Posts Tagged ‘airplane’

American Airlines Airplanes Fly California to NY

Friday March 21, 2014 at 6:06 AM | 0 Comments

American Airlines, airbus, airplane

American Airlines A321 Airbus in San Francisco

In 1953 American Airlines was one of the leaders in transcontinental airline service flying from Idlewild, New York to Los Angeles, California. Remember the days when you dressed up to board an airplane and lobster was on the menu in coach? American Airlines airplanes fly California to New York, non-stop, in an attempt to bring back the golden age of flying.

I had a chance to tour American Airlines new Airbus A321 Transcontinental aircraft, currently flying from New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) airport (formerly Idlewild Airport) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). From lie-flat seats to W-Fi through the airplane, the golden age of flying is returning to California and New York.


Luxury inflight travel

With the majority of in-flight travelers opting to carry on luggage rather than check baggage, I appreciate American Airlines large overhead luggage bins on the A321 airplane. While the airline will ask passengers to check their surfboard and golf clubs at the oversize luggage counter, the luggage bins on the new Airbus A321 are certainly roomy. As a vertically-challenged passenger (a.k.a. short) I love the added step rail, as well as the grab bars. No more stepping on airline seats to reach the overhead luggage bins.

lie-flat seats, "American Airlines"

American Airlines fully lie-flat seats

American Airlines inflight entertainment

Travelers hoping to pass the time while they fly will appreciate the in-flight entertainment system available in each seat; from coach to business and first class. Seats offer individual power ports and USB ports, as well as a cable for streaming video. Kids will like the tv, games, audio and movies available on board the airplane. For the road warriors, American offers Gogo’s upgraded air-to-ground technology (ATG-4) Wi-Fi throughout the airplane.

Flying first class

As a freelance writer on a bare bones budget, I don’t have the luxury of flying one particular airline. My airline selection is based strictly on price. Rarely do I fly business or first class. But if I were to fly business or first class, I’d want to travel on American Airlines A321. The lie-flat seats are comfortable and private – first class passengers have an aisle to themselves – a pod of their own, if you will.

"Nancy Brown" airplane

Travel writer Nancy D. Brown in front of A321 Airbus engine

Dining first and business class has its own privileges. First class and business class customers traveling on the A321 have the ability to reserve an entree in advance of their flight.
“With our dining experience, you can tailor your own meal service,” explains American Airlines flight attendant Jeff Ramsden.

Insider Tip

Did you know that American Airlines serves ice cream sundaes to their first class flyers? For the caffeine lovers on board, the A321T has its own cappuccino and espresso machine in first class.
For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter and follow @AmericanAir on Twitter.

If You Go:

American Airlines

You might also like Learn to fly flight lessons with Let’s Go Flying.

Article, video and photos by airplane geek Nancy D. Brown

On the Travel Road Again – Hip Replacement Travel Tips

Friday January 18, 2013 at 5:05 AM | 10 Comments

airport travel

On the travel road again after hip replacement; clearing security at Oakland International Airport

This is the fourth article in a 4-part series that will help you deal with total hip replacement (THR) and travel.

Part 1: Denial to acceptance. Preparing for joint replacement surgery.

Part 2: Preparing for surgery

Part 3: Recovery and travel

Part 4: On the travel road again

Fear of flying? Not me. I’m a travel writer. Flying across the country is in my job description. However, this particular flight – I had many fears. Would my new hip set off the alarm if I used a walk-through metal detector as opposed to being screened by the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) at airport security? Would I be able to carry my laptop, carry-on luggage and walk with a cane at the airport? How would I manage the stairs ascending and descending the airplane? Could I remain seated for several hours while traveling on the airplane without straightening my hip? What would it be like traveling after hip replacement surgery?

Travel with trepidation

We’ve all heard the horror stories of wheel chair-bound travelers being pat-down at security or passengers having to hobble through the back skatter machine without the assistance of a cane. I confess that at seven weeks post anterior hip replacement surgery, I had trepidation about my upcoming travel. To make travel easier for me, my first flight with my new hip was non-stop from Oakland International Airport in Northern California to Mazatlan, Mexico.

TSA Cares program

In response to customer demand the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) introduced TSA Cares program in December of 2011, a toll free helpline for travelers with disabilities and medical needs. Any traveler with special needs, family members of travelers or travel companions, may call the TSA cares number (855) 787-2227 and speak with a team member about travel concerns or notify TSA to request travel assistance at a particular airport – (call approximately 72 hours ahead of travel.)

walking on the beach in Mexico

Traveling with a cane after hip replacement

What to pack after joint replacement surgery

Whether you prefer carry-on luggage or to check your bags is your decision, but do give your travel style some consideration pre-flight. Will you be traveling solo, or will someone be with you to help with your luggage?

While I was not looking forward to traveling with a cane, it turned out to be a blessing more than a curse. Without saying a word, the cane demonstrates that you need special care – not always a bad thing during travel.

