after months of build-up, British Airways received its first Boeing 787 today.

MORE PHOTOS: Brand new Swiss Airlines Airbus A330 damaged in Montreal

The aircraft departed Paine Field in Everett, Washington yesterday, and you’ll find a couple of images from that flight on this page. These were supplied to TheAviationWriter.com by Flickr user MoonM – check out his page for more, plus I’ve included a photo album with seven images on my Facebook page. Click here to view them.

The aircraft, which arrived at London's Heathrow Airport today at 12:10 pm local time, was welcomed to its Heathrow home by Willie Walsh, chief executive officer of International Airlines Group (IAG), the company that owns British Airways.

"The 787 is a tremendous, innovative aircraft which sets new standards for environmental performance and operating efficiency and I'm sure British Airways' customers will love it," said Walsh. "The 787 will become a mainstay of the British Airways fleet over the next few years."

British Airways has announced that the airline will operate the 787 from Heathrow to Toronto from 1st September and Heathrow to Newark from 1st October.

This is the first of 24 787s British Airways has on order. It carries 214 passengers and is configured with 35 seats in Club World, 25 in World Traveller Plus and 154 seats in the World Traveller cabin.

In addition, IAG recently announced that it will convert 18 787 options to firm orders for British Airways, subject to shareholder agreement.

MORE PHOTOS: Student designs the livery of Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800… check out the results!



VIDEO: Man breaks world record by pulling Wizz Air Airbus A320 USING HIS TEETH!

It’s always fun to hear about world records that involve aircraft… the weirder the better!

Therefore, it’s hardly a surprise that Zsolt Sinka’s recent entry into the Guinness World Records caught our attention.

The muscle-man from Hungary actually managed to pull a 50-tonne Airbus A320 almost 40 metres using HIS TEETH!

That’s a pretty impressive claim to fame. Basically, Zsolt (otherwise known as ‘Popey’) attached some rope to the front wheel of a Wizz Air plane at Budapest’s Liszt Ferenc Airport and pulled using his teeth.

MORE VIDEOS: Watch dramatic engine failure on Thomas Cook Airbus A330 in Manchester‏

In total, the Air A320 was moved 39.2 metres along the airport tarmac in 52 seconds. Wizz Air were supportive too, with cabin crew dressed as cheer leaders.

The video has drawn some criticism on YouTube though. “Strange how they keep the jet engines running... Sure is "tough" to pull a plane that already has a little thrust behind it,” wrote Brenton Pahl, with many similar comments by other users.

You can watch the video below – and feel free to leave comments on this page. Also, check out The Aviation Writer’s Facebook page – we’re fast approaching 1,500 fans. Why not become the latest one and have access to a regular stream of aviation videos, photos and stories? Click here to visit.

MORE VIDEOS: The coolest car in the world? Abandoned plane converted into car!



The achievement is similar to that of Kevin Fast, the Canadian record holder for pulling the heaviest aircraft (not using his teeth). I’ve included a video of that below too. He set the world record in 2009 after he pulled a CC-177 Globemaster III, weighing 188.83 tonnes, 8.8 metres along a Canadian air base in Ontario, Canada.

MORE VIDEOS: United Airlines pilot attacked by drunk passenger at US airport (explicit)




Tuesday, June 25, 2013

PHOTOS: United Airlines employees debut new uniforms... what do you think?

United Airlines unveils its new employee uniforms [Photo: United Airlines]
More and more airlines seem to be launching new-look uniforms at the moment.

Back in April, for example, Qantas unveiled its first uniform revamp for 10 years, created by Australian designer Martin Grant (click here for photos and video). Soon afterwards, illustrations of Virgin Atlantic's new uniform, designed by Vivienne Westwood, appeared in the media (click here to view them). And now… its United Airlines’ turn!

Tens of thousands of United Airlines employees worldwide - including flight attendants, customer service agents, technical operations and ramp workers - begin wearing newly designed uniforms today, the first time members of these work groups will wear similarly styled uniforms.

Top 10: Airlines with the best cabin crew uniform in 2013 (Europe and Asia-Pacific)

More than 64,000 United employees will debut the garments, which feature accents of blue, gold, silver and gray. I’ve included some photos on this page… what do you think? Feel free to leave your comments below – and don’t forget to subscribe to The Aviation Writer’s FREE newsletter to keep updated with the latest aviation news, photos, videos and more. Click here to sign up!

"The new uniforms project a contemporary, sophisticated look that reflects the modern airline we're building," said Jeff Foland, United's executive vice president - marketing, technology and strategy. "With significant feedback from our uniformed co-workers, we've designed pieces that are professional, stylish and functional."

