Simple Flying’s Favorite Stories Of 2019

It’s been a cracking year for Simple Flying. From a small startup in mid-2018, we came into 2019 with a team of amazing writers ready to take every opportunity going. This year, we’ve traveled all over the world, toured brand new aircraft, interviewed CEOs, attended conferences and, of course, eaten every cheese sandwich we’ve been offered, all in the name of bringing you the content you love.

But what about the content we love? We asked our team to tell us about the stories they most enjoyed writing over the course of 2019. Here’s what they told us.

Best aviation articles 2019
As the sun sets on 2019, Simple Flying reflects on our favorite articles of the year. Photo: Adam Clark via Flickr

Laura loves the environment

Although relatively new to the team Laura has slotted in like a round peg in an equally round hole. She has taken the environmental side of aviation as her niche; a challenging topic to say the least. Her favorite article? “How Germany’s Proposed Aviation Tax Will Affect Fares”. She told us,

“I loved writing it so much that I had to cut out a ton of words. And the reason I loved it so much was because it’s a really polemic topic. I know that a lot of our readers love air travel and having an article that goes against that is challenging. The topic invites lots of debate and shifting opinions and really underpins the issues that the aviation industry is facing when it comes to climate change and managing carbon footprints.”

Way to accept a challenge, Laura!

Jay got a Oneworld exclusive

Who wouldn’t be excited to get a proper sit down and chat opportunity with some of the biggest names in American Airlines and the Oneworld alliance? Jay certainly grabbed the bull by the horns and snagged this exclusive story about AA’s future growth. He said,

“The ability to sit down one-on-one with some of the big names at AA and Oneworld was fantastic and I believe they offered a lot of perspective and insight that our readers would appreciate.”

American Airlines
Jay got an American Airlines exclusive. Photo: Getty

Emily’s Dutch King piece was just the ticket

Also a new writer to the team, Emily has brought a fresh injection of energy to our content and loves a good viral story. She picked as her favorite the one about the Dutch King not only being a qualified pilot but occasionally flying revenue flights for KLM itself!

“Writing about the Dutch King being a pilot because it was a bit different and it was awesome to research a monarch being so normal and to see that flying an aircraft is such a passion for some people!”

Karol dug deep into Emirate’s sustainability

Karol enjoys crunching the numbers and often provides us with insightful articles involving airline financials. In the process of gathering information for one such report, he stumbled across Emirates’ deep affinity with the environment and outstanding sustainability initiatives. Following an in-depth interview, Karol was able to share with us all that Emirates is doing to protect the natural world, and picked this as his favorite article. He said,

“The possibility to ask a few questions to Emirates about sustainability and their programmes was quite interesting, a new experience to me as well.”

Emirates wildlife livery
Emirates told Karol how they care for the environment. Photo: Emirates

Henry enjoyed the SkyRetreat

We love a good concept aircraft, and the A220 SkyRetreat was one of the best we’ve seen this year. Henry got to investigate the topic and was mighty impressed with what he saw. He picked the A220 SkyRetreat article as his favorite of the year, telling us,

“It was a refreshing topic with lots of usable imagery and background talking points.”

We loved his write up, and only wish we had the funds to turn this concept into a reality!

The SkyRetreat observation deck
The SkyRetreat. Photo: Lufthansa Technik

Sumit discovered the lengths United will go to for the 737 MAX

Sumit has represented Simple Flying at a few high profile events this year, including a meeting at The Aviation Club UK, where some of the biggest names in commercial aviation were in attendance. From the discussions that took place at this event, Sumit shared his 737 MAX story, which shows how careful United Airlines plans to be with the reintroduction of the type. He said,

“That one is my favorite one due to it was based on first-hand quotes from Munoz at a VIP event, which I remember at the time we were the first to get out. However, it also highlighted how United really realizes how its customers feel about the whole 737 MAX situation. Compared with others such as Ryanair, United have been putting the extra care in place to ensure no one is uncomfortable.”

Andrew flexed his Qantas muscles to prove the worth of the A380

Down under Andrew is our Qantas guru, sharing interesting insight into the world-leading airline, often with a sprinkling of his unique Aussie humor. As well as being a veteran Qantas geek, Andrew is a massive lover of the A380 (aren’t we all?), and as such, he picked a story about the A380s success on the Dallas route as his top article of 2019. Andrew said,

“The Dallas story was an example of the A380 succeeding on a route over the long run. A lot of people say it’s a dud aircraft but in this example, it works well. It’s also a route that a lot of people said wouldn’t work financially and I enjoy anything that proves people wrong. And the story was full of numbers. You can split numbers and divide numbers, multiply them, whatever. You end up with a bunch of new numbers you can write about and quote as hard evidence. You can’t go wrong with numbers.”

