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Monday 7 November 2016

Aviation: The Present & The Past

Welcome to my blog post on The Present and Past of Aviation! 

*Some photos are credited to the respective photographers from Airliners.net 

I decided to do this blog to highlight the changes that took place between now and before and why we should appreciate what we have today. It is definitely an improvement over the past especially flying in Premium classes. The lounges and the in-flight products are matched with the technology available today. With lots of competition these days, the major airlines play a role to keep loyal customers happy. The ones that are in the 3 major alliances benefit more than those airlines without an alliance. So without further ado, let's begin! 

The bar located at the first class on the Emirates A380 aircraft

Fancy taking a shower during in-flight? Now you can with Emirates and Etihad! (Airbus A380 only) 


Air Travel changes as new technology are introduced, it can be a good thing or bad thing depends on one's perspective. For me, I think there are more pros than cons as we are now spoilt for choices even with the existence of the Low-Cost Carriers. Would one prefer to pay more for comfort or for a cheap ticket? So like this phrase " You pay for what you get " applies. However, this excludes flight delays or cancellation which the airline regardless of what status has to be responsible for it. The contract between the passenger and the airline (Booking of a ticket) ensures that the passengers get from Point A to B at that specific time, so if the airline fails to deliver, compensation isn't too unreasonable to ask for especially flying on Low-Cost Carriers. 

Flights from the past 

Expensive air tickets, no Individual In-Flight Entertainment system and better legroom space in Economy Class, for those who travel before the year 2000 would know how travelling is like before the likes of In-Flight Entertainment system was introduced to the aviation world. The reason for the more expensive airfares back then is due to the lack of competition especially when the Airlines Alliance (Oneworld, Star Alliance and Skyteam) weren't formed. Back then, there were many airlines flying on 5th freedom routes which are great for us, airline enthusiasts and usually, air tickets of these 5th freedom carriers are cheaper than the home airline. 

These 2 airlines are now in the history of U.S Aviation. They are sorely missed by the locals and for me, I haven't got the chance to see them. Braniff International Airlines and Pan Am. 

Pan Am Boeing 747 SP and Japan Airlines Boeing 747-100 in the photo below

Braniff International Boeing 727-200 (Lots of them)

Emirates Airbus A300-600R during its early days 

Avianca Boeing 707-300 

Cabin interior of aircraft in the past 

Cabin interior of a DC-10 

Concorde's interior 

Comet 4's interior 

Pan Am's Boeing 707-300 Cabin interior 

The old Boeing interior, notice the small overhead compartment 

The old Business class cabin 

Back in the 70s, there were lounges on the wide-bodies for this case this is TWA's Boeing 747. 

First Generation In-Flight Entertainment System 

Kuwait Airways Airbus A340-300 Cabin

Vietnam Airlines Airbus A330-200 (Old Cabin)

Back then, there was no In-Flight Entertainment System, just the good seat pitch and good food to be content with. Airlines will provide magazines and newspapers for you to pass time. If the flights are long, it can be suffering if you don't have anything to do. Sleeping for me on aircraft was a hard thing to do and I remember how tired I am when flying on long haul flights to other parts of the world. 

Cabin interior photos of today (Economy Class) 

We are spoilt for choices for the latest technology from the different companies which the airline select to entertain us the finest entertainment to earn business from us. This applies to the major airlines especially the top 3 from the Middle East (Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways)

Xiamen Air's Boeing 787-8 Economy Class cabin

Air France's Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class 

Business and First Class of today

Etihad's First-class - see how luxurious it is? 

Kenya Airways Boeing 787 Business Class 

Low-Cost Carriers Cabin 

Usually, with tight seat pitch for Economy Class and some airlines offer premium cabin (Premium Economy or Business Class) - cheaper than Premium Airlines. 

For Low-Cost Carriers, you pay for what you want so that makes it more flexible for budget-conscious travellers. 

This is Scoot's Boeing 787 Economy Class cabin 

Norwegian's Boeing 737-800 cabin 

The Future 

The future of aviation is twin-engine aircraft and it looks like they will be replacing the 4-engine aircraft like the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 family in the near future. The reason is cost, the lower the cost for the airlines, the better for the financial side of the company. With lower cost, the savings are passed on to the travellers.

Airbus A350-1000

Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Aeromexico's special livery 

Recently there are retirement parties for the following aircraft types: 

Airbus A340-300 (Lovely Air Tahiti Nui's livery)

Airbus A340-500 (Azerbaijan's beautiful livery)

Etihad's Airbus A340-600 landing at London Heathrow

Cathay Pacific has retired it is Boeing 747-400 earlier this year

Because of the availability of newer aircraft with lower operating cost, the airlines are replacing the above aircraft with them. Sad for aviation, but it is bound to happen. This is part and parcel of life. 

Airlines do hold farewell flights for long-serving aircraft such as the Boeing 747-400. I have done a trip before and you can check out my Singapore Airlines Farewell Flight Trip reports over here: Click here for part 1 and click here for part 2. 

For the pilots 

Working on the aircraft is much easier now with a computer to help them. In the past, the older aircraft requires a crew of 3 including 2 pilots and an engineer. Here are some photos

This is the engineer's panel for the 3 crew cockpit aircraft. His job is to monitor the aircraft's performance. 

This is Japan Airlines DC-10-40 aircraft cockpit 

The modern cockpit of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner (photo below) is managed by 2 crew. For long haul flights, there would be a 3rd or 4th crew member to rotate with the crew to ensure every flight crew has adequate rest. 

Our future of aviation looks bright with many brilliant ideas are being implemented in today's aviation. I may publish part 2 in the near future.

I hope you enjoy this blog post, so stay tuned for the next part. 

Charles Ryan Teo


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