Around the World

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

The Dreamliner Flies Again: Pictures of China Southern 787 Landing at Paine Field

A China Southern Boeing 787 Dreamliner lands at Paine Field earlier today. Photograph by Michael O'Leary

China Southern Boeing 787 Dreamliner B-2727 lands at Paine Field earlier today. Photograph by Michael O’Leary.

The world-wide fleet of Boeing 787 might be grounded, but Boeing flew one Dreamliners from Dallas/Forth Worth, Texas to Everett. The ferry-flight only contained Boeing employees and was used to run a test on the lithium-ion batteries. During the flight, the battery had to be closely monitored and no issues were reported.

Some in the media are reporting the aircraft was in Texas for painting. Maybe it could been having touch up work, but the aircraft, B2727, has been painted since late 2012.

The FAA approved this ferry-flight, but has not approved future test flights. Hopefully we will be able to see more 787 test flights in the air soon. See video of the landing on KING5.

A China Southern Boeing 787 Dreamliner arrives a Paine Field in Everett Thursday. All other Dreamliners are grounded. Boeing was granted premision to fly this aircraft to Everett.

A China Southern Boeing 787 Dreamliner arrives a Paine Field in Everett Thursday. All other Dreamliners are grounded. Boeing was granted permission to fly this aircraft to Everett. Photography by Michael O’Leary.

 

Alaska Airlines Prepares for Commercial Flights at Paine Field

AS737

It appears that Alaska Airlines has taken the next step to start possible commercial flight service at Paine Field, located at Everett, WA. “This is a required step if the carrier were to begin jet service out of the regional airport at some point in the future,” the airline stated in a press release. The key word is “were.”

“We continue to believe that our flights at Sea-Tac Airport and in Bellingham best serve the Puget Sound region’s needs for affordable air travel, particularly in light of the significant investments both airports have made recently to improve their facilities,” said Andrew Harrison, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of planning and revenue management. “That said, if one or more other airlines begin operations at Paine Field, we would commence service alongside these carriers. Submitting a schedule with the FAA along with a request for authorization to serve Paine is a necessary step in the process.”

In this case, it is pretty obvious that Alaska is referring to Allegiant. Is Alaska really only taking a defensive position here or are they testing the waters to gauge reaction from the public? Public flights at Paine Field is a political hot-topic; There are many wealthy folks who live in the surrounding area, who have a strong voice against additional air traffic.

PAINE FIELD COMMERCIAL FIGHTS BACKGROUND STORIES:

“Alaska Airlines’ proposed schedule in the first year of operations would include 14 weekly round-trip flights to Las Vegas, Honolulu and Maui, Hawaii, using Boeing 737-800 jet aircraft.,” Alaska’s press release stated. “Alaska would also fly 21 weekly round-trip flights to Portland, Ore., with Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft.”

Alaska would plan to expand operations stating they they would fly 49 weekly round-trip flights, including, “28 round-trips to Las Vegas, Honolulu, Maui, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Diego with 737-800s, plus 21 weekly round-trips to Portland using Q400s.”

Summary of proposed service for the first year — 35 round-trip flights a week:
City pair Weekly Frequency Aircraft
Everett-Honolulu 4 737-800
Everett-Las Vegas 7 737-800
Everett-Maui 3 737-800
Everett-Portland 21 Q400
 
Summary of proposed service by the fifth year — 49 round-trip flights a week:
City pair Weekly Frequency Aircraft
Everett-Honolulu 4 737-800
Everett-Las Vegas 7 737-800
Everett-Los Angeles 7 737-800
Everett-Maui 3 737-800
Everett-Phoenix 4 737-800
Everett-Portland 21 Q400
Everett-San Diego 3 737-800

Flight information from Alaska Airlines.

This seems like quite a bit of potential traffic to just be getting ready, but better off to be prepared right?

One of the biggest hurdles left is there is no terminal at Paine Field and the airport has stated they would not pay to build one. Could/would Alaska and Allegiant work together to build a terminal together? Highly doubtful.

As of now, Allegiant has no comment. Your move Allegiant.