Qantas made a huge success of the A380 on the Dallas route. Photo: Getty Images.

Chris got real about Air France’s premium economy

We often write glowing reviews of great flights we’ve taken, but we aren’t afraid to call a spade a spade either. Chris did just that when he got ‘upgraded’ to premium economy on his Air France Boeing 777 flight. Turns out, he’d probably have been better off in economy! Chris said,

“My AF premium economy 777 review got some good responses and I think it was valuable to flyers to know what was bad about it.”

It’s certainly good to know what to avoid as much as it is to see aspirational reviews. Great job Chris.

Nick loves a paper airplane

Nick is our VS expert; he loves to line up two aircraft side by side and see which is better, on paper at least. But the thing he loves even more than that is to investigate those aircraft that never even got built. His top article was the story of the Lockheed Martin A380 rival. He said,

“This plane would have been insane, it carried well over 1000 passengers, the cabin would have had five aisles and it carried cargo CONTAINERS underneath. That means entire shipping containers could have been airlifted around the world.”

The various different designs of the Lockheed VLST. Photo: Lockheed / NASA

The Lockheed Very Large Subsonic Transport (VLST) never got any further than the drawing board, but for Nick, it’s the plane that flies in the skies of his dreams every night!

Jakov is our Eastern European expert

Jakov has been enlightening Simple Flying readers with the inner workings of the Eastern European market for the longest time. His local knowledge and industry contacts do not go to waste in the insightful articles he produces. His favorite? An awesome analysis of why Croatian airlines are leaving Zagreb airport. He said,

“I picked this one because my original content gathered attention in all mainstream Croatian media.”

Indeed, the article was picked up by numerous media outlets in Croatia and the wider area, showcasing the depth of knowledge and research he plows into his articles.

Tom feels the privilege of a BA inaugural

The first of the happy trinity that makes up the SF management team, Tom is, without doubt, the geekiest of all British Airways geeks. As such, he was absolutely delighted to be involved in the inaugural flight of British Airways’ brand new A350 earlier this year. He told me,

“It was an honor to be among the first passengers to try BA’s brand new business class cabin on the first Airbus A350 flight operated by BA.”

British Airways, United States, Airbus A350
Tom enjoyed BA’s A350. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Tom also likes to point out that this was a ‘proper’ inaugural flight, not a scheduled media flight some weeks later. Bless. All joking aside though, Tom’s tight relationship with the BA team is a testament to his hard work over the past 18 months, and is the only reason we’re getting to go behind the scenes with Tom’s ‘Inside British Airways’ series. If you’ve not been reading, do check it out.

The boss loves to play the fool

Everyone who knows Simple Flying will be asking, “where’s Arran already?”. Well, the boss does not disappoint. While he’s generally busy with all sorts of backend, techy, yawnsome stuff, he does pop up and write a piece of content now and then.

Simple Flying’s Favorite Stories Of 2019
Down Under Airlines A350 Livery. Photo: Down Under Airlines

His favorite? This total wind up story that we published for April Fool’s Day 2019! He told me,

“I enjoyed writing this April fool’s story! Loved coming up with the livery and coming up with a story for the airline.”

Did you fall for it?

Me? I can’t get past Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class experience!

When I got invited to take a trip to New York onboard Virgin Atlantic’s brand new A350, several of my dreams came true all at once. First, I’d get to go Upper Class, something that I’d never done before. Second, I’d get to go on a shiny new aircraft, again a first for me. Thirdly, I got to go without my kids… and there’s the kicker.

Richard branson virgin sale
The stunning Virgin A350. Photo: Virgin

Clearly, the A350 was an amazing experience, but even better than the fabulous aircraft and inimitable Virgin Atlantic service was the opportunity to meet some incredible people. Daniel Kerzner, VP of Customer, shared some amazing insights with me, and I even had the privilege to meet a flight attendant who had been with Virgin since their very first flight.

Of course, I also reviewed the brand new Upper Class product in all its glory.

What was your favorite Simple Flying story of 2019? Let us know in the comments!