Best of the blogs: The week’s best aviation posts

Through the magic of the internet, we know exactly what @@OneMileataTime's caviar looked like on a recent flight.

Through the magic of the internet, we know exactly what @OneMileataTime’s caviar looked like on a recent ANA flight. His trip reports are among the best around.

There are some darn good – and very dedicated – aviation bloggers out there. Here is some of the blog items of the past week or so.

“13 Secrets Airline Pilots Won’t Tell You” from ABC News and Readers Digest. Among the secrets:  “The two worst airports for us: Reagan National in Washington, D.C., and John Wayne in Orange County, Calif. You’re flying by the seat of your pants trying to get in and out of those airports. John Wayne is especially bad because the rich folks who live near the airport don’t like jet noise, so they have this noise abatement procedure where you basically have to turn the plane into a ballistic missile as soon as you’re airborne.” - -Pilot, South Carolina

Some astute frequent fliers noticed Wednesday morning that American Airlines was charging new fees on some award tickets. They got very upset. But it seems it was all a technological mistake by the airline. The blog “View from the Wing” explains what happened. 

Lufthansaflyer got a sneak peak at Paine Field Airport in Everett, Wash. He saw a bunch of brand-new Boeings. 

What does international first class look like? The supremely talented @onemileatatime reviewed an ANA first class flight from Chicago to Tokyo. His trip reports – and there are many of them – are very detailed.

Lufthansa is about to announce a big aircraft order. But which manufacturer will it be? Airbus? Or Boeing? Flyertalk blogger Gerry Wingenbach says it’s a $10 billion order.
He breaks it all down.

And finally, @crankyflier tells us that Delta is giving smartphones to its flight attendants so they can help travelers. Among other things, the wifi enabled phones will allow the airline to process credit cards in real time. Most airlines only upload data after flights land.

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On some flights, Japan Airlines to devote 4 seats for “ladies makeup” and “nursing”

This is not Southern California aviation news, but it is too good to pass up.

On some flights from Japan to Hawaii starting in October, Japan Airlines will devote four seats for “ladies makeup” and “nursing.”

Some of you might not believe this, so I figure it’s best to quote directly from the release. Here we go:

Special place is available for ladies’ make-up* in the flight departing from Japan
“The 4 seats in the rear of the Economy class will be set up for Ladies’ make-up from October 1, 2013. This place is also available for nursing, too.”
*The service will not be available during the seat belt sign on.

H/T @wanderingaramean

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Long Beach Airport: How airlines keep planes cool

JetBlue

Do you recognize the contraption pictured above?

Perhaps not. But if you fly, especially in hot weather, it’s probably very important to you. That machine, seen here at Long Beach Airport, pipes in cold air to airplanes on the ground.

The system keeps planes from having to run their auxiliary power units, or APUs, which burn jet fuel and are not particularly efficient. I’m told the yellow tubing sends cold air directly onto the the aircraft.

Adding preconditioned air at each parking position was a recent priority for the airport, according to this recent overview of LGB’s capital improvement plan. It might seem a bit low tech to run a yellow tube all the way to the plane, but I understand this is considerbly cheaper and more environmentally friendly than the alternatives.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is in the process of adding preconditioned air at all of its gates, according to this USA Today report. Reporter Ben Mutzabaugh writes that the airport has a centralized plant that will eventually distribute hot and cold air to each of the facility’s 73 gates. The system has 15 miles of ducts. 

Read more on Seattle’s program – and watch a video – at this site. 

Special thanks to @chasethesun and @petersandersla for teaching me about preconditioned air.

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SEIU plans Wednesday march at LAX; Traffic disruption possible

If you have a flight at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday afternoon, you might want to leave a little extra time to get to the airport.

Starting at around 12:30 p.m., the Service Employees International Union – United Service Workers West plans to organize an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington.

A union source said about 200 people are expected. The plan is to march from the airport’s central administrative offices, between Terminals 1 and 7, to the Tom Bradley International Terminal. It’s not clear what kind of traffic this will cause, though with only a couple of hundred marchers, it could be relatively minimal.

The union represents many service workers at the airport including sky caps, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners and janitors. According to the union release announcing the march: “Many LAX workers are paid far less than what it takes to raise a family and lack health care that is affordable to use.”

Wednesday’s action should be considerably quieter than one the union organized on the day before Thanksgiving 2012. At that march, about a dozen people were arrested after they refused to disperse from the corner of Century and Sepulveda boulevards, according to a story by KPCC reporter Ben Bergman.

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Authorities seize 215 fake Rolex, Cartier, Omega and Louis Vuitton watches at LAX

Federal officials seized 215 fake watches at LAX on August 8. Photos courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Federal officials seized 215 fake watches at LAX on August 8. Photos courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Los Angeles International Airport seized 215 luxury counterfeit watches in early August, including ones purportedly made by Rolex, Cartier, Omega and Louis Vuitton, federal officials said Tuesday.

The watches were found Aug. 8 after they arrived from China as air cargo. The goods were listed on a shipment manifest as watches with a declared value of $173 and a weight of 68 pounds. Customs officers assigned to LAX inspected the cargo and found the apparently name-brand watches, officials said. Authorities did not say which airline the watches flew.

Had the watches been real, they would have been worth roughly $1.25 million, customs officials said.

According to officials, watches and jewelry represent about 8 percent of the total number of seizes made annually by U.S. customs officers nationwide.

Take a look at these pictures. Can you tell they’re fake watches?

watch2

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