The Eagle Rises from The Ashes; American Airlines Inaugural 777-300ER Flight PART2

American’s First Boeing 777-300ER, N718AN, seen at DFW Gate D-23, the day of departure flew the inaugural flight. It signifies the birth of a new airline.

This is a continuation of Chris Sloan’s (@Airchive) report on flying on the inaugural American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER to Sao Paulo. Be sure to also check out PART 1 of the series.

The day began with a contingent of press crawling around and photographing the cabin, more on that later. The 2 Boeing 777-300ERs were at Gate D-23 (our inaugural aircraft) and another unpainted at D-24 for an employee event and to be used as backup. For an inaugural, the gate events were remarkably low-key. Missing were the obligatory ribbon cutting, cake cutting, ice sculpture, and balloon canopy.

Business in the front and party in the back! Reactions to the new livery were mixed: The updated Eagle icon, “billboard” American typography, and silver mica paint were generally well received. The flag on the tail was critiqued as being gaudy and incongruous with the elegance of the fuselage. In person, it is much more appealing and grows on you.

Downplaying the event seemed intentional because in this transition period with so much “up in the air”, AA had to strike the right tone in not wanting to seem extravagant or over-the-top. With this being mostly a revenue flight with very few VIPs, many in the gate weren’t even aware of the significance of the moment.

We won’t be needing ETOPS today with most of our flight over land.

There was a small snack buffet including 777 commemorative cookies, some “New American” signage, and a few words from American CEO Tom Horton and Chief Commercial Officer Virasb Vahidi with a particular shout out to the onboard products design team led by Alice Lieu. With that, the boarding began of this entirely sold out flight.

Continue reading The Eagle Rises from The Ashes; American Airlines Inaugural 777-300ER Flight PART2

A Review of the Hilton Garden Inn at Paine Field

Yes, blue skies can exist in the Seattle area in January (this is Friday, most other photos are taken on Saturday with rain).

Yes, blue skies can exist in the Seattle area in January (this is Friday, most other photos are taken on Saturday with rain). This photos of the Hilton Garden Inn was taken from the entrance of the Future of Flight.

Not all hotels are created equally. Many compete with a long list of amenities to help entice travelers to stay in one of their rooms. Coffee makers, robes, Wi-Fi, breakfast are just some of the common weapons used to gain your business. But for AvGeeks there is something else that can trump all others: spotting airliners from your room.

There is the rain and clouds I have grown to love. A Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300ER about to land at Paine Field - taken from my hotel room.

There  are the rain and clouds I have grown to love. A Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300ER about to land at Paine Field – taken from my hotel room. When it is sunny, there are plenty of wonderful mountains in the background.

There are hotels around the world where you can watch airplanes come and go, but there is only one hotel that is located right at the edge of Paine Field, where Boeing builds their 767, 777, 747-8 and 787 aircraft and that is the Hilton Garden Inn Seattle North/Everett.

Just off the lobby is a bar (no draft, but they have bottled beer and hard alcohol) and restaurant.

Just off the lobby is a bar (no draft, but they have bottled beer and hard alcohol) and restaurant.

Since I live about 15 minutes away from the Hilton Garden Inn, I have never needed to use it. However, talking to other AvGeeks who have stayed there, I heard positive things and wanted to see how good the aviation spotting would be from the hotel. When given the opportunity to stay at the hotel on a Friday night, I figured why not (they provided me the room for free for the review)?

It was mighty cold outside, but warm inside my room when I took this photo of Paine FIeld.

It was mighty cold outside, but warm inside my room when I took this photo of Paine Field.

The hotel is situated in the northwest corner of Paine Field, right next door to the Future of Flight. I visit Future of Flight quite often, so I was no stranger to the area. I was given the keys to the most premium room at the hotel: The Presidential Suite. Normally when a room has such an impressive name, I end up having pretty high expectations. And those expectations were more than met.

Yea. This is living. Nice big tub overlooking Paine Field?

Yea. This is living. Nice big tub overlooking Paine Field.

