Monthly Archives: November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving & Safe Travels (originally posted 10/24/10)

The airline guys just want to say HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you all. May you enjoy the holiday spent with friend, family and loved ones. Safe travels to all!

We want to hear about your Thanksgiving travel adventures, pat-downs at security, airline customer service, whatever you’d like to tell us that’s interesting, fun or funny! Tell it!

Remember to keep it low and tight, low and tight…(especially on a full stomach!)

Roadtrip! (originally posted 10/23/10)

Okay. Let me preface this post by saying a visit to Unclaimed Baggage Center is NOT on my ‘bucket list.’ However, I’ve always wanted to go there! So, today we did!

It was in 1988 when I started working for the airlines that I heard about ‘this place in Alabama’ that many airlines send unclaimed items for resale. I was like ‘really?!’ Fast forward to 2010. Today I finally took the opportunity to go.

Unclaimed Baggage Center is located in Scottsboro, AL and is about a 2.5 hour drive from Atlanta. We took the scenic route which takes you through NW Georgia. On the drive you pass Lookout Mountain, beautiful lakes and wide open spaces. The leaves were starting to change color too. This made for a perfect roadtrip.

The website claims: “The vast majority of items are from unclaimed baggage which, after at least 90 days of intensive tracking by the airlines, are declared unclaimed. However, unclaimed cargo is also available throughout the store.” Even with this description of the store, we didn’t quite know what to expect once we arrived. They claim over 1 million customers pass through their doors every year. The idea of “Lost Treasures from Around the World” really piqued our interests. Let me say I’m not one who likes shopping. However, by the time we arrived we were pretty excited.

The front of the store is pretty unassuming; it looks like many buildings in strip malls located throughout the US. When we walked in we were greeted by the ‘concierge’ (who knew?). She was pleasant and asked if we needed any assistance. We were a little overwhelmed but started in the DVD/CD section; there were hundreds and hundreds of new and old ones! We moved on to electronics. There were Bose noise canceling headsets, earbuds (was looking for Beats by Dr. Dre), Bluetooth earpieces, cameras, iPods, iPhones, Blackberry’s, flip phones (I know, right? Who still uses those?!) and get this…Texas Instruments scientific calculators!

In sporting goods we observed a couple using the infamous “Shake Weight” (that thing is just wrong!), camouflage hunting outfits, sleeping bags, crossbows and even an ab machine.

Books, books, books! It was like a mini library. Paperback, hardcover, memoirs, fiction, children’s books, tons of travel books.

We ended in the men’s section. There was SO MUCH to choose from. My favorite was a decorative green blazer 🙂 I mean really? I can see why this was left on the plane! There were racks and racks of coats, blazers, shirts, slacks and sportswear.

There’s even an Annex that has tools, appliances and anything else that doesn’t fit into the shopping categories of the main store.

The salesperson we checked out with was very helpful and friendly. She told us the store receives items everyday from most of the major airlines. She was not allowed to let us know which ones but assured us all the majors send stuff there. I left with 4 business shirts (including Faconnable, Kenneth Cole), 4 books (includingFreakonomicsDrive) and 2 fleece pullovers all for less than $50. All in all a pretty good day of shopping.

So, if you should decide to go…and we strongly encourage you all to go…let us know. We’ll answer any questions you may have and give you a shopping list of things to pick up for us!

It’s funny, we really, really prefer to fly; it’s just more fun than driving. However, this roadtrip was a good one. Even though we drove it was still related to aviation. So, go and let us know what you get.

We’re already planning our return visit!

I feel the need…the need for SPEED! (originally posted 10/20/10)

When I saw Top Gun for the first time back in 1986 I was thrilled and mesmerized with all the action scenes. When “Maverick” said “I feel the need…the need for speed!” I had not a clue. Then in 2007 we met Paco Chierici the producer for the film “Speed & Angels.” It’s the story of real Top Gun pilots. Paco just happens to be a Delta Air Lines pilot. When we previewed an advance copy of the film we were blown away by what it takes to be a fighter pilot for the US military. Lots of training, dedication and stamina. This is not for the faint of heart…or those who can’t handle the G forces placed on the body. In other words it’s not for wimps! If you haven’t seen it put it in your Netflix queue, stat!

