Delivery flight of HB-JNJ
In the middle of February I received a surprising E-Mail message, coming from the Social Media department of Swiss International Air Lines! They asked if I am interested to pick up the 10th and last Boeing 777-300ER at Seattle and fly it to Zurich. Even when the dates were not fully clear I confirmed the invitation. Because; when will I ever be able again, to witness such a cool event?
Two days before our jouney began, I received the boarding passes for the flights to Seattle and on the 10th of March a group of invited people met at Zurich airport. First we flew all togheter to Frankfurt onboard of an Lufthansa A321. There we continued with the "Queen of the Skies", a Boeing 747-400. The flight to Seattle was calm and we had great service on board. Our flight time was around 10 hours and 20 minutes. I personally was surprised by the very modern in-flight entertainment system on the 747.
After our arrival in Seattle (it still was Saturday, by the way), we had time for free disposal. Me and Tis Meyer, which was also invited from the Social Media department went to the south-west side of the airport, to take the opportunity and do some plane spotting. For me it was really great, because I've never been to the United States before! Notwithstanding the most planes were Alaska 737s and Delta ERJs I took at least one photo of every plane.
In the evening we went to the hotel, where I got surprised once more. The hotel room which Swiss booked for us were just amazing! Everyone of us got a single room with a kingsize bed, a large restroom and modern furnishing. I unpacked my lugagge and enjoyed a shower, before I started the routine of saving photos and charging batteries.
On the next morning I headed for the breakfast. Breakfast was offered by Boeing for our stay, and I had my first touch with kind of American breakfast. It was really filling! Afterwards we met for our first event. Together with the other invited people, they work for different companies, we did a sightseeing tour. I got surprised that the United States are like they are in movies!
We had great stops on our sightseeing. The most amazing was the Seattle Space Needle I think, on which we had a very pleasent view onto the city, the harbor and the Rockies. Our lunch stop was at the waterfront and of course I took a plate of fish. After a short coffee we headed to "Bucher Aerospace". This company's headquarter is located in Fällanden, Switerland, but they also have a factory close to the Boeing factories. They once produced trolleys, but nowadays they specialized on Galleys and EMS systems. We took a tour through the factory and then built a small trolley which serves as a pen holder.
After this great tour through a very interesting company we proceeded to the dinner with the Swiss Delivery Team. It was like a party with great food and informative conversations. After the dinner I went in the city again to do some photography before I went to bed.
On Monday we spent a lot of time at the Boeing facilities. First we visited the Boeing factory in Everett. Before we walked through the factory, we got an introduction about the facility and the products.
Taking photos was strictly prohibited and only allowed at two positions. Nevertheless I can tell you something about the factory! In general, the whole hall is nothing else as a production line in every other company. Only the fact, that Boeing produces airplanes in it makes it so amazing! We saw the production line of the B747-8, the KC-46A, the B777 and B787, and last but not least the new assembly line of the B777-9X! We could see the wing of the first 9X ever and it is really huge! Later we followed the assembly line of the 777-300ER where also all the Swiss 777 got produced. On a balcony over the production line we could also take some photos and observe the processes on the ground.
After this very impressivly tour through the factory in Everett we went to the Boeing Customer Experience Center at Renton. Over there we received a lot of information about the product "Boeing 777" and the Boeing company. They explained us, what the past brought Boeing, and what they learned, what they do today and what they're going to do in future. After the lunch, which I really liked (it was a box, considering a sandwich or wrap, cookies, a drink and potato chips), we headed to the aircraft mock-ups. We had a look into the 777 mock up and also in the 787 mock up, where Boeing explained us what they do, to improve the experience of flight. The small changes can figure out a whole new experience in flying!
After this informative and demanding afternoon, we returned to the hotel where we had to suit up. Because in the evening we had a big delivery dinner with Swiss and Boeing. Everything was very noble. After the enjoyable dinner and back in the hotel, I already had to drop off my luggage.
On Tuesday we checked out in the hotel and headed to the delivery center. First of all we enjoyed the view on the brand new HB-JNJ, already sitting at the departure gate. We all took the first photos, before we listened to another interesting presentation. This time the presentation was held by Swiss employees and themed the choice of the 777 for Swiss' fleet. The employees talked about many different reasons for choosing the Boeing. In the meantime the listeners could enjoy a brunch. After the meal we went downstairs to get close to JNJ. We could walk around the aircraft and take photos from every detail. And of course the guest's took a lot of selfie's! Unfortunately the time has come to leave Seattle soon, and after a group photo and some more food we had to board our 777 back to Zurich! The good bye was not so difficult as we all flew at least business class! It was a great surprise to fly onboard business class in a new aircraft, and during the flight we got a lot of other surprises and gifts to remember this great event! During the whole flight we had amazing weather. We first had great seight on the Rocky Mountains, and later we enjoyed an amazing sunset!
On Wednesday morning, we approached Lake Geneva when the pilot informed us about the following route. We were intercepted by two F / A-18 fighters over the Swiss alps and did a scenic flight around the Matterhorn before we headed to Zurich! This was by far the most amazing experience I've had! It was so sureal to sit on a 777 and see the fighter pilot waving to you.After our smooth touch down at Zurich, we taxied to gate B39 and sadly left JNJ.
It was a fantastic event, and we really had a lot of luck with the weather and the organization! Everything worked properly and I am really thankful to Swiss and everyone involved for the invitation!
This article was produced in cooperation with Swiss International Air Lines.