I have been very fortunate to see some pretty impressive hotels around the world. Not to say that Everett/Mukilteo/North Seattle are bad places (I mean, that is the area that I call home), but I wasn’t expecting to find such a nice room. I think when I first walked in I said something like “Holy cow, I wasn’t expecting this.” Maybe I said something a bit more adult than “holy cow,” but you get the idea.

This is the view after walking into the Presidential Suite. Kitchen to the left, dining and living room straight ahead and bedroom to the left.

This is the view after walking into the Presidential Suite. Kitchen to the left, dining and living room straight ahead and bedroom to the left.

The Presidential Suite is the size of three standard rooms and has an almost full kitchen, a living room, full dining room, two fire places (not real fire, but whatever), and two bathrooms. I was hoping that there might be a jetted tub in the room and was excited when I found there were two: a smaller one in the bathroom off the bedroom and a quite large one overlooking Paine Field in the bedroom next to the king sized bed.

This Lufthansa Boeing 747-8I delivery flight was a few hours late, but still able to enjoy it taking off.

This Lufthansa Boeing 747-8I delivery flight was a few hours late, but still able to enjoy it taking off.

Sure, all these amenities are fabulous, but I wasn’t there for the trinkets, I was there to check out the view. Unlike other rooms that only have window views to Paine Field, this suite had three sliding glass doors that look out to PAE, making it perfect for spotting (which Malcolm Muir spotted me spotting from my room). Yea, I felt that this room was built for me and I was pretty certain I never wanted to leave.

There is a fire place (fake, but still gives the ambiance) in the living room and bedroom. This is looking into one of the two double doors going into the bedroom.

There is a fire place (fake, but still gives the ambiance) in the living room and bedroom. This is looking into one of the two double doors going into the bedroom. Also notice the aviation themed-art.

To make sure that I wasn’t only looking out the window the whole time, I brought my girlfriend Shannon with me to handle reviewing the  decor inside the room.

“When I first walked into the room, my first thought was that it was beautiful in every detail,” Shannon explained to me. “Then as I discovered the view directly overlooking Paine Field, the giant whirlpool tub that was positioned toward that amazing view, the incredibly spacious bathrooms (there were two in the Presidential Suite), and the firmness-adjustable king-size bed, I was awed by the luxury.  The full fridge, stove range, dishwasher, counter space and full silverware and glassware sets, as well as a wood dining table, all added to the exquisiteness of the room by offering functional amenities that are hard to find away from home.”

There is much more than just cereal and toast at this breakfast.

There is much more than just cereal and toast at this breakfast.

There is also the option for breakfast the next morning. I wasn’t really in the mood to get out of the nice warm bed, but luckily Shannon was willing to head down and check things out. “When I walked down to the lobby for breakfast, I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Shannon recounted to me. “Many hotels boast their breakfasts, but often disappoint.  However, when I was greeted by a smiling young woman who showed me the options for self-serve (including fresh juices, muffins and pastries, a variety of cereals, a self-serve waffle maker, bagels, and plenty of fruit), my doubts were quickly abated.  I selected the gourmet breakfast, an omelet with your choice of fillings and a selection of cheese, with sausage, bacon and hash-browns on the side.  Definitely a great way to start the day.” Don’t worry, she also brought me up coffee, juice and a waffle with strawberries to enjoy. The breakfast is not part of the room and costs $10.95 and is served from 6am to 10am (11am on Sat and Sun).

An Emirates Boeing 777-300ER prepares to take off a Paine Field. Taken from the room. That is the Future of Flight on the right.

An Emirates Boeing 777-300ER prepares to take off a Paine Field. Taken from the room. That is the Future of Flight on the right.

The hotel opened at Paine Field on October 5th 2005 and offers 102 rooms and 13 suites. They estimate that about 90% of guests are connected to Boeing or one of their subcontractors somehow. This means that their busiest times are weekdays, which normally leaves plenty of rooms open on weekends for you AvGeeks to visit Seattle.

