Browsing Tag: Seattle

Hainan's inaugural flight, operated by a Boeing 787-8 (B-2739), from Changsha to Los Angeles on final approach.

Hainan Airlines’ inaugural flight, operated by a Boeing 787-8 (B-2739), from Changsha to Los Angeles on final approach.

Hainan Airlines, the largest privately operated carrier in China, commenced Los Angeles’s newest non-stop service to the Chinese mainland on January 21. The twice-weekly flights, operated by a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, will connect LAX to the capital of Hunan province, Changsha (CSX). AirlineReporter was invited to be on the ramp at LAX for the arrival of the inaugural flight from CSX.

ANA's Star Wars R2-D2 arrives to gate S16 at SeaTac. This was the first time the aircraft had been deployed to Seattle.

ANA’s Star Wars R2-D2 arrives to gate S16 at SeaTac. This was the first time the aircraft had been deployed to Seattle.

My initial assignment, with AirlineReporter long ago, was to cover the arrival of the first ANA 787 to Seattle. It is befitting that my long history with AirlineReporter officially ends with another ANA 787; this time though it is the ultimate 787 – the R2-D2 Star Wars jet.

The special 787-9 rolled out in October and began service later that month to Vancouver.  Now that it is operating out in the wild, I eagerly awaited my opportunity to spot it in my current hometown of Seattle. Being a Star Wars and Astromech droid fan myself (R5s are better than R2s in my opinion), how could I not take this on?

An American Airlines Boeing 737-800 - Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMultimedia

An American Airlines Boeing 737-800 – Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMultimedia

Recently, I had the chance to fly pretty similar flights from Seattle to Puerto Rico and back on Delta Air Lines and then American Airlines.

I had not flown on two domestic airlines back-to-back with so much the same, and I found there to be a pretty stark differences.

To San Juan, I took two Delta Boeing 737-900ERs with the newest interior (one was only a few weeks old). I flew from Seattle to Atlanta (shocking), then on to San Juan. On the way home, I took two American 737-800s. One had the Boeing Sky Interior cabin, but still shared entertainment screens. The second was an older 737-800, with no sky interior and also shared screens (but more on that later). I flew out of San Juan, through Miami, and then on to Seattle.

A Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-900ER - Photo: Jason Rabinowitz

A Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-900ER – Photo: Jason Rabinowitz | TravelCat Industries

The cost of the tickets were exactly the same: $236 each way. I also earned Alaska Airlines miles for both flights, so I didn’t care about miles on either, nor did I have any status [update: I did not realize that Delta only gave me 50% Alaska miles vs American’s 100%. Still knowing this, it doesn’t change any of my choices or opinions since I am not much of a miles guy].  I was also in window seats and had similar seat-mate setups.

I went into these flights with no expectation of doing a story, but the fact that on similar flights, there was an obvious winner, I became motivated. And yes, you will have to wait until the end to see which airline won — no cheating!