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Can we bottle that smell?

sabercrombie
Explorer C
(click on photos to enlarge)  Love that new car smell?  Well, just imagine how a brand-spanking new Boeing 737-700 must smell!  Seven lucky Employees and their guests from the 2006 Messages to the Field and three of us from Culture Activities visited the Boeing Company in Seattle in August and had the privlege of bringing home one of our newest aircraft N251WN.   We arrived in Seattle on a Tuesday afternoon, and it was a pleasant 74 degrees.  Being from Texas, I am used to 100 degree+ days, so the cool temperature was a wonderful relief.  There was nothing scheduled on our first afternoon, so our group enjoyed some free time in the beautiful city of Seattle.  1 Pike Place Market.jpgMost of us chose to head to Pike Place Market, where there are endless vendors selling fresh seafood, flowers, vegetables, and a plethora of unique souvenirs.  Pike Place Market is also the home of Pike Place Fish where fish are tossed between the workers in a playful, interactive display, and also the home of Rachel, the bronze piggy bank.   That evening, Boeing treated us to a dinner cruise around beautiful Lake Washington.  2 Dinner Cruise - Larry Judy.jpgThe food and scenery were fantastic, but the entertainment was the highlight of the evening!  I'm sure you've all taken a stab at karaoke, but out of our entire group, we couldn't find any true talent, so we decided to change the name to "scaraoke."   The next day we were taken by bus to the massive Boeing Factory in Renton for a private tour of the facility.  Of course many of the folks on this trip are true "aviation junkies," so this was right up their alleys.  There's nothing quite like seeing one of our own airplanes coming down the assembly line!  I found it fascinating that the fuselage is actually assembled in Wichita, Kansas, and moved by train to the Renton Factory where the wings, tail, engines, and all interior components are fitted.  As we "ooohed and aaahed" our way through the tour, our wonderful guide, Jay, competently explained the steps each Team must take to move the aircraft on to the next level.  Although no photos are allowed to be taken in the Factory, we were able to get a shot of the fuselage for you since it was positioned outside in the holding area.3 Fuselage.jpg We were then whisked off to the Museum of Flight where we were again taken on a guided tour.  This museum houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of aerospace artifacts in the western United States.  Their collection holds over 150 full-sized airplanes, helicopters, and spacecraft including the first jet Air Force One which was delivered to President Eisenhower in 1959, and the last British Airways Concorde to ever make a commercial flight!  What's a trip to Seattle without a visit to the Observation Deck of the Space Needle?  This icon stands 605 feet tall, and is fastened to its foundation (which runs 30 feet below the ground) by 72 bolts which are each 30 feet in length!  4 Space Needle.jpgOver lunch, our winners enjoyed a breathtaking view of the city from the revolving restaurant.   Finally, the big day arrived to take delivery of N251WN!  We arrived at the Renton Factory at 8 a.m. ready to board our lovely Canyon Blue bird.  As can happen with any scheduled (or in this case, unscheduled!) flight, we encountered a slight delay.  As most of you know, being delayed can be a rough experience if you are stuck at an airport for several hours; however, our friends at Boeing made sure that this delay offered more opportunities to explore the city.  They treated us to lunch at Chandler's Crabhouse  then coordinated two separate tours for the folks in our group.  Most of us headed to the Chateau St. Michelle winery , where we had a guided tour; wine tasting; and extra time in the winery shop to buy a few more souvenirs.  The rest of the group headed to another Boeing Factory in Everett where the larger aircraft (767, 777, etc.) are assembled. By the time our plane was ready to leave, we had acquired even more luggage to bring home to our respective cities.   5 Group with Plane.jpg A new airplane delivery is a completely different experience than your "typical" flight.  Because it was an unscheduled flight, we were able to fly nonstop from Seattle to Dallas which is a special treat for anyone who is a foe of the detested Wright Amendment.  The festivities onboard truly gave our lucky winners a flight to remember! We would like to give our heartfelt thanks to Dara, Victor, Brett, Shinko, Monte, Jay, and Jim from Boeing, and to Bill, who works for Southwest Airlines in Everett, WA!  6 Boeing Friends Waving.jpgYou certainly outdid yourselves by making this trip one we will never forget!  Special thanks to DAL Chief Pilot Mark Montgomery and DAL Captain Randy Smith for getting us home safely!     If you are a Southwest Employee, and this action-packed agenda sounds FUN to you, be sure to put your name in the hat at the 2007 Messages to the Field--who knows--you may find yourself "Sleepless in Seattle" with us next year!   7 Winglet Mt Rainier.jpg  
24 Comments
FriendofBlogBoy
Frequent Flyer B
