Many airline dorks around the world remember the old Airchive website. It was a treasure trove of memorabilia and other goodies, but it disappeared for a long time. Now, several years later, the website’s founder Chris Sloan has brought it back, and I’m pleased that he chose Cranky to write a sponsored post about the new experience. If you want to play along, just head on over to theairchive.net to poke around.
The Airchive is really a testament to Chris Sloan’s ability to take an incredible number of photos of all things airline and then somehow organize them for public consumption. It couldn’t have been a simple task.
The site is divided up into multiple categories. You can really think of these categories as a way to help filter through all of the content without losing an entire night’s sleep going down the rabbit hole. The first category is — to the surprise of nobody — airplanes.
This area is mostly filled with photos of videos of many adventures. While most of these are from Chris’s past, he takes unique submissions as well. There are photos from several aircraft manufacturer lines and events, which I found interesting. But what I really liked in this category were the boneyard shots. Or I should say, I really hated them. This should be a crime:
And wait, is that a Metrojet airplane in the background? Ah, Metrojet.
You can also look through the cabins and cockpits of some aircraft. This Aloha 737-200 was striking to me. Despite this being the same tube as on new 737s, the interiors couldn’t look more different.
Fear not, if you’re a fan of airports, there’s plenty here as well. While there are plenty of airport photos from current times, there are also those from airports time forgot, like Hong Kong’s old Kai Tak airport. These are snapshots in time that can be a lot of fun to browse. You forget how quickly times can change. For example, this row of ticket counters at Burbank just isn’t something you’ve been able to find in over a decade.
If you know Chris, you know he has an unhealthy obsession with being on first and last flights, really any kind of special flight. He has documented them all and you’ll find a big long list here ranging from AirTran’s final flight to Qatar’s A380 inaugural. If you’re looking to find how airlines celebrate big moments, this is an easy way to find out.
Spoiler Alert: The answer is almost always “cake.”
If you’re curious about specific airlines, Chris has also been to plenty of airline headquarters and maintenance bases which he shares on the site. For those who’ve never had a peek inside, this might be worth your while.
The last category contains my favorite pieces. Chris has photos of all kinds of memorabilia. I got lost in the timetables and route maps, because those are just the most fun. He has some pretty old and obscure examples, though with timetables it’s usually just the cover. But route maps? Independence Air, anyone? Fun fact: The Independence Air income statement was probably only mildly better than what airlines are producing during the pandemic.
There’s a brochures section with all kinds of odds and ends. I stumbled on to this unfortunate ad and just had to share:
The thought of Air Florida cutting DC in half is just a little too… on the nose. Gives me the chills.
Chris has photos of museums, models, safety cards, menus, and postcards. As I scrolled through this, I could only think about how much money Chris must have saved once digital cameras were introduced. I repeat… this man takes a LOT of photos.
I briefly wondered how he found the time to do all this, but then I realized I don’t really care. I’m just glad he did. I mean, sure, if I wanted to find a Cubana IL-96 safety card, the internet could help. But I didn’t know how much I wanted to see one until I browsed right on by…
Chris describes this to me as a labor of love, and it really has to be. There isn’t money to be made here. This is just pure avgeekery, and I’m all for it.
If you want to follow along with new updates, you can find The Airchive on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. And if you want to contribute to the collection, be sure to do so right here.
In the meantime, rest up, find a good day with nothing on the calendar, and get ready to waste it all by browsing through. I might suggest finding a category you like and then scrolling to the bottom. You’ll find a condensed index that’ll help you find your way through more quickly. Or just ignore and wander your way through. The choice is yours.
Oh, and if you find something good, post in the comments!
Really glad to see this site back. Thanks for the headsup.
Wow. Talking about nostalgia. What really is scary is that I ran across this very same site by myself yesterday!
In two weeks we will be making our annual Christmas spa trip back to the better half’s old homestead in Helsinki from our home of two years, Malta. A lot closer, and way cheaper than doing It from Seattle every year. Biz class on LH is really good. Christmas goose is usually served on the leg from FRA to HEL. Merry Christmas to all, and make it safe!
If money is not being made, why did the website’s creator pay for a sponsored post?
Brian – This is a great question, and I don’t know. But I’m happy to take the support!
*T -H-A-N-K-S* for this
To think, what we went through to get stuff way back when!
Sorry for the offtopic comment, but just a heads-up for Airlines We Lost 2020 in case you missed it: AirAsia Japan 2.0 already flew to the great airport in the sky.
Thanks for the heads up – I got a quick look and will be back after work to dive in deeper.