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MSYtristar
Topic Author
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Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Tue Nov 04, 2003 11:11 pm

...supposed to be posted this month at some point. Do you think all of the cities announced to be served by Starfish (RNO,ONT,MSY,etc) will see increased service from the start, or will it be introduced over time?

Now for my own personal commentary on the subject: United is taking a big gamble with this new "airline within an airline". I hope for their sake they have really thought this through and are planning on getting behind this and promoting this 100%, or the chances of failure seem pretty high. Like Song with their 757's, I think flying all-coach A320's may offer too much capacity during non-peak travel times...and let's face it, the costs may be lower than mainline, but not THAT low. I can see this product confusing buisness travellers who, for instance, are connecting from BOS to RNO via DEN: Mainline First Class 757 BOS-DEN, all-coach A320 DEN-RNO. They might indeed offer seemless connections to/from mainline, but this could sort of hurt the prestige of the airline in the mind of the high-yield business flyer. Or, on the other hand, it could be a huge success.

What are your thoughts?


Steve in New Orleans
 
grrtvc
Posts: 190
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2003 1:15 am

RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Tue Nov 04, 2003 11:23 pm

I have said this before and will say it again. This, like Song, is just plain stupid. I don't understand how you can operate two airlines with the same management philosophy and be successful.

NW has a better answer. Operate as one airline but take an LCC approach by adding point-to-point routes that can sustain themselves, ie GRR-MCO/TPA, MKE-PHX. You keep your brand loyalty, you're aren't stealing from your own airline (customers), provide them same product, etc, etc...

Just stick to what you do and refine it....
 
luv2fly
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Tue Nov 04, 2003 11:31 pm

Grrtvc

You have said it the best I have heard so far. Well said and right on the money.....

I think the first airline that stops trying to be all things to all people and stays true to a business plan will be the winner.
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
Leskova
Posts: 5547
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Tue Nov 04, 2003 11:38 pm

I think they'll have to be very, very, very careful to keep UAL and Starfish (btw., is that really going to be its name?) separate, otherwise they'll be deep in very hot water.

Confusing passengers by flying them in First Class for one part of the trip and then putting them in a plane roughly the same size (imagine pax arriving on a UAL A320 and continuing on a Starfish A320), but suddenly finding herself/himself in an all-Economy plane...

Depending on how different the service levels will be, I think this might be a dangerous situation for UAL.

This somehow reminds me of CO and CO/Lite or LH and LH Express: others have been there and have done that, and both got out of that experiment while they still could...

If you have a LCC as "airline-within-an-airline", you'd better keep it absolutely separate from the rest: different gates at the airport (or, better yet, different airports), different uniforms (so pax do not confuse both), different livery for the fleet - the fewer connections, the better... although this might make the whole experiment a bit difficult - after all, pax are supposed to use Starfish because it is a part of UAL - but the more pax associate Starfish with UAL, the more they will expect Starfish to be like UAL, and might end up disappointed when they see that it's not UAL.

Have they already announced details like whether you'll be able to collect miles on Mileage Plus, or if "interline"-connections between Starfish and UAL will be made?
Smile - it confuses people!
 
bistro1200
Posts: 312
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2003 7:13 am

RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 12:40 am

YES on Mileage Plus accrual, YES on interlining. Same staff working both flights on the same union scale, However the pay for the pilots of the A320 was knocked down to B737 levels making it much cheaper to crew the Airbus fleet.

I, too, am concerned that the Starfish concept isn't low cost enough. The model to beat will be F9 out of DEN initially, but I can say with some certainty that the "O" in LCO will be understated when it comes to operating the airplane. Crew, fuel, and operating costs will be the exact same as the mainline fleet, all UA is doing is spreading those same costs across more seats, which by definition of the LCO will be lower yield.

