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Miles flown for stories
2014: 201,532
2013: 330,818

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Boeing Celebrates the 1,500th 747 – Is the Jumbo Jet Still Viable?

The 1500th Boeing 747 sitting on the flight line at Paine Field

The 1,500th Boeing 747 (70th 747-8) sitting on the flight line at Paine Field

The 747 Jumbo Jet is an iconic aircraft. For years, it was the only double-deck commercial airliner and for many it is a favorite. From its first flight in 1969, the 747 has changed quite a bit. The newest iteration, the 747-8, might sport a similar shape to the original 747 or the 747-400, but it is quite a different beast (more than just LED lighting). This past weekend, the 1,500th 747 was delivered to Lufthansa Airlines. About a week earlier, Boeing took the opportunity to talk about their largest commercial airliner and its future relevance.

LN1500 lining up for take off. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

LN1500 lining up for take off – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

I was invited to Boeing’s factory in Everett to sit down with Eric Lindblad, vice president and general manager of the 747 program, and we had a down-to-earth conversation about where the 747 has been, where it is today, and where Boeing is hoping it is going.

The big message that Lindblad wanted to get across is, “this is not your mother’s 747.” Not only is the 747-8I a very different aircraft than the 747-400, but the 70th 747-8 is much more efficient than the first one, and they plan to keep making it more efficient.

Continue reading Boeing Celebrates the 1,500th 747 – Is the Jumbo Jet Still Viable?

Inside the Factory: Photo Tour of Where Boeing 747s are Born

The money shot: 747 line inside the Boeing factory

The money shot: 747 line inside the Boeing factory

Back in the 1960s Boeing made a big gamble. They decided to build the world’s largest airliner, the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet. To build such a beast, they would need a large facility. After careful consideration, Boeing decided to build a large factory in Everett.

Since the first 747 rolled off the line in 1968, every other 747 has been built under the same roof. Even today, the 747-8 is built in the same factory.

In case you didn't know the aircraft type, there is a large sign on the wall.

In case you didn’t know the aircraft type, there is a large sign on the wall.

Although Boeing offers public tours of the facility, they do not allow cameras. I was lucky enough to participate in a media event and take photos of the 747 line in the factory and I wanted to be able to share. Enjoy…

Continue reading Inside the Factory: Photo Tour of Where Boeing 747s are Born

Touring the Bigelow Aerospace BA-330 Space Habitat Mock Up

This manicain is doing important experiments in the BA-330

This mannequin is doing important experiments in the BA-330

Space… the final frontier. Sorry, I just always wanted to start a story with that and figured this was the time.

When I was recently invited down to Las Vegas to learn about Boeing’s CST-100 and Bigelow Aerospace’s BA-330 space habitat, I lit up. I love space and, even more so, commercial space. This is the area of space where maybe someday an average Joe might be able to experience what it is like to be up in the heavens. Until then, it will take companies and individuals with money to get commercial space off the ground (literally).

Once inflated, the BA-300 is quite large.

Once inflated, the BA-300 is quite large

The International Space Station is currently expected to have a useful lifespan until about 2020. Firms like Bigelow Aerospace are looking at ways to provide a commercial space habitat to nations and companies who are willing (and able) to pay. Although they have tried a few variants, they are putting quite a bit of effort into the BA-330 Space Habitat (no, it is not related to the Airbus A330).

It is one thing to see drawings of what the BA-330 will look like, versus having a full mock-up. And that is exactly what Bigelow had at their facility in Las Vegas – a true, life-sized version of the BA-330, and I was lucky enough to get a look inside.

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When a Good Product Gets Dinged By Misses In Customer Service

My Comfort Class seat on my Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300ER

My Comfort Class seat on my Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300ER out of LAX

Introduction

When I first saw I was booked in Comfort Class on Turkish Airlines, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I knew it was a premium economy product, but that could mean anything from a few inches of extra leg room to having an almost-business-class experience.

Being able to check out the product during my recent flights to and from Los Angeles to Istanbul, I was impressed overall by my whole experience.  I enjoyed the comfortable seat, my amenities, the delicious food, and the access to the in-flight entertainment (IFE) system. However, I felt let down by the service that I received during certain points of my trip, which left me wanting a bit more.

Turkish Airlines' Boeing 777-300ER sitting at Istanbul

Turkish Airlines’ Boeing 777-300ER sitting at Istanbul

It was nothing that horrible, but just added up enough to make me disappointed overall about the experience. I think some of the things could easily be avoided or changed to make the passenger experience a bit better, and make people who feel like they shelled out some additional money for a premium product feel a bit more special.

One of the main reasons that I was flown to Istanbul was to work with Turkish to help them look into the future of their business – and part of that was related to customer service. I am grateful to work with an airline wanting to learn, and I hope that they are listening.

Continue reading When a Good Product Gets Dinged By Misses In Customer Service

EVA Air Takes Delivery of Two 777-300ERs With a New Cabin Product

Seeing double. Two EVA Air Boeing 777-300ERs at the Everett Delivery Center - Photo: Boeing

Seeing double. Two EVA Air Boeing 777-300ERs at the Everett Delivery Center – Photo: Boeing

Representatives from EVA Air, along with Taiwanese media, recently came to Seattle for a special double delivery of a pair of Boeing 777-300ERs. They weren’t the first for the airline (actually, the 16th and 17th), but they were still special. They were the first ones to offer Panasonic’s new eX3 in-flight entertainment (IFE) system and Global Communication Suite (GCS).

I have always been a fan of the green and orange livery on the outside of EVA’s 777s, but now there is more to love on the inside.

“Our new Boeing 777-300ERs equip us to initiate significant changes in the flying experience we offer. We are going to make flying more fun and more comfortable than ever for our passengers,” said EVA Air Chairman K.W. Chang.

Continue reading EVA Air Takes Delivery of Two 777-300ERs With a New Cabin Product