702Mus of Flight As mentioned yesterday, it is 11 years since Concorde last flew. Sadly, the closest I have ever got to Concorde was at the Seattle air museum, Heathrow airport and CDG airport in Paris. I have the germ of an idea of going to visit all of the remaining Concordes around the world. As most are in the UK and France, that should not be too hard! Adding Barbados in, is a little trickier.

    1. 001:F-WTSS Prototype – flew 1969 to 1973  Museum of Air and Space, Le Bourget, France
    2. 002 – flew 1969 to 1976:  Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton, UK
    3. 101 -flew 1971 to 1977:  Imperial War Museum, Duxford,  UK
    4. 102-flew 1973 to 1976: Musée Delta, Orly Airport, Paris, France
    5. 201:F-WTSB – flew 1973 to 1985: Aeroscopia Museum, Toulouse, France
    6. 202-flew 1974 to 1981: Brooklands Museum, Weybridge,  UK [you can climb aboard]
    7. 203- flew 1975 to 2003: Destroyed in CDG air crash
    8. 204- flew 1975 to 2003: Manchester Airport, UK [you can go aboard]
    9. 205  F-BVFA- flew  1976 to 2003: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Chantilly, Virginia USA
    10. 206 G-BOAA- flew 1975 to 2000: Museum of Flight, East Lothian, Scotland, UK [you can go aboard]
    11. 207: F-BVFB- flew 1976 to 2003: Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum, Germany [they also have a TU144]
    12. 208: G-BOAB- flew 1976  to  2000: Heathrow Airport, London, England, UK near runway 27L
    13. 209: F-BVFC- flew  1976 to 2003:  Airbus Factory, Toulouse, France
    14. 210: G-BOAD- flew 1976 to 2003: Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, New York, USA [you can go aboard]
    15. 211: F-BVFD- flew 1977 to 1982:  Scrapped in 1994
    16. 212: G-BOAE- flew 1977 to 2003: Grantley Adams International Airport, Barbados  [you can go aboard]
    17. 213: F-BTSD- flew 1978 to 2003: The Museum of Air and Space, Le Bourget, Franc  [you can go aboard]
    18. 214: G-BOAG- flew 1978 to  2003: Museum of Flight, Seattle, USA  [you can go aboard]07 01 Museum of Flight Concorde
    19. 215: F-BVFF- flew 1978 to 2000: near Terminal 1 Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France [this for me is one of the saddest displays ever- she sits forlorn gazing at the runways she used to roar down - not open to public]
    20. 216: G-BOAF- flew 1979 to 2003: Filton Aerodrome, Bristol, UK- Museum coming [not open to public]


You can fly the Concorde SimulatorBrooklands Museum, Weybridge,  UK

Related Posts

11 years since Concorde

Hyperlooping Sci Fi or Real?

Braniff: Flying in the future

Vincent_Aviation_Saab_340B_DRW_Butler-1Following the collapse of its Australian operations in May, the Vincent Aviation New Zealand went into receivership this week. The Wellington-based company was established in 1990 and had about 30 workers . The company carried out flight operations, administration, engineering, planning and compliance, as well as charter flights. They had run scheduled flights, in the past, on behalf of Air New Zealand.

Owner Peter Vincent blamed the collapse on Vincent Aviation Australia which had was $US7.7 million.

Two weeks ago, NZ helicopter company Helipro, also failed suggesting things are not easy in the world of NZ aviation.

Related Posts

Vincent Aviation Australia Collapses


It is 11 years since the last take off of the mighty Concorde, our only supersonic passenger aeroplane. This video shows the plane leaving JFK for the last time on October 24th, 2003. Sadly, the closest I have ever got to Concorde was at the Seattle air museum.



While I am posting old footage, here is a spectacular night takeoff in April of 2003 from London Heathrow. The afterburners are clearly visible.

The next part of the Hobbit movie series: The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies will be released in December. Again, filmed largely in New Zealand.

hobbit smauag

Air New Zealand is gearing up again with the release of their latest safety video: The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made. And I am inclined to agree. At 4 mins 38 secs, it is a long safety video but it certainly kept my attention!