United pilots will begin wearing newly designed uniforms later this year in the traditional midnight blue color with gold stripes and accents. Other uniform design concepts include:

    United Airlines unveils its new employee uniforms [Photo: United Airlines]
  • Flight Attendants: The uniform includes a core wardrobe of black trousers, skirts, sweaters, vests and blazers with two rows of silver braid on the sleeves. Female flight attendants will also wear sweaters, vests, short sleeve jackets and two styles of dresses, including a signature blue dress with a black stripe detail. Outerwear for male and female flight attendants includes a black all-season coat and an optional gray double-breasted wool coat.
  • Customer Service Agents: The uniform includes a wardrobe of black blazers, trousers, sweaters, vests and skirts. Agents will also wear colored shirts and distinctive neckwear that vary depending on their job responsibilities.
  • Ramp, Cargo and Technical Operations: The uniform offers flexibility, comfort and durability for year round comfort. Employees will wear work shirts, polo shirts and T-shirts made with breathable and flexible fabric. The pants, shorts and coveralls for both men and women feature a soft, brushed fabric. Outerwear for ramp, cargo and technical operations workers includes a three-piece system consisting of a zip-up fleece-lined vest, jacket and waterproof outer shell. The uniform also includes waterproof wind pants, hooded sweatshirts, baseball caps and knit caps.

VIDEO: Watch dramatic engine failure on Thomas Cook Airbus A330 in Manchester‏

Engine failure of a Thomas Cook Airbus A330-200 at Manchester Airport
Yesterday was quite eventful for plane spotters at Manchester Airport in the UK. A routine morning of arrivals and departures was dramatically overshadowed by the engine failure of a Thomas Cook Airbus A330-200 during the afternoon.

A couple of YouTube users have already posted their footage of the incident online, which shows the aircraft travelling down runway 23R at a high speed (around 110 knots) when a loud bang is heard. Around 325 passengers were onboard at the time, on their way to Punta Cana in the Dominic Republic.

According to media reports, the A330’s right hand engine (Trent 772) failed, with fire fighters arriving on the runway as a safety precaution. The aircraft was transported back to the terminal, from where passengers were asked to disembark while the engine and brakes were inspected by engineers.

MORE VIDEOS: The coolest car in the world? Abandoned plane converted into car!

The runway was temporarily closed, with some flights diverted to Liverpool John Lennon Airport as a result. Thomas Cook organised a replacement Airbus A330-200, which departed five hours after the initial incident.

“We can confirm that an incident took place at Manchester Airport regarding flight TCX314 during take-off to the Dominican Republic.  The aircraft developed an engine fault and has returned to stand,” a spokesperson for Thomas Cook Airlines told the media.

"As a precaution, the airport emergency services attended the aircraft - but at no time were passengers or crew at risk. We’d like to thank our customers for their patience during the delay to their flight,” the airline continued.

MORE VIDEOS: United Airlines pilot attacked by drunk passenger at US airport (explicit)

I’ve decided to include both videos on this page, as they show different angles. As always, don’t forget to like The Aviation Writer’s Facebook page to keep updated on the latest aviation videos, photos and stories. Click here to visit.






MORE VIDEOS: Bombardier aircraft crashes into airport hangar during engine test

Monday, June 24, 2013

Top 10: Airlines with the best economy class cabins in 2013

In his first guest post on TheAviationWriter.com, Jonny Clark listed the 10 best business class cabins in the world, which instantly became one of our most popular articles. As a follow-up, we invited the founder of thedesignair.net back to share his Top 10 Economy Classes to look out for in 2013.

“We have scoured the world for airlines that have really shown us something truly special. Whilst many airlines didn’t make the list, we’d like to state that generally over the past 12 months, we have seen airlines around the world innovate and renovate their economy products to offer a point of difference and make them better than their competitors and the competition was close, meaning many excellent carriers just missed a place,” commented Jonny.

Here are the 10 that really stood out from the rest, rated for giving the passenger the best possible experience, both from service and hard product in the air in an economy class,” he added.

The list is below and we’d love to hear your feedback. Feel free to leave your comments on this page, and don’t forget to sign-up for The Aviation Writer’s free newsletter to keep updated with the latest aviation lists, photos, videos and stories. Click here to subscribe.

Which airlines have the best economy class cabins in the world?

10. Porter
Porter Airline's Economy Class Cabin is rated as one of the world's bestPorter is an airline that knows how to deliver. A boutique short-haul airline that lives it’s tagline ‘Flying Refined’. The airline offers stylish cream leather seats, free food and drink including tipples from local micro breweries and free lounge access for all their passengers.

The airline, branded by Winkreative, is an airline that manages to provide business class efficiency and timetables, with a modern lounge style environment that wouldn’t feel out of place from a uber-trendy design agency in downtown Toronto.

Porter, which has slowly grown over the past few years, has now announced it wants to move into jet aircraft, and once they have approval from the relevant governmental bodies, we can expect to see the carrier expand a little further afield. What we like is the all encompassing brand, everything sits as one, and the service on such a small cabin, feels more like a private jet than a commercial carrier, and whilst we still don’t like the noise of a prop aircraft, the 34 inch leg room more than makes up in comfort for something like that. We just want a bit more inflight entertainment if their flights get a little longer.

