Stories by David Parker Brown

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: david@airlinereporter.com

http://www.airlinereporter.com
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What do you get the company that already has all the cool toys? A special livery of course! Last week, Alaska Airlines unveiled their special Happy Birthday to You Boeing livery (it is really called the Celebration of Boeing). But this is not just any birthday… this is Boeing’s 100th birthday.

The event took place in the parking lot, just next to the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field (aka King County International Airport). There were about 700 people who attended the event including quite a few VIPs.

The plan was to have guests arrive at the Museum of Flight and then wait for the 737 to land with some special passengers on board. The plane was brand new – Alaska just took delivery from Renton, and then it was briefly parked at Seattle Tacoma International Airport, where the passengers boarded. The flight took a quick tour of the area (aka flying by Mount Rainier) before landing at Boeing Field. After the event, the plane was flown up to Paine Field to have the Scimitar winglets and WiFi installed. Even in its short time with the airline, the aircraft has done a tour of all the major local airports (RNT-SEA-BFI-PAE).

I am not sure who was happier to see who.

I am one lucky guy. I have never had a bag lost (or temporarily misplaced) by an airline before. Well… before my recent trip to Hamburg, Germany for Airbus Innovations Days. “Um, you are going to tell us a story about your bag David?” Heck yes… stick with me here.

I try not to check my bag… ever. I have it down to a science how to pack my little rollaboard, get it up in the bin, and call it good. So why did I give in? A few reasons. First off, it was free. Secondly, I had a 55-minute layover in Frankfurt and knew I was going from one side of the airport to the other. Rolly McRollerson was going to slow me down. I figured “why not?” Yea… my bad.

I remember clearly handing my bag to the ticket agent in Seattle, her placing a pink “priority” tag on him, and off my bag went. And then yadda yadda yadda, I landed in Frankfurt. I hauled across the airport thinking I made the right call checking my bag, and got to my gate to see my flight was 30 minutes delayed. Heh. I was already on a tight schedule. I needed to get to Hamburg, to the hotel, and then to a dinner hosted by Airbus. I didn’t want to be rude to my hosts.

Then, I rode on my A320 and after… I was sitting at the carousel in Hamburg waiting for my bag to arrive. Round and round bags go, mine was surely a no-show (yes, I am proud of myself for that rhyme). Now what? Seriously. I write about airlines and I wasn’t even sure what I was supposed to do next. Isn’t there a counter or something for me to go to? Surely there had to be — but would they speak English?

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When I was growing up, I would have long layovers at airports. Typically looking outside at the planes would entertain me, but I also always made sure I had one of the TVs, hanging from the ceiling, in view. I could sit and watch the CNN Airport Network for hours and be good.

It was my mainstay of personal entertainment at the airport for many years. Of course there wasn’t too much competition back then. Today, I rarely even notice the TVs anymore. With having multiple personal devices and free WiFi, the competition for my attention has become fierce.

When I was recently making a trip down to Atlanta, I decided to reach out for a tour of the CNN Airport Network operations and learn a bit more about their station and how it works. I also wanted to see how they are working to stay relevant, with all the other options out there. I went in without many expectations, but I have to say I walked away with quite a few surprises.