layovers ✈︎ air travel and commercial aviation
Summary: The acclaimed air travel podcast. We love travel, we love planes, we love airports. Did we mention we love planes?
Flight 099. Airways, the board game & softball, an avgeek game. Food galore, from the AirMos burger manual to the LHR AA chorizo hot dog, to the not-really-parisian Admirals baguette. UA Polaris confusion and AA absent service (ok, more like hit-and-miss): Paul and Alex compare their US travels (there's also AeroMexico, JetBlue, and Paul flies the longest possible AA route with a pajama). From windows shades (down) to wearing shades at facial boarding (and we debate facial recognition at airports around the world and how we feel about it all). Is the US mobile passport worth it? How to spot you're in a 757: the fierce take off, and interior pieces falling off. Paul has his best flight since we started recording, on Qatar in a Q Suite, and then gets baffled by an epic customer service delight in Doha. What would you do with 28 million, buy the Japanese Air Force One 747 of fly the new ANA seats (with a MASSIVE HUGE SCREEN) continuously for the rest of your life? Stockholm ARN secrets: the underground lake that warms and cools the airport, and the transfer trick between T5 and T2. Betsy is back in a very cool beer can.
Flight 098. Shinkansen Gran Class, Four Seasons Mexico and Popeye Chicken sandwich, are we still an aviation podcast? The Eagle's Nest at LAX. Aer Pluto Lingus. SFO goes stupid with plastic. The 777x decompressed explosively. The 737 MAX is still wingless. Alex gets BA at the top of their game for an almost-diverted flight. NRT gets e-gates and Tokyo will get aircrafts over it (point your finger at HND). Qatar insists on business buses. Norwegian could get WOWd. WOW is reborn by the way of a Le Carre enigma. Paul finally flies AA, loves the B&O headphones. ANA goes BONX (and Alex goes ANA). Delevingne coffee at Heathrow. AA illogical re-re-refits. We meet listeners, thank you so much everyone (and for your patience!). Extraordinary times in Hong Kong, at HKG and for Cathay. Is Detroit DTW our #1 US airport? A magnificent Livermore Fest.
Flight 097. The TWA hotel is everything we wanted. Long haul narrowbodies, a new old debate. USB-A versus USB-C, a new new debate (we just want good power!). Delta goes all in for good economy food, the US goes all in for the Open Skies (fifth freedoms, please!!). The cool Virgin Pride flight. The not very cool alone-in-the-dark-forgotten-by-Air-Canada experience. The under water 747 (and a few others to dive into, pun intended). The Brussels airport Stella, the 747 Microsoft simulator cockpit (that's one option), the PW2000 engine BBQ. American retires its MD80 and Qantas goes domestic for the end of its 747s. The cheap ERJs and the gone CRJ. What is the S in A321S (not SSSS, that's another story). The new Istanbul has Segway wheelchairs and some surprising live indoor mapping help. Uber chooses Melbourne for its VTOL trials (no FREE-something stupid rebrand) and MEL goes 3 runways (with a wind situation). Singapore extends the A380, but Air France will not (AT ALL). The passing of Continental (this time for good), and the passing of the father of Airbus (what a man, what a legacy!).
Flight 096. Emirates fleet rejigging, 787 trashing, and basic business. The airport Lambo is nicer than the new Air Force One. What's in a name, MAX or no MAX, and other Boeing decisions. IAG steals the Paris Air Show PR. The A321XLR is amongst us. After beers and whisky, BA goes sparkling. What does Embraer actually stands for (it's a fun one). Space Jet gets a mystery sale. Do you need a door in your seats? Qantas retires its 747, pushes the 380 to its end. The Sunrise 4th zone, after the cabin, cockpit and lavatories, it's not a cargo nightclub. The LHR expansion finally revealed (for 2070 surely). A Turkish seat malfunction (the switches are amazing). The bespoke Airbus lettering (made by hand?). Germany blocks Norway (well, a Norwegian 737 MAX, haha). Lufthansa will also price its business seats. SkyTrax announces its 457th awards of the year (Qatar and Singapore are on top). A new way to enjoy Cathay First. The new IST is a big bet but impresses.
Flight 095. EVA bakes pizza. Finnair does whisky. Airbus goes 50. Uber goes NY copter. Alex flies to South Africa, misplaces stuff (angry breakfast and angry lounge shower follow). Paul flies the Q Suite to Singapore, marvels at the Jewel waterfall (rain vortex!). United goes green. AF/KLM goes V plane. Alex survives a chipped E190 with rocky suspensions to Toronto. Paul falls in love with Singapore Airlines (again!) but damages a bin. The future of Changi T5. The A220 becomes enhanced. De Havilland is back. Introducing the MRJ CRJ Space Jet (or something). VIP Terminals. Paul flies EVA, loves the lounge pizza, the rest, well… Alex gets a crush on Toronto. Why YYZ?