Believe it or not this past weekend was my FIRST airshow. I know, pick yourselves up off the floor. However, it’s true. You may ask, “how’d an airplane geek like you not attend an airshow?!” Go ahead mock me! To be honest I’ve never been a big military aviation fan. Something about the dull green/grey of the aircraft I suppose. Anyway, a few friends and I went to Dobbins Air Reserve Base for Wings Over Atlanta. It’s a massive airshow over a 2 day period attended by over 100K people each day! Parking was a challenge. However, the Base did an excellent job shuttling folks back and forth from designated parking to the air base.

We were able to walk thru a C-5 transport plane. Talk about massive! And just so you know this is how the Presidential motorcade follows the President wherever he may go…via the C-5.

The C-17 is just a cool looking plane. Sleek. I wonder how it would look painted in a commercial airline livery. The official name of this aircraft is the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. How’s that for trivia?

Unlike the 80s group that hails from Athens GA, the B-52 (Stratofortress) on display was in fine order. Did you know…that the Stratofortress name is rarely used outside of official contexts? However it has been referred to by Air Force personnel as the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fucker/Fellow).

Also on display was the KC-10. The KC-10 is an air-to-air tanker aircraft in service with the Air Force and is based on the DC-10-30 airliner.
And guess who we bumped into at the Airshow? Go ahead, guess. Non other than Katherine Lee. Aka “Deltalina”. She gave us the VIP treatment allowing us to watch the Blue Angels from the Delta 757 that was also on display. Those Delta people really know how to show you a good time.
All in all it was a really, really good day. One of the friends that was there with me commented that I was like a kid in a candy store! He probably got this from how excited I was watching the F-18s and F-16s buzz over our heads.
Can’t wait to attend my next airshow!
Question of the day: How many airshows have you attended? And what was your favorite part of the show?

Remember to keep it low and tight, low and tight…

Stewardess or Flight Attendant? (originally posted on 10/11/10)

Stewardess or Flight Attendant?

When we were flight attendants we used to have the conversation about differences between stewardesses and flight attendants. Before we get into this conversation, let’s see what Webster (not Emmanuel Lewis) has to say:

stew·ard·ess
–noun
a woman flight attendant

flight attendant
–noun
an airline employee who serves meals, attends to passengers’ comfort, etc., during a flight.

Even though both words have virtually the same meaning, there’s a huge difference in what makes one a ‘stewardess’ as opposed to a ‘flight attendant.’ And just so you know ‘stewardesses’ still exist to this day!

TRIVIA: The very first flight attendant (steward) was a male. Heinrich Kubis. He flew as a steward on the Zeppelin fleet including the Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg. More about male flight attendants in another post.

The first female stewardess was Ellen Church hired by United Airlines in 1930. She was 25 and a registered nurse. Once airlines began hiring stewardesses, being a nurse was a requirement. This requirement was relaxed at the start of WW2.

Ellen Church - first UA stewardess

It was in the 60’s and 70’s that many airlines began advertising the attractiveness and friendliness of its stewardesses. National Airlines had the “Fly Me” campaign. Southwest airlines had hostesses in hot pants. Braniff International Airlines even had what became known as the ‘Air Strip‘ whereby stewardesses would change outfits during your flight.

 

The Braniff "Air Strip"

Pacific Southwest Airlines

Delta Air Lines Summer 1969-70

 

National Airlines

Pan American

Many challenges that stewardesses faced (age limitations, no-marriage clause, weight requirements) were laid to the wayside in the 70’s and 80’s.

It was at the end of the 70’s that the term flight attendant replaced stewardess.

Even though the term stewardess was jettisoned, stewardesses still exist if you know what to look for. During our time as flight attendants it was a pure delight to fly with a stewardess. She, after all the years in the air, still:

  • loves her job
  • smiles at the customers
  • works seamlessly with her crew
  • has a great attitude
  • can fit into her uniform from when she was 21
  • has style, grace and poise
  • ALWAYS looks fabulous in her uniform (nails, hair, make up)
  • can wear a pair of heels for 9 hours, while working, across the Atlantic (you’ll see no Dansko’s on her feet!) — Dansko’s should be banned!
  • she’s loved by her passengers
  • brings glamour to this, still, amazing career
It’s nice to know (and I’m sure the passengers would agree) that even in today’s hectic airline environment there are stewardesses out there…and some are flight attendants!
Today’s ‘stewardesses’ include:

Katherine Lee aka "Deltalina"

Virgin Atlantic

Pam Ann

Today’s question: Have you had the pleasure of being served by, worked with or know, a ‘stewardess?’ If so, let’s here about it.

