Tag: Airworld

Arthur Frommer Wades Into Airplane Seat-Reclining Wars

And gets some unexpected blowback. Last week, Frommer spoke out about Spirit Airlines’ plans to eliminate reclining seats on their planes—and, as he writes in his follow-up post, “an uproar ensued.” Strident emails supporting Spirit’s action poured in from readers. Turns out, there’s a major anti-reclining faction out there, and they mean business.

I’m a regular only-part-way recliner myself, and I’ve had to rescue my laptop from near-crushing by an abrupt full-recline more than once, so I can see both sides of the issue.

Where do you come down in the seat-reclining debate?


The Window Seat: A Photo Gallery

Mark Vanhoenacker’s excellent love letter to the window seat now has the accompanying art it deserves. When his story was published last month, the New York Times called for readers to send in their own photos from the window seat. That 325-image collection is now up and browsable.


The LAX Theme Building: It’s (Almost) Back

LAX Theme Building Photo of the LAX Theme Building, circa 2006, by brewbooks, via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo of the LAX Theme Building, circa 2006, by brewbooks, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Three long years after shedding a 1,000-pound piece of itself, the iconic futuristic building at Los Angeles International Airport is almost ready for its adoring public again. Jennifer Steinhauer has the update.


Trash Talking in Airworld

Harriet Baskas tallies which airports and airlines are brawling.


‘Fly Girls’: ‘Contrived Connivances’

Slate television critic Troy Patterson takes down the new reality show:

[Y]ou will need to stow your aesthetic judgment in the overhead compartment to enjoy “Fly Girls,” which parades the usual nonsense ... The Fly Girls’ trumped-up arguments are processed beefs. Their romantic travails are as inconsequential as the shabby guys they’re trysting with. The show fails to exploit the comedy-of-errors potential inherent to flight-attendant narratives, the coming-and-going-and-getting-laid-over farcical possibilities explored by classic texts from “Boeing Boeing” to “Three’s a Crowd.”

The Los Angeles Times’ Robert Lloyd is similarly unimpressed. Variety piles on.


A Love Letter to the Window Seat

Some evocative writing by Mark Vanhoenacker:

But for me, it’s all about the views, especially those entrancing last few minutes before touchdown.

It’s how the details of the world are summoned again, how gracefully scale and shadings resolve into trees and fields and subdivisions. It’s the steady, lyrical motion of a silvery wing over a new place—an entirely unique geography and history that appear simply and perfectly beneath you.

He nails the description of flying into Los Angeles at night: “The city looks like an ad for a computer chip, a kinetic vision of light and energy spilling over the continent’s edge.”


Orlean: ‘For The Well-Equipped Traveller, the Wall Outlet is the Mothership’

Susan Orlean’s latest blog post at the New Yorker goes where most travelers have to go these days: In search of electrical outlets.

In the last couple of years, I noticed that competition for the outlets had gotten stiffer and stiffer, as more people carried more gizmos needing juice; often, there were lines to get a turn, and sometimes a huffy “Are you going to be using the outlet for much longer?” that betokened scarcity and a rising panic. The squatting and searching, the anxious scooting behind the ticket-agent desks in unused gate areas to try to score an unnoticed outlet, got a little more frantic.

Need help finding an outlet at the airport? Gadling has tips.


Libya’s Tripoli Airport: Airworld, It’s Not

Libya’s Tripoli Airport: Airworld, It’s Not REUTERS/Louafi Larbi
REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

We write a lot about Airworld and the notion that, beyond the security gates, the world’s airports are becoming more alike by the day. But a nice story in Reason about a press junket to Libya suggests that Tripoli’s airport retains its unique, uh, charm:

When the BBC reported that “at Tripoli’s ultra-modern airport…you could be almost anywhere in the world,” I expected at bare minimum a Starbucks, a fake Irish pub, and (this is the ultra bit) a bank of vending machines dispensing iPods and noise-canceling headphones.

Well, perhaps we came through Libya’s spillover airport, its Midway or Stansted, because this is “anywhere in the world” only in some mad, dystopian-novel sense. Available for purchase are Egyptian gum, cheap watches celebrating 40 years of the Libyan revolution, and glossy magazines with Hugo Chavez on the cover.


How Air Travel is Bringing Back God

Roger Cohen has a half-baked theory:

I’ve noticed God is making a comeback. It’s not just all the craziness in the Middle East. Soccer players now look to the heavens when they score goals. Come on! A touchdown prompts skyward glances. This didn’t used to happen. It would have been considered loony. My theory is it must have something to do with air travel. Survivors of it feel compelled to search out a savior.


