I flew on JetBlue’s brand-new Airbus A220 and saw why it’s the perfect plane to lead the airline into its next era

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

  • JetBlue Airways is the latest US airline to fly the Airbus A220, a next-generation aircraft to replace the airline’s Embraer E190s.
  • The 140-seat aircraft is configured in a unique 2-3 arrangement and gives flyers more seating choices based on preference.
  • JetBlue plans to fly the aircraft across the country thanks to the aircraft’s 3,400-nautical mile range and fuel efficiency.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
JetBlue Airways has a new chariot awaiting its passengers, the ultra-modern Airbus A220.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

It’s among the rarest passenger aircraft flying in the US and JetBlue joins Delta Air Lines in flying passengers on the aircraft. Unlike Delta, however, JetBlue went straight for the larger model, the A220-300.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Read More: I flew on Delta’s newest jet, the controversial Airbus A220-300, and it’s my new favorite airliner in the US

JetBlue will soon take customers across the country with the A220 thanks to its impressive 3,400-nautical mile range. But for now, it’s flying on popular routes between Boston and Florida.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

I flew on JetBlue’s new Airbus A220-300 from Boston to Tampa, Florida. Here’s what it was like.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

JetBlue has been flying the A220 since late April and the Boston-Tampa route has been its mainstay. Four daily flights between the cities were being flown by the aircraft at the time of my flight.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

I arrived at gate C9 at Boston Logan International Airport and there it was, one of JetBlue’s newest fleet members.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

At first, it was jarring to see this aircraft in JetBlue colors. I’ve been flying JetBlue for years and had gotten used to its two fleet types, the Embraer E190 and Airbus A320 family, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

A brilliant blue galley wall greets customers with JetBlue branding and the name of the aircraft. JetBlue named its first A220 after Rob Dewar, the vice president and general manager of the CSeries program for Bombardier. Much like the aircraft, Dewar now works for Airbus.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

A total of 140 seats make up the all-economy cabin that’s split between what JetBlue calls “even more space” extra legroom seats and standard economy “core” seats.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

One of the best features of the A220 is that there’s something for every type of traveler thanks to the 2-3 seating configuration of the aircraft.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Larger groups traveling together, for example, can sit on the three-seat row side of the plane.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Alternatively, couples or solo travelers might want to sit on the two-seat row side.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 FlightJetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Read More: JetBlue just unveiled the ultra-modern cabin of its latest plane — take a look inside its brand-new Airbus A220 jets

Modern aircraft don’t typically feature this type of configuration. It’s a setup that the McDonnell-Douglas MD-80 and Boeing 717 series of aircraft are known for but those jets are being phased out by most airlines.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Read More: What it was like on the last fight of a Delta McDonnell Douglas ‘Mad Dog’ jet which were all just sent to an early retirement after 33 years in the sky

Having two-seat rows also means that there are no middle seats on one side of the aircraft.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

That’s why I chose a seat on the two-seat side. It gave me easier access to the aisle from the window seat.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

The aircraft’s mood lighting was in full effect for boarding. Flyers that hadn’t noticed they were booking a seat on a new plane certainly did once seeing the colored interior.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

We boarded at around 4 p.m. but it seemed like it was 10 p.m. by how dark it was on the inside. Having the windows shut did help to keep the plane cool, however, and the mood lighting gave the plane a futuristic feel.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Legroom for core seats is an above-average 32 inches. It’s not as much as JetBlue’s older Airbus A320 aircraft but it’s still quite spacious.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

I had no trouble getting comfortable in the seat.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Seat-back pockets also offer multiple pouches to store a multitude of items.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

In-flight entertainment is offered at every seat via 10.1-inch touch-screen systems.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

But for more natural entertainment, it’s hard to miss the enormous windows on these aircraft that were larger than my head. Getting a good view was no problem at all.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

In-flight power is also doubly offered on this aircraft. Passenger-facing 110v AC power outlets are located under the seats and USB charging ports are also found under the screens themselves.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Our aircraft was conveniently parked next to the Embraer E190, the jet that the A220 is replacing. JetBlue never bothered to update those aircraft and it shows when flying them.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

After pushback, the cabin was illuminated for takeoff in a required safety feature. I preferred this lighting compared to the mood lighting, at least while we were on the ground.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

We departed from Boston on time and blasted off toward Tampa. One of the A220’s selling features is its low noise levels and I was impressed at just how quiet it was on engine start and takeoff compared to other aircraft.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

We settled in at a cruising altitude of just 36,000 feet and flight attendants then began the in-flight service. I’d flown JetBlue before and knew to expect something close to normal in terms of snacks and drinks.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Flight attendants serve drinks from a trolley on this aircraft. One starts from the front while another from the back to minimize wait times.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

I was all set to enjoy the service when I opened my tray table and found the tray table in an utterly disgusting state. Spilled coffee and crumbs topped the table and I could feel the grime.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

It was surprising to see this not only because we had just come from JetBlue’s hub in Boston, where cleaners are supposed to go through the aircraft with a fine-tooth comb, but because this plane was less than one month old.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

I managed to get a few napkins and wipe off the table before enjoying my meal. First the drinks were offered and all standard soft drinks were available and served in normal-size cans.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Snacks came next with four of JetBlue’s signature snacks available. Passengers have to request which one they’d like instead of taking from a basket.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Once the in-flight service was complete, I decided to dive into a movie for the rest of the three-hour flight.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

There’s no remote to control the in-flight entertainment system but flyers can pair their devices or simply use the touch-screen functionality.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

This system is JetBlue’s newest and greets customers with their first name by matching seats with bookings.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

The home page is quite intuitive and provides a flight tracker as well as an overview of what the system offers.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

On tap for the flight was countless hours of movies…

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Television shows…

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Live television through DirecTV…

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

And games.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

A moving map also lets flyers keep track of the flight’s location.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Complimentary in-flight satellite WiFi is also offered on the aircraft through Viasat. Flyers can use the service from gate-to-gate and the satellite aspect of the services means fewer outages while over water.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

I wasn’t too impressed with the movie selection but did settle in on an old favorite, “Atomic Blonde” with Charlize Theron.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

A cool feature of the system is the picture-in-picture functionality that allows flyers to view the moving map while watching a movie. The flight’s progress is also displayed.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

We pressed on down towards Florida and I saw firsthand just how busy the East Coast was as other aircraft left contrails and were visible from the plane. Quite a few aircraft also buzzed past us heading back north.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

The aircraft truly lived up to its reputation for quietness and the cabin volume was incredibly low compared to other jets.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Our routing had us flying towards Miami while over the Atlantic but then a right turn had us cut across the state, making for an interesting sight-seeing adventure.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

We made landfall just north of Cape Canaveral, cutting through the center of Florida.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

We started down towards Tampa and made a 180-degree turn over Tampa Bay on the approach. The three-hour flight soon reached its conclusion thereafter.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

I was already a fan of the A220 but JetBlue really packed it full of great features to make the aircraft even better.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300 Flight
Flying on a JetBlue Airways Airbus A220-300.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 2021 Ford Bronco has arrived. Here’s how to figure out which version of the new SUV is right for you.

2021 Ford Bronco
2021 Ford Bronco.

  • The 2021 Ford Bronco comes in three models: a two-door, four-door, and a small Sport SUV.
  • There are seven Bronco trims and five Sport trims.
  • All offer 4×4 off-road capabilities.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The 2021 Ford Bronco was, without a doubt, one of the most anticipated and hyped vehicle announcements of 2020.

Ford’s reservation site crashing shortly after its launch is proof of just how excited people are for this thing. And as Ford begins shipping the Bronco to dealers, the entire three-vehicle family of rugged SUVs will soon be rolling down streets and off-road trails.

Instead of one Bronco model, Ford has given us three: There’s a small Bronco Sport version (which started shipping late last year), along with larger two-door and four-door Bronco SUVs, which Ford started sending to dealers this week. If you’re looking to order a new Bronco, though, you’ll have to wait until next year to take delivery, as Ford has 125,000 orders it’s working through already.

All three models are 4x4s and off-road capable. And within those various models are subsequently available trims and packages.

