Results for category "Airline"

Airplane Boneyards: Creepy or Cool?

I was walking down an old residential part of Vegas a few days ago, when lo and behold!  I spotted the gutted out remnants of an old TWA airplane in someone’s backyard.

TWA Plane

My first thought was “Wicked!” followed shortly thereafter by “Where can I get me one?”

I’ve always had a thing for airplanes.  I’d imagine that every travelholic does.  It’s encoded in our DNA to develop life-long obsessions with any and all forms of transportation:  planes, trains and automobiles, sail boats and steamboats, covered wagons, donkeys, you name it.

After google searching “how to buy an old plane” and coming up with nothing, I stumbled across photos of an airplane boneyard in Arizona, just a few hour drive from where I live in Las Vegas.  Apparently, part of an old but still operating airport in the Mojave desert has become a dumping ground for planes that have been put out to pasture.  Some of the planes are still flyable, others are damaged beyond repair and still others have been stripped of their parts; their stomachs ripped open and their skelitle remains left to rot under the desert sun.

What’s left of the former fighter planes and commercial jets make for an unsettling scene:  Hundreds of plane carcases, in various degrees of decay, parked haphazardly behind a barb-wired fence; as if a mysterious plague  suddenly swept through the fleet, permantly grounding them all.  From the photos, the boneyard looks very reminiscent of both Lost and every doomsday science fiction movie I watched on TV as a kid.

It’s totally creepy and I want to go there!

 

“Convair 240 in Arizona Boneyard” by Phillip C

Aircraft Boneyard by SearchNet Media

“Oxygen Masks Deploy Automatically” by Telstar Logistics

 

It’s too bad that part of the airport isn’t open to the public.  The only way I’d ever be able to tour the boneyard is if I find a way to sneak onto the tarmac or else bribe or befriend someone who works there.

For more photos and to read an explanation on how one photographer managed to talk his way in, check out this site:  http://blogs.static.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/33186.html

Travel Videos from Around the Web

The following are some of my favorite travel-inspired video clips.   I’m sorry they’re so small! I have no idea how to make them bigger… Enjoy.  : )

The English Teachers Series

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This is the first episode in a series that centers around English teachers in Japan.

I love the Neville character. He reminds me a lot of someone I used to work with in Tokyo who belonged to this weird, cult-like sect of Buddhism and who would spend part of each of class teaching his students karate moves.

You can visit the show’s website for future episodes or for character sketches and a plot synopsis.  I can’t wait to see where they go with this.

Where the Hell is Matt?

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Matt was once just another unemployed backpacker in SE Asia until one day…Well, I’ll let him tell you.

Here’s an exert from the ‘About Matt’ page on his blog,  Where The Hell is Matt?

“A few months into his trip, a travel buddy gave Matt an idea. They were standing around taking pictures in Hanoi, and his friend said “Hey, why don’t you stand over there and do that dance. I’ll record it.” He was referring to a particular dance Matt does. It’s actually the only dance Matt does. He does it badly. Anyway, this turned out to be a very good idea.

A couple years later, someone found the video online and passed it to someone else, who passed it to someone else, and so on. Now Matt is quasi-famous as “That guy who dances on the internet. No, not that guy. The other one. No, not him either. I’ll send you the link. It’s funny.”

The response to the first video brought Matt to the attention of the nice people at Stride gum. They asked Matt if he’d be interested in taking another trip around the world to make a new video. Matt asked if they’d be paying for it. They said yes. Matt thought this sounded like another very good idea.”

Pretty awesome story, huh?

“Life on a Cruise Ship” – A Rap

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You probably won’t appreciate this video if you haven’t worked for a cruise line before.  But if you’re interested in giving ship-life a shot, this will give you a good idea of how small the crew cabins are and what it looks like below deck.

A Comedian Jokes about the Hazards of Air Travel

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You can tell this video is pre-911 because he jokes about an era when there were still curtains separating coach from first class and there was still free in-flight food services.

Prague’s Kafka International Named Most Alienating Airport

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Favorite line from a customer service agent:   “If there is a problem, fill out complaint form and put it in an envelope addressed to the hospital…in which you were born.”

