Honeywell’s Boeing 757 sits at Paine Field
Honeywell recently reached out and let me know that their Boeing 757 would be parked at Paine Field (north of Seattle) overnight. They asked if I’d like to take a tour before it departed back to Phoenix. Um… yes please!
The third engine on the side of the 757, with a B-52 in the background
The rain partly cleared as I arrived and the first obvious difference between Honeywell’s 757 and the run-of-the-mill 757 is the third engine on the side of the fuselage. The engine mount is used to test different Honeywell engines in the “real world.” During my tour, the Honeywell TFE731 engine was hooked up and it was being tested for vibration issues.
To the moon! Or maybe just to Jersey.
Let’s start out with the obvious: it’s been a rough few years for United Airlines. Amidst a choppy merger, a CEO ouster scandal (then the new replacement CEO having health issues), and an awful economic climate for the industry during most of the decade, the Chicago-based airline’s public perception took a big hit. It has become pretty clear that major change is needed to win over the hearts and minds of the American flying public.
Over the past year, United has unveiled a number of updates, including the return of free snacks in economy, beer and wine in long-haul international economy, the continued rollout of WiFi, increased direct-to-device streaming entertainment, refreshed menus in premium cabins, and improved United Clubs. Some updates have gone into effect already, while others will be rolled out gradually during this year.
p.s. BusinessFirst – Photo: United
One major structural change in 2015 was United’s withdrawal from JFK Airport, which had previously served as the New York terminus of the flagship domestic Premier Service (p.s.) routes from San Francisco and Los Angeles. As of October 2014, those flights now land at United’s massive and ever-expanding hub at Newark Liberty International (EWR). On the other coast, United has also been investing in its Terminal 3 hub at SFO.
Other airlines have been upping their transcontinental game, with American flying three-class A321Ts, JetBlue expanding its ever-popular Mint service, and Delta offering its Delta One long-haul product between JFK and LAX/SFO.
Over the course of a few trips between San Francisco and New York on the p.s. route, I had a great chance to test drive some of the latest changes at United. Read on as I share some of my insights from putting the new United through its paces.
The Four Seasons 757 landing in Sydney, Australia last year – Photo: Bernie Proctor
Last year, the Four Seasons hotel and resort chain did a hospitality industry first: They made an inclusive, sometimes round-the-world, travel experience called the Four Seasons Private Jet Experience. By inclusive I mean that everything you saw after arriving at the airport was either arranged or directly handled by them.
The biggest of the trips is the 24-day Around the World adventure. And because this is the Four Seasons, everything is going to be high-end. That includes transportation to your destination(s) on one very VIP Boeing 757. During a stopover in Seattle, I was invited to take a tour and I was impressed.
People gathered at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport on 25 September 2014 to witness the historic first “neo” flight – Photo: Airbus
Recently, Leeham News broke news to the world that Airbus is offering a new variant of the A321neo. This aircraft, dubbed the A321neoLR (rolls right off the tongue, right?) is set to extend the range of the aircraft an additional 400-500 nautical miles (nm) over the standard A321neo (now slated to be around the 4,000 nm mark). Airbus has confirmed the aircraft, according to Leeham, and they say that it will have a 100 nm range advantage over the 757-200W, the variant used primarily for trans-Atlantic flights.
Is this new aircraft the death knell finally for the 757?
The 737-900ER is a popular choice as a longer-range aircraft to replace older 757s, but is it the right fit? Photo: Alaska Airlines
We have looked multiple times at the differences between the 757 & the A321. The two aircraft have always gone back and forth as apparent direct competitors and even the new 737-900ER, which seem to be extremely popular with airlines like Delta, Alaska or the Lion Air Group from Indonesia, can’t seem to replace the 757.
What keeps Boeing from producing a new aircraft to properly replace the 757?