How are they all broken down? Let us walk you through it.

Bronco

Ford Bronco
2021 Ford Bronco two-door and four-door.

The Bronco will have seven different trims to choose from. Within those trims, there are also five available package options. The trim you choose will determine which package is available to you. The packages are:

  1. Standard: you get LED headlights, black door handles, mirror caps, fender flares, fender tie-down hooks, manual air-conditioning, and push-button start.
  2. Mid: you get ambient footwell lighting, an automatically dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone temperature control, heated front seats, Reverse Sensing System, and a whole host of driver assistance features.
  3. High: here, you get hardware from the Mid package, as well as a 12-inch center touchscreen, a 360-degree camera, additional sound-deadening materials, a Forward Sensing System, and wing mirror LED approach lights and spotlight.
  4. Lux: building off of High package features, you get adaptive cruise control, a Bang & Olufsen 10-speaker sound system plus subwoofer, Evasive Steering Assist, a heated steering wheel, a universal garage-door opener, two extra front row charging ports, a voice-activated touchscreen navigation system, and a wireless charging pad.
  5. Sasquatch: you get 17-inch black-painted aluminum wheels, 35-inch mud-terrain tires, electronic-locking front and rear axles, high-clearance suspension, fancy shock absorbers, and high-clearance fender flares.

You can see a breakdown of everything here, or just keep reading.

Bronco Base

2021 Ford Bronco.
2021 Ford Bronco.

This is your base-model Bronco. It comes with the seven-speed manual transmission (six regular gears and one crawler gear for low speeds and heavy-duty usage). Your standard equipment includes the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine, good for a claimed 270 horsepower and 310 pounds-feet of torque.

Ford says the Base consists of just the “absolute essentials” but is “ripe for customization.”

You can get the Base with the more powerful 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine – which produces a claimed 310 horsepower and 400 pounds-feet of torque – but if you do, you have to get it with the 10-speed automatic transmission.

Further standard hardware includes 16-inch silver steel wheels, 30-inch all-season tires, cloth seats, and 4×4.

Prices start at $28,500.

Available packages: Sasquatch.

Bronco Big Bend

2021 Ford Bronco.
2021 Ford Bronco.

Ford says the Big Bend is the one that gives you “creature comforts along with your standard Bronco features.”

These creature comforts include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, 17-inch aluminum wheels, 32-inch all-terrain tires, LED fog lamps, and cloth seats. Engine options include the 2.3-liter EcoBoost with the seven-speed manual or the 2.7-liter EcoBoost with the 10-speed automatic.

Prices start at $33,385.

Available packages: Sasquatch, Mid.

Black Diamond

2021 Ford Bronco.
2021 Ford Bronco.

The Black Diamond comes standard with 17-inch black-painted wheels and 32-inch all-terrain tires. It has a heavy-duty modular front bumper and a powder-coated steel rear. There are also rock rails, heavy-duty bash plates, auxiliary switches in the overhead console, rubberized flooring with drain plugs, and marine-grade vinyl seats.

Ford says this is the one for “next-level outdoor adventure complete with washout interior.”

Engine options, again, are between the 2.3-liter and the seven-speed manual or the 2.7-liter and the 10-speed automatic.

Prices start at $36,050.

Available packages: Sasquatch, Mid.

Outer Banks

2021 Ford Bronco.
2021 Ford Bronco.

This is the trim level that “puts off-road style and tech front and center,” according to Ford.

Your standard hardware includes the 2.3-liter Ecoboost, but of course, the 2.7-liter EcoBoost is an option. You also get 18-inch black-painted aluminum wheels, 32-inch all-terrain tires, signature LED head- and taillights, body-color exterior door handles, mirror caps, and fender flares, powder-coated tube steps, and cloth seats with a heated front row, though leather-trimmed seats are available.

Prices start at $38,955.

Available packages: Sasquatch, High, Lux.

Badlands

2021 Ford Bronco
2021 Ford Bronco.

The Badlands trim comes standard with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost with the 2.7-liter available as an option. It has 17-inch gray-painted, machine-face aluminum wheels, 33-inch all-terrain tires, Badlands suspension with a front stabilizer bar disconnect, a heavy-duty modular front bumper, a powder-coated steel rear, auxiliary switches in the overhead console, rubberized flooring with drain plus, and marine-grade vinyl seats.

Basically, it’s like the Black Diamond trim, but with a few more features.

Ford says it’s for the folks who “crave the extreme in their off-roading.”

Prices start at $42,095.

Available packages: Sasquatch, Mid, High, Lux.

Wildtrak

2021 Ford Bronco.
2021 Ford Bronco.

With the Wildtrak, you lose the option of the smaller engine and instead only get the 2.7-liter EcoBoost, exclusively paired with the 10-speed automatic transmission.

Ford says this one is “styled and made for high-speed off-roading.” Hardware includes a modular black-painted hard top, a Wildtrak hood graphic, carpet floors, and cloth seats with a heated front row. Leather-trimmed seats are available.

Prices start at $48,875.

Available packages: High, Lux

First Edition

2021 Ford Bronco.
2021 Ford Bronco.

Sitting at the top of the Bronco’s trim levels is the First Edition. It comes standard with Sasquatch and Lux package hardware. Additionally, there’s a safari bar, carpeted floors, 35-inch tires, a unique interior, leather-trimmed seats with a heated front row, a 10-way power driver’s seat, modular black-painted hardtop, and First Edition hood and bodyside graphics.

The 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine and the 10-speed automatic are standard here, with Ford saying that it’s limiting production of the First Edition to just 3,500 examples.

Prices start at $59,305.

Unfortunately, all reservations for the First Edition have already been filled. Sorry.

Bronco Sport

Ford Bronco Sport
2021 Ford Bronco Sport.

The Bronco Sport is the small SUV member of the Bronco lineup. It’s not as off-road-dedicated as the other Broncos, but it still appears to be pretty capable in its own right. This is the one for folks who might want a more “normal” SUV, not something as hardcore as the other ones are.

Base

2021 Ford Bronco Sport.
2021 Ford Bronco Sport.

The Base Sport is the cheapest one you can get. Standard features include a manual liftgate, flip-up rear glass, a carbon-black grille with a black Bronco badge, roof rack side rails, a trunk-mounted bottle-opener, single-zone manual climate settings, first-row carpeted floor mats, cloth seats, 4×4, the 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine, and the eight-speed automatic.

That 1.5-liter engine is good for a claimed 181 horsepower and 190 pounds-feet of torque.

You also get the 17-inch silver wheels.

Prices start at $26,660.

Big Bend

2021 Ford Bronco Sport.
2021 Ford Bronco Sport.

The Big Bend is your next trim level.

Available with the 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine and the eight-speed automatic transmission, it comes standard with 17-inch gray-painted aluminum wheels, 4×4, a manual liftgate, flip-up rear glass, roof rack side rails, a trunk-mounted bottle opener, privacy glass on the second row and the liftgate, a rubberized cargo floor, carpeted floor mats in the first row, zipper pockets, the MOLLE strap system, and cargo tie-down carabiner hooks and loops.

Prices start at $28,160.

Outer Banks

2021 Ford Bronco Sport.
2021 Ford Bronco Sport.

The Outer Banks also comes with the 1.5-liter EcoBoost and the eight-speed automatic.

With it, you get a manual liftgate, flip-up rear glass, body-colored door handles, the bottle opener, rain-sensing front wipers, 18-inch black-painted aluminum wheels, dual-zone temperature control, remote start, a rubberized cargo floor, carpet floor mats in the first and second row, ambient lighting, a 110-volt/150-watt AC outlet, cargo tie-down carabiner hooks and loops, zipper pockets, the MOLLE strap system, and an automatically dimming rearview mirror.

Prices start at $32,160.

Badlands

2021 Ford Bronco.
2021 Ford Bronco.

With the Badlands Sport, you get the more powerful 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine and the eight-speed automatic transmission. That engine produces a claimed 245 horsepower and 275 pounds-feet of torque.