One-Year-Old Snow-Boarder

Okay, so this one doesn’t have much to do with travel, other than it relates the theory that the way to raise brave, risk-taking children is to start ‘em while they’re young.

The 6 Best Travel-Themed Tattoos

Maybe you consider yourself a life-long travel-enthusiast because you have a passport stamp collection and an active Couchsurfing profile.  But until you’ve taken your love for the road to the next level and gotten a travel tat, you can’t truly consider yourself a lifer.  Because nothing says ‘travel addict’ like scarring a treasure map onto your bicep or permanently inking an aircraft emergency evacuation pamplet onto your calf.  Or you could be like this dude and get a tattoo of a United Airlines Boeing 727.  Everyone might think your plane crazy, but they won’t be laughing when your travel tat scores you a free upgrade on your next United flight.

Here’s a collection of some of the best travel-inspired tattoos the world wide web has to offer.  What do you think?  Would you get one of these?

The World Map

Sam’s World by Thomas Hawk

The Paper Plane

Adventureland by Beast Love

Footprints

Photo by Neon Buggle

The Sailboat

Photo by Timoni

The Pirate Ship

Photo by Hustle Roses

The Compass

Photo by Sheriff Mitchell

My personal favorite is the world map tatoo.  ‘Course I’m kinda biased being that I have a similar one on my ankle and all…

I’m not a Pilot Either

I used to find pilots intimidating.  I think that has to do with the fact that prior to working for an airline, I’d never actually met a pilot before.  Sure, I’d seen pilots, but only brief glimpses as they marched through the concourse or in the rare moments that they peeked their heads out of the cockpit to say hello. And I’d never actually spoken with one.

Most of the time, pilots were just a faceless voice over the airplane’s intercom that would intone about wind speed and altitude and then periodically order us all to remain seated with our seat belts fastened. They were like airline royalty.  They were powerful and mysterious and what they did all day in the cockpit was anyone’s guess.  But dare to even think about congregating near that locked, cockpit door with the hope of catching one of them in action and you could wind up with a hefty fine or a bed in a jail cell.

So when I landed a job as an airline customer service agent, it was unnerving to find myself promoted from lowly, peasant passenger to one of their top advisers.  A member of their inner circle.  All of a sudden not only were the pilots talking to me but they’re asking me things, too.  Important things.

“What’s the fuel load?” they’d ask, for example, as they swept up to the gate podium.  “How many specials do we have?” they’d question as they peered over my shoulder at the passenger manifest.  And each time, before answering, I’d have to take a moment to just get over the fact that a real, live pilot was talking to me.  To me.

In those first few days on the job, I’d be too nervous to speak and so I’d just wordlessly hand them over the flight paperwork and watch as they flipped through a twenty pages of coded script.  “Huh.” they’d murmur as they studied what looked like the world’s most intricate word search puzzle.  “It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”  How they got “turbulence” from 07098731274poo7051hop0960159 was (and still is), completely beyond me.

I’m not the only one who finds pilots to be intimidating, either.  Many of the passengers do as well, which is a fact that comes in handy when there’s a flight delay or cancellation and things start to get ugly at the gate.

“What do you mean DELAYED?”  The passengers will shout in a panic as they swarm the gate podium.  “Why is the flight delayed?”

“It’s the weather,” I’ll offer, which often is the truth but sometimes it’s not.  Sometimes the reason a flight is delayed is because of a maintenance problem with the aircraft  And usually it’s something as small as a light bulb that needs to be replaced or a bit of a seat armrest that’s broken off or a tray table that won’t fold up properly.  But so much as breathe the words “mechanical issue” to a few hundred people about to board a 150 ton flying machine, and you’ve got a crowd of hysterical passengers on your hands.  So we blame it on the weather instead.

“But the weather here is fine,” they’ll point out, indicating the sunny, cloudless sky outside.

“Yeah!” Another will chime in.  “And I just talked to my cousin’s neighbor’s dentist, who’s in (insert random destination) and she said that it’s sunny and 50 degrees there right now.”

Crap. I’ll think, as they all look at me accusingly.