Flight 094. Niki Lauda the legend who pushed death aside. Beers and more beers: Betsy makes a come back, BA adds a secret First Class bottled beer, and more on the Speedbird 100 (toilet clog, anyone?). From Nando's to Taco Bell, zeitgeist food in travel (and debating whether there is one or two Michelin star airport restaurants worldwide). BA goes whisky, JetBlue opts for treason (I mean, Pepsi, really?). United goes Spiderman, Avianca and women liveries. Alex flies the SWISS 77W, in 7A (Paul's favorite seat), but gets his wifi gobbled up (and Paul offers a trick to avoid paying for Swiss throne seats, and how to get an F experience on the cheap). None of us get thrown out of a plane (but one stupid passenger did in NZ, good!). Iberia measures your carry-on in augmented reality, and we measure the worst Aeroflot 1492 surviving passenger. Delta tests free wifi for all, no matter the seat back IFE comeback, and MUC tests what AMS already offers, seamless X-ray scanning. Cathay Move Beyond business, and attempts to move beyond a very murky HNA / HK Express situation (Alex wants to never move beyond the HK theme park however). Boeing fails to regain trust, whilst the 737 MAX is still thrustless. Google's superapp, Amazon's supperairport (and flight search!). Qatar reshuffles its fleet (and hates the 340, yay!) and goes Canada whilst Etihad goes Serbia. The South American game, some losers, some winners (a Ryanair of LatAm). Paul flies to a WeChat airport (in the midst of removing paper strips in its tower). The incredible LY001 747 history, along with a record that will never be broken. The TLV security measures, past and present, from VIP to sheruts.
Flight 093. Paul sounds like a robot (sorry, guys), Alex sounds authoritative (he's always right, no?). The BA Speedbird 100 beer (when need Glen to assess it!). Some on-board pop that foams too much (Alex is the worst passenger). On-board food: increasing portions, farm-to-plane, rooftop potatoes. After the on-board food: the toilet to passenger ratio revealed (but also how to cram gold in a lavatory). Don't get too much on-board food: getting weighted to board (do the 7 layers of clothing count?). The future of ISL Ataturk and Mexico's airports (and BER, the Fyre Festival of airports). The tricky category C airports in Europe, Innsbruck, LCY and others that require special training (and specific technologies). The continuing acts of customer experience contritions by BA (afraid of JetBlue maybe?) and United (but it goes only so far). JAL really did name its low cost Zip Air Tokyo (and used Word to create the logo). The best Priority Pass lounges awards. Tons of feedback. And the uncertain future of the Sukhoi Superjet 100, after the sad tragedy.
Flight 092. Alex loves Innsbruck 3000. Paul loves running in CDG 3000. We adore the new TWA infinity edge pool 3000. We love the new United livery 3000. We love tiny airports that behave like big ones, 3000. We love the BA coronation chicken 3000, the best shot haul airplane food in Europe. We love Emirates and Qantas IFE data 3000, and luxury brands love Emirates 3000. We're fascinated by the post Jet Airways Indian market, 3000. We do not love United crew who resell ticket, Emirates First passengers who steal bottles, or Cathay staff who steal cutlery, 3000. We're intrigued by the Japanese low-cost market, 3000, baffled at the Hong Kong Airlines infighting, 3000, and by the Taiwan airline heirs saga, 3000. Lufthansa loves Europe 3000. We're aghast at the Boeing Charleston revelations (3000?). We wish the US3 would actually stop whining, 3000. The new Japan era isn't 3000. United, 3000, Avengers, assemble …what? Yeah, Paul should really stop with those bad Endgame puns in those notes …3000.
Flight 091. Warning, doesn't contain images of any aircraft in distress. BA pizza app delivery to Lagos (so many questions!). Risk of cheese smell upon landing at Moscow DME (does that make immigration go faster?). Virgin Atlantic unveils a half door (but it has nice colors). Paul flies BA First with round buttons (but fix that 789 IFE remote for Pete's sakes!!). Alex bids his Etihad way up (just to be jarred by the backward seating). JetBlue announces the worsts-kept secret in the industry: it's coming to Europe (and we devise their winning strategy for LCY). Flying in style: in-flight bars or lounges (more precisely, being alone or not). The DME Navigator lounge seat Paul and Alex fight over. The New Istanbul looks grandiose (congrats! And thank you for our ever-incredible listeners for the pictures just after opening). Ethiopia overtakes DXB (kinda) and DWC decides to wait for the Heathrow's third runway (kinda again). Grand Stansted Tour hilarious rant. Why is Jet Airways even trying anymore? We can't avoid discussing the 737 MAX. And DEL, well, we'll let you judge…
Flight 090. BA flies to the wrong destination (Ryanair mocks, but did worse) and introduces its shortest hop ever. WOW is gone, Jet Airways is close to be gone, but StarLux goes bold. AMS has a direct view on the luggage delivery system (WHAT?!). Astana is no more (just the name of the city, we recorded 079 just at the right time!). Cathay buys Hong Kong Express (did we call it?). ANA gets its first A380, and a very cute one. The Russia 860-seater double-decker escalator-filled plane that never was (but engineers designed folding wing tips). The Irkut MC-21 flies to compete with the 320/737. Qantas mulls crazy ideas for its ultra long haul flights (but, really, a space to stretch our legs is all we'd hope for). The LHR hawk is so smart (the Singapore stowaway too?). Cool flight deck stories at Delta (family goals!) and JetBlue (PA goals!). More to the 737 story. The RIX airfield that you can't miss. And yes, BA introduce the Club Suite …what do we think?
