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.

Does anyone remember Britain’s rare Handley Page Hermes?

The Handley Page Hermes was a long range British aircraft, powered by four Bristol Hercules 763 engines. It first flew on 2 December 1945 and unfortunately crashed on that very first test flight. After a delay and some redesign, the second prototype took flight on 2 September 1947. Designed to carry between 40 and 82 passengers up to 5,719km (3,554 miles), the Hermes IV entered service with BOAC on 6 August 1950. This was on the route from London Heathrow to Accra via Tripoli, Kano and Lagos. Handley Page Hermes Video Following on from the last video on the...

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Have you ever actually used the hotel concierge to arrange things?

The hotel concierge has a mythical reputation. These people are apparently veritable wizards, dispensing reams of advice and having access to tickets to all the hottest sold out shows in town. Lose something? They’ll find it. Need something? They’ll get it. I’ve stayed in a fair number of hotels in my life and I’ve never really used the service. Am I missing a trick here, or is it relatively normal not to use them? What does the hotel concierge do? The hotel concierge is a fountain of local knowledge. They can assist with restaurant reservations, spa bookings, recommending places...

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What’s it like using the British Airways online chat bot?

Airlines have a myriad of ways for customers to contact them these days. From the humble telephone to Twitter, there are plenty of ways to get in touch. There is even the online chat bot, for those wanting to go that way. Today I telephoned British Airways on the Irish number and after a wait of just over 30 minutes, I got an agent. Unfortunately, the agent was rude, unhelpful and fobbed me off, which made me quite annoyed. Luckily this is rare as the BA phone people are usually great. So, I turned to the chat bot. British...

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Did you know there is a new bus service to Dublin Airport? (and the 747/757 are gone for good?)

The other day I saw something in the news saying the Dublin Express bus service to Dublin Airport was back in operation. Considering I had never heard of this service, I certainly sat up and took notice. This was hard on the heels of Dublin Bus announcing they have permanently cancelled the long standing 747 and 757 services. It’s all happening in the world of bus transport to and from Dublin Airport! New Bus Service With Dublin Express Unfortunately for Dublin Express, they started operating on 3 March 2020, right before the pandemic lockdowns hit, which would probably be...

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Gosh, I never realised how much some airlines charge for seat selection!

It’s remarkable how much airlines can get away with when they charge for seat selection. This ancillary cost has really come into its own, providing quite a revenue bump to compensate for cheap ticket prices. With my frequent flyer status, I get free seat selection, which means I rarely see seating fees. When I do, I am happy to pay anything up to €10 with the upper teens being my limit. Anything with two at the start is not going to happen. British Airways EuroTraveller Prices A friend of mine recently booked flights in economy class on British Airways...

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Qantas puts out an ad to inspire people to get vaccinated by showing them what they’re missing!

The talk of the town in Australia at the moment is the new Qantas ad. Without putting too much of a spin on it, it is designed to inspire people to get vaccinated by showing them what they are missing. Qantas is well known for its advertising, designed to get people to form an emotional attachment to the carrier. It’s been wildly successful over the years, with every Australian feeling like they have a stake in the airline, one way or another. Qantas Inspire People To Get Vaccinated The Australian airline’s new ad arrived a couple of days ago...

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Do you know there’s an Aer Lingus travel tool that lets you know entry requirements?

The biggest pain point when travelling nowadays is the fact that each country has different entry requirements. Happily, there is a new Aer Lingus travel tool which was announced today that easily lets you know what to expect. This will save a lot of time and worry for people planning to take a holiday. It simply displays whether you need to fill in forms, whether any testing is required, or whether there are exemptions if you’re vaccinated or not. Aer Lingus Travel Tool Aer Lingus have partnered with a company called Sherpa to deliver this information. When you go...

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Have you seen this video of a Caravelle taxiing at Stockholm airport in July 2021?

Yes, you read it correctly, a Sud Aviation Caravelle taxiing at Stockholm Arlanda airport in July 2021. But why? And how? Caravelle’s have been retired since 2005 and most have been scrapped or are museum pieces. Le Caravelle Club based in Stockholm keeps their Caravelle operational, in a technically airworthy condition. You can read some more about their work on their website, which is in Swedish but Google Chrome translates it fairly well. Caravelle Taxiing Video Below is a the video of the Caravelle taxiing at Arlanda on 5 July 2021. It runs for a shade under eight minutes...

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Aer Lingus resume Washington DC and new Dublin lounge opening date?

Aer Lingus have resumed transatlantic services between Dublin and Washington DC. Services restarted today and are operating four times every week. Good news for those US citizens who wish to visit Ireland, I’m sure. Services had been severely curtailed due to the pandemic, so it is high time these flights started again. Ireland currently has 77.9% of the population fully vaccinated and 89.1% have had their first dose, so the programme here is progressing very well. You Mentioned The Lounge? The Aer Lingus Lounge in Dublin has been closed throughout the pandemic as no-one would have been permitted to...

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Why did Lockheed make a special version of the L-1011 TriStar for Court Line?

Court Line was an airline based in the UK that operated for the package holiday market. Aircraft were painted in colourful liveries designed by Peter Murdoch and they invented the concept of seat back catering. As well as that, they were the first European operator of the famous Lockheed L-1011 TriStar. The colourful TriStars in Court Line configuration were packed with 400 seats. Two were delivered from Lockheed, G-BAAA named Halcyon Days and G-BAAB called Halcyon Breeze. Colloquially, people referred to them as The Big Banana (though, if it were Braniff, it would probably be The Big Yellow!) and...

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