Living Rooms on an Airplane?

 

1280px-Embraer_Lineage_1000_interior_living_room

Fold down service, a gym, a spa, and a living area. You probably think I am describing hotel accommodations, right? Wrong. Those features are likely going to be seen in the near future aboard international flights. Of course, all of these luxuries are going to come at a steep price, and those willing and able to pay up can kiss away the days of difficult flying experiences.

 

For those in the airplane design industry, most upgrades and changes are made in the first or business class cabins, providing the high-rollers a more accommodating flight. The Daily Mail reported that quite a few firms have begun the innovation process for making airplanes feel more like hotels, especially for the 1%. One of the designs includes six, suite-style accommodations with an armchair or couch that changes into a double bed, a 42 inch TV, and even a “smart in-flight service system”, which helps to predict wants and needs of the passenger. Though some companies, such as Singapore Airlines have already launched the suite concept, the design and enhancements being made by these design firms are beyond any current flying experience.

 

An additional concept being considered is the idea of creating more amenities for fliers to enjoy during their air time. By creating a split-level design, the cabin will provide areas for lounging, dining, and entertainment enjoyment on one floor and private relaxation or sleep rooms on the other. New Territory, a design firm that developed the business class section of an Aero Mexico aircraft which includes a self-service bar and snack grabbing area, has truly become an innovator for new air travel scenarios.

 

New Territory has recently launched a completely different design concept called the “Aerobus Transpose.” The basic idea behind the unique model is the ability for a flight to never have to make drastic changes to its interior design. With removable “pods” compiling the internal structure of the planes, the number of suites or coach seats can be adapted almost instantaneously to personalize each flight.

 

As everything in our ever-changing world begins to adapt to new and improved technologies, the way we travel can never become an exception. Although most of these luxury flight experiences come with a hefty price tag, I would hate for anyone eligible to pass up the opportunity to explore the skies in such a lavish way. I am extremely enthusiastic to see the direction in which air travel adapts as our society continues to evolve!

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Then Versus Now: How Aviation Has Changed

Air travel today is vastly different from what it was 50 to 60 years ago. During the “Golden Age” of aviation, the experience of flying was something of an event. According to multiple reports, travelers would often dress up and prepare for the experience to fly the friendly skies. If you’ve ever been on an airplane in the last few years or so, you would know that this is not the case today; in fact, flights on economy class are often dreaded. So what happened? Why are we no longer living in the Golden Age of aviation anymore?

 

Well, technically speaking, we are. Traveling by airplane is far safer, faster and more luxurious than it ever was. However, you have to be quite wealthy to enjoy the latter. The Golden Age was only considered to have existed back then because airplane trips were so extravagant; but that was only because ticket prices were so exorbitantly high. As the price of airfare declined, so did the number of features and amenities.

 

Travel back in time with me as I compare aviation’s Golden Age to today.

 

Safety:

Living in a post-9/11 world, we are all accustomed to intense airplane security. However, far before the tragic attacks, there essentially was no such thing. According to a report from Huffington Post, passengers could arrive at their gates with only 30 minutes to spare, and did not have to present ID. There was obviously no TSA, so security measures were incredibly lax. Also, the airplanes were designed quite differently back then making air travel incredibly uncomfortable and loud.

 

Food:

Today, you’re lucky to be served food on a flight at all; that is, if you fly economy. By flying first class on some of today’s extravagant airlines, like Emirates Airlines, you get a bevy of scrumptious food choices like caviar or alcoholic beverages like wine. However, back in the Golden Age, you were guaranteed an eclectic array of food options, such as lobster or roast beef.

 

Smoking:

This may come as no surprise, but smoking was incredibly popular during the 50s. Almost half of the American population was smoking cigarettes, and as far as airplanes were concerned, it was fair game. Simply search online for videos of smoking on airplanes and you’re immediately greeted with dozens of file footage videos of passengers puffing away. For anyone who has flown within the last 17 years, you know that that is no longer the case today. In 2000, a law was put into place banning all smoking on all flights to and from America.

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3 of the Worst Airports in the US

Last month I had written a piece on three of the most amazing airports in the US. Featuring trendy shops, sleek designs and even a full-fledged aquarium, the three airports were truly amazing in terms of service and features. However, obviously not all airports can be amazing. Unfortunately, sometimes they can not even be satisfactory. With that being said, I figured I would be fair and list a few of the worst airports in America.

