Topic of the Week: My Top Ten Airline Blogs

If you’ll be near LAX this Saturday, mark your calendar to celebrate 5 Cranky years. Join me and Johnny Jet at In ‘n Out for a little plane spotting between 11a and 1p.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I don’t do the “Follow Friday” thing and I rarely actively mention other blogs, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a required reading list. I figured that during this week of 5 Cranky Year celebrations, it would be a great time to give a tip of the cap to those blogs that I never skip. Sure, there are others I read, but I decided to cut this down to 10. My apologies to those who aren’t mentioned here, but I had to cap it somewhere. If you aren’t following these, you’ll want to reconsider. These are in alphabetical order:

Airline Biz Blog – Terry Maxon at the Dallas Morning News is one of the last of a dying breed: the newspaper airline reporter. He covers American and Southwest in-depth since those two airlines are so important to the locals in Dallas. You’ll get broader information as well, but the jewel is the incredible in-depth local coverage on these two.

Airline Reporter – David Parker Brown lives in Seattle and so you’ll see some of the local goings-on from his perspective. What I like about this blog is you often feel like David is learning right along with you. He’s enthusiastic, and it’s a unique perspective, so it’s fun to follow.

Aviation Queen – I hope you all know my good friend Benét Wilson, but for newbies to this industry, I fear you don’t. Benét has been covering the world of biz aviation for Aviation Week over the last few years, so she hasn’t had an outlet for commercial aviation. That’s too bad, because not only did she used to cover the regionals like no other, but she’s also worked at Mesa, Delta, and Rolls-Royce engines in corporate communications. She’s now back with this new blog, so hopefully she’s here to stay in the commercial world, at least in some form.

FlightBlogger – If you follow the aircraft manufacturing world, then you know Jon Ostrower. Jon broke several stories on the 787 during its development and he’s now one of the premier writers on aircraft manufacturing. If you don’t love the manufacturers, then this might be too into the weeds for you, but you won’t find better info anywhere.

Flight Level 390 – I don’t think there’s a blog I enjoy reading more than Captain Dave’s blog on his day-to-day experiences as a commercial pilot. Dave weaves a great story in every post, and I just cannot stop reading. See for yourself and you’ll be hooked.

PlaneBusiness – Holly Hegeman’s newsletter isn’t a blog and is the only one of the list that requires a paid subscription, but I’ve been reading since college and I never miss an issue. Holly looks at the industry from a financial perspective, but that’s not all she covers. It really is a must-read for those in the business.

Runway Girl – As Jon Ostrower is to aircraft manufacturing, Mary Kirby is to the world of inflight entertainment and onboard experience. If you’re looking to learn more about seats on airplanes or new passenger technologies, this should be one of your first stops.

Things in the Sky – Dan Webb may still be in college, but he’s also already a seasoned blogger. I think Dan spends his nights combing SEC filings and looking through government data, because he pulls out some really interesting details out from the weeds. He’s also apparently the favorite blogger of Virgin America, because he seems to have a new interview with CEO David Cush every week. It’s always worth a read.

Today in the Sky – You probably don’t know Ben Mutzabaugh’s opinion on many things, but that’s because he’s not here to give one. Ben posts rapid fire news stories for USA Today, and it’s that frequency that I like. He’ll often have several links to the most interesting coverage on each story and that makes for a great resource.

View From the Wing – There are a lot of bloggers in the miles/points space and I read several, but if I had to pick one, it would be Gary Leff’s blog. I might not be a mileage junkie at all, but I still like to keep tabs on what’s happening in that world, and Gary does a great job of filtering out the garbage and only talking about the really useful/interesting promotions and changes.

There you have it, my top ten. Oh sure, there are others I read as well, but I had to cut this list somewhere. Put some of your favorites down below.

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44 comments on “Topic of the Week: My Top Ten Airline Blogs

  1. Flight Level 390 is one of the best pieces of literary prose I’ve ever read (thanks Cranky, I first found out about it from your blog’s list). You can actually feel the immense love Capt. Dave has for all things flying, and his “old man” routine is second to none.

  2. Benet’ is awesome, got to meet her during her brief stay at Mesa (bleah!). We were both running booths for our respective airlines. Smart and funny, and a genuinely nice person.

    1. And this is why I never should have done a top 10 list – I end up having to cut the line somewhere and that sucks. I’ve been reading the OTR for a long time, and there is some great humor on there. Lots of love for Spirit as well, so I’m sure there are plenty of people here who would like to give you a piece of their minds, Jared.

      So yes, everyone go to Online Travel Review.

  3. The first thing I do after work each weekday when I turn on my laptop in the living room is go to Today in the Sky and see what Ben Mutzabaugh and his co-workers have said for the day.

    I’ll check over some of the other sites you mentioned this weekend. Thanks for sharing them.

  4. PlaneBusiness…….ahhhh, I followed her website for years. Informative, always interesting until she made it a PAY SITE, the nerve. :::grin:::

    1. I think it’s always been a pay site, except for the old Daily Banter and now PlaneBuzz. Holly’s focus is much for the financial community and that’s information that people are willing to pay for.

