Browsing Tag: DFW

American Airline's flight crew are ready to welcome guests to see the new Sky Interior at Boeing's delivery center at Boeing Field (BFI).

American Airline's flight crew are ready to welcome guests to see the new Sky Interior at Boeing's delivery center at Boeing Field (BFI).

Yesterday American Airlines took delivery of their first Boeing 737-800 (N867NN) with the new Boeing Sky Interior. I felt privileged to hitch a ride on the airplane during its delivery flight from Boeing Field to Dallas-Fort Worth with American and other invited guests.

Before getting outside to see the aircraft and interior we had to go through a little security. There was a conveyor belt and metal detector, but no requirement to remove shoes, laptops or put your toiletries in a ziploc bag — nice.

The aluminum fuselage glistened in the sun outside Boeing’s delivery center waiting to fly passengers for the first time. After the ribbon was cut and photos were taken, it was time to check out the new Sky Interior first hand.

You have to love walking onto a brand spanking new plane and breathing that new-plane smell. There is something to be said about flying on a plane with only 21 other people (including the pilots) on its delivery flight from an airport that doesn’t see scheduled jet service.

Although I thought the ceiling lighting was going to be the most noticable aspect when entering the 737, I was actually first drawn to the new window openings and clean interior walls. Being an airline nerd, I spend a good chunk of my time staring out the window and this was a welcomed sight.

The Boeing Sky Interior on American's newest Boeing 737-800 (N867NN).

The Boeing Sky Interior on American's newest Boeing 737-800 (N867NN).

A combination of the larger window openings, blue lighting in the ceiling and new luggage bins, there really is a sense of space with the new Sky Interior. Boeing allows airlines to customize their lighting and American has pre-programmed the following:

* Boarding and de-boarding: blue top, white side lights
* Take off and landing: blue on top and blue on the side
* Cruise: wall lights are off, top is blue
* Night/Sleep: dark blue on the ceiling, wall lights are off
* Meal: Amber on top and side
* Sunrise/Sunset During Takeoff/Landing: Deep orange tones

On top of the nifty colors, the overhead bins have been improved to mimic the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s bins. They are larger and are able to hold more luggage (48 more bags to be exact in the 737-800). They also fold up into the ceiling to provide more cabin space. If you are 6’1″ you will still hit your head while standing, but those of shorter stature should have better luck.

Even though the windows are the same size in the fuselage, the new interior shows more of the window.

Even though the windows are the same size in the fuselage, the new interior shows more of the window.

Probably more noticeable to flight attendants, the call button has been moved away from the light buttons, helping to reduce the chance of a passenger trying to turn on their light, but instead hitting the call button.

The American interiors on the 737 are newer than other aircraft in their fleet and aren’t too bad, but after seeing the new interior, the standard interior looks a bit aged and cramped.

The new Boeing 737-800 with Sky Interior is part of American’s fleet renewal plan. Later in the week I will go into more detail on American Airline’s future plans to let customers know they mean business.



A few Virgin tails!

A few Virgin tails! Image from Virgin.

Two big announcements came from Virgin America last week and I think they are both worth looking at. First, they stated they will start flying to Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport (DFW). There will be daily flights from Los Angeles (LAX) and San Fransisco to DFW starting in December of this year. This will become the 12th destination that Virgin American visits.

“Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the largest metropolitan areas in North America and a major center of business with strong ties to California — most notably in the financial services, energy and the Silicon Prairie-Silicon Valley high-tech sectors,” said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush.

These new flights will obviously compete against American Airlines to the same destinations and their dominance at DFW. As Dan Webb in his Things in the Sky blog points out, Virgin America is not the first low-cost carrier to compete on these routes. AirTran tried the DFW to LAX and wasn’t able to make it work. Will Virgin America be able to wow American passengers with their fun atmosphere and superb in-flight entertainment? With Virgin America’s recent order of 40 new aircraft (and 20 more options) they seem pretty confident they will be successful.

In typical Virgin America style, there has to be a sexual innuendo tied into this announcement and I am not surprised they went with “Virgin America Does Dallas,” (if you don’t understand it, Google it…but not while at work).

On the bottom of every Virgin America’s press releases is the statement, “Virgin America is a U.S. owned, controlled and operated airline. It is an entirely separate company from Virgin Atlantic. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is a minority share investor in Virgin America.” Even though Virgin America shares the same brand name, the ownership structures are very different with the other branded airlines. Where the different Virgin airline brands were kept pretty separated previously, the second bit of news connects them like never before.

Virgin-brand airlines; Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin America and V Australia/Virgin Blue have become mileage partners. That means if you fly any of those Virgin brands, you are able to earn and redeem frequent flier miles. As a nice little bonus, if you end up flying on two of the brands before the beginning of the year, you can actually win a trip to Sir Richard Branson’s private island.

So what does all this mean? It means that Virgin America is becoming a real player in the domestic market. They might not be making profit right now, but they are improving and have the confidence and motivation to succeed, which always seems to work out well for competition and passengers.

Always a lot of American Airlines' aircraft at Dallas/Forth Worth

Always a lot of American Airlines' aircraft at Dallas/Forth Worth

I have flown a lot in my life, but I have never had a bag lost. I know I have been lucky. Talking to those who have been through it, I am glad I haven’t had to go through that.

Airlines have gotten better at not losing bags, but it still happens. American Airlines is testing out some pretty cool new technology to help bags get to their destinations and faster.

Each baggage vehicle has a computer screen which can tell workers flight status, gate changes and connections all in real-time. Workers also have hand-held computers to keep an eye on bags while away from the vehicle. At most airports, this is all done with paper, pencil and maybe a radio.

Right now, the technology is only being used at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Hopefully it will be rolled out to other airports and adopted by other airlines if successful. Let’s also hope this new technology can stop bags from having unknown fluids spilled on them!

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Source: NBCDFW Image: coneinc