United Airlines is canceling it’s Newark (EWR) to Mumabi, India (BOM) route due to a recent ban placed on flights over the country of Iran as well as the Gulf of Oman and Strait of Hormuz.
This ultra long 15 hour nonstop flight between Newark and Mumbai is only possible with the ability to cross over Iranian airspace. Pakistan is situated next to Iran, however, their country also has a no-fly restriction at the moment due to tensions between India and Pakistan. Another alternative route would take the aircraft too close to Syria and Iraq. With no other viable alternative without adding a refueling stop, the decision was made to close the route altogether for the time being.
Airlines try to avoid fuel stops whenever possible due to the delay it could cause the flight, as well as the additional costs incurred by the airline and reduction in potential profits on the flight.
The United Airlines route between Newark and Mumbai is an important link, as Mumbai serves as the financial hub of India. The route typically carries businessmen and wealthier passengers. It’s a safe bet that United Airlines will resume the flight once tensions with Iran cool down, or the situation with Pakistan improves.
Until that time, passengers will need to connect through Europe to reach their Indian destination.
Aeroflot is one of the oldest and most interesting airlines in the world. The airline has a colorful history of almost 100 years in operation, and has seen itself rise from a small airline to a mammoth airline with thousands of aircraft flying the skies of Russia and the world.
Aeroflot was created in 1923 shortly after the Civil War in Russia. The initial name of the airline was “Dobrolet”, which means “Good Flying” in Russian. It wasn’t until the early 1930’s that the airline changed its name to Aeroflot.
The first international route of Aeroflot was to the German city of Konigsberg (now the Russian city of Kaliningrad). The first domestic flight was between Moscow and Nizhniy Novgorod.
The first aircraft in the fleet of Dobrolet/Aeroflot were not Russian built planes, but actually German built Junkers F-13 aircraft. It wasn’t until the early 1930’s that Russia began to develop their own aircraft which would replace the German Junkers planes.
Only Operating Jetliner
In 1956, Aeroflot launched services from Moscow to Irkutsk using the brand new jet engine aircraft, the Tupolev TU-104. From the time period of 1956 until 1958, the Tu-104 was the only jet engine aircraft operating in the world, due to the grounding of the British de Havilland DH-106 (the Comet), due to safety concerns after a few crashes.
Soviet Monopoly Joke
During the 1960’s, the Advertising and Information Office for Aeroflot was created. The office created the official slogan “Fly Aeroflot!” to promote the airline within Russia. However, this created a popular joke among the citizens, as there was no competition for Aeroflot within Russia, as they were the sole airline to operate in the Union. The actual reason behind this marketing campaign was to convince travelers to use planes over trains, which was Aeroflot’s main competitor at that time.
A Massive Fleet
At one time, Aeroflot operated over 2,000 aircraft in its fleet. The aircraft varied from tiny Antonov An-2 cropdusters and Mil-Mi Helicopters, to the large Illyushin Il-86 four engine aircraft and the Tupolev Tu-144 supersonic jet.
World Record Holder
During the 1980’s, Aeroflot carried more than 120 million passengers each year. This was a record set for the Guiness Book of World Records, and has never been beaten.
Banned from the United States
From 1983 until 1990, Aeroflot was banned from flying to the United States due to an executive order signed by then President Ronald Reagan. This order was signed in retaliation for the Soviet Union shooting down a Korean Airlines Boeing 747 (Flight 007) while flying over prohibited airspace in the Soviet Union. This ban was lifted in 1990 when the Soviet Union dissolved and the Russian Federation was created.
During the early 1990’s when the Soviet Union was dissolving, the massive airline Aeroflot was broken up into smaller regional/national airlines in their respective post-Soviet countries. Some examples are Bashkirian Airlines, Krasnoyarsk Airlines, Tatarstan Airlines, etc.