 

LaGuardia Airport

Located in Queens, New York, LaGuardia is one of the three major airports located in The Big Apple—JFK International and Newark Liberty International being the other two. And although the airport has seen a large influx of customers, its rankings have dropped quite a bit, with LaGuardia consistently being ranked as one of the worst airports in the country. What usually contributes to that low score is LaGuardia’s aging facilities and reports of squatters and unsanitary conditions. According to various reports, LaGuardia is becoming something of a city-shelter for the homeless. Many of the airport’s employees claim to have even seen several homeless people using the bathrooms as personal showers. Things only got worse for the aging airport in 2014 after then Vice President of the United States Joe Biden compared its conditions to that of a third world country. However, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has recently announced a $4 billion renovation—which should completely redesign the airport—planned for completion in the next few years. Until then, however, if you are ever in the New York area and need a flight, it may be best to skip LaGuardia for now.

 

Chicago O’Hare International Airport

One of the country’s most traffic-heavy airports is also one of the worst. O’Hare does not necessarily have any blatant issues with its technology or infrastructure—although with technology’s rapid evolvement, the most state of the art airport can quickly become outdated—instead, its problems lie mainly in customer service and travel delays. According to multiple user reviews, O’Hare International is bogged down by its rude employees and attendants, poorly designed waiting areas and slow service. One reviewer even claims that baggage claim took well over an hour. O’Hare has also become synonymous with flight delays, which adds to its unfavorable scores.

 

Los Angeles International

Another popular airport on the list, Los Angeles International, commonly referred to as LAX, is the cause of millions of travelers’ headaches for a variety of reasons. As is usual, many complain about the airport’s outdated facilities and slow service; but one of the more unique issues with LAX is not just its slow speed, but also its location. According to a report from Business Insider, the average time it takes to get from Downtown LA to LAX is over an hour! Apparently, LAX also has a shocking lack of power outlets, which, in today’s world where almost every person traveling has at least a cell phone to charge, is unacceptable.

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Virgin America Aims to Be a Good Corporate Neighbor

Virgin America pic
Virgin America
Image: virginamerica.com

An airline committed to corporate social responsibility, Virgin America maintains a strong commitment to nonprofits in and around its Northern California headquarters. They include Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C), which raises funds for interdisciplinary research into cancer treatments. SU2C’s fundraising work is notable in that it attempts to enable researchers to work collaboratively, thus minimizing the duplication of effort and moving the research cycle forward more quickly. In addition, it promotes higher-stakes research projects that could have a significant impact.

As part of its deep involvement in the Bay Area community, Virgin America supports San Francisco Animal Care and Control, which works to find homes for neglected and abused dogs and cats. Over the past six years, the airline has flown dozens of Chihuahua puppies from its San Francisco hub across the country and into the waiting arms of their new families.

Virgin’s other nonprofit partners include Make-A-Wish Greater Greater Bay Area, one of the largest chapters of the national group, which grants special wishes to children with terminal illnesses. Through Make-A-Wish, Virgin has hosted numerous children and their families as VIP guests aboard flights to their chosen destinations.

David Pflieger Leaves Behind Legacy of Prosperity at Fiji Airways

Fiji Airways pic
Fiji Airways
Image: fijiairways.com

Faced with the most financially tumultuous period in its 60 year history, the Air Pacific Board of Directors and the national airline’s major shareholders, the Fijian government and Qantas, sought a skilled businessman with extensive experience in the aviation sector to return the struggling airline to profitability. They found this individual in David Pflieger, a former attorney, pilot, and business leader who advanced from the law, safety, and flight operations departments of Delta Air Lines to serve as a founding officer and senior vice president at Virgin America.

Drawing on knowledge garnered over the course of more than two decades in the aviation industry, Mr. Pflieger orchestrated the complete turnaround and revitalization of Air Pacific, including its rebranding to Fiji Airways. While the company’s previous two years of operations had yielded operating losses in excess of $100 million, the new CEO managed to achieve an annual profit of $16 million in just two years.