  • Seat Pitch 34″ (really generous)
  • Seat Width 17″ (tight, but usual for a regional prop aircraft)
  • AVOD Just an excellent magazine, originally designed by Tyler Brule.
  • Bags One 23kg piece checked in (industry standard – except the free bit is great!)
  • Best Bits The Toronto terminal is like a business class lounge but available for all passengers.
  • Worst Bits Whilst we love the airline, the prop planes are a little noisy, still, there are jet aircraft being talked about too.
  • Visit www.flyporter.com

9. Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines Economy Class Cabin is rated as one of the world's best
Aloha! to one of our favourite Pacific gems. Since the launch of the Hawaiian A330, we can’t get enough of this carrier, as it beats the proverbial off other American carriers flying the US West Coast to Hawaii routes.  Whilst we have done our fair share of ‘Hawaii fun flights’ with legacy carriers such as United and Delta, Hawaiian have brought a bit of pacific sophistication to Mainland US.

The new airbus planes offer AVOD at every seat (for a small charge) and the best bits are the complimentary drinks and food that make the carrier feel like not everything is about making money. The Island’s traditions are a big deal for Hawaiian, and Hibiscus and Leis can be seen on the flight attendants, Koa-nut garlands on the men too. Now that Hawaiian are expanding across the pacific to Korea, China and Japan, there is even more reason to fly with this wonderful airline. From check-in to arrival, it’s a bit of Pacific spirit we can’t get enough of.

  • Seat Pitch 30″-32″ (decent for the length of flight)
  • Seat Width 18″-18.5″ (great width, but be warned, generally speaking on American flights, this can be a little tight)
  • AVOD Available on A330′s, overhead screens on 767s and Hana Hou magazine on 717s.
  • Bags One carry on case and one personal item (hold bags start at $25 for trans pacific, or only $17 for inter-island)
  • Best Bits A330′s, great to fly on and personal TV’s make for an enjoyable trip. 717′s give great entertainment out of the window, so book a window seat.
  • Worst Bits 767′s, when on one, you want to be on an A330.
  • Visit www.hawaiianairlines.com

8. Starflyer
Starflyer's Economy Class Cabin is rated as one of the world's best
Starflyer, who featured in our Top 10 liveries last month certainly know how to make low cost look and feel cool. With personal LCD monitors for every seat, there are video channels, music, maps and more for every passenger, whatsmore, the entertainment is available for use from landing gear up to landing gear down.

Whilst you can charge your own mobile phone or laptop, they also have rechargeable mobile phone batteries onboard, incase you are one angry birds moment away from a dead device. Let’s not forget complimentary drinks as another tick for the airline, and virtually unheard of for a low cost carrier. Another nice touch is that centre seats in the 3 x 3 across cabin, (notoriously the last ones to go) can be converted into cocktail tables, giving you even more space for your personal belongings. In short this airline succeeds in making a low cost trip, a chic affair, and like Virgin America, proves low cost can actually be cool.

  • Seat Pitch 34″ (to be verified)
  • Seat Width 18″ (more than enough for short flights)
  • AVOD Available on every flight.
  • Bags One 15kg piece checked in and one hand luggage – up to 10kgs (amazing considering most LCCs charge for this now)
  • Best Bits Apart from the uber-cool black exterior and interior, all the extras for no extra cost.
  • Worst Bits Only 9 destinations. boo.
  • Visit www.starflyer.jp

7. Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic's Economy Class Cabin is rated as one of the world's best
Virgin Atlantic have finally managed to get their product in line, after a fairly damaging difference between their economy product flying leisure routes from Gatwick and the business routes flying from Heathrow. Comments used to vary wildly dependant on which aircraft and route was flown.

Whilst we are self confessed lovers of the Virgin brand, (and see the bigger picture) we think they do stand out as the most preferential carrier between themselves and rival BA, it’s great to see they have invested in a problem that was around for a few years and finally brought in line their cabin offering fleet wide. Actually, the Gatwick route now offers a much more advanced and reliable entertainment system than the once legacy Heathrow routes. It’s the small touches that we like, like ice-cream mid route and welcome cocktails that make this airline stand out. What we really like now is that you can watch the TV from gate to gate, allowing on average another hour’s worth of entertainment. The cabin service whilst not as refined as Asian carriers, is heart-felt and their new company slogan, flying in the face of ordinary certainly rings true.