There are four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock brakes, electronic traction control, off-road suspension, 17-inch wheels, a 6.5-inch color LCD instrument panel, rubberized flooring, multiple power converters, rear under-seat storage, zipper pockets, MOLLE straps, and cargo tie-down carabiner hooks and loops.

From the outside, it has LED lights, metal bash plates, floodlights, a unique grille, and unique roof rack side rails.

This one definitely seems like it’s the hybrid between comfortable and off-road ready.

Prices start at $32,660.

First Edition

2021 Bronco Sport.
2021 Bronco Sport.

The First Edition also comes with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost and eight-speed automatic.

It has dual-zone climate control, remote start, rubber flooring, lane-keep, a powered moonroof, zipper pockets, MOLLE strap system, rear seat under-storage, cargo tie-down carabiner hooks and loops, the 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen system plus subwoofer, First Edition leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, eight-way power driver’s seat, 17-inch wheels, off-road tires, and black hood and roof decals.

Prices start at $38,500.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Ford has started shipping the 2021 Bronco. These are the 13 coolest features of the tough-as-nails off-roader.

Bronco_2dr_features_05
2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door.

  • Nearly a year after its much-hyped debut, Ford has started building and shipping the Bronco SUV.
  • The two-door and four-door off-roaders have removable roofs and doors.
  • Buyers can choose from more than 200 Ford accessories.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The long-awaited 2021 Ford Bronco is finally on its way to dealerships, Ford said Tuesday.

The 125,000 people who placed an order for a two-door or four-door Bronco will start taking delivery of their SUVs in the coming weeks. In addition to the off-roading chops one should expect from a resurrected Bronco, the rugged 4x4s come equipped with loads of interesting features, both optional and standard.

Keep scrolling to see the two- and four-door’s best features.

At launch, Ford says the 2021 Bronco two-door will have more than 200 factory-backed accessories.

Bronco_2dr_features_01
2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door.

As a throwback to the first-generation Bronco, there are trail sights on the front fenders that can be used as tie-downs.

Bronco_2dr_features_05
2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door.

As standard, the roof comes in three sections that are quickly removable.

Bronco_2dr_features_06
2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door.

You can store the first-row panels on-board.

Bronco_2dr_features_07
2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door.

The interior materials and colors were inspired by “natural palettes and outdoor gear,” according to Ford.

2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door UNDER EMBARGO
2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door.

The driver can easily reach the instrument panel-mounted switches.

2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door UNDER EMBARGO
2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door.

Buttons are finished in rubber so they are protected against dirt and water. That makes them easy to clean, too.

2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door UNDER EMBARGO
2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door.

Ford did a great job incorporating the vintage facia design into the modern one.

Bronco_2dr_features_08
2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door.

Modular doors will be an available factory-backed accessory option.

Bronco_2dr_features_09
2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door.

There will be a 12-inch screen inside. Visibility looks quite good, too.

2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door UNDER EMBARGO
2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door.

A mount bar is there so you can plug in your USB-powered accessories.

2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door UNDER EMBARGO
2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door.

MOLLE hooks are found on the seatbacks so you can clip your stuff there safely.

2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door UNDER EMBARGO
2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door.

You can customize your shift lever and grab handle with leather wrapping.

2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door UNDER EMBARGO
2021 Ford Bronco Two-Door.

The four-door Bronco will be the first four-door Bronco.

Bronco_4dr_features_02
2021 Ford Bronco Four-Door.

It will also have removable roof panels.

Bronco_4dr_features_03
2021 Ford Bronco Four-Door.

There are front right- and left-panels.

Bronco_4dr_features_04
2021 Ford Bronco Four-Door.

A full-width center panel.

Bronco_4dr_features_05
2021 Ford Bronco Four-Door.

And a rear section.

Bronco_4dr_features_10
2021 Ford Bronco Four-Door.

You can take them all off.

Bronco_4dr_features_08
2021 Ford Bronco Four-Door.

Or pick and choose.

Bronco_4dr_features_09
2021 Ford Bronco Four-Door.

All two- and four-door Bronco models will have a swing-out rear tailgate design.

Bronco_4dr_features_11
2021 Ford Bronco Four-Door.

And there is a slide-out rear tailgate.

Bronco_4dr_features_12
2021 Ford Bronco Four-Door.

Here’s another view of the bring-your-own-device rack in the four-door.

Bronco_4dr_features_01
2021 Ford Bronco Four-Door.

All Broncos will come with frameless doors that Ford says will make them easier to take off.

Bronco_4dr_features_13
2021 Ford Bronco Four-Door.

The first-generation Bronco served as inspiration for the new instrument panel.

2021 Ford Bronco Four-Door. UNDER EMBARGO
2021 Ford Bronco Four-Door.

The white-on-gray interior is also a great look.

Bronco_4dr_Interior_02
2021 Ford Bronco Four-Door.

Transmission options include a seven-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic.

Bronco_4dr_Interior_03
2021 Ford Bronco Four-Door.

You can get rubberized, washable flooring on certain models. There’s an integrated drain plug so cleanup is easy.

Bronco_4dr_Interior_04
2021 Ford Bronco Four-Door.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I flew an eVTOL simulator around Los Angeles and saw why they may make traditional pilots obsolete- here’s what it was like

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

  • Electric vertical takeoff and land aircraft, or eVTOLs, will likely be flying around cities in less than five years.
  • Flying them may not be traditional pilots but trained operators using simplified cockpit systems.
  • Engineers are working to make the aircraft as simple as possible to avoid a pilot shortage.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Electric vertical takeoff and land aircraft, better known as eVTOLs or even flying cars, are scheduled to make their aerial debut flying passengers as early as 2024.

CityAirbus eVTOL
Airbus’ CityAirbus electric vertical takeoff and land aircraft.

Startups are nearing the finish line for the helicopter-like aircraft that aim to transform how commuters get around congested cities and how cargo is transported to remote communities.

Beta Technologies eVTOL UPS
A rendering of Beta Technologies’ eVTOL aircraft.

Read More: UPS reveals plan to buy hundreds of helicopter-like electric aircraft to buzz around cities delivering packages — take a look

But while the tech is set to revolutionize the skies, the question remains: who will fly them? Airlines know better than anyone that there’s a global pilot shortage and the urban air mobility market is set to face a similar fate.

Joby Aviation
Joby Aviation’s eVTOL design.

That’s why eVTOL developers are building their aircraft to fly without pilots altogether by using autonomous, self-flying technology.

Joby Aviation
Joby Aviation’s eVTOL design.

Read More: I flew on a self-flying plane where pilots sat back as the aircraft taxied, took off, and landed on its own and I’m convinced it’s the future of aviation

 

Until that goal is achieved, however, there will have to be human beings flying the aircraft. And to ward against a pilot shortage grounding the UAM industry, developers are simplifying systems so that “operators” can fly them instead of the certified pilots that are in short supply.

Archer Aviation electric aircraft VTOL
Archer Aviation’s eVTOL design.

