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Who had the first airline website on the Internet? (And a look at others from the 1990s!)



The Internet really began to enter the mainstream consciousness in the early 1990s. This meant that commercial business started looking towards the new technology and what it could do for them. Among other things that arrived was the first airline website.

Today any company worth its salt has a website, but it was not the case at the time. The new medium took a while to evolve and settle down into what we know today.

The First Airline Website

Once upon a time, there was an airline in Canada called Canadian Pacific Air Lines, who became known as CP Air for short. Pacific Western Airlines purchased them in 1987 and they became Canadian Airlines International.

In April 1994, Canadian launched the first airline web site (it was two words back then!) at Grant Fengstad is credited with the implementation of the first airline website.

Not only was it first, it also took a leap forward over other websites, which usually provided only marketing and content material. Canadian Airlines’ site was transactional, with things we take for granted now such as real time fares, schedules and flight departure and arrival information.

Unfortunately the original 1994 version is not available find in the Internet Archive. However, the 1997 version you can see in the images gives a little flavour as to how the 1990s Internet appeared.

How About Some Other Web Sites From Back Then?

Another defunct airline, Ansett Australia, also had a 1990s web site. The version I was able to find hails from October 1996 and the landing page amused me quite a bit.

Not only have they won Australia’s best tourism web site of 1996, but the site is best viewed with Netscape 3.0! Netscape was the Google Chrome of its day, unfairly beaten out of existence when Microsoft bundled Internet Explorer into Windows in the late 1990s.

Also, look at what you can do? The “new” web site lets you “reserve flights and accommodation through our reservations request form”. Amazing! You need to remember that the way you booked a flight at this time was to ring the airline or a travel agent.

What Do You Mean, A Form?

Forms were the only way to pass information from a web page to a human at the other side who could process it. For example, if you wanted to join Canadian Airlines’ frequent flyer programme, this is the form you would have to fill in online.

The information you put into this page would be e-mailed to someone as text. That someone would then have to manually input the form data into a membership system. At the time, these things were not automatic like they are today.

How About Aer Lingus, Qantas and British Airways?

Aer Lingus have the best example of what original web sites looked like. This is their site on 23 October 1996, and it is quite basic. The fact it says it is best viewed in Netscape 1.2 or Internet Explorer 2.0 or above shows its age. It even has “Other Interesting Sites” which is a links page. It includes their codeshare partners Delta, KLM and Sabena, plus lots of Irish tourism links.

Qantas at the time were also pretty basic compared to today. You can check various things online, but you still can’t make a flight booking at all.

Just a couple of years later, in 1999, flight bookings are available, as you can see offered on the British Airways web site from the time. The design is still leaning on what came before.

Interestingly, BA have a copyright in 1994 at the bottom of their page. It looks like they also went online the same year as Canadian Airlines, even if they weren’t the first airline website.

Remember Technical Requirements Like This?

This is from the Qantas web site, I believe for the timetable programme that you could download and install. It took me back when I saw it so here it is. Remember dial-up modems? They need at least 9600 baud for the software! Even my first modem was faster than that at 14,400 baud, while the people with money at the time used super fast 28,800 baud modems.

8 megabyes of RAM? Today you’d be looking at 8 gigabytes of RAM in a decent laptop. Nice to see it worked with both a 16 colour VGA display or a monochrome display and both the Windows 3.1 and Win95 systems! How times have changed.

Overall Thoughts

So you have your answer, Canadian Airlines created the first airline website. It didn’t take long for other carriers to follow and everything has evolved to the all singing, all dancing web sites we have today.

With technology improving all the time, in another 25 years I expect people will look back on today’s Internet thinking how primitive it is. Hopefully anyway!

Do you remember the first airline website or others from that era? Any specific memories of using them? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image via Pinterest.
All other images from the Internet Archive.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: Who had the first airline website on the Internet? (And a look at others from the 1990s!)
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Published Date: Sat, 24 Oct 2020 11:33:25 +0000

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What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?




People have always liked to drink on board flights, especially people from Australia. Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that there was an inflight bar offering in the 1970s.

Ansett Airlines were a major player in the Australian domestic market up until their demise in September 2001. For many years, there were two domestic airlines, Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) and Ansett.

Ansett’s Inflight Bar

At the time, Ansett operated Boeing 727s, Douglas DC-9s and Fokker F27 Friendships on domestic routes in the country. Airline tickets were quite expensive, with tariffs agreed upon by both airlines thanks to Australia’s weird two-airline policy at the time.

While tickets were expensive and food complimentary, you still had to pay for a drink at the bar. Here is an inflight bar menu from the era, showing the drinks available and their prices.

Clearly the pricing is astounding by today’s standards – 30 cents for a beer? I’ll have thirty-three please! I like how Australian gin is 35c while the imported gin is just 5c more. Which would you choose?

You can tell it is from another era as you can buy cigarettes on board. These price up at 45c, a far cry from the extortionate prices people in the west pay these days for a smoke!

Overall Thoughts

The on board offering is pretty comprehensive for internal flights, and I imagine you’d be hard pressed not to find something you might like. In those times, all payments would have been by cash as well, which would have meant a lot of coinage being handled on board.

Of course, things haven’t changed too much over the years. On many airlines you pay for your drinks just as they did back in the 1970s. Shame the prices aren’t the same of course!

Did you ever buy drinks on board flights from the inflight bar back in the day? Do you still? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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All my flight and lounge reviews are indexed here so check them out!

Featured image by Daniel Tanner on via Wikimedia Commons.
Menu image by Ikara on Australian Frequent Flyer.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?
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Published Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2020 15:03:14 +0000

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These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?




The shrimp stop swimming at dusk and gather near the river’s edge. After sunset, they begin to climb out of the water. Then they march. All night long, the inch-long crustaceans parade along the rocks.

