A boy scout walks by an Alaska 737 at Aviation Day

A Boy Scout walks by an Alaska 737 at Aviation Day

Passion, dedication, and giving back to the community. These are the main things that really made Alaska Airlines Aviation Day shine. Since I have been running AirlineReporter, for almost eight years, I have met many people in the airline business and aviation. Almost all have a strong passion, but no matter where I travel and who I meet, it is hard to find people that are more dedicated than those who live and work in the Pacific Northwest.

Multiple planes on display at the Alaska Aviation Day 2015

Multiple planes on display at Alaska’s Aviation Day 2015

We have deep roots in aviation here, and I think one prime example of this is Alaska Airlines’ Aviation Day. This yearly event, which is only open to formal youth groups, allows guests to experience and learn about aviation and potential careers in the field. I was invited to this year’s event, and although there were plenty of amazing things to see and do, I was more in awe of all the wonderful people who work hard to make this event happen.

A classic TWA livery on an American Airlines Boeing 737 - Photo: American Airlines

A classic TWA livery on an American Airlines Boeing 737 – Photo: American Airlines

It seems this was quite the week for a few airlines to show off some very cool retro liveries. We have American showing off their TWA scheme, PIA shows off a classic look, and Qantas has their Retro Roo II livery. They say things come in threes; it looks like airlines really came through on this one.

It is always great when airlines put out retro liveries, but it can be a bit odd (and cool) to see these liveries on different aircraft types that never previously saw those schemes. We take a closer look at these new (old) designs, and the aircraft they are on.

Our Air France A319, parked at Gate L21 at CDG.

Our Air France A319, parked at Gate L21 at CDG

We had purchased a Premium Economy fare to fly from San Francisco to Istanbul (IST) via Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) with a 60-minute layover. While I was looking forward to checking out Air France’s medium-haul Premium Economy service from CDG-IST, the carrier quietly eliminated the class on everything but long-haul flights and placed passengers into regular Economy. Not nice.

Fast-forward to our landing at CDG — our inbound flight on the A380 was delayed taking off from SFO and spent its time circling the airport grounds, finally docking 45 minutes before our next flight.  Would we make it in time, or would we have to spend four hours waiting for the next flight and losing an entire evening in Istanbul?

Number 24 and 25 Qatar Airways 787 Dreamliners at the Everett Delivery Center

Number 24 and 25 of Qatar Airways’ 787 Dreamliners at the Everett Delivery Center

Every plane flying today had its delivery flight at one time or another. Many have been built at Paine Field, in Everett, WA and then flown to each airline’s home base to be put into operation. When the opportunity came up to join Qatar Airways on the delivery of their 24th and 25th Boeing 787 Dreamliners, how could I say no? I didn’t!

For most airlines, the whole experience is more than just the flight itself. There are pre-events, meals, speeches, and then the best part: the flight. I wasn’t able to participate in everything, but I was able to enjoy a line tour of the both the 787 and 777. Getting into the Boeing Factory never gets old, and seeing how making building complicated aircraft look easy is a feat in and of itself.

The business class cabin in the Qatar 787-8

The business class cabin in the Qatar 787-8

These media events are also about the people who attend. The airline media world is not so big and made up of many great folks. Part of my excitement was being able to hang out with people like Jason Rabinowitz, Paul Thompson, Seth Miller, and I got to meet Mark Lawrence for the first time. A bunch of AvGeeks flying in a 787 halfway across the world? Yes, please!