Honeywell Aerospace, which is responsible for around 20-35 percent of the systems that will power eVTOLs, is working to design cockpits for what it calls “simplified vehicle operations.” They’re designed to make flying eVTOLs easier for operators that might not have traditional flying experience.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

The cockpits won’t be as complex as those found on airliners or even today’s helicopters. Rather, they’ll be “simple, intuitive, aesthetic, [and] cool,” says Stéphane Fymat, vice president and general manager of urban air mobility and unmanned aerial systems at Honeywell, in an interview with Insider.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

I put my novice flying skills to the test to see if these so-called operators could replace certified pilots. Here’s what I found.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

The simulator was incredibly basic but featured some of the tech that operators will be using. Honeywell eventually wants to makes eVTOLs seem familiar to first-time users by using automobile-style speedometers and smartphone-style battery indicators, for example.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

In front of me was a primary flight display showing speed, pitch, altitude, and vertical speed, along with a map and heading indicator. For this flight, though, I’d primarily be flying visually and simulated a clear day in Los Angeles.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

On my right was a side stick that controlled the aircraft’s direction as well as its altitude. Pushing forward put the aircraft in a descent while pulling back caused the aircraft to ascend, while pitch stayed relatively constant.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

On my left was the throttle. Pushing it forward increased the speed while pulling it back decreased it.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

Fly-by-wire systems embedded in the aircraft’s systems also offer an extra level of protection. I could turn the side stick all the way to one side and the system would stop me from flipping the aircraft.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

If at any point I lost control, all I’d need to do is throw my hands up and the aircraft would level itself. These systems are commonly found in airliners but have been translated for use in eVTOLs to increase safety through automation.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

With all that in mind, it was time to take flight.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

I flew the aircraft over to our starting point in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

United Airlines announced a $1 billion order for eVTOLs from Archer Aviation with plans to offer air taxi service to Los Angeles International Airport from vertiports throughout the city. So that was what I decided to simulate.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

Read More: United just ordered $1 billion worth of eVTOLs from a startup that aims to launch intra-city passenger flights in 2024

Only 13 miles separate Dodger Stadium and Los Angeles International but the drive can be torturous, especially when navigating rush-hour traffic.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

We started a timer as I lifted off from the Dodger Stadium parking lot and off we went for the non-stop flight to LAX.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

The eVTOL handled beautifully as we overflew the stadium.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

I followed the Harbor Freeway through downtown Los Angeles, the only obstacle between the stadium and the airport. But it was nothing the eVTOL couldn’t handle.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

The top speed for this aircraft is around 144 knots but some eVTOLs can travel at speeds of 200 miles per hour or greater. And those on the ground below might not even know an eVTOL is flying above them.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

“These things, when they take off, the design target is as quiet as your dishwasher at home,” Frymat said. “And then when they’re flying overhead, you don’t hear them.”

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

It was a straight shot to the airport after clearing the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

As this was just a simulation, we didn’t have to worry about other aircraft in the area or talking to air traffic control, both of which might add to the flight time. The skies above Los Angeles see no shortage of airliners and general aviation aircraft.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

Los Angeles International soon came into view and I started slowing down to prepare for landing.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

The one thing the simulator didn’t have was a way to look beneath the aircraft, so I’d have to use my best judgment.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

I touched down in the airport’s ride-share parking lot. Total flight time: just under four minutes.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

Of course, there is a lot that simulations don’t take into account such as adverse weather, air traffic control, and other aircraft. But, I was impressed at easy it was to control the eVTOL.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

And while this was only a simulation, this level of simplicity will be required if eVTOL firms want to move away from traditional pilots and hire operators, instead.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

One thing that was clear is that eVTOLs truly have the ability to change the typical notion of place. The next flight was simulated was from downtown Los Angeles to San Diego, which took less than 30 minutes.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

If an eVTOL firm can offer that service for a reasonable price, then what’s to stop a person from working in Los Angeles and living in San Diego.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

And if the promises of a 2024 introduction for the aircraft hold true, the world is set to become a drastically smaller place in just three years.

Honeywell eVTOL Simulator
Flying Honeywell’s eVTOL simulator.

Read the original article on Business Insider

United placed a $3 billion order for 15 supersonic jets. Meet Boom Supersonic’s Overture

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

  • United Airlines entered the supersonic realm on Thursday with an order for 15 Concorde-like jets from Boom Supersonic.
  • Overture is estimated to fly up to 88 passengers in an all-business class cabin at a top speed of Mach 1.7.
  • New York to London could be flown in under four hours while San Francisco to Tokyo could be flown in six.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Boom Supersonic is a Colorado-based startup that’s leading the development of supersonic aircraft to usher in a new era of commercial air travel.

Boom Supersonic

Its newest partner is United Airlines, which is on track to become the first US airline to fly supersonic jet aircraft thanks to an order for 15 of Boom’s flagship aircraft, Overture.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

Read More: United Airlines is buying 15 supersonic jets that could fly Newark to London in less than 4 hours

Boom hopes to get travelers flying greater than the speed of sound by 2030, less than 30 years since the iconic Concorde’s retirement from the skies in 2003.

Concorde

Read More: Boom Supersonic just sold 15 faster-than-sound jets to United. Its CEO explains how fuel efficiency and better economics will help him succeed where the Concorde failed.

Overture is a Concorde-like plane that plans to fly at Mach 1.7, greater than the speed of sound.

Boom Supersonic

Up to 88 passengers will fly in Overture in a 1-1 all-business class configuration.

Boom Supersonic

Overture aims to also fly above traditional aircraft at a cruising altitude of 60,000 feet. No current commercial aircraft can currently access that height.

Boom Supersonic

The New York-London route is a prime candidate for the aircraft with United touting a three-hour and 30-minute journey time from its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport to the UK capital. Newark-Los Angeles would be slightly shorter if overland flights are permitted.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

Other potential routes include Newark-Frankfurt, Germany at just four hours…

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

And San Francisco-Tokyo, Japan at six hours. Overture’s range, however, would have to be extended to make this route work without stopping for fuel.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

Overture, in its service for United, will be net-zero carbon and be powered by sustainable aviation fuel.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

United’s sustainability efforts include a plan to become “100% green by 2050 by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions 100%.”

United Airlines Eco-Skies Boeing 737
United Airlines’ “Eco-Skies” Boeing 737.

But making Overture mainstream would require an expansion of a sustainable aviation fuel infrastructure as the biofuels are currently limited to certain airports.

Sustainable aviation fuel
Sustainable aviation fuel powering an Air France aircraft.

A total of 15 aircraft to be purchased were outlined in the agreement with options for 35 more if United desires. A single model costs $200 million, making the deal worth $3 billion.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

Source: Washington Post

The deal is not yet set in stone. Boom will have to meet “United’s demanding safety, operating and sustainability requirements.”

Boom Supersonic

Overture is expected to debut in 2025 with its first flight planned for 2026.

Boom Supersonic

The first passengers are expected to fly on Overture in 2029, truly marking the beginning of a new era for supersonic travel.

Boom Supersonic

The development of the Overture is currently in the prototype phase. Boom rolled out the XB-1 in October with plans to fly the aircraft from a base in Mojave, California later in 2021.

Boom Supersonic XB-1

Read More: The startup that wants to bring back ultra-fast supersonic travel just unveiled the prototype for its Overture passenger plane – take a look at the XB-1

United isn’t the only airline interested in Overture, however. Japan Airlines and Virgin Atlantic Airways are both investors in Boom with pre-orders for the aircraft.

Boom Supersonic

Boom’s aircraft may also fly the American president as the US Air Force is interested in using Overture as a future “Air Force One.”

Boom Supersonic

Read More: The Boom Overture jet is vying to become the first supersonic Air Force One — here’s an early look

United has been at the forefront of investing in new aircraft technologies, even if they are years away from being realized.

United Airlines

In February, United entered the urban air mobility realm with a $1 billion order for electric vertical takeoff and land from Archer.

Archer Aviation electric aircraft VTOL

Read More: United just ordered $1 billion worth of eVTOLs from a startup that aims to launch intra-city passenger flights in 2024

United’s regional airline partner Mesa Airlines will operate the aircraft intended to shuttle passengers to and from major airports in congested cities, like Los Angeles.

