Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Trannies

Hah! And what exactly were you thinking this article would be about? since it portends to be a travel blog then hopefully some of you will know that "trannie" in this context is jargon for "Transcon" or transcontinental service of the nonstop kind from coast to coast. It could also refer to Transatlantic or Transpacific flights but rarely if ever would it refer to something like Transasian or Translatin. A flight from Buenos Aires or Rio to Santiago, Chile would be considered a transcon flight but the distance is not quite four hours of flying time and I'm not sure they even have the term in that part of the world. That said, let's take a look at the three we're most familiar with.

A transcon almost invariably refers to a domestic flight within the United States that leaves from one coast state, flies across the continent and arrives at another coastal state. The primary routes for this would be New York to California with other serious contenders being Boston and Washington, D.C. to California. Others qualify, such as Seattle to Miami or Atlanta to Portland but those markets tend to be smaller and, in the case of Atlanta, the city is not right on the water like Los Angeles, San Diego or San Francisco. Still, Georgia has a coastline so if the good people of the Peach State want to call their Atlanta to the West Coast flights transcons then who am I to begrudge them. Et tu, Charlotte.

The other two are not as US-centric although certainly the United States plays a large role in both markets. When one thinks of a transatlantic service it almost always means from somewhere in the United States to some place in Europe. That is not fair, however, to the other countries that also enjoy nonstop service across the ocean such as Brazil and even Peru, the latter of which supports a nonstop service to Madrid on Iberia. It makes sense the minute you think about it but there are still others as well, such as Buenos Aires to Frankfurt and even Sao Paulo to Cape Town, South Africa, probably one of the loneliest flights on the planet as it is the only regularly scheduled service across the South Atlantic at only three times per week.

Transpac is comparatively easy to decipher: the US and Canada to Asia and Australia/New Zealand. Or is it. What about the flights BETWEEN Asia and the Anzac Region? While vacationing in Auckland, not the largest market in the world, I found nonstop services on offer to Australia (duh), Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and Hong Kong, any one of which could get the average Kiwi the rest of the way to Europe. Wow. Compared to that spread Los Angeles seemed almost a token market despite being the largest of the lot after Australia.

There is a lot of commercial flying out there, a lot of it seemingly concentrated on North America but certainly a respectable amount of it connecting people and places with literally no connections to the United States (or Canada) whatsoever. Know what? If they don't make the headlines you can assume every last one of those flights operated just as safely, too.

Gotta go.

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