This was the most avgeek-ish post I’ve written since my recap of texting and calling from Gogo’s private jet at SXSW two years ago. For more details about this test of Gogo’s new “2Ku” satellite-based WiFi on that company’s Boeing 737-500, I’ll point you to the writers who sat one row behind me, Gary Leff and Zach Honig.
As I type this, the post on my Facebook page linking to this story has been seen by all of 29 people, or barely over 1 percent of the people following my page. So, yeah, I am fully aware that algorithmic filtering of social-media timelines has consequences. Or maybe I just wrote a boring post?
After a lot of mental back and forth about how I could so some sort of SXSW recap that wouldn’t duplicate all of USAT’s earlier coverage out of Austin, I realized that I could contrast each highlight of the festival with whatever event I had to skip to attend that panel, Q&A or demo.
With yesterday’s announcement of a planned merger between US Airways and American Airlines, one more airline I’ve flown will vanish from the skies. Well, not its planes or people, but its name, livery and two-character code, and hopefully its call sign too: It would be tasteless to ditch AA’s “AMERICAN” for US’s America West-derived “CACTUS.”
The list of defunct U.S. and foreign airlines–excluding regional carriers and those from childhood that I don’t remember–that have transported me from one place to another is longer than I’d thought. I’m not sure if that demonstrates the crummy economics of the airline business or merely my own advancing age.
Aloha: My wife and I flew them to and from Maui for a friend’s wedding several years ago. Maui is an excellent place to go to a friend’s wedding.
America West: My chosen conveyance to and from CES for a year or two. I don’t miss their hideous livery at all.
ATA: We took this discount carrier to Chicago and San Francisco a couple of times.
Braniff International: I was on them a few years with my parents in the ’70s or ’80s. Their colorful paint jobs are still missed.
China Southwest: Flew me from Chengdu to Lhasa, Tibet and back on a memorable, two-and-a-half-week-long vacation in 1998.
Continental: The first airline I reached elite frequent-flyer status on; some of those miles went towards upgrading our honeymoon flights (they took great care of us), and some are still in my United account.
Eastern: Flew them up and down the East Coast a few times growing up.
National: This short-lived airline got me from San Francisco to Las Vegas–horribly late–for one Macworld-plus-CES trip.
Northwest: They got me to Tokyo and Hong Kong on that 1998 trip but couldn’t get me home, courtesy of a strike that resulted in my getting rebooked on United a day later. Did I complain about having to spend an extra day in Hong Kong? No.
Pan Am: The one I miss most of all, as do all self-respecting aviation dorks.
PeoplExpress: Not “People’s Express,” damnit. I learned years later that their dense, single-class configurations had earned them the nickname “PeopleCompress.”
TWA: I think this was the first airfare the Post paid on my behalf, courtesy of the paper sending me to cover the first E3 video-game trade show in L.A. in 1995.
If you have anything you’d like to say about the departed, the comments are all yours.
8/23/2015: minor copyediting to fix mistakes I should have caught long ago.