One of the many elements of Fiji Airways’ extensive turnaround and rebranding was the expansion of its existing fleet. In 2013, Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama attended the maiden flight of the airline’s new Airbus A330-200s aircraft in Toulouse, France, marking a moment of great pride for the national carrier and the country as a whole.

After guiding the successful turnaround of Fiji Airways, David Pflieger opted not to renew his CEO contract when it concluded, so he could return to his family in the United States. Mr. Pflieger agreed, however, to remain on the Board of Fiji Airways and to help the airline search for a new leader who could carry on his legacy of success. In late 2013, with the airline completely fixed and revitalized, the Board and Mr. Pflieger appointed Stefan Pichler, formerly the CEO of Jazeera Airways, to the position of managing director and chief executive officer of Fiji Airways. Mr. Pichler had the honor of announcing how successful the airline turnaround he inherited had been when it declared record profits and profit sharing for all employees–all of which was due to three years of hard work, focus, and dedication by the team at Fiji Airways.

Fiji Airways Sees Improvements after One Year of Turnaround Efforts

David Pflieger
David Pflieger

From 2008 to 2010, Fiji’s Air Pacific airline experienced a period of record financial losses and significantly reduced market share. However, after just one year under new leadership, the national carrier was already showing significant signs of recovery.

In an October 2012 interview with the CAPA-Centre for Aviation, Air Pacific CEO and Managing Director David Pflieger outlined many of the airline’s recent accomplishments, as well as the various challenges left for it to surmount, as it headed into the final leg of its three-stage transformation initiative.

Among the obstacles still facing the company were fluctuating fuel costs, an unstable global economic climate, and regional competition. However, while companies such as Jetstar and Virgin Australia had recently taken a firmer hold on the sector, Dave Pflieger guided the company to solidify its position as a major international carrier, increasing the frequency of flights to major cities including Sydney, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong. One of the final stages of the massive rebranding saw the airline revert to the name it had used prior to 1958: Fiji Airways. Pflieger noted that, in addition to highlighting the firm’s role as a quality national carrier, the name change would help to position Fiji as an attractive tourism destination as its fleet traveled the globe.

David Pflieger’s accomplishments with Air Pacific, now operating as Fiji Airways, included making new investments to improve the onboarding experience and introducing new, custom-designed Airbus A330-200 aircraft to the carrier’s fleet. He also revitalized the staff with incentive plans and social responsibility initiatives, and forged a partnership with Tourism Fiji in an effort to strengthen the entire travel sector. While 2010 marked one of the airline’s worst years in over six decades of operation, the $9.2 million in profits it earned in fiscal year 2012 indicated that it was well on its way to recovery.

Virgin America Makes History with Carbonfund.org Partnership

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carbonfund.org
Image: carbonfund.org

In December 2008, Virgin America took new measures to ensure the environmental efficiency of its operations, becoming the first airline to allow passengers to offset their carbon emissions via in-flight touch screens. In a move guided by senior vice president David Pflieger, whose contributions to the airline included the creation of its numerous sustainability initiatives, the carrier partnered with carbon offset provider Carbonfund.org to offer passengers new options to reduce their carbon footprint.

Virgin America has operated with a commitment to sustainability since its inception, drawing on advanced avionics, cost index flying, and similar innovations to limit its environmental impact. With the announcement of its partnership with Carbonfund.org, the California-based air carrier invited its customers to join its efforts to preserve the environment. The carrier announced two new ways for customers to offset the CO2 emissions of their flight, first introducing the option on its ticket confirmation web page and later adding carbon offsetting to the touch-screen entertainment systems located on aircraft seatbacks.

With each pledge to offset their carbon emissions, passengers make a contribution to one of a number of carbon offset projects jointly chosen by Virgin America and Carbonfund.org. Vetted as environmentally impactful, these renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives carry the potential to spur measurable reductions in global carbon emissions. Initial offset projects included the Inland Empire Utilities Agency Biodigester, a Chino Basin, California, methane capture-and-elimination project capable of eliminating 8,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year, and IdleAire, which provides in-cabin electricity at truck stops to reduce drivers’ diesel fuel consumption and corresponding carbon emissions.