Archer Aviation electric aircraft VTOL

“Our mission has always been about connecting people and now working with Boom, we’ll be able to do that on an even greater scale,” Scott Kirby, United’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I went inside the East Coast’s largest port and saw how a backlog of goods are moved amid the never-ending chaos of ships, trucks, and trains

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

  • The Port of New York and New Jersey has seen cargo volumes skyrocket during the pandemic.
  • An increase in e-commerce purchases during the pandemic has resulted in a backlog of goods.
  • Larger and larger ships are coming to the East Coast’s largest port to help keep goods moving.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Welcome to America’s front door.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The Port of New York and New Jersey is the East Coast’s largest port with container terminals on each side of New York Habor that serve 46.3 million people within a four-hour driving radius.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

A combination of ships, trucks, and trains all converge here to transport a myriad of goods. And in recent months, business has been booming.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

A backlog of consumer goods built up during the pandemic contributed to higher than normal shipping levels as locked-down consumers fueled an e-commerce craze.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Read More: The US is facing a supply-chain crisis as 21 cargo ships float off the coast of LA waiting to dock

It’s up to the port to help get consumers the items they ordered and keep global trade running smoothly.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

I went behind the scenes in the controlled chaos of the Port of New York and New Jersey. Here’s what I saw.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

It all starts with a customer. A consumer business on one side of the world buys a product that’s built on the other.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

One way to transport those products is via ocean shipping. Goods are put into a container that’s then loaded onto an ocean-faring ship and sent across the globe.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Cargo volumes in 2020 actually started off worse than 2019 by a small variance but then rapidly worsened in the early months of the pandemic. In August, however, volumes jumped and the port quickly outpaced its 2019 volume from August through December.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

A total of five months in 2020 saw what is normally eight months’ worth of volume.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

A ship’s capacity is measured in 20-foot-equivalent units, or TEUs. One 20-foot container equals one TEU while a larger 40-foot container would be two TEUs.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The Port of New York and New Jersey handled 7.5 million TEUs in 2020.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Containerized shipping was actually created at the Port of New York and New Jersey in 1956. Before that, goods were offloaded onto trucks and driven long distances across the US.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Now, one ship can visit multiple ports, picking up and dropping off containers as it goes.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Consolidation in the ocean shipping industry has resulted in fewer companies. Common names at this port are Maersk, CMA CGM, and Ocean Network Express.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Read More: 22 companies cashing in on the brutal log-jam at America’s busiest ports

Sharing agreements allow shipping companies to use space on each other’s boats. An Evergreen container on a CMA CGM ship isn’t uncommon, for example.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Containers are cheap enough to buy at a cost of around $3,500 apiece. Tens of millions of these containers could be found across the world from the decks of container ships to the backs of trucks and to ports like this one.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

They’re almost constantly in motion and identified by tracking numbers. Containers will often travel empty on container ships and companies will determine whether it’s worth it to ship the containers empty or just buy another one.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Just like an airport, this port has its own privately-owned terminals where containers are loaded and unloaded from ships. The north side of the Elizabeth Channel, for example, is home to Port Newark Container Terminal while the south side is home to Maher Terminals.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Massive cranes greet the ships and immediately begin offloading and loading containers in a real-world game of Tetris.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Handling the containers are port workers known as longshoremen. The union positions are highly sought after thanks to good pay and benefits.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The typical progression for a longshoreman is starting as a baggage handler for cruise lines and then becoming an automobile driver for the car ships. From there, each longshoreman can choose their own specialty and hone their craft.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The Port of New York and New Jersey doesn’t just handle containers, however, and other major imports and exports include automobiles…

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Cement…

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

And edible oils. .

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Even scrap metal is a valuable commodity.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Cruise ship terminals are also under the port’s purview but traffic in that sector has been almost entirely quiet for most of 2020 due to the pandemic.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Trucks are weighed when they enter the port and credentials, known as transportation worker identification credentials, are checked. They’ll then meet with a longshoreman to arrange a spot to pick up their load.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The terminal’s computer system then relays a message to another longshoreman, who then retrieves the container. Each truck is different and one can drop off one load and immediately pick up another one.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

But not all pull the double duty. Some trucks are just picking up while others are just dropping off.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The process looks like a lot of waiting around but trucks should be in and out of the port in under two hours.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Around 80% of truck drivers are owner-operators, giving them more freedom than a fleet driver for an established company.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The trucks and rail lines that serve the port can bring goods as far as Tennessee, the Midwest, and Canada. Chicago, for example, is just a two-day rail trip from here.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Around 18% of cargo moves out of the port by rail. Some trains leave the port after being given a mile’s worth of the 20 and 40-foot containers.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Larger and larger ships have been arriving at this port since the pandemic began.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

One such ship is the CMA CGM Marco Polo, a container vessel with a maximum capacity of 16,022 TEUs. It’s the largest ship to visit the East Coast that can now access the Port of New York and New Jersey because of recent port improvements.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Read More: The largest container ship to ever visit the East Coast just arrived at the Port of New York and New Jersey: Meet the Marco Polo

Standing in the way between the port and larger ships, historically, has been the Bayonne Bridge, which connects Bayonne, New Jersey and Staten Island, New York. While ships have grown in size, the bridge has remained the same for nearly 90 years.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

That was until the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spent $1.7 billion to raise the bridge’s roadway to allow larger ships to pass underneath. The new clearance of the bridge is now 215 feet and ships as large as 18,000 TEUs can pass underneath.

CMA CGM Marco Polo arrival
The CMA CGM Marco Polo arriving at the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Source: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

The port has been seeing a steady stream of larger and larger ships ever since. The CMA CGM Brazil broke the port’s record in September, only to have the CMA CGM Marco Polo break it again in May.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The CMA CGM Marco Polo is considered a “New Panamax” ship since it’s greater than 12,500 TEUs. Standard “Panamax” ships were once the largest ships that the Panama Canal could accommodate until larger locks were added in the 2010s.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Containers are stacked up on top of each other 200 feet high, with even more below deck.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

During offloading, a constant flow of these intermediary trucks approach the ship to receive containers.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Containers are plucked from the ship by a crane that’s operated by a longshoreman sitting 200 feet off of the ground.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The longshoreman has an overhead view to make collecting the containers easier.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The massive containers are quickly whisked through the air by the crane as if weightless.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The longshoreman then lowers the crane, aligning the container with the truck below.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Once it’s dropped onto the truck, the container is secured and the truck drives off. It’s less than 30 seconds from the time the container is secured until the time the truck is on its way.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The process continues until all of the containers are offloaded.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The ship then receives a new load of containers to transport to the other side of the world. Foreign-flagged ships can’t move goods between two US ports under the Jones Act.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Exports from the US include cotton, forest products, agricultural supplies, and foodstuffs, to name a few.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Around 4,700 containers are being dropped and loaded, just under one-third of the CMA CGM Marco Polo’s total capacity.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

From the bridge of the Marco Polo, it’s containers for as far as the eye can see. The Port of New York and New Jersey never shut down operations during the pandemic.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Larger ships coming to the port also requires larger cranes.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The APM Terminals-operated cranes services the Marco Polo are a staggering 209 feet tall.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

A maximum of seven cranes was assigned to the Marco Polo at its peak to help expedite the unloading process.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Not every container is searched by US Customs and Border Protection when they enter the country. The agency instead uses complex algorithms to detect anomalies that prompt searches.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Inspectors, for example, can look at the weight of a container and see if it matches up with the cargo listed on a manifest. If it doesn’t, that prompts a search.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Human smuggling isn’t a major issue on the East Coast compared to the West Coast, which has closer proximity to Asia, but ships do have to be on the lookout for stowaways.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Now that the Port of New York and New Jersey has proven it can handle larger ships, it’s only a matter of time before the record set by the Marco Polo will be shattered.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

And New York Harbor will continue to receive some of the largest ships in the world.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit
Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How one of America’s newest airlines, Avelo, stacks up to the competition

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

  • Avelo Airlines is one of America’s newest ultra-low-cost carrier, having started flights on April 28.
  • Its competitors include Allegiant Air, Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and Sun Country Airlines.
  • I flew on Avelo and saw why the airline is offering a better value thanks to its low fee structure.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Americans are ready to travel for leisure again, and more airlines are popping up to serve them.

Avelo Airlines became one of the first major US airlines to launch in 15 years when it debuted in April with three planes and 11 routes. Focusing on low-cost leisure routes, flights primarily serve social distancing-friendly destinations such as California Wine Country and Yellowstone National Park where activities can be enjoyed in peace and nature.

But Avelo is going up against tough and established competitors in the ultra-low-cost realm, which CEO Andrew Levy knows quite well as the cofounder of Allegiant Air. Rivals in the field include Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and Sun Country Airlines, as well as Levy’s own Allegiant.

Read More: Spirit Airlines’ low-cost model puts it in the perfect spot to be the big winner of the pandemic, a Deutsche Bank analyst says

Those carriers don’t often enjoy the best reputations among customers, something that Avelo is aiming to change with a new attitude toward ultra-low-cost flying.

Here’s how Avelo stacks up with its competitors.

