I recently had the opportunity to welcome some VIP fish from Alaska to the lower 48. Did I enjoy the experience because of the Copper River salmon? Yes, it was quite entertaining seeing all the people wanting to kiss a 34 pounder at 8am in the morning (I typically don’t kiss fish before noon). For me it was more about having an excuse to get back on the tarmac at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and hang out with Alaska Cargo up close and personal.
Our flight from Keflavik to Seattle boarded via a proper jetbridge
The COVID-19 pandemic made for some mighty strange times. A January 2023 trip to Reykvavik with Icelandair marked my first time out of the United States since early 2020. I’ve been able to fly a lot domestically, but this would be the first time I’d get to use a passport in nearly three years, ending my longest international travel dry spell in decades. And, boy, was I looking forward to it, especially as Iceland is one of my very favorite destinations.
The trip was from Seattle to Keflavik on TF-FIN, a 25-year-old Boeing 757-200, a jet Icelandair has owned since it was built back in 1998.
Icelandair seems to work hard to keep its aircraft interiors in good shape; I’ve flown with them roughly 10 times in both Saga and economy, on their 737 MAX-8, 757-200, and Bombardier Dash-8s, and don’t recall having seen anything in the cabins that was in desperate need of repair.
Air Tahiti Nui’s 787-9 Deamliners will fly the new route between Seattle and Papeete
Air Tahiti Nui launched service to Seattle on October 5, 2022, offering twice-weekly direct service to Papeete on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
“North America is a key market for our destination. So, when we decided to open a second gateway on the West Coast, Seattle was a natural answer for us,” said Air Tahiti Nui Managing Director Mathieu Bechonnet. “I would like to thank our partners at Alaska Airlines and the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for their warm welcome and support in making this happen.”
The inaugural flight was greeted with a traditional water-cannon salute from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Fire Department. The aircraft can be seen passing beneath SEA’s recently-opened pedestrian skybridge linking the S Gates to the new international arrivals hall.
The airline and airport hosted a gala-like arrivals ceremony complete with the requisite speeches, gift exchange, and traditional dancers.
Dancers performed to traditional Tahitian music
The 4,785-mile flight’s scheduled duration is eight hours and forty-seven minutes, which takes a bit less time than the 4,800-mile flight from Seattle to London.
Finnair began service from Helsinki to Seattle on June 2, 2022
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport added its 8th new international carrier since the pandemic began in 2020, as Finnair started service from Helsinki on June 2.
Finnair’s A330 received the traditional water cannon salute from the SEA fire department on arrival
Finnair will operate the 9.5-hour flights three times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays using an A330. The inbound flight will be numbered AY033, and the return flight to Helsinki will be AY034.
Finnair is also part of the oneworld alliance, allowing connections either onward from Seattle or Helsinki via the local partner airlines, including Seattle’s own Alaska Airlines.
It’s arguably the most iconic livery on the most iconic aircraft in service. It’s blue-and-white livery is instantly identifiable to both AvGeeks and those who view planes as simply flying buses.
Officially designated the VC-25 by the U.S. Air Force, two heavily-modified Boeing 747-200s have been in service since 1990.
Air Force One moments from landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
By now, most AvGeeks know that any aircraft can be designated as Air Force One – the callsign is only active if the president is on board. Thus the modified 757s (officially C-32As) can also carry the callsign when the president is aboard.
The Seattle area sees C-32As fairly regularly, as high-ranking officials other than the president often visit the region, such as the vice president. The VC-25 hasn’t been in these parts since 2018, and we last wrote about a visit here in 2015, so we were due for an update.