Flight 089. The Ethiopian disaster, the 737 MAX grounding and aftermath. A dress, a baby and a stupid passenger enter aircrafts, who gets tasered? (Not the red badge!) Lufthansa fights skiplagging, on-boards doctors (amazing program!!), ditches four engines aircrafts (and Airbus is buying the 380 back!) The best wine and champagne in the sky (but where is Emirates?) Random AirDrop, the new in-flight game. United prepares a new globe (be careful, it's delicate!) and BA unveils its last vintage livery. Cathay eyes HK Express (and we eye the HKG Qantas lounge). Do not ever fly the SAS A340 LN-RKP (it sucks). Be careful with iPad stands that look like a knife (Paul knows). Air Astana keeps Diet Coke refrigerated just for Alex, whilst Paul embarks on a depiction of the sky color of beautiful Astana, Alex rocks the jacket on a (limo)bike whilst Paul explains fuel hedging — Paul clearly needs to up his game to catch up with being Alex cool.
Flight 088. The end of the A380. Color printing is key to enter MEX. The new world of electronic authorizations of travel. The delicate art and science of aircraft forecasting (and everybody gets it wrong). The real prices of aircrafts. Rolls-Royce is losing a ton of money. Toulouse, both a name and a city. Wings can't be red anymore. Alex flies to SFO, or at least tries to, gets humiliated on the way before experiencing a comedy of errors. Paul flies to SFO via the long route, navigating the bowels of DXB, not sure his luggage would ever follow. Process versus experience, comparing two fantastic airlines, Emirates and Cathay. Did Cathay steal the Lufthansa seats at SFO? Alex tries Aeromexico and flies over the cancelled new MEX. SFO gets an observation deck, only for Star Alliance, which might mean Etihad too soon. Air France and KLM need couple counseling. Paul gets mistaken for Jason Bourne.
Flight 087. The beeping T-shirt, A Star Wars Story. Paul falls in love with Ethiopian, reviews Asiana and JAL. IAG gives up on Norwegian. WOW has no more wow. FlyBe might be saved. NRT celebrates 40, expands new signage, offers no-nonsense security, but no more whisky. JAL's First shoe shine service. A snow globe crashes. The never-ending 787 Trent story: ANA incident, Norwegian replacements. BA announces 747 retirement plans (it's SOON!). FRA is building a new terminal (more stupid layouts?). Premium business, and more fare segmentation. Alcohol makes people dangerously stupid: a JAL pilot arrested and fired, a passenger hijacks an Aeroflot 737, and WestJet sues intoxicated passenger for diversion (we're rooting for WestJet!). BA plays the wrong track.
Flight 086. Remembering Herb Kelleher, how he changed the aviation world, his legacy, his lessons, his arm wrestling. The Miracle of the Hudson, as witnessed by Alex. FRA comes to its senses and asks passengers to not come to the airport. Tipping flight attends, for or against? United loves Pacific Blue, Premium Purple, Atlantic Amethyst, and Apple. Cook your own United food. Is there always a doctor in the plane? Gulf Air goes "boutique", British Airways goes vintage, Aer Lingus goes non-sense, S7 stays a very bright green horse. No fancy dressing, no noise, no food liberation, the lounge etiquettes. The last B727 passenger flight. Will the A220-500 be built in the USA? The US shutdown effects, from security lapses to Delta not getting its A220s, to pizza deliveries. The Amadeus exploit, no seat or the ATR oxygen, what's the worse safety lapse? With QR getting full EU access, should BA move to Qatar post-Brexit? BCN uses MS Paint to create the worse e-gates in the world. Does drone geofencing work? Do McNuggets in lounge work? Our best 2018 flight memory (cheeky and charming, maybe?).
Flight 085. HKG gates numbers, HKG electronic security, HKG landside shopping — a ton of HKG minutiae. A220 dividers debate, A220 sales success, A220 charcuterie board — a ton of A220 ingredients. MNL safety lapses, MNL domestic adventure, MNL abandoned Xiamen 737 — a ton of MNL mischief. Boeing longest range, Boeing sci-fi wing, Boeing Norwegian Iran jam — a ton of Boeing scores. Brexit IAG headache, Brexit German Rolls-Royce, Brexit remote stand — a ton of Brexit nonsense. BA turbulence fear, CX turbulence coffee gimbal, China high terrain — a ton of turbulence dread. LGW drone hysteria, LHR drone stoppage, eagles drone intercept — a ton of drone frenzy. LX cancellation, LH delays, FRA bus strike — a ton of stupidity. A Beech H18, Dan Dan Mien, the China Coast Pub — a ton of elegant delights.