Oneworld Megado Day 4: Seattle and Boeing Tour: Customer Experience Center, 737 Production & Museum of Flight
Congrats to the following winners of Monday's Mega Do Giveaway!
The $50 AA Gift Certificate goes to commenter Snuggliestbear who is a mileage geek because "I try to show off to my wife when they announce the list of connections when we get to our destination - most of the time I can give almost all of the airport codes they list off - she thinks I'm really nerdy!" And I do too! Congrats.
The lounge pass goes to Facebook commenter Beth O'Donnell whose most memorable part of in-flight safety videos is "I've often wondered how many people ever made it to safety by using their seat cushion as a flotation device." Me too!
Our coverage of the events of last week's Oneworld Megado continues with the flight to Seattle.
After a very active day at AA's facilities, it was time to check in at DFW for our flight to Seattle. Conor and I sat in Tommy Class (coach with the middle seat blocked out) in an exit row, so we had space and plenty of leg room. As is the case with Megado's the flight was pretty much a party in the sky with free-flowing booze, but we were also treated to some new dishes by the airline's new consulting chefs, Richard Sandoval and Marcus Samuelsson.
Every single person on the flight got business class meals (clearly this was not a normal American Airlines flight). I had the grilled steak with broccolini and potatoes while Eric had Richard Sandoval's grilled halibut with sweet potatoes and corn relish for a main course. The starter was smoked salmon with creme fraiche, capers and onion, and for dessert, there was ice cream with honey-nut-coconut-crumble.
Well-fed and libated, everyone was out of their seats socializing, catching up with friends, making new ones, and refilling their glasses for the rest of the flight, and before we knew it, we landed in Seattle where it was time for the next round of events starting with a JAL reception at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue.
Hyatt Regency Bellevue
We just had a few minutes to check into our rooms, but while in mine, I snapped a few photos you can see in the gallery below. It looked a lot like the DFW room, though this time there were a lot more plugs, and while the WiFi wasn't super fast, at least it worked!
The JAL reception was small but exuberant as airline executives talked about their forthcoming order of 787 Dreamliners and held a quick trivia contest to give away a roundtrip first class ticket from Boston to Tokyo-Narita on the 787 when it came into service. After that, it was time to say good night because tomorrow was going to be a very early and long day.
Our first stop in the morning was at Boeing's CEC, or Customer Experience Center, which is not normally open to the public since it is where the manufacturing firm's sales execs show off the interiors of their latest plane models to airline executives. The center contained conceptual interiors of the new Boeing 747-8, which generated the most interest from the crowd of bloggers, the newly restyled 737, the 777, and of course the 787.
Most people immediately gravitated toward the company's newest creation, the 747-8, and once inside it was easy to why. There's a futuristic staircase at the entrance, a pretty standard business class albeit with a more open feeling thanks to better designed overhead bins, and the sleek first class pod seats (I can't imagine any airline is going to order seats that look like these, but they were very cool-looking). With slimmer seats and a more airy feel, coach looked like...well, still coach.
Boeing also let a few people have a turn on its flight simulator where they could try their hand at landing a plane. Though he didn't originally have a spot, Eric was at the right spot at the right time and managed to snag a time slot on the equipment...where he promptly crashed and burned a JAL 777 simulation!
After the CEC, we took a quick tour of Boeing's Renton factory, which is not open to the public, and hold's their assembly line for the new 737. This model is the most popular in the world, with over 7,000 in service, and it was just kind of interesting to see a dozen of them going down the line for orders from airlines like Ryanair, Hainan Airlines, and, of course, American.
Museum of Flight
We made a quick stop by the Boeing store (stay tuned for some swag giveaways later in the week!), then headed to the Museum of Flight where we checked out the small airfield holding crafts like a British Airways Concorde (not very roomy inside!), the Air Force One that shuttled around Eisenhower and Kennedy, and the first 747 Boeing ever made, a 747-100 that served as the craft's testing prototype, and which is open to public viewings only once every few years.
The interior was really musty, and practically empty on the main deck--all the wiring was exposed and the cockpit was open for us to take a peek in--and the upper deck was a small first class lounge that looked like a smoking parlor or something. My how times have changed!
Down to LAX
We wrapped up at the Museum of Flight and headed to Sea-Tac airport to catch our charter down to LA. After boarding we all got some drinks from the back ... and waited ... and waited. There was another mechanical issue, so we basically held an impromptu cocktail party and an auction for various pieces of AA swag like gate agent vests while we waited for it to be fixed. It took nearly 2 hours, and Suzanne Rubin was cajoled into handing out some more bonus miles to all of us as restitution for the inconvenience while we munched on sandwiches they brought on board from the terminal, but eventually we got up in the air and down to Los Angeles for the final day of the Megado.