Airlines

Flying on the new Bombardier CS100

Star Alliance CEOs posing for celebratory photo on arrival in Zurich

Photo by Harriet Baskas

CEOs from a good number of Star Alliance airlines – and a rag tag group of journalists – attending the Annual General Meeting of IATA (the International Air Transport Association) in Dublin took part in a special flight to Zurich on a new aircraft: the Bombardier C Series – CS100.

Swiss International Airlines (SWISS) will be the first airline in the world to operate the new Bombardier C series. The carrier is putting its first CS100 into service on 15 July and will begin replacing its existing Avro RJ100 fleet of 20 aircraft with this new plane.

The flight from Dublin to Zurich was on a SWISS-branded test plane – #5 – but offered a preview of the new  short- and medium-haul twinjet that promises improvements in inflight comfort and operations.

“Official” snaps are being prepped, but here are some tweets and reports from a variety folks on the flight and on the ground.

Here’s a video from June 17th 2015, when SWISS welcomed one of the Bombardier C Series CS100 prototypes to Zurich Airport.

(Film produced by SkyProduction.ch for Swiss International Air Lines)

Delta expanding shuttle service between SEA, SFO & LAX

delta 737-800

Delta Air Lines announced today that it is expanding its shuttle service between Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles to the existing Delta Shuttle service on the West Coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The carrier has eight peak-day flights from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to both LAX and SFO now and is adding two more daily flights from Seattle to Los Angeles (for a total of 10 peak-day Delta Shuttle flights) beginning May 23.

Flights to Los Angeles are operated with a mix of Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 717 jets, while flights to San Francisco are operated by Delta Shuttle carrier Compass Airlines on Embraer 175 jets.

Starting Wednesday, May 11, Delta Shuttle customers flying from Seattle to Los Angeles and San Francisco will now have access to:

*Dedicated check-in counters;
*Complimentary newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Financial Times;
*Complimentary meals in First Class on all flights, complimentary Luvo snack boxes in Comfort+ and complimentary snacks in the main cabin:
*Complimentary in-flight beer, wine, spirits and other beverages in all classes of service;
*A new Delta Sky Club – opening Fall 2016 on Concourse A in Seattle.

Alaska Airlines buying Virgin America

Alaka and Virgin plane

Last month Alaska Airlines was chasing the sun , this month they’re buying Virgin America.

The announcement was made official this morning in a press release that gives the purchase price $2.6 billion.

“Including existing Virgin America indebtedness and capitalized aircraft operating leases, the aggregate transaction value is approximately $4.0 billion,” the airline said in a release.

Alaska airlines said the deal expands its existing footprint in California and “bolsters its platform for growth and strengthens the company as a competitor to the four largest U.S. airlines.”

Virgin America customers get more service into the Silicon Valley and Seattle, more frequent connections to Alaska’s international airline partners on flights out of Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles and access to some slot-controlled airports such as Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, JFK and LaGuardia.

With our expanded network and strong presence in California, we’ll offer customers more attractive flight options for nonstop travel. We look forward to bringing together two incredible groups of employees to build on the successes they have achieved as standalone companies to make us an even stronger competitor nationally.”said Brad Tilden, chairman and CEO of Alaska Air Group, in a statement.

“Joining forces with Alaska Airlines will ensure that our mission lives on, and that the stronger, combined company will continue to be a great place to work and an airline that focuses on an outstanding travel experience,” said David Cush, Virgin America president and CEO in the morning news release.

The company headquarters will stay in Seattle and Virgin America Elevate members will get folded into the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.

More on this later…

Alaska Air & JetBlue top airline survey ratings

Alaska Airlines Salmon Thirty Salmon

The J.D. Power 2015 North America Airline Satisfaction Study is out today and both Alaska Airlines (in the traditional carrier segment ) and JetBlue (in the low-cost carrier segment) remain at the top of the heap in terms of customer satisfaction.

Alaska Air ranked highest in its category for the eight consecutive year, followed in the rankings by Delta Air Lines and American Airlines.

JetBlue ranked at the top of its segment for the 10th consecutive year, followed by Southwest Airlines.

The study measures passenger satisfaction with North America airline carriers based on seven factors (in order of importance): cost and fees; in-flight services; boarding/deplaning/baggage; flight crew; aircraft; check-in; and reservation. You can see the full list here:.

Gifts for Avgeeks

I’m gathering up a list of cool aviation-related products and handicrafts, just in case Santa reads StuckatTheAirport.com, or in case you’re looking for some cool gifts this holiday season.

Two for today:

Jerome Daksiewicz has a kickstarter campaign going to create a boxed set of his runway prints of 30 of the large hubs in the US and a screenprint illustrating all the runways.
 
runways

And Matthew Mahler at Skyebags has a refreshed line of items – a wallet, a tote and a Dopp kit – made from upcycled leather from old Delta Air Lines seats.

7_Skyebags Dopp Kit

Have a great avgeek gift to recommend? Send in your suggestions.