Travel News Archive

4 New Airline Standards Set by Boeing 787s

By 1800FlyEurope in Travel News | on November 8th, 2012

photo courtesy of gkphoto01 flickr creative commons

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner

November 4th marked a pivotal point in history for both United Airlines and U.S. air travel when the 787 Dreamliner departed on its inaugural domestic flight from Houston to Chicago. Passengers enthusiastically boarded the plane for the momentous occasion, which can only be compared to the excitement of a child’s first flying experience. What makes Boeing’s new commercial aircraft so cutting-edge, you may ask? Read onto to discover four of the Dreamliner’s innovative features.

Efficiency

About 50 percent of the state-of-the-art Boeing’s weight is composed of carbon fiber composite materials, which are lighter, need less upkeep, and amount to less waste from manufacturing,. LED lights are the only source of illumination you’ll find inside the Dreamliners cabin, and the 787 uses 20 percent less fuel than other planes of the same size. Fitted with either a Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 or General Electric GEnx or engine, the revolutionary aircraft produces less noise and emissions than models before it.

Smoother Flights

787 Dreamliners come equipped with progressive wing and tail technology. They are integrated with a state-of-the-art Fly-by-wire system, the plane is able to detect and automatically correct its stability when encountering turbulence. Everyone enjoys the benefits of a smoother flight from the 787’s hi-tech electrical components.

photo courtesy of Jun Seita flickr creative commons

Passenger Comfort

First class passengers have the ability to lay their seats completely flat and take a relaxing snooze mid-air, a nice luxury to have for those long, international flights. All window seats will bring out our inner-childs need to push the futuristic dimming button a couple times, and the larger panes give passengers a better view of the earth down below. LEDs provide the cabin with a tranquil ambiance and designate distinct mood lighting in various hues to signify take-off, meal service, sleeping and landing times. Each seat offers fliers the cushy amenity of having a personal Panasonic eX2 in-flight-entertainment system, and there is much more room to store carry-on luggage in the overhead storage compartment. Take a tour of the United Dreamliner’s cabin here.

Improved Air Quality and Cabin Pressure

The typical commercial aircraft is fitted with a bleed air system, where the oxygen supply is pulled through the plane’s engines. This means that you are breathing in fumes and toxins emitted by jet fuel. Passenger and crew lungs benefit from the Dreamliner’s no-bleed air technology, because the aircraft’s oxygen is pumped into the cabin from separate intake ducts far away from the engines. The 787’s cabin pressure is 2000 feet less than other typical commercial planes, which means everyone’s lungs are taking in an additional 8 percent of oxygen.

December 4th, United’s 787s will begin their international flights to Amsterdam from the Houston hub. United has ordered 50 Dreamliners from Boeing (each costing more than $200 million), and it is only a matter of time before other U.S. airline companies begin to update their fleets with Boeing’s latest aircraft.

photo courtesy of Luke Lai flickr creative commons

 

Evolution of the Flight Attendant

By 1800FlyEurope in Travel News | on July 18th, 2012

 

Cabin boy, steward, stewardess, fly girl, flight attendant, and cabin crew are just some of the titles that have been designated to this vital sky-profession over the decades. The image that airlines have portrayed to the public regarding the role of this animated career has changed drastically through time, as much as its label has. From RN of the skies to mid-air show girls, the following timeline highlights key points of the flight attendant’s ever changing obligations.

Ellen Church photo courtesy of AIRPORT (1965-2065)

1930’s

Prior to the 30’s, air travel was considered risky and a means of transport that only the affluent could afford. There may have been a cabin boy or steward assigned to assist passengers during this period, but this wasn‚Äôt a consistent service that was provided by all airlines. Ellen Church, both a pilot and nurse, became the first female air hostess in 1930. Originally, she had applied for a pilot position with Boeing Air Transit (now United Airlines), and although she wasn’t so much as considered for the task (the workforce was not seen as an appropriate place for women to enter then), she did convince the carrier to take her on as a stewardess. This marked the arrival of women to the flight attendant career and set forth the strict criteria that these ladies would have to possess in order to assume the globe trotting role. They were nurses, had to weigh between 100 to 118 lbs, stand 5 feet to 5 feet 4 inches tall, and be 20 to 26 years of age.

1940's photo courtesy of Sky Girls

1940’s

RNs were needed to care for wounded military men during WWII, and the women of this time were proud to carryout the patriotic call of duty. This caused a shortage of nurses in the 40’s, and the medical background required for the stewardess position was dropped. As a result many more women were suddenly qualified for the highly sought after job.

1950's photo courtesy of Vintage Ad Browser

1950’s

During the 50‚Äôs, the allure of becoming a sky girl appealed to the female population as a glamorous and adventurous career. Stewardesses were not permitted to marry, and she was considered to have reached retirement age at 32. Uniforms, which once resembled a nurse’s attire, shifted towards a more feminine and stylish couture. These ladies attended “charm” classes and catered to the passenger’s (mainly business men) every need.

1960's photo courtesy of bloggers.com

1960’s

The signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 was only the beginning of the battle to rid airline discrimination against a flight attendant’s gender, race, age, and weight. A loophole by the name of Title VII still existed in the industry, which allowed air carriers to continue hiring and firing their workers based on the same prejudicial grounds the Civil Rights Act sought to abolish.

