Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 269,302
2013: 330,818

A Unique AvGeek Wedding – Inside the First 747

The right cuff-links for the occasion - Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMultimedia.com

The right cuff-links for the occasion – Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMultimedia.com

When I moved to the USA in May of 2012, I packed up my entire life, left everything and everyone behind in Australia, and began a new life in Seattle. Pretty soon I was meeting up with all kinds of people, especially AvGeeks but even I didn’t think that less than two and a half years later I would be getting married.

It wasn’t just any wedding though, it was probably the most unique AvGeek wedding. How so? Well, my wife and I were married inside the very first 747 – the City of Everett locate at the Museum of Flight.

That's me and my new wife Heidi, posing for our first photos as a married couple inside RA001, the first Boeing 747 - Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / JDLMultimedia.com

That’s me and my new wife Heidi, posing for our first photos as a married couple inside RA001, Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMultimedia.com

Yeah, you read that right, the first 747.  Truth be told, I couldn’t believe at first that the Museum of Flight would let us use the first 747 (also known as RA001) like that. But we were extremely excited. Right now, you are probably thinking about my wife, “She let you do that?”. Well, the truth of the situation is that it was Heidi’s idea.

After trying to find intimate venues for a small wedding at low-to-zero cost, we just couldn’t find any. Parks in Seattle all require a permit to get married. These can cost anywhere from $200-400. Pass!

We spoke with our friends at the Future of Flight in Everett about perhaps getting married there; however, Heidi’s family are all based south of Seattle, so this would be a long way to go for them (unfortunately, my family was not able to make it over for the wedding).

I knew that the Museum of Flight had just finished refurbishing RA001 so I joked that we should just get married under it. My wife, being ever the smart one in our relationship, made a good point that it rains a lot in October – what would we do if it rained that day? Her idea was we get married inside. This excited her more than me, and I’m the AvGeek!

Continue reading A Unique AvGeek Wedding – Inside the First 747

Southwest’s Social Care Team Gets a New Home

The Wall Mounted Screens of the new Southwest Airlines Listening Center

Wall-mounted screens in the new Southwest Airlines Listening Center

Airlines in the modern world seem to use social media one of two ways.  Either as an effective marketing tool with no ability to handle any customer service functions, or as a customer service tool with little-to-no ability to market effectively.  There are a rare few airlines that can do both of these things and one of them is Southwest.  Recently, they began operations in their new Listening Center, a kind of “social media command center” and I had a chance to see how it works.

A better look at the set up in the Listening Center

A better look at the set up in the Listening Center

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become so ingrained into many of our lives.  We have access to them on our phones, tablets, and computers – even on watches – that it becomes so overwhelming.

In some forms it is a great way of sharing things with others, like what you are doing or where you are going.  However, it is also a great tool in getting a message across or being able to get some things fixed.  As social media has grown over the years, it has become more and more apparent that businesses need to address these platforms as a separate communication tool and start to use them effectively.  The Listening Center at Southwest is the first of its kind and is staffed by up to nine people at a time. Continue reading Southwest’s Social Care Team Gets a New Home

Dallas Love Field Completes Refurbishment Ahead of Wright Amendment Changes

Dallas Love Field's terminal area with Restaurant/Bar area

Dallas Love Field’s terminal area with restaurant and bar

In 1974, as Dallas/Fort Worth Airport opened to serve as the main regional airport and airlines moved their flights across town to the new facility, apart from one.  Southwest AIrlines decided that their home at Love Field was the best way to service their customers, and from that moment on, the history of the airport would be tumultuous.

In 1979, the Wright Amendment, named after Fort Worth Congressman Jim Wright, set about restricting the airport to certain limitations.  As the years went on, the amendment has had a number of changes, easing some of the restrictions.

The Wright Amendment originally restricted airlines with aircraft of greater than 56 seats to only fly services within Texas, or to the four neighboring states of New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.  Southwest expanded their services out to those states, but the amendment was a severe restriction on their ability to really become the airline that they wanted.

As the years went on, further changes were made, adding Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, and eventually Missouri to the state list.  The biggest changes came in 2006 though, when the repeal of the Wright Amendment began.  Although the original changes in 2006 would allow through-ticketing (previously, if you wanted to fly say Dallas to Denver, you would need to have two separate tickets, one to get you to an intermediary city like Albuquerque or Kansas City, the other onto Denver).  Eventually, in 2014, the 2006 amendment/repeal would allow long-haul flights directly out of Dallas Love Field.

Continue reading Dallas Love Field Completes Refurbishment Ahead of Wright Amendment Changes

China Airlines Receives their First Boeing 777-300ER

A Ribbon Cutting at Everett wouldn't be complete without some Dragons right?

A ribbon cutting at Everett wouldn’t be complete without some dragons, right?

On a sunny Everett friday morning, press, dignitaries, and staff all gathered on the ramp outside the Everett Delivery Center.  In front of us was a brand-new Boeing 777-300ER, a giant red ribbon, and two dragons.  China Airlines is the newest carrier to receive this twin-jet, and since this was their first of the type, a large ceremony was called for.

The first 777-300ER for China Airlines

The first 777-300ER for China Airlines – Photo Kris Hull | Hull AeroImages

China Airlines has been a Boeing customer for over half of a century.  Their first Boeing aircraft was the 727, which entered them into the era of flying internationally within southeast Asia.  Then, in 1970, they added the Boeing 707, which allowed them to begin transpacific flights to San Francisco.

Soon enough, they were expanding and other North American destinations were added.  The airline grew, taking on 747s and, after the years passed, they had a fleet of 13 747-400s flying around the world.

In fact, they were the final customer of the 747-400 in its passenger form, taking delivery of that aircraft (B-18215) on the 26th of April, 2005.  Fast-forward nine years later, and the airline is taking their newest Boeing aircraft, the 777-300ER.

Continue reading China Airlines Receives their First Boeing 777-300ER

Touring the Southwest Airlines Network Operations Control

The Southwest Airlines NOC with screens showing Airline Operations

The Southwest Airlines NOC with screens showing airline operations

In May of this year, Southwest Airlines unveiled a new crown jewel at their Dallas Love Field headquarters: their Network Operations Control (NOC).  If the employees are the heart of the airline, the brain that keeps the airline moving day in and day out is the NOC.

During Media Day, we were given a tour of the NOC — it almost felt like being in Batman’s lair.

Continue reading Touring the Southwest Airlines Network Operations Control