Sunny, What a great post! It is neat for us "aviation junkies", as well as us "Southwest Airlines junkies", to get to vicariously share in the adventure of picking up a new plane! You didn't mention if Boeing is like GM and Ford and all the rest -- when you went to get N251WN, did it have a price sticker on the window with all of the standard and upgrade features, along with destination charges, tax, title and license? :) Since my wife's family is from Seattle, I've taken many trips to that area over the last thirty years, and I always enjoy that part of the country. Of course, Pike Place Market is often on our agenda, too. FYI -- if you're a "coffee junkie", the original Starbucks location is right next to Pike Place Market. That store still sports the first version of the famous circular logo, and is the only location they have that has not switched to the more politically correct version of the mermaid. Yes, the Museum of Flight is also a MUST-SEE for us "aviation junkies", and its proximity to Boeing Field makes it a fun place to go just to "plane watch". I have taken some pictures out the windows of Southwest planes (since the merger with Morris Air) of views like the one you showed of Mount St. Helens, although the regularly scheduled flight path doesn't seem to go as close as your Dallas pilots apparently took you guys! I have a shot from one trip where the thick cloud cover looks like a blanket of snow on a very flat field in Texas, and the only thing visible is Mount Rainier sticking up! They have great scenery up there! Thanks again for giving us a small taste of the excitement that you had in Seattle! Kim
Marc31
Explorer C
I'm curious what one of those new planes goes for? (Or did you opt for the 20-year lease and 'spinners' accessory?) ;) You buy a plane... you get a free boat cruise! :) The blog has written about paint-schemes in the past... was this plane delivered with the final paint applied...or does that come later? Seattle is a great town... we were there a couple months ago for Gnomedex. Good Times!
Marc31
Explorer C
oops... I see the pic of the plane now... it *DID* come painted. My bad... feel free to moderate that part of the post out! 🙂
Shelley1
Explorer C
Great post, Sunny! I was lucky enough to be one of the Culture Activities Reps who "hosted" this group, and we had such a fun time with everyone on this trip! A note to all SWA Employees: this is the trip of a lifetime! Be sure to put your name in the hat at the 2007 Messages...it's a guaranteed good time!
Scott5
Adventurer A
Sounds like a great trip. I have noticed that most of the delivery flights come to Phoenix. How do you guys pick who gets to go on those flights? I look forward to the blog about what happens to the plane to prepare it for service once it arrives at the delivery airport. How long does "New Plane Smell" last anyway?
Adam_Phillabaum
New Arrival
Whew... that sounds like an exhausting couple of days. I hope you have some sympathy for those of us that live in Seattle now 🙂
angela
Adventurer C
I recently boarded a brand spanking new 737 when it arrived here in Dallas for a photo shoot. It definitely had the "new plane smell." I can only imagine how fun it must be for the pilots that get to fly it for the first time.
sabercrombie
Explorer C
Kim, Marc, and Scott--thanks for your comments on my blog! I checked with Boeing, and according to them, the "fly-away" sticker price on a new 737-700 is around $60M. Whew! And, Scott--my Team makes this annual trek with the winners of the drawings from the Messages to the Field. There was also an entry form in LUV LINES over the summer to win various prizes in celebration of our 35th Anniversary--one of them being a trip to Boeing for 35 Employees and their guests. Since I don't work in Maintenance, I'm not really sure what happens once the aircraft is delivered to SWA, but I'm hoping one our bloggers out there can answer that question for you. And, yes--most of our new airplanes are delivered to Phoenix, but every now and then we get a new delivery to DAL.
FriendofBlogBoy
Frequent Flyer B
Sunny, As I think about your blog, I've gotten an idea that I'm surprised your Marketing folks have not already suggested. (maybe they have...) Since so many people get so jazzed about "new car smell", and apparently, there is a large contingent of us who likewise are enthused about "new plane smell" (I'm like Angela -- I've been on some of your planes that definitely had that new smell and new pristine look to them, although I didn't peek up front at the odometer), that I think SWA should sell little tree-shaped pieces of stiff cardboard to hang from our automotive rearview mirrors that are saturated with "new plane smell". I'm sure that Boeing could help you develop them by imbedding microscopic bits of carpeting, plastic extrusions, paint and leather seating fabrics inside, and then you could douse them in Jet A to seal in the aroma. This would be a natural best-seller and the revenues generated from such a high-demand item could easily double SWA's profits. By the way, once these become a runaway hit, I expect to be cut in for a "piece of the action". Kim :) P. S. $60M? Wow, I'd LUV to get to see your Titanium Level American Express card, Sunny!