1970's photo courtesy of Dark Roast Blend

1970’s

Unionized airline employees fought for equal rights in the 70‚Äôs, tackling discriminatory issues one by one. It was during this era that the politically correct term “flight attendant” replaced the title of “stewardess.” Flashy polyester uniforms made their debut, and some airlines featured trendy styles like mini skirts, go-go boots, and vibrantly colored fabric. Then, in 1978 airlines were deregulated and initiated the corporatization of the industry we see today. (The government retained its authority of the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA).

1980's photo courtesy of PSA History

1980’s

There are now male flight attendants on board the aircraft, and women can’t be terminated for being married. Once again the uniform is modified to reflect a more professional appearance, and neutral tone suits replace the loud, polyester fashion of the 70’s.

1990's photo courtesy of Airlines Past & Present

1990’s

Female flight attendant weight restrictions are finally removed from airline regulations.

Today

The horrific events that occurred on September 11, 2001, not only shook up the country but also pushed the flight attendant’s primary responsibility to that of focusing on passenger safety. The title “cabin crew” is beginning to replace that of “flight attendant”, and some people say that the glamour of flying has disappeared. A recent article on Forbes.com comically sums up present day air travel:

a flight attendant responds to the author’s complaints about not having enough salads to serve everyone in first class by exclaiming

‚”We are not here to kiss your ass, but to save it!”

To try and compete with a market that is continually changing, Virgin America has updated their cabin crew’s uniforms with chic designs by Banana Republic. Perhaps the future function of the next era’s flight attendants is a bit unclear right now, but making passenger safety the occupation’s primary concern certainly puts my mind at ease when I stand in line to board flights to Europe.

Banana Republic Uniforms photo courtesy of Gadling

 

Love it or Leave it? | The New Routemaster

By 1800FlyEurope in Travel News | on March 6th, 2012

photo courtesy Magnus D

London’s New Double-Decker Bus

What does the image of a red double-decker bus bring to mind? London, of course! Unfortunately, the vintage buses had to be phased out of commission in 2005 because they could not accommodate for passengers who needed wheelchair access. After these vehicles were removed from service, the city quickly realized that it had lost a piece of nostalgia, and two Heritage Routes were implemented for the classic Routemaster, while making other commuter options available to the public as well.

What is a Routemaster?

Double-decker buses were a common sight on the streets of London after WWII, but it is the Routemaster model that became the famous image associated with the capital of England and the United Kingdom today. In comparison to the earlier versions, this one weighed less, was easier to operate, had more passenger seats, and boasted a rear platform so that people could hop on and hop off en route.

The debut of the new Routemaster

photo courtesy Mirka23

On February 27th of this year the new and improved Routemaster was introduced to Londoners. It is the first of eight to hit the pavement; the additional seven buses will be out and running by this summer. Like the original, the new double-decker is the traditional bright red color, has two levels, and totes the open platform to board from the back of the bus. This Routemaster looks like an ultra-modern rendering of the original. The differences don’t stop here. This one has three doors, provides access and space for wheelchairs, includes two staircases, and is super fuel efficient.  

What’s not to like?

The cost of these streamlined buses is of some concern, coming with a whopping £1.4m (each) price tag. It is being sized up to the classic Routemaster’s rate of £190,000 per unit. An initial impression of this massive price difference may have you seeing red flags, but in my opinion, the cost difference is like comparing a commercial plane from the 1960’s to a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The beloved original Routemaster was retired from service because it couldn’t meet all of its passengers’ needs.

Double the love

The return of the dual-decked Routemaster has Londoners bidding adieu to the bendy-bus. I do not think the latter will be missed. Something about spotting a red double-decker just makes you smile. I know that I would be extremely disappointed, if after purchasing roundtrip flights to London, to discover that this piece of the city’s heritage was no longer rolling down the streets. What do you think? Will you embrace the new bus or will you turn your back on it?

 

 

World Cuisine Wednesday

By 1800FlyEurope in Destination Highlights, Travel Deals, Travel News, Travel Tips | on December 29th, 2010

The last World Cuisine Wednesday of 2010 comes from right here in the U.S.A!  Although I live in Maine, I’m actually a southern gal;  today I am going to share a traditional New Years Eve recipe that comes straight from home.  Hoppin’ John is the name of this dish, and it’s meant to bring those who eat it wealth and good luck in the year to come. The greens (you can use collard greens, mustard greens, kale, chard, etc.) represent wealth, and the peas symbolize peace.  Some people place pennies or other pieces of change under the serving vessels.  Others throw a dime in the pot so that the person who finds it in their bowl gets an extra helping of good luck during the next year.

Before digging in, it’s customary to say, “Eat poor this day, eat rich the rest of the year.  Rice for riches and peas for peace.”

(The main ingredient is black-eyed peas, so if you’re not a fan of these ugly little beans, you might not want to try this particular recipe.  Also, please make sure to soak the dried beans the night before and sort through them to eliminate any debris or tiny pebbles that may have ended up in the bag.)

Hoppin’ John

  • 1 large ham hock
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 lb black eyed peas, soaked overnight, drained
  • 1 c chopped onion
  • 1 bunch chopped collard greens
  • ¬æ c chopped celery
  • ¬Ω c chopped green pepper
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 3 c steamed white rice
  • Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste

In a large soup pot, heat oil and fry ham hock for a few minutes.  Make sure to cook on all sides.

Add green pepper, celery and onion; cook for 4 minutes.

Add chicken stock, greens and peas, bring to a gentle boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add water if needed.

Season with salt, pepper and cayenne to your liking and serve over steamed rice.

Whether you are bringing in the New Year here in the States or in London, Rome, Paris – wherever! – 1-800-Fly-Europe wishes you a happy, healthy and safe 2011!

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Passengers  Adults
  Children under 11