Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 201,532
2013: 330,818

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Touring Air New Zealand’s Brand New Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

ZK-NZE, Air New Zealand's first 787 at the Everett Delivery Center. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

ZK-NZE, Air New Zealand’s first 787 at the Everett Delivery Center. It took 92.5 gallons of paint to create this special livery. Photo – Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

This morning I was able to take part in a Boeing media event involving a much heralded aircraft: Air New Zealand’s first 787-9. We’ve discussed what the cabin will look like before on the site, but it’s a lot different to see- and feel- it in person.

The tour commenced by taking a look around the airframe outside, but with the caveat that we had to stay within the gate lines of the delivery stall. This meant that I had to get creative with my angles. We could, however, also make use of the balcony of the Everett Delivery Center, which provided some great views.

Windscreen-level with a 787-9. Photo - Bernie Leighton |AirlineReporter

Windscreen-level with a 787-9. Photo – Bernie Leighton |AirlineReporter

The outside of this plane is amazing, but I was mostly there to check out what was on in the inside. After getting external shots, it was time to head onboard Air New Zealand’s brand new aircraft. A special moment for me as I’ve never even set foot inside a 787 Dreamliner of any flavor before.

Continue reading Touring Air New Zealand’s Brand New Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

BIG TRIP: 6 Flights; 24,000 Miles; 3 Continents; and an 8-Month-Old

Start 'em early! Author's son planespotting at SFO. Photo: David Delagarza

Start ‘em early! Author’s son planespotting at SFO. Photo: David Delagarza

“That’s insane.”  That seemed to be the reaction most people, many of whom were seasoned fliers, had to our plan.  My wife and I had schemed it up over a year ago while she was pregnant with our first child.  We had always enjoyed traveling, and I had gotten into collecting miles and points when we found out that we would be adding a baby to the mix.  We didn’t want to stop traveling once the baby was born, so we booked one of the most ambitious itineraries we could think of – flying to New Zealand, with stopovers in Japan and Australia. And, yes, we would be taking the baby with us.

11 months prior to the trip, we had the miles saved up. We had accumulated enough to book the trip in business class (at least prior to the recent United Airlines MileagePlus devaluation.)  After diligently researching and waiting for availability to open up, I finally found a business class route that would work – at least until I saw the infant fare. United charges 10% of the cabin fare for lap infants on international flights.  For economy cabins, this can add up to a couple hundred dollars.  However, for the premium cabins, we were looking at paying nearly $1,000 each way.  Although I did briefly consider footing that bill, we decided to go in economy and use the extra miles to put our son in his own seat (when we could find the award space) and stay in some nicer hotels along the way.

Routing - Image: GCMapper

Routing – Image: www.gcmap.com

Our outbound itinerary ended up beginning with Denver to Tokyo Narita on United’s 787 Dreamliner.  We had a 20-hour overnight stopover before continuing onto Singapore aboard Singapore Airlines’ A380.  The final leg took us from Singapore to Christchurch, New Zealand on Singapore’s 777-220ER.   50 hours, four countries, and 14,000 miles just to get there.

Our return trip was a bit easier – Christchurch to Sydney on an Air New Zealand A320, followed by a 23-hour stopover in Sydney before continuing onto San Francisco on a United 747-400, connecting to Denver on a United A319.  The only hitch was that I was unable to find any kind of routing that made sense for the return trip once my son was born, so he was going to fly home as a lap infant.  It was sure to be quite the adventure.

Continue reading BIG TRIP: 6 Flights; 24,000 Miles; 3 Continents; and an 8-Month-Old

EPIC: Aerial Photo of Air New Zealand’s First Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

ZK-NZE on the Boeing compass rose at KPAE - Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

ZK-NZE on the Boeing compass rose at KPAE – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

What beats a photograph on the ground of Air New Zealand’s first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in “All Blacks” style livery? One from the air, when it is not pouring rain.

The first ANZ 787-9 was rolled out of the paint hangar to a dark and rainy night, making it a bit difficult to see. This morning provides a bit better opportunity to highlight this unique black livery design — especially when viewed from a helicopter.

“It’s great to see the Koru and the beautiful New Zealand fern emblazoned on this aircraft.  This will soon be the first 787-9 aircraft anywhere in the world to operate commercially and I think it will instill a sense of pride in Kiwis and turn heads when it touches down at airports throughout Asia and the Pacific,” said Capt. David Morgan, Air New Zealand Chief Flight Operations and Safety Officer.

Their first 787-9 to be delivered will sport this black design, while the white version of this same design has already started to be incorporated into the fleet.

 

Photos: Air New Zealand’s First Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Rolled Out

Air New Zealand's first 787-9 rolling out of the paint hangar. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

Air New Zealand’s first 787-9 rolling out of the paint hangar. Photo – Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

Unsurprisingly, given the time (9:00pm) at Paine Field, it was dark. Even with that, and the incipient precipitation- there was good reason to be on the Boeing Commercial aircraft ramp.

ZK-NZE under tow from the paint shop. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

ZK-NZE under tow from the paint shop. Photo – Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

Boeing had chosen 9:00pm to roll Air New Zealand’s first 787-9 (ZK-NZE) out of their paint shop – and invited AirlineReporter along!

Continue reading Photos: Air New Zealand’s First Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Rolled Out

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to Conduct Flight Tests to Auckland

The first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the flight line at Paine Field (KPAE). Photo by Bernie Leighton.

The first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the flight line at Paine Field (KPAE) – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

The first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is expected to be delivered to Air New Zealand sometime in mid-2014. Before then, the aircraft has quite a few tests to complete prior to being certified, and Boeing has one fun adventure planned starting this weekend.

According to the Australian Business Traveller (AusBT), the Dreamliner will conduct stop-overs during testing in Auckland, Brisbane, and Alice Springs.

Not only will this allow the 787-9 to spread its wings, but it will also give those of you who live in the area a chance to catch one of the first glimpses of the longer Dreamliner.

Air New Zealand's new white fern livery seen on the 787-9 Dreamliner. Image from Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand’s new white fern livery seen on the 787-9 Dreamliner – Image: Air New Zealand

The test aircraft will take advantage of Australia’s hot temperatures in Alice Springs to test out the stretched Dreamliner. The plane flown down will be the second of three test aircraft Boeing is currently using, ZB002. It will be set up with a bunch of different testing equipment and Boeing tells AirlineReporter it will also, “be fitted with elements of the passenger interior.” Boeing will test the plane’s environmental control system and chose Alice Springs because the location, “meets specific test requirements for both facility and atmospheric conditions.”

“Boeing is proud to bring the 787-9 to Auckland to show Air New Zealand what the team has achieved,” said Mark Jenks, vice president, 787 Development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “With more than 150 flights since testing began in September, the test fleet continues to perform very well, and we look forward to delivering the first 787-9 in mid-2014 as promised.”

Continue reading Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to Conduct Flight Tests to Auckland