  • Seat Pitch 31″ (extra legroom seats available for purchase at the airport)
  • Seat Width 17.5″ (fairly decent)
  • AVOD Available on every flight, the new JAM system includes touchscreen technology.
  • Bags One 23kg piece checked in and one hand luggage. (industry standard)
  • Best Bits The entertainment usually has more movies and TV channels that you want to watch than you can watch in a return flight, and now can be watched gate-to-gate.
  • Worst Bits A little more legroom would be nice, without having to pay for it.
  • Visit www.virgin-atlantic.com

6. Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways Economy Class Cabin is rated as one of the world's best
Qatar Airways has often touted itself as the best airline in the world, and quite rightly so. It won Airline of the year 2011 and 2012. Whilst the product is undeniably faultless, and the airline continues to invest to make their product the best they possibly can, we can’t help but feel the airline really is just an airline.

There is nothing wrong with that, in fact we are always constantly bombarded by atmospheric advertising campaigns from other airlines that make their airlines feel like ‘a bar’, ‘a nightclub’, a ‘lounge’ or your own ‘bedroom’.

Qatar give the impression they want to be the best airline out there, not the best lounge and this seems to be winning them plenty of accolades. The airline offers great innovations for it’s passengers, especially in their new 787 aircraft, including a dual screen function, meaning passengers can multi task on their AVOD screen, or why not send a text from the air or even surf the web on WiFi. Our secret favourite element is the Spongebob kids kit that will keep your child amused for hours. (Although you better learn the lyrics and get ready to sing along!)

  • Seat Pitch 32-34″ (777′s for more pitch than Airbus planes)
  • Seat Width 17.5″-18.9″ (very comfortable)
  • AVOD Available on every flight on touchscreens 10.6″ in size.
  • Bags Two 23kg pieces checked in and one hand luggage. (very generous)
  • Best Bits The 787 is an excellent new aircraft for the airline, definitely worth a trip.
  • Worst Bits If you don’t like the colour maroon, you better bring an eye mask.
  • Visit www.qatarairways.com

5. Etihad Airways
Etihad Airways Economy Class Cabin is rated as one of the world's best
Etihad Airways is really pushing the meaning of airline quality, and making other airlines watch their backs as their continued advancements help to make their ‘guests’ (rather than passengers) more welcome and cared for than almost any other international airline in the world.

The cabin feels relaxing and the modern prints used on their soft furnishings help keep the cabin contemporary. Mixing the comfort of the cabin with technological wonders such as in seat power and 10.4″ touchscreen personal entertainment means that almost all of your desires are catered for. What Etihad really excel with is the quality of their catering. They cleverly manage to excel above and beyond their guests estimations, at a price which seems very reasonable. As they continue their expansion plan, quality isn’t dropping, but their network is increasing, meaning this carrier offers ‘one-stop’ luxury to all the major destinations in the world.

  • Seat Pitch 31-34″ (777′s for more pitch than Airbus planes)
  • Seat Width 17″-17.5″ (a little bit narrow, similar to the width expected on short haul)
  • AVOD Available on every flight on touchscreens 10.6″ in size.
  • Bags One 20kg piece checked in and one hand luggage. (two pieces allowed on journeys to Northern America)
  • Best Bits We love the interiors, but more importantly, the food is excellent.
  • Worst Bits Seats are a little narrow for a long flight, but cabins are rarely full, giving a better chance to stretch out.
  • Visit www.etihad.com

4. Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines Economy Class Cabin is rated as one of the world's bestThis is an airline that treats economy passengers like business class passengers, in fact, many of its economy class travellers are travelling on business. This is the reason Singapore Airlines is still seen as the most prestigious airline in the world, facing off newer rivals such as Emirates, Qatar or Etihad. Even since it’s split from now Malaysian Airlines, the airline has forged itself as the pinnacle of quality.

From it’s vast entertainment library, to it’s continuing investment into it’s hard product, this airline hasn’t rested on it’s laurels to be the best, and whilst not on the best of our list, this is purely down to the anti-competitive prices still attributed to flying with the carrier. Other airlines are now starting to offer an equal product, perhaps with a different finish to it, at a reduced price. We also feel that the airline, whilst continuing to polish and protect its unique product, hasn’t really invested many new products into their economy class (bar the inclusion of WiFi fleet wide), unlike Air New Zealand for example, and instead have invested more heavily into the front of the plane.

  • Seat Pitch 32-34″ (777′s for more pitch than Airbus planes)
  • Seat Width 17.5″-19″ (A380s offer wider seats than the 777′s)
  • AVOD Available on every flight on screens 10.6″ in size, featuring over 1000 entertainment options.
  • Bags One 20kg piece checked in and one hand luggage. (varies depending on route)
  • Best Bits The Singapore girl, trademarked for good reason. Service and attention is the reason to fly.
  • Worst Bits Still one of the most expensive carriers to fly with, it often comes up weighing up price over quality when picking a flight.
  • Visit www.singaporeair.com

3. Oman Air
Oman Air's Economy Class Cabin is rated as one of the world's best
A secret airline in the midst, our airline that ‘everyone-has-heard-of-but-still-not-flown-yet’ is more a large luxury jet than passenger airline, with the excellence in service found in Middle Eastern carriers. Oman Air has managed to secure a list of awards longer than it’s arm and yet, still most people will pick big brothers Emirates or Qatar over this genuinely excellent airline.

