VIDEO: Yunzi the Panda flies from LAX to Shangahi on a China Southern Boeing 777

Dear Readers:

I have failed you. There was big news at Los Angeles International Airport recently, and I missed it.

Aircargoworld.com reports that Yun Zi, a panda, was transported to Shanghai on a China Southern Boeing 777 Freighter. Yun Zi, born in the United States, had been at the San Diego Zoo. I don’t know much about Panda diplomacy, but the story states that an agreement between the United States and China requires Pandas to go to China before they turn 4. Apparently China retains control even of Pandas born here. (There is a fascinating New Yorker piece on a Panda issues, published in September)

According to the Air Cargo World story, Yunzi had an uneventful flight.

After welcoming the panda to an isolated storage area in Pudong Cargo Terminal, the veterinarian did an overall body check of the panda, fed him and placed him on a pallet in the designated quarantine area. Yunzi flew to Chengdu, China, and then to Wolong Nature Reserve in Sichuan, China, where his parents grew up.

The good folks at Laist put together a nice photo gallery of Yun Zi’s life in San Diego.

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United Airlines removes its last Boeing 747 flight from Los Angeles

United Airlines is pulling its final regularly scheduled LAX Boeing 747 flight in March. Photo credit: Simon_sees on Flickr, via wikimedia commons.

United Airlines is pulling its final regularly scheduled LAX Boeing 747 flight in March. Photo credit: Simon_sees on Flickr, via wikimedia commons.

Rarely does a single airplane type have as much of a following as the Boeing 747 – the original double-decker passenger jet first introduced in 1970.

Thus, there was some disappointment in the aviation world last week when reputable website airlineroute.net reported that United Airlines is planning to replace the 747 it now uses for flights from Los Angeles to Sydney with a Boeing 777. United has been flying a 747 on that route for as long as most people can remember, though the two-engine 777 is generally considered a more efficient airplane. It has considerably fewer seats.

United’s decision has received its own 27-page (and counting) thread on the popular frequent flier message board, flyertalk.com. 

There is some good news here, especially for passengers flying in economy class. United’s 747s still show only one movie at a time in coach. It 777s have personal video screens throughout, even in coach. The change is effective March 30, 2014, according to airlineroute.net

Sydney was United’s last regularly scheduled 747 flight from Los Angeles.

Happy flying.

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What does it take to reconfigure a United Airlines jet?

United Airlines announced this week that it’s just about finished installing flatbed business class seats on every long-haul international airplane in its fleet.

It seems easy enough, right? You just rip out the old seats and put new ones in their place.

But it’s not that simple. Condé Nast Traveler got an inside look at what it takes to transform a Boeing 777. In short, United rips the plane apart and then puts it back together.

Check out the whole photo galley. It’s worth a visit. 

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Thai Airways to fly from LAX to Osaka and on to Bangkok

In news previously reported by the superb and remarkably complete Airline Route website, Thai Airways will fly three times a week starting in October between Los Angeles and Osaka, with ongoing service to Bangkok.

Thai Flight 695 will leave Los Angeles at 1 a.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and arrives in Osaka at 6:40 a.m the following day. The return flight, Thai 694, leaves Osaka at 10:45 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  It arrives in Los Angeles at 3:50 p.m. Thai will use a Boeing 777-300ER for the flight. Service begins at the end of October.

The flight complements Thai’s four times a week service to Seoul, which also continues onto Bangkok.

Thai previously flew nonstop between Los Angeles and Bangkok on an Airbus A340. But those four engine planes have fallen out of favor with airlines due their high operational costs.

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