Low fares and low frills

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Avelo began selling tickets in April with introductory fares as low as $19 on all 11 of its routes. The fares are undoubtedly low but not lower than competitors.

Frontier and Spirit frequently offer one-way fares for under $30 on many of its routes, and similarly low fares are not uncommon on Allegiant or Sun Country. But $19 is a great opening salvo for Avelo, especially when compared to rival startup Breeze that is offering fares starting at $39.

Read More: JetBlue’s founder is back with new low-cost airline Breeze. Here’s his plan to reinvent the budget market.

These are, however, introductory fares and there’s no saying just how high they’ll go after Avelo gets its footing. But CEO Andrew Levy did tell Insider that he wants the airline to be known as the go-to for low fares.

“We really want to build a brand that is about everyday low fares,” Levy said. “Quite honestly, I’d love to be able to do over many years what Southwest has done, where when people hear ‘Avelo,’ they just associate us with low fares.”

Less nickel-and-diming when it comes to extra fees

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Ultra-low-cost carriers rely on charging extra fees, known as ancillary fees, to make up for the low fares they offer, and Avelo is no different. Advance seat assignments, baggage, and bringing pets onboard will all incur an extra fee.

The difference between Avelo and many of its competitors, however, is that Avelo’s fees are much lower. Checking a bag, for example, will only incur a $10 fee on Avelo and seat assignments start at $5 for an aisle or window seat.

Bringing a carry-on bag is still $35 but passengers at least have the option to check a bag for cheaper. There are some caveats, such as an additional $10 fee if customers don’t pre-purchase baggage allowance online.

But there are some services for which Avelo doesn’t even charge a fee. Booking a flight through a call center, making changes, or even canceling a ticket will not incur a fee.

“As far as change fees are concerned. I think that’s one of the biggest pain points in the airline industry,” Levy said. “It’s been that way for years. Airlines for years have used that as a money grab, and it has no relationship to what it truly costs to manage a change.”

A limited network

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Avelo’s strategy focuses on serving secondary airports across the US to provide a more convenient and cheaper experience for customers. Hollywood Burbank Airport is the airline’s only current operating base, from where all of its routes originate.

“We’re a low-cost carrier we’ve built to offer low fares but at the same time, we’re going to offer a great level of convenience by utilizing Burbank, which we think is probably the best secondary airport in the country,” Levy said.

But beyond the West Coast, Mountain West, and Southwest, you won’t find Avelo at the local airport and for the most part, the airline doesn’t fly between big cities. A limited route network so early into the airline’s life is not something the airline can be faulted for but it doesn’t hold a candle to the established route networks of Spirit, Frontier, Allegiant, and Sun Country.

Avelo will soon expand to the East Coast and open a base in New Haven, Connecticut by year’s end. The planned routes from New Haven have not yet been announced but the airline will likely serve popular leisure destinations along the coast.

A unique in-flight service

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Avelo is offering a modified in-flight snack and drink service during the pandemic. The “convenience package,” as the airline calls it, is a sealed package containing a bottle of water, a sanitary wipe, and a package of shortbread cookies.

Airlines are slowly bringing back the in-flight snack and drink service but some ultra-low-cost airlines have been slower than others. Frontier has abandoned the in-flight service altogether during the pandemic, as Insider found on a recent flight from Las Vegas to Seattle, and only sells water bottles on request.

Spirit, for its part, still offers an in-flight service. The difference from Avelo is that nothing comes complimentary and everything from snacks to a cup of water will incur an extra fee.

Avelo’s flights are short enough not to notice the lack of a snack and drink service but it’s a nice touch and makes the flight a little bit more welcoming.

Whether or not the offering stays after the pandemic is over, however, remains to be seen. Ultra-low-cost airlines thrive on selling ancillary items and Avelo won’t likely balk at the chance to do so.

Similar onboard products

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Avelo’s flagship Boeing 737-800 aircraft are packed with 189 seats in an all-economy configuration. The default legroom on the aircraft is 29 inches of pitch, while extra legroom seats are available at a premium.

That can be tight quarters for some but it’s not uncommon for an ultra-low-cost carrier. And in terms of seat pitch, Avelo is actually better than Spirit, Frontier, and Allegiant, which offer as little as 28 inches of pitch on some of their planes, according to SeatGuru.

Sun Country’s lowest seat pitch is on par with Avelo at 29 inches, according to SeatGuru.

Avelo’s seats also offer minimal cushioning and don’t feature adjustable headrests. The noticeable difference, however, is that Avelo’s seats recline and have full-size tray tables. Frontier, for its part, is upgrading its aircraft to include full-size tray tables, so the airline will soon be on par with Avelo in that regard.

Avelo doesn’t currently offer in-flight entertainment or WiFi but the latter is slated to come later in 2021. Spirit is also in the process of adding WiFi to its fleet and Sun Country currently offers streaming entertainment.

Older aircraft than some competitors

Avelo Airlines Boeing 737-800
An Avelo Airlines Boeing 737-800.

One area where Avelo falls behind some of its competitors is in the age of its aircraft. Avelo’s planes are second-hand Boeing 737 aircraft with an average age of 14.8 years, according to Planespotters.net, with previous owners including Turkish Airlines and TUI Airlines.

The aircraft cabins have all been retrofitted with brand-new seats and the airline’s paint job gives the appearances of a brand-new plane, but the age does show in the interior. It doesn’t take away too much from the experience but flyers won’t be flying on a brand-new plane.

Frontier and Spirit, however, are known for their young fleet of aircraft. The average age of Frontier’s fleet is 4.2 years while Spirit’s is 6.8, according to Planespotters.net, with next-generation Airbus aircraft including the A320 offering lower costs and quieter cabins.

Avelo’s fleet is more on par with Sun Country and Allegiant, both of which have average fleet ages greater than 14 years.

Which airline should travelers choose?

Flying on Avelo Airlines
Flying on the first flight of Avelo Airlines.

Avelo is undoubtedly the better pick for those that want a low-cost experience while still needing to purchase extras, like a seat assignment or baggage allowance. A $19 ticket with a window seat and a checked bag will only cost $34 in the end, which most of Avelo’s competitors can’t say.

Flexibility is also built into Avelo’s tickets as there are no change or cancellation fees.

But Avelo only serves a handful of routes while its competitors fly across the Western Hemisphere. Choosing Avelo isn’t always an option but when it is, it can definitely be the better pick.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I flew Delta for the first time since the airline stopped blocking seats and saw how much easier it was for a frequent flier to get upgraded to first class

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

  • Delta Air Lines ended its seat-blocking policy on May 1, and it’s elite status holders are among the ultimate winners.
  • More open seats on Delta flights means better chances for upgrades to premium cabins.
  • I flew Delta on the first day that seats were opened up and received more than $500 in upgrades.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Having elite status on Delta Air Lines just got a whole lot more lucrative.

Delta Elite Status Day Trip
Delta’s Sky Priority check-in area.

Delta’s most frequent flyers enjoy special privileges, chief among them are complimentary first class upgrades. But they’ve been harder to come by during the pandemic.

Delta First Class

The airline’s seat-blocking policy also applied to first class seats on narrow-body where the configuration is 2-2. A 16-seat first class cabin, for example, became an eight-seat cabin.

first class Delta Air Lines

It made getting an upgrade especially hard for Silver Medallions like myself, the term for members on the lowest rung of Delta’s Medallion elite status program.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

The seat-blocking policy ended on May 1, however, opening up all seats on Delta’s aircraft, including those in first class.

Flying Delta Air Lines During Pandemic Post-Middle Seat Block Ended 2021
Flying Delta Air Lines after it ended a policy of blocking middle seats.

I flew Delta on the first day that seats were filled. Here’s what it was like as an elite status holder.

Flying Delta Air Lines During Pandemic Post-Middle Seat Block Ended 2021
Flying Delta Air Lines after it ended a policy of blocking middle seats.

Flying home from Phoenix to New York, I picked my flights very carefully to have the best chance of an upgrade while spending as little money as possible.