Virgin America Sets Industry Example with Climate Registry Commitment

Virgin America pic
Virgin America
Image: theclimateregistry.org

Virgin America made history in 2009 by becoming the first American airline to commit to reporting its greenhouse gas emissions. The California-based airline announced its decision to join the Climate Registry, a nonprofit organization dedicated to standardizing the accurate measurement and reporting of carbon emissions, joining a diverse group of environmentally conscious organizations that now total over 300. Overseen by a board of directors comprising a number of North American states and provinces, the Climate Registry collects greenhouse gas emissions data from its member organizations on a yearly basis, holding each to the same comprehensive and transparent reporting standards.

As the only airline based in California, Virgin America took a natural interest in weaving sustainable practices into the heart of its business operations, noted David Pflieger, then Virgin America’s senior vice president of legal, government affairs, and sustainability. Previously, Dave Pflieger guided Virgin America to become a pioneer of sustainability in October 2008, when the passenger airline became the first in its sector to take part in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders initiative. Due to its more recent commitment to the Climate Registry, the airline bolstered its sustainability efforts by agreeing to provide more extensive emissions reports that reflect adherence to the registry’s heightened guidelines.

The strict monitoring and transparent reporting of greenhouse gas emissions is just one of many sustainable initiatives adopted by Virgin America, which has operated with a commitment to environmental sustainability since its inception in 2007. In addition to emissions-reducing innovations such as single engine taxing, cost index flying, and advanced avionics, the carrier introduced a new fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft boasting 25 percent more C02 efficiency than comparable fleets.

5 Tips For Staying Healthy On A Plane

5 Tips For Staying Healthy On A Plane

If you’re a person who is constantly flying for work, chances are you’ve experienced the displeasure of getting a cold or flu after your flight. While airplanes are an extremely convenient and fast way to get from one place to another, they can be very unhealthy environments. Luckily, there are ways to prevent yourself from suffering. Here are a few tips for staying healthy on an airplane.

1) Stay hydrated.

Because of the altitude and low humidity, airplanes are extremely dehydrating environments. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids before and during your flight. One way to make sure you stay hydrated is to prepare beforehand by bringing an empty water bottle to the airport. You can’t bring liquids through security, but if you bring an empty water bottle and fill it whenever you can, your health has a greater chance staying in tip-top shape.

2) Don’t drink alcohol before boarding the plane.

If you’re a nervous flyer or you just want to socialize at the airport, it can be tempting to grab a few drinks at the airport bar before your flight. However, alcohol is very dehydrating, and when you’re going to be in a low-humidity environment like the plane, you’re going to be feeling pretty dehydrated already. Dehydration lowers your resistance to cold and flu germs. Your immune system is also suppressed when you drink. If you want to go to the bar, drink some seltzer water and increase your chances of arriving at your destination feeling healthy.

3) Be active.

If you’re on a long flight, one risk you have to watch out for is developing leg clots or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The risk of DVTs increases during long periods of immobility, such as time spent sitting on a plane with minimal leg room. Dehydration and low cabin pressure can also cause leg clots. Trying to create situation in which your muscles are contracting your legs are moving. Don’t do any strenuous exercise such as deep knee bends, but it’s a good idea to contract your calf muscles.

4) Pack your own blanket and pillow.

You’ll probably want to get some sleep on the plane, and to stay comfortable, you’ll want a blanket and pillow. There aren’t many airlines that give out blankets and pillows anymore because they harbor germs, but if your airline hands them out, it’s a good idea to forgo those amenities for your own.

5) Prevent dry eyes.

In a dehydrating environment like an airplane, passengers are bound to suffer from dry eyes. While dry eyes may not seem like a huge cause for alarm, people are more likely to rub their eyes when they are dry. Touching your eyes is one of the main ways that cold and flu viruses are transmitted. If you wear contact lenses, remove them before boarding your flight. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently and try to limit the number of times you touch your eyes.

Airplanes can be a difficult environment for even the toughest immune system. Take these precautions to make sure you land feeling just as healthy as you were when you took off.

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Dave Pflieger Presents: Travel Inspiration

I’ve had the pleasure and oppourtunity to travel to some incredible places and decided to share some of my favorite travel quotes here with photos from my travels to help inspire you guys to get out there!

Dave Pflieger | Travel Inspiration by DavePflieger

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