I’m sure GLaDOS would be proud with the science that has been done by Jason Steffan and his new loading methodology which allegedly cuts loading time of a 757 with 72 passengers from 6 minutes 54 seconds to 3 minutes and 36 seconds.

He proposes a method of loading where  boarding in alternate rows, window seats first, progressing from the rear forward: seats 12A, for example, followed by 10A, 8A and so on, then returning for 9A, 7A, 5A and so on, and then filling the middle and aisle seats in the same way, arguing the approach avoids a situation in which passengers are struggling to use the same physical space at the same time

Jason’s paper is at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969699708000239 with the BBC providing a non scientific version.

Now whilst this is all well and good in the lab and with a semi controlled group, there are three little things.

One: People aren’t lab rats and will ignore most instructions that are given. Have a look at any gate area in the world to see if people pay attention to boarding instructions. Chances are, they’ll ignore every announcement unless you have a gate controller who is managing each person.

Two: Whilst 3 minutes and 36 seconds with 72 people sounds good, a random free for all load took… 4 minutes and 44 seconds. Not so bad.

Three: Who’s heard of a normal airline loading only 72 passengers on a plane? Add a 100 to that (172) and we’re nearer a normal load factor.

Oh well. Look at me still talking when there’s science to do. Maybe we should be thinking with Portalsfor loading planes. But would there be cake? Or is the cake a lie?

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Welll Boeing has finally got it’s backside into first gear with competition from the side (from Airbus and it’s A320NEO aircraft) and below (with Bombadier’s C-Series and Embarer’s E-Jets), and is to launch a new series of 737 aircraft – the 737-MAX.

Images (c) The Boeing Company.

Looking at the 737 MAX, it is a re-engining job like the Airbus A320NEO, with the family split into 3 types of frames: 737-7, 737-8, 737-9 with CFM International Leap-1B engines delivering the new engine. There’s also some engineering tidyup’s too from the looks of it with a 787 style tail.

Those of you expecting a 737-6 in the max series will be dissapointed, as Boeing has excluded the type from re-engineering – the fact that there are none on the order book should give you the hint why.

Boeing say:

“The 737 MAX will deliver maximum efficiency, maximum reliability and the Boeing Sky Interior will continue to offer maximum passenger comfort,”


“We call it the 737 MAX because it optimises everything we and our customers have learned about designing, building, maintaining and operating the world’s best single-aisle airplane,”

For those of you wanting the MAX, the entry into service is targeted to 2017. However, going by Boeing’s recent record with the 787, expect a few bumps on the way.

Those airlines getting the MAX inculde the recent order from from American Airlines who will receive 100 of the birds.

Inside, the planes will be equiped with the new Boeing Sky Interior with all the usual featueres.

As usual for the best skinny on the MAX, FlightBloggerhas the best coverage

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It seems the fight in the premium sections of the cabin is increasing with American Airlines introducing new amentities in those classes

Commening in Early September in the First Cabin on Boeing 777 operated services between London Heathrow (LHR) and US Destinations, you’ll get:

- A quilted bed topper custom-designed to fit American’s popular Flagship Suite,
- pajamas
- and slippers as part of the airline’s new turndown service.

Also…
- A lightweight day blanket
- new premium duvet and pillow
- An amenity kit featuring a bag with an authentic Eames Office design pattern and containing Dermalogica skincare products

Aren’t you just excited at that? Well here’s a picture.

Meanwhile in Business Class, onboard flights between the USA and London LHR operated by Boeing 777s, 767-300s and international 757s can enjoy a new premium duvet and pillow, slippers, and amenity kit.

And at GhettoIFE towers, we love amientiy kits. Honestly!

Well it looks an improvement from the United pencil case, but a downgrade from the olde one….

In October, the full suite of products, including the turndown service, will roll out in American’s First Class cabins onboard all international flights served by Boeing 777s. Business Class cabins onboard all international flights operated by Boeing 777s and 767-300s, in addition to select flights to and from Europe operated by Boeing 757s, will begin offering the new premium duvet and pillow, slippers, and amenity kit on this time too.

Well this is sort of exciting for those in the high expensive seats (or for those who upgraded… not so expensive seats) at the front of the plane. American Airlines have disclosed no changes in Economy. And knowing airlines, no news means no changes.

Not even a pen. Which isn’t helpful when you have to fill out the landing card when you’re 30 minutes from landing….

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Well it’s taken long enough. And I do mean it in the nicest possible way.

Boeing has finally had type certification for the 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft from the US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency, allowing it to formally deliver the aircraft and for customers to use it.

The flight test programme has been extensive with over  4,645 flight hours logged,  using a total of 6 aircraft.

Boeing is still on target to deliver the first 787 to All Nippon Airways (ANA) on 26 September, with a flight taking off from Everett on 27 September and arriving in Tokyo on 28 September.

The programme has been rumbling on since 2003 and the long protracted development, testing and the delays the 787 has suffered since then.

It’s taken Boeing time to get this far, but it seems they’re finally ready to realise the fruits of the work, but it’s getting to the point where the 787 will start to earn money… and we’ll see if the gamble that Boeing made in 2003 finally pays off.

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It’s Sunday again, so it must be time for some more airplane p0rn.

This week, it’s another Swiss Avro 100/BAe 146 queued up for takeoff at Zurich Airport

More of course next week!