Man Loses Job, Survives on Hotel Points and Frequent Flier Miles

This week Jim Kennedy is at the Holiday Inn Express in San Clemente using United miles. The Orange County Register has a great package about his plight, including this audio slideshow:

(via Slatest)


Japan Airlines Flight Attendant Uniforms: Big on the Black Market

You can probably guess for whom the uniforms hold a “mysterious power.” From the Times:

For decades, the crisp, no-nonsense outfits have appealed to male Japanese tastes. New Japan Airlines (JAL) uniforms have long been in demand in the local sex industry for customers keen on role-playing fantasies, while rare specimens that have actually been worn are hugely sought after by fetishists and are worth their weight in gold.

Countless shops will sell a very credible imitation for a few thousand yen, but the real thing can fetch a fortune. Historically, says Yu Teramoto, the owner of a specialist costumier in the Akihabara district of Tokyo, real JAL outfits have been virtually impossible for buyers to lay their hands on. However, the post-bankruptcy prospect of huge layoffs at JAL—especially among uniform-wearing air-crew—raises the prospect that former staff will attempt to sell their outfits for a profit.

One stolen uniform previously sold for about 11,000 pounds.


Video: ‘The Jersey Shore’ Goes ‘Up in the Air’

“Up in the Air” director Jason Reitman gives this J-Woww and Ronnie performance a thumbs up:


The Grateful Dead: Airplane Book Fodder?

Loved this aside in Joshua Green’s terrific story in The Atlantic about the Grateful Dead’s business prowess:

It can be only a matter of time until Management Secrets of the Grateful Dead or some similar title is flying off the shelves of airport bookstores everywhere.

Turns out the members of the Dead were business visionaries and masters of social networking.

The band knew a little something about travel, too. 


LAX ‘Can’t Hide the Wrinkles Anymore’

Photo by monkeytime via Flickr, (Creative Commons)

Call me crazy, but I never tire of Thomas Friedman’s shots at the sad state of America’s airports. This week: LAX. Zing!

It’s worth noting (and Friedman doesn’t) that a major upgrade of the airport’s Tom Bradley International Terminal is underway. That’s at least some good news.


Video: After-Hours at the Pittsburgh Airport

(Via Boing Boing)


A Pilgrimage to SkyMall

SkyMall overload Graphic by Doug Mack

Can a trip to its headquarters make for documentary art, or just a closer look at solar-powered mole repellers? Bill Donahue journeys into the soul of SkyMall.

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‘Fly Girls’: Reality TV at 37,000 Feet

Yup, a slice of Airworld is coming to prime time. The CW has picked up eight episodes of the new reality show, which follows five Virgin America flight attendants from the air to their Los Angeles “crash pad” and beyond. The Los Angeles Times describes “Fly Girls” as having “a ‘Gossip Girl’-meets- ‘The Hills’-vibe”—which, I’ll admit, doesn’t have me rushing to write the air dates in my calendar. The same story offers some interesting points about the intersection of infomercial and entertainment on the show.


Happily Adrift in Airworld

On his love for the places so many hate, from Amsterdam's Schiphol to Doha International

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Interview with Alain de Botton: ‘A Week at the Airport’

Frank Bures asks Heathrow's first writer-in-residence about non-places, taking time to arrive and what airports tell us about ourselves

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‘Up in the Air’: Eight More Great Links

The Jason Reitman-directed travel movie continues to draw all kinds of press attention, much of it well worth reading.

Over at The Daily Beast, novelist Walter Kirn reveals how Reitman and star George Clooney saved his novel from obscurity.

In the New York Times, op-ed writer Frank Rich argues that “Up in the Air” is the perfect movie to close out a troubled year, using “the power of pop culture to salve national wounds that continue to fester in the real world.” Rich’s Times colleague Adam Andrew Newman looks at the movie as an advertising bonanza for Hilton and American Airlines.

World Hum contributor Alison Stein Wellner reviews the movie for the Perceptive Travel blog (warning: major spoilers) while blogger Joe Posnanski offers a thoughtful response to “Up in the Air” from a traveler’s perspective.

Finally, here’s an in-flight tweet from Jason Reitman, posted just after the Golden Globes nominees were announced: “Flight attendant congratulated me on the noms. Guy in 1C loved the movie. Yup, I’m on Air Canada amongst my people.”