With a huge amount of legroom, akin to the legroom found in American carriers ‘Economy Plus’ in every seat, this airline provides more space per passenger than almost every other airline at no extra cost. The airline itself has an expanding network, and whilst not as encompassing as other middle eastern carriers, it still can carry passengers from most major cities in the West to most major cities in the East. Regularly excelling in SkyTrax’s reports, the airline is showing consistently that the experience is well above passengers expectations. If you haven’t travelled with them yet, this is a must. We hope to bring you a business class trip report with them very soon.

  • Seat Pitch 34″ (long haul aircraft – 32″ on short haul)
  • Seat Width 18″ (long haul aircraft – 17.5″ on short haul)
  • AVOD Available on every mid/long haul flight on screens 10.6″ in size, overhead tvs on 737s.
  • Bags One 20kg piece checked in and one hand luggage. (varies depending on route and ticket purchased)
  • Best Bits Relaxed, open cabins, excellent service and modern up-to-date AVOD on generally never full cabins mean for extra space and a higher level of attention.
  • Worst Bits Luggage limit could be a little bit more for economy travellers, 3 kgs less than most international carriers.
  • Visit www.omanair.com

2. Virgin America
Virgin America's Economy Class Cabin is rated as one of the world's best
If only long haul could be like this, here at Thedesignair we applaud this upstart airline in the states for creating some truly industry-changing products, from ordering food, drink or even clothing from your seat, to live TV and videos on demand. Last year, you could even register to vote in the elections from 35,000ft. And now, you can even buy strangers a drink somewhere else on the plane without even having to strike up an awkward conversation!

The economy seats in Virgin America, in black leather and white backs are super space age, mixed with mood lighting and bright red screens are more ‘Star Trek’ when you enter than passenger plane. We like the uniforms too, although as previously mentioned, the staff can be a little hard to spot in the airport (perhaps a little too casual), when you need their help checking in! With the option to purchase lounge access or ‘Main Cabin Select’, and even wi-fi the airline offers a wealth of bolt-ons to make your flight even more enjoyable. What’s more, with news of them commencing flights to Hawaii in 2014, we are super excited to see they still have big plans.

  • Seat Pitch 32-33″ (dependant on aircraft and seat.)
  • Seat Width 19.7″ (very comfortable!)
  • AVOD The best in the business, fully integrated, heaps of movies, and TV shows, available to purchase (some for free), along with enough gadgets and gizmos to virtually do everything, bar clean the dishes at home.
  • Bags First 23kg (50lbs) piece checked in at $25 (Main cabin select have first bag for free)
  • Best Bits WiFi, Entertainment, mood lighting and in-seat power
  • Worst Bits Still a limited network with limited flights, but this is expected to get bigger and better over the next 12-18months
  • Visit www.virginamerica.com

1. Air New Zealand
No surprise here that Air New Zealand should be winning the category here. Aviation innovators and the creators of the SkyCouch have tried to work out exactly what economy passengers want from their flight. Apart from some of the friendliest crews in the skies, the inflight entertainment is excellent, with a wealth of international and local films and TV programmes.

On the 777 they launched their sky couches which are the closest thing to business class at a fraction of the cost. Allowing you and someone else to share a row of economy seats, with a fold out mattress that comes from under the seats to form a 3 foot wide bed. Perfect for ‘topping and tailing’. Food is great, partnered by amazing NZ wines and is fairly consistant in quality. The 777-300′s all have laptop power to keep your own entertainment working and on the new 777-300 Aircraft, you can order food and drink from your seat IFE screen without having to reach to the dizzy heights in the ceiling to call for cabin crew.

  • Seat Pitch 31-34″ (dependant on aircraft and seat.)
  • Seat Width 17.1″ to 17.8″ (dependant on aircraft and seat.)
  • AVOD Available on every mid-long haul flight on screens 8.4″ or 10.6″ in size, overhead tvs on 737s and no entertainment (apart from spectacular views) on Beech aircraft
  • Bags One 23kg piece checked in and one hand luggage. (varies depending on route and ticket purchased)
  • Best Bits Great service, still a ‘cool’ contemporary airline to fly with, great food and excellent entertainment, mixed with brilliant innovations such as the skycouch.
  • Worst Bits The seats are a little narrow on the 777 aircraft and seat pitch isn’t as good as other carriers.
  • Visit www.airnewzealand.com

Sunday, June 23, 2013

PHOTOS & VIDEOS: Who said penguins can't fly? Check out this new Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 livery!