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It’s Saturday, and the end of the month, so it’s time to place your seat in the upright position as the long defunct Tower Air presents it’s safety video for a 747

More next week!

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Meanwhile, Delta has been busy, and is in the process of replacing it’s ageing 757 fleet.

Delta have conculded that they want Boeing, and have ordered 100 737-900ER’s. This varity will to quote Delta: “on a capacity-neutral basis older technology aircraft that will be retired from the fleet”, said the carrier.

The frames are scheduled for delivery between 2013 and 2018 with the following numbers per year:

12 in the second half of 2013.
19 in 2014
19 in 2015
19 in 2016
19 in 2017
12 in 2018.

If Deltalina will be giving the safety demo up to 2018 is of course another matter….

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Boeing has finally confirmed it’s delivery date of the first production 787 Dreamliner to All Nippon Airways… and the magic date is set to be 26th September.

The “new delivery plan” will involve the aircraft being handed over to ANA on the 26th September, then depart Everett field on 27th to arrive in Toyko on the 28th September.

For ANA, who have been patient as heck, this will allow them time to familiarise themselves with the new plane, and conduct the demonstration and charter flights before entering into service.

For Boeing, this will mark one heck of milestone as on the 1st November the 787 will carry paying passengers on a regular service.

And maybe it might stop plaudits like me lambasting Boeing after every failure during this learning exercise that has been a very delayed delivery of an aircraft.

For ANA this the beginning of the 787 story as they are due 55 aircraft, with 10 due during this fiscal year, and another 11 due during the next financial year.

Other companies will be watching too, seeing if the promised efficiencies this aircraft is meant to deliver finally pay off… or at least compensate for how long they’ve been waiting for it….

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As Virgin America goes into it’s 5th year of operation, the CEO – David Cush – has been interviewed about the airline and life in Silcon Valley, San Francisco and why the CEO lives in the 2nd row of economy.

It’s at http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_18717348?nclick_check=1 and whilst not the best of interview (with an emphasis by the reporter to Green technoligies), it gives an insight to the Virign America customer and how an IFE system can be used to generate trade, whilst keeping trollies blocking their isle.

Ideal lunchtime reading.

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For some of us, it’s coming up to a 3 day weekend. Which means it’s time for the rail network to go bannanas, Sunday bus services and general confusion.

National Rail Services:

Operator Saturday 27 August Sunday 28 August Monday 29 August
Arriva Trains Wales Engineering Work Engineering Work Engineering Work
c2c Normal Service Engineering Work Engineering Work
Chiltern Railways Engineering Work Engineering Work Engineering Work
CrossCountry Normal Service Engineering Work Engineering Work
East Coast Engineering Work Engineering Work Amended Timetable
East Midlands Trains Normal Service Engineering Work Engineering Work
Eurostar Normal Service Normal Service Normal Service
First Capital Connect Engineering Work Engineering Work Engineering Work
First Great Western Engineering Work Engineering Work Amended Timetable
First Hull Trains Normal Service Normal Service Amended Timetable
First TransPennine Express Engineering Work Engineering Work Engineering Work
Gatwick Express Normal Service Normal Service Amended Timetable
Grand Central Engineering Work Engineering Work Engineering Work
Heathrow Connect / Heathrow Express Normal Service Normal Service Normal Service
Island Line Normal Service Normal Service Amended Timetable
London Midland Normal Service Engineering Work Engineering Work
London Overground Normal Service Normal Service Amended Timetable
Merseyrail Normal Service Normal Service Amended Timetable
National Express East Anglia / Stansted Express Engineering Work Engineering Work Engineering Work
Northern Rail Engineering Work Engineering Work Engineering Work
ScotRail Normal Service Engineering Work Normal Service
South West Trains Engineering Work Engineering Work Amended Timetable
Southeastern Normal Service Engineering Work Amended Timetable
Southern Normal Service Engineering Work Amended Timetable
Virgin Trains Engineering Work Engineering Work Engineering Work

Data: National Rail Enquiries – http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/service_disruptions/seasonal/August_2011/mainpage.html

London Underground 

Various station and line closures during the weekend  (27/28/29th). See    http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/livetravelnews/realtime/track.aspx?offset=weekend

Buses and Coaches.

Expect Sunday Service on the Bank Holiday Monday.

As usual, during a Bank Holiday period, allow extra time for your travels.

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It seems BMI are conducting a fire sale on award routes. The table below should give you a hint of what they’re flogging and how much to where.

Deliving in the T&C;’s, there are some little gems.

  • Addressee only, but it seems all BMI Members can get this
  • BMI Operated flights only. No Codeshares or wet leases
  • Cash and Miles EXCULDED.
  • BMI Gold Members will be upgraded from Economy to Business subject to availability (The BMI Gold Upgrade Joker).
  • Sale period: 24 August and midnight on 2 September 2011 for travel between 1 November 2011 to 31 March 2012
  • Subject to capacity.
  • Must be booked by the Call centre ONLY. Yes. BMI’s grip on technology seems to be falling away one step at at time here.
  • Taxes, Dutues and Charges of course are exculded. But you guessed that.
  • Changes and Cancellations subject to usual Diamond Club Rules.
  • Changes beyond 1 November 2011 and 31 March 2012 which then results in award flight travel to be taken outside of the promotional period will be subject to full award miles deduction

If you can use it, knock yourself out!

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