The parading shrimp of northeastern Thailand have inspired legends, dances and even a statue. (Locals also eat them.) During the rainy season, between late August and early October, tourists crowd the riverbanks with flashlights to watch the shrimp walk.

Watcharapong Hongjamrassilp first learned about the parading shrimp, and the hundred thousand or more tourists who come each year to see them, about 20 years ago. When he started studying biology, he returned to the topic. “I realized that we know nothing about this,” he said: What species are they? Why and how do they leave the safety of the water to walk upstream on dry land? Where are they going?

Mr. Hongjamrassilp, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, decided to answer those questions himself. His findings appeared this month in the Journal of Zoology.

Working with wildlife center staff members, Mr. Hongjamrassilp staked out nine sites along a river in Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani province. They found shrimp parading at two of the sites — a stretch of rapids, and a low dam.

The videos they recorded revealed that the shrimp paraded from sundown to sunup. They traveled up to 65 feet upstream. Some individual shrimp stayed out of the water for 10 minutes or more.

“I was so surprised,” Mr. Hongjamrassilp said, “because I never thought that a shrimp can walk that long.” Staying in the river’s splash zone may help them keep their gills wet, so they can keep taking in oxygen. He also observed that the shells of the shrimp seem to trap a little water around their gills, like a reverse dive helmet.

DNA analysis from captured shrimp showed that nearly all belonged to the species Macrobrachium dienbienphuense, part of a genus of shrimp that live mostly or fully in freshwater. Many Macrobrachiumspecies spend part of their lives migrating upstream to their preferred habitats.

Most parading shrimp that Mr. Hongjamrassilp captured were young. Observations and lab experiments showed that these shrimp probably leave the water when the flow becomes too strong for them. Larger adult shrimp can handle a stronger current without washing away, so they’re less likely to leave the water.

Walking on land is dangerous for the little shrimp, even under cover of darkness. Predators including frogs, snakes and large spiders lurk nearby, Mr. Hongjamrassilp says. “Literally, they wait to eat them along the river.”

And the shrimp can survive on land for only so long. If the parading crustaceans lose their way, they may dry out and die before they get back to the river. A few times, Mr. Hongjamrassilp came across groups of lost shrimp dead on the rocks, their once-translucent bodies baked pink.

Yet most navigate upstream successfully, and scientists have spotted other freshwater shrimp around the world performing similar feats, scaling dams and even climbing waterfalls.

Leaving the water when the swimming gets tough may have helped these animals spread to new habitats over their evolutionary history, Mr. Hongjamrassilp said. Today, the number of parading shrimp in Thailand seems to be declining. He thinks tourist activity may be a factor, and learning more about the shrimp might help protect them.

The study’s authors made “some really excellent observations,” said Alan Covich, an ecologist at the University of Georgia who was not involved in the research. But understanding why the Ubon Ratchathani shrimp move upstream, and how far they travel, will require more research, he said.

“The most surprising thing to me was that it attracted so many tourists,” Dr. Covich said. He doesn’t know of any other example of people gathering to appreciate a crustacean in quite the same way.

“We have crayfish festivals, we have all kinds of things,” Dr. Covich said, “but generally it’s people eating them, not watching them move.”

By: Elizabeth Preston
Title: These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?
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Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 17:02:07 +0000

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Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?




There are reports that Aer Lingus have applied for 1,500 slots at Manchester Airport for the Summer 2021 season. This will allow the airline to base four aircraft there and service flights to the United States.

At present, there have been no press releases from the airline stating what is going on. Even so, it probably makes sense for the Irish airline to do this in the current market.

Aer Lingus And Manchester

From what is known, there will be three Airbus A321LRs and an A330 based at Manchester. These will operate non-stop services to New York JFK, Boston, Chicago and Orlando, and the season starts on 28 March 2021.

With Thomas Cook having gone out of business, there is likely space for another competitor. New York and Orlando will see competition from Virgin Atlantic, while the other two routes have no airline flying at the moment.

Aer Lingus has been connecting passengers over Dublin very successfully from the UK regions for a while now. Due to this, they will have visibility on traffic patterns, potential yields and more, making this an informed decision.

I imagine they also hope to cream off some of the connecting traffic that routes through London Heathrow on British Airways and Amsterdam on KLM among others. It would prove to be quite successful.

Transatlantic Joint Venture Approval

The US Department of Transport has tentatively given its approval for Aer Lingus to join the oneworld transatlantic joint business. This is operated by American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair.

These airlines coordinate schedules and pricing, share revenues and expenses. For the consumer, it means more choice – those making a booking on British Airways across the Atlantic will also see options on American Airlines on the BA web site as one example.

Theoretically, it would allow people seeking flights on the British Airways web site to automatically be given options to fly non-stop with Aer Lingus, along with the Manchester-London Heathrow-US city connecting itinerary.

Whether Aer Lingus will join the oneworld alliance, even in a oneworld connect capacity remains to be seen. Frequent flyers would welcome it, especially those in Ireland.

Overall Thoughts

No doubt the boffins have been working behind the scenes to see if the business case for transatlantic flights from Manchester stack up. As things have proceeded as far as a slot application, I would guess chances are good that it will go ahead.

Either way, let’s see if this happens and if it does, whether Aer Lingus will stay for the long haul. If they can make more money elsewhere, they’ll up sticks and leave. Regardless, it is an interesting development in European aviation.

What do you think of Aer Lingus starting transatlantic services from Manchester? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

To never miss a post, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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Featured image by N509FZ via Wikimedia Commons.
Aer Lingus A321neo LR by Pitmanaaron via Wikimedia Commons.
Business class cabin via One Mile At A Time.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?
Sourced From:
Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:03:48 +0000

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