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.

Ready to book with Alaska Airlines when they join oneworld on 31 March?

I’m unreasonably pleased that Alaska Airlines is joining the oneworld alliance on 31 March. Part of the reason is that I had a great time when I flew with them many years ago. The other part is that flying American Airlines domestically in the USA has never particularly impressed me. I usually have more to complain about than the opposite, which is a bit sad. Old Habits Die Hard Needing to get between two cities in the USA, I checked Alaska Airlines, saw they were only offering the American Airlines flights and so I went to American’s web site....

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Does anyone remember the handy Martin 4-0-4?

The Martin 4-0-4 was a short to medium range twin aircraft powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engines. The 4-0-4 was designed by the Glenn L. Martin Company, who were also responsible for the Martin M-130 flying boat in the 1930s, and the first flight took place on 21 October 1950. Just two airlines ordered the pressurised aircraft, a derivative of the earlier Martin 2-0-2, and these were Eastern Air Lines and Trans World Airlines. Scheduled services began at Eastern on 5 January 1952. Martin 4-0-4 Video Following on from the last video about...

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Playing upgrade roulette with British Airways leads to savings on business class tickets

Sticking with one airline is handy as you get to know how an airline operates when it comes to ticket pricing. British Airways sometimes offer cheap upgrades to business class, so playing upgrade roulette has its advantages. In this instance, I did a lot of slicing and dicing of flight combinations to try to eke out the best value for me. It has paid off but not so much that it is a huge saving, as you will see. Upgrade Roulette – The Story I have to fly from Dublin to Sofia one way, and booking it straight up...

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Does anyone remember the flying clippers, the Sikorsky S-42 flying boat?

The Sikorsky S-42 flying boat was built by Sikorsky Aircraft to a requirement set out by Pan American World Airways. Powered by four Pratt & Whitney R-1690 Hornet engines, the first aircraft took flight on 29 March 1934. Up to 37 passengers could be carried in a day configuration, in contrast to 14 when setup for overnight flights with sleeping berths. With a cruising speed of 160-170mph (257 to 273kmh), the long-range flying boat could reach places up to 1,200 miles (1,900km) away before refueling. Sikorsky S-42 Video Following on from the last video about the Short 360, this...

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Why does Ireland have so many commercial airports?

The island of Ireland has quite a lot of commercial airports which see airline service. On the face of it, this might not seem too surprising, but when you consider the population, you have to wonder why there are so many. The Republic of Ireland, with its capital Dublin, boasts a population of around 4.904 million people. Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK and has Belfast for its capital city, has 1.885 million citizens. In total, this comes to 6,789,000 people on the island. So How Many Airports Are There? There are currently 14 airports around the...

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Remember the rear facing exit row seats at Southwest Airlines?

An aircraft with a row of rear facing passenger seats was a thing once upon a time. You could find these right up into the 2000s, though they were relatively unusual. Southwest Airlines had a row of these in the centre of the cabin on their Boeing 737s at one point. It’s a piece of aviation history I certainly had no idea about. Here are the Rear Facing Exit Row Seats Exit rows must be kept clear on flights, as anyone who has ever sat there will know. Your luggage has to go in the overhead compartment to prevent...

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British Airways extends Executive Club status… for half their frequent flyers

Extensions to frequent flyer status have been a recurring theme throughout the pandemic. With travel severely curtailed, it is not at all surprising British Airways have announced a second extension… but only for half their frequent flyers. In June 2020, BA did a blanket extension of 12 months for everyone in the Executive Club. There were winners and there were losers, but now that seems to have been addressed. The Happy Half Anyone with an Executive Club renewal date from July to December 2021 will have their status extended by a year. With the ongoing flight restrictions and border...

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Why is British Airways not selling business class on some services?

When business class is available on a flight, you would expect to be able to book it. Something is wrong at British Airways, as the system is returning no tickets in Club Europe on some services. UPDATE: It was fixed sometime during the day on 9 March – thanks BA! I figured it was just a random occurrence when I was searching for flights from Dublin to Amman recently. Apparently it’s not, as it is also happening on Dublin to Krakow. Not Selling Club Europe? Not So Fast! Everything looks fine when you do a flight search. Prices are...

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Does anyone remember the rather square Short 360?

The Short 360 is an unpressurised commuter airliner designed and built by Short Brothers in Belfast. Powered by two Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6A-65AR turboprops, it was designed to fly short routes up to 1,595 kilometres (991 miles) in length. Designed as a larger version of the Short 330, it first flew on 1 June 1981 and entered service in November 1982 with Suburban Airlines in the USA. With seating for up to 36 passengers, it proved a popular niche aircraft for many airlines. Short 360 Video Following on from the last video about the Antonov An-225 Mriya, this...

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What is your favourite pandemic inspired travel or flying meme?

It’s been some year for those of us who enjoy travelling frequently. Being suddenly confined to our home cities is a different experience to normal. Some people have taken this with good humour and created memes to illustrate the struggle. I’m an optimistic person by nature and I see the whole pandemic as a once off experience that we won’t have again. Without a doubt people in the future will ask, “What was it like living through that?” as they won’t have any frame of reference for it. My Favourite Meme There is one meme that I stumbled across...

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