I get such a kick out of these. I love watching them. I wonder if they add to safety or distract from it?

Did you spot Peter Jackson himself in the video?!


Related Posts

Air New Zealand’s new 787-9 takes flight

Trip Report: Perfection 777th flight on an NZ B777

Pics from over New Zealand

Back to the 80s with Air NZ’s newest safety video

Fly Hobbits Fly- safety video for the unexpected adventure

Stunning landing in Queenstown




It seems it is almost compulsory for a tourist on their first overseas trip, to carry a money belt.  Every travel goods shop will tell you that you have to have one.


I don’t do it!  I tried for a few trips. I wore the one around my neck and the one around my waist.  With relief, I abandoned the practice for the following reasons:

1. Nothing spells “Target” more than a money belt. I try to look like I belong wherever I visit and money belts blow that! Thieves can see them, shopkeepers see them. Far from protecting oneself, I think it potentially puts a traveller at risk. I am more worried about being mugged than being pick pocketed!

2. They are hard to get stuff out of quickly. I remember one time in El Salvador, I was required to show my passport as ID. Surrounded by a group of  locals who saw exactly where my money belt was and what was in it was a somewhat uncomfortable moment!

3. They are horrible to wear,  make me sweat and they are annoying. On my first trip to India, everything in my money belt was soaked in my sweat. It was gross and I had to explain the mysterious stain in my passport for years.

Picture 147

A younger me in India – spot the belt around my neck and its bulge on my tummy

I do what I do at home. I carry a small amount of cash and a credit or debit card in my regular wallet. If worried, I will take a dummy wallet. I keep my passport and other essentials safely in the hotel safe or in a top pocket. I don’t wear a money belt at home and I don’t carry lots of cash, why do it when travelling? The locals that surround me in BangkokBerlin, Beirut, Brisbane, Baltimore or Buenos Aires are not wearing a money belt either! Take reasonable precautions but live normally!

touristsThere are, of course, some tourists who almost deserve to have their valuables stolen! Wandering down dark streets with a wallet  full of all their valuables hanging out of the back of their trousers is an open invitation! Or storing cash or passport in their back pack!


The travel world is divided on this topic – what do you think?


Related Posts

How I am carrying money

Photograph your luggage

Travel Tip: Don’t Check in baggage

Shopping while traveling- 7 tips

The Fake Wallet

Source: Reuters

Source: Reuters

Travelling to Thailand, is a relatively safe thing to do.

Considering how many tourists go there, the state of the driving and how much many of those tourists participate in risky and/or risque activities it is astounding most people get home okay! Most end up with nothing more than sunburn! Some tourists, however, get lost or confused after too many drinks and cannot find their hostel or hotel! A number end up in fights or vandalism. Tragically out of the 20 million tourists that visit Thailand, several hundred die and thousands are injured. Most of them are killed in car accidents caused by speeding and/or drunk driving.

Since the high profile  murder of  two tourists  in Thailand this year,  I know that many Thais are dismayed that this event is besmirching their beautiful country’s reputation.

Source: nationmultimedia.com

Source: nationmultimedia.com

Now, the Thai Tourism minister, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul (pictured) has a solution to the tourists who get lost, injured or find themselves at risk of other misadventure.

She wants hotels to hand out wristbands to help identify lost tourists. Each wristband will have an id which will show the contact details of their accommodation. She also has said: “The next step would be some sort of electronic tracking device but this has not yet been discussed in detail.”

What about you? Would you wear a bracelet that said “tourist”?
How would you feel about having an electronic surveillance system that your hotel or the police could follow?

Related Posts

I was barely out of my teens and I had arrived at Chicago’s Union Station by train on my first big North American adventure! The noise of people, traffic, trains and announcements seemed overwhelming. We needed to get to our youth hostel. This was the days of no internet, no cell phones and no google maps! (Yes, I am that old).

We must have looked lost with our back packs, maps as we struggled to find the bus that would take us from the station to our hostel which was out in the Chicago suburbs!

