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Boeing’s latest addition to the 737 MAX lineup at its debut at the Renton assembly plant

Boeing’s revamped 737 lineup has gained even more forward momentum as the second iteration of the MAX series made a rainy-day debut this morning at Boeing’s Renton, Wash., assembly plant.

With a maximum capacity of 220 passengers (in a very tight configuration) and a range of 3,515 nautical miles, the new single-aisle plane is roughly nine feet longer than the 737 MAX 8, which is expected to receive FAA certification in advance of its commercial debut in the coming months.

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER - Photo: Aero Pixels | FlickrCC

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER – Photo: Aero Pixels | FlickrCC

In February, 2017, I had the opportunity to fly business class on Singapore Airlines from Los Angeles to Tokyo/Narita. As luck would have it, I was on a Boeing 777 that had recently been retrofitted with Singapore’s new business class product. I took a few photos to share the experience.

In 2014, I flew on Singapore’s previous 777 business class product and wrote a review. The new seats are a big improvement.

The business class product

Check-In & LAX Star Alliance Lounge

Check-in at the Singapore Airlines ticket counter was fast and friendly. Security lines at 6:45 am were short.

After surviving the TSA, I immediately directed my attention to breakfast at the Star Alliance Lounge. Located on the 5th floor, the lounge is quite large. The area is filled with dining tables, couches, and comfortable chairs. A variety of breakfast foods were offered including a cereal bar, quiche, scrambled eggs, danish, bagels, and assorted breakfast meats (with and without pork). A nice selection of fresh fruit and cheese was also available.

Drink selections were numerous. My first stop was the espresso machine, which makes a mean latte. I had two to make sure I was ready for the 11-hour flight. No sleeping with a window seat!

For photos and a full review of the LAX Star Alliance Lounge, see the 2013 AirlineReporter post.

Delta MD-90.

Delta MD-90

I’m not a particularly frequent flier. In fact, aside from a brief job hunting period in 2015 that saw me leaving SEA for a different destination each week for three weeks straight, I haven’t flown on commercial airliners more than twice a year ever. With that in mind, it was an interesting contrast when I booked my Delta Air Lines tickets for PAX South (a video game fan convention) with a route of FSD-MSP-ATL-SAT in economy to get there, and SAT-MSP-FSD in first class on the way home.

My trip planning had been determined by two main factors. The first was that the outbound routing gave me two legs on the MD-90. I love the DC-9 aircraft family, and will happily grab any opportunity to fly on them, particularly as they’re becoming increasingly rare in the fleets of major carriers. The second factor was my returning connection. When I booked my flight, I was only going to have a forty-five-minute layover in Minneapolis. I hoped that booking myself into seat 1A would ensure that I could make my connection, no matter how many terminals apart my two flights were.

Icelandair’s Skjaldbreiður at SEA, being loaded for KEF – Photo: Francis Zera | AirlineReporter

Let’s just start by saying that, yes, I saw the aurora on the flight, and, yes, it was awesome.

Saga Class is Icelandair’s top-tier cabin service, and is roughly equivalent to business class on other airlines. Check-in and boarding were a breeze. When boarding the aircraft, the 22 Saga-class passengers turn left toward the front of the plane, making it very easy to forget that you don’t have the whole plane to yourself. The accompanying checked-baggage allowance seemed quite generous: two 70-lb. bags per person.

Icelandair shares a lounge with several other smaller airlines in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s international terminal (SEA). The lounge is comfortable and clean, if a bit uninspired, but a fine place to wait for your flight. The hot-food options were welcome, and on the day I was there most of the dishes were Asian themed, which are a personal favorite.

The aircraft for the flight to Reykjavik was TF-LLX, aka Skjaldbreiður, a 757-200 which hadn’t yet been through Icelandair’s cabin refresh program. The interior was a tiny bit worn around the edges and had old-style IFE screens, but it was still all very comfortable and clean. Icelandair names its aircraft after Icelandic volcanoes, and, with about 130 of the things in the country, it doesn’t appear that they’ll run out of names anytime soon.