From airport agents at the ticket counter to flight crew and fellow passengers, I received a positive response traveling with a cane. A special hat tip goes to Cal Jet Air  and Xtra Airways for all around first class service. While I did request an aisle seat flying from Oakland International Airport to Mazatlan, Mexico, never did I reveal that I was a travel writer in need of special treatment.

Cal Jet Air & Xtra Airways go the extra mile

Not only did I receive an aisle seat (to stretch my leg) flying from Oakland, California to Mazatlan, Mexico, I was upgraded to a first-class aisle seat on my return flight from Mazatlan to Oakland. I also had assistance with my luggage clearing security in Mexico. However, Xtra Airways Chief Pilot Brian Felter went above and beyond the call of duty when he placed my luggage in the overhead bin and carried my bag down the stairs from the airplane upon arrival in Mexico.

Inflight travel tips

"Men's Signature Series Derby Cane"Visit TSA Cares website

Allow extra time to clear airport security

Travel with a cane alerts fellow passengers to be careful with you

Request airline check-in pre-boarding

Request an aisle seat for easy standing access in the airplane

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Remember a smile goes a long way when you are a slow traveler

What are your travel tips after hip or joint replacement?

Related Posts:

What to expect before hip replacement surgery

Things to See and Do in Mazatlan, Mexico

Top photo and article courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. Beach walker photo courtesy of Tiffany Day.

Let’s go flying with airplane flight lessons

Monday March 12, 2012 at 6:06 AM | 2 Comments

"Let's Go Flying"

Let’s Go Flying with Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA ) at Pacific States Aviation

Touring landmarks from 3,000 feet in the air

When I received the invitation to go for a ride with Let’s Go Flying my stomach did a loop-de-loop. You know the feeling I’m talking about – when your stomach drops and your fists clamp down on the safety bar in the roller coaster amusement ride. It’s the rush you experience of being afraid and then, after the ride is over, you immediately want to do it again.  Well, I tossed my fear of  flying an airplane in the jump seat and accepted the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) offer of Let’s Go Flying! This Discovery Flight program is an opportunity to show the general public how easy it is to learn to fly and perhaps even obtain your pilot’s license.

To quote Tom Petty, “I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings. Coming down is the hardest thing.” Turns out, Petty knew what he was singing about.

"Cirrus SR-22 Control Panel"

Flight Instructor Rashid Yahya of Pacific States Aviation reviews the Cirrus SR-22 airplane control panel with Nancy D. Brown.

Clear for take off from Concord’s Buchanan Field Airport

My introductory flight lesson was arranged through Pacific States Aviation at Concord’s Buchanan Field airport. My instructor, Rashid Yahya, Chief Operations Officer at Pacific States Aviation, had me join him on the “walk around” where he explained the importance of checking the clarity of the jet fuel (air bubbles in the fuel line = not good) and taught me how to fly the plane around the San Francisco Bay Area. We reviewed some pilot lingo; key words such as ATC (air traffic control), ailerons (helps the airplane turn in the air) altimeter, elevator, rudder and yoke, and I learned about my airplane – a Cirrus SR-22. This plane is so high tech that it comes with its own parachute – to carry the entire plane!

"Nancy Brown Cirrus Plane"

Nancy D. Brown prepares for her first flight with Pacific States Aviation via the AOPA Let’s Go Flying program


Cirrus airplane first flight

“The Cirrus is the BMW of flight training,” laughed Yahya. Indeed, this sweet six cylinder, 310 horse power, four seat airplane retails for a cool $300,000.  But not all airplanes are that expensive. In fact, many of Pacific States Aviation customers rent planes from the company or join together to purchase a plane that is shared by several pilots.

"Nancy D. Brown flying"

Nancy D. Brown flying Cirrus SR-22 Airplane. Let’s Go Flying!


Flying an airplane

The most exciting part of my flight was when I taxied down the runway, leaving the surface of the earth, in a heavier than air machine.  It was quite amazing to realize that I was flying the plane myself. I was launching us up to the heavens – or at least above the San Francisco Bay Area, over Alcatraz Island and next to the Golden Gate Bridge. I have sailed under the Golden Gate in a rigid inflatable boat (RIB), floated over the Golden Gate in a Zeppellin, sipped champagne while cruising under the bridge  on a yacht and floated under this San Francisco landmark in a superliner cruise ship, but piloting a plane was a new experience for me.

"Cirrus SR-22"

According to Tom Petty, and my flight instructor, coming down is the hardest thing. Landing at Buchanan Field Airport, Concord, California.

Let’s Go Flying

Have you always dreamed of flying? Are you ready to begin your first flight? Learning to fly an airplane and, perhaps earning your pilot’s license, is fun and reasonably affordable. The introductory flight lessons are priced around $100. Visit the Let’s Go Flying website for more information. If you wish to continue with flight training after your initial first flight, your time in the air will count toward the 40 hours required by the Federal Aviation Administration for a private pilot certificate. Anyone, from a beauty queen to a teen, is capable of learning to fly.

Find Pacific States Aviation on Facebook.

If You Go:

Pacific States Aviation (925) 685-4400

51 John Glenn Drive, Concord, CA 94520

I was a guest of the Let’s Go Flying program and Pacific States Aviation.