A homeless guy came up to us and offered help. We firmly and politely refused it. I assume we were slightly terrified! He offerred help again. We refused again. Finally, we walked off and followed the directions the hostel had mailed to us. This meant making a loop around the station. Coming out of a door ten minutes later, we were startled to find him standing there. He laughed when he saw us saying” You know you were 30 yards from this door and you have taken ten minutes to get here“. We felt sheepish, as he kindly pointed us to the number 8 bus and refused our offers of a dollar. “You are my guests here”. 

This experience, amongst many others has taught me to be open to strangers. For every person who has asked me for money in the ensuing decades, I would say 150 people have been helpful, friendly and/or kind. I have  life long friends with strangers who have invited me for meals, bought me coffees and even given me a bed for a night!

So put down your laptop, your kindle, your phone or your book and say “hi” to the person sitting next to you. Ask someone if you can join them for a meal if you are sitting alone in hotel, hostel or restaurant. Accept help and show interest. Who knows where it might end up.

mostlyharmlessOf course, be wary. Not everyone is kind and some people are crazy and sadly some are dangerous. But as the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy says: humans are “mostly harmless”.



My sister died two years ago from Cancer. She fought it nobly.  You can understand why I will support (almost) anything that helps support the fight against cancer.

fly for oinck

Here is a simple way you can join in the fight during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month:


picture it

Hint: Cover up your frequent flyer number and other personal details.


For every boarding pass photo posted to Twitter & Instagram with the hashtag #flyforpink, the frequent flyer collaborative of BoardingArea, Milepoint,Freddie Awards, Bonusfeber, Ikvliegveel and Frequent Traveler University will donate fifty US cents to cancer-related causes.

support it

If we can get 20,000 Boarding passes tweeted, then $10,000 will be donated!. The beneficiaries of the#flyforpink campaign are listed here.
Here is one of my Boarding passes. Please add yours.

boadrin pass
Thank you to the team behind this

In the last two weeks, Dallas Fort Worth (DFW), the USA’s fourth busiest airport, has had new very long distance Airbus 380 routes added.


Qantas upgraded their non stop Sydney -DFW service to an A380 from a 747 on September 29th. This upgrade means that the longest scheduled commercial flight in the world is now served by the largest passenger jet in the world!  The flight is approximately  12, 200 km (8,600 miles). It takes 15 hours 35 mins from Sydney to DFW and 16hr 55mins from DFW due to the headwinds!  Thats a few movies on a flight advertised as “just a hop”!

The A380 on the first flight arrived with the traditional Kangaroo on the tail wearing a hat and bandana! Check that out at 6mins 30sec in this Joe Streetman video (after the water cannon salute at 3 mins 38secs):

Bypassing LAX is a much better alternative  as DFW is a nicer airport and I find the connections with One World partner American are much easier. If you are travelling between the middle of the USA or the East coast and Australia, this is a great way to go.

October 1st saw Emirates replace their daily B777 non stop service to Dubai. Their service takes 16 hours to Dallas and 14 hours 45 minutes away from Dallas (those headwinds again). Both the take off and landing of the very first Emirates A380 service to Dallas are captured in this video by Matt Gee (water cannon at 55secs).

To deal with the changes, DFW reconfigured gates D15 and D16, to simultaneously accommodate two A380s on the ground. The  airport also modified ramps and taxiways in order to accommodate the giant plane.

Now there are more options that make it possible to fly the 380 around the world from Dallas including:

  • Dallas to Sydney to Dubai to Dallas
  • Dallas to Paris to Bangkok to Singapore to Sydney to Dallas.

DFW is the fifth US airport to welcome the superjumbo. The others are:

  • Los Angeles – Air France, British, Korean, Qantas, Singapore
  • JFK – Air France, Emirates, Lufthansa,
  • San Francisco – Air France, Lufthansa
  • Houston – Lufthansa
  • Miami – Lufthansa
  • Washington Dulles – Air France, British Airways
  • Atlanta- Korea

Related Posts

British Airways A380

Tuesday Trip Report: Korean Airlines A380

Tuesday Trip Report: Lufthansa’s A380

Tuesday Trip Report: Air France A380

LAX-SYD on A380

Emirates- comparing the A380

My Pinterest pictures of A380s

Etihad Airways Partner Logo FinalMiddle Eastern carrier, Etihad has created a brand for six of the airlines it has shares in

Alitalia and  Virgin Australia do not appear to be included at this stage.