Southwest Airlines unveils its special Penguin One livery on a Boeing 737 [Photo: Southwest Airlines]Southwest Airlines is world-renowned as a ‘fun-loving’ brand, which is reflected in all aspects of the low-cost-carrier’s operations. For example, did you know that 13 of Southwest Airlines’ Boeing 737s have been painted in unique and eye-catching schemes?

Each one has been designed to celebrate a particular milestone or destination for the airline – with names ranging from Florida One and Illinois One to Triple Crown One (unveiled in 1997, recognising five years of top rankings for on-time performance, baggage handling and customer satisfaction).   

The latest addition – 'Penguin One' – was unveiled this week to celebrate 25 years of partnership with SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, featuring one of the tourist attraction’s iconic animals.

Crowds gather to look at the latest Southwest Airlines livery [Photo: Southwest Airlines]

Southwest and SeaWorld revealed the aircraft at Orlando International Airport (MCO) with employees, community members and even real penguins in attendance. I’ve included a couple of photos on this page, together with a video (below).

You can head over to The Aviation Writer’s Facebook page to check out more great images - click here to visit.

This week’s ceremony celebrated the introduction of Penguin One in a spirited way as attendees waved black-and-white pom poms, enjoyed black-and-white-themed snacks, and cheered as executives christened the aircraft while SeaWorld’s Pete and Penny Penguin looked on.

The featured penguin species on the aircraft is a gentoo, one of the species found at SeaWorld Orlando’s new Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.

MORE VIDEOS: United Airlines pilot attacked by drunk passenger at US airport (explicit)



“SeaWorld has been an important partner to Southwest Airlines for 25 years,” said Southwest Airlines Chairman, President, and CEO Gary Kelly. “Penguin One is a natural addition to the Southwest fleet and a great representation of the evolution of our partnership and our mutual dedication to travel, tourism, and family entertainment.”

MORE VIDEOS: Bombardier aircraft crashes into airport hangar during engine test

Saturday, June 22, 2013

VIDEO: The coolest car in the world? Abandoned plane converted into car!

An old Cessna aircraft has been converted into a car in the United StatesWriting about cars is not something I expected with an aviation blog, but here’s an exception. That’s because the car in question was originally a Cessna 310 airplane, which has been converted into a road vehicle in the United States!

How cool is that? Hats off to Jeff Bloch, a US policeman and amateur mechanic, who took the abandoned plane (which is over 50 years old) and gave it a new lease of life.

Check out the video below to watch the plane-turned-car in action. Basically, Jeff and his friends completed the reconfiguration using the chassis of a Toyota minivan for the '24 Hours in LeMons' event in South Carolina, which is an endurance race for used vehicles.

MORE VIDEOS: United Airlines pilot attacked by drunk passenger at US airport (explicit)

Known as ‘Cessnoyota’ (hmmmm, not sure about the name), it took home the event’s biggest prize and that success inspired Bloch to legally make the car ‘road worthy’ by adding headlights, indicators and brake lights, plus insurance of course.

It’s hardly a surprise that the vehicle is turning heads whenever it’s taken for a spin. And the best compliment that Jeff has received to date? "One guy said it was the coolest car he had ever seen - and he drove a Ferrari."

Bloch now wants to enter the vehicle into more races, and even plans to drive it across the country with his brother.

MORE VIDEOS: Check out this scary (but awesome looking) tornado over Denver Airport

What are your thoughts on ‘Cessnoyota’? Can you think of a better name for it? Leave your comments below and sign-up for The Aviation Writer’s FREE newsletter to keep updated on the latest aviation videos, photos and stories. Click here to subscribe.


MORE VIDEOS: Bombardier aircraft crashes into airport hangar during engine test

Friday, June 21, 2013

VIDEO: Check out this scary (but awesome looking) tornado over Denver Airport

A weak tornado over Denver International Airport [Photo: Mike Sellers]Hollywood spends millions of dollars creating ‘end of world’ special effects for disaster films, and the end results are normally spectacular.

However, mother nature can do a much better job, as she proved in the United States this week. Check out the video below, which shows a weak tornado forming around the east runways of Denver International Airport on 18th June 2013.

The weather conditions were far from ideal, with all flights either cancelled or re-routed as a result. That’s understandable, of course… you wouldn’t want to fly with those dark clouds around!

MORE VIDEOS: United Airlines pilot attacked by drunk passenger at US airport (explicit)

According to media reports, the tornado produced winds of nearly 100 miles per hour, and the airport’s safety procedures were immediately activated.

What has been the scariest weather conditions that you have experienced, either as a passenger or pilot / crew? Leave your comments below and head over to my Facebook page for more aviation videos, photos and stories. Click here to visit.

MORE VIDEOS: Bombardier aircraft crashes into airport hangar during engine test

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

VIDEO: United Airlines pilot attacked by drunk passenger at US airport (explicit)

Drunk passenger attacked US airline captain at airportWarning: There’s a lot of shock value in this video, with drunken behaviour, swearing and unnecessary violence. If that’s likely to offend you, I have some cool photos from a flying display at Paris Airshow featuring the British Airways A380… click here to view them!

