The Return of the Airship?

Dave Pflieger - The Return of the Airship-

When you think of modern day aviation, you probably picture an airplane, right? And although they are the dominant form of air travel today, they weren’t always so popular. The main method of aviation before the dawn of the airplane was the dirigible airship. You may know these better as blimps. While there are different kinds of dirigibles, one of the most popular forms was the blimp. Dirigibles became incredibly popular during World War I and are infamous for the Hindenburg disaster. The popular rock band Led Zeppelin is named after an airship.


And while they have been out of the spotlight for quite some time, they could be making a comeback.


A British aviation company, Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), is looking to infuse the travel industry with a dose of nostalgia. The company has recently struck a deal with travel company Henry Cookson Adventures in order to feature its new, 21st Century aircraft in tours.


The tours will take the aircraft on long expeditions across the world. The first two destinations for the tour include North America and the Middle East. On the way to North America, tourists will be able to see the Atlantic Ocean, while Middle East-bound travelers will get a breathtaking view of the Alps.


The Airlander, HAV’s main aircraft, is currently undergoing strict testing programs designed specifically to ensure safety and airworthiness. The company’s prototype made its first flight sometime in May. The commercial, passenger aircraft is designed to fly at 80 knots, carry 10 tons and reach a 20,000ft maximum.


The Airlander’s design draws inspiration from classic airplanes, helicopters and other aircrafts in order to achieve the ultimate aircraft design. The true beauty of the aircraft’s design is its sustainability. The Airlander’s design allows for vertical takeoff and creates little to no pollution; the aircraft is also inexpensive to operate and can be flown for several weeks at a time; in short, it is the ultimate aircraft.


I’m incredibly excited to see the real world applications that HAV’s masterpiece can be used for. Who knows, maybe one day we will all be traveling by an HAV 21st century aircraft.

from Dave Pflieger |CEO of Ravn Alaska


Travel Tips for Summer

Summer is officially here! And as the days get longer, the nights get warmer and the beaches get packed with sunbathers, it is only natural that humans want to explore the world. And in order to explore the world, we utilize one of the greatest inventions in recent history: the airplane. Unfortunately, millions of other humans want to travel, and that can create some headaches. With that being said, I figured I could list a few helpful tips for traveling this summer, whether you are flying to another state or another country.


Pack Light

One of the biggest mistakes any person can make while traveling is to pack too much. People like to pack their clothing, their toiletries, electronics, reading material, and so on. And while those things are important, what I am focusing on here is to ensure that you pack the bare necessities. Bring only the exact number of clothes that you know you will need. Do not bring your laptop, tablet, smartphone, speakers and headphones. Only bring what you actually need and what you know you will use. By keeping your number of items as small as possible, you are cutting down on check-in fees for luggage and the amount of stuff you have to carry around with you.


Dress Comfortably

If you are flying first-class then you can probably ignore this tip, but if you are flying economy you are well aware of the fact that comfort on an airplane is as realistic as a unicorn. That is why it is important to make the best of an uncomfortable situation. Wear loose clothing that allows your body to breathe (like sweatpants and a hoodie), wear shoes that can be easily taken off and put back on, and throw on a baseball cap in order to avoid doing your hair. Essentially, wear whatever you need to in order to sleep easier.


Stay Hydrated

This one may not even be on your mind while flying, but it is always great to stay hydrated on a flight. Dehydration on a flight, especially a long one, is never good. Experts recommend that you drink enough water so that you are forced to use the lavatory every so often. This not only keeps your body hydrated, but also keeps your body moving, so that you do not run the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis.

from Dave Pflieger Airline Advisor at World Bank Group

Biometrics in Aviation Pt.2

Dave Pflieger Biometrics in Aviation

Last month I had mentioned the emergence of biometrics in the airline industry. The new sector is looking to disrupt the industry in order to create more innovative and hassle-free ways of airline travel. One of the methods of biometrics that had been discussed was using fingerprint and iris scanners for easy identification. Now it seems as though a Scandinavian airline is taking things to the next level with a much more invasive method of identification.


Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) just recently told the public that it had successfully implanted a chip inside of the hand of one of its employees. The chip allows the employee to enter the airline’s lounge or to simply board a plane without any additional method of identification. While the airline understands that it will not likely be able to implant chips into any of its passengers, it does hope that this technology helps open the door to new and much more commercial innovations.


The biometric chip is part of SAS’ technology project, SAS Labs. The project is designed to create and inspire new and exciting ways to disrupt the airline industry in an effort to push it forward. The SAS Labs project has also resulted in another technological method of easy identification in the form of bluetooth luggage tags. These tags will make it easier for travelers to claim their luggage. The tags are reusable and could change the face of the already incredibly infuriating baggage claim process.


As I’ve mentioned before, technology is changing every facet of our lives. From airlines to construction to entertainment, it’s all changing. And now with SAS having successfully implanted a chip into the hand of an employee, this could become the future of airline travel. And whether or not this chip will actually catch on and become mainstream (most likely not) it is almost certain that a less intrusive method will become the norm. With almost every major airline working on this fascinating technology, it is only a matter of time until we can board an airplane in a matter of minutes without the use of traditional identification.


To be honest, I was not expecting to provide an update on biometrics so soon, but it seems as if this sector is looking to disrupt as quickly as possible. I will be sure to keep you guys posted as more news becomes available.

from Dave Pflieger Airline Advisor at World Bank Group

Increased Carry-On Sizes

Since the dawn of the airline industry, people have needed a solution for transporting their belongings on flights. And while a fair amount of luggage and belongings can be taken and stored in the bowels of the plane. But what about the more fragile belongings that we want to bring with us? This is exactly where carry-on baggage comes into play. We can bring our smaller luggage with us and store it into the overhead compartment. Unfortunately, however, most times, the standard carry-on sizes on most major airlines still do not quite cut it. But, two airlines are looking to change that.

According to a recent report from, two major American airlines have expanded their accepted carry-on sizes. Virgin America is now accepting carry-on luggage with dimensions of 10x16x24. To put that into perspective, most major airlines only allow carry-on luggage with the dimensions 9x14x22. That may not sound like very much on paper, but when you are already stressed because you have just waited for what feels like hours in baggage check-in and security screening and are concerned about whether or not your carry-on can fit into the overboard compartment, those few inches absolutely make a difference.

For all of you frequent flyers, if Virgin’s new dimensions sound like a dream come true for your bulky laptop bag or suitcase, Alaska Airlines is going a step further. With a whopping 10x17x24, Alaska Airlines is certainly the leader in spacious carry-on sizes. To make matters even better, Alaska recently announced that Virgin, a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines, would be implementing the newer, more spacious sizes soon.

The newer, more generous dimensions can be attributed to Alaska and Virgin’s new Airbus fleet that comes fully loaded with over-sized overhead compartments.

While I certainly understand how this news may seem strange or miniscule to those of you who do not fly very often or have carry-on luggage, but for those that do, it is almost life saving. This will certainly win Alaska and Virgin some well-deserved bonus points from travelers.

from Dave Pflieger Airline Advisor at World Bank Group