787 Dreamliner

Travel tibdits: live livery & a pop-up pool

United Airlines is scheduled to take delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in September, but if you’re near your computer early Tuesday morning you’ll get to see a live webcast of the plane – and its livery – as it rolls out of the paint hangar in Everett, Wash.

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner will look like this when it rolls out of the paint hangar. Photo courtesy Boeing.

The webcast will air on the United Hub website beginning at 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time.

And if you’re cruising around New York City on Tuesday, head to the pool at Union Square (17th & Park). Yes, the pool.

From noon until 6 pm on Tuesday, July 31st, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau will be hosting a party at a pop-up pool, complete with DJs, salsa dancers, chaise lounges, beach balls, Cuban coffee, a fashion show, culinary demos and more. There’s also the promise of “trip giveaways and swag.”

Sorry, no live webcast of the pool party is planned.

Build your own 787 Dreamliner

A few months back I toured Boeing’s Dreamliner Gallery.  That’s the 54,000 square foot shopping center near the company’s Everett, Wa. plant where airlines go to pick out the carpeting, the seats and the interior elements of their new 787 airplanes.

I brought along photographer Jerome Tso to take pictures, and yesterday my story about that visit – with a 17-photo slide-show of Jerome’s photos – posted on USA TODAY, on the first day of the roll-out of their re-designed on-line travel section.

I encourage you to read the full article and click through the slide-show accompanying my Build your own Dreamliner story.   But in the meantime – here are a few photos of the Dreamliner features I’m looking forward to.

First  – the windows:

As you can see in this Dreamliner Gallery display panel – which compares the size of the Dreamliner windows to the size of the windows on a competitor’s plane – the 787 is going to have windows much larger than the windows we’re used to seeing on airplanes.  These shade-less, smart (electrochromic), glass windows will be the largest in the industry – and you’ll be able to dim them with the push of a button.

I’m also looking forward to the Dreamliner bathrooms.Don’t laugh. These little lavs will have both touchless faucets and touchless flushers. The flushers also automatically close the lid before flushing the toilet. And for anyone who’s ever tried to change into fresh clothes in an airplane bathroom, the Dreamliner bathrooms will have this simple but brilliant fold down step – so you can avoid having to put your feet on the sticky floors.

To see the full article, and Jerome Tso’s photos, please see Build your own Dreamliner on USATODAY.com.

Boeing Factory Tour: Aviation Geekfest report

On Sunday I was pleased to be able to join 46 other folks on an tour of the Boeing factory in Mukilteo, Washington as part of Aviation Geekfest hosted by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and the Future of Flight Aviation Center.

In a testament to the power of social media – or the fact that aviation geeks are quick on the trigger – the free tickets for the event “sold out” in less than a minute.

Part of the attraction: attendees were promised a chance at winning gift cards from Alaska Airlines, a spiffy model of an Alaska Airlines 737-900, and – get this – two tickets on the 1st 787 flight.

No one was allowed to bring cameras or telephones with cameras on the tour. So I can’t show you photos of new 787 Dreamliner airplanes in production.  I did take a notepad along.  But sadly, I can’t draw.

Geekfest sketch

Next time, I’m taking a sketch artist along, but in the meantime, here’s a better drawing of the airplane, courtesy of the CD that tour guide Mike (friendly, smart, informative and no where near as corny as he could have been given his audience) handed each of us at the end of the tour.

ScreenHunter_05 Dec. 07 06.25

And here’s a photo of the 787 Dreamliner plane that should be taking off any moment now. Photo courtesy Aviation Geekfest attendee and Twitter user @imperfectsense.