If you’ve stuck around, then here’s a quick summary of the story. A passenger at Washington Dulles International Airport gets very, very drunk. His flight was possibly delayed. He picks a fight with a United Airlines pilot. Pilot tells drunk man he’s not flying in his drunken state, after which the passenger swears A LOT and says he would punch the pilot’s lights out if the TSA weren’t around.

Eventually, things turn violent and the pilot is attacked (but keeps restrained and doesn’t seem to hit back), much to the shock of others in the airport. The passenger is then pinned down to the floor until security arrives with handcuffs. All of this was filmed by a member of the public.

MORE VIDEOS: Bombardier aircraft crashes into airport hangar during engine test

The video, which you can watch below, was featured on liveleak.com earlier today without too much information. Media reports have since identified the passenger as 53-year-old Donald Gee, who was taken into custody after the incident. He was jailed and released after posting $2,500 bond, authorities said.

A United Airlines spokesman told WJLA: "Violence against our employees is unacceptable and we will review this closely. We are fully cooperating with authorities and do not have further comment at this time."

What are your views on the situation? What is the best approach that airline and airport staff can take when dealing with drunk passengers? Did the captain here approach the situation correctly or did he somehow provoke the passenger? Leave your comments below!

Don’t forget to like my Facebook page for more aviation videos, photos and stories. Click here to visit.

MORE VIDEOS: Unbelievable footage of China airport worker's terrible cargo handling



MORE VIDEOS: Impact of severe turbulence filmed on Singapore Airlines flight

PHOTOS: Pilot becomes internet sensation with stunning cockpit photos

‘Sunrise in the Office’ has clocked up over 75,000 views onlineWith the continued growth of image sharing websites, pilots have discovered a new platform to share their flight experiences with a global audience.

In the case of Karim Nafatni, a pilot with UAE-based Air Arabia, the photos have not only attracted a massive online following, but the global media have also jumped on the appreciation bandwagon.

There’s a pretty good reason for that, of course… his photos are stunning! Luckily for me, Karim was happy to share a couple of images on TheAviationWriter.com, which you will find on this page. You can check out his website or Facebook page for more.

A stunning cockpit photo by Air Arabia pilot Karim Nafatni
MORE PHOTOS: British Airways A380 impresses with Paris Airshow flying display

One of the photos – titled ‘Sunrise in the Office’ - was taken with a Nikon D300 S camera “over the middle of the Indian Ocean” on a flight from Sharjah to Trivandrum, the state capital of Kerala in India. It has attracted more than 75,000 views.

“Not a lot of people have the chance to share the views we see from the cockpit,” the French-Tunisian, who has been flying with Air Arabia for six years, told 7DAYS newspaper earlier this month.

If you’re a fan of aviation photos, don’t forget to subscribe to The Aviation Writer newsletter for free, with highlights from the best stories on this website. Click here to subscribe.

MORE PHOTOS: Student designs the livery of Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800… check out the results!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

REVEALED: Top 10 Airlines In The World, according to Skytrax World Airline Awards 2013

Emirates has topped the rankings at SKYTRAX's 2013 World Airline AwardsThe ten best airlines in the world include the ‘Big 3’ Gulf carriers (Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways), according to this year’s Skytrax World Airlines Awards.

Emirates topped the rankings in 2013, pushing last year’s winner Qatar Airways into second place. 

The full list is below, with other entrants including Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Turkish Airlines, Qantas and Garuda Indonesia.

The winners were announced at a special awards ceremony to coincide with Paris International Airshow 2013.

What are your thoughts on the list? Do you agree? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

Top 10 airlines in the world

  1. Emirates
  2. Qatar Airways
  3. Singapore Airlines
  4. ANA All Nippon Airways
  5. Asiana Airlines
  6. Cathay Pacific Airways
  7. Etihad Airways
  8. Garuda Indonesia
  9. Turkish Airlines
  10. Qantas Airways

Winners in other categories

  • World's best premium economy class: Air New Zealand
  • World's best low-cost airline: AirAsia
  • World's best aircraft cabin cleanliness: ANA
  • World's best economy class onboard catering: Asiana Airlines
  • World's best cabin staff: Cathay Pacific Airways
  • World's best regional airline: Dragonair
  • World's best first class: Etihad Airways
  • World's best economy class: Garuda Indonesia
  • Best low-cost airline in Australia / Pacific: Jetstar Airways
  • World's best first class lounge: Lufthansa
  • World's best airline signature dish: Malaysia Airlines
  • Best airline Australia / Pacific: Qantas Airways
  • World's best business class: Qatar Airways
  • Best staff service in Australia / Pacific: Virgin Australia

PHOTOS: British Airways A380 impresses with Paris Airshow flying display

British Airways Airbus A380's flying display at Paris Airshow 2013 [Photo: Airbus]The soon-to-be-delivered British Airways A380 took part in a stunning flying display at Paris International Airshow yesterday, much to the excitement of attendees.

