Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 138,116
2013: 330,818

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Photo Tour: Hainan Flies 787 Dreamliner to Toronto for the First Time

- Photo: Philip Debski

Toronto welcomes Hainan’s 787 Dreamliner – Photo: Philip Debski

What looked to be the first true spring day here in Toronto, March 31, was the day Hainan Airlines finally inaugurated their 787 service to Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ). They started operating the route in 2010 with three ex-Cathay A340-600s (B-6508, B-6509, and B-6510, if anyone is interested).

Throughout the years the airline has had its ups and downs (such as varying frequency from 3x weekly to once per week) on the route. However, with the 787, Hainan will go daily this summer, a huge improvement to the Beijing-Toronto route. Hainan was also originally supposed to fly the 787 into YYZ starting May 1, but pushed it up to the earlier date in late February.

The Hainan Toronto crew were kind enough to arrange an exclusive tour for me on their big day of receiving the 787 at their base. Here is a rundown of what happened during that tour.

Continue reading Photo Tour: Hainan Flies 787 Dreamliner to Toronto for the First Time

Review: An AvGeek Finally Gets to Fly on a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner

United's Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Houston. Photo: Brandon Farris

United’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Houston. Photo: Brandon Farris

It has been a long journey, but I am proud to say that I have finally flown on a Dreamliner.

After two years of trying to get on the 787-8 Dreamliner, I finally had my opportunity to step aboard one of the most amazing aircraft ever built.My flight, United 1169, was from Houston to Los Angeles; they fly the aircraft once a day between these cities for positioning, and when I stumbled on it I couldn’t resist.

As time call to board my flight (in the Economy Plus section), it finally began to sink in that I was about to board the plane I have lost many nights of sleep over. I have followed the issues the plane has had throughout its flight test program and entry into service.

The aircraft I was flying on, N26902, has quite a history and actually is one of the 787s that cost me a couple night’s sleep, as it was the plane that diverted to New Orleans back in December, 2012, when the battery saga was beginning to catch fire. The aircraft also completed the inaugural flights for United to Tokyo Narita from Los Angeles, becoming the first 787 flown by a non-Japanese airline to land in Japan.  Weeks later, it completed United’s first flight to Shanghai.

Continue reading Review: An AvGeek Finally Gets to Fly on a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner

A Tale of Two Batteries: Boeing 787 vs. Tesla Model S

A Tesla Model S P85 parked  at twilight. Photo by Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

A Tesla Model S P85 parked at twilight. Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

I am a proud owner of a Tesla Model S and I am sick of people asking me if my car has caught fire yet. It was not funny the first time, and it has not changed the roughly five thousand times I have heard the same quip since.

The car has recently run into some fire issues causing some wide-spread media attention. The first time it happened, a man was driving his Tesla Model S in Kent, WA, when he hit road debris at an unconfirmed high speed. The battery was punctured by the gigantic, pointy, piece of metal – but the car maintained integrity long enough for the driver to pull over before the stricken Tesla’s battery pack overheated and ignited.

Soon people started comparing the Boeing 787 Dreamliner fires to the Tesla’s, and I felt that things were getting out of control.

Continue reading A Tale of Two Batteries: Boeing 787 vs. Tesla Model S

In-Flight Review: LOT Polish 787 Premium Club

A warm welcome onboard a LOT Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Image: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / Airchive.com

A warm welcome onboard a LOT Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Image: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / Airchive.com

Story & Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren – A joint venture between Airchive & AirlineReporter.com

LOT Polish has not exactly been living on easy street over the past few years. The carrier has faced intense competition from deeply entrenched regional full service carriers such as Lufthansa and Air France that have made the effects of the global recession all the more severe. Below the surface the carrier has been shedding routes left and right since 2010 in a bid to increase profitability. The carrier has also been courting partners since 2012 to convince one to buy a major stake in the airline.

But worst of all, the carrier bet the farm on the controversial Boeing 787 Dreamliner for its long-haul operations. Originally intended to help create one of the youngest and most advanced fleets in Europe, the move instead left the Warsaw-based airline with a bunch of expensive pieces of flying plastic when the type was grounded worldwide in January.

Having already sold off all but one of their Boeing 767s by the time of the grounding, the carrier was left up a big creek with a very small paddle. With long-haul operations effectively crippled the carrier hemorrhaged cash to the tune of $50,000 per day for months on end, eventually ending up broke earlier this year. LOT has been taking government loans consistently ever since, and has already admitted that if Boeing doesn’t compensate them for the loss in revenue they are already looking at dire financial straits for 2014.

It is against that backdrop that Airchive was invited by LOT Polish on a roundtrip from New York JFK to Warsaw.

A LOT Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Image: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / Airchive.com

A LOT Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Image: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / Airchive.com

The Flight

Terminal one at New York’s JFK Airport isn’t exactly the airports crowning jewel, but it’s hardly the worst of the bunch either. LOT Polish’s check-in desks are located just below and to the left of the AirTrain entrance, making it an easy find. Premium economy passengers have the option to check in for the flight in at the business class desk, where a friendly LOT employee made check-in quick and easy.

Despite having a fast track security status it took almost thirty minutes to wind through the lanes. Obviously not LOTs fault, but the coach lanes moved faster. Post-security, premium economy passengers can enjoy the Lufthansa lounge at JFK’s Terminal One: this was not clear to us however, and we missed it.

Continue reading In-Flight Review: LOT Polish 787 Premium Club on Airchive.com

Flight Review: Flying on a ANA Boeing 777 From Narita to Seattle

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?

Continue reading Flight Review: Flying on a ANA Boeing 777 From Narita to Seattle