The 787-9 Dreamliner parked next to the Boeing Future of Flight and a sweet Dreamlifter!
A while back, I started to see photos of a purple and pink 787 and wondered what the heck it was all about. Then I saw that people had the chance to get up close and personal with the plane at the Boeing Future of Flight, and I realized that I needed to figure out the full story. It turns out that the special livery is inspired by the Employees Community Fund (ECF) of Boeing. And what is ECF, you might ask? Good question. According to Boeing:
“Since 1948, ECF has funded approximately $1 billion to local communities across the United States. The ECF has 20 chapters across Boeing, giving employees an opportunity to make a difference where they live and work. Each chapter is managed by local employees who make grants based on the needs of their communities. The special livery celebrates the commitment and generosity of our employees in their local communities.”
The ECF design is mostly a big decal.
The fun graphics near the rear of the 787.
I would say that is a pretty worthy cause to support this unique livery. This is also special, since it is not actually all paint, but is comprised of the largest decal ever on a composite aircraft. Boeing has certified the decal technology, so now airline customers can start using them. I am hoping it means more special liveries and please, oh please, I hope it means less European white designs.
Last month we were on Virgin Atlantic’s first flight using jet fuel made from recycled pollution. The service was operated by one of the older planes in Virgin’s fleet, the classic 747-400. It’s always a blast to fly with the Queen of the Skies, but on the return journey we were looking forward to flying with her younger sibling the 787-9 Dreamliner.
While onboard, we got to review the newest version of the airline’s premium economy product: Virgin Premium. True to form for Virgin, the cabin experience oozed style, with sleek yet comfortable seats, great inflight entertainment, and food that could’ve been mistaken for what you’d get in business class. Of course there were parts of the experience that reminded us that we weren’t actually flying in Virgin’s “Upper Class.” But all in all, we found Virgin Premium to be a strong product that’s is well worth it when crossing the Atlantic.
Read on for plenty of photos and details from our premium economy flight with Virgin Atlantic.
A Virgin Atlantic 787-9 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport – Photo: Colin Cook
On a recent trip to Europe, my girlfriend and I had the opportunity to fly in two different premium cabins to compare different products. The first story covered the British Airways First Class experience on a 747-400 from Seattle to London. This second part reviews the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (business class) product on a 787-9 from London back to Seattle.
The flight in BA First Class set an extremely high bar for any future flight to exceed. Simply put, it was the best flight I’ve ever experienced, both from a hard and soft product perspective. I was interested in comparing the premium cabin experiences on aircraft that are generations apart in technology. While the 747 will always be the Queen of the Skies and helped to open many international travel routes, the 787 is very much the future of air travel.
On the night prior to our flight, we discovered that Virgin Atlantic offers Upper Class passengers a premium car service from central London to Heathrow. Unfortunately, we were evidently not eligible for this perk, as we were traveling on an award ticket. We also discovered that when you are arriving by a car service (we took an Uber), there is a special airport entrance, the Upper Class Wing, for which you can register. Once I requested the Uber on the morning of our flight, I had our hotel call Virgin Atlantic to register the car’s license plate, which allowed us access to the private check-in area for Upper Class passengers. Now that’s classy.
Our United 787-9 being made ready for the inaugural long-haul LAX-SIN flight
Superlatives abounded on this, the inaugural non-stop flight from Los Angeles to Singapore. It’s billed as the third-longest direct flight in the world and the longest to originate from the United States.
There was even a ribbon-cutting ceremony – the presence of a trade delegation highlighted the fact that economic ties are strong between Singapore and the U.S.
The flight takes 17 hours, five minutes to cover the 8,772 miles between Los Angeles and Singapore. Favorable headwinds shaved an hour off our flight time, but, still. It’s an awfully long time to be in the air.