With all the delays in the LCO launch, maybe one day they will decide to scrap the idea completely.
Measure to the millimeter, mark with a crayon, cut with an axe.
 
potomac
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 12:55 am

well think about it though - in most airlines, you might book a trip all in F class, but would have to take an RJ for one leg on an express carrier, with no F class, and then connect to a mainline flight.

perhaps one model involves the Starfish component serving as part of the regional/feeder carrier at a hub. it provides a less-frills service for these type of routes - whether a passenger is connecting to mainline or not, and also provides the LCO fares, geared mostly towards O&D passengers.

what would happen if UA set up an arrangement with the new ACA where ACA continued to serve as as regional carrier for UA, but was also an LCO?
 
voodoo
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 1:36 am

Look what Tango/Zip did for Air Canada.... got them into bankruptcy not out of it.
` Yeaah! Baade 152! Trabi of the Sky! '
 
Leskova
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 7:09 am

Potomac, in principle I understand your point - but look at what planes ACA operates: RJs.

While I'm practically absolutely certain that the average traveller has absolutely no idea what type of plane he/she is travelling on, I'm also certain that they will be able to distinguish between a RJ and a mainline aircraft - the sizes of the cabins are just too different.

And while I think that practically everyone will accept that there is no separate first/business class in a regional jet, I'm not sure they'll accept it in a mainline-size aircraft...
Smile - it confuses people!
 
potomac
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 7:31 am

well, ACA does plan to move towards having more mainline aircraft. that being said, the question is how a passenger would respond to these scenarios:

1) fly an LCO regional/feeder carrier for a short-range route with a single segment or connection, pay the LCO fare, and get the more 'no frills' LCO type of service (RJ, mainline plane with no F class, no meal or IFE, etc.)

2) fly an LCO regional/feeder carrier for a short-range route with a single segment that connects to mainline medium range, transcon, or intl route that is flown in a mainline aircraft with associated amenities.

from my perspective, if i am flying short segment, whether i am connecting or not, the way the industry is these days has prepared me to expect an RJ and/or limited service anyway. and if its a mainline aircraft, so what if it too is 'no-frills' - it's a short trip, or a short segment that is part of a longer trip where the mainline service is more valuable. (i'm one of those people who thinks first class for a flight 2 hrs or less just isnt worth money, miles, or upgrades, but that's a different topic).

so i would accept flying an LCO 'product' for short trips and connecting to a mainline product for longer legs. seems to me like a reasonable way for an airline to differentiate products and to allocate resources and attention...
 
WNfan
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 7:51 am

Fly Starfish and Song while you can. That is, while they are around. Because they won't be for long.
 
gte439u
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RE: Inaugural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 11:04 am

Song appears to have a different mission from Starfish. Delta developed Song to fly a certain set of low-fare routes from Florida to replace Delta Express. Besides a daily flight from to ATL from JFK, Song does not serve the major DL hubs. Therefore, passengers traveling on Song will not have a connection so there will be very few connecting passengers in F on one segment and Y on the Song segment (viable connections include Europe to Florida via JFK).

Starfish, however, appears that it will operate from DEN, a major UA hub. Thus it will heavily overlap the main UA network in Denver, and could lead to confusion among passengers.
 
futureualpilot
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 11:11 am

This, like Song, is just plain stupid


....people critiscize Song for being stupid and a possible failure but thus far it has worked well for DL. UA is much worse off than DL, but maybe Starfish will be what they need. This is just my opinion though!
Life is better when you surf.
 
PVD757
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 11:55 am

They should literally take Frontier's route map and super-impose it onto their own. The only routes that these aircraft should see are routes they are needed for UA to compete against low cost. US Airways made a major mistake by "introducing" low fares on key routes out of BOS and LGA. If I'm not mistaken, these are high revenue markets for US and not some low fare destination like MCO.
 
