Japan on a 787!!!!
I just got from my third MegaDO event (second as an organizer). Read more about MegaDO here. Articles are upcoming by the AP and USA Today as well.
The general gist is a group of people who are as crazy as me get together, charter an airplane and fly around the country to visit airlines and other fun places like Boeing. Sounds like a blast until the $120K bill for the 757 comes in the mail. 🙂
One of the stops on this year’s tour was Boeing. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue the night before our Boeing tour, and the good folks from Japan Airlines (JAL) threw a party for us upon arrival. JAL is one of the early launch customers for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The Dreamliner is like crack for airline enthusiasts. It’s a completely game-changing plane. Made mostly of composite materials, the plane has an incredible range and the ability to pressurize the cabin at a much lower rate. This means you feel significantly less tired and worn out after a long flight. It has the ability to be pressurized to an elevation that’s 2,000 feet lower than similar planes, and is significantly more fuel efficient.
JAL is going to be the first airline flying the 787 to the US on a consistent basis. They launch nonstop service from Boston to Tokyo’s Narita Airport on April 22nd. For our event, JAL decided they were going to give away a free business class seat on the inaugural flight.
They had everyone start answering trivia questions by standing on one side of the room or the other based on which answer you chose. The group of 160 was quickly whittled down to a more manageable 50 or 60 people who answered a bunch of questions correctly without much progress. I willingly admit that I looked to my good friend Gary Leff (View From The Wing) for a couple of answers. A few more questions, and all of a sudden the group was down to 25 or so.
Then, the folks from JAL asked whether the Boeing is longer from head to tail or wing tip to wing tip. Because of a previous Boeing visit, I actually knew the answer to this while most of the group didn’t. A correct answer here narrowed us down to 5 for the coveted seat.
We then shifted to identifying what cities certain airports are associated with. DCA/Reagan was the first one. No problem there. We lost one of the 5 on the next question, which I don’t remember. We were writing the answers down on pads at this point to make it easier.
Those that know me are aware that I’m from NY. I have family in Connecticut and dated a girl for sometime from upstate CT. So, when Turner from JAL asked where Bradley airport was, it was an easy answer for me. It took me a couple of seconds to realize that the other 3 remaining competitors had all started to walk away, because none knew the answer. It took about another 5 seconds before it really set in that I had just won a free seat on one of the greatest excursions an airplane geek could ever ask for.
I’m a little bummed that Michelle won’t be coming with me. Our son is just turning a year old, so a 14 hour flight where neither of us can check on the kids is out of the question. She and I have done quite a bit of exploring, so it feels like I’m missing my “wing-woman”. But, it’s the right decision for our kids, and we’re already researching another fun place we can take the whole family to explore.
So, Japan! On the first commercial 787 flight from the US! Pretty cool.