“Well, you know…there’s a storm somewhere…somewhere over the continent….somewhere.” I’ll stammer vaguely.  “And the pilots have to fly to Canada in order to avoid it.”  I heard my supervisor tell a passenger this once, and it seemed to make a lot of sense at the time.  Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know but I use it all the time now.  “The plane had to divert to Canada” I’ll soberly inform the passengers whom are awaiting their flight that’s arriving from New York, Chicago or…Hawaii.

But sometimes blaming delays or cancellations on weather doesn’t work.

“I’m going to miss my cruise / job interview / uncle’s funeral / wedding!”  The passengers will holler, as they glare and stomp and point their boarding passes towards my chest; poised to hurl them like pitchforks and stab me through my lying little heart.  That’s usually the signal that it’s time call for reinforcement.

“Captain, sir…”  I’ll yell as I race down the jetbridge towards where the captain is briefing with the flight attendants.  “Sir,” I’ll say breathless as I reach them.  “We have a problem.”

He’ll then take in my pale, panicked face.  “What’s wrong? What is it?”

“It’s the passengers, sir.”  I’ll inform him, miserably.  “They’ve been waiting for so long now…and they’re hungry.  Starving, in fact.  And…and we’ve run out of food vouchers.”

He’ll then nod, expecting as much.  “What about water?”

“We’re all out of that, too.  We’re expecting a new shipment next week…But right now we don’t have anything to give them.  And I’m afraid that they’re going to storm the gate soon…You must say something to them.”  I imagine that they’re already starting a fire with their boarding passes and carry-on luggage…preparing to burn us all alive.

“Very well then.  I”ll talk to them.”  He’ll say, his face set with grim determination.  By this point, the scene outside the gate has typically escalated into a war zone.  One of the gate agents will be trying to hold off the surge of people that are charging the gate door, while the other is frantically shouting into the microphone:  “Ladies and gentlemen, please back away from the gate. Back away from the podium!”  as the crowd waives their flight itineraries in the air like war flags.  And it’s obvious to anyone watching that we’re losing the battle.

But then something magical will happen.  The captain will strode over to the podium, pick up the microphone and say say six little magic words that  work like a charm every time:  “Folks, this is your captain speaking…”

And I swear, it’s as if a King or God himself has spoken.  A hush will fall over the crowd and the passengers will stop flinging salted cashews at the gate agent long enough to listen to what the pilot has to say.  And it won’t even matter what he says.  He could blame the delay on a snow storm in Antarctica or a mysterious wind pattern in the Bermuda circle and they’d just nod their heads in awed silence.  Hell, he could even tell them something to the effect of:  “Folks, I’m sorry but the engine…fell off.  But we’ll have it screwed back on and running in no time.  So just sit back and relax and we’ll give you another update in a little while…mmmkay?” and they’d probably just wander back to their seats, feeling completely reassured.

Occasionally you meet a pilot who’s let this go to his head.  One of my coworkers has a theory that the size of the aircraft a pilot flies is directly proportional to the size of his…ego.  As in, the bigger the plane, the bigger the attitude.  This has some merit to it, I suppose, in that the bigger planes require more experience and more time in flight school.  If one of the agents sulks into the break room muttering about “that jerk pilot”, the first question asked is usually:  “What type of aircraft was it?”

Which isn’t fair, really.  I’d say that 99 percent of pilots are just nice, normal men (and women too!) who are just trying to do their jobs.

And now that I’ve been on the job for six months, I can say that I no longer find them as intimidating.  The star-struck feeling I experienced in the beginning has worn off and it’s become easier to talk to them.

Well, some of them anyway.  I’ve never had a thing for pilots exactly, but every once in a while a cute one will come a long and I’ll find myself suddenly shy.

“Thanks,” I’ll mumble, pretending to be absorbed in studying the passenger loads, as the cute pilot hands me a cup of coffee or bar of chocolate.  “That was nice of you…” I’ll manage to get out, completely embarrassed by the attention and unsure of what to say.  And then I’ll quickly revert my attention back to business and fill them in on the pet in 4C or the lap child seated in 22D.