The aircraft has been receiving a lot of media attention in recent months and its appearance at this year’s airshow will guarantee even more coverage around the world.

I’ve included a couple of photos from the airline’s Airbus A380 flying display on this page – and there’s an entire photo album on my Facebook page. Click here to visit (and don’t forget to like the page for a regular stream of aviation photos, videos and stories).

British Airways Airbus A380 at Paris Airshow 2013 [Photo: Airbus]The Airbus A380 will be the largest aircraft in the British Airways fleet, accommodating a total of 469 passengers.


This figure includes 14 seats in First (located at the front of the main deck), 97 seats in Club World (business class – split between the main deck and upper deck) and 55 seats in World Traveller Plus (premier economy – located in the upper deck). The rest are World Traveller (economy class – situated in both the main and upper deck).

According to a press release, the national carrier’s first double-decker superjumbo will make its debut on the “Red Carpet Route” to Los Angeles, while Hong Kong will be the second destination.

What are your thoughts on BA's A380? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

Ever wondered how an aircraft is painted? Images of BA’s first A380 paint job!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Etihad Airways to explore investment opportunity in JatAirways

James Hogan, Etihad Airways CEO with Velibor Vukasinovic, JatAirways CEODuring a press conference earlier today, Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan confirmed that the airline will advance discussions with JatAirways about an equity investment in the Serbian national carrier.

An Initial Memorandum of Understanding (IMU) was signed today and moving forward, an investment decision would depend on the successful completion of a due diligence process, together with regulatory and board approvals.

“These are early days but we are excited about the future and look forward to exploring the possibility of a much deeper strategic commercial partnership with JatAirways,” said Mr Hogan.

Infographic: A look at the Etihad Airways aircraft fleet

The two airlines will now intensify discussions about collaborative efforts to further integrate their networks and help JatAirways achieve efficiencies, build revenue, and reduce costs.

"As we have demonstrated with our minority equity investments in other airlines, significant on-going savings can be achieved through joint initiatives. These include pilot and crew training, fuel, insurance, and procurement and maintenance agreements for common engine types,” added Mr Hogan at the press conference.

The IMU announcement follows the launch of Etihad Airways’ daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Belgrade on Saturday, June 15.

ALSO READ: Time-lapse video: Etihad Airways takes over Dubai roundabout for promotional campaign

The airline operates a two cabin Airbus A319 aircraft on the service between Abu Dhabi and Belgrade, configured to carry 106 passengers, with 16 seats in Pearl Business Class and 90 seats in Coral Economy Class.

Belgrade is the fourth of six new destinations to be served by Etihad Airways in 2013, following the launch in March of flights to Washington, D.C., and in May to Amsterdam and Sao Paulo at the start of June. Services will commence later this year to Sana’a, Yemen, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

REVEALED: The world’s best airline amenity bags in 2013

PHOTO: First look at Qatar Airways Airbus A380 in partial livery

Airbus is making good progress with the production of Qatar Airways' first A380 [Photo: Qatar Airways]Qatar Airways has issued a progress report about its first Airbus A380-800 to coincide with Paris International Airshow, which is taking place in Le Bourget this week.

The last update we received was back in April 2013, when photos of the aircraft’s vertical tail section were issued to the media (click here to view them).

As a follow-up, Qatar Airways has now unveiled a brand new image of the aircraft in partial livery, taken from the Airbus assembly line in Toulouse.

I’ve included the image on this page and remember, you can like The Aviation Writer’s Facebook page for more aviation photos, videos and stories (click here to visit).

Here’s what you can expect from Airbus at Paris Airshow 2013... including BA's A380!

It's a nice photo of the double-decker superjumbo, with the traditional Oryx logo (which appears on Qatar Airways’ current mixed fleet of 124 aircraft) clearly seen gracing the 24 metre high tail.

“The Oryx is a symbol of grace and symbolises Qatar’s traditions and to see it decorating the tail of one of the world’s most advanced aircraft should be a source of pride for our people and our country,” stated Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker.

“Seeing this image for the first time gives me great pride as Qatar Airways prepares to look forward to our newest aircraft type, the world’s biggest, joining our fleet next year.”

Ever wondered how an aircraft is painted? Images of BA’s first A380 paint job!

Qatar Airways currently has 13 Airbus A380s on order with plans to operate them on popular routes, especially in slot-constrained airports.

“The delivery of the first of our new A380s will mark a new chapter for the airline, while reinforcing our commitment to giving our customers the very best travel experience and service,” added Al Baker.

INFOGRAPHIC: Fun facts about the Airbus A380 to celebrate the aircraft’s 100th delivery!