My ride for the next 9 hours, a Lufthansa Boeing 747-8I ’“ Photo: Colin Cook | AirlineReporter
I recently received an invitation to join some friends that were headed to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. Given that I consider myself a bit of a beer drinker, I knew I had to join them. I wanted to challenge myself to make the trip as economical as possible, while still traveling in style. I had some points burning a hole in my pocket, and there are often good, premium award options available through some travel partners.
I knew I would have enough points to get me home in business class (because after an eventful Oktoberfest, who would want to fly in coach?), so I needed to find an option to get me to Europe. I ended up booking a direct flight from Seattle to Frankfurt on Condor for a very reasonable $445. The crew on this flight was very friendly and the overall experience was good; just be prepared for a small 30-inch seat pitch on a long-haul flight.
Flying upstairs on a 747 has always been a bucket list item for me ’“ and I was finally able to accomplish it! In my search for award travel, I was able to transfer my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines MileagePlus. From there, I booked the flight I wanted: Business Class on a Lufthansa 747-8I. I knew Oktoberfest would be the trip of a lifetime, but I was honestly even more excited at flying upstairs on the ride home.
As I arrived at the Munich airport for my short hop to Frankfurt, I noticed that my flight had been canceled. When I checked with the Lufthansa staff, I found out they had re-booked me on a direct flight from Munich to Chicago.
Now this just wouldn’t do, as that was on an Airbus A340. Most travelers would be happy being on the direct flight, but I asked them to re-book me on another flight so I could still fly on the 747-8I. After some confused looks, I was back in business (pun intended) and booked on the 747.
An Emirates A380 landing at Los Angeles Airport – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
It’s no secret that Malaysia Airlines had a terrible 2014. So terrible that the fate of the airline hangs in the balance. The government, tired of writing blank checks to keep the airline afloat, has demanded restructuring. Hiring Christoph Mueller (of Aer Lingus hatchet-man fame), they were, finally, not going to pull any punches.
Part of this is an impressive (rumored) fleet disposition. Winding down of the entire 777 fleet by the end of next year, complete dissolving of MASkargo, and the biggest elephant in the room of all; removal of their A380s.
Can becoming a regional airline centered around the A330 save Malaysia Airlines? I’m not hopeful, but that’s not what I am here to talk about today.
I want to discuss where the planes are likely to go.
The sky is the limit when designing your own 747-8I. Design by Toby Rao, Image from Boeing.
When going to buy a Boeing 747-8 Intercontiental, one of the most difficult decisions is choosing the outside design. Well, have no fear, help is here (and also a huge time waster). Boeing now offers AvGeeks the ability to design your own 7478I livery.
Even when you get bored making your own liveries, be sure to check out the few hundred that have already been made. Some are actually really good and others are, well… have opportunity for improvement (any of the ones we tried surely have TONS of room for improvement, so we are not ones to judge).
Interestingly enough, if you look at the first design in the gallery, it is an Air China 747-8I. The airline has five on order, which none have been delivered quite yet. Maybe this provides a nice preview for the airline?
Previously, users were also able to design their own Boeing 787 Dreamliner livery, but it looks like that page has been replaced with making the Intercontinetal. Good luck and have fun! If you can, be sure to share your results.
The government of Kuwait will take delivery of this BBJ 7478.
This Saturday was a nice enough day to head up to Paine Field to check out what was going on. I heard that the State of Kuwait’s BBJ 7478 would be high-speed ground testing and I also wanted to track down American Airlines first 777-300ER — I wasn’t disappointed.
The livery for the State of Kuwait aircraft is very similar to Kuwait Airway’s design.
The State of Kuwait’s BBJ 7478 used to have a different look — it was the first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental that sported the orange sunrise livery (N6067E) and was recently re-painted.
The first BBJ 7478 was delivered to the government of Qatar in February 2012, even though Boeing and the Qatari government still has not confirmed that to date.
It is bit more obvious what customer will take delivery of 9K-GAA. Even though the government of Kuwait is willing to put their livery on the aircraft before delivery, they aren’t quite ready to give details on how their aircraft will be configured.
American Airline’s first Boeing 777-300ER will have a special livery.
Paine Field has quite a few Boeing aircraft sitting outside at any given time. The planes might be large, but it can be a challenge to track a particular aircraft down and Boeing does not go out of their way to park aircraft to make them easy to spot.
After some time I was able to track down American Airline’s first 777-300ER. What makes this aircraft special is it is painted gray. American is known for having a bare metal livery and is this just a special livery to celebrate the aircraft type or will this be the airline’s new livery? (stay tuned, I am working to find out more about this).
LOT’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner is looking good.
There are plenty of 787’s sitting around waiting for different parts before delivery, but LOT’s Dreamliner is getting closer to delivery, which is expected soon. The new livery is simplistic, but it works and looks better in person than it does in photos.
BONUS: See an interior mock-up of LOT’s Dreamliner
A special Beijing livery on an Air China Boeing 777-300ER (B-2035). You can see the State of Kuwait BBJ 7478.
A last treat before heading back home was seeing this special Beijing livery for an Air China Boeing 777-300ER.
There were a few other odds and ends you can take a look at my Flickr profile. I have to say that I love living in Seattle.
Private berth in the Aeroloft, located above the 747-8I’s main cabin. Image from Boeing.
If you were a fare-paying passenger and had access to sleeping berths like this, you would be elite. But in a Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental Boeing Business Jet, this is where the “help” sleeps.
Today, Boeing celebrated the first Aeroloft to be installed on an aircraft. The additional space, located above the main cabin, behind the upper deck, provides an extra 383 square feet of additional space. That brings the total cabin space to 5,179 square feet. Yea… that is almost 5200 square feet… in a plane.
The Aerolof has eight private beds and a changing area for crew.
If the crew get resting areas this awesome, can’t wait to see where the VIPs get to sleep. Image from Boeing.
Installation took place in Wichita, Kansas and now the 747-8I is heading to Hamburg, Germany to have the rest of its interior installed by Lufthansa Technik.
Boeing is still sticking to this aircraft is going to an, “undisclosed customer,” but it has been well established that this plane will go to the government of Qatar.Currently, Boeing has nine orders for the 747-8I BBJ for heads of states. Time to get into politics.
MORE ON TE BOEING 747-8 Intercontinental:
* Qatar 747-8I BBJ Delivery Ceremony
* Inaugural flight of Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8I
* Tracking down the 747-8I’s owner
* Video from the 747-8I’s first flight