For guests, there is a free shuttle that will take you up to five miles of the hotel (you can walk to the Future of Flight, but this would be handy to check out the Flying Heritage Collection and Historic Flight Foundation) and they will also take you to the Alderwood Mall and Everett train station (which are outside the 5 miles).

The hotel has a small pool and hot tub. Also a pretty nice gym.

The hotel has a small pool and hot tub. Also a  well-appointed gym.

Shannon and I argued over what our room must cost. We were both way off (we guessed much higher). Get this: a night in the Presidential Suite ranges from only $159-$250 per night depending on the date. Now, I am definitely not a person of means, but that is totally affordable, even for a staycation. Heck. I am at Paine Field all the time, but was quite giddy with staying at the hotel and watching airplanes take off and land from my room (and a bubble bath).

This is a great hotel for a non AvGeek, but a must-see if you are coming into Seattle to check out some of our great offerings or even a local looking for some AvGeek excitement.

Maybe you have already stayed? I also know Aviation Geek Fest 2013 is coming up soon and the hotel is still offering a special #AGF13 rate. So, if you have stayed or will stay, drop a line or two in the comments to share your thoughts — the hotel will be listening.

 ALL 38 PHOTOS FROM MY HOTEL STAY

This story written by…David Parker Brown, Editor & Founder.

David started AirlineReporter.com in the summer of 2008, but has had a passion for aviation since he was a kid. Born and raised in the Seattle area (where he is currently based) has surely had an influence and he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.

@AirlineReporter | Flickr | YouTube

The Eagle Rises from The Ashes: American Airlines Inaugural 777-300ER Flight PART1

American’s First Boeing 777-300ER, N718AN, seen at DFW Gate D-23, the day of departure flew the inaugural flight. Much more than just a new aircraft joining the fleet, It signifies the re-birth of an iconic airline. Image from Chris Sloan / Airchive.com.

This is a multi-part story written by Chris Sloan (@Airchive) on the changes at American Airlines and the inaugural Boeing 777-300 flight to Sao Paulo.

On January 31, 2013 American Airlines launched their first Boeing 777-300 ER into service with attention that rivaled any airline’s launch of a new type in recent memory. On the face of it, even though American became the first operator of the 777-300 in the United States, this event would almost seem overkill if for that reason alone. After all, American began 777-200 flights back in 1999 and the first 777-300 was first delivered to an airline, Cathay Pacific back in May, 1998. The first 777-300ER entered service nearly 10 years ago with Air France. Boeing’s two stretch variants of their venerable cash cow, the 777, easily have become the type’s most popular versions with over 680 orders and deliveries between them out of the entire 777 program’s 1,380 orders and deliveries. (as of December, 2012). In an era of smaller airliners, American inaugurated the 777-300, the largest new airliner by a U.S. carrier since the last Boeing 747-400s entered service with U.S. airliners in the late 1990s.

This inaugural, flight 963, from Dallas/Ft. Worth to São Paulo, Brazil in the author’s view is one of the most significant in the airline industry in years because it is about something much bigger than just the launch of a new airliner, it’s about the re-birth of a proud American institution that happens to bear the name of our country – American Airlines.

American Airlines Electra at Port Columbus International Airport (CMH) in 1967. Image by Bob Garrard.

American Airlines Electra at Port Columbus International Airport (CMH) in 1967. Image by Bob Garrard.

American Airlines problems are well known. After becoming the world’s largest airline with its 2000 acquisition of TWA, the 2000s were not kind at all to the Silver Bird. TWA and American merged during an economic downturn and by most accounts, the merger was anything but an unqualified success.

American shed most of TWA’s assets, routes, staff, and many of its aircraft. On September 11th, 2 of American’s airliners, their crew, and passengers were forever lost in the atrocities of this horrible day. As if things couldn’t get any worse, the world’s airline industry hemorrhaged with the U.S. legacy carriers losing more money during this time then they had profited in their entire history. All of them declared Chapter 11, with the exception of American. Under the category of “no good deed goes unpunished”, this decision would come back to haunt American for years.

Continue reading The Eagle Rises from The Ashes: American Airlines Inaugural 777-300ER Flight PART1