3 Links I Love: Pan Am R&R Flights, Why Airports Die, A Delta Rumor I Hope Isn’t True

Links I Love, Pan Am

This week’s featured link

Flight StatusThe Washington Post Magazine
It’s a long weekend so we all have more time to kill than usual. So, here’s a nice, long piece looking at the flight attendants who flew R&R flights for Pan Am into and out of Vietnam.

Image of the Week: With Air France announcing its A380s’ days are done, I thought I’d look back at this photo I took in 2007 when Airbus brought a demonstrator A380 to LAX. The list of customers at the time has shrunk. You can knock off the first one, and the last three never took delivery. Incredibly, the only airlines to have purchased A380s after this photo was taken were ANA, Asiana, and British Airways. (I don’t count Hi Fly which picked one up on the secondary market for charter work.)

Two for the road

Why Airports DieCityLab
Here’s another long read for you. This one is a lengthy take on the short lifespan of the airport terminal.

RUMOR: Delta Converting Some Planes to ALL Delta One!Rene’s Points
This clearly states it’s a rumor, and let’s hope that’s all it is. This makes no economic sense if it were to actually happen.

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16 comments on “3 Links I Love: Pan Am R&R Flights, Why Airports Die, A Delta Rumor I Hope Isn’t True

  1. This period of yet another crisis is a good time to remember the greats of American aviation that are no longer with us. Pan Am did things that no other airline anywhere in the world would or could do today.

    Why would you care if Delta or any other airline really is converting some of its fleet to a premium-only configuration if they believe there is a market for it in this economy?

    btw, if it is true, there is one current DL aircraft type and one international city pair where there has been an on and off competitive offering that could make sense. Whether DL entering that market is what the author supposedly heard will become known in time. But I am certain that even if there are a few routes like that, the majority of DL’s routes will follow the same cabin/product offerings it currently offers.

    1. btw, if it is true, there is one current DL aircraft type and one”But I am certain that even if there are a few routes like that, the majority of DL’s routes will follow the same cabin/product offerings it currently offers.”

      Do they include masks as part of those service offerings?

      1. I believe several US airlines have said they will provide a mask if a passenger does not have one – but I don’t know if that is true in reality.

        I know, or at least think, you jest but I was actually referring to service as in business class, domestic first, premium economy….

        on a side note to masks, Dr. Fauci has apparently now said that one company is showing promising results which could lead to a vaccine by the end of the year. Maybe this era will end sooner rather than later.

        1. > which could lead to a vaccine by the end of the year

          We need more precision. Lead to a vaccine being approved? Available to all Americans? All humans? Actually deployed?

          So I looked at what he said.

          https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/22/dr-fauci-is-still-confident-us-could-have-a-coronavirus-vaccine-by-december.html

          ‘ It is “conceivable” that the U.S. could begin to roll out a coronavirus vaccine by December, the White House’s top infectious disease expert said Friday.’

          ‘“Back in January of this year when we started the phase 1 trial, I said it would likely be between a year and 18 months before we would have a vaccine. I think that schedule is still intact,” he said in an interview with NPR on Friday. He cautioned that there could be obstacles that throw off the drug’s development and that any timeline is “never a promise.” ‘

          ——-

          So basically, he is sticking by his original prediction from Jan 2020.

  2. Are you planning to write an article on Air France retiring the A380 permanently now and perhaps the future of the A380 as a whole? Especially with reports that its days at Etihad and Qatar could be numbered, and even Emirates allegedly considering cutting its fleet by almost half.

    1. That would be interesting as the A380 was the most hyped aircraft only a few years ago. The problem was too few carriers wanted it & those that did could use it only on a limited number of global routes that had the margins to support it. And now with air traffic down 90% or more do to the pandemic & crashing oil prices effecting the gulf states, how could a jumbo sized jet pencil out financially.

  3. Hello Cranky,

    All Delta One, eh. You are bringing back some serious nostalgia for me. In the mid-80’s, our company was based in Seattle. I had a major customer in Toronto. Until Thai Airways started flying from Seattle to Toronto, which was fantastic, I always took a two engine puddle jumper up to Vancouver. From there, it was a 747 to Toronto, on Canadian. A little extra time, but OK. Then, Canadian had a brilliant idea. They configured some 737’s to two class: first and business. I loved it. Very comfortable in Biz, and the cuisine was absolutely incredible. There was only one problem. Sometimes, on the return to Vancouver, the headwinds were too strong, and we refueled in Calgary.

    All in all, it was a great idea. Just wrong generation of 737.

  4. The article on airport life cycles had two issues that were fundamental. While the author spoke glowingly of the old John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, it should be noted that most of the now-departed terminals were constructed before the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. As such, even with larger airplanes, the projected passenger volume was nowhere near what we have today. If the airport terminal isn’t expandable, it’s hopeless.

    Secondly, we assume that the immediate trends today are those that will affect the business into the foreseeable future. If Covid-19 is more than a temporary blip and we become a nation of germaphobes, the changes in aviation and airline operations will be much greater than just the terminal. If Social Distancing becomes the norm for the future, there’s no way, as Cranky pointed out yesterday, that the density of existing airliners and terminals can be maintained. If people expect to be six feet apart on an airplane, then density won’t be an issue and we’ll have a whole lot fewer people flying.

    One example of a terminal that’s will be torn down because it’s functionally obsolete is Kansas City. That was designed and built for a 1970s era aviation industry and it’s just simply obsolete. I’d argue that eventually the oldest of the DFW terminals also will be coming down at some point in the future for largely the same reason.

    1. “Secondly, we assume that the immediate trends today are those that will affect the business into the foreseeable future. If Covid-19 is more than a temporary blip and we become a nation of germaphobes, the changes in aviation and airline operations will be much greater than just the terminal. If Social Distancing becomes the norm for the future, there’s no way, as Cranky pointed out yesterday, that the density of existing airliners and terminals can be maintained. If people expect to be six feet apart on an airplane, then density won’t be an issue and we’ll have a whole lot fewer people flying.”

      This is well put, but let me break it down just a little further point by point.

      1. as of now those trends you speak of are all we have to go on without a vaccine as difficult as that might be.

      2. If Covid 19 remains the norm, aviation & everything else attached to it would need to be retrofitted for that reality & that is assuming that the public would be even willing to fly beyond it being a necessity. Then the question is… is that financially possible & if so where does the money come from? PFC’s? tickets? airport authorities? the government?

      3. As for social distancing & all that entails, you are correct. In fact the next question beyond that relates how much infrastructure we devote to terminals & related structures will be shuttered as they won’t be needed. In the case of JFK for example, could the airlines in T1 be consolidated into T7 further shrinking the airport footprint as there would be fewer aircraft movements to deal with.

  5. Cranky, do you know how United has keep operating this week after flooding knocked out power to the Willis Tower? I know they have an emergency backup but I can’t imagine they expected it to be used for this long, plus it probably doesn’t have any pandemic related modifications that have been made.

    1. Dand – As far as I know, most people weren’t working at Willis anyway.
      There is a backup ops center at the old WHQ in Elk Grove (I think OPC now?) that’s operating. I’m told there’s another office in another building downtown that’s used as well.

      1. Cranky, you are correct. Most of us are (and have been) working from home, at OPC, or at another backup facility downtown. I am in an operation-critical role and it’s been interesting working from home, but it’s doable with how little flying there is.

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