SFO Museum explores history of United Airlines

On July 1, San Francisco International Airport will Kick off an exhibition exploring the history of United Airlines through over 300 artifacts and images.

The items date from the 1920s to the present and include model aircraft, cabin and cockpit equipment, meal service wares, promotional items and more, so here’s hoping you have a long layover at SFO.

Here are some pics from the exhibition. All images courtesy SFO Museum.

Mechanic roll-up tool set late 1920s. Courtesy SFO Museum

Ford Tri-motor passenger seat c. 1928. Courtesy SFO Museum

DC-3 Douglas Sleeper Transport sleeper service late 1930s

Flight dispatch clock. C. 1940

Flying the Main Line: A History of United Airlines is located post-security, in the Terminal 3 Boarding Area F Upper Level at San Francisco International Airport from July 1, 2017 to March 4, 2018.

Winning names for Qantas’s fleet of Dreamliners


Qantas’s inaugural Dreamliner flight will travel from Melbourne to Los Angeles – but not until December 2017.

But the carrier already has names for all eight 787-9 Dreamliners to be added to its fleet.

Customers sent in more than 60,000 suggestions and the public was asked to vote for the ‘keepers,’ which are:

Great Barrier Reef, Boomerang, Skippy, Waltzing Matilda, Uluru, Great Southern Land, Quokka and Dreamtime.

Some of those names are easy to connect with Australia; others need a little context, which Qantas has been kind enough to provide:

  • Great Barrier Reef:  an ecosystem comprising of reefs and hundreds of islands off coast of Queensland.
  • Boomerang: a traditional hunting tool of First Australians, with a bent or curved shape; also used in music and sport.
  • Skippy: an Australian television series featuring a young boy and his intelligent pet kangaroo ‘Skippy’.
  • Waltzing Matilda: Bush-ballad narrating the story of a swagman.
  • Uluru: A sacred monolith in the heart in Australia’s Northern Territory’s
  • Great Southern Land: A term used to describe Australia.
  • Quokka: A type of marsupial from the island of Rottnest near Perth, Australia.
  • Dreamtime: The English word used to describe First Australians’ understanding of the creation period.





Alaska Airlines announces plans for Virgin America

Photo by Harriet Baskas

It comes as no surprise, but Alaska Airlines announced its plans for the Virgin America name and brand and has decided that it’s going to keep the Alaska’s name and logo and retire the Virgin America name “likely sometime in 2019,” according to a company statement.

That’s bad news for those who love the Virgin America overall brand, vibe and amenities. But the good news is that Alaska Airlines is keeping its word and bringing some of the best Virgin America amenities forward.

Alaska says it will adopt “enhanced in-flight entertainment, mood lighting, music and the relentless desire to make flying a different experience for guests” as part of an overall goal to create “a warm and welcoming West Coast-inspired vibe.”

Alaska says it will adopt some other Virgin America touches including introducing music by new artists  on planes, in airport lobbies and at gates (2017); redesigning the cabin with new seats and amenities (2018) and introducing new uniforms by fashion designer Luly Yang (mid-2019) for flight attendants, customer service agents, pilots, mechanics and ground crew.

Alaska also promises to upgrade the Wi-Fi connectivity fleet-wide, add more premium seats, expand the lounge network and offer other new amenities you can read about here.

What do you think?

Delta outage: cancellations & waivers

Hassles on the agenda today for Delta Air Lines and its passengers as a result of a Sunday night systems outage that caused a ground stoppage  and the cancellation or delay of about 170 flights.

The airline is reporting that most of its flights are operating – but that about 110 flights have been canceled for today.

So far.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian has issued an apology to customers, saying “This type of disruption is not acceptable to the Delta family, which prides itself on reliability and customer service. ”

The airline has also issued a change fee waiver for passengers scheduled to fly on Delta today, with rebooking possible through February 3.

Does this sound familiar? A systems outage back in August caused Delta to have to cancel about 2000 flights over several days.



“Best” list of airlines. This one from Conde Nast readers

LAX Flight Path Museum airplane models

“Best” lists abound. And, trust ’em or not, we always read them. Just to see if our opinions of airlines, airports, hotels or destinations line up with an expert and/or our fellow travelers.

This week we get a look at the rankings of the 2016 Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, which has a category for domestic airlines.

Virgin America Plane Decal Mockup Sergio_edited


Top of the list: Virgin America – for the 9th year in a row. To celebrate, they’re having a fare sale.

Rounding out the top five:

#3 Hawaiian Airlines
#4 Alaska Airlines
#5 Southwest Airlines.



For International carriers, the list is topped by Singapore Airlines, followed by:


Air New Zealand

Qatar Airways

ANA ( All Nippon Airways)

Virgin Australia

Virgin Atlantic

Korean Air

Porter Airlines


Cathay Pacific

Turkish Airlines

Eva Air

Etihad Airways




Thai Airways

Asiana Airlines



In the “Best Hotels in the U.S.” category, Virgin Hotels in Chicago took first place. And, to celebrate they too are having a sale, offering a code good for 48 hours for 25 percent off a stay.

Here are the other hotels that made the list this year:

Thompson Chicago
Hotel Emma (San Antonio, TX)
Twin Farms (Barnard, VT)
JW Marriott (Indianapolis, IN)
The Umstead Hotel and Spa (Cary, NC)
Ritz Carlton (Tysons Corner, McClean, VA)
The Surrey (New York, NY)
Hotel Maison de Ville (New Orleans)
Sentinel (Portland, OR)

See more categories – and more winners for other categories and other regions around the world –  here.