Great Moments in Travel History – January 2016

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On January 26, 1989, the first Boeing 747-400 aircraft was delivered to launch customer Northwest Airlines. The 747-400’s innovations included a two-pilot glass cockpit, which made the flight engineer’s position redundant, more fuel-efficient engines, and an all-new interior. . Northwest later merged with Delta, and in 2014, Delta announced that it would begin retiring the former Northwest 747s.

The McDonnell Douglas MD-11 made its first flight on January 10, 1990.  The MD-11 is a three-engine wide-body airliner, based on the DC-10.  In addition to a stretched fuselage, it featured an all-glass, two-pilot cockpit.

On January 19, 1991, Eastern Air Lines ceased operations.  The airline, which had been founded in 1926 and grew to be one of the major U.S. airlines, was unable to compete after deregulation of the U.S. airline industry and following a decade of tumultuous labor relations.

Trans World Airlines filed for bankruptcy on January 10, 1992, and again in 1995. After filing bankruptcy yet again, the carrier’s assets were acquired by American Airlines in 2001 in a bankruptcy sale.

On January 8, 1996, an Air Africa Antonov An-32B plane overshot the runway at N’Dolo Airport in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although all of the six crewmembers onboard the plane survived, there were 227 fatalities and 253 serious injuries on the ground, the largest number of non-passenger ground fatalities caused by an aircraft crash.

The Boeing 737-600 made its inaugural flight on January 22, 1998.  The aircraft can accommodate 110 passengers in a typical two-class configuration, and 132 in a typical one-class configuration.

The Ice Hotel, or Hôtel de Glace, in Quebec, Canada opened its doors on January 1, 2001.  It was the first ice hotel to be located in North America.

Commercial airline passengers were able to experience in-flight Internet for the first time on January 15, 2003, with the launch of the Connexion by Boeing on a Lufthansa 747-400.  On August 17, 2006, Boeing announced cessation of the service.

On January 18, 2005, Airbus unveiled the A380 superjumbo in Toulouse, France.  The A380 was, and continues to be, the largest passenger aircraft in operation and can accommodate up to 853 passengers in an all-economy configuration, although it typically carries 525 passengers in a three-class layout.

Boeing launched the 737-700ER, the longest range 737, with an order for two of the aircraft from All Nippon Airways on January 31, 2006.

The Trump International Hotel and Tower opened in Chicago on January 30, 2008.  The 339-room hotel and condominium has been featured in several films including ‘The Dark Knight” and ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”

On January 15, 2009, US Airways flight 1549, an Airbus A320, made history after making the first ditching of a passenger jet without loss of life.  The event was dubbed “Miracle on the Hudson” and brought folk hero fame and status to its pilot, Captain Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III.

Northwest Airlines merged with Delta Air Lines on January 1, 2010.

All Nippon Airways Flight 692, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, made an emergency landing after cockpit warnings indicated a battery failure and the presence of smoke. Because of this and other similar incidents, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines both grounded their Dreamliner fleets. This action was followed by a worldwide grounding of all 787 aircraft.

The Badrashin railway incident took place on January 15, 2013 near Giza, Egypt, when a passenger train en route from Cairo to Sohag derailed and killed 19 people.

On January 31, 2013, American Airlines became the first airline in the U.S. to operate the Boeing 777-300ER with a revenue flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to São Paulo, Brazil.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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