Larry_Mabry
Explorer C
Good job Sunny. Great post and not to "wordy". As John Wayne used to say, "Talk low, talk slow, and don't say too much." Keep on writ'in!
cj76
Explorer C
That was some great blog! Not too long that would just bore me to death. So straight to the point and with sense. Keep it up!
joe-mdw-plane-d
Frequent Flyer C
$60 million is probably list price. Boeings most loyal 737 customer doesn't pay anywhere near that 😉
FriendofBlogBoy
Frequent Flyer B
Senator Everett Dirksen was fond of saying, "A billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money." Even if Sunny could bargain them down, that new 737 probably still cost more than my last car... Kim 🙂
bgentry
Explorer C
Sunny- Great post! It was such a great experience and something I will never forget! Thanks to our wonderful Boeing friends! A BIG THANKS to you, Shelley and Lori for showing us a great time! The three Party Girls!!! Friendships and memories were made that will last a life time! Hope we all can get together soon. Oh, one more thing......HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHARROS! I haven't said that in a long time!!! Thanks! Berri
Scott5
Adventurer A
n255wn is on the scheduled departure board at BFI for Sky Harbor for today. Current ETD is Noon Love Field Time.
Scott5
Adventurer A
N255WN is now enroute left Boeing Field (BFI) at 1:16 Love Field Time for Sky Harbor ETA 3:40 PM Love Field Time. If you want to track it, it's flight 8500.
Scott5
Adventurer A
Earlier today Flight 8503 came from Boeing (BFI) to Phoenix (which I'm assuming to be the delivery of N256WN). My question is did N256WN leave PHX 12 minutes later as Flight 8692 or was 8692 a different 737-700 coming to Dallas? Heres the link to Flight 8692: http://flightaware.com/live/flight/SWA8692/history/20060927/2309Z/KPHX/KDAL
blusk
Aviator C
Scott, 8692 was a maintenance ferry flight from PHX to DAL with N485WN. 8503 was indeed the delivery flight for N256WN Brian
Barbara_Croutha
Explorer C
Hey, I love that new car smell... the smell of leather...one of the reasons (not the only reason) I love Southwest...is because of the leather....yeah! I work with leather all day and never get tired of it... Speaking of keeping the smell...I have developed an Antibacterial Leather Cleaner with the best leather scent....for Southwest's leather seats!! All that leather needs some tender lovin care...So if anyone is interested in this leather care, email me...and I will bottle the "new car" smell for Southwest!!!! By the way this is not your average leather cleaner...no,no, no ...we are the trainers and developers of all the technology behind leather restoration..so you know we're the BEST like SouthWEST...LOL
Scott5
Adventurer A
Flightaware is showing that this plane arrived from Gander at Love Field today (Oct 17th) just before 4 PM. Does this mean you got the other Ford too? http://www.airliners.net/open.file/0700337/L/
Ricky_Scott
Explorer C
Hmm on Flightaware.com I notice several flights coming into Snohomish County Paine Field #8751. Would be nice if you guys flew out of here. I use Southwest pretty exclusive. Are you checking it out in case our county gets smart and opens it up ?
Scott5
Adventurer A
Has this year's (2007) group already made their pilgrimage to Boeing Field to bring home a new jet?
Aristides
Explorer C
Nice!
Bob_Goldstein
Explorer C
I found your web page blog through my brother-in-law. What a great description of visiting Boeing's plant in Renton. As a member of the flying public, I always try and choose Southwest since it's such a well-run company. Keep up the good work. On a personal note, years ago my son and I (who was 12 years old at the time) had the opportunity to help Phil Cavello (sp?) (former Southwest flight attendant) produce a video for Southwest employees. It was made to help raise money for a great Dallas charity - Challenge Air. The Southwest employees at headquarters were wonderful to work with. They allowed my son the opportunity to sit behind one of the 737 training simulators while I recorded some on-camera interviews. Being that he had been totally immersed into airplanes and flying since he was 4 years old, that proved to be a huge, exciting experience for him. In fact, he started flying planes at age 13, soloed at 16, and received his multi-engine and instrument rating when he was 18. Well, my son is 25 now and works as an Aerospace Engineer at the Renton Boeing facility. He continues to fly privately and loves what he does. These days, if's refreshing to experience the outstanding customer service of both Boeing and Southwest Airlines. Here's to continued success!