Delta Air Lines website

I chose a flight from Phoenix to Minneapolis on a Boeing 767-400ER wide-body aircraft connecting to a New York flight on an Airbus A320. Both had first class cabins that were pretty empty when I booked, so I was confident I’d get an upgrade on at least one flight.

Delta Air Lines Airbus and Boeing aircraft
Delta Air Lines Airbus A320 and Boeing 767-400ER aircraft.

Delta has been deploying more wide-body aircraft like the Boeing 767 on domestic routes, and they offer the best chance of an upgrade.

Flying Delta Air Lines During Pandemic Post-Middle Seat Block Ended 2021
Flying Delta Air Lines after it ended a policy of blocking middle seats.

With the flights booked, all I could do was wait. Silver Medallions don’t get upgraded until the flight is within 24 hours from departure.

Flying Delta Air Lines first class
Flying first class on Delta Air Lines.

Fast forward to the departure day, I checked into the first flight and was number four of five on the upgrade list with five seats available. It was looking good that I’d get one of the coveted seats but Delta wasn’t going to give it up that easily.

Flying Delta Air Lines first class
Flying first class on Delta Air Lines.

I was almost immediately upgraded into Delta Comfort+, an extra legroom section of the plane that also comes with complimentary alcohol. Delta was selling seats in the cabin for $84.93, so the value of my trip had instantly increased with the upgrade.

Flying Delta Air Lines first class
Flying first class on Delta Air Lines.

A Comfort+ upgrade would’ve been fine on its own as Delta uses larger recliner seats in the cabin on its retrofitted Boeing 767-400ER planes. It’s basically the equivalent of a first class seat on a smaller plane, and the cabin is arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

The flight from Minneapolis was also looking surprisingly good for an upgrade as the cabin hadn’t filled up. Minneapolis-New York is a business traveler-heavy route and this was a Saturday night, so I had a better shot.

Flying Delta Air Lines first class
Flying first class on Delta Air Lines.

I arrived at the airport the next morning with no confirmed upgrade for the first flight, even though I was still in good standing on the upgrade list. This didn’t affect my airport experience much, though, as elite status holders still have access to many of the same airport perks as first class flyers.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

Not even the gate agent could tell me if my upgrade had cleared when I inquired before boarding. It was clear that it was going to come down to the famous boarding-time upgrade for which Delta is known.

Flying Delta Air Lines During Pandemic Post-Middle Seat Block Ended 2021
Flying Delta Air Lines after it ended a policy of blocking middle seats.

Lo-and-behold, I scanned my boarding pass and out came a little slip of paper with my new seat number, 9D.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

Just like that, I turned left into the aircraft and the entire flight changed for me. The value of my trip shot up to more than what I paid for my economy ticket.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

Delta wanted $385.93 for this upgrade just a few days before departure, which is more than what I paid for my economy seat. The new value of my $221.80 ticket was now $607.73.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

And in terms of upgrades, this was like hitting the jackpot. The Boeing 767-400ERs are intended for long-haul international flights and as such, its first class cabins feature Delta’s newest seats.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

The seat had fully lie-flat capabilities, no seat neighbor, and a direct line of sight to the window. It was my own personal cocoon for the three-hour flight to Minneapolis.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

If it wasn’t for the passenger across from me, it would have felt like I was the only one on the plane. That’s how private these seats are.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

But flying first class during a pandemic is a far cry from normal times. Delta, for example, has cut services like the pre-departure hot towel and beverage. Purell wipes are given instead.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

The in-flight service soon started after we got airborne. Flight attendants took orders individually for the drink and snack service.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

This flight would’ve normally yielded a hot meal but only snack boxes were on offer, as part of Delta’s modified service.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

A larger selection of drinks was available, however, including soft drinks, coffee, tea, beer, wine, spirits, and mixed drinks.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

A choice of two snack boxes was available and I ordered both, for the purposes of this story.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

First up was the bistro snack box. It was packed with goodies like gummy bears, potato chips, a meat stick, Tic Tacs, a cheese spread, Oreo cookies, a Kind bar, and crackers.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

The market snack box then included popped chips, almonds, beef jerky, a protein bar, a Ghirardelli chocolate,

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

Both had some great items but didn’t impress me much. Similar snack boxes were sold in economy for around $10 before the pandemic.

Flying Delta Air Lines During Pandemic Post-Middle Seat Block Ended 2021
Flying Delta Air Lines after it ended a policy of blocking middle seats.

The seat itself did most of the work on this flight, and I used the lie-flat capability to its fullest. After finishing the meal, I reclined all the way flat and got some well-needed rest.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

The Twin Cities shortly came into view after an incredible relaxing flight, and my time with the seat soon came to an end.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

After a four-hour layover spent in the Delta Sky Club, I headed to my next gate. Minneapolis airport was incredibly quiet, and that had tracked with my flight being empty.

Flying Delta Air Lines During Pandemic Post-Middle Seat Block 2021
Flying Delta Air Lines after it ended a policy of blocking middle seats.

A total of 79 seats went empty, with 10 empty seats in first class alone.

Delta Air Lines First Class Minneapolis to New York Airbus A320
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Minneapolis to New York.

My upgrade had cleared at pretty much the 24-hour mark before my flight, and I had my pick of seats.

Flying Delta Air Lines first class
Flying first class on Delta Air Lines.

These seats were nothing like the modern lie-flat seats on the Boeing 767, but they were as comfortable as they looked.

Delta Air Lines First Class Minneapolis to New York Airbus A320
Flying Delta Air Lines first class from Minneapolis to New York.

Delta wanted $192.43 for this upgrade meaning the value of my $221.80 ticket was now $800.16.

Delta Air Lines First Class Minneapolis to New York Airbus A320
Flying Delta Air Lines first class from Minneapolis to New York.

After an hour-long delay, we took off into the Minnesota sky. There was no pre-departure service, just like the previous flight, but the service started quickly after takeoff.

Delta Air Lines First Class Minneapolis to New York Airbus A320
Flying Delta Air Lines first class from Minneapolis to New York.

The cabin was less than half full so it didn’t take long for the flight attendant to reach me. I ordered an old fashioned and both snack boxes.

Delta Air Lines First Class Minneapolis to New York Airbus A320
Flying Delta Air Lines first class from Minneapolis to New York.

The mixed drink came first and this time, it was pre-poured but still in a plastic cup. I really enjoyed it.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to New York Airbus A320
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to New York.

Ordering both snack boxes again, I got to pick and choose from each which snacks to eat. If Delta is reading and decides to add this hybrid snack box to the menu, please call it “Tom’s snack box.”

Delta Air Lines First Class Minneapolis to New York Airbus A320
Flying Delta Air Lines first class from Minneapolis to New York.

The rest of the flight continued uneventfully as we progressed towards New York. I was the epitome of relaxed as I enjoyed the in-flight entertainment from the comfort of my oversized recliner.

Delta Air Lines First Class Minneapolis to New York Airbus A320
Flying Delta Air Lines first class from Minneapolis to New York.

But the flight soon came to an end, and the experience was over.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

In total, the value of my $221.80 ticket ultimately shot up to $800.16, and I didn’t have to do a thing.

Delta Air Lines First Class Minneapolis to New York Airbus A320
Flying Delta Air Lines first class from Minneapolis to New York.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Retired Southwest Airlines pilot admits to exposing himself to female first officer and watching porn mid-flight

Southwest Airlines Phoenix
  • A retired Southwest Airlines pilot admitted to performing lewd acts during a flight last year.
  • Michael Haak exposed his genitals to a first officer and watched porn in the cockpit, prosecutors said.
  • Haak expressed remorse for his actions before being sentenced to one year’s probation.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A retired Southwest Airlines pilot was sentenced to probation on Friday after pleading guilty to showing his genitals to a female first officer and watching pornography during a flight from Philadelphia to Florida last year.

Prosecutors alleged that Michael Haak, 66, waited until the flight reached cruising altitude before he got up from the pilot’s seat and “intentionally disrobed” while watching porn on a laptop, USA Today reported.

“Haak further engaged in inappropriate conduct in the cockpit, as the first officer continued to perform her duties,” prosecutors said in a statement, according to the BBC. Haak had never met the female first officer before the flight.

