Flying out of Tampa… a nice view in November!
For Thanksgiving I flew from Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) to Tampa (TPA) to visit my dad. Since he was letting me use some of his Southwest Airlines miles (thanks dad!) I ended up flying them to visit. Although I am a big fan of the company and people of Southwest, when it comes to flying them they aren’t my first choice. The big reason is that there aren’t many places they fly to non-stop from Seattle (also no seat assignments, no power plugs, and no buy-on-board food). With my trip to Tampa I was lucky to only have only one stop – at Chicago’s Midway (MDW) – both times. I say lucky since I have had to do that trip multiples times with two stops, which is not fun at all.
File photo of the new interior – Photo: Southwest
Since this was a personal trip, I had no plan to do a story, but the last leg did me in. My final flight from MDW to SEA was on a Boeing 737-800. I was excited because this would be my first Southwest 737-800 flight — it also had the new Meridian seats from B/E Aerospace. However, I wasn’t quite sure if that was a bonus or a downfall. I have read (even here on AR) about the seats and have heard mostly bad things. But after four hours flying back home, I have come to a few conclusions.
An American Boeing 787-8 (N812AN) at LAX; the 787-9 is a stretched version of the -8
This story has been updated to include new information about the availability of premium economy and anticipated dates for domestic operations.
American Airlines today announced new details and routes for its newest addition to the fleet, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (789), which is set to arrive in the last quarter of this year. While American already operates 17 Boeing 787-8s (788s), four of the stretched -9s, with new business class seats and a cabin configuration to include a new Premium Economy section, will be delivered by the end of December 2016, with a total of 22 on order.
The 789s will initially be based out of American’s home base, Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW), and on November 4 will commence service to Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) and Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU).
AirlineReporter has received exclusive details on the inaugural route the 789 will actually fly…
Cabin mockup of the 737 MAX 8 with the new Meridian seats – Image: Southwest Airlines
I recently attended Southwest’s #SWAmediaDay and the unveiling of their new Houston Hobby international terminal. As an unabashed Southwest fan, and card-carrying A-Lister (Southwest’s version of elite frequent flyer), it was an excellent opportunity to get up-to-date on what’s going on behind the scenes at Southwest. But the exhibit which stole the show for me? Finally, a pair of the mysterious new blue Meridian seats for my eyes (and derrià¨re) to literally size up.
Over the past few years I’ve noticed an interesting trend: Airlines release new slimline seats, talking them up to make them seem as if they are greatest innovation to passenger experience since the advent of the jet engine. Immediately following, passengers (and media) quickly cry afoul, often before trying the seats out. Because, all change is bad, right? Who moved my cheese?! If we were to try to find middle ground between these two extremes we might arrive at an analogy comparing slimlines to the Rolls-Royce RB211. A jet engine for sure, but by all accounts an expensive flop which had a part in destroying Rolls Royce, crippling Lockheed, and being one of just a few factors which killed the L-1011 TriStar.
But, I digress… We are talking about something as benign as seats after all, right?
A ribbon cutting at Everett wouldn’t be complete without some dragons, right?
On a sunny Everett friday morning, press, dignitaries, and staff all gathered on the ramp outside the Everett Delivery Center. In front of us was a brand-new Boeing 777-300ER, a giant red ribbon, and two dragons. China Airlines is the newest carrier to receive this twin-jet, and since this was their first of the type, a large ceremony was called for.
China Airlines has been a Boeing customer for over half of a century. Their first Boeing aircraft was the 727, which entered them into the era of flying internationally within southeast Asia. Then, in 1970, they added the Boeing 707, which allowed them to begin transpacific flights to San Francisco.
Soon enough, they were expanding and other North American destinations were added. The airline grew, taking on 747s and, after the years passed, they had a fleet of 13 747-400s flying around the world.
In fact, they were the final customer of the 747-400 in its passenger form, taking delivery of that aircraft (B-18215) on the 26th of April, 2005. Fast-forward nine years later, and the airline is taking their newest Boeing aircraft, the 777-300ER.
Side view of SilkAir’s first Boeing 737-8SA – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
February 21, 1989 was an important day for Singapore Airlines. On that day, their regional affiliate Tradewinds Airlines took off using MD-87s for previously unserved Southeast Asian destinations like Bandar Seri Begawan.
Tradewinds continued until 1992 when it was renamed SilkAir. If you have not noticed, it is almost February 21, 2014. In other words, we are quickly approaching the twenty-fifth anniversary of SilkAir. On top of that, this is also the Chinese Lunar New Year period. There is a lot to celebrate at SilkAir. Most of all, the delivery of their first Boeing 737-8SA.
A Chinese Lion Dance to bring in the new year and celebrate a new era of SilkAir – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
SilkAir is celebrating a lot of firsts with delivery of 9V-MGA (internally referred to as “my great aircraft”). Their first 737 NextGen, their largest aircraft order (54 frames), and their fastest year-on-year fleet growth (they are accepting eight frames this year).