South Terminal Construction at Denver International Airport - Photo: Blaine Nickeson |

South Terminal construction at Denver International Airport – Photo: Blaine Nickeson |

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with staff at “my” airport, Denver International Airport (known amongst flyers as DEN, but locally as “DIA”).  DIA is the 5th-busiest airport in the US, and 13th-busiest in the world.  During the few hours I spent with them, I got an up close and personal view of the massive expansion project in progress; the largest construction project at the airport since DIA was originally built 20+ years ago.

Embraer Legacy 500. Image: Embraer

Embraer Legacy 500 – Image: Embraer

The Latin American Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (LABACE) was held this year in Sao Paulo, Brazil from August 14th to 16th, and was widely heralded as a resounding success for Brazil as a nation, and also the private jet industry.

The convention featured many highlights, not the least of which was Embraer’s increased show space. With 38% of the market share, Embraer is one of Latin America’s leading private jet companies, and at LABACE 2013, they hired enough space to display their entire range of private jets, as well as give the much-anticipated Legacy 500 jet its Brazilian debut. This brand-new jet is already being touted by the manufacturer, and heralded in the aviation press as the new standard for private jets. Truly upping the game, with its fly-by-wire technology, it now offers the longest range of any mid-sized jet in its class.

Saying good bye Narita.

Saying good bye Narita.

This is the final installment of a multi-part series covering my trip from Seattle to San Jose to Narita to Hong Kong and back as an ANA Ambassador. My flight was provided by ANA, but all opinions are my own. Part1: San Jose to Tokyo on the 787 Dreamliner – Part2: Connecting in Tokyo’s Narita Airport – Part3: Tokyo to Hong Kong & Back Again – Part4: A Helicopter Flightseeing Tour of Hong Kong – Part 5: Two AvGeeks Visit Hong Kong.

After another short connection in Narita (made shorter by hunting for Japanese Kit Kats), I was heading home to Seattle onboard an ANA Boeing 777-300ER.  This route originated last year on July 25th, and on the 1st of October it changed over to a 787 until the grounding.  On the 1st of June, the same day we flew out of San Jose, the route resumed with the 777-300ER.  What it meant for me was a nine hour flight home, with the gentle strum of GE-90s.

ANA operates their older model-777s on this route, so unfortunately there was no “Inspiration of Japan” service.  Sold as a 2-class flight but operated by a 3-class aircraft, ANA reserves the first class seats for their top-tier frequent fliers.  How do I know?  I tried to get into those seats after picking it on the seat map.  I failed, but it was worth a try, right?