I recently flew with Virgin Atlantic on four long haul flights. The plane in use was the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Here is my review:
The configuration that Virgin Atlantic had for the 787 was 3-3-3. I felt that this was very good and gave a little more space then the general 2-4-2 configuration. It is possible that it was just perception but it did not feel as cramped. The seats were quite comfortable even in economy class with a good amount of legroom. The overhead bins were spacious with lots of extra room. Not sure if this was inherent to the Boeing 787 or just the way Virgin Atlantic had configured the planes.
The ride on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was extremely smooth. All 4 flights were exceptionally smooth with very little bumping even when going through turbulence. The aircraft is also quieter than many that I have been on. This definitely added to the pleasantness of the ride.
One of the great features on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was the lighting. Instead of pulling down and opening window shades, the Dreamliner has adjustable lighting by every seat window. This lighting can be adjusted by the passenger but can also be darkened by the crew to give the plane a dark feeling even during the day. This was beneficial on the London to Los Angeles route which was day the entire time.
When standing up, it did not feel like your head was going to hit the overhead bins. There was ample head space and room.
There are definitely many luxuries and small details that have gone into the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to make it a much more comfortable ride.
Many people will come of a flight and when they get their luggage from the under the plane cargo hold they will realize that their luggage is particularly cold.
Some of the issues that arise from this is people that have freezer sensitive materials in their baggage. On shorter haul flights, this is not so prevalent but this may be particularly common on long haul flights as the luggage will sit in the baggage compartment for a considerable amount of time.
The cabin where people sit on the aircraft is obviously temperature controlled for the comfort of the passengers on board. The air outside of the aircraft is obviously freezing at 30,000 feet and so the natural condition without weather control would be particularly cold. The air from the passenger cabin is passed through into the luggage hold so that there is some sort of control of temperature but in general the luggage hold will be very cold.
A Boeing 767 has a temperature of about 7 degrees Celsius in the luggage hold and similar temperatures would be on Airbus planes and bigger Boeing jets.
There are possibilities of getting temperature controlled baggage compartments where the temperature could be maintained at about 18 degrees Celsius. This would obviously be the case for luggage and cargo holds that are used for animals and pets.
By packing cold weather sensitive items in the middle of ones luggage, with clothes surrounding, a person could avoid possible damage that is caused by extremely cold under plane luggage holds.
Luggage holds are not however the biggest obstacle that baggage faces on the way to the aircraft. Heat and sometimes wet and snow conditions could sometimes effect bags that wait on the tarmac as they await transport to the plane.
Private jet travel circumvents this problem but still in all a person should be careful to pack items in a way that will not adversely effect them should such weather conditions come into play.
The cost of airplanes and jets has been in the news recently as Donald Trump decried the price of Air Force One’s planned upgrade from Boeing. The President-elect of the United States of America was also not pleased with the most expensive weapons program ever and that is the new F-35 fighter jets. The F-35 fighter jets are an upgrade of the world famous F-16 fighter jets but the question is:
How much does an F-35 cost?
In order to come up with a figure, you will have to remove the cost of research and development from each jet to get a steady figure on the jet itself.
There are 3 types of F-35 jets. There is the A model, the B model for the Marine Corps and the C model for the Navy. There is also a generic F model F-35.
An A model F-35 costs approximately 148 million dollars, the B model costs 251 million dollars, the C model costs 337 million dollars and the generic F model costs 178 million dollars.
All variants of the F35 travel at supersonic speeds.
The main difference in the model variations would be the take-off and landing capabilities of the various models of F-35.
The F-35 A is built for conventional runway take-off and landing. This would be for regular military use with a conventional airstrip or runway available.
Both the F35B and F35C have short take-off and short landing capabilities. This is of course an essential when it comes to take-off and landings from the deck of aircraft carrying naval ships.
The F35C is different in that it is said to have radar evading stealth capabilities.
Every model is a single seat jet as could be expected from a modern fighter jet.
These planes may be expensive but for the safety and security that they have been designed to achieve, it may just be a price worth paying.