worldtraveler
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 12:06 pm

thank you, GTE, for reminding everyone that Song and Starfish are not the same - not even close. Delta Express never served Delta hubs are flew in markets w/ other Delta services and Delta is taking the same approach. No other airline within an airline has had a distinctly different set of markets from the mainline.
There are growth opportunities for Song and I don't expect it to remain predominantly a NE-Florida product. Given the legs the 757 has, Delta would not put an aircraft that big in a market where they did not intend to use the aircraft's capabilities.
I've heard that the first Song 757 w/ IFE is astounding - capabilities like seat to seat messaging and gaming, digitally downloaded music and movies, and passenger customized messages at each seat (connections, meal information, etc). Slick stuff for which Song will charge and the longer the flights the more likely people will buy.
Delta is also talking about importing some of that capability to its mainline aircraft - the 738's and most of the widebodies are capable of supporting a similar if not identical system.
Starfish probably won't be the downfall of United that some are predicting but it probably won't do much for them other than muddy their marketing, either.
 
geg2rap
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 12:56 pm

I agree with everyone that UAL will fall on it's face but really here is the true question:
Where do they come up with these stupid names???
I mean why not Low Fare UAL or Not Southwest but United, or JetDenver
 
AA7573E
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 1:12 pm

This sounds like a whole new thread, but I have to agree with GEG2RAP. The mere fact that Starfish made it through the selection process for naming the airline makes me question those who are running it.  Confused

See you up front!
 
F9Widebody
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 1:14 pm

Just a thought, but a starfish branches out just like a route map does from a hub city (Denver).

Regards,
F9W
YES URLS in signature!!!
 
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LAXintl
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 1:21 pm

UA LCC initial DEN schedules and fares will be published before the end of November. Second round of LCC growth this time from ORD will be announced by the new year.

From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
AA7573E
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 1:28 pm

F9W

Starfish are also slow, and rely on the current of the environment around them to move!

Who knows, its just a funny name!

See you up front!
 
F9Widebody
Posts: 1475
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 1:31 pm

Well, found the real answer:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-0302230526feb23,0,230781.story?coll=chi-business-hed

The starfish's deceptive beauty hides the fact that the spiny creature is a ruthless hunter that pries open clams with brute force and sucks down their innards.

United Airlines gave the quirky internal code name Starfish to its plan for a new low-cost carrier intended to grab back market share lost to discount rivals.


Regards,
F9W
YES URLS in signature!!!
 
uadc8contrail
Posts: 1661
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 1:44 pm

why doesnt glen tilton listen to all these arm chair CEOs????? ual shud not focus on starfish as it probably/will not work according to all these brilliant aiirlines rampers in here.....better yet just close up shop and make every one here happy so they can focus on the next anti christ(dl or nw) which ever will knock on judge wedoffs door next.......
Bus Driver
 
StevenUhl777
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 1:54 pm

Ummm....did I miss something? Is Starfish the official name of the new LCC/LCO due to start next Feb.? I went to the UA website and didn't see anything about it, so forgive me if I sound a little surprised.

A starfish can regenerate a limb, so maybe that's what UA had in mind...regenerate market share with an LCC called Starfish. I don't know...not a marketing guy.

Uadc8contrail: in the *highly* unlikely event Dl or NW file Ch. 11, it's even more unlikely that Judge Wedoff would oversee those cases. He is based in the district of Northern Illinois, and wouldn't cover Minneapolis or Atlanta. Again, very hypothetical.

And the winner for best actress is....REESE WITHERSPOON for 'Walk the Line'!!!!!!!!
 
uadc8contrail
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 2:02 pm

there is a "JUDGE WEDOFF" in eagan/atlanta and WILMINGTON
Bus Driver
 
geg2rap
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 2:27 pm

I agree starfish is nice branching out so once UAL figures out it doesn't work on one route they can "branch" out to another,
Anyways just a thought but did they chose the A319 to be part of starfish also? Is geg on the map?
GEG2RAP
PS sorry for being so cynical to UAL but I invested in them right before their employees decided not to make the same cuts AA did and lost wish I would have put the bucks into AA or HP
 
uadc8contrail
Posts: 1661
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 2:38 pm