Read more: Can you work remotely? These 14 cities and towns will pay you up to $20,000 just to move there.

Judge J Mark Coulson sentenced Haak to one year of unsupervised probation and a $5,000 fine. Coulson said the ex- pilot’s actions had traumatized the first officer.

Haak apologized for his actions and said they had “started as a consensual prank between me and the other pilot,” the BBC reported.

“I never imagined it would turn into this in a thousand years,” he added.

Haak, who is originally from Florida, was a pilot with Southwest Airlines for 27 years. He retired at the end of August last year.

A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines told USA Today that the airline “does not tolerate behavior of this nature and will take prompt action if such conduct is substantiated.”

“Nonetheless, Southwest did investigate the matter and as a result, ceased paying Mr. Haak any benefits he was entitled to receive as a result of his separation from (the airline),” the spokesperson added.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I flew on JetBlue founder David Neeleman’s new Breeze Airways for $39 and found it was cheap and friendly but surprisingly basic

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

  • Breeze Airways officially launched its first flight on Thursday from Tampa, Florida to Charleston, South Carolina.
  • It’s the fifth airline from aviation entrepreneur David Neeleman, who started JetBlue Airways, with a focus on hub-skipping leisure flights.
  • Fares are as low as $39 with 39 new routes starting between May 27 and July 29.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
David Neeleman has done it again.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight David Neeleman
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

Breeze Airways made its long-awaited debut on Thursday, flying two of its 39 planned routes that will launch between May 27 and July 29.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

It’s the fifth airline launched by Neeleman, a serial aviation entrepreneur that was the man behind JetBlue Airways and Morris Air in the US, WestJet in Canada, and Azul Brazilian Airlines in Brazil, as well as a stint with TAP Air Portugal.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight David Neeleman
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

Read More: How JetBlue’s founder plans to offer low prices without a low-end experience on his newest airline, Breeze

Just in time for the summer travel season, consumers from the East Coast to as far as San Antonio, Texas will soon have Breeze as another option for air travel. Fares start at just $39 and routes are mostly leisure-focused, taking flyers while bypassing busy airline hubs.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

Read More: The founder of JetBlue is finally launching his new airline this month with 39 routes and $39 fares — but it won’t be JetBlue 2.0

Convenience is a key selling point for the airline, in addition to its low fares. Flights are point-to-point and don’t require routing through airport hubs.

The Breeze Airways route map.
The Breeze Airways route map.

“Connecting flights,” for example, isn’t a phrase in Breeze’s vocabulary, as part of the airline’s strategy to be “seriously nice.”

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

I flew on the very first flight of Breeze Airways from Tampa, Florida to Charleston, South Carolina. Here’s what it was like.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

Breeze chose Tampa, Florida as its main from which to start flights. A total of 10 routes are planned for the city to destinations like Charleston, South Carolina; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Louisville, Kentucky.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

I arrived at the airport the night before Breeze’s inaugural flight and caught a look at the airline’s check-in counter. It was very bare-bones and the airline didn’t have any check-in kiosks.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

But that’s all part of Breeze’s tech-focused strategy to have flyers use its mobile application instead of relying on airline employees. It helps keep costs down by hiring fewer airport staff.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

The Breeze app itself is very intuitive but there were some glitches. Users, including myself, reported not being able to book flights or check-in via the app.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

Breeze doesn’t have a phone number so flyers will have to text or message the airline, which also isn’t yet available on the app. Clicking “support” will redirect flyers to the airline’s mobile website.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

But I was able to get my mobile boarding pass eventually and was all set to jet.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

I arrived back at the airport the next morning for the first flight, Breeze Airways flight 1 with service from Tampa to Charleston, and went up to the counter to get a paper copy of the boarding pass.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

Breeze agents were “nice” and didn’t charge the $3 fee to print a boarding pass but I assumed that was because this was the first flight. A boarding pass fee is common among ultra-low-cost carriers but very few actually charge the fee in practice.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

And in a nice treat, Breeze had already been accepted into the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

Before the flight, Neeleman popped open a bottle of champagne and christened the aircraft. Breeze Airways was officially ready for takeoff.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight David Neeleman
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

Boarding then began for the historic flight, with the airline boarding in zones. The Breeze app also doesn’t interface with Apple Wallet or other digital wallets, so flyers can’t yet save their boarding passes to their devices for easy access.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

I walked onto the plane and was truly shocked at how basic it was. Breeze’s aircraft are incredibly flashy on the outside, in perhaps the most colorful airline livery in the skies, but the interior was mostly devoid of color.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

There was not a hint of blue on the plane except for the safety cards, flight attendant uniforms, and the Breeze placards on the beverage carts.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

The seats were plush and comfortable, however, and that was the most important part.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

The Embraer E195 -which most JetBlue flyers will recognize since its smaller sibling, the E190, currently flies for the New York-based airline -is arranged in a 2-2 configuration.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

It’s all aisles and window seats with no middle seats in sight.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

The first five rows of the aircraft, as well as the exit row, feature between 34 and 39 inches of pitch, depending on the row. Breeze calls these seats “nicer” seats.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

Standard seats on the E195 offer 31 inches of pitch. Breeze calls them “nice” seats.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

When booking a ticket, there are two choices: “nice” and “nicer.” Nice fares only come with a ticket to ride and a personal item while a “Nicer” fare comes with a free extra legroom seat, one free checked bag, free carry-on bag, and priority boarding.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

I was on a nice fare in a nice seat with 31 inches of pitch and it was quite comfortable with lots of cushioning. Seats also recline but there are no adjustable headrests.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

These seats, unfortunately, will not stay. New, slimmer seats will replace the comfortable and plush ones that we experienced on the inaugural flight.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

Once those seats installed, the Embraer E195’s capacity will jump from 118 seats to 122 seats.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

Flight attendants warmly welcomed us aboard and they, too, had to be nice. Once again, Neeleman had billed this airline to be seriously nice and the cabin crew would play a large role in that.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

After all were settled, the boarding door was closed and we pushed back for an on-time departure. Tampa International Airport gave Breeze a water cannon salute to send the first flight off, and then it was on to Charleston.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

Takeoff was smooth and we quickly turned north over Tampa Bay towards South Carolina. The flight time was only 57 minutes.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

Flight attendants came around with wooden baskets to start the in-flight meal service. On offer were Utz potato chips and Kind bars, as well as small bottles of water.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

There was nothing overly exciting about the snacks. No local flair or blue chips, but anything is better than nothing, especially when the ticket is so cheap.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

The complementary offering will only be temporary, however, and a buy-on-board program will be rolled out over the summer.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

Once the service ended, there was nothing else to keep a passenger entertained besides the view out of the window.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

In-flight entertainment was supposed to be available through a streaming service, but it won’t be ready until later in the summer.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

The flight attendants and pilots, however, were spectacularly kind. They were the breath of fresh air on this airline.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

Before we knew it, we had touched down in Charleston, and a new airline was officially brought into the world.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

All in all, flying Breeze was not anything truly special. The flight and cabin crew were impeccably nice but the rest was of the experience was average considering the lack of the tech that was promised.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

There’s not much people can’t put up with on a flight that’s less than two hours for $39, even more so for a flight between, say, Tampa and Charleston that’s only 57 minutes. But David Neeleman promised a “high-tech company that just happens to fly airplanes.,” as well as extras like in-flight entertainment, and that’s not what the first flyers received.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

Breeze’s biggest issue, from a passenger perspective, may be the fact that it is still a work-in-progress. The app isn’t all the way there, aircraft aren’t fitted with the final seat products, and in-flight entertainment isn’t available.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

And repeat customers will ultimately notice. “The core component of a brand promise is consistency,” industry analyst Henry Harteveldt told Insider in a prior interview.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

In its current state, I would absolutely pick Breeze over other ultra-low-cost carriers and even some full-service airlines if the price was right. Though, that might change if the airline’s product changes for the worse.

Breeze Airways Inaugural Flight David Neeleman
The inaugural flight of David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways.

Read the original article on Business Insider