The Flight Detective

Trent is a European based author covering airlines in the oneworld alliance, plus those flying in the Irish, British and Australian markets. He also produces comprehensive and unbiased flight reviews. For variety, Trent intersperses all of this with pieces on aviation history, commentary on current industry happenings and travel tips for frequent and infrequent flyers.

Cathay Pacific now charges if you want a physical frequent flyer card

Traditionally, members of an airline’s loyalty programme are issued a new frequent flyer card and luggage tags each year. These come presented in a nice envelope, but with the proliferation of smart phones, I’ve wondered before whether they’re actually needed. I quite like to have an actual card, mainly because I have just the one. I’m not one of those hardcore people who is a member of 17 frequent flyer and 12 hotel programmes, with a gigantic fat wallet stuffed with plastic. One is enough, thank you! But anyway… Cathay Pacific Frequent Flyer Card Charges Members of Cathay Pacific’s...

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What do you miss most about flying?

Flying is such a great experience, isn’t it? When you think about human history, we are all very lucky to be able to jet through the sky, heading off to a new destination for a holiday or to see friends and family. It had me wondering what people miss most about flying. Since I am not due to get on a plane until October, the months of being grounded stretch endlessly before me. Here are some of the things that I am looking forward to experiencing again. Friendly Cabin Crew Whether you call them cabin crew, flight attendants, stewards...

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I’m not worried about flying on a Boeing 737 MAX and neither should you!

It is interesting to see how concerned a certain selection of people are about flying on the Boeing 737 MAX. Clearly some are more jittery than others, what with the highly publicised accidents and subsequent grounding of the fleet. While that may be the case, I think going to such lengths as avoiding flying on the aircraft are an overreaction. There are literally zero reasons to worry about getting a 737 MAX on your next flight. Why Is The Boeing 737 MAX Safe? There’s an old chestnut around that the best time to fly an airline or a particular...

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Does anyone remember the large Soviet Antonov An-10?

The Antonov An-10 was a medium range Soviet airliner designed by Antonov in Ukraine. It was powered by four Ivchenko AI-20A turboprop engines, with a range of 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) with a full payload. Initially introduced with seating for 85 passengers, this was eventually increased to as many as 132. First flight took place on 7 March 1957 and it entered passenger service with Aeroflot on 22 July 1959 on the Moscow to Simferopol route. The refined and more powerful An-10A with Ivchenko AI-20K engines was the main variant in service. Antonov An-10 Video Following on from the...

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Will JetBlue ditch the cart when serving transatlantic coach passengers?

JetBlue are going to offer an entirely new service concept for passengers in coach – that’s economy class to you and me – on their transatlantic flights. Could this mean they ditch the cart to provide better on board service? Today’s announcement reveals they will allow people to select their meals from their entertainment screen. There’s a sample menu right here. The concept is that you choose one main and two sides and get what you asked for delivered to you. But how? Will They Ditch The Cart? Another writer mentioned possible issues and wrote, “Having a single aisle...

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Does anyone remember the quite frankly dangerous Avro Tudor?

The long-range Avro Tudor was Britain’s first pressurised airliner as well as their first airliner with a flight engineer, designed for transatlantic routes. Powered by four Rolls-Royce Merlin engines, it could fly for 4,100 miles (6,598 kilometres) and the first flight took place on 14 June 1945. The original Tudor I carried 12 sleeper passengers, which was less than the competing Douglas DC-4 and Lockheed Constellation, plus it weighed more. Testing revealed numerous issues, such as control difficulties on take-off, bad stalling characteristics, excessive cruise drag and a high engine failure safety speed. These were corrected to an extent,...

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Having to make a train reservation by phone is so old school, Amtrak!

Amtrak operate long distance trains throughout the USA, with evocative names like California Zephyr, Southwest Chief and Empire Builder. Like most companies, you can search and book tickets online. Well, you’re supposed to be able to book online anyway. Once again I was thwarted and I have to wonder – just what are they using for a computer system over there? Telephone Bookings? How 1990s! A few years ago, I took the Amtrak Cascades train from Seattle to Vancouver. As we were a group of 11 people, I had to make a lengthy pair of international telephone calls to...

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Which airline in the USA offers lounge access to First Class passengers on domestic flights?

Around the world, lounge access is offered in business class when flying domestically. It’s one of those perks that I particularly like, however it is not available in the USA except on one major airline. At this point I should explain that something. What is called business class on domestic flights around the world is called first class in the United States. Lounge access is generally not included except in special circumstances, such as when flying on certain transcontinental services. Which Airline Stands Apart? While noodling around a new oneworld alliance airline’s website recently, I came across a line...

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Have you seen these 1970s TV commercials from defunct airlines?

Television commercials of the past are quite fascinating. Since ads tap into the zeitgeist, you get a real flavour for what was in and what was out during the time. Airline commercials are especially good at this kind of thing. There are five below, all featuring from the 1970s, are from Continental, Piedmont, Southern, PSA, and National. Some you may have heard of, others might be new to you, but all are worth checking out. Southern Airways Kicking things off is Southern Airways, with a fun campaign featuring the tagline, “Nobody’s second class on Southern”. I like how the...

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Hooray! Alaska Airlines joins oneworld today, so it’s time to go shopping!

What song springs to mind right now? Of course, it’s Johnny Horton’s North to Alaska – “North to Alaska, we’re goin’ north, the rush is on.” It’s a happy day when a new airline joins my alliance and today oneworld welcomes Alaska Airlines to the fold. Headquartered in Seattle, the airline flies to 120 destinations across four countries, the USA, Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica. Those that like airline lounges will find Alaska Airlines lounges in Anchorage, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and New York JFK. Alaska Airlines Joins oneworld All day I’ve been looking forward to seeing the alliance...

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