Aeroflot is one of only (3) airlines in the world to operate a supersonic aircraft in service, with the other two residing in Europe (British Airways and Air France). Aeroflot flew the Tupolev Tu-144 in 1975 and was flying regularly between Moscow and Alma Ata (Kazakhstan) until discontinued in 1978. The Tu-144 was troubled from the beginning and
Pan Am was one of the most iconic and innovative companies that have ever existed. What started as a simple mail and passenger service grew into an airline that spanned 6 continents and connected millions of travelers each year. Pan Am was an innovator and one of the main reasons why aviation is the way it is today.
Creating the Jumbo Jet (Boeing 747)
During the 1960’s, Juan Trippe pressured Boeing into developing an aircraft twice the size of the Boeing 707. This is how the 747 was born. Juan Trippe had hands on involvement with the development of this revolutionary new aircraft.
Pan Am was the launch customer for both the Boeing 707 and Boeing 747 aircraft.
6 Continents Club
At its peak in 1968, Pan Am flew to 86 countries on all six continents over a route network of 81,410 miles (131,000 km).
Pan Am was founded in 1927 as a scheduled air mail and passenger service with flights between Key West (Florida) and Havana (Cuba).
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
Pan Am was the founding member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Pan Am was among the first airlines to sign options to purchase the famous supersonic Concorde. However, Pan Am never took delivery of the aircraft along with other airlines. The only airlines to take delivery of the Concorde were BOAC (British Airways) and Air France. Pan Am was the first U.S. airline to sign a purchase order for 15 of the Boeing 2707 (American version of the Concorde), however, this aircraft never made it off the drawing board due to Congress voting against funding it.
Pan Am built an airport terminal called the “Worldport”. This building was located at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York. It was designed with an elliptical four acre roof that suspended from the outside columns of the terminal. This designed was intended to allow the passengers to get on and off the aircraft via stairs without getting wet since the front of the aircraft is under the overhang. Once the jetbridge was introduced, this feature became obsolete.
More than just an airline…
Pan Am was more than just an airline. Pan Am owned the InterContinental Hotel chain, which would play a part in opening hotels and resorts around the world. In 1945, President Roosevelt and Juan Trippe, the head of Pan Am, met to discuss their concerns over Latin America. They came up with an idea to offer luxury hotels in key cities to attract both businessmen and tourists. The hotels would also be important for the crews of Pan Am and their passengers in destinations where luxury hotels were non-existent. Intercontinental Hotel Corporation was created in 1946, and opened its first property in Belem, Brazil. The chain would continue to grow and expand to its present numbers of 180 hotels and resorts.
The Berlin Wall
Pan Am operated a high frequency network of flights between West Germany and West Berlin during the Cold War days. These flights lasted from 1950 until 1990 with Douglas DC-4 and DC-6B aircraft, until they were later replaced with Boeing 727’s.
Record Setting Flight
During the outbreak of World War II in the Pacific, a Pan Am Clipper named (Pacific Clipper) was flying to New Zealand from San Francisco. Instead of risking being potentially shot down on their return eastward journey, they decided to take the much longer route back by going west. This flight covered 31,500 miles (59,694 km) and became the first commercial aircraft to circumnavigate the world.
Dubai offers nonstop flights to almost every major city in the world, and they are about to add another city to the map. The tiny Caribbean island nation of St. Vincent’s and the Grenadines (SVD). However, the route won’t be flown by Emirates, but by a tiny charter operator named One Caribbean.
One Caribbean is a charter airline based in Argyle Int’l Airport (SVD) and operates small 19 seat Beechcraft 1900 aircraft. The news of a tiny charter operator starting new services with an aircraft as large as the Boeing 747-400 has been raising some eyebrows around the airline industry.
The entire nation of St. Vincent’s and the Grenadines only consists of a population of 110,000 people. Hardly enough to sustain 747 services, unless it would be something along the lines of a once weekly charter flight to/from Europe (i.e. London).