geg2rap,sorry for trying to be a mutual fund mgr but UAL mechanics decided not to make the cuts that the pilots and grnd people did....that was PART of the reason that we are in bk,,,,,,,,ISNT THE STOCK MARKET A CRAP SHOOT AT BEST?????i know the money guys(wall street)are taking a hit in congress but AA EMPLOYEES took a hit AFTER ual employees did,,,,aa stock was going down the tubes when ual stock was going down the storm drain on algonquin rd in elk grove village....the only reason aa didnt go to bk is don was booted out .....had he stayed in aa wud have been trading today at 1.20 tops and aa wud have been in court in ft worth.........buy wn stock now......these guys in here are predicting it to hit 100.00 after ual goes out of bizznesssss
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LAXintl
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 2:51 pm

Initially UA LCC division will only use A320s. 40 Aircraft are slated to be converted to an all economy of 156 seats (66 E+ and 90 regular)

From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
uadc8contrail
Posts: 1661
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2003 1:23 am

RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 2:56 pm

laxintl,
just because ual has announced a320 with econ plus and den as the first hub city...do you think it will work????even though ual has hinted that it will fly between cities it does not fly currently, i doubt it will work,,,,,lets get the pilots to just fly them to vcv and call it a fun ride......viva pan am
Bus Driver
 
geg2rap
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 3:26 pm

Stock market is a crap shoot (I have quoted that actually in the book I wrote on probability) just so you know but I thought UAL emplyees would just do it but I was wrong what can I say sore subject. But I have bought a ton oF WN after the first time I flew on WN so factory like, good from an investment stand point not so look if you are looking for IFE or more than peanuts or enough room for your legs but WN is making money.
And I agree also the effects of Sept 11 have been on the common worker not the executive room, but c'est la vie, UAL is a big employer in rapid city so hope they do stick around if WN hits 100 I will be retired
 
uadc8contrail
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 3:38 pm

geg2rap,
you wrote a book on the stock market????if i wrote a book on the stock market i would have had simon and shuster fly the g4 out to rap to get me and my crew and do a book signing in elk grove/ft worth/and houston just for S&GIGGLES
Bus Driver
 
geg2rap
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 3:47 pm

Refer to previous comment I wrote a booke on probability, I am a mathematician, for some reason people want true odds on making money in the stock market (as if they existed) I tell them it is a crap shoot really it isn't in the stock market you are never assured of ever making money, in craps you know you will eventually win but long term you are certain to lose.
 
potomac
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2003 5:06 am

RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Wed Nov 05, 2003 10:08 pm

have we forgotten that starfish is the internal name, and the real/market facing name has yet to be announced?

incidentally, i hear that ACA is calling its LCO "goldilocks" - as in "and the three bears." a reference to the size of the carrier and routes it will serve - not to small, not too big - just right. (which is ironic seeing that the size comparison refers to the bowls of porridge, not the girl. but then again, 'porridge' as an internal name doesnt quite have that ring to it either).

ANYWAY, i still think this whole brand confusion issue is not the obstacle it is being made out to be. i just cant see a UA passenger sitting there by the jetway with a look of complete bewilderment on their face because they were just on a mainline UA plane with a first class cabin, and are now looking at a starfish plane that only has economy plus and has a different paint scheme.

for instance, look at current code share relationships, or regional/express and mainline alliances. it doesnt seem like there is a problem when a person flies on CO to EWR, then connects to an AF flight to paris that has a CO flight number slapped onto it. nor does it seem to be a problem when a passenger flies into SLC on DL, then walks onto the ramp to board a plane painted in Skywest livery. its just my perspective, but it seems like this market 'confusion' is already in place.

to me an airline with distinct, yet integrated products - mainline, intl, regional/express and LCC - can work well, serving specific needs independently, yet offering a combination of products to get passengers from most points A to points B.
 
geg2rap
Posts: 739
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RE: SkyWest A NorthwestAirlink Partner?