The Presidential elections are thing of the past and the new president can look forward to the luxury of flying on what is known as Air Force One.
Firstly though, it should be noted that any plane carrying the President of the United States is considered Air Force One. But more often than not the particular plane carrying the President will be a Boeing VC-25.
What is the Boeing VC-25?
The Boeing VC-25 is essentially a military version of the Boeing 747. The plane has been specifically configured to ensure the functionality for a US President who will often be working on board flights. It also is critical that the plane be configured in a way to provide maximum security to the President of the United States.
What is Marine One?
Marine One is the name given to the military helicopter that is configured for use by the President of the United States. Most often Marine One will be used on US soil in conjunction with Air Force One. This is because Marine One will be used to take the President to an Airport when a presidential motorcade is not appropriate.
How much does it cost to run Air Force One?
It costs approximately 211,000 dollars an hour to run Air Force One. That means that if the President were to make the 7 hour journey to London it would cost roughly one and a half million dollars.
The current crop of planes primarily used by the President as Air Force One are aging and it is known that Boeing has been awarded the contract by the US Air Force to build two new modified Boeing 747-8’s for use as Air Force One.
Maybe it is worth it after all to be the President of the United States.
Boeing has co-branded one of their 777-300ER airlines along with Air China. This is a momentous occasion as it is the first time that Boeing has co-branded a 777 aircraft along with the commercial jet carrier.
This is not foreign territory to China Airlines as they were the first commercial carrier to use Boeing’s co-branded livery in 2004, when the co-branding was on a Boeing 747-400.
This seems to be part of the ongoing celebrations of the Boeing Centennial.
Perhaps the greatest facet of the Boeing 777-300ER is the new ‘Family Couch’ seats in economy class. This is an incredibly smart seating arrangement where three economy seats convert into a flat surface for added comfort and relaxation.
The Boeing 777-300ER is a plane that has a 358 seat configuration. There are 3 classes across the 358 seats but no doubt, the winner is the “Family Couch” in economy. China Airlines is the only airline in North Asia that offers this unique and much sought after seating.
The particular plane that has been re-branded for China Airlines is called the Blue Whale. China Airlines is a long time customer of Boeing and that has been proven by the fact that this is the 10th Boeing 777 that they have purchased since 2014.
Boeing has stiff competition from Airbus. It is essentially a dead heat with the Boeing 777 going head to head with Airbus A380. Many airlines have favored the A380 but still have the difficulty of finding airports that are able to accommodate these absolute jumbos.
Yes, believe it or not, it takes less than 3 months for a Boeing to be built from first parts till it’s ready for flight. This does not mean that if you order a Boeing jetliner it will be ready in less than 3 months. The wait time till you reach the head of the production line is considerably longer than that.
The airline manufacturer needs to ensure that he has all the necessary parts to put the plane together. There are certain items that are considered “long lead” items. These are things like castings and extrusions. These items once they hit the aircraft manufacturing floor still need a lot of work to put the aircraft together.
What About Finishing?
Well believe it or not, it only takes 4 days in a paint chamber to have the plane painted to the order requirements of the customer.
How About Testing?
Testing for commercial aircraft take on average 30 days. The aircraft are tested for things that are beyond the normal conditions in a regular flight. This is even beyond the testing for extreme cold or extreme heat conditions. All the electrical equipment and of course on-board technology is also tested to ensure that the plane is supremely safe.
The Boeing factory in Everett is the largest manufacturing building in the world. The process at the factory is so efficient that a plane leaves the manufacturing floor, ready for testing, on average every 3 days. That is quite a staggering number considering the amount of parts and collaboration that goes into building an aircraft.
A brand new top of the range Boeing 747 will set you back 357 million dollars. However if you place your order today, no you won’t get a second one free, but there is a good chance that the price would have changed based on the cost of the parts.
Silence is Golden and private jet owners are willing to dish out the gold to ensure the quietest flight possible. Private jets are quieter than commercial flights and this is becoming very alluring for people who cannot stand the din of commercial flying.