Remember to keep it low and tight, low and tight…

Can you hear me now?! (originally posted 10/06/10)

Can you hear me NOW?!

A few years ago there was plenty of chatter (haha) about whether or not to allow the use of cellphones on commercial airliners. After much debate the idea didn’t gather support and seemed to get disconnected by the airline industry. Fast (call) forward. Singapore Airlines announced a few days ago that they are considering installing technology to allow for cellphone use during flight on their medium and long haul flights. Not during takeoff and landing…whew! But during the flight! Imagine being awakened by someone yelling, “Can you hear me now?”
A Singapore Airlines spokesperson says they’re gathering feedback from customers and will evaluate before moving forward.
The need to stay connected is understandable. Many airlines (Delta, AirTran, jetBlue, Southwest to name a few) have already installed, or are installing, wifi on their fleets. Is this not enough connectivity for most people?
Allowing cellphone use on board will definitely make the job of the flight attendant and flight deck crew more challenging (It’s hard enough getting customers to turn off cellphones before push back from the gate, imagine once airborne?). It’s probably a matter of time before US airlines follow suit.
Today’s question: As a customer what would you do if someone seated next to you had no ‘in-flight cellphone etiquette” and repeatedly (and loudly) said, ‘Can you hear me NOW?!’
Keep it low and tight, low and tight…

A Day at the Delta Heritage Museum (originally posted 10/03/10)

There’s something about the smell of jet fuel and the sound of jets taking off that made yesterday a great day. We visited the Delta Heritage Museum for the 24th Annual Airliner Collectible Show. We got there about 10:30a and immediately surveyed the hangar. If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit the Heritage Museum, stop what you’re doing, call your best Delta friend to escort you onto the property and go! Wonderful aviation history is housed in these 2 hangars at the World Headquarters for Delta. The piece de resistance is the Spirit of Delta; a Boeing 767-200 that the employees purchased for the company back in 1982. That was not a typo. That’s right. The employees bought this aircraft for the company. Back then things were good, pride was high and as a token of gratitude the Spirit of Delta came to be (more about the Spirit of Delta at a later date).

There were many vendors at the collectible show. Mostly model airplanes, post cards, pins and signs. The most unusual item was a lavatory from Pan Am. I wonder if anyone bought it. The bigger question would be why was it on display? Anyway, after some time walking around and talking with other enthusiasts I purchased a 1/200 scale model of the first Boeing 747. It’s an amazing model. To date, the best in my collection.

Darin scored big. He got 4 models for the price of 2! The funny thing about vendors is that by the end of the day they really don’t want to pack things up and take back with them so they play ‘let’s make a deal.’ 

The rumor yesterday was that John Travolta was going to stop by. His B707 has been parked in the general aviation area for the past 3 days now. Talk about aviation enthusiast! Who has it better than John Travolta? He has his very own B707 (of which he’s the pilot, he’s also a qualified pilot with Qantas) and a home in Florida that looks like an airport! Unfortunately, it was only a rumor and he was a no-show. We’d love to talk with him about his passion for aviation.

We met the cutest, and probably oldest, airplane buff yesterday. Her name was Marty and she had been a “stewardess” from 1954-1960. She still has poise and grace. I love this pic! 

So, today’s question is: At what point does our aviation enthusiasm become an obsession?  🙂

Keep it low and tight, low and tight…

New Beginnings (originally posted 10/01/10)

Today marks a couple of new beginnings. The ‘new’ United Airlines debuted today to become the world’s largest airline. The ‘merger of equals’ was completed and UAL is now back to trading on the NYSE. The new CEO, and former Continental CEO, Jeff Smisek was on CNBC this morning speaking of ‘synergies’ and making the ‘new’ UA the ‘airline of choice.’ These catchphrases are a bit over used in our opinion.

The new UA livery has generated lots of buzz on FlyerTalk; it seems mostly negative. The UA enthusiast are very passionate about the ‘tulip’…the Saul Bass created ‘U’ that graced United planes since 1974. The new livery is a hybrid of the Continental ‘beach ball’ tail and paint scheme and the words U N I T E D replacing Continental. The pictures released today will have to grow on us, however, it’s a start.
As this merger unfolds there will be plenty to discuss.
Does this merger affect how you travel? If so, tell us how and what you’d like to see occur as this merger progresses.
Today is also the beginning of a new month AND it’s the beginning of a new adventure as Airline Guys!
Keep it low and tight, low and tight…