Friday News Roundup: New Routes, Body Scans, and Happy Birthday Trans Global Airlines

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TGIF in Roppongi

TGIF in Roppongi by LonelyBob on Flickr


No one covers airline routes and schedule changes like, so for more info go visit the site.  There’s even a cool archive section with Historic Route information like American’s 1991 International network.

American Airlines adds new service to Mexico and to several smaller market U.S. cities.  Here are the highlights of American’s service and schedule changes:

• American Airlines from 10FEB11 is launching 2 Daily Dallas – Joplin MO service, with American Eagle ATR72 turboprop aircraft.

• American Airlines from 05APR11 introduces 1 Daily New York JFK – Nashville service with Embraer ERJ145 by American Eagle.

• American Airlines from 10FEB11 introduces 2 new service to Mexico, where American Eagle operates Daily service on Dallas – Queretaro with Embraer ERJ135 and Dallas – Veracruz with Embraer ERJ145 aircraft.

• American Airlines from 10FEB11 is increasing service with Extra Daily flight on Chicago O’Hare – Champaign (from 5 to 6 Daily) and Chicago O’Hare – Ft. Wayne (from 3 to 4 Daily).

In addition to adding new flights, American is making the following changes to their transatlantic schedule:

• Boston – London Heathrow Reduce from 21 to 20 weekly
• Chicago – Frankfurt Seasonal service permanently canceled, posted on this blog on 24SEP10
• Dallas – Belize City Service operates 8 weekly, compared to 2 in S10
• Dallas – London Heathrow Increase form 20 to 21 weekly

The American Airlines pilots union urges members to avoid body scan.   (from CNN)

Pilots’ unions for US Airways and American Airlines are urging their members to avoid full-body scanning at airport security checkpoints, citing health risks and concerns about intrusiveness and security officer behavior.

"Based on currently available medical information, USAPA has determined that frequent exposure to TSA-operated scanner devices may subject pilots to significant health risks," Cleary wrote.

American Airlines pilots have also received guidance from their union, the Allied Pilots Association, to decline full-body scanning. APA represents 11,000 pilots.
"It’s safe to say that most of the APA leadership shares my view that no pilot at American Airlines should subject themselves to the needless privacy invasion and potential health risks caused by the AIT body scanners," APA president David Bates said in a letter to members.

Jeffery Goldberg over at The Atlantic has this observation:

It is a source of continual astonishment to me that pilots — many of whom, it should be pointed out, are military veterans who possess security clearances — are not allowed to carry onboard their airplanes pocket knives and bottles of shampoo, but then they’re allowed to fly enormous, fuel-laden, missile-like objects over American cities.

The pilots’ unions objections have inspired a boycott of sorts with National Opt Out Day.  Here are the details from the National Opt Out Day website:

Who? You, your family and friends traveling by air on Wednesday, November 24, 2010.

What? National Opt-Out Day.  While the government doesn’t always like to advertise this, you have the ability to opt-out of the naked body scanner machines (AIT, or Advance Imaging Technology, as the government calls it).  All you have to do is say "I opt out" when they tell you to go through one of the machines.  You will then be given a pat down.

Where? At an airport near you!

When? Wednesday, November 24, 2010.  That’s right: November 24 – one of the busiest travel days of the year!  We want families to sit around the dinner table, eating turkey, talking about how a government employee molested them at the airport.  We hope the outrageous experience then propels people to write their Member of Congress and the airlines to demand change.

oneworld wins World’s Leading Travel Alliance 2010 from the World Travel Awards organization.  Not sure that this isn’t like one of those dubious steakhouse awards that you might find in the back of an American Way Magazine, but it sounds legit, and hey, they do have a website.  (From the American Airlines press release)

oneworld has been named the World’s Leading Airline Alliance 2010 in the World’s Travel Awards – described by the Wall Street Journal as the "travel industry’s equivalent of the Oscars".

It is the eighth year running that oneworld has won this honor, retaining the "best alliance" title since 2003.

oneworld was also named World’s Best Airline Alliance in the 2010 World Airline Awards, presented by the Skytrax airline quality organisation in May.  In addition, it has also won both the "best alliance for inflight wines" titles presented this year – in Global Traveler magazine’s Wines on the Wing awards in August and Business Traveller’s Cellars in the Sky in February.  oneworld is also a three-time winner of the Best Airline Alliance title from Business Traveller magazine.

oneworld member airlines also flew high in the World Travel Awards, with Cathay Pacific named World Leading Airline Economy Class, and American Airlines as North America’s Leading Airline.

The 2010 World Travel Awards were presented at a ceremony in London last night, based on votes cast by more than 180,000 travel agents and other travel professionals worldwide.

It’s been 40 years since Trans Global Airways flight 2 departed the fictional Chicago-area Lincoln International Airport bound for Rome in the movie Airport.    En-route, Flight 2 is forced to return to Lincoln International in the middle of a blizzard after a suicidal bomber detonates a bomb on board the Boeing 707.  This 1970 movie went on to gross over $100 million dollars at the box office back when very few films came close to making that kind of money, was nominated for 17 Acadamy Awards, went on to win 5 Oscars, and launched the whole disaster film genre.

IFC has a "40 Years of "Airport": "Airport" (1970) tribute section and here’s how they describe the film.

In 1970, one movie invented the modern disaster film. After grossing more than $100 million at the domestic box office (adjusted for inflation, it made more than any of the "Lord of the Rings"), it spawned three sequels that stretched through the entire decade. But this landmark series is now almost totally forgotten, long eclipsed by the film that so brilliantly spoofed the genre tropes it helped define. In honor of its fortieth anniversary, we’re looking back at the "Airport" franchise this week, one film at a time. Today, the movie that started it all, based on the novel by Arthur Hailey


I was crazy about this movie when I was a kid.  Before Star Wars came out, a list of 8 year old AAdvantageGeek’s favorite films would have included Airport along with The Valley of Gwangi, Destroy All Monsters, and the other Godzilla movies.

How can you not like dialogue like this:

Cockpit qualified young man: [after the plane gets out of the ditch] The instruction book said that was impossible.
Joe Patroni: That’s one nice thing about the 707. It can do everything BUT read. [throws his chewed and soggy cigar over his shoulder]

If you’ve ever wondered what happened to the plane, here’s an interesting piece of trivia:

The real star of the show, the Boeing 707 (a 707-348C, serial no. 19351 [503rd 707 off the production line], originally registered N324F), was leased to MCA/Universal Pictures from Flying Tiger Line (now merged with Fedex) for the filming of the exterior shots. After filming was completed, the aircraft returned to Flying Tigers and was later sold, going through various owners before meeting a tragic end while on an approach to landing accident on 21 March 1989 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

And lastly, from the world of better mousetraps and travel gadgets, check out the Aerosleeper.  (from bookofjoe)




Have a good weekend!

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