April 14, 2005

winged beasts of procrastination

Airlines I Have Flown with destinations and amusing anecdotes, if any

Spurred by the realization that I've somehow never flown Lufthansa.

  • Aero Continente: Lima-Iquitos, Iquitos-Lima, Lima-Cuzco. Run by a notorious drug dealer and officially declared unsafe to fly by the USA.
  • Air Canada: Bazillions of trillions of times. Have gone seriously downhill.
  • Air China: Bangkok-Taiwan-SF. Only time I've had five seats to myself. And thank God for that, it was a transpacific flight and I was in rough shape. I forgave them the four-hour delay in the wee hours in Taiwan's airport where I was forced to reread Crichton's Timeline.
  • Air France: Toronto-Paris-Toronto, back in '87.
  • Air India: London-Delhi-Bangkok. Shabby but serviceable.
  • Air New Zealand: LAX-Auckland-Sydney and back. Excellent.
  • Air Niugini: Cairns-Port Moresby-Mt Hagen and back. Not bad by Third World standards. Mt Hagen was raked by a freak lightning storm as we approached, so we had to abort the first landing with the wheels lowered and the flaps up, only time that's happened to me.
  • Air Transat: UK-Canada several times. Tiny 'cattle class' seat pitch. But cheap.
  • AirTran: aka ValuJet. Cross-country once. Shrug. Standard discount airline.
  • All Nippon Airways: Narita-Kai Tak. Very civilized.
  • America West: SFO-PHX-NYC and back. I like 'em cause they upgraded me to first class once.
  • American Airlines: Many a time. Miami-Lima probably the most memorable.
  • British Airways: Several times, esp. Cape Town-London. Nice but the bastards gave me food poisoning last time I flew them.
  • Buddha Air: Jomsom-Pokhara. The lesson learned here is "do not fly an airline named after a man whose first credo was 'Life is suffering.'" No, actually it was a great ride. Prop plane carrying apples and people from the nonexistent airport in Jomsom, high in the Himalaya. They passed out balls of cotton to stick in your ears before they started the engine. If not for that I'd be deaf right now. Amazing scenery.
  • Cameroon Airlines: Douala-Kinshasa-Harare. Hoo boy. Where to start? The security guards having a keg party at the airport? The single sullen one on duty who refused to search my day pack? The broken metal detector and X-ray machine? The open thievery of luggage on the tarmac? Or the unscheduled stopover in Kinshasa to offload something, in the height of a civil war, just a week before the rebel army reached the outskirts of the city? Boy was I glad to see Harare.
  • Canadian Airlines: Many times, esp. student standby Ottawa-Toronto or back. I was kind of appalled when they got bought out.
  • Cathay Pacific: Hong Kong-Bali. Very civilized. First time I had my own seat-back monitor.
  • Continental: Toronto-Newark and others. Shrug.
  • Delta: New York-Florida and others. Shrug.
  • Dragonair: Shanghai-Hong Kong. They fed us a great meal during a 45-minute flight.
  • Eastern: Toronto-Florida. I was insanely excited. Of course I was eight. (On reflection, I'm not sure how excited I was; family legend has it that I was asked after my first flight what my favourite thing about it was, and after sober reflection I responded "Breakfast.")
  • easyJet: Several times, esp. London-Barcelona to go skydiving. They all but push you onto the plane with cattle prods, but at these prices how can you complain?
  • EgyptAir: Athens-Cairo and Cairo-Athens. Would have been a nicer ride without the handcuffed prisoner who shat his pants with fear/defense mechanism and was dragged off the plane before we took off.
  • Emirates: Paris-Dubai-Mumbai and back. Very nice. Their movie channel played "The Maltese Falcon" and "Wait Until Dark", and their chess program, really weirdly, played the Alekhine Defense every time.
  • Greyhound Air: Winnipeg-Toronto. Because I couldn't stand the thought of going any further across the prairies overland.
  • JetBlue: NYC-Buffalo etc. Best American airline.
  • Jetsgo: Toronto-NYC and back. Gone and unlamented.
  • Lan Peru: Juliaca-Lima. Lengthy delay, but still beats Aero Continente.
  • Monarch: London-Gibraltar, where you actually have to drive across the runway to leave the airport. A red light nobody ever runs.
  • Northwest: A few. Always through Minneapolis.
  • Olympic Airlines: London-Athens and back. Shrug.
  • Pan Am: Toronto-Florida, I think. Alas, how the mighty are fallen.
  • Qantas: Ayers Rock-Sydney and Sydney-Melbourne and back. No crashes! Also I've been to the little Outback town where they were born.
  • Ryanair: London-Dublin, Dublin-Manchester. They all but push you onto the plane with cattle prods, but at these prices how can you complain?
  • SkyEurope: Paris-Bratislava and back. Long mechanical delay, but cheap, and hot scantily clad stewardesses.
  • Southwest: LAX-OAK-SEA corridor. They run like a charm, they're cheap, and they make money.
  • Singapore Airlines: London-Sydney and back. Best. Airline. Ever.
  • Sri Lankan Airlines: Trivandrum-Colombo, Colombo-Mumbai. Ultraparanoid - you get searched as you enter the plane - but I suppose with good reason. Otherwise fine.
  • TACA: SFO-Belize and back. I remember nothing.
  • Thai Airways: Phuket-Singapore. Very civilized. Good food.
  • TWA: SFO-Nawlins-NYC-SFO. Another unprovoked first-class upgrade. Annoying stopping in St. Louis wherever you go though.
  • United: A zillion times. Bleah. The tapioca of airlines.
  • Virgin Atlantic: NYC-LON and back. My preferred way across the Atlantic.
  • Virgin Blue: Brisbane-Cairns and Sydney-Brisbane-Darwin. Excellent cheap option.


I have never flown US Airways. Their hub is in Pittsburgh and my sister has this recurring dream which indicates it might be wise to stay out of that city for, like, ever.

I'm probably forgetting some.

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