It will be interesting to see how this airline performs. Based on a local news article, the government is in full support of the airline, so hopefully that helps keep them afloat as they learn how to best handle their new queen of the sky.
This flight review took place on Sunday, May 12th, 2019, on Allegiant Air from Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) to Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) on board an Airbus A-320.
Airline: Allegiant Air (G4 #1695)
Date: Sunday, May 12th, 2019
Departure City: Pittsburgh Int’l Airport (PIT)
Departure Time: 9:17 AM
Arrival City: Punta Gorda Airport (PGD)
Arrival Time: 11:44 AM
Aircraft: Airbus A-320
My wife and I were planning a trip to Florida, and exploring our options to get to Siesta Key. We had traveled on Allegiant Air in the past on trips to Savannah, Georgia and Cancun, Mexico, and we had no hesitations about using them for the short hop down to Florida.
Booking on the Allegiant website is quick and easy. We secured two roundtrip tickets, with 1 checked bag, and pre-selecting our seats in both directions for a total of $462. Without a checked bag or seat selection, the total would have only been $326.
The morning of the flight, we arrived at Pittsburgh Int’l Airport (PIT) about 90 minutes before departure, and found the Allegiant Air check-in area completely empty! We walked up, dropped off our checked bag, and were on our way to security within 60 seconds.
Boarding commenced on-time and our aircraft pushed back at 9:17am. Our estimated flight time was 2 hours and 27 minutes.
The thing I enjoy about the Allegiant Air and Spirit Airlines employees at Pittsburgh is that they all seem to enjoy their jobs and put the passengers into a good positive mindset as they are boarding. It’s a night and day difference between these folks and some of the “legacy airline” employees you meet at big hubs like O’Hare, Newark, JFK, etc. A big round of applause for the awesome gate agents of Allegiant and Spirit in Pittsburgh.
The Allegiant Air flight today (G4 #1695) is being flown by an Airbus A-320. The aircraft interior is simple and clean. The seats are basic with minimal padding and no reclining option. I love this, as I am usually stuck with someone directly in front of me who throws their seat into full recline the moment we take off.
Once we reached cruising altitude the snack purchasing service began. The offerings are basic, but reasonably priced. Only credit cards are accepted.
Nothing is free on Allegiant Air. A bottle of water will set you back $2, unless you are an Allegiant Air credit card holder. If you have an Allegiant Air card, you are comped (1) free drink of your choice for the flight.
The Airbus A-320 has no in-flight entertainment, so be prepared with your own (whether games on your phone, an iPad with movies, or a good book).
After 2+ hours in the air, we began our descent into Punta Gorda. The warm Florida landscape below us looked so inviting, and we were counting down the minutes until we would be relaxing on the warm sand of Siesta Key beach.
The flight made a hard landing at 11:35am and within 4 minutes we were parked at our stand in Punta Gorda Airport (PGD). Punta Gorda is a small airport with no jet bridges and all remote parking with ramps/stairs.
It was a big change going from the chilly weather of Pittsburgh to the 90F sunny temperature of South Florida! Upon disembarking the aircraft, we walked into the terminal and proceeded to the baggage claim area. The total time walking from the aircraft door to baggage claim was roughly 2 minutes.
The baggage claim is small with only 2 belts, and the bags took roughly 15 minutes to appear, and ours arriving about 20 minutes after we arrived at the baggage claim.
Overall, our experience on this Allegiant Air flight was very good. When traveling on an Ultra Low Cost airline like Allegiant, Frontier, Spirit, etc, you need to set your expectations based on your price. They provide everything as expected. Safe, clean, non-stop, and reliable transportation from Point A to Point B for a very low price.
Despite all the former negative posts in the media about Allegiant, I have never had a bad experience with them in the 6 flights I have taken. While Allegiant used to have a large fleet of old MD-80 aircraft, they have since phased them all out and now only operate new/modern Airbus A-319 and A-320 aircraft.
Thank you to Allegiant Air for a safe and cheap way to travel to Florida!