      1. Yeah, PlaneBusiness has been a paid subscription for as long as I can remember. I used to follow the Daily Banter, and follow PlaneBuzz now, which is finally starting to see more posts other than the weekly preview of PlaneBusiness. Holly has also recently become active on Twitter, which is nice.

    1. Cool, I didn’t know he was blogging. I’ve read his stuff in Airways Magazine (I think, not Airliners, right?) for years, so this is good to know.

  5. I’m more of a geek than I thought. In addition to Cranky, I’m already reading Today in the Sky, FlightBlogger, Patrick Smith, the Reporter, the Queen (all hail), and FL390.

    I love FL390, but the fan club section in the comments gets a little old. I keep looking there because there is an occasional informative nugget that adds to what Capt. Dave has to say. I do agree with those who are clamoring for the book … I think it could make a hell of a movie, too (I see George Clooney and Sigourney Weaver as the captain and the wife of his youth).

    Congratulations on five years!

  6. I know it’s already on your list, but I’m a fanatical “Today in the Sky” reader. It was my gateway drug to the airline blogosphere.

    Missed you by 1 week! Was just in LA last weekend…Happy 5 and have fun at In n’ Out.

    1. Same. Ben at USA Today is amazing and was my first blog 5 years ago before I found ATW Online and Cranky.

  7. I’m already reading most of these but there are a few on Cranky’s list that I don’t read (yet) and a couple of others that I love.

    Flying With Fish ( focuses on an interesting mix of aviation photography, social media, aviation security, and whatever else going on in the airline biz interests him. The depth he can get into with some of his posts is incredible and he approaches his posts as an investigative reporter would. He is not afraid to tell it like he sees it, even if it gets him “extra special attention” from the TSA.

    I have only recently discovered FL390 and I love it (thanks Cranky!) Written in a similar “pilot’s log” format is Decision Height ( The posts aren’t as numerous, nor is the writing style quite as enchanting as Capt. Dave, but it does give an interesting view of the life of a pilot flying international routes.

    Of course, Cranky is still my favorite. It is the first one I go for every morning.

    1. Yep, I’ve certainly known about Fish’s blog for ages. I’ll have to check out Decision Height – that’s a new one to me.

  8. Good choices!

    On the love of flying from a pilot’s perspective, one blog I really miss is Yellow Herbie’s Journeys Across Continents blog (it was namechecked by FlightBlogger a couple of years ago). He was a young (24?) Malaysia Airlines 777 first officer – he wrote fantastic prose and a keen photographer, so stunning cockpit eye’s shots. Truly passionate about his job, his blog was educational, informative, a joy to read, and at times even brought a tear to my eye

    The blog disappeared suddenly, and the archives were also wiped… If anyone here remembers it, or knows if any of the material is still available, I’d love to know! Thanks

  9. Thanks for pointing me in the direction of Flight Level 390. I like it….

    On another note, I assume the CrankySpotters group will meet at the little park infront of In N Out, right?

    I’ll be interested to meet some fellow Cranky fans.

    1. Excellent. Glad to hear it won’t just be me and Johnny! I was just going to grab a burger at 11 when I get there and then head out to the grass. So yeah, we’ll meet there. I’m hoping for a decent turnout, but even if it’s only a handful, that’ll be just fine.

  10. The problem with limiting anything is that there’s always someone left off who is deserving of a mention. I read most of these blogs and am glad to get tips on a couple I’ve not seen. Thanks to all of you. You learn something new every day on Cranky Flier.

  11. Not sure if anyone mentioned this one before, but Aviatrix ( is an account of the daily intricacies and musings of a Canadian female pilot who flies mostly private missions. It’s great for a different perspective of those “living the dream”.

  12. Brett, great idea for a post, there are a few sites I am definitely going to visit one of these days.

    Joe Brancatelli is a superb business travel journalist; you may remember him from the heyday of Frequent Flyer magazine. His opinions are always spot-on from the business travelers’ perspective, usually lambasting those in business of travel.

    He has a pay site which includes various and sundry discounts as well as regular columns from other writers, news blasts, tidbits about fare sales, etc. If you are a Priority Pass user, membership with his site gets you 20% off any Priority Pass plan, which more than pays the freight for joining his site:

    He can also be found for free at where he writes a weekly column:

  13. Congrats on 5 years! A big thanks from those of us who do not have the time for all these blogs. You read them and give us the distilled nuggets about the airline industry.

  14. I agree wholeheartedly about Captain Dave’s blog – always great writing. As a fellow blogger, it’s one of my absolute favorites!

  15. Thanks for the list!

    If you like pilot blogs, check out

    I’ve been writing a year… solely for fun. The blog chronicles my journey as a twice furloughed pilot “starting over” at Virgin America. I also mix-in some humorous stories and my humble opinions about the industry.

  16. Thanks for sharing your list. Some new ones I have yet to give a read. Found several great bargains using Gary’s blog.
    Maybe you can get some guest posts samples from some of the paid subscription sites. In the mean time I will take your word for it.

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