Thu Nov 06, 2003 3:01 am

goldilocks? you have to be kidding me
 
potomac
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Thu Nov 06, 2003 3:10 am

i know...but thats what i was told
 
geg2rap
Posts: 739
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 11:02 am

RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Thu Nov 06, 2003 3:21 am

imagine goldilocks on the side of a plane, the marketing departments of airlines have reached a new low
can't wait to see some goldilocks fantasy planes
ok aca if that is the best you can do let mesa take over. freedom air would be a better name  Smile
 
potomac
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2003 5:06 am

RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Thu Nov 06, 2003 3:31 am

well, just like UA's starfish, this is an internal name - no reason at all that the market facing names for either of these operations will reflect what they're referred to inside the airline.
 
triscl
Posts: 138
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2003 4:08 am

RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Thu Nov 06, 2003 3:32 am

The design is paradoxical. They are trying to fly planes that attract both business and leisure travellers. If they want to have their cake and eat it too, they are going to have to find a way to reduce capacity of each "product" and not compete with themselves.

My father used to fly Delta on some international business trips (when they used to fly JFK-Ireland), but after getting stuck on a Delta Express flight JFK-MCO (which he compared to being at a Mets game--not ideal for the person connecting from an international flight) and hasn't flown them since (Delta that is--but he's a loyal AA flier except for the Ireland flights sometimes). With the sort of contraints on business travel, SNN-MCO IS NOT A CHEAP TICKET! Needless to say he was pissed for his company to have paid such a high price for such a crappy product.

I'll call him and ask what he would think of AA switching over some of their operation to a LCO. My guess is that it would be time to find another carrier. (especially since he lives in MCO and that would be a prime canndidate for LCO)
 
potomac
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2003 5:06 am

RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Thu Nov 06, 2003 3:37 am

well, if you look at the rate at which express/feeder carriers are taking over short/med-range routes, it isnt an unlikely scenario on any airline these days that your father could be on an RJ and/or LCO from JFK to MCO after coming in from SNN on a mainline.
 
COEWRNJ
Posts: 1010
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RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Thu Nov 06, 2003 4:46 am

Potomac
FYI
CO and AF ended their codeshare agreement a few years ago.

Dave
 
potomac
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2003 5:06 am

RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Thu Nov 06, 2003 4:53 am

the CO/AF example was just to be illustrative of alliances btwn US and foreign carriers. and it may not have been that long ago - summer of 2002 my wife flew EWR-CDG-EWR on both carriers.
 
MSPMAN
Posts: 168
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2000 1:22 pm

RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Thu Nov 06, 2003 8:01 am

Could someone give me contact information for Glenn Tilton? I need this to tell him I would like to take his job and use it for my internship.
JB
 
Guest

RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Thu Nov 06, 2003 5:30 pm

Ah yes Song might be doing ok but in the long run like all of the other low fair carriers created within a major airline, Song and Starfish will fail. This has been proven over and over again. The writing is on the wall....
 
uadc8contrail
Posts: 1661
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2003 1:23 am

RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Thu Nov 06, 2003 5:48 pm

why all the guessing over starfish??????just liquidate and get it over with so alpha1 and his crew of community college financial wizards can plot our demise.....
Bus Driver
 
Leskova
Posts: 5547
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 3:39 pm

RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Thu Nov 06, 2003 9:23 pm

Uadc8contrail, ever consider the chance that, just maybe, there's so much guessing going on about Starfish because quite a few of us want to see UA survive?

After all, how many airlines have started a LCC only to withdraw it some time (and lots of money) later?
Smile - it confuses people!
 
FLAIRPORT
Posts: 3863
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2000 10:46 am

RE: Inagural Starfish Schedules...

Thu Nov 06, 2003 11:08 pm

perdon the spelling errors, but due to the fsct thst i sm moving to s new house, I am on an older laptop!!!!!!
i perdonslly think thst Song was put forth for 1 reason... to stop jetBlue. So, they had a purpose... Starfish was like "hey, lets jump on the LCC bandwagon and while we're at it, get Frontier!"
I think that attitude will not help. Song will be sround after Starfish (BUT NOT MUCH longer!)
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