The alliance is open to  any other airline that wishes to join – not just airlines that Etihad has a stake in.

The benefit of the alliance is akin to the other three alliances: One World, Skyteam and Star Alliance, namely integrated networks,  timetables and frequent flyer programs. he frequent flyer program, reportedly, will be designed to provide a standardised mileage across all member carriers with tier benefits, and no blackout periods.

Member airlines will also have access to the parent airline’s centres of excellence, shared sales teams, joint procurement of services and supplies, and shared staff training at their Abu Dhabi facilities.

Related Posts

Etihad WILL buy Alitalia stake

Etihad takes on JAT

Trip Report: Etihad Evaluated

Etihad World #1 Airline



I gave the newly launched People Express nine months before it would fold.

I was a little optimistic in my predictions. The airline suspended flights on September 26. This is not even three months since launch. They promised to return October 16 (which is next week). Yesterday the airline announced it would be now be some time in November before flights resume.  Their website is not accepting  any bookings.

The airline is promising refunds for all flights. Refunds which will take five to seven business days. Small comfort to anyone who is booked to fly in the next few weeks who has to make new expensive arrangements. Jetblue have offered to assist with alternative arrangements for affected passengers.

Using the name of the popular (but financially unsuccessful) 80’s airline,  they had begun flying on June 30, from Newport News in Virginia with airline code V2 to Newark, NJ. West Palm Beach, Fla.; Pittsburgh, PA and Boston, MA.

People Express say they are aware of the damage to their brand saying “We know we disappointed our loyal customers and our community. But we have been working hard to regroup. And the feedback we’ve received has been helpful in our efforts to get it right.”  They state that they had carried 55,000 passengers on 517 flights. They have released an “inspirational” promotional video promising to “never give up”. I think it may be too late.


The cause of the suspension was reported to have had its genesis on September 19, when one of its two 737s was damaged by a vendor’s truck  at its Newport News hub. This left the carrier with just one 737. People Express has been leasing both of its planes plus pilots and crew from Vision Airlines. Vision had an earlier incident where they had no pilots for a whole day. These have all impacted on “their ability to provide consistently outstanding schedule integrity.”

The problems on further investigation seem deeper.

Vision has attempted to expand before. In 2010, they attempted to fly to 20 destinations from a Florida base. The plan failed and the carrier was charged with grand theft for non payment of passenger fees it had collected. They also were sued for underpaying pilots flying into Middle Eastern war zones on US Government charter flights.

Vision Airlines was reportedly more than $30 million in the red when they started flying from Newport News for People Express. The service was able to start because of an advance of $650 000 to  subsidise daily service from Newport News to Boston and Newark, New Jersey provided by The Peninsula Airport Commission. The Commission reportedly  didn’t know the amount of Vision’s debt.  

People Express and Vision Airlines have “been put on notice” that they need to pay back a percentage of the grant,  if service is not restored soon. PEOPLExpress have been searching for another carrier to replace Vision Airlines – ideally one with three planes and yesterday said:  “We currently have a tentative agreement with an additional aircraft provider, which will enable us to enhance our platform, including the addition of a third aircraft as a spare. This will alleviate the service issues we have experienced.”

Concerning though, is that there seems to be some confusion over who is actually the People Express chief executive officer.


All of this suggests to me that People Express will be hard pressed to start again. There are many similarities between People Express and the start up Air Australia which flew for just two months. Their demise makes it easy to predict the future for People Express:  I cannot see them making it through the US winter. Airlines need more than a vision, hope and a prayer.  Capital, sufficient planes, consistent service and a good reputation which People Express seemed to have burnt through. I feel sad for them but this is business.

People Express Customers can e-mail: customerrelations@flypex.com or add a message at www.facebook.com/flypex. Good luck.


Related Posts

Not People’s Express…Puh lease

Air Australia Grounded- Shock! Not.

Tuesday Trip Report: Air Australia

Air Australia–Where does a new Carrier fit?

« previous home | top