Airplanes

Icelandair welcomes its first 737Max

Icelandair took its first new Boeing 737 MAX 8 on a celebratory flight on Saturday, flying north from the in-city Reykjavík Airport for a one-hour special flight over stunning mountains and landscape before returning to the airport for a welcome party that included tours of the aircraft for hundreds of invited guests.

I was fortunate to go along for the flight.

All Icelandair planes are named after Icelandic volcanoes, glaciers or other areas of Iceland’s landscape and this new Boeing 737 MAX 8, is named Jökulsárlon, after a glacial lagoon.

Here are some more snaps from the flight:

Invited guests on the flight got to taste a special 737 Transatlantic Pale Ale, which will be available for purchase onboard Icelandair flights, starting at the end of May, for a few months.

 

Sigurður Helgason, Icelandair’s past CEO and Bjorgolfur Johannsson, the current President & CEO, toast the new plane with cans of the special 737 Transatlantic IPA.

 

Hundreds of invited guests came to the airport to welcome the plane and lined up for a tour. But first the red carpet had to put out.

 

This is the first of 16 737 Max airplanes Icealandair will receive over the next four years, so keep an eye out for them in the skies and at your airport.

 

Would you sleep in an airplane cargo section?

Here’s an unusual look at the flying future introduced by Airbus and Zodiac Aerospace at the Aircraft Interior Expo taking place in Hamburg this week.

The two companies say they are developing lower-deck modules with sleeping berths as an option for the cargo compartment of an aircraft.

These passenger modules are envisioned as being easily interchangeable with regular cargo containers and easily put in or taken out during a typical turnaround as they don’t require any modification of the cargo area flooring.

The modules, which could be configured for other uses besides sleeping, offer airlines “new opportunities for additional services to passengers, improving their experience while enabling airlines to differentiate and add value for their commercial operations,” the companies said in a statement.

“This approach to commercial air travel is a step change towards passenger comfort. We have already received very positive feedback from several airlines on our first mock-ups,” said Geoff Pinner, Head of Airbus Cabin & Cargo Programme.

The plan is to get approval for the modules by 2020 and to roll them out first on A330 aircraft.

Ready for this?

What would make your trip to the airport more fun?

(Early flying car – the Aerocar)

I’m excited, honored – and a bit nervous – about being a moderator for several sessions during Monday’s Passenger Experience Conference in Hamburg, Germany.

The topics my presenters will be tackling in the Covergence and Mobility stream range from how mobile technology might better (or ever) tie together the many ways we now have to travel through the world (bikes, taxis, car share, trains, planes, etc…) to how – and when – we might eat or do other things along the way.

I’ll be sharing notes, pictures and musings here and on Twitter (@hbaskas) about these presentations and the new and exciting products and ideas that are presented throughout the week at the Aircraft Interiors Expo and several related events being held in Hamburg this week.

Standy by and please feel free to send your questions to me here – or via Twitter (@hbaskas) – about what’s in store for getting to and from airports and for flying on airplanes.

 

 

Snaps from a visit to an airport bag well

As part of research for an upcoming story, I spent two days visiting the ‘bag well’ at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport finding out what happens to your checked lugagge once you hand it over to your airline.

The short version: your bag travels on a freeway-like conveyor system that sends the bag to and through a TSA explosives detection machine and then back to the airline for sorting so can be sent to your airplane and loaded onto it.  The bag tag is scanned multiple times along the way to keep tabs on its whereabouts.

Here are some snaps from my adventure. Stay tuned for the full story.

 

 

Souvenir Sunday: 747-themed amenity kits on United

United Airlines is going to retire its Boeing 747 fleet on November 7 and to mark the occasion the airline is giving out 747-themed Polaris amenity kits starting Monday, October 23, through January 2018.

Silver kits go to first class customers, while blue kits will be handed out to business class fliers. In addition to the usual amenity kit items, each kit contains a pack of five 747 trading cards, so you can swap with your friends.

Passengers on United’s premium transcontinetnal routes (EWR-SFO, EWR-LAX, BOS-SFO) will receive (smaller, but just as charming) commemorative kits as well.

 

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