It didn’t take me long to agree to work as Press for PAX East (if you’re not sure what that is, check the link ahead). After last year’s adventure in San Antonio for PAX South, I was eager to experience the last major PAX event that I hadn’t yet been to. Besides, I’d never visited Boston before.
American, Delta, United, Frontier, and Allegiant all operate flights out of my local airport, either directly or through a regional subcontract. While I prefer to fly Delta, they were significantly more expensive than American for an early April round trip to Boston. Neither Frontier nor Allegiant fly into Boston’s Logan International, which put them out of the running. American it was! Given that I expected to come back from Boston with two checked bags plus a carryon, a back-to-front (Economy to Boston, First Class home) flight plan almost paid for itself in bag fees. At least, as long as I didn’t mind flying Boston to Sioux Falls via Charlotte and Chicago.
Unlike Delta, which runs its FSD-MSP feeder flights on mainline A320 or B717 aircraft, American contracts with Air Wisconsin to feed their Chicago-O’Hare hub with CRJ-200 flights. These aircraft are all single class 2-2 configuration. As I would find out, no booking consideration is given to First Class on other legs. Anyone wanting one of the few prefered seats on the -200 is going to have to pay for it.
Thousands of Boeing employees at the Renton, Wash. factory celebrated the 10,000th 737 to come off the production line. The milestone was recognized by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS(tm). – Photo: Boeing
The world’s most successful commercial airplane has a lot in common with a popular sugary treat.
Seriously, the first time I walked into the 737 factory in Renton, Wash. I said to myself “geez, this place runs as smooth as a Krispy Kreme processing line.”
Apparently spending 12 years in the south and being a fan of the treat made me liken the two together. At Krispy Kreme stores that make the doughnuts, an automated system puts the dough into a doughnut form, fries them, and then scoops them up onto the assembly line for their final bath in frosting.
Efficiency on the doughnut line makes money for Krispy Kreme, and the same can be said for Boeing. The 737 is nicknamed the “cash cow” internally. Boeing hit quite the milestone by manufacturing its 10,000th 737 in mid-March. Boeing’s Renton factory cranks out 47 airplanes a month. The company hopes to push that number up to 52 later this year.
Take a tour inside the Boeing 737 factory in Renton, WA
Make sure you have a few hours free before continuing — because you are going to need it. Boeing recently unveiled a special website where you can take a 360degree (video) tour of the 737 factory. I am often asked “how can I take a tour inside the 737 factory?” This is about as close as you can get, without being inside.
Be sure to check out all the extras, with some amazing photos of the facility’s history, including some photos of new Boeing 727s that I have never seen. You are welcome and I apologize for any loss of productivity (I am not really sorry).
If you want more 737 goodness here are some of our stories:
The first Boeing 737, seen at the Museum of Flight
April 9, 1967 was a special day in aviation history. Capt. Brien Wygle and First Officer Lew Wallick took the Boeing 737 prototype on its maiden flight. Fast forward 50 years to April 9, 2017 and we found ourselves at the Museum of Flight in Seattle to celebrate the Boeing 737’s 50th birthday.
The first 737 – Photo: Boeing
In flight – Photo: Boeing
The festivities kicked off in the theater with a panel discussion moderated by Mike Lombardi, Boeing Company historian. The other members on the panel were Peter Morton, Boeing 737 marketing, Capt. Brien Wygle, Captain of the 737’s first flight, and Bob Bogash, a 737 engineer. With nearly a full theater, the lively discussion lasted for nearly 90 minutes.