The most silent on the commercial market today is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and private jet engineers have been able to reduce those levels by about half in private jets. Added insulation and rejigging the climate control systems on these private jets has contributed to reducing the noise levels to the point where clients on board these silent jets could hear each other at a whisper.
In general private jets are quieter as it is. Simply because they are smaller and fly at higher at altitudes. This means that a Gulfstream would be naturally more quiet than a commercial Airbus. But even clients that are buying commercial airlines are investing literally millions of dollars to make their planes as quiet as possible.
Having bought a new jet in 2011, Donald Trump placed soundproofing the new Boeing 757 that he bought as a priority. A single-aisle plane, like a Boeing 737 will cost upwards of 39 million dollars to sound proof. This makes it seem that silence is more like platinum than golden.
First and Business Class customers are yet to be guaranteed a quieter flight than economy class passengers and this is something that private jet owners know and capitalize on. Boeing at the end of 2012 invested close to 20 million dollars to update their knowledge base in determining what are the internal and external sources of noise on flights.
The world has changed. In a noisier world people are searching for more and more quiet and tranquility and it seems that those that have the money to pay for the silence on a private jet are willing to dish out top dollar for it.
The lives of the rich and famous seem to intrigue us all. There is no doubt that those with a keen interest in aircraft will also be keen to find out what the rich and famous fly. 3 points for guessing that they do not fly commercial-aircraft-economy-class-find-your-own-overhead-bin airline.
1. The Sultan of Brunei
One of the wealthiest men in the world. He is not confined to owning one aircraft but his biggest aircraft is the Boeing 747-430. The Sultan was not about to buy the scraps off a commercial airliner and bought a new one at well over 100 million dollars. He decided to glitz it up a bit to the tune of 150 million dollars, with solid gold washbasins and other features like masses of Lalique crystal.
2. Mark Cuban
Owner of the Dallas Mavericks and businessman extraordinaire. He sure knows how to look after his employees as Mr. Cuban reportedly had custom-made seats installed in his Boeing 767-277. The reason for the customization? Â To ensure that his tallest NBA employee players can fit comfortably. Now that’s a Boss.
3. Elvis Presley
The President flies on Air Force One but how did or does (depends who you ask) The King travel? Elvis owned a Convair 880 that he famously named Lisa Marie after his daughter. Elvis customized the configuration of the aircraft making sure that there was only 28 seats out of a 110 seat capacity. I think that if the King was still purchasing planes today, he would go for something slightly more flashy.
You could still fly like a Sultan or a King without owning your own private aircraft and at a fraction of the price. This can be done through booking your next flight, domestic or international with ElJet private jet charter.
Yes, even without US Airways, the big North American carrier has 627 active aircraft. The bulk of the fleet is Boeing 737-800’s which make up a staggering 226 of the total aircraft. Their smallest number of active planes on the fleet is the 5 Airbus A321’s that they own. For a full list of the American Airlines fleet details, click here.
Following the merger with Continental Airlines, United Airlines now has a total of 692 aircraft with a further 31 aircraft on order. Like American Airlines, the Boeing 737-800 make up the majority of the active fleet. United Airlines also owns 14 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
The biggest fleet of them all belongs to Delta Airlines. They have 773 active aircraft. This is in addition to a further 50 that they have planned or on order. Unlike United Airlines and American Airlines, the most common aircraft in the Delta Airlines fleet is the Boeing 757, making up 140 aircraft of the fleet. While Delta does have 114 Boeing 737’s on their books, they have offloaded a further 89 to other operators. Of their latest purchase order, they are lined up to receive 36, Boeing 717’s to add to their already vast airline fleet.
Perspective, US Airways and American Airlines Together-1246
This sheds some light and perspective on the US Airways and American Airlines merger. The merger means that American Airlines has 1246 active aircraft, that is almost double the next biggest fleet, Delta Airlines. The merger also gives perspective as to how the US Airways and American Airlines merger completely dwarfed the United Airlines and Continental Airlines merger.
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